HC Deb 22 March 1965 vol 709 cc6-7
4. Mr. Farr

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if she will take steps to introduce a scheme of grant payable to a married couple on the adoption of a child.

Miss Herbison

No, Sir.

Mr. Farr

Would the right hon. Lady look again at this matter? Childless couples have all the expenses of having the child without the inconvenience of confinement. From all the evidence I have assembled, I think that there is a good deal of justice in this claim.

Miss Herbison

The hon. Gentleman will be aware, I am sure, that the maternity grant, which was raised to £22 on 25th January last, is to cover the expenses of the mother giving birth to the baby, and the help she may need during those days after the baby is born. That is the only special help that the natural parent gets for the child. All the other expenses that the adoptive parents may have in adopting a child the natural parent has also. It is for that reason that we do not think that it would be right to give the maternity grant to the adoptive parents, but reserve it for the natural parents.

Mr. Bence

Would my right hon. Friend consult her right hon. and learned Friend to see whether it is possible for legal aid to be given to cover the legal charges involved in adoption?

Miss Herbison

That is another question, but I will look at it.