asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he is aware that notices to contract certain employees out of the State graduated pension scheme have been posted on notice boards in places of employment before the simplified explanatory leaflet has been made available, and that this is causing confusion and concern; and when the leaflet will be made available.
Is the Minister aware that notices of this sort for different sections of employees are being posted on notice boards and that many of the employees have not the slightest idea what they mean? It was understood that an explanatory leaflet would be issued to employed persons with reference to this matter. Will the Minister try to bring some commonsense out of a complete lack of understanding of the situation by issuing to every employee a leaflet explaining in simple language the position about contracting out?
A leaflet explaining very clearly the whole of the scheme is available at any National Insurance office to anybody who likes to collect it. I cannot at this range identify the document which the hon. Lady held up, except to say that it does not look particularly like one of mine. If any difficulty should arise about informing employees affected by the application for a certificate, the hon. Lady is aware that the provisions of the Act provide that they are able to make representations to the Registrar.
This matter is very important. Does not the Minister think that it would have been possible to have available sufficient copies of the leaflet at the industries where there is the possibility of contracting out, so that the employer could pass them round to his employees in order that they may know exactly what the situation is?
I have heard of no case in which the main explanatory leaflet to which I have referred has been asked for and has not been available. I do not think that it would be sensible to distribute copies throughout industry to some 22½ million people in class 1, only a relatively small proportion of whom would be eligible to be contracted out. But there is no difficulty whatever in anybody getting copies of the authentic leaflet from any of my offices. I understand that there is no shortage of them.