§ Mr. Barron
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) following the reply to the hon. Member for Rother Valley on 31 January,Official Report, column 633, concerning concessionary fuel, what action has been taken by British Coal to inform and give advice to concessionaires who have accepted the lump sum offer;
(2) pursuant to the answer of 31 January, Official Report, column 633, on concessionary fuel, what action his Department has taken in conjunction with British Coal; and if he will make a statement.
§ Miss Widdecombe
Officials contacted British Coal as soon as they became aware that a lump-sum option was being offered to recipients of cash-in-lieu of concessionary coal. That contact has been followed up with a letter confirming the importance of concessionaires obtaining benefit advice before making a decision. The Department will also be issuing appropriate guidance to Social Security offices and local authorities. We understand that British Coal is currently considering its position.