86. Mr. W.THORNE
asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that it is the practice of the London Labour Exchange authorities to offer unemployed workpeople jobs out of London, and in some cases a considerable distance from their homes, and if such employment is not accepted workmen forfeit their right to unemployment benefit; if he is aware that the rate of pay offered in such instances is less than that of the London area, and that no allowance is given for lodging and travelling expenses; and can he see his way to order that workmen have the option of taking employment away from home or of receiving unemployment benefit?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of LABOUR (Mr. Bridgeman)
The conditions for the receipt of unemployment benefit are laid down by the Act, and are interpreted authoritatively by the Umpire. I have no power to vary the conditions or to interfere with the Umpire's decisions. Whilst special circumstances are always taken into account, it would not be consistent with the provisions of the Act to allow a workman to continue in receipt of unemployment benefit whilst suitable employment was available for him in another district at the standard or recognised rate for that district. Moreover, this is the usual trade union practice.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in the larger Labour Exchanges they frequently send men away from London into districts where the rates of pay may be in some cases 2d. or 3d. per hour under what they have been receiving; that is a great hardship?
§ Mr. BRIDGEMAN
I have already said that where there are special circumstances they are considered. We have no power to go behind the Act.