Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Twenty-First Report


Memorandum from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs


1. The Committee has requested a memorandum on the following points:

"(1) Regulation 4(1)(d) of the principal Regulations, inserted by regulation 3(a), refers to "a person in respect of whom a maternity certificate .. has been given". Explain the purpose and intended effect of regulation 4(1)(d). Are the quoted words intended to apply no matter how long ago a maternity certificate was given? If so, explain the reason for this.

(2) Regulation 6 of the principal Regulations, as amended by regulation 5 of this instrument, prescribes the maximum amount of grants that may be paid under regulation 4(1)(a) to (c). Explain why no maximum is prescribed for grants payable under regulation 4(1)(d).".

Point 1

2. Regulation 4(1)(d) is intended to extend the list of persons who may apply for a grant to any person who is, or is living with a spouse who is-

- in receipt of any of the benefits mentioned in regulation 4(2); and

- pregnant and a woman in respect of whom a maternity certificate has been given.

3. Regulation 4(1)(d) mentions maternity certificates "as provided for in regulation 2 of the Social Security (Medical Evidence) Regulations 1976 and regulation 2 of the Statutory Maternity Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 1987". Under those Regulations a certificate is relevant only as respects a particular pregnancy or confinement. The Department therefore considers that in context (and in particular in the light of regulation 4(1)(a)) it is reasonably clear that sub-paragraph (d) is limited to persons who are pregnant at the time that the application is made. However, we accept that the quoted words are not as clear as they could be and the Department therefore intends to amend the provision at the earliest opportunity.

4. The Department regrets this lack of clarity.

Point 2

5. Due to an oversight, no maximum amount was specified for applications qualifying under regulation 4(1)(d), although such applications would, in respect of materials-only applications, be covered by regulation 6(4). The Department will amend the provision at the earliest opportunity.

6. The Department regrets that this error occurred.

19th February 2002

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