HC Deb 12 November 1984 vol 67 cc147-8W
Mr. Mason

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services in view of the fact that no strike pay has been paid to members of the National Union of Mineworkers during the coal mining dispute, if he will now direct his Department's branches to pay the £15 per week that has been denied them since March.

Mr. Newton

The deduction of £15 from any supplementary benefit payable for the dependants of a person involved in a trade dispute is required by section 6 of the Social Security (No. 2) Act 1980. The intention is that the taxpayer should not have to bear the full cost of supporting strikers' families; either strikers themselves or their union should make some provision to maintain dependants. The deduction does not therefore depend upon payment of strike pay, nor is strike pay deemed to be in payment.

Mr. Gordon

Brown asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what conditions laid down by his Department miners and the families of miners engaged in industrial dispute must satisfy in order to receive exemptions from prescription charges.

Mr. Newton

The conditions of eligibility for free prescriptions are the same for strikers as for any other persons or families. These are age (children up to 16 or pensioners), certain specified illness and war disabilities, expectant and nursing mothers, and low income.