asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the amount paid in social security benefits to the wives and children of men on strike during the current financial year; what was the equivalent sum paid during the same period in the previous financial year; and what proposals he has for altering the present criteria for such payments.
In the current financial year up to 28 November, £1·9 million was paid in supplementary benefit to the dependants of those on strike. In the financial year 1977–78 the corresponding figure was £1·2 million.I have no proposals for altering the present criteria for these payments. The rules on the payment of benefit in trade disputes are being considered as part of the second stage of the review of the supplementary benefit scheme. A basic assumption for this work is the continuation of the striker's entitlement to benefit for his dependants.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received supporting or opposing changes in the eligibility to benefit of the wives and children of those involved in industrial disputes.
I have received a number of representations on this matter. The Government's policy remains as set out in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price) on 5th December 1978.—[Vol. 959, c. 1200–1.]