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Maternity Grants

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 5 April 1949

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asked the Minister of National Insurance if, in view of the expense of maintaining a large family of growing children, he will consider making some special provision, additional to family allowances, in cases in which more than three children are born at one birth.

We already pay a maternity grant of £16 where there are four children at a birth, and the family will be immediately eligible for family allowances. I do not know what further provision my hon. Friend thinks could appropriately be made under the schemes administered by my Department.

Would my right hon. Friend bear in mind that, in these extremely rare cases, parents often find themselves under an economic necessity to sign contracts with film companies and other outside bodies for the exploitation of their young children, as in the case of the christening and the disgraceful scenes which attended it at a church last week; and, in view of the harm that can result to the children, would he consider this suggestion sympathetically?

We have tried to cover, so far as is possible, these kinds of cases in the Act. Perhaps I should point out to my hon. Friend that if this birth had taken place before 5th July last the amount of maternity benefit would have been £2, whereas it is now £16.