Voluntary Contributors (Married Women)

Oral Answers to Questions — National Insurance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th March 1949.

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Photo of Lady  Grant of Monymusk Lady Grant of Monymusk , Aberdeen South 12:00 am, 29th March 1949

asked the Minister of National Insurance whether he will permit married women under 60 to contribute voluntarily to the National Insurance scheme, when their husbands are over 65.

Photo of Mr Thomas Steele Mr Thomas Steele , Lanark

I would refer the noble Lady to the reply given to the noble Lady the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Viscountess Davidson) on 22nd February a copy of which I am sending her.

Photo of Lady  Grant of Monymusk Lady Grant of Monymusk , Aberdeen South

Is the Minister aware that, while this is a transitional stage, nevertheless great hardship is caused to widows who have to start paying insurance just at a time when they are less able to do so than when their husbands are alive?

Photo of Mr Thomas Steele Mr Thomas Steele , Lanark

This Question refers to married women, and not to widows. So far as widows and others are concerned, if they do not come within the scheme, we have made provision under the National Assistance Act to cover any case of hardship.

Photo of Lady  Grant of Monymusk Lady Grant of Monymusk , Aberdeen South

Perhaps I did not make myself clear. Is the Minister aware that I was referring to women who are younger than their husbands and who want to contribute voluntarily while their husbands are alive, because, if they are not allowed to do so until they become widows, it means that they have to start contributing at a time when they can least afford it?

Photo of Mr Thomas Steele Mr Thomas Steele , Lanark

The question of allowing these women to come in voluntarily has been discussed on many occasions in this House. The fact is that we cannot possibly allow a certain section of married women to become voluntary contributors because it would involve a very heavy additional burden on the fund.