asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what would be the cost of increasing the rate of remuneration for prisoners by an amount sufficient to enable them to maintain their contributions under the National Insurance Act.
The estimated cost of maintaining prisoners' contributions at rates appropriate to non-employed persons is approximately £250,000 a year.
Would not my right hon. Friend agree that it is a matter of some importance and urgency to provide this relatively small sum, because until it is provided it means that prisoners without sufficient resources to maintain themselves in benefit are virtually being punished twice, by fine and by incarceration?
I have been in communication with my right hon. Friend the Minister of National Insurance on this matter.