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I shall be extremely brief in moving the Amendment. The intention is to pay the automatic 9s. addition to those who are getting the supplementary allowance after six months rather than two years. The Amendment does not deal with pensioners because they get the automatic addition at once, nor does it deal with the unemployed, who are covered by Amendment No. 15. I hope that on this occasion we shall have the support of the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South (Mrs. Lena Jeger), who has tabled a similar Amendment, one which goes rather further than ours, but is on the same lines.
The significance of six months rather than two years is that it is at the end of six months that the graduated benefits under a previous Measure end. Therefore, the main aim of the Amendment is, at any rate as far as the poorest are concerned, to lock in the short-term graduated benefits with the long-term benefits provided under this Bill. We raised this point on the Bill providing for the short-term benefits. On that occasion we asked what would happen when the short-term benefits ended at the end of six months, and the right hon. Lady told us, fairly, to wait for this Bill. We have waited for this Bill, and we now find that there is a gap of at least 18 months between the end of the graduated benefits and the start of the long-term additions.
I believe that the Government have failed to take this opportunity to lock in the short-term and the long-term benefits. Two years for the start of the long-term benefits in these cases seems purely arbitrary. It does not make sense in our social policy, and I do not believe that it will make sense to those involved. To be charitable to the right hon. Lady, it may well be that on this occasion it is the Treasury talking and that it has not allowed her to go any further. I see her nodding.