§ 8. Mr. Wallace
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the take up rate for family income supplement in Orkney and Shetland.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security (Mr. Michael Portillo)
Information about take-up rates is available only on a national basis.
§ Mr. Wallace
I know the Minister is aware that farmers and crofters in my constituency, who have been claiming family income supplement and now wish to claim family credit, have been asked to fill in a form giving consent for the district valuer to value their crofts and smallholdings. What advice can the Minister offer to them if the value of those holdings is so great as to disqualify them from family credit when they need that land to earn their small and modest incomes?
§ Mr. Portillo
I can offer the hon. Gentleman a pretty good reassurance on this. The value of a person's home is completely disregarded in the assessment of capital for family credit. The regulations are quite specific in saying that any croft land on which the dwelling is situated is also to be disregarded. Therefore, the value of any croft land should not be in question. If the hon. Gentleman finds in due course that there is a problem, perhaps he will get in touch with me about it.
§ Mr. Thurnham
As a result of the Government's excellent reforms, will not more children in low-income families in Orkney and elsewhere receive cash for their school meals rather than free meals under the present family income supplement system?
§ Mr. Portillo
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Taking account of family income supplement and local authority discretionary schemes, we estimate that 100,000 more children will receive the cash aid than presently qualify for free school meals.