The Mother of Child Benefit

50182An excerpt from Eleanor’s speech to the

Eugenics Society on 12 November 1924,

and published in The Eugenics Review,

January 1925, 270-5.

‘By Family Endowment, we mean providing

for the maintenance of children

and possibly mothers directly instead of (as at present) indirectly on the

assumption that by the interplay of economic forces and the rough and

tumble of wage negotiations, men’s earnings will be somehow sufficient

for the support of families. Direct provision could be made either by the

State, through taxation, or by employers through the “equalization pool”

system, or by the combined action of the State, employers and workers,

through an extension of contributory insurance….’

Eleanor campaigned indefatigably for more than twenty five years for an

allowance that was paid to mothers, in an effort to combat the personal

dependence of women on men. Right up until the second reading of the

Family Allowances Bill, it seemed that the allowance would be made to the

father, but a cross-party backbench rebellion, including Eleanor in fighting form,

showed the strength of feeling in the House for the payment to be made to

the mother. The bill was quietly amended to make the allowance the property

of the mother,  and was enacted in June 1945. The first payments of five

shillings for each child, excluding the first, were made on 6 August 1946.

51YsUeIwzBL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_‘ disinheritedfamily


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One response to “The Mother of Child Benefit

  1. Pingback: Eleanor Rathbone: A Most Independent Member | Remembering Eleanor Rathbone

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