§ 74. Mr. LANSBURY
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the Poplar Board of Guardians has still on its relief list thousands of disabled and able-bodied ex-service men and their dependents for whom no employment can be found; and whether, in view of the burden thrown upon the local rates, he is now in a position to say what action he proposes to take to relieve Poplar and other unions suffering similar disabilities from these heavy financial burdens?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of HEALTH (Sir Kingsley Wood)
The position of what are known as the necessitous areas has been the subject of repeated discussion in this House, and I can add nothing to the statements made on behalf of the Government in those discussions. With regard to local rates in Poplar, I observe that during the last 12 monthly period for which return have been made, upwards of £500,000, equivalent to a rate of over 10s. in the £, was paid out of the Metropolitan Common Poor Fund, to which all the Metropolitan Boroughs contribute, in aid of Poplar rates.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the question I asked had reference not to London but to the whole country. Do not the Government think it very nearly time, after nearly 10 years have passed since the Armistice, that some effort was made to pay the debt of 216 honour the nation owes to these men, instead of leaving them to the mercy of the Poor Law?
Is it not true that owing to the spontaneous effort of the left wing of the Labour party in continuing the strike as they did, they have made work even more difficult for these heroes?