§ Mr. Gordon Brown
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) under what authority he has instructed that section 12 payments, in the form of loans, made by social work departments under the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968, are to be counted as income for the purpose of calculating the supplementary benefit entitlement of the families of miners;
(2) whether his Department has issued any new guidance to local, or regional officers, on how to interpret current legislation and regulations applicable to the circumstances of the families of miners currently on strike.
§ Dr. Boyson
Decisions on the treatment of resources are made by the independent adjudicating authorities, by the adjudication officer in the local office in the first instance. I understand that weekly loans made by social work departments to the families of miners for day-to-day living expenses have been treated as other income under regulation 11(5)(e) of the Supplementary Benefit (Resources) Regulations 1981 and, being under that regulation, are subject to a £4 disregard. General guidance on the treatment of claims from people involved in a trade dispute is contained in the S Manual at paragraphs S 10001 to S 11000, a copy of which is held in the Library. I understand that the chief adjudication officer has provided additional advice on particular points affecting certain claims in the miners' dispute including the treatment of payments made by social work departments.