Benefit Claims

Oral Answers to Questions — National Insurance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th May 1951.

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Photo of Captain James Duncan Captain James Duncan , South Angus 12:00 am, 7th May 1951

asked the Minister of National Insurance when the National Insurance Advisory Committee will have completed their review of the time limits for claiming benefit under the National Insurance scheme; and whether she will publish their report.

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

I understand from the chairman of the Committee that their examination of this difficult question is now far advanced, but he cannot yet say when the report will be completed. I think I must await the report before deciding whether to publish it.

Photo of Captain James Duncan Captain James Duncan , South Angus

Can the Minister say whether this Committee are taking into consideration the special conditions obtaining where railwaymen are involved? They have to submit certificates to the railway authorities and those certificates have then to be returned and sent to the National Insurance authorities.

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

I cannot give an affirmative reply to that, but I will certainly bring the point to the attention of the Committee.

Photo of Miss Elaine Burton Miss Elaine Burton , Coventry South

asked the Minister of National Insurance if, as the trade unions in Coventry have expressed strong opinions that the provisions of Section 13 (1) (a) and (b) of the National Insurance Act, 1946, cause hardship in many cases, she will reconsider her decision not to promote amending legislation.

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

I am afraid I cannot add to the answer given to my hon. Friend's Question on this subject on 9th April.

Photo of Miss Elaine Burton Miss Elaine Burton , Coventry South

As my right hon. Friend was obviously misinformed when she gave that answer—because both the A.E.U. and the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions have made representations on this—may I ask whether she will receive a deputation so that we may enlighten her on the matter, particularly as last month at Brighton—I quote her words—she said, "Legislation, however good, can always be improved"?

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

I think my hon. Friend underestimates the efficiency of my staff. I am never misinformed, at least by my staff. But I suggest that if my hon. Friend examines the figures more carefully she will find she has not been given the latest information. The number of claimants for benefits in this case which were initially disallowed were 393; the number since allowed is 351 and the number now under consideration is 35, which, I think, alters the position altogether. The terms of this Section are exactly the same today as they were in 1924, and although I accept the fact that she is vigilant on behalf of these men she must realise that the T.U.C. have also been vigilant since 1924 on their behalf.

Photo of Miss Elaine Burton Miss Elaine Burton , Coventry South

Will my right hon. Friend reconsider her reply as the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions and the A.E.U. in Coventry have made representations to the T.U.C.? They are not misinformed and I am not discussing one particular case. Will my right hon. Friend therefore receive a deputation, so that we can discuss it?

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

I am sure that if the industrial representatives of the men want to bring a deputation to me they will do so and I am quite prepared to receive them.

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

I should deprecate a mere man taking part in this.