§ SIR G. KEKEWICH (Exeter)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether, when a son contributes to the maintenance of his father, and the contribution is paid through the guardians, that sum is regarded as poor relief, so as to debar the father from receiving an old-age pension, although he has not cost the poor rate anything.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. JOHN BURNS,) Battersea
I think I can only say generally that where a son or other relative of a poor person repays to the guardians, whether in whole or in part, the sums given by the guardians to that person, the repayment does not, as I am advised, remove the disqualification for an old-age pension. Where the payment to the guardians by the relative is not by way of reimbursement in respect of relief given by them to the poor person but by way of voluntary contribution to his maintenance, the facts of the particular case would have to be ascertained before an opinion could be expressed with regard to it.
§ MR. BELLOC (Salford, S.)
Are we to understand that there can exist a case in which a man has cost the public nothing, and yet he is debarred from his old-age pension?
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
In the cases which not infrequently occur where several children are willing to 1087 contribute to the support of their parent, but it is necessary to get the board of guardians to enforce payment in order to bring in one outstanding son or daughter who will not do his or her duty, and where in that way the contribution is made through the board of guardians, is the old person really to be disqualified although no part of his cost has fallen upon the rates?
§ MR. JOHN BURNS
That particular case has not been remitted to the Law Officers. If the right hon. Member will send it on I shall have much pleasure in sending it to the Law Officers.
§ MR. KEIR HARDIE
asked whether disqualification in cases of this kind was by the Act itself or by a regulation of the Local Government Board.
§ MR. JOHN BURNS
said it had been laid down in previous decisions that in a case where, in anticipation of a person becoming chargeable to the guardians, his son or daughter used the guardians as the medium of paying money for his or her maintenance, the disqualification would not apply, as there was no Poor Law relief given.
§ MR. HAROLD COX (Preston)
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman could not get over this difficulty by getting the Chancellor of the Exchequer to issue a new secret instruction.