§ Mrs. Renée Short
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what percentage of births attract maternity grant; which categories of women are not entitled to receive maternity grant; and what maternity grant is payable to a family on supplementary benefit.
§ Mrs. Chalker
About 92 per cent. of births attract maternity grant, which is paid to all expectant women who satisfy the contribution conditions either on their own or their husbands' insurance records. In the main those who do not qualify are unmarried women too young to be insured, or with inadequate records, and non-working married women whose husbands' records are deficient for some reason.
A woman in a family receiving supplementary benefit can receive the grant if the contribution conditions are met. It is payable on top of the normal weekly entitlement to supplementary benefit. If the family's resources are insufficient to meet the costs of essential items, such as clothing for the baby, an exceptional needs payment may be made.