HC Deb 05 February 1942 vol 377 cc1264-5
29. Mr. Daggar

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that public assistance committees, in assessing the need of a recipient of outdoor relief, have to take into consideration the allowances made by members of His Majesty's Forces to their relatives and dependants, and that such allowances are ignored by the Assistance Board in their assessments; and whether he will take steps to remove this anomaly?

The Minister of Health (Mr. Ernest Brown)

I am aware of the difference to which my hon. Friend refers. The Poor Law Acts do not empower public assistance authorities to disregard allotments of pay, and I have no power to vary the requirements of the Acts.

Mr. Daggar

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think it is time that something in the nature of justice were meted out to our men in this connection? Can he not suggest to the appropriate authority that amendment of the existing Act of Parliament is necessary?

Mr. Brown

My attention has been called to one or two anomalies, and I shall have to consider them.

Mr. A. Bevan

Is there any good reason why the right hon. Gentleman should not ask the House to amend the law on this matter at a very early opportunity? We have plenty of time on some days, and there is no reason why we should delay.