§ 67. Mr. PETO
asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether, under Circular A.S. 29, Table F, Alternative 2, a man of sixty-seven years of age will receive the sum of 9s. a year, payable in quarterly instalments, in return for compulsory contribution of 17s. 4d. a year, if he is continuously employed; whether this will operate to his advantage in a case where such a man has been a contributor for forty years to a club which has dissolved in consequence of the passing of the National Insurance Act; and, if not, whether he proposes to take any steps to prevent men over sixty-five years of age being deprived of all sickness benefit in consequence of the passing of the Act?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
Under the table referred to in the question a man of sixty-seven years of age will receive a sum of 9s. a year for life in return for a contribution of 4d. a week payable until he reaches the age of seventy, which cannot in any case exceed three years. If a man of this age is not insured for sickness benefit, whether in consequence of the dissolution of his society or because he has never been a member of a society, he will probably consider that alternative No. 2 or Table F is not adapted to his circumstances and will join an approved society offering alternative No. 1, which provides (after the six months' waiting period) payment in sickness at the rate of 6s. a week from the fourth day for the first thirteen weeks, and 5s. a week for the second thirteen weeks. This is additional to the sick pay his own society would give him if it continued in existence, or to what he would be able to purchase with his 808 share of the divided funds if it dissolves. The National Insurance Act does not require clubs to dissolve; on the contrary, its normal effect is to improve their solvency.
§ 70. Mr. PETO
asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether any approved societies have adopted Alternative No. 1 in Table F of Circular A.S. 29, issued by the National Health Insurance Commission and, if so, which; if so, whether 6s. a week for thirteen weeks and 5s. a week for thirteen weeks compare favourably with the average sickness benefit hitherto paid by small societies and clubs, now dissolved, and of which many men now between sixty-five and seventy years of age have been members; and, if not, how he intends to prevent the passage of the National Insurance Act depriving these old men of the adequate provision for sickness at the age when they require it most, for which they had made unaided provision?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
Practically all approved societies have provided by their rules for the adopting of one of the alternative tables in Circular A.S. 29, but information is not yet available as to which intend to adopt alternatives 1 and 2 respectively. The benefits under Table F are fully supported by the contributions receivable in respect of persons aged between sixty-five and seventy, to which the insured persons contribute only 4d. out of every 9d. It is impossible to ascertain the average sickness benefits hitherto paid by small societies and clubs now dissolved. If, however, any of the dissolved societies to which the hon. Member refers were unsound financially, they were not in a position to pay their benefits whatever they may have been, and any such comparison as is suggested by the question could only be in favour of the benefits secured by the operation of the Act. If they were financially sound they have presumably shared out, and their members will have received the full money value to which they were entitled and will receive in addition, if insured persons under the Act, the benefits stated above.