§ Mr. HICKS
asked the Minister of Health the number of persons whose insurance with approved societies has lapsed following prolonged unemployment, despite the Prolongation of Insurance Acts; whether further action can be taken to ensure full benefits for persons who are only able to remain in insurance by virtue of their cards being franked at the Employment Exchange; and what is the method adopted to retain records of persons getting their cards franked with a view to obtaining the old age pension at the age of 65 who have had their insurance membership terminated by an approved society?
Sir H. YOUNG
In order to obtain the information asked for in the first part of the question, it would be necessary to scrutinise the records of 7,000 approved societies and branches for the past 10 years. As regards the second part of the question, I would point out that under the existing law insured persons are entitled to benefits at the full rates for a period of at least 18 months of continuous unemployment without the1042W payment of any contributions and an extension of that period would impose on societies a burden which they are not in a position to bear. With regard to the last part of the question it should be borne in mind that, quite apart from the temporary provisions of the Prolongation of Insurance Act, insurance both for health and pensions is already kept alive for nearly three years of continuous unemployment, while insured persons who cease employment at the age of 60 are kept in insurance year by year, so long as continuous unemployment can be proved, until they reach the age of 65, at which the title to old age pension matures.