Clause 51 — Period of entitlement to contributory allowance

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 1:45 pm on 1st February 2012.

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Photo of Anne Begg Anne Begg Chair, Work and Pensions Committee 1:45 pm, 1st February 2012

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker.

I think that the hon. Gentleman’s intervention illustrates some of the confusion that exists. Some Members seem to believe that losing a job because of ill health is exactly the same as losing a job by being made redundant, but it is not. As was pointed out by my right hon. Friend Stephen Timms, the chance of obtaining another job is far, far higher for someone who has been made redundant than for someone who has lost his job because he has received a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, or because he has had a major road accident which means that he is now dependent on a wheelchair to survive. Those conditions are different, and they should therefore be treated differently in the national insurance and, indeed, the benefits system.