HC Deb 14 February 1980 vol 978 c811W
Mr. Sproat

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what consideration he is now giving to ending the situation whereby a person with no physical disabilities preventing any normal work finds it more profitable to do no work and to live off tax-free social security benefits deriving from his own personal eligibility for such benefits, and from those for which both his wife and common-law wife in respect of themselves and all their joint children, are eligible; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Prentice

Most people are better off working than unemployed, although sometimes the difference is fairly small. It is often overlooked that child benefit, Family income supplement and rent and rate rebates are all payable to low earners, whose income can thus considerably exceed their wages.

If, exceptionally, a man has both a wife and a common-law wife, it is to be expected that one of them will live in a separate household. If he is unemployed her benefit is paid separately. When he starts work again her benefit may continue until he is in a position to maintain any members of her family for whom he has legal liability.

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