HC Deb 04 December 1973 vol 865 cc1077-8
19. Mr. Ashton

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his estimate of the cost of supplementary benefits for children payable during the week ending 25th December.

Mr. Dean

The latest available estimate suggests that the amount included in assessments will be about £2 million.

Mr. Ashton

As that is not a very large sum and the Government have found money to give a £10 bonus to pensioners for Christmas, is it not possible—since these children belong mainly to widows and deserted wives—at least to double the supplementary benefit for that week and so help these modern-day Oliver Twists and Tiny Tims?

Mr. Dean

As the hon. Gentleman knows, the allowances for children were increased in October, both under the National Insurance Scheme and under the supplementary benefit arrangements. We shall certainly consider the needs of children along with any other priorities, but we thought that the right priority was the elderly, particularly in the matter of a special payment.