§ Miss Richardson
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action his Department has taken since 3 May 1979 on any recommendation of the Finer committee for which it is wholly or partly responsible.
§ Mrs. Chalker
[pursuant to her reply, 24 June 1980, c. 153]: We are making two significant improvements to the social security system which follows directly from numbered recommendations in the Finer committee's report. Under the Social Security Act 1980, the qualifying period for the long-term scale rate of supplementary benefit for lone parents will be reduced in November next from two years to one; and from 1982, maternity grant is to be made non-contributory.
One-parent families will also benefit from other changes in the spirit of Finer, for which we have made provision since we took office. The one-parent family benefit (child benefit increase) has been extended in scope and raised in value; from November it will be £3 a week. There will also be a better disregard for supplementary benefit of lone parents' earnings.
Among other improvements also taking effect in November, there will be the substantial uprating of family income supplement—half of the recipients are one-parent families—and the reduction in the number of supplementary benefit scale rates for children from 5 to 3.