§ Mr. Gwilym Roberts
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what estimates are available of the number of "commuted cases" and pre-1970 widows who are outside the present pneumoconiosis scheme; if he will provide additional money for the scheme with the aim of including these groups in the scheme; and what figures are available for the cost of this inclusion.
§ Mr. Benn
The National Coal Board estimates that there are about 10,000 men who commuted their benefit under the Workmen's Compensation Acts and are therefore outside the scope of the coal industry pneumoconiosis compensation scheme. All widows of men who died as a result of pneumoconiosis except those of commuted cases are within the scope of the scheme, but those who were widowed before 26th January 1970, of4W which the Board estimates there are about 15,000, are compensated on a different basis from those who were widowed after that date. A deputation from the National Union of Mineworkers came to see me on the subject on 14th March last and I understand they are to discuss with the Board the real practical problems which any change in relation to these two types of cases would present.