HC Deb 17 November 1970 vol 806 cc1034-5
Q5. Mr. Ashley

asked the Prime Minister what representations he has received from the Child Poverty Group; and what reply he has sent.

The Prime Minister

I have received two letters from the Child Poverty Action Group. They have been acknowledged and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services is replying in detail to the proposals on my behalf.

Mr. Ashley

Does the Prime Minister intend to keep the promise he made before the General Election to the Child Poverty Action Group to increase family allowances. If he does not, would he write to it and apologise for having, no doubt, inadvertently misled it?

The Prime Minister

I make absolutely no apology for introducing a scheme to deal with family poverty which is better than that which was discussed between the late lain Macleod and myself and the Child Poverty Action Group.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

Does the Prime Minister take an equally cynical view of the pledge he made in respect to child poverty and family allowances as he does in regard to the speech he made about dealing with prices at a stroke? Is it beyond his imagination to consider how he could spend £30 million on family poverty—for instance, by restoring primary school milk?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Lady knows, because she has heard the detailed speech by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services, that what we are doing through family income supplement amounts to a greater sum than could have been achieved under a 10s. increase in family allowances as was originally proposed by Mr. Macleod and myself.

Mr. Marten

Was it not this same Child Poverty Action Group which complained that under a Labour Government the poor were getting poorer? If so, what right has it to start complaining about it now?

The Prime Minister

I think it is unfair to the previous Government to say that it was a complaint. It was a statement of fact.

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