§ 56. Mr. Wainwright
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will take the necessary steps so that all full-time students in receipt of approved awards shall be covered for National Insurance contributions.
§ Mr. Crosland
I have carefully reconsidered this matter in recent months in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance and with the National Union of Students. As a result I have reached the conclusion that a change of the kind suggested would not be justified having regard to the large outlay in contributions it implies, the low incidence of eligibility among students for the cash benefits concerned, and the existing arrangements for 161W credits up to the age of 18 and retrospective payment of contributions when studentship has ended. The National Health Service is, of course, available to students, as to other people, without contribution conditions. The better course appears to me to be to ensure that students are fully informed about their National Insurance position so as to eliminate misunderstandings, and this is being done.