Fears raised over industrial disease payments for former Midlothian mineworkers

The Scottish Government has insisted it currently has no say over industrial disease payments for former mineworkers after a former Midlothian miner raised the issue.

Former Midlothian councillor Alex Bennett, a representative of the Scottish area of the National Union of Mineworkers believed the payments were handled by Holyrood as social security is a devolved issue, and he wanted to know what the prospect of Scottish Independence would mean for his members.

He said: “Thousands of former miners in the Lothians receive a pension from the DWP as they suffer from an industrial disease.

"Social Security was devolved to the Scottish Parliament in 2015 and they have never addressed industrial injuries, former miners have to submit a claim to England.

"The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council no longer has public meetings in Scotland, and the Scottish Parliament has failed to set-up a Scottish Advisory Council.

"It is a worry for people on industrial injuries not just miners, will they lose their benefits if Scotland leaves the UK without negotiation?”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "Currently, Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit continues to be delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions, on behalf of the Scottish Ministers, under an Agency Agreement.

“The UK Government ruled out the possibility of the Scottish Government using the current UK Industrial Injuries Advisory Council for Employment Injury Assistance. We will undertake further public consultation in advance of delivery of Employment Injury Assistance, including on whether to establish a similar group for our Scottish benefit.”

Alex Bennett (pictured left) with Raymond Diamond at the miners memorial, Newton Church Road.

The spokesperson added: “The Scottish Government is taking a positive, responsible and compassionate approach to delivering disability benefits. Since creating Social Security Scotland in 2018, 12 different benefits are now being delivered by the Scottish Government, including Child Disability Payment and Adult Disability Payment.”