§ Mr. Prentice
I have been asked to reply.
The exact extent to which alcohol contributes to sick absence in the United Kingdom is not known but the available information suggests that it could account for between 8.8 million and 14.8 million man/days a year in England and Wales.
Information on spells of sickness is available only for days of certified incapacity for work in connection with national insurance claims, including claims for the long-term sick. These include Saturdays but exclude spells for which no claim was made because, for example, they were very short or were in respect of married women not paying full contributions. Because of changes in the sampling procedure when the national insurance system changed in 1975, incapacity statistics are not available for 1975–76. The following table includes 1974–75 figures for comparison. The 1977–78 incapacity statistics have not been processed, but I will write to the hon. Member when they are available.771W
The table gives working days lost by all workers at establishments where disputes occurred. Time lost at other establishments as a result of these stoppages is not included.
UNITED KINGDOM Year Days of certified incapacity for work* Working days lost because of industrial disputes in progress during the year* (1) (2) (3) (millions) (millions) 1975 326.9 6.0 1976 Not available 3.3 1977† 372.5 10.1 1978 Not yet available 9.3 * Figures in col. (2) are for all days (including those attributable to alcohol) in the statistical year ending in June. In col. (3) figures are for the calendar year. † Includes 34.3 million days for noncontributory invalidity pension introduced in November 1975.