§ Mr. Terry Davis
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department for how long a couple must have lived together as man and wife to be eligible for assistance with the cost of fares under the assisted prison visits scheme.
§ Mr. Mellor
The assisted prison visits scheme is administered by the Department of Health and Social Security on behalf of the Home Office. In deciding for the purpose of processing claims under this scheme whether the couple have been "living together as man and wife", I understand that the Department of Health and Social Security applies broadly the same principles as it applies in relation to supplementary benefit claims, which are set out in the supplementary benefits handbook. Under those principles there is no fixed minimum period of cohabitation required to prove such a relationship, but where the couple have cohabited for only a few months there would have to be clear evidence that the case met the other criteria set out in the handbook.