HC Deb 14 March 1972 vol 833 cc269-70
1. Sir B. Rhys Williams

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will initiate new studies into the cost of maintaining children in families of differing sizes; and if he will study the effects of recent changes in the cost of living on patterns of expenditure of families.

The Secretary of State for Social Services (Sir Keith Joseph)

My Department is doing some experimental work to see whether the data now available are adequate to enable us to draw conclusions from them about the expenditure patterns of different sizes of family.

Sir B. Rhys Williams

Does my right hon. Friend accept the need, in view of the rise in the cost of living, to give further aid selectively to families?

Sir K. Joseph

My hon. Friend will know that the family income supplement ceiling and maximum are to be raised from 1st April. I am sure that his point has general validity. My right hon. Friends and I would like to consider it.

Mr. Simon Mahon

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are serious problems in families already, irrespective of size, class or financial position? Would he bear in mind that mental health and other things are often more important than a family's financial position?

Sir K. Joseph

I entirely agree.

Mrs. Castle

When do the Government intend to keep their Election promise to increase family allowances?

Sir K. Joseph

The right hon. Lady knows that we have debated this so-called Election promise a number of times at great length in the House.

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