HC Deb 21 November 1966 vol 736 cc932-3
39. Mr. Blenkinsop

asked the Minister of Social Security how many sick and how many unemployed men were affected by the wage-stop at the end of September, 1966.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Social Security (Mr. Norman Pentland)

On 27th September, 1966, the numbers of temporarily sick and of unemployed persons receiving National Assistance allowances which were restricted by reference to their normal earnings were 2,072 and 12,817 respectively.

Mr. Blenkinsop

I welcome my right hon. Friend's interest and deep concern in this matter. How soon does my hon. Friend hope that she will be in a position to announce to the House any changes which might help to deal with some of these cases?

Mr. Pentland

I cannot add to what my right hon. Friend has already said. The wage-stop is part of the wider problem of low-wage earners, and, as my right hon. Friend has said, the Government are giving this matter urgent consideration.

Mr. Winnick

What co-ordination is there with the Ministry of Labour to spotlight those who when in work receive such a low wage that they fall below the basic National Assistance minima? Has any such action been taken in the recent past?

Mr. Pentland

There is full co-ordination on all these matters between the Minister of Labour and my right hon. Friend and her Department.

40. Mr. Blenkinsop

asked the Minister of Social Security what is the expected increase in the number of wage-stop cases as a result of the introduction of supplementary allowances on 28th November.

Mr. Pentland

An increase is expected, but it is not possible to make any forecast of the number.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Is my hon. Friend aware of the concern that has been expressed, quite widely, as to the possible fairly large increase that might occur, and could he, in particular, say when the report on family circumstances is likely to be made available to the House?

Mr. Pentland

On the first part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question, I repeat that we are giving this matter urgent consideration, and also that we are very concerned about it. I am afraid that I cannot give him an answer to the second part.

Mr. McNamara

In relation to the previous question, can my hon. Friend indicate the number of child dependants and other dependants of people at present subject to the wage-stop?

Mr. Pentland

No, Sir; not without notice.