§ 43. Mr. Thorne
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will take steps to alleviate the poverty of many one-parent families; and whether she is able to assist, with funds, such organisations as seek to provide shelter for battered wives.
§ Mr. Alec Jones:
I am very much aware of the financial difficulties facing many lone parents. This is why we are extending a cash payment to the first child in one-parent families a year in advance of other families. Those one-parent families receiving social security benefits —three-fifths of the total—will also be helped by the upratings this month and later this year; and those among them on supplementary benefit from the improvements being made in the supplementary benefit scheme in response to the Finer Report.
Under the urban aid programme £150,000 has already been provided for refugees for battered wives. My hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Construction, when replying to my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, South-West (Mrs. Wise) on 19th March—[Vol. 83W 888, c. 1634–5]—said that housing, including hostels, for battered wives and their children would be eligible for local authority subsidies and housing association grant. Local voluntary organisations in the personal social services field normally look first to the local authority for any support they need, but my Department is always prepared to consider with the organisation and the local authority any cases or special difficulty.