HC Deb 04 April 1995 vol 257 c1068W
Mr. Trend

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to make payments to those recipients of disability working allowance and family credit who lose income for the balance of the period of their existing claim to benefit as a result of the adjustments to the child support maintenance payments arising from the regulation changes to be introduced on 18 April and when; and if he will make a statement. [18764]

Mr. Moss

As will happen in the remainder of the United Kingdom, it is the intention to make such payments as soon as it is administratively possible to do so after the loss has been identified. In bringing forward the measure as part of the Child Support Bill now before the House, the Government have recognised that it is unreasonable not to offer compensation to working parents with care who are modestly paid, particularly as the structure of income support offers automatic adjustment for the incomes of those parents with care not at work and dependent on income support.

It would be unfair to wait until primary legislation receive Royal Assent, before considering compensation, as this would produce a large delay, which might cause hardship. Accordingly, payments will be in advance of both Royal Assent and of any estimate that could include provision for this compensation. Parliamentary approval for this provision will be sought in a supplementary estimate for the Department of Health and Social Services, vote 4. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £25,000 will be met by repayable advances from the Northern Ireland contingencies fund.