HC Deb 03 March 1958 vol 583 cc826-7
15. Mr. Hastings

asked the Minister of Health what guidance he has given to local welfare authorities as to the course they should recommend to disabled persons threatened with eviction under the Rent Act who apply to them for advice.

Mr. R. Thompson

My right hon. and learned Friend does not think that any general guidance to local welfare authorities on this subject is necessary or, indeed, appropriate, and he has not communicated with them.

Mr. Hastings

Will the Minister consult the Minister of Housing and Local Government to find out what was in his right hon. Friend's mind when, replying to a supplementary question, he advised disabled persons threatened with eviction to apply to the local welfare authority? Is he aware that local welfare authorities do not understand to what he was referring?

Mr. Thompson

Yes, Sir. I think my right hon. Friend had in mind that local authorities which had made a scheme under Section 29 of the National Assistance Act for the welfare of handicapped persons, on the lines suggested in the model scheme, have an obligation to give advice and guidance to handicapped persons on personal problems. I think that that is what he had in mind.

Mr. Hastings

But will he make this clear to local authorities?

Dr. Summerskill

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether an elderly person suffering from chronic arthritis would be regarded as a handicapped person in that case?

Mr. Thompson

I do not think any general guidance is necessary. Cases vary very widely, and I think they must be judged on an individual basis.