HC Deb 09 June 2003 vol 406 cc39-40WS
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Malcolm Wicks)

I would like to announce measures to maintain all the current qualifying conditions of those receiving Widowed Mother's Allowance and Widowed Parent's Allowance now child dependency increases have been removed.

Schedule 3 of the Tax Credits Act provides for the entitlement conditions in section 81 of the Social Security and Contributory Benefits Act, insofar as they relate to Widowed Mother's Allowance and Widowed Parent's Allowance, to be replaced by a link to similar conditions in section 77 of that Act. Section 81 has been repealed in its entirety.

This allows widows and widowers whose children live in the same household to continue to receive WMA/WPA in respect of the parent. The benefit position of someone receiving either of these benefits is also maintained if their child is looked after by somebody else, so long as a contribution for the child's maintenance is made that is consistent with the current rules. Provided they pay over at least an amount equivalent to the rate of any child dependency increase that they are entitled to their right to WMA or WPA is not affected. They are still required, as now, to pay over an amount equivalent to the Child Benefit paid to them in respect of that child.

To achieve this, it is necessary for the time being not to operate in these cases section 77(6)(a) of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992. Consequently, any cases in which this condition applied entail extra-statutory expenditure. Amending legislation will be brought forward to reflect the policy intention as soon as possible.