asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will reconsider the conditions under which married women are treated as incapable of performing normal household duties for the purpose of the housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension.
Ministers have given detailed considerations to the views expressed to them about the corresponding regulations laid on 12th September. The Government have now decided to ask the National Insurance Advisory Committee (NIAC), which reported on the original regulations, to review the rules by which incapacity for household duties is judged.We have accordingly made a formal reference to NIAC as folows:
"Taking into account the implications for cost and manpower—including medical manpower—and the decision of the Tribunal of National Insurance Commissioners dated 8th September 1978 (CS5/78) to consider, in relation to housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension, alternative ways of using the power conferred by section 36(7) of the Social Security Act 1975 to prescribe the circumstances in which a woman is or is not to be treated as incapable of performing normal household duties; and to report."
We shall seek to ensure that no one loses benefit solely as a result of the amending regulations. This was an assurance asked for my the Disablement Income Group (DIG) at a recent meeting of its national executive committee.
We were also asked by DIG to place the whole matter of the change in regulations before NIAC to
" allow a calm review of the situation and allow all concerned to express their views to an independent body ".
This is the course that the Government are now taking.