§ Mrs. Ann Taylor
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when she expects to publish the Supplementary Benefits Commission's Report on the Cohabitation Rules; and if she will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Castle
The Commission's Report entitled "Living together as husband and wife" is being published today. The Commission does not recommend any change in the law except to suggest that it should be amended to refer to "persons living together as husband and wife".
The Commission proposes a number of changes in policy and procedure which I warmly welcome and which are designed to make the operation of the rule less oppressive than it may have seemed in the past. Some extra work and training for the staff will be needed. Staff are already hard pressed, and this, with the need for economy in administrative costs, means that it may take a little time to implement the new arrangements everywhere, but I recognise the importance the Commission attaches to this and it will be my Department's concern to bring these new measures into operation as quickly as we can. I should like to express my appreciation to Professor Donnison and his colleagues for their constructive and compassionate Report.