HC Deb 26 April 1937 vol 323 cc25-6
45. Sir Charles Edwards (for Mr. A. Jenkins)

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the decision of the Coalowners' Association of South Wales and Monmouthshire and the South Wales Miners' Federation not to proceed with a voluntary pension scheme for aged miners owing to the refusal of the Unemployment. Assistance Board to disregard the pension as income to the home; and whether he will introduce the necessary legislation to exempt the income from such voluntary pensions from the calculation as income to the home by the Unemployment Assistance Board?

Mr. E. Brown

I have been asked to reply. With regard to the first part of the question, I am not aware that such a decision has been reached. As to the second part of the question, the matter was discussed by representatives of the employers and workers with a representative of the Unemployment Assistance Board, when it was stated that, as persons of 65 years and over could not apply for allowances from the board, no question arose of the board reducing allowances payable to such men when they received the pension. The board further made it clear that these pensions would be regarded as entirely for the personal requirements of the pensioners, and would not be brought into account against the needs of an applicant in a household in which there was a miner in receipt of the pension.

Mr. G. Griffiths

Do I understand that this is not taken into account if there is a son in the house? It is taken into account at other times.

Mr. Brown

Perhaps the hon. Member had better look at the answer at leisure. He will see that it contains a precise statement of the law and of the practice of the board under the law. He may be thinking of public assistance, where, of course, the issues are very different.

Mr. Griffiths

Is the Minister aware that this is not a question of public assistance, but of Unemployment Assistance Board scales, where thousands of people are having their amounts decreased because there is someone in the home who has a pension?

Mr. E. J. Williams

Did the Miners' Federation receive an intimation of the reply which the Minister is now making?

Mr. Brown

Yes, Sir. The workers and employers came together and met at the Ministry of Labour, with a representative of the Unemployment Assistance Board. I myself was in the chair at the time.