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Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th April 1970.

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Photo of Mr Jack Diamond Mr Jack Diamond , Gloucester 12:00 am, 20th April 1970

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman.

There is a conversion certainly in acknowledging the claw-back method, and that is valuable. There is a conversion for his party, certainly in the amount. What we have done here in five years can be contrasted with what the party opposite did in 13 years. It seems a reasonable comparison. First of all, social security benefits as a whole have gone up in the last five years from £1,960 million to £3,800 million, approximately double. In addition, we have the rate rebate scheme which is effective in dealing with poverty of this kind, where it is felt in the same way. There are now 1 million recipients. Within the social security increase is an increase in the rates of "FAM" which have more than doubled.

If we take an example of a four-child family, the increase is from 28s. a week to 58s. The larger the family, the larger the increase. That is what we have done. Let us compare that with what the Tories did during their last 13 years of power, for a similar four-child family. The rate went up from 24s. to 28s.—an increase in 13 years of 4s. a week. During our five years there has been an increase of 30s. a week, seven and a half times as much in less than half the time. I hope that I am justified in saying that I welcome the right hon. Gentleman's support. This is something with which every one of us has a great deal of sympathy, and it is a matter about which we have done something.