§ Mrs. Angela Knight
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to make payments to those recipients of family credit and disability working allowance who lose income for the balance of the period of their existing claim to benefit as a result of the child support regulation changes to be introduced on 18 April, and if he will make a statement. 641W
§ Mr. Burt
The Department intends to make such payments as soon as it is administratively possible to do so once the loss to the individual has been identified and calculated. This compensation will equal half of the difference between the previous maintenance assessment and the new maintenance assessment for the outstanding period in that claim to family credit or disability working allowance. Although awards of these benefits are not normally changed for variations in income once made, the Government have recognised that it is unreasonable not to offer compensation to working parents with care who are modestly paid, particularly as the structure of income support offers automatic adjustment for the incomes of those parents with care not at work and dependent on income support.
It would also be wrong to wait until the Child Support Bill received Royal Assent, before considering compensation, as this would result in a delay of several months which could cause hardship. Accordingly, payments will be made in advance of Royal Assent. Parliamentary approval for this service will be sought in a Supplementary Estimate for the Department of Social Security's central government administered Social Security benefits and other payments vote, class XIII, vote 1. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £1,000,000 will be met by repayable advances from the Contingencies Fund.