HC Deb 12 March 1941 vol 369 cc1277-8
38. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the extreme urgency of the need to increase the benefits payable under the National Health Insurance, in particular, sickness, maternity and disablement benefits; by what amounts it is intended to increase the benefits; and whether he can make a statement on the matter, in view of the urgency?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Miss Horsbrugh)

My right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Minister of Health are aware of the importance of this issue, and hope to be able to make a statement shortly.

Dr. Edith Summerskill

Why does it take such a long time to decide that 8s. a week is not enough to keep a sick person?

Miss Horsbrugh

I think the hon. Lady would find, if she went into the matter fully, that it is a little more difficult than that, and it is not sufficient merely to say that 8s. is enough or is not enough.

Sir Francis Fremantle

Does the Minister recognise the extreme urgency of reducing financial commitments at the present time?

Hon. Members


Mr. Thorne

Does the Minister remember what I said to her last week?

Miss Horsbrugh

I remember what the hon. Member said last week, and my reply, which was that there was no difficulty in gingering up my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Buchanan

Is the Minister aware that women suffered from economy cuts which did not apply to men; should those cuts not be restored to them in the present circumstances?

Miss Horsbrugh

I think the hon. Member will be aware that many people would like to have a statement made and to know what is to happen, but he will realise that, even if legislation were introduced immediately, no change could be made at once.

Mr. Buchanan

Yes, but the Minister will be missing the next half year.