HC Deb 11 June 1956 vol 554 cc8-9
10. Mr. G. Longden

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he will make a statement on reciprocal arrangements on social security with Sweden.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I am glad to be able to tell the House that on Saturday morning my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and Her Majesty's Ambassador in Stockholm signed an agreement on social security with Sweden. Besides covering the benefits provided by the schemes of National Insurance, Industrial Injuries Insurance and National Assistance in this country and the corresponding benefits in Sweden, the agreement will enable British families to draw Swedish family allowances as soon as they become civilly registered in Sweden. Legislation at present before the House will, if approved by Parliament, enable this country to make a corresponding concession in our scheme of family allowances.

An important feature of this agreement is that British nationals who visit Sweden will be able to make full use of the Swedish health services. Agreements with other European countries have enabled British nationals to use the health services of those countries if they are working there; but Sweden is the first country outside the Commonwealth to offer full reciprocity with the United Kingdom by making its health services available for all British nationals, including tourists. The agreement requires ratification, and a further announcement will be made in due course about the date of its operation.

Mr. Longden

May I congratulate my right hon. Friend on the arrangements he has thus been able to make, which, I am happy to think, will give general satisfaction in all quarters of the House?

Mr. Marquand

May I add that my right hon. and hon. Friends welcome the announcement of this agreement, one of many which we are very glad indeed to hear about, especially as regards the extension of the Health Service provision in Sweden.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman and to my hon. Friend. I am perfectly certain that the House as a whole appreciates that these advances help not only individuals who may get in difficulties when abroad but also international amity and co-operation.

Mr. J. Griffiths

While we welcome the right hon. Gentleman's researches into the past development of social insurance, will he ask his right hon. Friend to bring home on his return from Sweden a report on future developments of social insurance in Sweden, particularly the working towards a national superannuation scheme, which we would do well in this country to study?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I am sure that my right hon. Friend, with his usual percipience, will have studied all aspects of the Swedish scene.

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