42. Sir F. HALL
asked the President of the Board of Trade if Mercantile Marine masters and officers and men who have been left without employment owing to their ships having been sunk by the enemy are entitled to receive unemployment pay in the same way as munition workers who have remained in the country during the whole period of the War and been enabled to earn high wages without any personal risk; and, if not, whether he will take the matter up with a view to the anomaly being rectified?
The MINISTER Of LABOUR (Sir R. Home)
I have been asked to reply to this question. In Great Britain, masters, officers and men of the Mercantile Marine are eligible, when unemployed, for out-of-work donation on the same conditions as other civilian workers; these include a condition that a recipient of donation must, before the 25th August, 1918, have been an insured contributor under the health insurance provisions of the National Insurance Act, 1911. This condition, however, rules out all masters and officers who have Been exempt from insurance in respect of receiving remuneration of more than £160 a year.
Sir F. HALL
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many of these masters and officers to whom he has referred are out of employment, owing to the large number of steamers that have been sunk, and will he, under the circumstances, see whether something cannot be done to give them some remuneration, taking into consideration the excellent work they have done in troublous times?
§ Sir R. HORNE
I agree they deserve every sympathetic consideration, but the rules of the unemployment donation must be observed, though I think these officers might well be considered otherwise.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Will the Leader of the House consider the giving of a bonus to these torpedoed officers, the same as is given to the War Office staff, who have not been to the front?