HC Deb 15 April 1983 vol 40 cc476-7W
Mr. Peter Bottomley

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he intends to publish regulations to give effect to his proposals for progress towards equal treatment for women on social security from November.

Mr. Newton

We intend in November 1983 to make changes covering supplementary benefit, family income supplement and dependency increases for national insurance benefits.

My right hon. Friend has today referred to the Social Security Advisory Committee draft regulations which give effect to the proposed changes for 1983. To enable the committee, and those it consults, to get as broad a view as possible, copies of the draft commencement orders for the family income supplement and dependency increase changes have also been sent to them, together with a paper explaining the proposals. Copies of this paper have been placed in the Vote Office.

The main effects of the proposals are: —either a man or a woman will be entitled to claim supplementary benefit for a couple, so long as he or she can satisfy conditions mainly designed to demonstrate contact with the employment field; —couples will get the higher long-term rate of supplementary benefit when the man or the woman is 60 or more; —a couple will be able to qualify for supplementary pension when either partner reaches age 65; —a couple with one or more children will be able to qualify for family income supplement if either the man or the woman is in full time work; — certain families will be excluded from family income supplement, for a maximum period of three months, where both members of a couple normally work but one is temporarily not working; and —a married woman will be able to claim an increase of national insurance benefits for her husband and children (in the case of retirement pension, for her children only) if her husband's earnings are low.

When we have received and considered the committee's report on the regulations, my right hon. Friend proposes to lay the regulations before the House, modified as he may consider appropriate in the light of the committee's recommendations, with a view to securing their passage through Parliament before the summer recess. My right hon. Friend will also lay before Parliament a copy of the committee's report on the regulations and a statement in accordance with the provisions of section 10(4) of the Social Security Act 1980.