HC Deb 24 May 1965 vol 713 c13
14. Mr. Hunt

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if she is aware of the circumstances in which payments have recently been made to a Mr. Michael Chaplin; and if she will issue revised instructions to her National Assistance officers to prevent payment in cases of this kind.

Miss Herbison

I would invite the hon. Member's attention to the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for Blackpool, South (Mr. Blaker) on this case on 12th April.

Mr. Hunt

While accepting that this particular case is now past history, may I ask the right hon. Lady whether she acknowledges that it did highlight the widespread disquiet which exists in the country at the moment about the administration of National Assistance? Will she bear in mind that many of us feel that the existing regulations should be tightened up so that the young and able-bodied are not able to receive public money when there are plenty of jobs available for them to do?

Miss Herbison

It is true that this case got a great deal of publicity in the papers. I am sure that hon. and right hon. Members on both sides of the House would like to see some of the excellent work which the National Assistance Board does for old people and sick people getting the same publicity as this Chaplin case got in the Press. But, of course, the National Assistance Board is very much alive to the need to ensure that young aid able-bodied men do work, and the Board has power to see that they do so. Indeed, every year there are many prosecutions of that very type of person who refuses to provide for his wife and family.