asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that, where men and women over the age of 65 years and 60 years, respectively, have entered industry through war emergencies who were never insured, the employer is called upon to pay his part of contributions but the workers cannot claim medical benefit or treatment because they have not previous insurance; and will he examine the position so that they can be brought in line with other workers of similar age and be allowed medical benefit treatment?
As regards the object of the provision requiring 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, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Frome (Mrs. Tate) on 29th January. The great majority of these elderly workers were already insured on reaching the ages in question and they remain entitled to medical benefit by virtue of contributions at the ordinary rates paid both by and in respect of them up to those ages. As regards the minority of such elderly workers to whom my hon. Friend refers, and who have had no such ordinary contributions paid, I am afraid that it would not be practicable to provide them with medical benefit within the framework of the existing scheme.
As the House knows, the arrangements whereby there is built up a scheme for the provision of medical benefit for these elderly workers are complicated. It is not easy to fit the class of person to whom my hon. Friend refers into the existing scheme.