HC Deb 12 July 1965 vol 716 cc17-8
15. Mr. Derek Page

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what steps she is taking to ensure that agricultural gang workers are adequately covered by industrial insurance.

Mr. Pentland

Agricultural gang workers are already normally insured under the Industrial Injuries Scheme, in the same way as other people working for an employer under a contract of service. If my hon. Friend has knowledge of any difficulty that has arisen in any particular case, I should be glad to look into it for him.

Mr. Page

Is my hon. Friend aware that the changing and transient nature of gang employment makes the enforcement of the legal requirements particularly difficult? Will he look at the difficulties of adequate coverage of workers in agricultural gangs?

Mr. Pentland

As I have said, if my hon. Friend can send any evidence to me about this matter we shall be glad to look into it. But as he is no doubt aware, under the main insurance scheme there are special provisions designed to assist farmers; these exclude from Class I—employed persons—those who are not normally employed for agriculture, horticulture or forestry or who are engaged casually for the picking of fruit, peas, hops, beans, etc.—the work to which my hon. Friend has referred. This, however, does not exempt the farmer from paying industrial injury contributions. He must pay them.

Mr. Rankin

Is my hon. Friend aware that this disability applies also to gang workers in industry? Does he realise that a time limit operates whereby if a disease such as emerged recently on the Clyde as a result of the building of the tunnel does not show itself within a period of three or four years, then the sufferer is ruled out completely? Will my hon. Friend look at that aspect?

Mr. Pentland

I will look at that but it is a different question. If my hon. Friend will put down a Question, I will deal with it.

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