HC Deb 29 April 1925 vol 183 cc147-8
11. . Mr. GROVES

asked the Minister of Labour the attitude of his Department to employers who, in reply to questions by his local officers in regard to reasons why claimants to unemployment insurance benefit have left the firm, state matters of opinion and not statement of facts; whether he will deal drastically with the cases where employers put in writing such statements about an employé as that he left the job preferring the dole to work; and whether his local officers receive such statements in writing without protest.?


I am now aware that employers in any appreciable number of cases give the sort of reply suggested in the question. In any event, the employer's reply, if it appears to disclose any ground of disqualification for benefit, is always made known to the claimant, and any counter-statement made by the claimant is submitted to the Chief Insurance Officer, together with the employer's reply. This procedure seems to me fully to safeguard the claimant's interests.


Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that these statements about a person preferring the dole to work are not evidence; and may beg of him to take steps to call the attention of employers to the fact mat such invidious statements are not within the purview of the Unemployment Insurance Act?


I am not aware that that kind of general statement is at all frequently made and it is difficult to answer a more or less suppositious question of this kind. If the hon. Member can give me any instances which show me that these statements are made to any extent, I will consider action.


Would the right hon. Gentleman not consider the advisability, where employers alter the first statement they make to the officials, of calling those employers to appear before the Court of Referees, together with the man?


That has already been discussed in the House, and have given reasons in more detail why I do not think action is necessary—if it is of the kind to which I think the hon. Member refers. If it is of any other kind, perhaps he will put it down in a separate question.


Is it not the fact that the employers of the country have given the Department every help possible in the direction indicated in the question?


I am always asking for more help. I want to get the reasons, one way or the other, as fully as I can. The employers give reasons in a number of cases, I hope they will give reasons in more eases. What I am trying to do is to get fair information from both sides.