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Invalid Care Allowance

Volume 885: debated on Wednesday 29 January 1975

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11.45 p.m.

I beg to move Amendment No. 9, in page 7, line 12, leave out from 'employed' to end of line 15.

The Opposition welcome the clause. It is a small innovation in terms of cash, but it does something that has long been needed for a very small group of people—namely, those devoted daughters and nieces, and friends we hope, who have looked after a parent or a disabled relative over many years at great cost and even hardship to themselves.

We have some reservations about the clause and the delay in bringing this in. As the hon. Member for Eccles (Mr. Carter-Jones) said so well in Committee, devoted daughters in their thousands are giving their services now. Now their needs should be recognised. They should get their benefit straight away.

The amendment seeks to ensure that the benefit does not go only to the blood relation. We want to see it go to those few cases where a person, living perhaps next door or in the same house, is looking after a friend who is most severely disabled. The Bill enables the Secretary of State to say who will receive the benefit. We understood in Committee that the Minister of State was prepared to take another look at the clause to see whether he could produce a more precise definition of those eligible. Will the benefit be restricted to blood relations or will it be extended to friends who care for severely disabled persons.

In some respects the act of the friend could be even more noble than that of the devoted daughter who has given up so much for so many years to look after a parent. That point was made in Committee by the hon. Member for Chorley (Mr. Rodgers). To leave out this smaller group of people would be most undesirable. We are sorry that since the Minister said in Committee he would look at the matter again he has not come up with an amendment to meet the point.

Perhaps my hon. Friend the Member for Eastleigh (Mr. Price) offered the best description when he said that there had been a lack of generosity between the Front Benches today. I hope we can repair that omission now by having the amendment accepted.

I understand the importance that the hon. Member for Wells (Mr. Boscawen) attaches to his amendment. In Committee my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary said that we should look at this proposition again before the Report stage.

I think that there is very little difference between us on this. The important words are "at the outset". We say that those who are referred to as relatives are the first who will benefit. The hon. Gentleman referred to the "devoted daughters in their thousands" who give service to disabled parents. I recall being pressed in the House last year by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Mrs. Knight), who has taken a great interest in this matter, to accept the case of the National Council for the Single Woman and Her Dependants. I said then that we would look at the possibility of introducing an allowance for these stay-at-home daughters. However, there are also stay-at-home sons who have to give up paid employment to look after a disabled relative.

When I said that there was very little difference between us on this matter I did so because we are not entirely excluding from the allowance the people to whom the hon. Member referred. We are saying that at the outset we shall be making the allowance payable to certain people who are close relatives.

I could go at some length into the reasons for the position we have adopted. We have carefully considered whether ICA should be extended to non-relatives from the very beginning. However well-meaning the intention behind the amendment, and however great our sympathy for the people involved, we must face the facts. ICA, like the non-contributory invalidity pension for disabled housewives, is a brand-new, untried benefit. It is without precedent. We do not have a settled pattern of administration to guide us. We do not know how it will work out in practice, or what our initial intake of claims for relatives will be, how many claims will entail detailed inquiries, or how many will give rise to continuing payment.

It is precisely because of those problems that we want to start on a proper administrative—

The hon. Gentleman's present arguments are good reasons for introducing the allowance at the same time as the other benefits. Then the Department would gain the experience on which to build. The Minister would be meeting the important point raised by the Council for the Single Woman and Her Dependants, which wants the allowance now, when the other benefit is coming in.

Does the hon. Lady mean the non-contributory invalidity pension for disabled housewives?

There are different administrative problems in paying the two benefits. I said earlier that we want no avoidable delay in making the new benefits available.

I have read the comments made in Standing Committee by Conservative Members. I ask the hon. Member for Wells to accept that there is not much difference between us, and that we are starting in the way we propose simply to ensure that we give the new allowance a good send-off, without inviting unnecessary and avoidable administrative problems at the beginning.

I should have liked to say that we were pleased with the Minister's answer, but we are not. It is very disappointing. The hon. Gentleman is not making the new benefit payable for another two years. He has plenty of time to work out administrative methods of meeting the problems faced by both the near relatives and the friends. There

Division No. 79]


[11.55 p.m.

Arnold, TomHawkins, PaulPage, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)
Atkins, Rt Hon H.(Spelthorne)Hayhoe, BarneyPaisley, Rev Ian
Awdry, DanielHenderson, DouglasPardoe, John
Baker, KennethHolland, PhilipParkinson, Cecil
Banks, RobertHooson, EmlynPattie, Geoffrey
Benyon, W.Hordern, PeterPenhaligon, David
Berry, Hon AnthonyHowell Ralph (North Norfolk)Percival, Ian
Biffen, JohnHowells, Geraint (Cardigan)Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch
Boscawen, Hon RobertHurd, DouglasPrice, David (Eastleigh)
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent)Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Bradford, Rev RobertIrving, Charles (Cheltenham)Raison, Timothy
Brotherton, MichaelJames, DavidRees, Peter (Dover & Deal)
Buchanan-Smith, AlickJenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd)Reid, George
Budgen, NickJopling, MichaelRenton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Bulmer, EsmondKellett-Bowman, Mrs ElaineRenton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)
Carson, JohnKing, Evelyn (South Dorset)Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Chalker, Mrs LyndaKirk, PeterRidley, Hon Nicholas
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)Kitson, Sir TimothyRilklnd, Malcolm
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Knox, DavidRippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Cockcroft, JohnLamont, NormanRoberts, Wyn (Conway)
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W)Langford-Holt, Sir JohnRoss, William (Londonderry)
Cope, JohnLatham, Michael (Melton)Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Corrie, JohnLawrence, IvanRost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Crouch, DavidLawson, NigelSainsbury, Tim
Dodsworth, GeoffreyLe Marchant, SpencerScott, Nicholas
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesLuce, RichardScott-Hopkins, James
Dunlop, JohnMcCrindle, RobertShaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Dykes, HughMcCusker, H.Shelton, William (Streatham)
Eden, Rt Hon Sir JohnMacfarlane, NeilShepherd, Colin
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)MacGregor, JohnShersby, Michael
Elliott, Sir WilliamMacmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)Silvester, Fred
Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen)McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)Sims, Roger
Eyre, ReginaldMcNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Fairbairn, NicholasMarshall, Michael (Arundel)Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Fairgrieve, RussellMates, MichaelSpicer, Michael (S. Worcester)
Fisher, Sir NigelMather, CarolStanbrook, Ivor
Fletcher-Cooke, CharlesMaxwell-Hyslop, RobinStanley, John
Galbraith, Hon T. G. D.Meyer, Sir AnthonySteel, David (Roxburgh)
Gardiner, George (Reigate)Miscampbell, NormanSteen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Godber, Rt Hon JosephMitchell, David (Basingstoke)Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Goodhart, PhilipMoate, RogerTaylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Goodhew, VictorMolyneaux, JamesTebbit, Norman
Goodlad, AlasiairMonro, HectorTemple-Morris, Peter
Gow, Ian (Eastbourne)More, Jasper (Ludlow)Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry)Morgan, GeraintThomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Gray, HamishMorris, Michael (Northampton S)Thompson, George
Grist, IanMudd, DavidThorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)
Grylls, MichaelNeave, AireyTownsend, Cyril D.
Hall, Sir JohnNelson, AnthonyTugendhat, Christopher
Hall-Davis, A. G. F.Neubert, MichaelVaughan, Dr Gerard
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)Newton, TonyViggers, Peter
Hannam, JohnOnslow, CranleyWalder, David (Clitheroe)
Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon MissOppenheim, Mrs SallyWalker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek

can be no difference in giving the benefit to a friend looking after a severely disabled person, whether that friend is a resident in the same house or in the very close neighbourhood. We do not see that there is any administrative difficulty.

The Minister's answer is unsatisfactory. I had hoped that the amendment would be accepted and that there would be no need to divide the House, but in the light of what the hon. Gentleman has said I ask my hon. Friends to support the amendment in the Lobbies.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 168, Noes 198.

Watt, HamishWigley, Dafydd
Weatherill, BernardWilson, Gordon (Dundee E)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Wells, JohnWinterton, NicholasMr. John Stradling Thomas and
Welsh, AndrewYoung, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)Mr. Adam Butler.
Wiggin, Jerry


Allaun, FrankGarrett, W. E. (Wallsend)Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Anderson, DonaldGeorge, BruceMorris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Armstrong, ErnestGilbert, Dr JohnMulley, Rt Hon Frederick
Ashley, JackGolding, JohnNewens, Stanley
Ashton, JoeGould, BryanNoble, Mike
Atkinson, NormanGourlay, HarryOakes, Gordon
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)Graham, TedOgden, Eric
Barnett, Rt Hon JoelGrant, George (Morpeth)O'Malley, Rt Hon Brian
Bates, AlfGrant, John (Islington C)Ovenden, John
Bean, R. E.Grocott, BruceOwen, Dr David
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)Hamling, WilliamPalmer, Arthur
Bishop, E. S.Hardy, PeterParry, Robert
Blenkinsop, ArthurHarper, JosephPavitt, Laurie
Boardman, H.Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)Phipps, Dr Colin
Boothroyd, Miss BettyHatton, FrankRadice, Giles
Bradley, TomHayman, Mrs HeleneRichardson, Miss Jo
Bray, Dr JeremyHooley, FrankRoberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)Horam, JohnRoderick, Caerwyn
Buchan, NormanHoyle, Douglas (Nelson)Rodgers, George (Chorley)
Buchanan, RichardHuckfield, LesRooker, J. W.
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green)Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey)Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)Hughes, Mark (Durham)Rowlands, Ted
Campbell, IanHughes, Roy (Newport)Sandelson, Neville
Canavan, DennisHunter, AdamSedgemore, Brian
Carter-Jones, LewisIrvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill)Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Cartwright, JohnIrving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford)Short, Rt Hon E. (Newcasle C)
Castle, Rt Hon BarbaraJackson, Colin (Brighouse)Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Clemitson, IvorJackson, Miss M. (Lincoln)Sillars, James
Cocks, Michael (Bristol S)Janner, GrevilleSilverman, Julius
Coleman, DonaldJay, Rt Hon DouglasSkinner, Dennis
Colquhoun, Mrs MaureenJeger, Mrs LenaSnape, Peter
Conlan, BernardJohnson, James (Hull West)Spearing, Nigel
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C)Johnson, Walter (Derby S)Spriggs, Leslie
Corbett, RobinJones, Alec (Rhondda)Stallard, A. W.
Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill)Jones, Dan (Burnley)Stewart, Rt Hn M. (Fulham)
Crawshaw, RichardJudd, FrankStoddart, David
Cronin, JohnKerr, RussellStott, Roger
Cryer, BobKilroy-Silk, RobertSwain, Thomas
Cunningham, G. (Islington S)Lambie, DavidTaylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh)Lamborn, HarryThomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Dalyell, TamLamond, JamesThomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N)Latham, Arthur (Paddington)Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Davies, Denzil (Llanelli)Leadbitter, TedTinn, James
Davies, Ifor (Gower)Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)Tomlinson, John
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Dempsey, JamesLoyden, EddieWalden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)
Doig, PeterLuard, EvanWalker, Terry (Kingswood)
Dormand, J. D.Lyons, Edward (Bradford W)Ward, Michael
Douglas-Mann, BruceMcElhone, FrankWatkinson, John
Dunn, James A.MacFarquhar, RoderickWeetch, Ken
Dunnett, JackMcGuire, Michael (Ince)Wellbeloved, James
Dunwoody, Mrs. GwynethMcMillan, Tom (Glasgow C)White, Frank R. (Bury)
Eadie, AlexMadden, MaxWhite, James (Pollock)
Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE)Magee, BryanWhitehead, Phillip
Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun)Maguire, Frank (Fermanagh)Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)Mahon, SimonWilley, Rt Hon Frederick
English, MichaelMarks, KennethWilliams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)Marquand, DavidWilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Evans, John (Newton)Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Ewing, Harry (Stirling)Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)Wise, Mrs Audrey
Fernyhough, Rt Hon E.Mellish, Rt Hon RobertWoodall, Alec
Fitch, Alan (Wigan)Mikardo, IanWoof, Robert
Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W)Millan, BruceWrigglesworth, Ian
Flannery, MartinMiller, Dr M. S. (E. Kilbrlde)Young, David (Bolton E)
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Ford, BenMitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)Mr. James Hamilton and
Forrester, JohnMolloy, WilliamMr. Thomas Cox.

Question accordingly negatived.