§ Mr. Hannam
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what recommendations the National Insurance Advisory Committee has made on the question relating to the household duties test for non-contributory invalidity pension for married women, HNCIP; and what response he proposes to make.
§ Mr. Prentice
The main point to emerge from the committee's report published today—"Report of the National Insurance Advisory Committee on a Question relating to the household duties test for non-contributory invalidity pension for married women (HNCIP)" Cmnd. 7955—is the committee's acceptance that the amendment regulations introduced in 1978 restored the effect of the household duties test to what was originally intended. However, the committee has recommended that the Department should consider the possibility of an alternative to the household duties test or, possibly, some method of phasing it out.
I have noted what the committee has said about the amendment regulations and I should like to thank it for its detailed consideration of this very complicated subject. I am aware that, ever since the benefit was introduced, the household duties test has been controversial and we accept the committee's recommendation that consideration should be given to an alternative test. I therefore propose to ask officials of the Department to examine the committee's suggestions together with other possibilities, drawing on the experience of other countries which have broadly comparable provisions.