asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will promote legislation, along lines similar to those of the Redundancy Payments Act, 1968, to provide compensation for long-term employees who are dismissed from their jobs because of illness or accident.
No, Sir, but the provisions which the Government propose to include in the forthcoming Industrial Relations Bill to increase the minimum periods of notice of termination to be given to long-service employees and to safeguard employees against unfair dismissal will be of considerable help to employees dismissed in these circumstances.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the tremendous financial hardship suffered by people who lose their jobs because of illness or accident through no fault of their own and get no redundancy benefits? Will he explain why the Government will not give them rights equivalent to those who lose their jobs through redundancy?
The redundancy scheme has a completely different objective. I appreciate and share the hon. Gentleman's concern for this unfortunate category of employee, but the object of the redundancy scheme was the optimum use of manpower and redeployment of skills. I do not think that we could use such a scheme to deal with this problem.