HC Deb 12 July 1932 vol 268 cc1131-2W

asked the Minister of Labour whether his attention has been called to the case of Arthur Burnell, of Prescot, an applicant for transitional payments, who last month took his own life and those of his two children; whether he is aware that the transitional payments of Mr. Burnell were reduced to 7s. per week; and whether, in view of this, he will consider if an alteration of the regulations governing the administration of transitional payments is necessary?


Yes, Sir, I am aware of the tragic incident to which my hon. Friend refers. Mr. Burnell, a widower with two young children, was an ex-soldier in receipt of an Army pension of 3s. 9d. a day. In applying for transitional payments he stated the amount of his pension but did not add that it was drawn at quarterly intervals, nor did he indicate either to the public assistance authority or to two organisations who would have been willing and able to help him, of one of which he was a member, that he was in need or difficulties. If this authority had been told of his position they would have been able to help him. At the inquest it appeared that during military service he had contracted malaria, and was liable to recurrent bouts of the fever and consequent depression. I have no doubt that this fact as largely the cause of the tragedy, and the last part of the question does not therefore arise.