§ 35. Sir CYRIL COBB
asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the circumstances which have resulted in the recent rapid increase in unemployment in the country, he will consider the advisability of widening the application of Clauses 7 and 44 of the Unemployment Insurance Act of 1920, in order to place those persons who had recently been thrown out of employment at the date when the first contribution was due under the Act in the same position with regard to benefit as they would have been if they had been in employment at that date?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
As the Unemployment Insurance Act is on a contributory basis, I am afraid I cannot hold out any hope of H, modification of the condition which is imposed by the Act itself, that a minimum of four contributions must be paid in order to qualify an applicant for benefit. The provisions of Section 44, under which benefit may be claimed for eight weeks as soon as four contributions have been paid under the Act, is already very favourable to persons entering insur- 428 ance for the first time, and persons previously insured will, I imagine, in most cases have already paid the qualifying number of contributions. As regards the special case of ex-members of His Majesty's Forces, my hon. Friend is no doubt aware that ex-service men and women and merchant seamen are entitled to out-of-work donation under the fresh extension, which will be in operation to 31st March next.
§ Mr. PEMBERTON BILLING
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a considerable amount of unemployment and the necessary payment of doles is attributable to the lack of dilution in certain trades where there is a shortage of labour? How long do the Government propose to pay unemployment doles to trade unions which refuse to absorb available labour?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
That does not apply to this, and, if it did, I have another question to answer on the matter.
§ 37. Mr. R. GRAHAM
asked the Minister of Labour what trades have completed their arrangements to contract cut of the Unemployment Insurance Act; and whether he will state the amounts of the contributions of the employés and of the employers, the amounts of the benefits provided, and the estimated costs of the administration of these adopted schemes?
§ Mr. MACNAMARA
I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to special schemes under Section 18 of the Act. Such schemes are under consideration in several cases, but the proposals have not as yet in any case reached the stage of adoption by the industry with a view to approval by the Ministry of Labour. Of course, my hon. Friend is aware that it was recognised that industries would not be able to have their special schemes ready by the date of the coming into operation of the Act. Provision is therefore made under Section 18 of the Act to enable an easy transition to be made to a special scheme for any industry, where such special scheme comes into force on or before the 4th July, 1921.