HC Deb 11 July 1972 vol 840 cc1389-90
16. Mr. Cronin

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to receive the report of the Finer Committee; and what action he will take in the meantime to improve the conditions of one-parent families.

Sir K. Joseph

I understand that the committee hopes to complete its report early in 1973. Special provision has already been made for one-parent families in the family income supplement scheme and is included in the proposed scheme of rent rebates and allowances under the Housing Finance Bill. Otherwise I cannot anticipate the committee's recommendations.

Mr. Cronin

Bearing in mind that these are usually the most desperately poor families, would the right hon. Gentleman consider doing more to help them pending the report of this committee, which is a long way ahead?

Sir K. Joseph

With the best will in the world, it is difficult to see exactly what we can do. The committee was set up because the then Government—and we understand their need—wanted to know what best could be done for this group of families. A recent report published by my Department comparing the situation of one-parent and two-parent families showed that at the relevant date one-parent households were not notably worse off than two-parent households.