HC Deb 09 February 1978 vol 943 cc670-1W
Dr. McDonald

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what changes he is making in the administration of the child benefit premium for one-parent families.

Mr. Orme

The one-parent family premium, child benefit increase, is payable on top of the main child benefit to about 250,000 one-parent families who are not receiving social security benefits that include increases for children. It will be doubled to£1 a week in April when child benefit is raised to a standard rate of£2.30 for every child. Like its predecessor child interim benefit, child benefit increase has had to be administered from the Department's central offices at Blackpool. This was inevitable.

Office accommodation and staff have now however become available at the child benefit centre in Washington, which will enable child benefit increase to be administered along with the child benefit from the centre. The transfer of the work and the records to Washington is being made in stages during the first half of this year.

At present, one-parent families receiving child benefit increase hold books of orders, each of which covers four weeks' payment. These order books expire in March 1979. From April 1979, child benefit increase will be paid on a weekly basis. Eventually beneficiaries will normally hold only one order book in place of the two they have now and each weekly order will cover both child benefit and child benefit increase.