§ Mr. Alan Williams
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what arrangements have been made to enable civil servants to obtain discounts with private health schemes; what consultations there have been with the trade unions; and if he will make a statement.
§ Sir Geoffrey Howe
As part of the pay offer to the non-industrial Civil Service in February 1982, the Government said that they would be prepared to negotiate group discounts for staffing wishing to undertake private medical insurance at their own expense. Since then, proposals have been received from three medical insurance companies. Details have now been discussed and agreed. An explanatory notice will shortly be issued to staff. This will also draw attention to the existing insurance facilities available to staff at their own expense through the Civil Service Medical Aid Association and the Post Office and Civil Service Sanatorium Society. The Civil Service trades unions were reminded in June 1982 of the Government's intention, and informed that possibilities were under discussion with the medical insurance companies. But they made it clear that they were not prepared to receive any proposal from the Government on this issue. We shall nevertheless send them a copy of the explanatory notice before it is issued to the staff.