HC Deb 01 May 1967 vol 746 cc64-5
13. Mr. Moyle

asked the Minister of Social Security whether she will alter the rule concerning the wage stop for incapacitated people so that it relates to the wage they were earning before incapacitation rather than what they could earn subsequent to incapacitation.

Miss Herbison

No, Sir. As I explained to the House on 24th April, the right way to help the man with low earning capacity, whether he is unemployed or working, is by some form of family endowment.

Mr. Moyle

I do not wish to disagree with my right hon. Friend in the last part of her reply, but would not she consider relaxing the rule in respect of some severely handicapped people, such as the blind, who are likely to want to work in order to maintain their mental equilibrium in any case?

Miss Herbison

Those who are blind and are in receipt of supplementary benefit receive special concessions which others do not receive. If an attempt were made to find suitable criteria for saying when a man was disabled or not disabled, we should come up against the difficulty of the man who was in full-time work but who, because of his mental capacity or otherwise, was unable to make more than a man would get on supplementary benefit. The only way of dealing with this is by a form of family endowment for all of them.

Mr. Tinn

Will my right hon. Friend consider, in the case of a man against whom the wage stop has operated and who obtains work at that lower rate, making some payment to bring him up to a more reasonable living wage? This would encourage such people to find work and not penalise them as at present.

Miss Herbison

The Question has highlighted the very great difficulties inherent in this. The only way of overcoming them is by ensuring that the family does not suffer when the man is in or out of work.

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