HC Deb 19 March 1919 vol 113 cc2077-9

asked the Minister of Labour whether the out-of-work donation payable to women ceases on their marriage; and, if so, is the procedure in regard to its cessation the same in all districts?


Out-of-work donation payable to women does not cease on their marriage, provided that they continue to fulfil the prescribed conditions. The right to donation in any particular case would be determined by a Court of Referees, and I am not aware that there is any difference in the procedure in the various districts.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether the referees are ever consulted in this matter?


If the hon. Member means collectively, I would not like to say that they are, but they certainly are individually.

Major E. WOOD

Are all the cases brought before the referees, or only the cases in regard to which there is some dispute?


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in some districts they are very lax and that in others they are very strict?


If the hon. Member will give me particulars, I will inquire into it.


asked the Minister of Labour why £1,200,000 a week is paid in out-of-work donations while there are industries seriously crippled for want of labour, and in view of the number of situations in domestic service waiting to be filled?


The vacancies notified to the Employment Exchanges do not indicate that there are industries which are seriously crippled for want of labour; in fact, in practically every occupation the number of workpeople unemployed exceeds the demand. With regard to domestic service vacancies, the demand exceeds the numbers of applicants who register for domestic work, but no opportunity is lost of offering domestic work to any applicant who from her previous record appears suitable for that kind of employment.


Does my hon. Friend really mean to suggest that there are not a very large number of employers in the country who are absolutely crying out for labour?


I mean to suggest that we have not had applications for them.

Colonel ASHLEY

Has not the hon. Gentleman heard of the very great shortage of agricultural labourers?

Lieutenant-Colonel Sir S. HOARE

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there were 30,000 applications for women in last week's statistics, and that only 7,000 were found places?


It depends upon the kind of work. I said in regard to domestic service that the demands exceed the number of applicants.

Brigadier-General CROFT

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in thousands of cases men and women have refused employment which has been definitely offered to them?


Is the hon. Gentleman also aware that in most of these cases existing trade union rates are not offered?


I have no evidence of the thousands of cases to which the hon. and gallant Gentleman refers. If that evidence is forthcoming, I will certainly look into it.


Has there been any application for employment by the unemployed rich?

29. Mr. DONALD

asked the Minister of Labour the number of new branches opened in Ireland for the payment of out-of-work donations; whether his attention has been drawn to the misapplication of the out-of-work donation throughout the country; whether people are leaving their employment and successfully claiming this out-of-work donation in Ireland; and will he consider the advisability of holding an inquiry into the abuse and waste of public money?


In reply to the first part of the question, the number of new branch offices opened in Ireland to deal with the payment of out-of-work donation is two, but it has been necessary to take additional premises in sixteen places where Employment Exchanges already existed With regard to the remaining parts of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. and learned Member for York on the 17th February last, and to the announcements in the public Press with regard to the modification of the scheme in its application to Ireland.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that at one of these branches in the South of Ireland over 2,000 persons are participating in this out-of-work donation and that only 220 of these are genuine cases, and does he not think an inquiry is necessary into this abuse of public money?


The hon. Member makes an assertion which I have no means of checking. If he will send me particulars, I will have the matter looked into at once.