HC Deb 17 February 1964 vol 689 cc833-4
16. Mr. B. Taylor

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he will state the number of latent cases under the Workmen's Compensation Act; and what would be the cost to the Industrial Injuries Fund of giving a weekly bnefit equivalent to that given to the partially disabled under the Pneumoconiosis and Byssinosis Benefit Scheme.

Mr. Wood

I do not know how many latent cases there are, but it is thought there may be something like 50,000. On this basis, the annual cost of an allowance such as the hon. Member suggests would be £5½ million.

Mr. Taylor

In view of the smallness of the figure, if the number is 50,000, would the Minister give some consideration to these cases, who appear to be forgotten? They are the only residual victims now of the old Workmen's Compensation Act. The totally disabled and the time-barred cases have been dealt with and now, in the main, it is only the latent cases under that Act who have had no consideration at all. Would the right hon. Gentleman give his earnest consideration to this type of case?

Mr. Wood

As the hon. Member knows, my predecessors and I have taken the view, I hope rightly, that it was only justifiable to make payments out of the Industrial Injuries Fund where there were clearly established cases of hardship. Although I am aware of some of the arguments which the hon. Member and other hon. Members have put forward, on '.he face of it the latency of these cases suggests that there has been not only no loss of earnings but also no considerable degree of hardship.

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