HC Deb 02 March 1921 vol 138 cc1789-90
37. Major MOLSON

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that gamekeepers and the employers of gamekeepers are both strongly opposed to his decision of 23rd December, 1920, to the effect that gamekeepers must come under the Unemployment Insurance Act of 1920; did he receive a letter, dated 6th December, 1920, conveying a resolution from the Gamekeepers' Association embodying their objections; and can he now state why he found himself unable to give effect to their objections?


A letter dated 6th December, 1920, was received from the Gamekeepers' Association. It did not, however, contain any grounds on which it was possible to except gamekeepers from the provisions of the Act. Under Section 10 (1) (i) of the Act, it is open for any person aggrieved by a decision of the Minister to appeal from that decision to the High Court.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the great feeling of injustice that exists among the gamekeepers all over the country, on the ground that, while foresters and all agricultural labourers are excluded from the Act, gamekeepers have suddenly been included; and will he take steps to obtain from the Gamekeepers' Association the grounds which have been laid before the Department—I have done it myself—on which they desire exemption?


I have the grounds of exemption urged in the letter now before me. They are (1) the permanence of the employment; and (2) the fact that on change of employment they do not use the employment exchange. Those are not grounds on which I could act. In any case, however, the aggrieved person has the right of appeal to the High Court.


If it is not the wish of either the employers or the employed in a certain branch, are they still obliged to come in under the Act?


Certainly; insurance is insurance. We cannot allow anyone at their will to be relieved of the opportunities of contributing to insurance. If they are not established, and under no circumstances liable to be unemployed, then, if they are in an insured trade, we ask them to be insured.


To whom do the funds from the gamekeepers go?


They go to the Insurance Fund, so that if any gamekeeper is hereafter out of employment he may get the benefit.

Sir F. HALL rose


We must not argue the question.

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