HC Deb 11 April 1938 vol 334 cc751-2
40. Mr. T. Williams

asked the Minister of Health whether he will make inquiries into the case of John W. Pell, farm labourer, of Spalding Marsh, Lincoln, who is threatened by the Kesteven County Public Assistance Committee with a magistrate's order if he fails to make a weekly payment of 2s. towards the maintenance of his aged mother; is he aware that this man's wages are 37s. 6d. per week, less stoppages for social insurances, that he is subject to loss of wages for wet time, and has an ailing wife and son and an adopted daughter aged 11 years; and, in these circumstances, will he have inquiries made into the administration of the said public assistance committee?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. Bernays)

The duty of deciding whether an order of maintenance should be made in this case, and, if so, for what amount, would rest with the petty sessional court. The matter is not, therefore, one in which my right hon. Friend has any jurisdiction. My right hon. Friend understands, however, that an agreement has now been reached.

Mr. Williams

Has not the Ministry of Health been known to interfere with the administration of a public assistance committee if they felt that the public assistance committee were too generous, and in a case of this description is it not the duty of the Minister of Health to see that the administration of the public assistance committee is consistent with the desire and the recognised practice throughout the country?

Mr. Bernays

As in this case an agreement has been reached, there is no reason for my right hon. Friend to take action.

Mr. Williams

Will the hon. Member communicate with the public assistance committee and inform them that they ought not to make deductions where a man, wife and a daughter of 11 years of age have only 36s. a week?

Mr. Bernays

I will make further inquiries, but as at present advised my right hon. Friend sees no reason to intervene.

Mr. George Griffiths

Will the hon. Member issue instructions to the public assistance committee to see that they get a proper allowance?

Mr. Liddall

Is my hon. Friend not aware that the Holland-with-Boston Division have a Member in this House to look after their interests?