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Volume 929: debated on Tuesday 29 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government to the recent communication from the European Commission (Com (76) 719 final) suggesting that member States should adopt common principles for the index-linking of social security benefits; and whether, in particular, the British Government will seek to align themselves with the majority of EEC member States by making provision for the systematic adjustment of child benefits in line with inflation.

The European Commission invited the Council of Ministers on 12th January to take note of a communication on the systematic adjustment—dynamisation—of social security benefits. The Commission makes no legislative proposals, and merely reserves the right to make proposals in this field at a later date. The Government have noted the conclusions reached by the Commission, which are that, while in some respects the present time might have been considered opportune for establishing certain common standards, there should be no attempt to impose such standards in the difficult economic situation at present facing member States.As regards child benefit, there is a statutory requirement for the rate to be reviewed annually.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services which social security benefits are not liable to tax; and what was the total paid in respect of each benefit for 1975–76 and 1976–77 to date.

The information requested is given below. The benefits which are not liable for tax, their cost in 1975–76 and provisional estimates of expenditure for 1976–77 are as follows:

Benefit£ million£ million
Sickness benefit443505
Invalidity benefit448516
Unemployment benefit454568
Maternity benefit5567
Death grant1515
Injury benefit3944
Industrial disablement benefit145165
Industrial death benefit (gratuities only)
Workmen's compensation supplementation33
Industrial diseases benefit in respect of pre-1948 employment11
War disablement pension168185
War widows' allowances for children22
Family income supplement1217
Attendance allowance96127
Non-contributory invalidity pension1244
Supplementary benefit1,1871,553