HC Deb 31 July 1914 vol 65 cc1767-9

(1) The following condition shall be submitted for the first of the statutory conditions set out in Section eighty-six of the National Insurance Act, 1911 (hereinafter referred to as the principal Act), namely— (1) that he proves that not less than ten contributions have been paid by him under this Part of this Act": Provided that the substitution shall not take effect as respects any claim made before the passing of this Act.

(2) The proviso to the first paragraph in the Eighth Schedule to the principal Act shall have effect as if after the words "reaches the age of eighteen" there were inserted the words "or as regards the fulfilment of the first statutory condition for the receipt of unemployment benefit."


I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), after the word "Act" ["the passing of this Act"], to insert the words,

"The following paragraph shall be added to the proviso set out in Section 86 of the prinicpal Act, namely:— '(d) an offer of employment (at a standard wage lower than that which obtains in his own district) in any other district more than 20 miles from the Labour Exchange at or in the area of which he claims unemployment benefit, unless there is paid to him out of the Unemployment Fund such proportion of his railway fare to that other district as the Board of Trade may prescribe.' In Committee upstairs I moved an Amendment which the Government did not accept. The objection of the Government in Committee upstairs would be met, I think, by the Amendment which I now pro pose. I leave it entirely to the discretion of the Board of Trade to prescribe whether a man is or is not to be paid travelling expenses. As the matter was discussed in Committee, I believe hon. Members know exactly what the Amendment means, and therefore I do not propose to make a speech upon it now. I hope the Government will accept the Amendment.


I beg to second the Amendment.


I think it will be in the hon. Member's recollection that when the discussion took place in Committee it was recognised by hon. Members below the Gangway representing the Labour party that it was, on the whole, better to leave the matter as it is, and not to take the action the hon. Member proposes. I think the hon. Member by this Amendment is really worsening the position of the men. We have now, and we constantly use, the power to advance the railway fare to a man with none of the restrictions which the hon. Member proposes.


He has to pay it back.


Sometimes the employer pays it back for him. The hon. Member proposes to put the burden of the advance on the Unemployment Fund. The effect of the Amendment seems to be that a man has less right to refuse. I think the hon. Member will see that his proposal would not improve the position. I trust he will withdraw the Amendment, an act which, I think, will be in harmony with the views of the labour organisations.


I wish to join in the appeal made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the hon. Member not to presevere with this Amendment. I am aware from the discussion that took place upstairs that his intention was beneficial. Unfortunately the way in which he has drafted this particular Clause does not meet the object which he himself had in view. We on these benches could not assent to the proposal as it stands, and shall be compelled to vote against it.

Question, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill," put, and negatived.