HC Deb 20 February 1924 vol 169 cc1734-5

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the hardship under which many unemployed citizens are suffering through the insufficient amount of benefit, particularly with reference to children; and what steps he will take to have the amount increased at once?


asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the fact that many boards of guardians are now preparing their estimates of expenditure for the next financial year, he can now state the policy of the Government with regard to the further provision of unemployment benefits on the termination of the 26 weeks provided for in the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1923?


asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the hardship inflicted upon individuals and the financial burden imposed upon local authorities owing to the meagre amount of assistance granted to unemployment persons through the Employment Exchanges, which amount in the case of a man to 15s. per week and, if married, for his wife 5s. per week, and less than 2d. per day for each child, he will bring in legislation to amend these allowances so as to enable the man and his dependants to be maintained in reasonable comfort and efficiency apart from the Poor Law or private charitable funds?


A comprehensive Bill is being prepared in connection with which the points raised by the hon. Members and a number of others are being carefully considered. For the moment, I cannot make a more definite statement.


asked the Minister of Labour if, having regard to the differences of description of premises occupied by Frederick Watson, Wath Brow, Cumberland, given by the investigation officer to the Umpire, which has resulted in the termination of Frederick Watson's unemployment benefit, he will appoint some competent authority to reexamine the report which the investigation officer has issued as to the accuracy of such report, and give power to call for witnesses and documents?


The Umpire is the final authority in deciding questions on claims to benefit, and when an appeal is taken to him it is for him to decide as to the value and sufficiency of the evidence submitted. I cannot interfere with his discretion in this matter, and if it is desired to challenge the accuracy of a report which has been placed before the Umpire, it is open to the parties interested to make representations to the Umpire and submit to him such other evidence as may be available.


In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I will draw attention to this matter on the Adjourn rent to-morrow night.