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Social Services

Volume 436: debated on Tuesday 15 April 1947

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Let us halt at this point and see what we have done. During this last year we have made history in the Social Services We have mounted, without halt or hesitation, the great social programme which the electors voted for, when our majority was returned. The National Insurance Act, the National. Health Services Act and the Industrial Injuries Act have been placed upon the Statute Book. Family allowances have been paid as from 1st August, 1946, and the higher old age pension has been paid as from the beginning of last October. We are entitled to say that the new Britain, represented by this House of Commons, has taken the cost of social security proudly in its stride; the money has been found, the Measures have been passed, and the benefits are being enjoyed by those entitled to them.

Including Supplementary Estimates, we provided last year no less than £441 million for Social Services, or £117 million more than in 1945–46. For education, we provided £139 million, or £31 million more than in the previous year. For training and resettlement, we provided £22 million, or £9 million more than the previous year For housing subsidies, we provided £27 million, or £10 million more. [ Interruption.] The houses were built, or the subsidies would, not have been paid—the right hon. Gentleman must not be in error about

that. For a variety of health services, we provided £7 million, or £6 million more than the year before. For health and unemployment insurance we provided £50 million, or £9 million more. For old age and widows' pensions we provided £156 million, or £14 million more; and, for the first year of payments of Family Allowances, we found £38 million. All that is, I think, very pleasing to all hon. Members of the Committee, because we feel that those who are deriving benefits from this expenditure fully deserve them.