HL Deb 09 July 1973 vol 344 cc615-6

7.41 p.m.

THE MINISTER OF STATE, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SECURITY (LORD ABERDARE) rose to move, That the Draft Family Income Supplements (Computation) (No. 2) Regulations 1972, laid before the House on June 14, be approved. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move that the Family Income Supplements (Computation) (No. 2) Regulations 1973, be agreed to. Family Income Supplement is paid to low income families where the head of the family is in full-time work and there is at least one dependent child. The supplement is payable when the family's weekly resources fall below a prescribed amount which varies according to the size of the family. The weekly rate of the benefit is one half of the amount by which the family's total income falls below the prescribed amount subject to a maximum and minimum weekly payment.

Since the Family Income Supplement scheme started in August 1971 the prescribed amounts have been increased in April each year. The Family Income Supplements (Computation) Regulations 1973 which raised the prescribed income levels from April 3 this year were approved by the House in February. The prescribed amounts were raised to £21 a week for a one-child family; £23.50 for a two-child family; £26 for a three-child family; £28.50 for a four-child family; increasing by £2 steps for larger families. At the same time the normal period of award was extended from 26 weeks to 52 weeks by Section 3 of the Pensioners and Family Income Supplement Payments Act 1972.

Upratings of the prescribed amounts will in future be made in the autumn along with all the other social security benefits so that payments are at their highest level at the start of the winter. To avoid an 18-month gap between up-ratings the present regulations provide for a small increase in the prescribed amounts from October 2 on top of the increases already introduced in April. Provision is also made for a higher maximum payment for families with three or more children. My Lords, I beg to move.

Moved, That the Draft Family Income Supplements (Computation) (No. 2) Regulations 1972, laid before the House on June 14. be approved. —(Lord Aberdare.)