§ Mr. Penhaligon
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what is his estimate of the number of unemployed workers in Great Britain in the past 10 years who have been ineligible to claim supplementary benefit through being classified as seasonal workers;300W
(2) what is his estimate of the number of unemployed workers in Cornwall in the past 10 years who have been ineligble to claim supplementary benefit through being classified as seasonal workers.
§ Mrs. Chalker
A person who engages in seasonal work is eligible to claim supplementary benefit if he is unemployed during his off-season, subject to the usual conditions of registering and being available for full-time work with an employer.
There are, however, provisions for calculating how a person's earnings during his on-season should affect his entitlement to supplementary benefit during his off-season. These are contained in regulation 4(9) of the Supplementary Benefit (Resources) Regulations 1980 (SI 1980 No. 1300). This regulation makes provision for the continuance from 24 November 1980 of the practice of the former Supplementary Benefits Commission. The principle underlying the regulation is that, where a person engages in a seasonal occupation which provides him with relatively high earnings, he should be expected to set aside some of those earnings for his support during the off-season.
The regulation provides that where a person's total earnings during the season do not exceed the greater of either twice his supplementary benefit requirements or three times the normal requirements of a single householder, these earnings will have no effect on his entitlement to supplementary benefit during the off-season. Where there is an excess, it is divided by the number of weeks of the off-season and the result treated as weekly earnings in calculating his entitlement to benefit for the off-season. The "off-season earnings" will only remove entitlement to supplementary benefit where, after allowing for disregarded income, they result in the claimant's total resources exceeding his supplementary benefit requirements.
Decisions on entitlement to supplementary benefit of unemployed seasonal workers are not recorded separately.