§ Mr. Alfred Morris
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what he expects to be the extra annual cost of ending the household duties test as a qualification for the housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension; and what parliamentary action will be taken with regard to the report.
§ Mr. Prentice
It is estimated that at current benefit rates it could cost up to £220 million a year to abolish the household duties test. With regard to the National Insurance Advisory Committee's report, I refer the right hon. Gentleman to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Hannam) earlier today.
§ Mr. Hannam
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will give an assurance that there will be a full debate on the report of the National Insurance Advisory Committee on the housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension before he makes a decision on its recommendations;
(2) he will hold discussions with interested groups on the report of the National Insurance Advisory Committee on the housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension before he makes a final decision on its recommendations.
§ Mr. Prentice
As my hon. Friend knows, I have asked the Department to examine the National Insurance Advisory Committee's suggestions for changes to the household duties test, drawing on the experience of other countries who operate comparable schemes. When I have this information I shall then consider whether and at 371W what stage it might be helpful to seek the views of interested groups.