73. Mr. F. HALL
asked whether officers, apprentices, and sailors on British ships on long voyages are provided by the shipowners with medical attendance; whether it is compulsory for such persons to be insured; and, if so, what medical treatment do they obtain in return for their contributions to the national insurance funds?
The answer to the first two questions is in the affirmative. As regards the last part of the question, insured persons in the mercantile marine are entitled to medical benefit in Great Britain in respect of any period during which the owner of the ship is not liable under the Merchant Shipping Acts to defray the expenses of medical attendance and medicine, and the contributions both of masters and men on foreign-going ships are reduced in consideration of the periods during which they do not require benefit under the Insurance Acts.
Mr. F. HALL
May I ask the hon. Gentleman if it is not the fact that many of these sailing ships may have voyages of eighteen months before they get back again to this country, and if it is right that the men should have to pay their insurance contributions during that time, considering that they cannot possibly get any benefit?
Their contributions are rated according to the benefits to which they are entitled and which they receive.
Mr. F. HALL
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that sailors under these conditions have to pay as a rule about £1 2s. a year for which they cannot get any benefit?