§ Mr. Teddy Taylor
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is considering any changes in the procedures for paying child benefit to European Economic Community nationals living or working in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mrs Chalker
Nationals of member States of the European Community working in the United Kingdom and subject to our social security legislation are entitled under European Community Regulation 1408/71 to receive United Kingdom child benefit for their children wherever those children live in the Community. United Kingdom nationals working in another member State (except France) have similar rights with regard to family benefits under the legislation of that State. In France, the worker receives the family benefits provided by the law of the country where the children reside. The ultimate cost is in all cases borne by the country in which the worker is employed.
These provisions were adopted as a compromise when the regulation was drafted in 1971—before the United Kingdom's accession to the Community. The regulation, however, required the Council to re-examine the problem in order to reach a uniform system of payment for the whole Community. The European Commission has proposed that family benefits throughout the Community should be provided in accordance with the legislation to which the worker is subject. The Federal Republic of Germany has, however, put forward a counter proposal that family benefits should be provided in accordance with the law of the country where the children reside, although the expense would still be borne by the country in which the worker is employed.
These proposals are at present being considered by the social questions working group of the Council on which the United Kingdom is represented. The issues are complex and further study is 307W needed before the Government come to a final decision.