asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance in how many cases in the past 12 months applicants for payment of children's allowances have had their applications refused on the grounds that the allowances were not claimed within the stipulated six months; the total amount which has thereby been forfeited; and, in view of the hardship suffered by those who have failed to make such claims as a result of illness or ill health, whether he will take steps to amend Section 7 of the Family Allowances Act, 1945, so as to give him a discretionary power in such cases.
I assume that my hon. Friend refers to cases where the right to payments by way of family allowances is extinguished under Section 7 of the Family Allowances Act because orders are not cashed within six months. Figures as to the number of such cases in the last 12 months or the total amount of money involved are not available. My right hon. Friend sees no reason to alter this rule as orders can be cashed by the husband or someone else on the wife's behalf and there should, therefore, be no question of hardship in cases of illness.