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Supplementary Benefit (Long-Term Addition)

Volume 889: debated on Tuesday 25 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what it would cost to reduce the waiting time for longterm addition to supplementary allowance from two years to one year for claimants with children.

As I told my hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Corbett) on 6th March—[Vol. 887, c. 503]—the estimated cost for all eligible families with children would be about £7 million.

Will my hon. Friend acknowledge that two years is a long time for a family with children to be on the poverty line in view of the requirements of children's growth and development? In view of the importance placed by his hon. Friend at an earlier stage this afternoon on the reports of commissions of inquiry into industrial diseases, may I remind my hon. Friend that the Finer Commission of Inquiry reported on this point and recommended reduction of the waiting time?

The hon. Lady is supplying information. The question was contained in the first part of her remarks.

I assure my hon. Friend that we take very much to heart the point she makes regarding the needs of this group of people. That is why we have already said that consideration will be given to reducing the qualifying period, along with other improvements in supplementary benefits suggested in the Finer Report, as soon as resources permit.