§ 30. Mr. DICKIE
asked the Minister of Health whether public assistance authorities are prevented by the Order in Council from granting supplementary relief to persons in receipt of transitional payments?
§ The MINISTER of HEALTH (Sir Hilton Young)
No, Sir, the Order in Council has not in any way affected the responsibility of the public assistance authorities for affording such relief as may be necessary in the circumstances of any individual applicant.
§ Mr. LAWSON
If the local authorities, or public assistance committees, have to supplement incomes of people as a result of the action of the Government, will not that be transferring a national charge to the local funds, and is it not a serious matter particularly in depressed areas which cannot afford to bear such a charge?
§ Mr. LAWSON
If the Government have reduced unemployment benefit paid to people in the depressed areas and if those people have to ask for increased relief from the public assistance authorities, as a result of that reduction, would not that be transferring a charge from the national to the local funds?
§ 38. Miss RATHBONE
asked the Minister of Labour whether steps have been taken to ensure that the employment of public assistance officers to assess claims to transitional benefit under a means test shall not lead to the same diversity of scales as exists under different public assistance committees when dispensing assistance paid for out of local rates; and, if so, will he inform the House of the regulations laid down to secure uniformity?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of LABOUR (Mr. R. S. Hudson)
My right hon. Friend has no power under the Order in Council to issue instructions in the sense suggested by the hon. Lady. I should perhaps add, 845 except for interim determinations, the determination of the amounts of transitional payments will be those of the public assistance committees and not of the public assistance officers.
Miss RATH BONE
Will the Minister consider the undesirability of allowing payments made out of national, as distinct from local funds, to be determined on totally different scales according to the place of residence of the applicants; and is the hon. Gentleman aware that totally different scales obtain under public assistance committees, in different parts of the country?