HC Deb 05 November 1993 vol 231 cc591-2W
Mr. Wigley

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what measures he will take to ensure that his Department does not refuse industrial disease benefits to miners and former miners suffering from emphysema and similar complaints without a medical examination.

Direct comparisons between the figures shown for 1979 and 1992 will be misleading because of dissimilarities in the structure and eligibility rules of the benefits concerned and differences in the availability of information about the numbers in receipt.

The available information is in the table.

Mr. Scott

Claimants for industrial injuries disablement benefit in respect of a prescribed disease are not normally required to have a medical examination until any other qualifying conditions are satisfied. In the case of the recently prescribed chronic bronchitis and emphysema in coal miners, the criteria to be first satisfied are that the claimant has worked an aggregate of at least 20 years underground in a coal mine, has at least category 1 pneumoconiosis as shown on a chest X-ray, and has a loss of lung function of at least 1 litre below the expected level.