HC Deb 20 July 1971 vol 821 cc270-1W
Mr. Pendry

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many families have been made ineligible for means-tested benefits by the increase in the child tax allowance for free school dinners; how many are eligible for cash benefits; and how many are now claiming them.

Mr. van Straubenzee

It is estimated that the increased child tax allowances, when they became payable this month, might have affected the entitlement to free school meals of some 50–60,000 of the children brought into eligibility by the more generous remission scales introduced last April. However, their continued entitlement will be assured by the even higher remission scales which become effective in September. These are such as to allow the families concerned to benefit both from the increased tax allowances and their entitlement to free school meals.

The term "cash grant" is taken to refer to educational maintenance allowances. These, and the income scales against which entitlement is determined, are matters for local education authority discretion, and I have no way of knowing how many parents of pupils over compulsory school leaving age might be eligible for them. In June, 1970 local education authorities were making just over 20,000 such allowances.