HC Deb 23 March 1920 vol 127 cc378-9

Considered in Committee.

[Sir E. CORNWALL in the Chair.]

Motion made, and Question proposed, That, for the purpose of any Act of the present Session to amend the Acts relating to National Health Insurance, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys to be provided by Parliament of the additional expenses incurred by any Government department:—

  1. (a) in making grants equal to two-ninths of the funds required for providing benefits and for defraying expenses of administration, so however that the rate of sickness benefit shall not exceed fifteen shillings a week for men or twelve shillings a week for women, the rate of disablement benefit shall not exceed seven shillings and six pence a week, and maternity benefit shall not exceed forty shillings;
  2. (b) in increasing from eight shillings to ten shillings the rate on which is calculated the maximum amount which may be charged on the Women's Equalisation Fund;
  3. (c) in increasing the weekly sums to be paid to insurance funds in respect of members of the Navy, Army, and Air Force."—[Mr. Baldwin.]

The MINISTER of HEALTH (Dr. Addison)

This matter has been before the House on two occasions, and the White Paper which has been circulated fully sets out all the matters mentioned in the Resolution and the financial considera- tions involved. The Treasury contribution of two-ninths represents an expenditure of £1,772,000. The other items are small, the largest being C, which, I think, will be generally welcomed. The men of the Army and Navy and other Forces have had 1½d. per week deducted from their pay as their share of the contribution. It is proposed now that that shall be made good by the Exchequer and shall not be deducted from their pay. That represents an additional charge of about £290,000 a year. Then there is a small item which is estimated to cost £1,000 in respect of the penny grant towards low-wage earners. I am glad to say that the number of persons who come within that category is diminishing.


I should like to point out that this Resolution commits us to the principle of differentiation between men and women as regards benefits. While we shall not oppose the passing of this Resolution, we shall probably ask for it to be recommitted in order that men and women can have equal benefits under the Bill.

Resolution to be reported To-morrow.

The remaining Orders were read and postponed.