HC Deb 10 December 1985 vol 88 cc754-5
9. Ms. Harman

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has discussed the social fund proposals with the British Association of Social Workers.

Mr. Newton

The British Association of Social Workers and local authority associations gave evidence to the review of supplementary benefit, and have submitted their comments on the Green Paper on the reform of social security. In addition, I attended a seminar on the reviews organised by the Association of Metropolitan Authorities on 26 July, and addressed the joint social services annual conference on 27 September.

Ms. Harman

Did the Minister have second thoughts about the social fund when he faced enormous criticism at the joint social services annual conference, at which not one Conservative councillor would speak up publicly in his support and in favour of the social fund? Conservative councillors in Coventry have told me that the Secretary of State has said that the social fund will not be cash limited. Will the Minister either confirm or deny that? If he denies it, we can tell the Conservative councillors in Coventry that they have been misled.

Mr. Newton

My right hon. friend the Secretary of State has asked me to say that he cannot recall having made such a statement. We are continuing to consider the detailed proposals for the operation of the fund, and further proposals will be set out in the White Paper before long.

Mrs. Kellett-Bowman

Will my hon. Friend accept that there are certain aspects that concern others besides the British Association of Social Workers? Is he aware that today I received a letter from one of my constituents who had been expecting the restoration of the 5 per cent. rebate on the invalidity benefit, but did not get it? Why is this so, and if it is deliberate, will he take care of this in the new review?

Mr. Newton

My hon. Friend's question strays a little from the social fund. The 5 per cent. rebate on invalidity benefit was restored, but there have been a number of other changes to some invalidity benefits, which may have affected the position of my hon. Friend's constituent.

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