§ Mr. Kirkwood
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will review the working of section 12 of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 in the light of problems faced by claimants and social work departments as a result of disruption of Department of Health and Social Security services, as occurred in the strike in the Strathclyde Department of Health and Social Security region on the afternoon of Friday 20 June.
§ Mr. John MacKay
The co-operation of regional councils in Scotland in helping to ensure that emergency payments are made to persons when regular social security payments are prevented for any reason is very much appreciated by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services. As regards the recent problems in Strathclyde region to which the question refers, it is for him to decide what arrangements may be required in any particular circumstances to ensure that emergency payments can be made. Such arrangements do not depend on the making of payments by local authorities under the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968. The question whether legislation on wider local authority powers needs to be clarified is under consideration.