HC Deb 20 June 1966 vol 730 cc20-1
34. Mr. Woodnutt

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if she will amend the conditions for entitlement to sickness benefit under the National Insurance scheme to ensure that expatriate Britons are treated as favourably as immigrants.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance (Mr. Norman Pentland)

No, Sir. The National Insurance scheme makes no distinction between these two groups.

Mr. Woodnutt

Surely the Minister must agree that a first entrant has to wait simply 26 weeks before he or she gets benefit and that this applies to immigrants, whereas an expatriate Briton coming back to this country must wait any length of time from 11 to 23 months before qualifying for benefit?

Mr. Pentland

Yes, Sir; but, as the hon. Member is aware, there are special arrangements for new entrants for insurance. This special provision applies, however, to all new entrants for insurance, irrespective of whether they are recent school-leavers or people coming to this country for the first time. There is no question whatever of discrimination against expatriate Britons or in favour of immigrants coming to this country. They are all treated alike.