§ Mrs. Renée Short
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, in comparable terms, what are the levels of supplementary benefit presently allocated to the families of striking miners; and what were the levels paid in similar circumstances in 1974.
§ Mr. Newton
Levels of supplementary benefit payable for the families of strikers depend on individual circumstances, taking account of any other family income. The rules which apply to such payments have changed since 1974 and it is not possible to provide figures showing amounts of benefit paid in exactly comparable terms. One of the main changes is that help with rent and rates is now provided by a separate housing benefit, whereas in 1974 housing costs were covered by supplementary benefit. Another major change, since 1980, is that a specified sum (currently £16) is now deducted from the supplementary benefit requirements of families of strikers.
For illustrative purposes, some examples of supplementary benefit scale-rates which applied to strikers' families in 1974 and their equivalents at the present time are shown in the table. Housing requirements have been excluded and the £16 specified sum has been deducted from the 1984 figures.