§ Sir ARTHUR GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether he can state the number of voluntary contributors under the National Insurance Act; the number of persons whom the actuaries estimated would avail themselves of it; and the number of persons eligible?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
The actuaries' estimate, published in Cd. 5,681, was that 2,120,000 persons would be eligible to join as voluntary contributors, and that 829,000 would join. The latter estimate was, as they pointed out, very conjectural, as the actual numbers would depend upon the exercise of individual options. I have nothing to add at present to the numbers given in previous answers as to the numbers who joined in the first quarter. Voluntary contributors (as distinct from employed contributors) were able to choose their own time for entering insurance, and could join (if under forty-five) at any time within six months of the commencement of the Act without increase of contributions or reduction of benefits. No close estimate of the actual number of voluntary contributors can therefore be formed until the second quarter's cards are returned and counted. I hope to have information as to the numbers upon this basis within a week or two.