HC Deb 23 March 1976 vol 908 cc88-9W

3.—The recommendation that the criminal offence, for failure to maintain, under section 30 the Supplementary Benefit Act 1966 (formerly the Ministry of Social Security Act 1966) should be abolished is still being considered. 4 and 5 (part) to 25.—The proposal that a system of administrative orders should be operated by the Supplementary Benefits Commission for the recovery of maintenance due to women receiving supplementary benefit is being examined by an inter-Departmental group of officials. 64 to 117.—These recommendations deal with the Guaranteed Maintenance Allowance, a concept which the Government do not accept; the financial position of lone parents will be kept under review in the light of family support policies generally and the child benefit scheme in particular. 118.—As it has not been shown that all one-parent families have consistent and measurably greater needs than two-parent families receiving supplementary benefit, the Government consider that special individual needs should continue to be met through the existing discretionary powers of the Supplementary Benefits Commission. 120.—The Government do not feel able to consider the position of one-parent families separately from that of other groups which qualify for the long-term rates after two years: but will consider the question of reducing the qualifying period for all groups as resources permit 123—While not accepting the terms of this recommendation, the Supplementary Benefits Commission have had regard to it in their recent report "Living together as husband and wife" which proposes a number of changes in policy and procedure designed to ease the operation of the "cohabitation rule". 124—The Supplementary Benefits Commission have explained in their recent report that they propose to move away from the idea of a fixed period in every case for these adjustment allowances. Instead they are to give their officers discretion to increase or extend the allowances as necessary to meet hardship in individual cases. 125—The easement of the full-time work qualification for one-parent families in the family income supplement scheme is under consideration. 127—The proposal that maternity grants should be paid without contribution conditions will be considered in the light of the resources available as policies develop. 170—As means-tested benefits have not been used in the past, and are not now used, to help people acquire capital assets the question of the Supplementary Benefits Commission meeting mortgage capital repayments must rank low in any list of priorities for additional expenditure.