HC Deb 24 February 1936 vol 309 cc36-7

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether his attention has been drawn to the decision of the First Division of the Court of Session in the appeal by Aberdeen County Council against the decision of a sheriff who held that the Poor Law Act of 1934 prohibited local relieving officers from taking into account the first £1 of a disability pension; and whether he will introduce amending legislation at an early date to carry out the intention of the Government to disregard such disability pension payments in granting public assistance?

The LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. T. M. Cooper)

By the decision to which the hon. Member refers, and which was pronounced by the First Division of the Court of Session on 13th February, it was held, reversing the judgment of the Sheriff, that the direction to disregard the first 20s. of any wounds or disability pension applies only in the assessment of the amount of relief to be afforded, and not in the determination of the question whether the applicant for relief is a poor person within the meaning of the Poor Law (Scotland) Act, 1845. I am informed that the question of an appeal against this decision is at the moment under active consideration. The whole position is being carefully examined, but at the moment my right hon. Friend is not in a position to say what action, if any, may be necessary.


May I ask whether, in the meantime, Poor Law authorities will operate the decision as originally given by the sheriff, and that while the appeal is pending no ex-service man shall be penalised?


I am afraid that the decision of the Court of Session holds until it is reversed.


Does a decision such as that override the power of the authorities?


Is it not the case that this decision will be applied only to new applicants?