HC Deb 03 December 1962 vol 668 cc913-4
13. Mr. Oliver

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he is aware of the disparity in a large number of cases between the pre- and post-accident earnings of injured workmen within the provisions of the Industrial Injuries Act, notwithstanding the addition of the special hardship allowance; and whether he will take steps to ensure that earnings plus allowances after injury approximate mare closely to earnings before the accident.

Lieut.-Commander Maydon

Disablement benefit under the Industrial Injuries scheme is based primarily on loss of faculty and it follows that in any particular case it may be either more or less than any earnings lost. Special hardship allowance provides an additional measure of compensation for loss of occupation in certain cases, but subject to maximum figures designed to preserve the general principle of the scheme. My right hon. Friend has no proposals for legislation in this field.

Mr. Oliver

Would the Minister be goad enough to see if the Government can get any information on this problem from the employers or the trade unions? Is the Minister aware that, under the computation of loss, many highly paid workers who meet with a minor injury, but one sufficient to prevent a man going back to his original job, lose between £5 and £8 a week when resuming their work, because they cannot go back to the old job as a result of the minor injury? This is a very serious matter for a large number of workmen, particularly for injured miners.

Lieut.-Commander Maydon

That is a very much wider question. I shall certainly look at it and write to the hon. and learned Member to let him know the results of my investigations.

Mr. Prentice

Is it the case, as it was when the last Ministry Report was published, that something like 90 per cent. of the special hardship allowance is being paid at the maximum rate? Does that not indicate that the average amount of earnings lost is far in excess of the rate of special hardship allowance?

Lieut.-Commander Maydon

At the latest date for which figure's are available—31st October, 1961–113,000 allowances were in payment. That was the total, and 99,000 were at the maximum rate.