§ 1. Mr. Awbery
asked the Minister of National Insurance if she is aware of the hardships caused to men who retired from work prior to the 1948 Insurance Act and who subsequently discover that they are suffering from an industrial disease in that they are deprived of benefits both under the Workmen's Compensation and Industrial Injuries Acts and can only draw sickness benefit; and what steps she is taking to remedy this position.
§ The Minister of National Insurance (Dr. Edith Summerskill)
I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to the position created by certain recent decisions of the courts. I am watching this carefully, but as there may be appeals to the House of Lords in these cases I do not think I can comment at this stage.
§ Mr. Awbery
Is the Minister aware that it sometimes takes several years for an industrial disease to show itself in a man; that the case I have in mind is that of a coal trimmer who, three years after retiring from work, discovered that he was suffering from pneumoconiosis, and that he is not entitled to claim under the Act owing to the time that has elapsed since leaving his employment and the discovery of the disease?
§ Dr. Summerskill
My hon. Friend has, perhaps, not noticed that there has been a subsequent case of a claim for workmen's compensation, but as an appeal may be pending, I think it would be improper for me to comment further.
§ Mr. Maclay
Is the Minister aware that in this respect and others the six months clause is causing real hardship, and is she 1688 prepared to have a careful look at the clause in considering all these claims?