HC Deb 05 August 1975 vol 897 cc223-4
18. Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the current value of the family allowance expressed in real terms as a percentage of the 1968 value.

Mr. Meacher

On the basis of the General Index of Retail Prices, June 1975, the family allowance for the second child represented, in real terms, 80.1 per cent. of the value it held in October 1968. For the third and subsequent children the percentage was 72.1.

Mr. Hooley

Does my hon. Friend agree that this is a very deplorable situation? Is he aware that the combined value of child tax allowances and family allowances is lower after the April Budget this year than it was after the Budget the previous year? Will he make representations to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to take urgent action to bring these figures to a more reasonable state?

Mr. Meacher

I am sure my hon. Friend is aware that the Government are proposing to introduce a child benefit which will amalgamate the child tax allowances and family allowances. The rate of these has not yet been fixed, but it will be fixed next year. We shall certainly bear in mind the representations that my hon. Friend has made.

Sir B. Rhys Williams

Can the hon. Gentleman say how the economy can stand an increase of £6 a week for men who go out to work while there is nothing available for women who work at home?

Mr. Meacher

The Question was about family allowances. Women gain from an increase in family allowances. The increase which the Government introduced this year was the first increase since 1968 under a previous Labour administration. As the hon. Gentleman knows, the last time a Conservative administration raised family allowances was 19 years ago.