HC Deb 22 April 1937 vol 322 cc1910-1
43. Mr. Smedley Crooke

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the widespread anxiety that the miners' pension scheme, which was inaugurated to commemorate the Jubilee of King George V to provide pensions to raise the standard of living of persons who have been employed as miners in South Wales, has not been brought into action owing to the fear that the fund might be used to reduce allowances paid to families in need by the public assistance committees; and whether, in order that the large sum raised can be put to its proper use, he will give the assurance that the pensions will not be taken into account by the committees in assessing future applicants' needs?

Sir K. Wood

There is no statutory authority which would entitle public assistance authorities to disregard pensions awarded under this scheme.

Mr. T. Smith

Does the Minister not think there ought to be alterations in regard to this matter?

Mr. J. Griffiths

Will the Government give consideration to relaxing the conditions in this case, seeing that the pension scheme, if it comes into existence, will save £37,000 every year to the Government in unemployment benefits and allowances? In view of that fact, will the Government seriously reconsider the matter before giving a final answer?

Mr. Smedley Crooke

Would it not be wise to encourage voluntary effort in this matter?

Sir K. Wood

Yes, but there are many issues which arise. It will, of course, involve legislation.

Mr. G. Griffiths

Is the Minister not aware that the Yorkshire Miners' Association pensions have been taken into account all the time, a fact which has resulted in much hardship?