HC Deb 12 February 1962 vol 653 cc910-1
44. Sir H. Linstead

asked the Minister of Health what delay there has been in the repayment by his Department of chemists' accounts in recent months; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Powell

So far as I know, twelve executive councils in the last three months have been unable to pay the full amount due by the normal date. I understand that the delay nowhere exceeded four weeks. In all these cases substantial payments on account were authorised by my Department.

Sir H. Linstead

My right hon. Friend will recognise that this has come just at a time when the cut in remuneration is taking effect, which is unfortunate from the point of view of public relations? Could my right hon. Friend make it clear that any individual case where a pharmacist is embarrassed can be met by the executive council, in an individual case and not in relation to the whole of the community, making a payment on account?

Mr. Powell

My Department is always ready to authorise payments on account when executive councils apply for them. My hon. Friend will, I know, recognise that the problem here—and it arises particularly in these months—is the abnormal sickness and staff losses in the pricing offices.

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