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1979-1987 : Mr Major’s Written Parliamentary Answer on Income Support

Below is the text of Mr Major's written Parliamentary Answer on Income Support on 8th April 1986.


Mr. Ralph Howell Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give details of the income support available to British subjects who had been working but had become unemployed in each of the following countries: (a) France, (b) West Germany, (c) Italy, and (d) Eire.

Mr. Major The European convention on social and medical assistance to which France, West Germany, Italy, the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom are signatories, provides that nationals of countries which are parties to the convention, who are lawfully present in another signatory's country without means, are entitled to social assistance on the same basis as that country's own nationals. Information on social assistance benefits is contained in section IX of the Department's publication, "Tables of Social Benefit Systems in the Member States of the European Communities, Portugal and Spain (Position at 1 January 1985)", a copy of which is available in the Library.

A United Kingdom national who has been employed and becomes unemployed in France, West Germany, Italy or the Republic of Ireland may qualify for unemployment benefit on the same basis and subject to the same conditions as a national of the particular member state concerned. For these purposes the insurance record in the United Kingdom may be taken into account under arrangements in European Community legislation. Details of the basic conditions that have to be satisfied and of the rates of benefit payable in EC member states are given in section VII of the tables to which I have referred.

Mr. Ralph Howell Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what information he has as to the income support available to British subjects who were visitors in each of the following countries if they found themselves without any money: (a) France, (b) West Germany, (c) Italy and (d) Eire.

Mr. Major Such information as is available is contained in the Department's publication, "Tables of Social Benefit Systems in the Member States of the European Communities, Portugal and Spain (Position at 1 January 1985)", a copy of which is in the Library. As section IX of that publication indicates, there is no statutory right to assistance in France or Italy for people who are not residents of those countries. The supplementary welfare allowance payable in Ireland is shown in section IX as available to residents only, but our latest information is that a condition of residence is not essential.