§ Mr. Onslow
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the Supplementary Benefits Commission has yet completed its review of policy regarding claims to family income supplement from childminders; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Orme
This subject, which involves entitlement to family income supplement—FIS—in a very limited class of case, has not fallen within the ambit of the official team's review of the supplementary benefits scheme. I regret that, due to an official error at headquarters, the hon. Member was led to think that this subject was to be formally reviewed.
The position has however been carefully considered and is as follows. Childminders cannot generally be regarded as eligible for family income supplement 126W although each claim will continue to be considered on its merits. This complements the policy whereby single-handed childminders are generally not excluded from claiming supplementary benefits and thereby receive more generous provision than would be possible under the family income supplements scheme.
I am aware that the hon. Member had a particular case in mind and I am writing to him in the light of that.