HC Deb 04 December 1967 vol 755 cc922-3
4. Mr. Hamling

asked the Minister of Social Security what steps she will now take to provide social security benefits for single women who, because they are taking care of dependent relatives, have incurred responsibilities normally assumed by the head of a family, or because of these responsibilities are prevented from earning an income of their own.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Social Security (Mr. Charles Loughlin)

These women are already eligible for supplementary benefit if their relatives cannot reasonably be expected to pay for their services.

Mr. Hamling

Does my hon. Friend not agree that in many cases these women are saving the State about £15 or £20 a week, and that it would be a liability on the State if they were not taking care of their dependants in this way?

Mr. Loughlin

I agree that there is a saving to the State, but I think that the best way of dealing with the situation is to have the review that we are now undertaking. It may prove to be the case that the best solution is a supplementary payment not to the attendant but to the person who is handicapped.

Mr. Worsley

Is the Minister aware that his original Answer was extraordinarily unsympathetic, and that there is a case for looking at the whole question of single women in connection with our insurance system? Will he undertake to do this?

Mr. Loughlin

I was not intending to be unsympathetic, even if I may have appeared to be. I assumed that my reference to the review that we are undertaking was indicative of the fact that we are sympathetic and are investigating the problem. I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman misunderstood me.

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