§ 32. Mr. C. BATHURST
asked the hon. Member for St. George's-in-the-East if he is aware that approved societies, especially centralised societies without branches, have been put to considerable trouble by delay on the part of the Insurance Commissioners in issuing insurance cards and insurance books; that such societies, after making strenuous efforts to surmount their difficulties in this respect, have been informed by, or on behalf of, the Commissioners that the arrears cards which they are compelled by Statute to send to members in arrears, and which should have reached them by the 1st July, have not only not yet been printed but are not going to be printed until the Commissioners have come to a definite decision with regard to the proposed benevolent fund which they are 622 constituting; and what steps is it proposed that approved societies shall take under such circumstances to carry out their statutory duties?
No, Sir. The postponement of the issuing of the arrears cards has been entirely due to the necessity of awaiting the decision of this House in regard to the proposed benevolent fund. This will affect the amount payable by individual insured persons, who would be put to serious inconvenience if they were to receive arrears cards and commence to pay their arrears before they could be informed as to the effect upon their arrears of any such fund. Immediately the decision of Parliament is known the Commissioners will proceed with the issue.
§ Mr. WORTHINGTON EVANS
Can the hon. Gentleman say when the decision of Parliament is going to be asked for in regard to the benevolent fund?
§ 33. Mr. C. BATHURST
asked the hon. Member for St. George's-in-the-East the reason why Circular No. 573 of the National Health Insurance Commission (Scotland) did not reach the societies to which it relates until the 7th July, seeing that it requires all branches of approved societies which are to be separately valued to notify the Commissioners not later than the 30th June that an application will be forthwith made to the registrar of friendly societies for the registration of such branches as separate units, and seeing that the Circular expressly states that contribution cards, returns of contributions, branch cash summaries, further supplies of registers, and all other documents will cease after 30th June to be issued to an unregistered branch in respect of which the requisite notification has not been previously furnished; and whether, under the circumstances, such cesser of issue is being insisted upon?
My right hon. Friend is informed by the Scottish Insurance Commissioners that the period named in the question was extended to the 18th July, and that no complaint has been received from the approved societies concerned.
§ Mr. BATHURST
Have all the approved societies concerned received information as to the postponing of this date?