HC Deb 22 March 1949 vol 463 cc192-3
29. Mr. Carmichael

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will state in detail the schemes in operation in the cities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow and the counties of Ayrshire, Dumbartonshire, Fifeshire and Lanarkshire to reimburse councillors for loss of salary or wage while on local government work.

Mr. Woodburn

Payments to local authority members by way of financial loss allowance are made in accordance with Sections 112 and 118 of the Local Government Act, 1948, and the Local Government (Travelling Allowances, etc.) (Scotland) Regulations, 1948, of which I am sending the hon. Member a copy.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the Secretary of State aware that miners attending council meetings lose a bonus shift and that this is not accounted for when meetings are arranged; and would he arrange a meeting with representatives of local authorities and the Coal Board in order to try to get something done about this very serious handicap to miners?

31. Mr. Carmichael

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the dissatisfaction in local government in Scotland with the present system of compensating members of local authorities for loss of earnings while engaged on local government work; and if he will make some inquiries on the subject and. if necessary, take such action as he may regard as appropriate to ensure that no hardship will be involved by those who are prepared to devote themselves to the service of local government.

Mr. Woodburn

I have received a number of representations on the subject of financial loss allowances but these have not disclosed any conditions which were not before Parliament when it passed the Local Government Act. 1948, and there is no likelihood of any amendment being proposed.

Mr. Carmichael

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the passing of the Act was intended to aid councillors, and would he be surprised when I tell him that in the city of Glasgow alone the councillor, because of the passing of this Act, now receives less by way of allowance than the permanent official; and is he aware of the treatment of miners in regard to wages for loss of employment which operates under the Act?

Mr. Woodburn

Both these points were discussed when the matter was before the House. I think that at that time it was resolved that the question of the miners' bonus shift was a matter for arrangement between the Coal Board and the Miners' Union. Certainly, there is no likelihood of our going back on that in the near future.

Mr. McGovern

Is the Secretary of State aware, in spite of his contradiction, of the case where a member of the Airdrie town council was refused an allowance because he did not have a job at the time and was refused unemployment benefit because he was not available due to his attending the meetings?

Mr. Woodburn

I will look into that case if the hon. Gentleman will let me have particulars. I cannot speak of cases of which I have no knowledge.