§ 4.38 p.m.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY UNDERSECRETARY of STATE, DEPARTMENT of HEALTH and SOCIAL SECURITY (Lord Wells-Pestell)
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a third time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.—(Lord Wells-Pestell.)
§ The Earl of AVON
My Lords, as I said on Second Reading, we welcome this Bill. I rise now only because of some information which came to me today, and I should like to mention again one point that I raised on Second Reading; that is the starting date of eligibility for the 1299 payment. I received only today information from my honourable friend in another place, Mr. Newton (the Member for Braintree) about another case still alive after a vaccination in 1946. The family is called Goody. The case was raised in another place by the late Mr. Tom Driberg in 1947. This family have had 30 years of unimaginable hardship and suffering. Could not the Government find some way to help this family and the other few families who are ineligible because of the starting date of this Bill? Surely in this Welfare State of ours some way can be found for equality of payment for those who have suffered equal and even longer hardship. We are grateful to the Government for this measure and to the noble Lord, Lord Wells-Pestell, for his excellent exposition of the Bill.
§ Lord WELLS-PESTELL
My Lords, I believe it was the noble Earl who raised this question on a previous occasion, and I pointed out to him that in my Second Reading speech I made it perfectly clear that these payments would relate to people who had suffered vaccine damage from the time when the National Health Service came into being on 5th July 1948. However, I think I also said on that occasion that we have gone into this matter very carefully. Like everything else, it has to have a starting point and, rightly or wrongly, the Government are of the opinion that the starting point should be when the Government had responsibility for the newly—constructed National Health Service on the 5th July 1948. I think it is very unlikely—I raised this matter with my right honourable friend—that the starting date will be made before then. I think it is unlikely at this stage that anybody who suffered vaccine damage before that will be included.
§ On Question, Bill read 3a, and passed.