Amendment proposed: No. 7, in page 7, leave out lines 4 to 9 and insert— (a)in subsection (1)(b), for the words "conditions specified in" there shall be substituted the words "requirements of either paragraph (a) or (b) or; and (b)the following subsections shall be substituted for subsection (2)— (2) The requirements referred to in subsection (1)(b) above are— (a)that the pensioner is residing with her husband; (b)that the pensioner is contributing to the maintenance of her husband at a weekly rate not less than the specified amount, and her husband is not engaged in any one or more employments from which his weekly earnings exceed that amount. (3) Regulations may provide that, for any period during w hich the pensioner is residing with her husband and her husband is engaged in any one or more employments from which he has earnings—".'—[Mr. Newton.]
I should like to take this opportunity to ask the Minister whether the Government have yet made up their mind what they propose to do about equal treatment of earnings, what level the rule will operate at, whether it will be a cliff-edge rule or a graduated rule, and so on.
I am sorry; obviously I ought to have sent the hon. Lady a copy of the answer to the parliamentary question which I answered earlier this week in which I said that our intention is to introduce the equal treatment earnings rule in this field at what seems to me to be the appropriate level—that is, the level of unemployment benefit, £28·45 per week, which the person in question would receive if he had been in work and became entitled to national insurance benefit in his own right. That is somewhat more generous than the existing rule applying to the husbands of invalidity benefit wives, but somewhat less generous than the rule currently applying to wives of invalidity benefit husbands. It is our intention, in the interests of simplicity, that it should be a cliff-edge rule.
Amendment agreed to.