§ Mr. Gordon Brown
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services which local authorities have been asked to reveal to officers of his Department the names of miners or their families who are being assisted with loans or donations; and under what legislation this power is being exercised.
§ Dr. Boyson
As I explained to the hon. Member on 27 June at column452, it is known that some local authorities have made payments to striking miners. Under regulations 4 and 8 of the Supplementary Benefit (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1981 a person claiming benefit is required to furnish information and evidence needed to determine his claim. It is normal administrative practice for local offices, if they consider it appropriate, to seek verification of statements made by claimants who do not themselves produce evidence. Local offices do not keep records of such inquiries so that it is not known which local authorities may have been approached in the circumstances described.