asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the disquiet felt by many independent workers and traders about the proposal in the Beveridge Report that for the first 13 weeks of disability they, unlike employed persons, are to receive no cash benefit, but are to continue to have to pay contributions as though fit for work; and whether, in his examination of the Report, he will investigate the possibilities of rendering the scheme less harsh to such persons in this respect?
This proposal is one of the recommendations in the Beveridge Report which is being examined by the Government. My hon. Friend will be aware that Sir William Beveridge states in his Report that the main ground for his proposal lies in the importance of avoiding the difficult administrative questions that will arise in regard to the control of benefit for short illnesses in the case of people working on their own account. The secondary reason put forward by Sir William Beveridge for the proposed limitation is that it makes a substantial difference to the contribution.
Will my right hon. Friend advise those who are examining the plan on his behalf that the results of their work will be quite unacceptable to a large body of people unless something can be done to meet this point?
The hon. Member has rendered a service in calling attention to this, although I have not received other representations on the matter.
Does my right hon. Friend realise that there is very real concern about this question in the minds of a very considerable number of people who would be affected?