§ 19. Mr. Barnes
asked the Minister of Social Security what steps she is taking to protect low-income families from the effects of devaluation; and if she will make a statement.
§ 43. Lord Balniel
asked the Minister of Social Security what steps she intends to take to ensure that help is given this winter to the poorest families and others in need who will suffer most from the rise in prices following the devaluation of the £ sterling.
§ 48 and 49. Mr. Ridsdale
asked the Minister of Social Security (1) what steps are to be taken to increase supplementary benefits, so as to help those most in need because of devaluation; and
(2) what is her estimate of the cost of restoring the purchasing powers of pensions over the next year paid by her Department, including supplementary 932 and other benefits, to what it was before devaluation; and what action she proposes to take to help those most in need.
§ Mr. Barnes
Does my right hon. Friend agree that though the old and the sick could be given further help through the supplementary benefits system, the predicament of those families living below the supplementary benefit level where the fathers are in full-time work ought more properly to be dealt with in the framework of an effective incomes policy embodying the principle of a national minimum wage?
§ Lord Balniel
The right hon. Lady will agree that her statement was rather empty of content. How will she help the 250,000 children living in families where the father is at work but who are below the poverty line after the passing of the Family Allowances Bill?
§ Mrs. Hart
I am afraid that the noble Lord must accept that he will have to be patient about this. I have made it clear that we are committed to helping not only the old and the sick but also families on low incomes. He must now wait and see what the Government's proposals will be at the right time.
§ Mr. Ridsdale
May I press the right hon. Lady to answer the question whether she intends to help these low-income families before or after Christmas?
§ Mr. Hugh D. Brown
Is my right hon. Friend willing to take any special steps 933 in the Department to examine closely and in detail the possible effects of devaluation a, distinct from the normal cost of living increase, because the Opposition have been having fun and games about this for a long time?