HC Deb 29 January 1942 vol 377 cc931-2W
Mrs. Tate

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the shortage of labour and the Government's desire that people should produce as much food as possible, he will take steps to rescind, for the duration of the war, the regulation by which an employer is forced to pay National Health Insurance contributions for an employee who, being over age, can in no way benefit from them?

Mr. E. Brown

I have no evidence that the statutory provision which requires an employer to pay his share of the normal Health and Pensions contribution in respect of men who have reached age 65 and women who have reached 60 militates against the employment of such elderly persons at the present time. While the main object of the provision, which was included in the Statute at the inception of the contributory pensions scheme, was to remove any possible inducement to employers to give preference for employment to any particular class of person, it also enables certain persons who enter insurance late in life to qualify for contributory old age pension after they reach the normal pension age. It would clearly not be practicable to distinguish between these cases and those in which no benefit is derived by employees from the contributions so paid in respect of them and I am accordingly not prepared to propose the amendment of the law suggested by my hon. Friend.