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Maternity Allowance

Volume 984: debated on Thursday 8 May 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in view of the fact that over 50,000 of those women currently drawing maternity allowances have earned incomes below the level of their personal tax allowances, he will make arrangements for the 5 per cent. abatement of the maternity allowance over the next two years to be made up by supplementary benefit or some other form of allowance.

While I can understand my hon. Friend's concern, I am afraid we cannot ensure that the abatement proposals in the Social Security (No. 2) Bill will apply only to those beneficiaries who would be liable to tax.For women on their own, or in the case of a married couple, where the husband is not in full-time work, supplementary benefit would be available where resources fell short of requirements.