§ Mr. Clemitson
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will urgently review the position of those persons who, because of being remanded in custody in respect of charges on which they are subsequently found not guilty, are in danger of losing national insurance benefits because of the non-payment of insurance stamps during their period of imprisonment.
§ Mr. O'Malley
Persons detained in legal custody who are normally employed contributors are excepted from liability to pay national insurance contributions but can pay at the non-employed rate voluntarily. These contributions count for retirement pension, widows' benefits and maternity and death grants and can assist claims for sickness and unemployment benefit in certain circumstances.
Under the new contribution arrangements which will apply from April 1975 there is much less likelihood that a period of remand in custody will later lead to loss of benefit, as an average earner by working for three months in a tax year will have safeguarded his entitlement to all benefits except earnings-related supplement. There will still be an opportunity for the person concerned to pay voluntary contributions where these are really needed.