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Oral Answers to Questions — Blind Persons (Financial Assistance).

– in the House of Commons on 25th June 1941.

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Photo of Mr William Lunn Mr William Lunn , Rothwell

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that a blind man, Thomas Haney, of 248, Sissons Road, Middleton, Leeds, who had a pension of 10s. a week and £1 13s. supplementary allowance, has had the £1 13s. stopped by the blind authorities because his daughter, aged 19, who had £1 3s. a week is now receiving £3 a week as a tram-car conductress; and whether it is with his approval that the household means test is still in operation in blind cases?

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Dundee

Subject to certain statutory provisions the question whether financial assistance is to be granted to any particular blind person, and, if so, the amount of the assistance, is a matter for the determination of the local authority concerned, and the scheme under the Blind Persons Acts, which they adopted in 1938, does not require my right hon. Friend's approval. I understand that the withdrawal of the financial assistance previously granted in the case to which my hon. Friend refers is in accordance with this scheme.

Photo of Mr William Lunn Mr William Lunn , Rothwell

Are the whole of the blind persons in the country subjected to the household means test, and, if they are, is the Minister responsible or is it the local authority that is concerned?

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Dundee

The Blind Persons Acts are administered by local authorities under separate schemes from the ordinary old age and widows pensions under the Act of 1938.

Photo of Mr William Lunn Mr William Lunn , Rothwell

Is it not time it was abolished and abolished by the Ministry?

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Dundee

No, Sir. If the hon. Member will look into the scheme, he will see what the differences are.

Photo of Mr George Griffiths Mr George Griffiths , Hemsworth

Does not a local authority scheme require the sanction of the Ministry of Health?

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Dundee

I have said in the answer that work under the scheme administered by local authorities does not require my right hon. Friend's approval.

Photo of Mr George Griffiths Mr George Griffiths , Hemsworth

And the Ministry has nothing whatever to do with the stopping of this blind person's pension?