HC Deb 10 October 1946 vol 427 cc344-5
24. Mr. Garry Allighan

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that Mr. Harry Coveney, Isle of Grain, Kent. registered under the Blind Persons Act as unemployably blind, has had his public assistance grant cut by 15s. per week because he now receives family allowances; and whether any means test is applied to blind persons' grants or other recipients of public assistance.

Mr. Bevan

I am informed that the financial assistance granted to this blind person under the Blind Persons Acts has been reduced by the amount and for the reason stated. Both under those Acts and under the Poor Law the amount of assistance payable depends upon the needs of the applicant and his dependants.

Mr. Allighan

Will the Minister take this opportunity of explaining to the House and the public why there is a differentiation between civilian blind persons and blind persons who receive State allowances from the Ministry of Pensions?

Mr. Bevan

There are certain allowances paid to an applicant in respect of statutory rights. If these allowances are inadequate, these individuals may make application for supplementary payments, but they can only receive supplementary payments if able to show that they are in need of them, and these are the categories referred to in the Question.

28. Mr. Piratin

asked the Minister of Health what representations he has received from local authorities on proposals to increase allowances to persons in receipt of outdoor relief in respect of their dependent children since the coming into force of the Family Allowances Act, 1945; and what steps he proposes to take thereon.

Mr. Bevan

I have received representations from 19 of the 145 public assistance authorities in the sense indicated by the hon. Member. The whole matter is under active consideration.

Mr. Piratin

Can the Minister say when he is likely to make an announcement in the House on this matter which, as he and the House are aware, is the subject of widespread concern?

Mr. Bevan

No, Sir, I cannot give any undertaking at the moment as to when a statement will be made. I am aware, however, that there is a very general misunderstanding of the situation.