HC Deb 19 June 1930 vol 240 cc570-1
57. Mr. MANDER

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the amount of relief being given by public assistance and guardians' committees under the new Local Government Act is in many cases on a much lower scale than the rates awarded by Poor Law unions; and what action he proposes to take in the matter?


The use of scales of relief is optional and they do not require my sanction. The assistance granted to any applicant should be measured not by scale but by the applicant's needs. Scales, if adopted, can only be properly used as a general guide, and a comparison of scales would be of little value without knowledge of the manner of their application in individual cases. I have already drawn the attention of local authorities to the principle that, where outdoor relief is given, it should be carefully adapted to the needs of the case and be adequate in amount.


Will the right hon. Gentleman make inquiries to see whether it is true that in various cases the scales of relief now are lower than they were before the Act came into operation?


That may be true, but in other cases they happen to be higher. A good deal depends on how the local authorities administer it.


Notwithstanding the issue of the circular in January to Poor Law authorities, are there not in certain places masses of people, particularly the single young men to whom the right hon. Gentleman refers, who are being excluded as a class from the operation of these scales?


If the hon. Member will give me instances of that I shall be very glad to receive them, because I laid it down quite clearly that local authorities ought not to exclude classes as classes.