§ 1. Mrs. Castle
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he will amend the regulations relating to the home confinement grant in order to make it payable in all cases where the mother is discharged from hospital immediately after the birth of her child and so is involved in as great an outlay in respect of her confinement as if her child had been delivered at home.
§ The Minister of Pensions and National Insurance (Mr. John Boyd-Carpenter)
No, Sir. The home confinement grant is intended to meet the extra costs of having the baby at home, and is not appropriate when arrangements have been made some time beforehand for the mother to have it in a National Health Service hospital. Maternity grant is, of course, payable in the circumstances described in the Question.
§ Mrs. Castle
Is the Minister aware that in the Blackburn case, details of which I sent to his hon. Friend, the mother had to go to hospital—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order, I should be much obliged if hon. Members engaging in conversation, if they must converse, would so so more quietly.
§ Mrs. Castle
Is the Minister aware that in the Blackburn case, details of which I sent to his hon. Friend, the mother had to go into hospital at a week's notice for the delivery of her child, that she was discharged the day after the birth of her baby, and thus incurred all the normal additional expense of a home confinement, including the loss of her husband's wages, because he had to stay at home to look after her? Will the Minister ask the National Insurance Advisory Committee to look again at these emergency regulations in regard to the payment of these grants in emergency cases?
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
I am aware of the case, on which the hon. Lady wrote to my right hon. Friend. I do not think this affects the principle, particularly as the House will recall that in these cases the full maternity grant of £12 10s. is payable, and that all that was missed was the £5 which turns on having the baby at home, which this lady did not do.