HC Deb 12 March 1951 vol 485 cc1043-4
15. Mr. Perkins

asked the Minister of National Insurance why her regulations enable self-employed persons, including Members of Parliament, to draw sickness benefit under the National Insurance scheme at the same time as other emoluments; and what is the waiting period.

Dr. Summerskill

I have written to the hon. Member about the first part of his Question. The waiting period is three days.

Mr. Perkins

Does not the Minister think it rather undesirable for company directors, Members of this House and others who are paid full salary, whether sick or not, to be eligible to draw benefit, and would not the right thing be to reduce the weekly contribution that everyone pays and to debar M.P.s from obtaining sickness benefit?

Dr. Summerskill

No, Sir. The hon. Member has forgotten that this is an insurance scheme. It does not matter whether the person concerned is a manual labourer or a company director. If he has paid his contributions, he is entitled to benefit.

Captain Duncan

For the interest of other hon. Members who may want to claim sickness benefit, can the right hon. Lady say what were the contents of the letter to my hon. Friend?

Dr. Summerskill

It explains the situation in simple language.

Mr. Speaker

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan.

Mr. C. S. Taylor rose


Mr. Speaker

I thought we had had enough of that Question.

Mr. Taylor

On a point of order. I was going to ask if the——

Mr. Speaker

When I said that we were going on to the next Question, the hon. Member must not get up and ask a supplementary which I had stopped.

36. Sir Waldron Smithers

asked the Minister of National Insurance what sum was paid out in the year 1950, and in January and February, 1951, respectively, in sickness benefit; to how many people; and of how many working days this payment represents the loss.

Dr. Summerskill

I regret that I cannot give figures on the precise basis asked for by the hon. Member, but I am sending him such information as is available.

Sir W. Smithers

Is the right hon. Lady aware that in the opinion of many experts in administration some of the public are taking a mean advantage of the granting of these sickness benefits? Will she have the cases examined so that public money shall not be wasted?

Dr. Summerskill

There is no evidence of that at all.