HC Deb 19 February 1976 vol 905 cc829-30W
Mr. Newton

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is her policy on the provision of day-care facilities for the children of employed single parents during school holidays; and if she will encourage local education authorities to make suitable school premises available for this purpose.

Dr. Owen

This is a matter for local authorities within their powers. However, we recognise the problems faced by such parents and their children, and the question of using school premises more widely for the care of school children out of school hours is being considered inter-departmentally in conjunction with the local authorities' association. Discussions are at an early stage and must take account of current economic constraints.

Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will make a statement on the Report of the National Council for One-Parent Families, a copy of which has been sent to her, which suggests that some lone parents will be worse off if they claim the new child interim benefit from 1st April.

Mrs. Castle

Child interim benefit is in effect the extension of family allowance to the first child in one-parent families, and, as such, falls to be treated in the same way as family allowance in the assessment of title to means-tested benefits. Because of the interaction between taxable and non-taxable and means-tested and non-means tested benefits, there are circumstances in which it would be to the disadvantage of a lone parent to receive the interim benefit, and as the report suggests, any lone parent in doubt about his or her position should consult the appropriate benefit paying authority.