HC Deb 06 February 1956 vol 548 cc1322-3
13. Mr. Roy Jenkins

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he is aware that in a case, particulars of which have been supplied to him, a grandfather bringing up a 12-year-old boy, both of whose parents are dead, is refused a guardian's allowance solely on the ground that the boy has a stepmother who is believed to be alive, but whose whereabouts are unknown and who has never seen the boy; and whether he will take steps to alter this decision.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The decision in a case of this sort does not rest with me but with the statutory authorities set up by Parliament. In this case the local tribunal decided that guardian's allowance was not payable to the boy's grandfather, though it granted leave to appeal to the National Insurance Commissioner. I understand no appeal has been submitted.

It is not, however, the fact that the stepmother's whereabouts are unknown. My officers are getting in touch with her to see if a means can be found of helping this boy.

Mr. Jenkins

But does not the Minister agree that the fact that the whereabouts of the stepmother are now known—largely, I think, as the result of local Press publicity—does not affect what is really a ridiculous decision, and can he not take steps to see that the decision of a local appeal tribunal does not have such results?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

There are two aspects here, as will be appreciated. One is the hardship in that particular case, which we are seeking to remedy as I have described. The other aspect is that of the general law which, as the hon. Gentleman will be aware, is already before the Advisory Committee.

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