§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading react.
THE EARL OF KINNOULL
My Lords, this little Bill for which I am asking a Second Reading passed without any opposition through another place, where it was backed by members of all Parties. I trust it will meet with the same treatment at your Lordships' hands. Last year at this time we passed into law the Adoption of Children (Scotland) Act, 1930, which for the first time, legalised the adoption of children in Scotland. The Act in question provides that the allowance payable in respect of a child under the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Acts shall only be available in respect of an adopted child if the child was adopted in the life-time of both spouses. Experience has shown that that limiting condition has prevented a number of widows of insured men from having the benefit of the allowance 1174 for an adopted child, and this Bill seeks to give the allowance if the child was, in fact, adopted prior to the passing of the Act of last year, if the formal legal adoption is carried through before July 31 next year.
These conditions can only apply in a comparatively small number of cases, but I think your Lordships will agree that the small payments which the Bill permits will be very helpful in the homes into which they go. I need not say more except to express the hope that your Lordships will now give me the Second Reading for which I ask. In view of the time limit in the Bill—namely, July 31, 1932—it is very desirable that it should become law before the end of this month, in order that those who are interested in its provisions may have time to make them known. May therefore, ask that special accommodation may be given for the Bill to pass through its further stages before this House rises for the Recess?
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.— (The Earl of Kinnoull.)
§ THE EARL OF LUCAN
My Lords, this Bill, as the noble Earl has told you, is to supplement a Bill passed through this House last year by my noble friend the Duke of Athol], which received the approval of your Lordships. As the noble Earl has informed you it is very important that it should become law this summer. I understand it had a comparatively peaceful passage through another place, and therefore I hope you will give it a Second Reading and pass it through all its stages.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR AIR (LORD AMULREE)
My Lords, on behalf of His Majesty's Government I have to say that they are anxious to give this Bill sympathetic support. As my noble friend has pointed out the Bill proposes to cover a gap which exists in the present law. That gap, so far as we have been able to ascertain, affects a very limited number of young persons. We estimate that something like 400 or 500 may be covered by the Bill. The expense will amount to about £14 per child per annum. The expenditure will be a diminishing one, and the Bill will cease to have operation entirely on October 1, 1947.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.