§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. Chetwynd (Stockton-on-Tees)
Before we pass from this Clause I think we should offer a special word of commendation to my right hon. Friend for introduc- 1988 ing this significant improvement in benefits for children. It is important that such an improvement should be introduced because my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer made no mention of this in his Budget statement. I am not complaining about that, but it is a fact that there has been little comment in the Press on this matter.
I regard this increase of 50 per cent. in the children's allowance and of 25 per cent. for the first child in certain cases as one of the most significant improvements that we have made. The Budget improvements in allowances for families and so on did help those people who were paying Income Tax, but I feel that very little was done for those families who were not fortunate enough to pay Income Tax.
This allowance of 2s. 6d. for each child where a person is out of work or is sick or is drawing unemployment benefit, is a step in the right direction. I am sure this will be of great help to all families where there are one or more children. My one hope is that the people who will draw this benefit will spend this 2s. 6d. on the wellbeing of the children. Children's clothes and so forth are costing much more now, and although 2s. 6d. is not a great amount, it will go a considerable way to improving the position of those who are not so fortunate in our community.
I wonder if my right hon. Friend could give us some idea of the number of children who will benefit from this measure and what the cost will be. I regard this as a real attempt in our present financial difficulties to help those who need the most help, namely, the children of those people who are in need of National Assistance. We should commend my right hon. Friend for introducing this major improvement.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.