HC Deb 03 April 1979 vol 965 cc564-5W
35. Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the current value of child benefit for two children as a percentage of average industrial earnings; and how this compares with the family allowance plus tax relief at standard rate for two children aged five and nine years in March 1974 as a percentage of average industrial earnings at that time.

Mr. Orme

In March 1974 child support of £2.59 per week available to such a family from family allowances and child tax allowances amounted to 5.9 per cent. of the gross earnings and 7.3 per cent of the net income (1) of a married man receiving average male manual earnings.(2) The latest earnings estimates available are for December 1978 and if the £8 child benefit—£4 per child—now payable had been payable at that time, it would have amounted to 9.2 per cent. of gross earnings and 11 per cent. of net income for the same family. Although the percentages based on the April 1979 earnings figures when available are expected to be slightly lower, they should still be significantly higher than for March 1974.

  1. (1) Net income is gross earnings plus family allowance or child benefit less tax and national insurance contribution at the not contracted out rate.
  2. (2) Average earnings are derived from the new earnings survey estimates of full-time adult male manual workers—all industries and services—and the monthly index of average earnings for all employees as published by the Department of Employment.

36. Sir Brandon Rhys Williams

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if the Government now plans to increase the rate of child endowment beyond £4 per week.

Mr. Orme

The Government intend to make a statement in due course.

55. Mr. Kenneth Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what part of the children's allowance is designed to meet the cost of school meals and related expenditure.

Mr. Orme

Child benefit is not designed to met the cost of any particular goods or services and the level of the benefit is not determined in this way.