HC Deb 31 July 1914 vol 65 cc1775-9

(1) So much of the Seventh Schedule of the principal Act as prohibits workmen from receiving within any period of twelve months unemployment benefit for more than fifteen or such other number of weeks as may be prescribed shall have effect as if for the reference to any period of twelve months there were substituted a reference to an insurance year.

(2) A workman in respect of whom no contributions have been paid before the passing of this Act shall not be entitled under proviso (a) to the fourth paragraph in the Seventh Schedule of the principal Act to any addition to the number of contributions which he has actually paid.


I beg to move, at the end of the Clause, to add,

"(2) The Seventh Schedule to the principal Act shall be amended to provide for the payment of unemployment benefit from the fourth day of unemployment when the period of unemployment exceeds nine days."

A very large number of working men think it extremely hard that they should have to register six days before they are entitled to benefit on the seventh day. It is particularly hard on labourers, and the worst paid workmen amongst those who have to insure. It may be said this will cost something, but then the Act costs something, and I take it the object is to provide unemployed workmen with sufficient benefit to enable them to exist during the unemployed period. Everybody knows that men earning from 16s. to 20s. per week cannot possibly wait a week for unemployed benefit. Therefore we think they ought to be paid from the fourth day, and with the object of testing the opinion of the House I beg to move—


I beg to second the Amendment.

I have been awfully sorry that, so far as our party is concerned, we are not as strong as the legal Members. If we had been, we would have made the Government take up a different position this afternoon. As a matter of fact, during the whole of this Debate they have not made a single concession. It has not cost them a thimbleful of salt. I expect them to take up on this Amendment exactly the same position as they have taken up all the afternoon. They will probably say that it will cost a great deal of money, and that they are not in a position to agree to it. A great hardship is inflicted under present circumstances, especially upon the lower paid men. It is all very well for some of us in this House, who have decent salaries, but the ordinary labourer, with 18s. or 20s. a week, has to sign on for six days, and then to sign on for another six days before he is entitled to draw any pay. He is on his beam-ends if he is out of work for a single week. I hope the Government will make some concession in this matter, because it would be a great benefit to a large number of labourers if the unemployment benefit could start as proposed in the Amendment.


It is hardly fair of my hon. Friend to reproach me with not having made concessions to-day. He knows that we made concessions in Committee, and he is further aware from long experience that it is the practice of the Board of Trade to make all possible concessions beforehand.


What concessions have you made this afternoon?


I said we had made none this afternoon, but we made some in Committee.


What did you do in Committee?


We made several concessions. I was saying that the hon. Member knows from experience that it is the practice of the Board of Trade to consult representatives of labour before bringing in any such measure as this, and to make what concessions they can before the Bill is even printed. It is not a case of bringing in a cast-iron Bill without consulting hon. Members below the Gangway. The hon. Member now proposes a radical change—to throw over the principle of the waiting week. That principle was fully discussed on the original Bill, and the House decided to affirm it. The hon. Member will not expect me to offer a mere expression of sympathy with men who feel the pinch the moment they are out of work. He will be good enough to take that for granted. As regards the cost, I am able in this case to offer him something in the nature of an actuarial estimate. In previous cases we did not give an estimate, because we submitted we could not. But in this case it is estimated that the cost of the Amendment as it stands would be about £110,000 a year.


A flea-bite!


I want to remind the House of the general situation. My hon. Friend has more than once said that we are accumulating a huge fund which we shall never be in a position to expend because of our refusal to accept his proposals. I wish that there were any percentage of truth in that forecast. The House at such a time as this should give consideration to the possibility of a very grave period of depression. We stand, indeed, to have a prolonged period of depression, and instead of a continued fund of £3,000,000 a loss of £5,000,000. We stand to face a period in which we may have to pay out every penny that has been saved, and all that will come in in the course of the year. I do not want to figure as an alarmist. I sincerely trust that depression will not come, but that is a reasonable forecast to make. The hon. Member's assumption that there would be no serious drain upon the fund except; through accepting his proposals is an entire mistake. I appeal to the House,

while again expressing my sincere sympathy in the case of those for whom the hon. Member speaks, to maintain the principle of the "waiting week."


I have an Amendment down on the point. May I therefore ask the hon. Gentleman, if he is not prepared to pay benefit on the fourth day, whether he will take into consideration the payment of benefit from the fourth day after the waiting week has once been completed? That is to say, will he take into consideration the advisability of paying a man from the fourth day if he falls-out of employment again?


We will take it into consideration, but I cannot pretend to promise the hon. Gentleman, as I see no likelihood of our proposing it, to alter the finance of the Act to any extent in the near future.


I am not at all satisfied with this statement on behalf of the Board of Trade, but I do not want to put hon. Members to the trouble of going through the Division Lobby. All we can do is to agitate with a view that the Act shall be amended in the direction we wish. I would ask leave to withdraw my Amendment. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"]

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

The House divided: Ayes, 90; Noes, 182.

Division No. 213.] AYES. [4.35 p.m.
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Gastrell, Major W. Houghton Pratt, J. W.
Amery, L. C. M. S. Gibbs, G. A. Price, C E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Archer-Shee, Major Martin Goldman, C. S. Rees, Sir J. D.
Baird, John Lawrence Goldsmith, Frank Roberts, George H. (Norwich)
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, London) Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds) Ronaldshay, Earl of
Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester) Hancock, John George Sanders, Robert Arthur
Barnston, Harry Hardie, J. Keir Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton) Helmsley, Viscount Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish- Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Stewart, Gershom
Blair, Reginald Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.) Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)
Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith- Hills, John Waller Thorne, William (West Ham)
Boyton, James Hoare, Samuel John Gurney Thynne, Lord Alexander
Bull, Sir William James Hodge, John Tickler, T. G.
Burn, Colonel C. R. Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian) Touche, George Alexander
Byles, Sir William Pollard Houston, Robert Paterson Tryon, George Clement
Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W. Hume-Williams, William Ellis Tullibardine, Marquess of
Chapple, Dr. William Allen Jowett, Frederick William Walton, Sir Joseph
Clive, Captain Percy Archer Kenyon, Barnet Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Clynes, John R. Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Wardle, George J.
Cowan, W. H. Kyffin-Taylor, G. Watson, Hon. W.
Craik, Sir Henry Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End) White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Crooks, William Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury) Wilkie, Alexander
Currie, George W. Locker-Lampson. G. (Salisbury) Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud
Dalrymple, Viscount Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester) Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E. H.)
Denlson-Pender, J. C. Mackinder, Halford J. Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)
Dickson, Rt. Hon. C Scott M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's) Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Malcolm, Ian Yate, Colonel Charles Edward
Falle, Bertram Godfray Morrison-Bell. Capt. E. F. (Ashburton) Younger, Sir George
Fell, Arthur Newman, John R. P.
Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes Newton, Harry Kottingham TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.
Fletcher, John Samuel O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid) Tyson Wilson and Mr. Parker.
Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour) Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) Norman, Sir Henry
Acland, Francis Dyke Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Nugent, Sir Walter Richard
Addison, Dr. Christopher Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry Nuttall, Harry
Alden, Percy Hayden, John Patrick O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud) Hayward, Evan O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Armitage, Robert Hazleton, Richard O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Henry, Sir Charles O'Doherty, Philip
Seale, Sir William Phipson Higham, John Sharp O'Dowd, John
Beauchamp, Sir Edward Hinds, John O'Malley, William
Boland, John Pius Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)
Booth, Frederick Handel Holmes, Daniel Turner O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North) Howard, Hon. Geoffrey O'Shee, James John
Brady, Patrick Joseph Hughes, Spencer Leigh O'Sullivan, Timothy
Brunner, John F. L. Illingworth, Percy H. Palmer, Godfrey Mark
Bryce, J. Annan Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh) Peto, Basil Edward
Buckmaster, Sir Stanley O. Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil) Phillips, John (Longford, S.)
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East) Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Primrose, Hon. Neil James
Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred Joyce, Michael Radford, G. H.
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Kellaway, Frederick George Raphael, Sir Herbert H.
Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs, Heywood) Kennedy, Vincent Paul Reddy, Michael
Chancellor, Henry George Kilbride, Denis Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)
Clancy, John Joseph King, Joseph Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Clough, William Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Robertson, Sir G Scott (Bradford)
Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth) Lardner, James C. R. Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rid, Cockerm'th) Robinson, Sidney
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Leach, Charles Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Cullinan, John Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert Roche, Augustine (Louth)
Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy) Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Davies, Timothy (Lincs, Louth) Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich) Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Lundon, Thomas Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire) Lyell, Charles Henry Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Delany, William Lynch, Arthur Alfred Sherwell, Arthur James
Dillon, John Maclean, Donald Shortt, Edward
Donelan, Captain A. Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)
Duncan, Sir J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley) MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South) Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.) MacVeagh, Jeremiah Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert
Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor) M'Callum, Sir John M. Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid) M'Curdy, Charles Albert Sutherland, John E.
Elverston, Sir Harold McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.) M'Micking, Major Gilbert Tennant, Rt. Hon. Harold John
Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Markham, Sir Arthur Basil Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)
Essex, Sir Richard Walter Marks, Sir George Croydon Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Esslemont, George Birnie Marshall, Arthur Harold Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Falconer, James Mason, David M. (Coventry) Verney, Sir Harry
Farrell, James Patrick Meagher, Michael Waring, Walter
Ffrench, Peter Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.
Field, William Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix) White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Fiennes, Hon Eustace Edward Molloy, Michael White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E. R.)
Flavin, Michael Joseph Molteno, Percy Alport White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Ginnell, Laurence Money, L. G. Chiozza Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)
Gladstone, W. G. C. Mooney, John J. Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N. W.)
Greig, Colonel J. W. Morgan, George Hay Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)
Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.) Morrell, Philip Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)
Gulland, John William Morison, Hector Winfrey, Sir Richard
Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway) Muldoon, John Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)
Hall, Frederick (Dulwich) Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert Young, William (Perthshire, East)
Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham) Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C. Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale) Needham, Christopher T.
Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Neilson, Francis TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.
Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds) Nolan, Joseph Wedgwood Benn and Mr. Webb.
Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)

Resolution agreed to.