The explanation is a Simple one and I am glad to give it. Since 1948, there have been reductions in the employer's part of the National Insurance contribution and the Industrial Injuries contribution for foreign-going seamen—that is, men who serve in ships abroad but who may be domiciled in this country. In 1948, it was agreed, I understand, that there should be a reduction in the employer's part of the contribution, because the employer is obliged to provide medical care and maintenance to seamen who fall sick or are injured aboard ship under the Merchant Shipping Acts, 1894–1948.
Contributions are to go up again early next year and there has been a request that we should review the position. The Regulations have, in fact, been considered by the Special Orders Committee of another place. They have been put before the Shipping Federation and the National Maritime Board, and it has been confirmed in writing that the proposals are acceptable to them. The Shipping Federation, as the right hon. Gentleman no doubt knows, represents the shipowners, and the National Maritime Board represents the owners and trade unions. I hope that with that explanation he feels that he can accept the Regulations.