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Hospital Confinement Grants

Volume 526: debated on Monday 5 April 1954

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asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he will amend his regulations so as to permit payment of the home confinement grant to a mother who, having gone to some expense in anticipation of home confinement, is sent to hospital for a short period in an emergency.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance
(Mr. R. H. Turton)

The present regulations permit payment of the home confinement grant in such cases provided that the whole cost of the claimant's maintenance was paid or payable by her. The National Insurance Commissioner has recently decided three claims on these regulations and my right hon. Friend is studying the position in the light of the Commissioner's rulings.

In view of the difficulties that arise in these cases will my hon. Friend consider amending the regulations so as to cover these exceptional cases?

I said that the Commissioner has just given decisions in three cases and three more decisions are pending. At the moment, it is premature to make up one's mind. The important thing is the principle, which I enunciated in my original reply, and that has been determined.

Would the hon. Gentleman agree that circumstances differ in these cases and that, therefore, his right hon. Friend might exercise discretion?

As the right hon. Lady knows, it is not a question of exercising discretion. If there is to be a change it will mean amending the regulations. The three cases that have been decided differ, but there are three cases to come and I think it would be wise to wait until we have the six decisions from the Commissioner and then study those before we come to a decision.