Family Allowances

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th April 1964.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Reginald Prentice Mr Reginald Prentice , East Ham North 12:00 am, 27th April 1964

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he will review the level of family allowances in view of the fact that more large families are now living on an inadequate diet than 10 years ago.

Photo of Hon. Richard Wood Hon. Richard Wood , Bridlington

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward) on 20th April.

Photo of Mr Reginald Prentice Mr Reginald Prentice , East Ham North

Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been drawn to the report of Dr. Lambert on this matter? What does the right hon. Gentleman propose arising from the evidence that, over the last ten years, the nutri- tional standard of families with three or four children has gone down? Since the real value of family allowances has declined in that period, is there not an urgent need for adjustment?

Photo of Hon. Richard Wood Hon. Richard Wood , Bridlington

As I pointed out last week, the deficiencies in the large families which the hon. Gentleman has, quite rightly, noted are not confined to the lowest income groups but are common to all income groups. This suggests that it is not only a matter of income. It is only fair to remind the hon. Gentleman that family allowances are only one element in the improvement in nutrition. More important elements, perhaps, are welfare foods and school meals.

I would also remind him that family allowances for large families have been increased twice since 1951. They not only have a higher value themselves but they supplement other income, and one must take into account the very considerable increases in wages and salaries, and the improvements in other social service benefits.