HC Deb 15 June 1939 vol 348 cc1488-9
5. Mr. George Griffiths

asked the Minister of Labour what instructions he is giving when a person is called up for training under the Military Training Act and makes an allowance to his parents who are receiving either Unemployment Assistance Board scales or public assistance allowance, as to whether the amount received through the Military Training Act will be counted as income into the home for the purpose of assessment?

Mr. E. Brown

I understand from the Unemployment Assistance Board that they propose to ignore the 3s. 6d. a week which such a person allots from his military pay. Any sums which the military authorities add to this will be regarded by the Board as available to meet the needs of the dependant to whom they are granted, but they will not ordinarily be regarded as available to meet the needs of any other person. So far as public assistance is concerned the matter is one for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health.

Mr. Griffiths

Does that mean that. only the first 3s. 6d. will not be taken into account; and if that is so, is there not the possibility that the unemployment scale may be reduced, in some cases, by 13s. 6d.?

Mr. Brown

The hon. Member had better consider my answer, which is a very careful one.

Mr. Griffiths

May I say that I listened very attentively to the answer, and if I got it properly it means that anything over 3s. 6d. will be taken into account and that the Unemployment Assistance Board scales will be reduced accordingly?

Miss Ward

Would it be possible for unemployment assistance officers still to exercise discretion in certain of these cases, where there are special circumstances?

Mr. Brown

That is always so.

Mr. Arthur Greenwood

What does the right hon. Gentleman's answer mean, if it does not mean what my hon. Friend the Member for Hemsworth (Mr. G. Griffiths) has suggested? Is it within the power of the Unemployment Assistance Board officers to increase the amount which is not to be taken into account? Secondly, is it not right that there should be uniformity of treatment; and will the right hon. Gentleman press upon his right hon. Friend the Minister of Health the necessity of seeking to secure that public assistance authorities act as generously as the Unemployment Assistance Board?

Mr. Brown

The point that I was putting to the House was that I could not accept the hon. Member's statement because these are determinations by need and resources. I have given the answer to the actual question asked.

Mr. G. Griffiths

It states that they cannot get it without need— neither the 3s. 6d. nor the other.

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