HC Deb 17 February 1944 vol 397 cc354-5
Mr. Willink

I should like, with permission, to make a short statement regarding the White Paper on the Government's proposals for a National Health Service, presented by the Secretary of State for Scotland and myself. This will be available in the Vote Office to-day. The Paper is, necessarily, a long document and its subject is complex. We have, therefore, prepared for the convenience of hon. Members and their constituents a shorter paper describing the Government's proposals in brief. For full details of the proposals and on any point of uncertainty reference must, of course, be made to the White Paper itself. But the whole scheme is described in the short paper and hon. Members may find it convenient to read this first. The short paper is published as a Stationery Office paper, and copies will be available for hon. Members in the Vote Office at the same time as the main Paper.

The proposals described in the White Paper are those which the Government believe to be best calculated to achieve an efficient and comprehensive National Health Service But they are proposals—not decisions—and the Government have promised that they shall be discussed with all concerned, and will welcome constructive criticism in Parliament and the country.

Mr. Greenwood

May I ask the Leader of the House whether, within a reasonable time after hon. Members have had an opportunity of studying the White Paper, we can have a Debate of, say, two days?

Mr. Eden

It is certainly the Government's intention that there should be a Debate as soon as hon. Members have had a full opportunity of examining the proposals.

Mr. John Wilmot

Is the Financial Memorandum which was promised by the Chancellor included in this White Paper, or is it to be issued as a separate document? We were promised a comparison of the financial effects of the White Paper scheme, both as regards the Treasury contributions and the contributor's contributions, with the Beveridge Report proposals.

Mr. Willink

The hon. Member will find that there is an appendix dealing briefly with the matters to which he has referred.

Mr. Wilmot

Is the comparison, which is an essential part of the Paper promised, included in this document?

Mr. Willink

There is a comparison.

Commander King-Hall

On the question of the pressure of Business, have the Government reached any decision—

Mr. Speaker

We have finished with the question of Business.

Mr. Mathers

The Minister of Health said that an abridged edition of this Report has been prepared for our constituents; what is the extent of the issue and the price?

Mr. Willink

The White Paper itself is about four times the length of the abridged version. It is also four times the price. The prices are 1s. and 3d. respectively.