HC Deb 14 March 1978 vol 946 cc142-3W
Mr. John

Page asked the Secretary of State for Social Services in the light of his reply to the hon. Member for Harrow, West, Official Report, 2nd March, column 390, giving details of the supplementary benefits paid out to the families of firemen who were taking part in a strike, why he did not take steps to collect precisely similar information in respect of those involved in the recent strike at the British Leyland Works at Speke.

Mr. Orme

Records are kept of payments made to strikers and their families but these records do not identify the disputes concerned unless they are national disputes or local disputes involving a large number of strikers. Under these arrangements the records should have indicated the number of payments made to British Leyland (Speke) strikers and their families, but unfortunately the requirement was overlooked as a result of several offices being involved with this strike and a number of other smaller ones at the same time. I regret that the information requested is not available and have reminded all officers likely to be affected by claims from strikers of the need to keep suitable records.

Mr. John Page

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish lists showing the amounts paid out weekly in supplementary benefit in the Speke area during the period of the British Leyland strike and the equivalent figure during the preceding 20 weeks.

Mr. Orme

This information is not readily available. The lists kept by local offices of my Department of order books issued do not specify the amount of benefit in each book. These details are recorded in the individual claimant's file. As regards Giro cheques issued, the details are kept centrally at Newcastle. A special analysis of these records to provide the information requested could only be carried out at disproportionate expense.