§ 3. Mr. LAWSON
asked the Minister of Labour the total estimated annual cost of administration of transitional payments in the county of Durham under the present arrangements?
A reliable estimate cannot be given until more experience has been gained. I hope that in about a month's time it may be possible to give the hon. Member the information for which he asks.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
Does the hon. Gentleman expect that the saving as a result of administration by commissioners will be in excess of what it is now?
§ 4. Mr. HICKS
asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that paragraph 10 of the Circular L.A. 16, issued to county councils and county borough councils in England and Wales and councils of large burghs in Scotland, contravenes the Transitional Payments (Determination of Need) Act, 1932, in so far as it invites local authorities to take into account the savings of other members of the family in addition to those of the applicant; and whether he will modify or withdraw the circular?
As regards the first part of the question, my right hon. Friend is advised that this paragraph does not contravene the provisions of the recent Act. The second part, therefore, does not arise.
§ Mr. DAVID GRENFELL
May I ask why this information is withheld from the House, and given only to these people in the form of a circular? Why was not that fact brought out in the Debate in the House?
It is not withheld from Members of this House. If I remember aright, I made the position very clear in the statement that I made on the Second Reading.
§ 5. Mr. GEORGE HALL
asked the Minister of Labour the nature of the official instructions recently issued to members of public assistance committees by his Department as to transitional payments under the means test?
No instructions have been issued. A circular calling attention to the provisions of the Transitional Payments (Determination of Need) Act has been issued to local authorities, and a copy will be found in the Library of the House.
§ 12. Mr. THORNE
asked the Minister of Labour whether any transitional payments committees of the various public assistance committees take into consideration the value of free meals supplied to applicants for transitional payment?
§ 13. Mr. THORNE
asked the Minister of Labour whether any alterations have been made in the amounts of transitional 1764 payments paid by the Commissioners of the Rotherham and District Public Assistance areas since their appointment; and whether a new scale is now in force?
These authorities have been superseded on the ground that they were not efficiently carrying out their statutory duties, and, accordingly, it has been or will be necessary for the Commissioners to revise a substantial number of the determinations previously given. As regards scales, there has been no change in the position at Rotherham set out in the reply given to the hon. Member on 25th October last. The Commissioners for Durham have, I understand, adopted a basis of assessment for guidance, to which they have given local publicity.
The basis of assessment is not an official one issued by my Department. If the hon. Member likes, I will send him a copy of the Paper containing the particulars.
§ Mr. THORNE
Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that the basis of assessment., so far as the Durham County Council is concerned, is very much lower than that in many other parts of the country?