§ Mr. Beith
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he has yet concluded his discussions with the National Union of Mineworkers on the effect of the Social Security (No. 2) Bill on the miners' early retirement scheme; and whether he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Chalker
My right hon. Friend has had no discussions with the National Union of Mineworkers about section 5 of the Social Security (No. 2) Act 1980, which provides that a person aged 60 or over will, from 6 April, have his unemployment benefit reduced by the amount of any occupational pension he receives in excess of £35 a week. Payments made under the mineworkers voluntary early retirement scheme are not exempt from these provisions, but I understand that the National Coal Board will ensure that the total payments to which the mineworkers concerned are entitled, will remain unchanged.