asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that a married man with a wife dependent, living in a house with a rental of 9s. per week, when in receipt of allowance under the Unemployment Assistance Board, receives an allowance of 27s. per week, whereas where, in such a case, there is an unemployed son over 21 years of age in receipt of statutory benefit of 17s. per week living in a house of the same rental, the allow- ance received by the father is reduced to 20s. 6d. per week; and will he, in such cases, consult with the Unemployment Assistance Board, with a view to making such an adjustment as to prevent such drastic cuts in the allowance of the parent?
It is difficult to deal with hypothetical cases, but, assuming that there were no special circumstances, the assessments under the Regulations would be, I am informed, approximately as stated, except that the assessments in the second set of circumstances would be 21s.; and I would point out that in that set of circumstances the incomings per head after payment of rent would be higher than in the first. I should emphasise, however, that the amount of the allowance payable in any particular case depends on the precise circumstances, and if the hon. Member has in mind an actual case in which he alleges there is hardship and will furnish me with particulars, I will have inquiry made.
I could not answer that question without having a particular case before me. I have said that it is difficult to deal with hypothetical cases. If the hon. Member wants a statement of the law on the matter, I shall be very pleased to give it to him.
Here is a statement of fact. I am asking how the regulations apply in normal cases, and, if that be so, whether the right hon. Gentleman will take the matter up with the Chairman of the Unemployment Assistance Board, so that normal cases may be relieved from the drastic cut referred to in the question.
I am quite prepared to discuss the matter with the Chairman, but the hon. Member and the House will understand that the criticism is that the household is worse off in the second case than in the first. That is not so; it is better off.