§ Mr. Paul Dean
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress she is making in the negotiations with the EEC to obtain medical and hospital cover for British self-employed people when in other EEC countries.
§ Mrs. Castle
A working party of officials from the nine member States, on which my Department is represented, had its first meeting in Brussels on 15th and 16th January to consider how benefits, including medical benefits, provided under the EEC Social Security Regulations for employed persons who move between member States could be extended to the self-employed and other groups not at present covered. There was a general desire to make progress and a useful start was made but there are complex problems to be solved, especially for member States providing only limited cover for their self-employed. In the meantime I have concluded with the German Federal Republic a bilateral health care agreement providing urgent treatment for British self-employed and non-employed visitors. This cover is also available under our agreement with Denmark.