HC Deb 22 June 1964 vol 697 cc25-6
28. Mr. Manuel

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance how many increases have been made in National Insurance contributions since October 1951; and what is the overall percentage increase.

Mr. Wood

I refer the hon. Member to the reply my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary gave the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. A. Lewis) on 7th February.

Mr. Manuel

That reply is most unsatisfactory. Does the Minister realise that this increased contribution constitutes a poll tax which falls very heavily on the lower income groups? Have the Government considered the economic implications of this? What remedy do they suggest?

Mr. Wood

Several of the Government's recent measures have, in fact, been moves exactly away from the position which the hon. Gentleman describes. If he will look again at the table, which he has, apparently, already studied, there will become evident to him the very considerable increase in contribution!; which will be necessary to pay for the benefits which, apparently, his party is now suggesting should be instituted. Perhaps another reading of the table will enable him to be rather more explicit about what contributions would be necessary.