§ Mr. GINNELL
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the amount of the additional contribution of 2s. 6d. per insured person from the Exchequer of the United Kingdom towards the better working of the Insurance Art in Great Britain, in 1446W=pursuance of the arrangement made last October; assuming the previous arrangements to have been fair as between Great Britain and Ireland, what would have been an equivalent increase of expenditure in Ireland towards the better working of the Act there; what increase has been made in Ireland; whether the increased expenditure in Great Britain depends on local provision being made for insurance purposes; will he state the grounds for not allocating the full equivalent to Ireland; why the deficiency has to be made up out of the rates there; whether he can state the total amount so provided in Ireland; and whether any complaints of this arrangement have reached him?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
The estimated cost of the grant of 2s. 6d. per insured person in Great Britain to provide for the excess cost of medical attendance and treatment over the original estimate for the calendar year 1913 is £1,615,000. A grant of 2s. 6d. per insured person in Ireland would, on the basis of the Returns to 31st March, 1913, amount to £87,390. As the hon. Member is aware there is no medical benefit under the Insurance Act in Ireland, but a special Grant of £50,000 has been voted for Grants in Ireland towards the cost of medical certificates of sickness and other expenses arising owing to the absence of such medical benefit. There would, therefore, upon the hon. Member's theory of equivalent Grants (which, however, I must not be understood as accepting) remain due to Ireland a further sum of £37,390. It must be remembered, however, that the main reason for the non-extension of medical benefit to Ireland was the existence in Ireland and the nonexistence in Great Britain of a public medical service, towards the cost of which the taxpayers of the United Kingdom contribute some £55,000—a Grant in respect of which the taxpayers of Great Britain receive no equivalent. Unless, therefore, the hon. Member is prepared to contend that where a service in Ireland is carried out in a different manner from the corresponding service in Great Britain the taxpayers of the United Kingdom should not only bear a full proportion of the cost of the Irish service, but also contribute to general Irish purposes a sum equal to what would be the cost of duplicating the Irish service upon the lines adopted in Great Britain, it is obvious that the account shows a balance of, approximately, £18,000 in favour of Ireland.