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Industrial Injuries and Diseases

Part of Orders of the Day — Social Security Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:45 pm on 20th May 1986.

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Photo of Mr David Ashby Mr David Ashby , North West Leicestershire 5:45 pm, 20th May 1986

I share the concern expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Sherwood (Mr. Stewart) and by the hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Haynes) about this provision.. In areas such as mine, where there is not only heavy engineering, but the coalfield and other industries, it is a comfort to those who work in these injury-prone industries that there is some fall back.

We have good safety records in our part of the world. and it has won many awards for the prevention of injury. However, with the best will in the world, injuries happen and it is some comfort to the workers to know that they have a contract of insurance so that if they are disabled —for example, if they lose a finger—they will at least get some compensation.

I hope that the Minister persuades the Government to change direction, although I doubt that they will. At least we are trying to persuade them. We shall vote for the amendment, in the hope that we can carry many Conservative Members with us and win the vote to defeat the Government in their wicked move. Suddenly, out of the blue, people's contract, for which they have paid over the years, is ripped up. It is an industrial contract, but they are told that they will receive compensation only if the injury is over 14 per cent. If it is under 14 per cent. they will receive nothing.

I understand the desire to provide help where it is needed and I realise that there will be a higher level of payment for minor injuries. However, I ask my hon. Friend to think again about this. The fact that there will be compensation for these kinds of injuries is a great comfort to these people. Therefore, I have my doubts about this part of the Bill.