HC Deb 15 March 1951 vol 485 cc1739-40
15. Mr. Keeling

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the impending large influx of visitors for the Festival of Britain, he intends to use his powers to impose a charge on them for their use of the National Health Service.

Mr. Marquand

No, Sir. I consider that the occasion would be most inopportune for such measures.

Mr. Keeling

Why did the Minister take these powers? Is it not clear that these visitors will be a substantial drain on the National Health Service, which is already overburdened, to the detriment of British residents? Would it not be a good thing to discourage its use by visitors by imposing a substantial charge except, of course, where there is an agreement for reciprocity of treatment?

Mr. Marquand

Nothing would be more unfortunate than to ask our fellow subjects in the Dominions and Colonies to come here, especially this year, and then to levy a charge if they have a slight cold. Nothing would be more vexatious to the people of this country than to ask them to take their identity cards to the surgery during the currency of the Festival of Britain in order to prove they are not foreigners.

Mr. Snow

Does my right hon. Friend take note of the fact that it is apparently the desire of the Conservative Party that we should no longer care for the stranger within our gates?