HC Deb 06 April 1922 vol 152 cc2489-93

"Paragraph (a) of Sub-section (2) of Section seven of the principal Act shall have effect as though the words 'five shillings' were substituted for the words 'three shillings and fourpence.'"—[Mr. R. Young.]

Brought up, and read the First time.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The right hon. Gentleman is aware that under the present Statute a man following a subsidiary employment, not his regular occupation, may receive benefit if the remuneration from that subsidiary occupation does not exceed 3s. 4d. per day. The position arises now, owing to the very large number of men on the unemployment dole, that a certain number of men, not only those who are engaged in working the Act, but others besides, are getting a little over £1 per week and, as a result of that, they are deprived of their unemployment benefit, which means that in normal circumstances, when unemployment is not so great as it is to-day, these men may have £1 a week, and if they are unemployed they will receive the benefit, but owing to the fact that they have some work on hand to-day, in administering this Act, they receive a little more, and as a result of receiving that little more they are deprived of the benefit which otherwise they would have received. They are therefore in a position that if they chose to throw up their work they would receive more for their sustenance during the week than if they continued to work. Therefore we suggest in the new Clause that instead of 3s. 4d. the sum should be 5s. per day. We think it is a very great hardship that men who are helping the Minister of Labour in the efficient carrying out of the payment of unemployment benefit due to those who are in the streets should themselves be penalised as the result of their work for the Ministry. Many of them at present are not in receipt of unemployment benefit and they are not willing to throw up this subsidiary work out of loyalty to their union and those fellow members who happen to be unemployed, for they recognise that a very large number of the men in the trade unions are averse from drawing their unemployment benefit from any other source than their trade union. Another thing that arises out of this disqualification for unemployment benefit is that there is no saving in the long run. Of the men who, as a result of the small remuneration they have, are deprived of unemployment benefit, possibly many go to the boards of guardians for relief. Consequently the cost is only shifted from the unemployment fund to the funds of the local authority. I hope the Minister will give the matter his sympathetic attention.


I beg to second the Motion. As I said when speaking on a previous Clause, there is a sum of £220,000 to be paid out of this fund next year for services of the character already mentioned. There was £500,000 last year, but the amount has been reduced by £280,000. I suggest, without specifying any particular cases, that this is just one of the instances of sawing off the tail of the unfortunate bottom dog all the time and stopping the little people from getting anything.


I wish to support the Motion and to give an illustration of the way the Act works with peculiar hardship. The case came to my attention, only last week. A branch secretary, ordinarily working in a shipyard, was disqualified from getting any unemployment benefit because he was drawing 3s. 4d. a day. In addition, he was putting in considerable time as a representative member of the local employment committee. When he went to the local employment committee and asked for his-subsistence allowance for loss of time in doing that work, he was told, "You cannot have any allowance because you are unemployed." When he went to the same Exchange to draw his unemployment benefit they said, "You cannot have any unemployment benefit because you are not out of work." He was getting the 3s. 4d. per day. The case seemed peculiarly hard. It can be seen how such a man is penalised, for, supposing he had a wife and four children, he would, if unemployed, get 24s. a week in benefit. Such men are in a worse position than they would be in if they came under the Act. There is surely strong ground for making such an Amendment of the Act as is suggested.


I am not quite certain whether the hon. Gentleman who spoke last said that a man cannot earn £1 a week and still draw unemployment pay. The whole question turns on Section 7 of the principal Act. That Section provides: A person shall not be deemed to be unemployed on any day on which he is following any occupation from which he derives any remuneration or profit, unless that occupation has ordinarily been followed by him in addition to his usual employment and outside the ordinary working hours of that employment, and the remuneration received therefrom in respect of that day does not exceed three shillings and fourpence. … Three shilling and fourpence per day is a pound a week. The effect of the new Clause would be that a man drawing 30s. a week would be entitled to unemployment benefit. I cannot believe that that is what is meant. Can hon. Members say that that is the type of hard case which the Bill is designed to meet? The Bill provides for cases where people do extra work and still earn £1 a week. Such people can get the extra £1 or 20s. or 22s. a week, according to the size of their families. In the circumstances in which we find ourselves the Bill provides as much as we can do.


Is it not a fact that a man who earns 20s. 6d. a week, in doing work for the Insurance Department, is deprived, if he has a family of three or four children, of the amount that he

would receive if he gave up the job? The man needs only to throw up that part of the work which applies to unemployment insurance as carried on through the trade unions, and then he would be entitled to 24s. as unemployment benefit.


The matter in question is the sixpence over the 20s. There must be a limit, and whatever the limit there must be hard cases.


Cannot the hon. Baronet give us some indication that the Government will reconsider this matter so that a man who is engaged in this subsidiary occupation should not be in a worse position than he would be in if he threw up his job and went on to the unemployment fund? Surely if 30s. is too much the difference might be divided and 25s. be permitted.


Is there not another possibility? Why should not the payment for the subsidiary occupation be brought down to £1 per week? That would bring a man within the limit entitling him to unemployment benefit.


Is the hon. Baronet aware that trade union rules are carried out strictly, and that we cannot do that?

Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The House divided: Ayes, 71; Noes, 201.

Division No. 81.] AYES. [6.28p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. William Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central) Rees, Capt. J. Tudor- (Barnstaple)
Ammon, Charles George Grundy, T. W. Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth) Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwien)
Banton, George Hancock, John George Robertson, John
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Hartshorn, Vernon Rose, Frank H.
Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.) Hayday, Arthur Sexton, James
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish- Hayward, Evan Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Widnes) Simm, M. T.
Bromfield, William Hogge, James Myles Sitch, Charles H.
Cairns, John Irving, Dan Spencer, George A.
Cape, Thomas Johnstone, Joseph Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)
Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield) Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Waterson, A. E.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Kennedy, Thomas Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock) Lawson, John James Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Lunn, William Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lyle-Samuel, Alexander Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Devlin, Joseph Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Wilson, James (Dudley)
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedweilty) Maclean, Rt. Hn. Sir D. (Midlothian) Wintringham, Margaret
Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South) MacVeagh, Jeremiah Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Entwistle, Major C. F. Mills, John Edmund Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Finney, Samuel Myers, Thomas
Foot, Isaac Naylor, Thomas Ellis TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Galbraith, Samuel Newbould, Alfred Ernest Mr. T. Griffiths and Mr. W. Smith.
Gillis, William Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Adair, Rear-Admiral Thomas B. S. Austin, Sir Herbert Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.
Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin Baird, Sir John Lawrence Barnes, Rt. Hon. G. (Glas., Gorbals)
Armstrong, Henry Bruce Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Barnett, Major Richard W.
Atkey, A. R. Balfour, George (Hampstead) Barnston, Major Harry
Beauchamp, Sir Edward Goff, Sir R. Park Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Bell, Lieut.-Col. w. C. H. (Devizes) Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.) Newson, Sir Percy Wilson
Beilairs, Commander Cariyon W. Greer, Sir Harry Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
Bonn, Capt. Sir I. H., Bart. (Gr'nw'h) Greig, Colonel Sir James William Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)
Bennett, Sir Thomas Jewell Gretton, Colonel John Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)
Bigland, Alfred Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E. Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Birchail, J. Dearman Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E. Parker, James
Bird, Sir R. B. {Wolverhampton, W.) Gwynne, Rupert S. Pearce, Sir William
Blades, Sir George Rowland Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike
Blair, Sir Reginald Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Peel, Col. Hon. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)
Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith- Hambro, Angus Vaidemar Philipps, Sir Owen C. (Chester, City)
Bowyer, Captain G. W. E. Hamilton, Major C. G. C Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton
Boyd-Carpenter, Major A. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Pratt, John William
Breese, Major Charles E. Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton) Purchase, H. G.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Harris, Sir Henry Percy Raeburn, Sir William H.
Brittain, Sir Harry Henderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston) Ramsden, G. T.
Broad, Thomas Tucker Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Randies, Sir John Scurrah
Brown, Major D. C. Higham, Charles Frederick Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel Dr. N.
Bruton, Sir James Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H. Hoare, Lieut.-Colonel Sir s. J. G. Rees, Sir J. D, (Nottingham, East)
Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A. Hopkins, John W. W. Renwick, Sir George
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)
Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay) Home, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead) Rodger, A. K.
Butcher, Sir John George Hudson, R. M. Rounded, Colonel R. F.
Carew, Charles Robert S. Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster) Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Carr, W. Theodore Hurd, Percy A. Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
Casey, T. W. Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B. Scddon, J. A.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm., Aston) Inskip, Thomas Walker H. Shaw, William T. (Forfar)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm., W.) James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)
Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood) Jameson, John Gordon Smith, Sir Harold (Warrington)
Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender Jesson, C. Smith, Sir Malcolm (Orkney)
Coats, Sir Stuart Jodrell, Neville Paul Stanton, Charles Butt
Collox, Major Wm. Phillips Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llaneily) Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.
Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale Joynson-Hicks, Sir William Stevens, Marshall
Conway, Sir W. Martin Kidd, James Stewart, Gershom
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) King, Captain Henry Douglas Strauss, Edward Anthony
Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.) Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Sturrock, J. Long
Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale) Sutherland, Sir William
Curzon, Captain Viscount Lloyd, George Butler Taylor, J.
Daiziel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton) Lloyd-Greame, Sir P. Terrell, George (Wilts, Chippenham)
Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead) Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n) Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. M'Donald, Dr. Bouverie F. P. Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)
Dockrell, Sir Maurice Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie) Thorpe, Captain John Henry
Doyle, N. Grattan M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W. Waddington, R.
Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon) McMicking, Major Gilbert Ward, William Dudley (Southampton)
Eiveden, Viscount Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Warren, Sir Alfred H.
Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith Macpherson Rt. Hon. James I. White, Col. G. D. (Southport)
Evans, Ernest Magnus, Sir Philip Williams, C. (Tavistock)
Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M. Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.) Williams, Lt.-Col. Sir R. (Banbury)
Faile, Major Sir Bertram Godfray Marks, Sir George Croydon Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir M. (Bethnal Gn.)
Fell, Sir Arthur Marriott, John Arthur Ransome Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)
Flannery, Sir James Fortescue Martin, A. E. Winterton, Earl
Foreman, Sir Henry Mitchell, Sir William Lane Wise, Frederick
Forestier-Walker, L. Molson, Major John Elsdale Wood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)
Forrest, Walter Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Fraser, Major Sir Keith Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J. Wood, Major Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E Moreing, Captain Algernon H. Woolcock, William James U.
Ganzoni, Sir John Morrison, Hugh Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward
Gardiner, James Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert Yeo, Sir Alfred William
Gee, Captain Robert Murray, C. D. (Edinburgh) Young, E. H. (Norwich)
Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham Murray, Hon. Gideon (St. Rollox) Young, W. (Perth & Kinross, Perth)
Gilbert, James Daniel Murray, John (Leeds, West)
Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John Neal, Arthur TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Glyn, Major Ralph Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley) Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.