§ Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson
asked the Prime Minister if she will list the rights to housing and social security benefits, and other benefits available to Irish nationals coming to the United Kingdom; how many of these rights are reciprocated by the Government of the Republic; and what discussions about them has taken place within the auspices of the Anglo-Irish agreement.
§ The Prime Minister
I assume my hon. Friend is referring to cash benefits available according to means. Under the Council of Europe convention on social and medical assistance, ratified by both the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, Irish nationals legally in the United Kingdom are entitled to our social assistance benefits equally with and under the same conditions as United Kingdom nationals; British nationals are similarly entitled to benefits in Ireland. The main social assistance 21W benefits in the United Kingdom are supplementary benefit, family income supplement and housing benefit. In Ireland the comparable benefits are supplementary welfare allowance and family income supplement. Housing costs are not met by a special housing benefit in Ireland but are taken into account in calculating entitlement to supplementary welfare allowance.
The provision of cash benefits has not been discussed within the auspices of the Anglo-Irish agreement.