HC Deb 17 June 1966 vol 729 cc1887-9

Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Albert Booth (Barrow-in-Furness)

I should like some guidance from my right hon. Friend as to the purpose of subsection 4 of the Clause and the machinery that will be available in applying it. I think that it is reasonable to interpret the Clause as saying that the Government believe that there is a necessity for the Minister to be able to obtain benefits which would in other cases be paid to the custodian or parent of an illegitimate child. One can see the likelihood of the necessity of this in the case of an illegitimate child who is being maintained or looked after, possibly in Part III accommoda- tion or some other form of children's home.

I should like to know the machinery by which the payment will be made. Is it the Minister's intention that in such cases the Minister will make a payment to those maintaining the child? If so, why is it that those who are directly responsible for the child's maintenance should not be the persons to make the application for it?

The Committee will agree that the fact that the child is illegitimate in no way reduces the necessity for seeing that the benefit is paid speedily and effectively on his or her behalf. It may well be that we should be more cautious, more careful and more certain that the benefit will be paid speedily in this case.

Mr. Pentland

My hon. Friend the Member for Barrow-in-Furness (Mr. Booth) can be assured that the subsection to which he referred provides that on making an affiliation order under this Clause, the court may, instead of ordering payment to the mother or other person having custody of the child, order that the payment be made in whole or in part to the Minister. It provides that when this is done the Commission shall be a party to any proceedings for enforcement, revocation, or variation of the order.

As orders under the Clause are affiliation orders, the court must order them to be paid through the clerk of the court, unless the person entitled to the money requests otherwise. Subsection (5) enables the Commission to intervene in proceedings brought by the mother to secure that payments may be made to the Minister. Subsection (6) enables the Commission to apply for payments under an existing affiliation order to be made to the Minister, and where an order is payable to the Minister the child's mother may apply for the payment to be made to her or to a person having custody of the child.

This will enable the Commission to take over the woman's own order if she is paid benefit for the child, and this is the reason for subsection (6). It will enable the woman to apply for the money to be retransferred to her or for an order obtained by the Commission under the earlier part of the Clause, to be transferred to her if, for example, she ceases to qualify for benefit because she has taken up work.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 25 to 27 ordered to stand part of the Bill.