§ 25. Mr. EGAN
asked the Minister of Labour whether his attention has been called to certain hardships connected with the administration of unemployment insurance; if he is aware that, in the case of a person whose unemployment pay has been suspended pending his appearance before a rota committee to prove that he is genuinely seeking employment, if he obtains work and is unable to attend the committee he loses his deferred pay as the committee cannot deal with the case in his absence; that where a man fully qualified as an insured person goes into business on his own account and after two years the business fails such person cannot qualify again for unemployment pay until he has 20 new stamps on his card; that men over 60 years are compelled to accept employment and travel long distances, as, for instance, from Merseyside to Barrow and Scotland, a refusal involving stoppage of unemployment pay; and that thousands of persons will be disqualified for unemployment pay after 15th October, 1924, because of insufficiency of stamps on their cards unless he decides to exercise his right to waive such condition; and whether he will revise the Regulations so as to remove such hardships?
§ Following is the reply:
§ Special arrangements have been sanctioned for dealing with a claim to unemployment benefit where it appears that the claimant is experiencing difficulty in attending before the local Employment Committee by reason of t be fact that he has obtained employment. A claimant who has been in business on his own account for two years is not necessarily disqualified for benefit until he has paid 20 further contributions. Each case is considered on its merits within the limits laid down by Statute The question whether an applicant who has declined an offer of employment in another district is entitled to receive benefit is determined under the procedure laid down by the Act, with which I have no power to interfere. The decisions of the Umpire, who is an independent authority, show, however, that, in deciding whether employment is suitable or not, regard is had to the age of the applicant as well as to all the other circumstances of the case. As regards the waiving of the first statutory condition, that 30 contributions shall have been paid within a stated period, I have decided for the time being to continue the waiver of the condition for all persons who have paid 12 contributions since entry into insurance, and also to waive the condition for persons who have not paid that number of contributions if the local committee recommends waiver.