Child Benefit

Oral Answers to Questions — Social Services – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th June 1983.

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Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley , Eltham 12:00 am, 28th June 1983

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he proposes changes in the child benefit scheme.

Photo of Mr Tony Newton Mr Tony Newton , Braintree

We have no plans to change the structure of the scheme. As my hon. Friend knows, the rate of benefit will be increased to £6·50, its highest-ever real value, from November.

Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley , Eltham

I congratulate the Government on what they have done for child benefit. May we draw the conclusion that the level of pay settlements has gone down, while the level of child benefit has risen? Will my hon. Friend talk to the Treasury and ensure that the increases in child benefit continue year by year, so that pay settlement levels come down and we all prosper?

Photo of Mr Tony Newton Mr Tony Newton , Braintree

I am always happy to talk to the Treasury, but for the moment I am content to rest on what the Government have done.

Photo of Mr Robin Squire Mr Robin Squire , Hornchurch

Will my hon. Friend confirm that the Government have no intention of means-testing child benefit, because that, more than anything else, would do a great deal of damage to the prospects of the poorer families who claim a benefit that is an important part of their family income?

Photo of Mr Tony Newton Mr Tony Newton , Braintree

We have no plans for changing the structure of child benefit.

Photo of Mr Brynmor John Mr Brynmor John , Pontypridd

Will the Minister give an undertaking that now that we have returned child benefit to its real value before 1979, it will not again be allowed to fall below that real value?

Photo of Mr Tony Newton Mr Tony Newton , Braintree

The Government will look again at the level of child benefit when the time comes for the next uprating.