HC Deb 09 June 1943 vol 390 cc814-6

(i)The maximum aggregate value of the money and investments treated as capital assets which may be treated, in granting outdoor relief, as equivalent to a specified weekly income by virtue of sub-paragraph (ii) of paragraph (c) of sub-section (i) of section one of the Transitional Payments (Determination of Need) Act, 1932, shall be increased from three hundred pounds to four hundred pounds, and the weekly income to which they may be treated as equivalent shall be reduced from one shilling to sixpence for every complete twenty-five pounds; and accordingly the said sub-paragraph

(ii) shall have effect as if there were substituted for the words "three hundred "the words "four hundred" and for the words "one shilling" the word "sixpence."

(2) This section shall come into operation on the appointed day.—[Sir A. Maitland.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Sir A. Maitland

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

We have been told that this Bill was brought forward to remove certain anomalies. If it passes in its present form, it will create another anomaly. You will have a situation with regard to administration applying to one section of the poor and being denied to another. To-day we discussed the adequacy or otherwise of the amount to be taken into account by a municipal authority in determining need. The Committee felt that the total assets allowed should be £400, and that the income on that should be regarded as equal to 6d. for every £25 The rule under which this provision was originally framed dealt primarily with the Assistance Board. Rules were framed in order that there should be something like equality throughout the country in dealing with need. It comes about that when the public assistance authorities have to decide the amount of assistance which shall be given, they have to make reference to the capital assets which the applicant has and the income which he is presumed to derive from those assets. The sole purpose of the Clause is to make sure that the same kind of test shall be applied by public assistance authorities as by the Assistance Board. This is not in the nature of an epoch-making Clause; it is a very modest one, and I hope it will be accepted.

Mr. Silkin

As my hon. Friend has said, this Clause is designed to remove an anomaly. I do not suppose my right hon. Friend is worried very much about that, because he has created quite a number of anomalies in the Bill.

Mr. E. Brown

And removed a lot.

Mr. Silkin

He has retained a good many, and I still hope there is one particular anomaly that he will look at again; but if he accepts this Clause, there will be one anomaly less, so I suppose he will accept it.

Miss Horsbrugh

My right hon. Friend has great pleasure in accepting the Clause, but not merely because it will remove an anomaly. There are anomalies on all sides in dealing with this subject. However, as my hon. Friend has said, it is a modest Clause.

Mr. Douglas (Battersea, North)

I am sure we are all delighted to hear that statement. One can understand a little more perhaps the readiness of the right hon. Gentleman to accept the Clause when one realises that the cost will fall on the local authorities, and not on his Department.

Mr. E. Brown

I am sure that the local authorities will carry their responsibilities with very great pleasure.

Sir A. Maitland

May I thank my right hon. Friend and the Parliamentary Secretary?

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

FIRST SCHEDULE. —(Consequential Amendments of the Eighth Schedule to the Unemployment Act,1934, as set out with modifications in the Second Schedule to the Old Age and Widows' Pensions Act, 1940.)

Amendments made:

In page 7, leave out lines 23 to 25, and insert: other period during which she is not eligible for a supplementary pension.

In line 36, leave out "such."

In line 36, after "allowance," insert "in respect of a child."—[Mr. E. Brown.]

Schedule, as amended, agreed to.

Second Schedule agreed to.

Bill reported, with Amendments; as amended, considered; read the Third time, and passed.