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Re-Marriage (Family Allowances)

Volume 440: debated on Tuesday 22 July 1947

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asked the Minister of National Insurance whether a widower with one child, for whom no allowance is made, and a widow with two children entitled to the allowance for one child, will, on marrying again, be entitled to payments for two children; and if he is aware that his Department has not yet reached a decision regarding a man and woman so placed by marriage last November.

Yes, Sir. If all three children are below the prescribed age limits, family allowances in respect of the two younger children will be payable. I have made inquiries into the individual case to which my hon. Friend refers and find that payment of allowances at the rate of 10s. a week have now been authorised.

Why should it take five months to deal with a simple issue like this? Is my right hon. Friend aware that I hold in my hand five acknowledgements involving time, labour and expense, and covering a period of almost five months, each giving the same answer, which obviously could not have been true if the matter was being attended to and investigated?

Every communication to my Department is acknowledged by postcard. I think that is desirable. I would not accept the view that all these cases of changed family circumstances are simple, but I agree that a case of this kind ought to have been dealt with much sooner. I am taking steps to alter the methods by which we handle these changes in family circumstances which are not always as simple as they seem.