HC Deb 31 March 1958 vol 585 cc836-7
23. Mr. R. Harris

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he will introduce a no-claim bonus scheme for National Insurance, whereby an insured person who made no claim in respect of National Insurance or health for a year or longer would be credited with a certain number of stamps in the ensuing year.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

No, Sir. While I understand and sympathise with the object which my hon. Friend has in view, I do not think that the change he suggests, which could relate only to a comparatively small element in the National Insurance contribution, would, even if feasible, be consistent with the main principles of the National Insurance Scheme.

Mr. Harris

Does the Minister realise that this is a rather disappointing reply and is not satisfactory because he has given no reasons for this or the cost of it? Does he not think that anything should be done which might reduce the call on the State and that people should be given this encouragement?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I do not think we can separate sickness benefit from the other benefits of the Scheme, such as unemployment benefit. We could not single out sickness benefit for the very special treatment which my hon. Friend suggests. The whole principle of the Scheme is the pooling of the general risks which affect the whole community, not the singling out of a particular risk to which a particular section may or may not be liable.

Dr. Summerskill

As the suggestion embodied in the Question has been raised in other quarters, may I ask the Minister to bear in mind that if he entertained such a suggestion it would deter the poorest in the country from seeking medical advice?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

That may be so, but the right hon. Lady heard the answer which I gave, to which I do not think it is necessary to add.