HC Deb 31 July 1914 vol 65 cc1761-7

When a man has completed his waiting week he shall not be required to complete another waiting week within a period of twelve months from the date of making the claim following upon which the waiting week is completed.

Brought up, and read the first time.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a second time."

I move this Clause in order that the workman should not have to complete more than one waiting week during the course of a period of twelve months. When a workman completes a waiting week, no other waiting week is necessary for a period of six weeks from the last day of that waiting week. If, after the waiting week, he makes a claim for benefit and the benefit is paid, no other waiting week is required for a period of six weeks after the claim which entitled him to payment of benefit. But, as a matter of fact, under the present system, it very often happens that a man has to make a waiting week six consecutive days, and there and then has to wait a second waiting week of six consecutive days without any benefit whatsoever having been paid to him between the two periods. I can give the House an example of what I mean. I have an unemployment card here of an actual case which happened in my own Constituency the other day. Suppose a man has completed his waiting week on Tuesday, and then gets employment for the rest of the week; then signs the register again the following Monday for five consecutive days up to and inclusive of the Friday; he misses Saturday, signs on Monday, and then misses signing on Tuesday. His Monday's signature is isolated, does not count at all, and is wiped out, and the whole of the other five consecutive signatures are of no account whatever from the point of view of benefit. If on the other hand he happened to have signed on the Tuesday he would have had seven signatures to the good and would receive a sum of 8s. 2d. in unemployment benefit.

That is not the only hardship. If he had signed on Tuesday he not only would have received unemployment to the extent of 8s. 2d., but the claim in that case having been a good one, and he having received unemployment benefit in respect of it, he would not have to complete another waiting week of six consecutive days for six weeks from the signing of the last signature. But, as a matter of fact, if he happens to have signed on an isolated day between two days on which he missed signing the register, the six weeks will count from the last day of his first waiting week. I hope I have made that as plain as possible. It is not easy to do so unless one has an unemployment card before him. It is really a case of great hardship. Over and over again under the present system a man receives no benefit at all, and yet during the course of a year he has actually signed for six consecutive days twice over. If the hon. Gentleman will accept this Clause it will only be necessary in future for a workman to sign for one waiting week. Directly he has done that, whenever he makes a good claim afterwards, however long the period may be during his twelve months, he will be able to receive unemployment benefit in respect of it. I have been in communication with several Labour Exchanges on this question, and the managers tell me it is quite easy to carry this out, and if it is accepted it will meet a real hardship.


I beg to second the Motion.


I hope the hon. Member will not press this Clause. I think he realises that in paragraph (3), Section 107, we do make provision against the undue repetition of waiting weeks. If you accept the actuarial principle of the waiting week, that principle holds good at the end of the year as well as at the beginning. The reason for the waiting week is very obvious. The first week is most easily borne, therefore what relief you give would be better given for periods of longer than one week. We recognise that it would be a hardship if a man had repeatedly to undergo a waiting week at short intervals, and we provide that where the two periods of not less than six days are not separated by more than six weeks, they shall count as one period of unemployment, and no fresh waiting week is required. The hon. Member has taken cases of possible hardship where men cannot make up a whole week of six days, and so on. I grant that such cases would arise, but I do not think we should be justified in destroying the safeguard of the waiting week to the extent the hon. Member's Clause would carry it We should certainly be putting a considerable extra charge on the fund. I would appeal to the hon. Member not to press such a change in the financial policy at this stage. I do not deny that ground may be found for the reconsideration of the waiting week, and a readjustment of the finance after further experience, but I consider the danger too great at the present time, seeing that we have actually made the provision we have done.


The Parliamentary Secretary does not take account of the number of instances where firms work half-time. A man works three days in the week and is idle for the other three. That may go on, in dull times, for a period extending as long as six months. That is a case of real hardship. In these circumstances, if the new Clause cannot be accepted, if there is power to do so, Regulations should be made to meet such a case as that. We do not want to say that in all instances the waiting week should not operate, but if the Board of Trade would discriminate it would be to the benefit of the beneficiaries under the Act. It is difficult enough for an ordinary labourer with his small wages to make ends meet when he is working full time, but when he is working half-time it becomes necessary that the half-benefit should be paid without the intervention of the waiting period of one week.


I should like to reply to my hon. Friend, although I do not think his remarks were relevant to the new Clause. It is a matter to which we shall give sympathetic consideration in making a change. It would be a very serious charge upon the fund.


The hon. Gentleman talks about the fund being the sufferer. He has to remember that all the signatures lapse. He very often gets nothing at all if he signs for five consecutive days. That is all for the good of the fund. The hon. Gentleman must take that into consideration.


It appears to me that the Parliamentary Secretary is taking up exactly the same position that the President of the Board of Trade took up when we had this matter upstairs. When the right hon. Gentleman was forced to accept the Amendment qualifying the period he did so on condition that no other Amendment was accepted which would involve any expenditure. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Robertson) says that if this Amendment is accepted it will involve a certain amount of expenditure. I cannot understand why he does not tell the House what

it will cost. He must have some figure in his mind. So far as I have been able to judge I do not think it will cost much, and it will certainly be a great benefit. This fund is becoming a huge banking account, and unless there is some alteration the whole responsibility for working it will be thrown on his shoulders.

Question put, "That the Clause be read a second time."

The House divided: Ayes, 91; Noes, 194.

Division No. 212.] AYES. [3.57 p.m.
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Gibbs, G. A. Parker, James (Halifax)
Amery, L. C. M. S. Gilmour, Captain John Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Archer-Shee, Major Martin Goldman, C. S. Perkins, Walter F.
Baird, John Lawrence Goldsmith, Frank Roberts, George H. (Norwich)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Gretton, John Ronaldshay, Earl of
Barnston, Harry Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds) Rowlands, James
Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton) Hall, Frederick (Dulwich) Sanders, Robert Arthur
Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich) Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham) Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish- Hancock, John George Stanley, Major Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Blair, Reginald Hardie, J. Keir Stewart, Gershom
Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith- Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Talbot, Lord Edmund
Boyton, James Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.) Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)
Bull, Sir William James Hoare, Samuel John Gurney Thorne, William (West Ham)
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North) Hodge, John Thynne, Lord Alexander
Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Tickler, T. G.
Cassel, Felix Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Touche, George Alexander
Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin) Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian) Tullibardine, Marquess of
Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W. Houston, Robert Paterson Walton, Sir Joseph
Clynes, John R. Hume-Williams, William Ellis Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Craik, Sir Henry Jowett, Frederick William Watson, Hon. W.
Currie, George W. Kenyon, Barnet Weigall, Captain A. G.
Denison-Pender, J. C. Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Wilkie, Alexander
Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott Kyffin-Taylor, G. Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud
Du Cros, Arthur Philip Larmor, Sir J. Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks. E. R.)
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M. Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester) Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)
Falle, Bertram Godfray M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's) Yate, Colonel Charles Edward
Fell, Arthur Morrell, Philip Younger, Sir George
Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)
Fletcher, John Samuel Newdegate, F. A. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.
Forster, Henry William O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid) G. Locker-Lampson and Mr. Hills.
Gastrell, Major W. Houghton
Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour) Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward
Acland, Francis Dyke Cowan, W. H. Flavin, Michael Joseph
Addison, Dr. Christopher Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Ginnell, Laurence
Alden, Percy Crooks, William Gladstone, W. G. C.
Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud) Cullinan, John Greig, Colonel J. W.
Armitage, Robert Dalrymple, Viscount Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)
Beale, Sir William Phipson Davies, Timothy (Lines, Louth) Gulland, John William
Beauchamp, Sir Edward Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)
Boland, John Pius Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire) Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)
Booth, Frederick Handel Delany, William Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)
Bowerman, Charles W. Devlin, Joseph Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North) Dillon, John Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)
Brady, Patrick Joseph Donelan, Captain A. Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)
Brunner, John F. L. Doris, William Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry
Bryce, J. Annan Duncan, Sir J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley) Hayden, John Patrick
Buckmaster, Sir Stanley O. Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.) Hayward, Evan
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor) Hazleton, Richard
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid) Henry, Sir Charles
Byles, Sir William Pollard Elverston, Sir Harold Higham, John Sharp
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.) Hinds, John
Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs, Heywood) Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.
Chancellor, Henry George Essex, Sir Richard Walter Hogge, James Myles
Chapple, Dr. William Allen Esslemont, George Birnie Holmes, Daniel Turner
Clancy, John Joseph Falconer, James Howard, Hon. Geoffrey
Clive, Captain Percy Archer Farrell, James Patrick Hughes, Spencer Leigh
Clough, William Fifench, Peter Illingworth, Percy H.
Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth) Field, William Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)
Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil) Mount, William Arthur Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East) Muldoon, John Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Jones, Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe) Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C. Scanian, Thomas
Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney) Needham, Christopher T. Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Joyce, Michael Neilson, Francis Sherwell, Arthur James
Kellaway, Frederick George Nolan, Joseph Shortt, Edward
Kennedy, Vincent Paul Norman, Sir Henry Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)
Kilbride, Denis Nugent, Sir Walter Richard Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
King, Joseph Nuttall, Harry Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert
Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Crickiade) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Sutherland, John E.
Lardner, James C. R. O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rid, Cockerm'th) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)
Leach, Charles O'Doherty, Philip Tennant, Rt. Hon Harold John
Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert O'Dowd, John Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich) O'Malley, William Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Lundon, Thomas O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.) Verney, Sir Harry
Lyell, Charles Henry O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Lynch, Arthur Alfred O'Shee, James John Wardle, George J.
Maclean, Donald O'Sullivan, Timothy Waring, Walter
Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Palmer, Godfrey Mark Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.
MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South) Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek) White, J. Dundas (Glasgow. Tradeston)
MacVeagh, Jeremiah Phillips, John (Longford, S.) White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E. R.)
M'Callum, Sir John M. Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H. White, Patrick (Meath, North)
McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Pratt, J. W. Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)
M'Micking, Major Gilbert Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central) Wiles, Thomas
Markham, Sir Arthur Basil Primrose, Hon. Neil James Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N. W.)
Marks, Sir George Croydon Pringle, William M. R. Williams, Lleweiyn (Carmarthen)
Marshall, Arthur Harold Radford, G. H. Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)
Mason, David M. (Coventry) Raphael, Sir Herbert H. Winfrey, Sir Richard
Meagher, Michael Reddy, Michael Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.) Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)
Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Yeo, Alfred William
Molloy, Michael Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford) Young, William (Perthshire, East)
Molteno, Percy Alport Robertson, John M. (Tyneside) Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Money, L. G. Chiozza Robinson, Sidney
Mooney, John J. Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.
Morgan, George Hay Roche, Augustine (Louth) Wedgwood Benn and Mr. Webb.
Morison, Hector Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter

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


I beg to call your attention, Sir, to the fact that by mistake I voted in the "No" Lobby.


I am afraid the hon. Member must abide by his act.