HC Deb 25 March 1925 vol 182 cc414-7
17. Mr. GROVES

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the reluctance on the part of many firms to give documentary evidence to the effect that persons have applied for work and of the consequent hardship upon applicants for unemployment benefit, who have to prove that they are genuinely seeking work when they appear before the local rota committee; and whether he will consider some further Regulation whereby evidence of desire to obtain work will be accepted by the Employment Exchanges, other than a signed statement from the representative of a firm to whom a person has made application?

The MINISTER of LABOUR (Sir Arthur Steel-Maitland)

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by me on the 12th March. As has already been pointed out, failure to produce a signed statement from employers is not necessarily regarded by local employment committees as proof that the applicant is not genuinely seeking work, and in the circumstances I do not think that any Regulation of the kind suggested is necessary.


If I can produce evidence affecting my own area, will the right hon. Gentleman look into the matter, if I can prove that this question is accepted by the rota committee as being against the applicant?




Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in Springburn last week applicants were being asked to produce evidence of having been looking for work, and will he have that stopped at once? [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] You will get to know why before long.


asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that, as a result of the new Regulations which he has issued, 189 cases, representing 547 persons, have been dealt with by the Sheffield Guardians and 42 cases by the Ecclesall Guardians; and whether, if he regards the total number of cases as small, he will ascertain the ages of the cases?


I am aware that a number of applicants for benefit in the Sheffield area fail to satisfy the condition regarding payment of contributions, but I do not know how many of them may have applied to the local guardians for relief. Nor have I any information as to the ages of recent applicants for relief. That information would be in the possession of the guardians and not of my Department.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that large numbers of these men are between 50 and 60, and some even over 60 years of age, and is it his intention that they should be sent to the guardians rather than be found work?


I do not think the hon. Member must draw any inference of that kind from what I have said.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in this particular district it is almost impossible for any man, of whatever age, to get any sort of a job?

23. Mr. T. KENNEDY

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that at Southampton, on the 8th February last, a girl of 18 years of age was disqualified for unemployment benefit on the ground that she had refused employment at an isolated military canteen on Salisbury Plain; whether, before the girl was disqualified, careful inquiry was made into the conditions of the employment; and whether, in view of those conditions, he will have the decision in this and similar cases reviewed?


The hon. Member's question presumably refers to Miss Evelyn May Fulcher, of Southampton, who, on the 5th February, last, refused employment in the Navy, Army, and Air Force Institutes, Salisbury, and, further, declined to accept domestic training. Her benefit was disallowed by the insurance officer and her appeal to the Court of Referees was dismissed, the Court being of opinion that she was not genuinely seeking work. The Court gave her leave to appeal to the umpire should she desire to do so. I have no authority to intervene.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this is not an isolated case, and that girls of 18 are asked, on seeking work at the canteen, to accept the condition that they are liable to be called upon to serve at any place, whether at home or abroad, to serve on board sea-going ships, or to live under canvas, and does he approve of the non-acceptance of those conditions as a reason for disqualification for benefit?


I know that these conditions have been looked into by the umpire on a previous occasion. If there is anything in them which the hon. Member thinks he would like to call to my notice, so as to make me suggest any alteration or look into the matter further, I will gladly go into it with him.


Does the right hon. Gentleman consider that the employ- ment of young girls in isolated military canteens of this character is a desirable thing?


I cannot give a general answer in a general way. One has to go into the circumstances in a particular case. The only thing I can say is that on a previous occasion, when the umpire did go into it, he was satisfied in that case that there was really no objection. Each case has to be taken on its merits.


Is it not possible to employ men, at men's wages?


Does it mean that the right hon. Gentleman is satisfied in sending girls of 18 to isolated military canteens?


The hon. Member must put down another question.