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Child Benefit

Volume 181: debated on Monday 19 November 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the level of child benefit for the first-born child in each of the 12 Community countries.

The table shows that the United Kingdom rate of £7·25 a week is second only to the £7·77 shown for Belgium. From next April the United Kingdom rate will be £8·25.

Rates of child benefit in the 12 European Community states on the birth of a first-born child
CountryMaximum normal rates1 £
Belgium7·772 3
Greece0·982 3 4
Italy2·012 3 4
Portugal2·152 4
Spain0·342 4
United Kingdom7·254
1 Rates quoted are weekly sterling equivalents (most EC countries pay benefits monthly) and have been converted from national currency using purchasing power parity rates. Rates quoted were correct at 1 January 1990.

2 Benefits based on a contributory principle.

3 Benefits have an element of means-testing.

4 Extra amounts payable to certain families, eg, single parents.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what plans he has to ensure that families eligible for income support and the £1 per week increase in child benefit for the first born do not lose all the child benefit increase;(2) what is his most up-to-date estimate of the numbers of families with children on income support who will lose

(a) all of the £1 per week in child benefit for the first born announced in the annual uprating, (b) 50p to £1 and (c) 0 to 50p.

As a result of the recently announced uprating of social security benefits, more than 99 per cent. of families on income support will see an overall increase in their total benefits from April 1991. In the course of the uprating, increases in all benefits are generally taken fully into account, including the increase in child benefit paid to about 1–2 million families on income support. Insufficient information is available to estimate the number of families whose income support will he affected by less than £1 per week but this number is thought to be very low. There are no plans for changing the way child benefit is treated in income support.