§ Mr. Hooson
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what consideration is given to those who are unable to have a full retirement pension under the National Insurance scheme because they were not able to enter the scheme in July, 1948, due to prolonged and serious illness; and if she will make a statement.
§ Mr. Pentland
Prolonged and serious illness did not in itself disqualify people from becoming insured and paying contributions under the National Insurance Scheme when it began in 1948. I appreciate that many people in this position will have lacked the means to enable them to pay the necessary contributions to qualify for a retirement pension, but the National Assistance Scheme is designed to help in just such cases regardless of whether retirement age has been reached or not.