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Oral Answers to Questions — National Insurance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25 October 1949.

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Photo of Mr Tufton Beamish Mr Tufton Beamish , Lewes 12:00, 25 October 1949

asked the Minister of National Insurance, how many people are insurable under the National Insurance Act; how many such persons were insured during each of the four weeks in August; what steps are being taken to trace those who are evading paying contributions; and in how many cases legal proceedings have been taken and with what result.

Photo of Mr Thomas Steele Mr Thomas Steele , Lanark

The total number of persons insurable under the National Insurance Acts is estimated to be about 24½ million, but it is not possible to say how many are insured in a particular week. All practicable steps are taken through the Department's inspectorate and local office machinery to secure compliance by persons liable to pay contributions. Since July, 1948, legal proceedings for noncompliance have been taken in about 500 cases, and convictions have been secured in practically all cases.

Photo of Mr Tufton Beamish Mr Tufton Beamish , Lewes

Is it not a most strange state of affairs that there is no machinery for checking on the large scale evasions which are taking place? Could the Parliamentary Secretary confirm that the loss to the Exchequer annually is in the neighbourhood of £100,000?

Photo of Mr Thomas Steele Mr Thomas Steele , Lanark

Of course, there is machinery for checking these matters. The machinery, I think, is working very well.

Photo of Mr Thomas Steele Mr Thomas Steele , Lanark

So far as the self-employed and non-employed people are concerned,—those who are mostly concerned in this matter—they have been co-operating very well with the Department.

Photo of Major Ernest Bramall Major Ernest Bramall , Bexley

Would my hon. Friend bear in mind as specially important in these cases, the point that where men are separated from their wives, the wives may find, on the death of their husbands, that they have lost their entitlement to widows' pensions because the duty to pay contributions has not been enforced?

Photo of Mr Thomas Steele Mr Thomas Steele , Lanark

Of course, that is an entirely different matter.