HC Deb 20 December 1945 vol 417 cc1519-20
31. Mr. James Hudson

asked the Minister of National Insurance whether he will publish before Christmas, or, at latest, a week before the resumption of Parliament in 1946, the terms of his promised measure of social insurance and, in particular, the proposals affecting the old-age pensioners.

Mr. J. Griffiths

As will be seen by the Order Paper I have given notice of the presentation of the National Insurance Bill today. I have done this in the hope that the text of the Bill may be available to the House before it resumes on 22nd January, but I think it right to tell the House that, owing to the inevitable complexities of the task, it may not be possible to have the Bill printed until shortly after the House resumes its sitting. However, I have no reason to anticipate that this will in any way prejudice the Government's firm intention to get the Bill on the Statute Book before the Summer Recess and to have the new and improved arrangements operating for existing classes of old age pensioners in the autumn.

Mr. R. A. Butler

In view of the reply given to me by the Leader of the House on the subject of the date of the introduction of the Bill, am I to understand that the delay is inevitable owing to drafting reasons; and may I also take it that, if the Bill does not come out until after we resume, we shall be given plenty of time to examine it, in view of its complexity and importance?

Mr. Griffiths

Yes, Sir, the delay is inevitable because of the complexities to which I referred. I think I am entitled to tell the House that everybody concerned with the Bill is working very hard to get it ready as quickly as possible, and yesterday the staffs in my Department and the Department of Parliamentary Counsel, in order to complete the final stages, volunteered to work during Christmas week in order to speed it up. In view of the assurance given by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House, we appreciate that the House will want time to consider this very important Bill.