HC Deb 10 February 1976 vol 905 cc199-200W
Mr. George

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether she can give an assurance that the weekly payments to supplementary benefit claimants will not be adjusted unless and until such claimants are in receipt of child interim benefit.

Mr. Meacher


Mr. Gwilym Roberts

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will give local managers of Department of Health and Social Security offices discretionary powers to enable them to make payments to people who fail to qualify for supplementary benefit in order to meet large payments such as electricity bills, funeral expenses, house repair and maintenance, etc.; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Meacher,

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 2nd February 1976; Vol. 904, c. 475], circulated the following information:

This is a matter for the Supplementary Benefits Commission which is empowered to award benefit by way of a single payment "to meet an exceptional need". The Commission does not consider that such payments should normally be made to people who have a margin of resources above supplementary benefit levels.

The discretionary power of local authorities to give assistance in cash under Section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1963 is confined to promoting the welfare of children by diminishing the need to receive them into or keep them in care and may be used only in exceptional circumstances.