HC Deb 11 July 1978 vol 953 cc1241-2
13. Mr. Jessel

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is satisfied with the provision of reciprocal health services in EEC countries for the children of self-employed persons.

Mr. Deakins

We have consistently pressed for amending EEC regulations to provide this cover and they are at present under consideration within the Council of Ministers. Self-employed persons and their families are covered for immediate treatment, under bilateral agreements, when visiting Denmark and the Federal Republic of Germany.

Mr. Jessel

Is it not nonsense that the children of employed people are covered for medical treatment when travelling throughout the Common Market but that the children of the self-employed are not necessarily so covered? Why have not the Government done more to put right this ridiculous anomaly?

Mr. Deakins

The Government have done a great deal, but we have to operate within the framework of the Treaty of Rome, and at present the exising regulations in article 51 make it clear that they apply only to employed people. It is solely as a result of this Government's efforts in Brussels that we have got as far as we have in trying to cater for the needs of self-employed people and their families.

Mr. William Hamilton

Is my hon. Friend aware that while 14 Questions have been answered this afternoon I have made a careful count of the number of times that the Opposition have asked for increased expenditure and that the total is 10? Does he feel as sick as I do about the organised hypocrisy of a party which does that and at the same time votes for a reduction in public expenditure of £500 million?

Mr. Deakins

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend.