In Committee on Finance. - Vote No. 44—National Health Insurance.

I move:—

Go ndeontar suim Bhreise ná raghaidh thar £1,992 chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1934, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí Oifig an Aire Rialtais Aitiúla agus Sláinte Puiblí i dtaobh Riaracháin na nAchtanna um Arachas Sláinte Náisiúnta, 1911 go 1933, agus chun Ilsíntiúisí agus Ildeontaisí, ar a n-áirmhítear Deontaisí áirithe i gCabhair mar gheall ar Chostas Sochar agus Costaisí Riaracháin fé sna hAchtanna san.

That a Supplementary sum not exceeding £1,992 be granted to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1934 for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health in connection with the administration of the National Health Insurance Acts, 1911 to 1933, and for sundry Contributions and Grants, including certain Grants-in-Aid in respect of the cost of Benefits and Expenses of Administration under the said Acts.

The sum required is for sickness and disablement benefit. The Department were concerned some time ago with the increase, extending over a certain number of years, in the amount of sickness benefit payable. Has the Minister any up-to-date information to give the House with regard to that situation in view of the Supplementary Estimate put before us now?

Two factors gave rise to the necessity for this Supplementary Estimate. Firstly, there has been an additional expenditure of £603 for actuarial work performed by the British Government actuary under an agency arrangement for the Widows and Orphans' Pensions Committee. At the time the Estimate was prepared, the British Government actuary's department was not aware what further services would be required in connection with widows and orphans' pensions, but following on a conference between members of the Committee of Enquiry into Widows and Orphans' Pensions, Mr. Kyd of that Department, and Mr. Hendrie of the Ministry of Health, London, further investigation by the actuary's Department was required, and a report obtained for the Committee involving the extra expenditure.

The second factor involved in the Supplementary Estimate is that from the experience of the nine months to 31st December, 1933, it is now estimated by the Department that an additional sum of £6,700 will be required to meet the State grant on expenditure on benefits and administration by approved societies. The additional money represents an increase of 3.4 per cent. on the original estimate of £199,000. The main causes of the additional State expenditure are the increase in the number of insured persons and the increase in the benefits paid which, under the National Health Insurance Acts, automatically means an additional State grant. Against the additional expenditure of £7,303 there are additional receipts by way of appropriations-in-aid under different headings amounting to £756. Of this excess, £750 approximately is estimated to be due to repayment by Cumann an Árachais Náisiúnta ar Shláinte (the Unified Society) of portion of the cost of the salaries of two officers of the Department appointed by the Minister for Local Government and Public Health on the 24th July, 1933, to act as members of the Provisional Committee of the Society. Furthermore, savings on salaries and travelling expenses, telegrams, telephones, etc., amounting to £4,555 are available. The sum asked for is £1,992.

Vote put and agreed to.