(Increase of Family Allowances and Related Amendments.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Family Allowances and National Insurance Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th November 1967.

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Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West 12:00 am, 29th November 1967

The hon. Gentleman gets over-sensitive and distorts history. I do not want to have a discussion on this Bill that is loaded politically. Hon. Members know my attitude to political debate and discussion. I do not think that I have ever had a reputation here for being kindly to my political opponents, but I believe that there are occasions when one can do it and occasions when one need not.

Let me take the hon. Gentleman back to 1952, without going into whether there was an economic crisis or not. I am not arguing that the Tories were wrong in merely increasing the family allowance from 5s. to 8s. That is not under discussion. The point is that it would have been very difficult for them to reduce the widows' allowance when it was half-a-crown.

The second increase in the family allowance by the Tory Administration was in October, 1956, when the increase was 2s. per week. That was tied to only the third and subsequent children. If anyone had talked about making adjustments in any other benefits in relation to increases of that kind, it would have been almost impossible to sustain.