HC Deb 28 August 1914 vol 66 cc265-6

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that at Castleton, in Lancashire, some hundreds of men, thrown out of employment by the War, have signed the register of unemployment thirteen consecutive days since 7th August without receiving any payment; whether it is in accordance with the Act to count without payment not only the first six days, but the subsequent week merely because the second week might have been a holiday week; and whether he can take any and, if so, what steps to see that men in this position receive the insurance money for which they have contributed in some cases for more than two years?


Unemployment benefit is not payable to workmen who are merely out on a recognised holiday, but where the recognised holidays are extended owing to slackness of work the additional days thus lost are treated as days of unemployment. The exception with regard to recognised holidays does not, of course, apply where the workmen are discharged, as distinct from being suspended. Any refusal of benefit in accordance with the above principles is subject to the final decision of the Umpire, if the workman appeals and his appeal is upheld by the Court of Referees. I may mention that certain cases similar to those at Castleton were heard yesterday by the Court of Referees at Preston, which in some of the cases supported the postponement of benefit and in others disagreed with it on the ground that the workmen had been definitely discharged.


Can the Board of Trade take cognisance of the point whether the unemployment is due to an exceptional circumstance like War, which does not come under the ordinary categories for which the rules were intended?


Unemployment owing to war would come under the ordinary exceptions.


Where the Labour Exchanges are quite well aware that these men have registered five, six or seven days prior to the holidays, surely their cases might be dealt with without taking them to Referees at all?