HL Deb 13 May 1974 vol 351 cc799-800

6.15 p.m.

LORD WELLS-PESTELL rose to move, That the Draft Family Income Supplements (Computation) Regulations 1974 laid before the House on April 30 be approved. The noble Lord said: My Lords, the purpose of the Regulations is to raise the prescribed amounts for family income supplements; the change takes effect from July 23, at the same time as the uprating of all the other social security benefits. The family income supplements scheme gives help to families who are bringing up children on low incomes; the heads of these families are in full-time work and they must satisfy a means test before an award is made. As many of your Lordships know, this type of arrangement does not commend itself to this side of the House, but until we can develop our own longterm plans we must keep the family income supplements in being and ensure that they maintain their value.

For a one child family, the prescribed amount goes up from £21.50 to £25; for each additional child the prescribed amount will be £3 higher, instead of £2.50 at present. The maximum weekly payment will go up from £5 to £5.50 for one and two child families; for larger families the maximum goes up from £6 to £7. In July, it will be only ten months since the last time the prescribed amounts were raised in October last year. The July increases in the prescribed amounts represent a considerable improvement in percentage terms over the October, 1973, rates; for example, 16 per cent. for a one child family and 17 per cent. for a three child family. These increases can be expected to keep ahead of the movement in prices for the ten months from last October to July of this year. For the year immediately after the increase in the prescribed amounts, the cost of family income supplements will be a total of £18½ million; this can be compared with £12.6 million, the cost for 1973–74. I hope that these Regulations, increasing the prescribed amounts, will be welcomed by your Lordships. My Lords, I beg to move.

Moved, That the Draft Family Income Supplements (Computation) Regulations 1974 laid before the House on April 30 be approved.—(Lord Wells-Pestell.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.