HC Deb 16 July 1924 vol 176 cc346-8

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he is aware that an established man, on discharge from the dockyard, cannot draw unemployment benefit, but that the hired man in like circumstances can do so; and if he will arrange that established men shall be allowed, previous to discharge, to contribute toward unemployment benefit while serving, as they do to national health, and so become eligible for benefit between the time of discharge and the finding of work?

The CIVIL LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. Hodges)

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part of the question, the Unemployment Insurance Acts do not permit of the payment of contributions in respect of persons such as the established men referred to, who are engaged in an "excepted" employment; nor do they provide for the payment of contributions voluntarily. I have, therefore, no power to make the arrangement suggested.


asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention has been called to the fact that Mr. E. W. Pascoe, of 59, Gloucester Street, Devonport, who had been employed in His Majesty's Dockyard, Devonport, as a rivet boy and as a riveter from the age of 15 until the age of 30, has now been reverted to labourer in the paint shop, with a loss of 9s. per week in wages, and this, although during the period of his service he invented a riveting machine, which is in present use by the Admiralty, and a pneumatic sweating machine; and whether he will take steps to encourage the abilities of Mr. Pascoe and generally of those who have shown remarkable aptitude?


As this question refers to an individual, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate the reply in the OFFICIAL REPORT.


Will the hon. Member guarantee to us that skilled men who have shown a particular aptitude are not degraded in Government establishments to the status of unskilled labourers, with the result that there is a considerable loss of pay and a considerable loss of protection while they are in the service of the country?


The hon. Member cannot enter into an argument.


I have asked that as a question, and that is why I want an answer.

Following is the answer:

The capabilities of Mr. Pascoe are known to the dockyard officers, but he could not be retained as a riveter without injustice to men of much greater seniority and of equal merit as riveters, as there was not enough riveting work to provide employment for all the qualified men in the yard.