§ Mr. CHARLETON
asked the Minister of Health whether he has considered the ease of insured persons of about 63 years of age who become unemployed and are unable to continue their national health insurance contributions, with a view to securing to them the pension at 65 years; and whether those who fell sick at the same age have also been considered, and, if not, will he consider making provision for safeguarding these persons?
§ Mr. NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN
The case contemplated is already covered by the provisions of the Act. The regulations made under Section 8 (c) provide that weeks of genuine unemployment and weeks of sickness shall count as weeks for which contributions were paid. I would also refer the hon. Member to proviso (iii) of Section 8 and to Sub-section (4) of Section 38, which make special provision for contributors who have been continuously insured for ten years on attaining the age of 60, or in the case of women, 55.
§ Major TASKER
asked the Minister of Health whether he will arrange that a claim decided under the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1925, and the relative papers shall be lent to the old age pensions committee, upon their application, in order to enable them to investigate any case in which the claimant or pensioner may request the committee for advice or assistance and, after such investigation, to make any representations to the Minister which the committee may consider to be necessary?
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I regret that I cannot adopt the suggestion of my hon. and gallant Friend. Section 20 (3) of the Act empowers me to revise an award or decision on new facts being brought to my notice, and I can assure the hon. and gallant Member that any such cases will receive careful consideration.
§ Major TASKER
asked the Minister of Health if he will give all available information as to the remuneration, if any, which has been or will be paid to the 659W referees and women assessors appointed under the Widows', Orphans', and Contributory Pensions Act, 1925, as to the conditions attached to the appointments; and as to arrangements which have been or will be made for informing, and keeping informed, the House and the public of the juridical rulings given or to be given by the referees, and of their duties and work in general?
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I have been so fortunate as to secure the services as referees of three eminent King's Counsel, who are undertaking this work as a public duty, receiving only a small honorarium as a contribution towards their expenses. No oral hearings by the referees have hitherto been found necessary, and, therefore, no women assessors have been yet appointed. The functions of the referees are to hear appeals by applicants whose claims for a pension have been rejected by the Minister, and I am informed that they propose to publish from time to time a precis of the decisions given by them. No conditions are attached to their appointment, but the present arrangements will be subject to review at a later date when further information is available as to the number of appeals likely to come forward. I am informed that the arrangements with regard to appeals in Scotland are similar to those in England and Wales.