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Finer Report

Volume 955: debated on Thursday 3 August 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Security how many recommendations of the Finer Report have still to be implemented; and what action is proposed, and when, to implement them.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 12th July 1978; Vol. 953, c. 621] gave the following information:The Finer Report made 230 detailed recommendations involving Government Departments, local authorities, voluntary and other bodies. Many of these recommendations have already been implemented. The implementation of many others rests mainly with those authorities and bodies. Much is already being done by them but further progress will depend on, for example, the availability of manpower and financial resources, which will continue to be limited for some considerable time to come, and on local authori

Department principally involvedRecommendations accepted in principleRecommendations still under consideration
DHSS125120,127, 208,
224 (Part) 227
Home Office53
Lord Chancellor's Office26–40
Scottish Office6354
Department of Education and Science131
Department of the Environment154,155

Department of Health and Social Security

125. The Government sympathise with the objective of reducing the number of hours which lone parents are required to work in order to qualify for family income supplement but this must wait until further resources are available and it is not possible to say at this stage when this recommendation might be implemented.
120. The Government have already undertaken to consider the question of reducing the qualifying period for the long-term scale rate for all eligible beneficiaries, including one-parent families, when financial and manpower resources permit.
127. The recommendation that maternity grant should be turned into a non-contributory benefit could only be considered at some future time when more resources became available and even then there would be difficult questions of priorities.
208. The assessment of charges for day care, which this recommendation proposed should he rationalised on a national basis, is the responsibility of individual local authorities in the light of local circumstances and parents' means. Following the Layfield Com

ties' own priorities. If these recommendations are left out of account as well as those which have been either implemented or rejected 40 recommendations remain.

The position with regard to these 40 recommendations is shown in the table and notes below, which include wherever possible an indication of any continuing or further action and of timing. The numbers in the columns of the table and in the notes are the numbers which were given to the recommendations in part 9 of the Finer Report. The recommendations have been grouped under the heading of the department principally involved. Where a department other than the Department of Health and Social Security is concerned, the information given is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend in charge of that department.

mittee report, the Consultative Council on Local Government Finance has set up a joint working group on fees and charges; charges for day care is one of the areas within the scope of the review.
224. The recommendation that further studies are needed of difficulties experienced by special groups has been met, so far as those affecting immigrant families are concerned, by studies carried out by the former Community Relations Commission. Two reports have been published.
227. This recommendation was to the effect that there should be discussions between the social services and education services on the special problems of one-parent families. The report of a joint working party of representatives of the Association of Directors of Social Services and of the Commission for Racial Equality, entitled "Multi-Racial Britain: the Social Services response" was published on 24th July 1978 and is being studied. It is hoped that later this year guidance will be issued on some of the issues raised.

Home Office

53. The recommendation that a new system of statistics of domestic proceedings in magistrates' courts is needed has been accepted and the Government are considering how, within the current constraints on public expenditure, this information can be provided.

Lord Chancellor's Office

26–40, 42–51. These recommendations relate to a proposal that a system of family courts should be set up and they could only be considered if substantial resources became available. I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General on 14th July 1978.—Vol. 953, c. 842.]
136, 138 and 139. These recommendations relate to the legal position of the matrimonial home after the breakdown of marriage and have been dealt with by the Law Commission in its Third Report on Family Property (Law Com. No. 86) published in June. The Commission has included in one of the draft Bills annexed to its report provisions to implement recommendations 136, 138 and 139. The Government have the report under consideration

Scottish Office

63. This recommendation that the considerable differences between the private family law systems of England and Wales and of Scotland should not be permitted to obscure the identity in practical terms of solutions to one-parent family problems will continue to be borne in mind.
54. A working party set up by the Scottish Courts Administration is making a full review of Scottish civil judicial statistics. A study group has reported and its recommendations are under consideration.

Department of Education and Science

131. The Secretary of State for Education and Science announced on 12th May 1978, in reply to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett) that she would be inviting the local authorities to have discussions about 16–18 education. These discussions, which are now taking place, are proceeding on the basis that the Government are anxious to have more young people staying on in relevant full-time education and would be ready in due course to commit themselves to a statutory system of awards which could ensure this. The details and timing of any improvement in the present system of awards remain to be settled.

Department of the Environment

154, 155. The Government have announced their intention to introduce legislation to afford security of tenure to local authority tenants.