HC Deb 12 July 1965 vol 716 cc24-6
31. Mrs. Shirley Williams

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance how many adult men in full-time employment do not pay full National Insurance contributions; and what proportion of this total are men employed through labour-only sub-contractors.

Mr. Pentland

My right hon. Friend has no reason to think that any appreciable number of men in full-time employment are not paying National Insurance contributions, but she has no information as to the numbers of men working under labour-only sub-contracts or the proportions in which such men may be insured as employed or self-employed persons respectively.

Mrs. Williams

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is a great increase in the number of labour-only subcontracted men in areas of high employment and that many of them are listed as self-employed and therefore do not get the full benefit of the National Insurance provisions?

Mr. Pentland

As we are aware, labour-only sub-contracting gives rise to contribution trouble, but the Department does its utmost to follow up any abuses in this direction. We are confident that the amount of abuse in this sphere and other spheres is very small compared with the total working population.

Mr. Heffer

Is my hon. Friend aware that a large number of demolition contractors indulge in this type of employment? Is he further aware that in those circumstances any worker who is injured as a result of this type of employment is in an exceedingly difficult situation? Will he give an assurance that these firms will be pursued and, if necessary, prosecuted because of this type of activity?

Mr. Pentland

I give that assurance. Our inspectors are diligently following up the cases referred to by my hon. Friend, but in many cases the birds have flown before we reach them. We are looking at this matter very carefully and everything will be done to stamp it out.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis

May we take it that the hon. Gentleman is pleased that his colleague the Joint Parliamentary Secretary is sub-contracted to the Foreign Office? How long is this sub-contracting to last?

Mr. Pentland

I hope that this contract, to which the hon. Gentleman refers so scathingly, goes on until my hon. Friend reaches a successful conclusion in his endeavours.