§ Mr. Garel-Jones
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will outline the present practice of the Supplementary Benefits Commission in relation to requiring lone-parents to register when their youngest child reaches the age of 16 years; and whether any change is contemplated in their policy.
§ Mrs. Chalker
The Supplementary Benefits Commission uses its discretion under section 5 of the Supplementary Benefits Act 1976 to excuse from registration for work a lone parent caring for a child up to the age of 16. Once the child reaches 16, the parent is required to register unless the child is sick or handicapped, or the parent is in late middle age and has no recent experience of employment. It is not proposed at present to alter this policy. I must apologise if, in the Standing Committee debate on the Social Security Bill 615W on 12 February—[Official Report, Standing Committee E, 12 February 1980, c. 561–2.]—I gave a misleading impression of the commission's policy and the Government's intentions. This was unintentional.