§ 32. Sir George Young
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will take steps to put child benefit in the same category as unemployment benefit for the purpose of inflation-proofing.
§ Mr. Orme
No. The Child Benefit Act 1975 already provides that the Secretary of State shall consider each year whether, in the light of such factors as the national economic situation and the general standard of living, the rate of child benefit ought to be increased. Furthermore, the considerations governing the uprating of child benefit are not the same as for unemployment benefit. Child benefit is an addition to other income, generally wages, whereas unemployment benefit is provided against a cessation of earnings.
§ 58. Sir B. Rhys Williams
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if it is his policy to raise the rates of benefits paid in respect of the children of men in full-time work to the same levels as the benefits payable under the provisions of the national insurance or supplementary benefit schemes for children of men who are unemployed.
§ Mr. Ennals
No. But increases in the child benefit rate will have the result that a greater amount of the benefit payable in respect of children will be payable to parents whether they are at work or not.
§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) to what level and at what cost child benefit would need to be raised in order to lift all working families with children above the family income supplement level;
(2) to what level and at what cost child benefit would need to be raised in order to lift all working families with children above the supplementary benefit level.
§ Mr. Orme
To convert the maximum amounts currently payable under the family income supplements scheme to child benefit for all families would require child benefit rates of £10.50 for the first or only child plus £2.50 for each additional child at a cost of about £3,000 529W million. A comparable estimate in relation to the benefits level under the supplementary benefits scheme would have to take account of the fact that the scheme is designed for those not in full time work, and is, therefore, more precisely geared to the circumstances of each individual family and not subject to prescribed maximum rates. The cost could, therefore, be somewhat higher, although costs of the same order of magnitude are involved in reaching either the FIS or the supplementary benefit level.