§ 67. Sir A. SINCLAIR
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that, owing to the increase in the amount of benefits paid by approved societies to their members during the past year and the decrease in the amount of contributions received from their members on account of the industrial crisis and from the State on account of the operations of Part I of the Economy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, a number of these societies, whose position at the beginning of this year proved to be actuarially sound, are now faced with the prospect of falling into deficiency before the end of the current quinquennial period; and what action, if any, the Government proposes to take to strengthen the financial position of these threatened societies?
I am aware of the strain imposed upon certain approved societies by causes connected with the industrial crisis of last year. I cannot, however, accept the hon. and gallant Member's suggestion as to the consequences. The valuations are separated by a period of five years, and I should not be warranted in drawing conclusions as to the results of the next valuation by reference only to the conditions prevailing over a few months. In any case, the National Health Insurance Act enables the Central Fund to come to the aid of societies which have fallen into deficiency through no fault of their own, and I 1917 am satisfied that no further action by the Government is required. As far as regards the reduction in the State contribution under the Economy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to Section 3 of that Act, wherein very full provision is made for the protection of societies against the contingency to which he refers.