§ Mr. Patrick Jenkin
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) why the United Kingdom Government sought a six-year transitional period for the implementation of the EEC directive entitling working wives to claim social security benefits;
(2) why in his letter to Lady Lockwood, chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, dated 28th November, he did not point out that the United Kingdom Government were one of those which pressed for the EEC directive on equal treatment to be implemented over six years instead of the three years proposed by the EEC Commission.
§ Mr. Ennals:
The Government greatly welcome the fact that agreement has been reached on this directive, which will allow a working wife to claim benefit in respect of her husband, where he is dependent upon her, and of her children. But, like other member States, we think it right that it should have a sufficiently long implementation period to ensure that the expenditure which it requires does not conflict with other social priorities. Accordingly, although, as the letter from my right hon. Friend to Lady Lockwood has made clear, we did not initiate the proposal for a six-year transition, we were happy to subscribe to it, and it was agreed unanimously.