HC Deb 24 February 1926 vol 192 cc511-3
50. Mr. OLIVER

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that workpeople employed by the British Celanese Company, Limited, Spondon, who work six and seven shifts weekly when working ordinary time, are being debarred from signing at the Exchange for the sixth shift, thus losing a day's benefit when unemployed through short time: and will he cause inquiry to be made with a view to remedying this disability?


I am not aware of what is suggested. My information is that employés of this firm, who normally work more than five shifts in the week, are permitted to count as a day of unemployment the sixth day in any week in which they only perform five shifts. The decision whether the sixth day is to be allowed in any individual case rests, not with me, but with the insurance officer, and any men who are dissatisfied with his decision can appeal to the Court of Referees.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that men employed by this company are being denied the right of signing for the sixth shift at the Derby and Long Eaton Exchanges, and that, in consequence, these men are being penalised to the extent of one day per week when they are unemployed; and will he make inquiries as to the Exchanges mentioned?


I have not the same information, but if the hon. Member will speak to me afterwards I will gladly go into any point.

51. Mr. OLIVER

asked the Minister of Labour whether insured persons ordinarily and mainly dependent on their insurable employment for a livelihood, who are denied covenanted benefit on the grounds of possessing very small cottage businesses, will be permitted to claim exemption from contributions under the Unemployment Insurance Act?


As I explained to the hon. Member on the 10th February last, persons who desire to claim exemption under Section 3 (1) of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1920, must prove that they are ordinarily and mainly dependent for their livelihood on earnings derived from uninsurable employment. If, in the cases mentioned by the hon. Member, the insured persons are ordinarily and mainly dependent on their insurable employment, and not on their cottage businesses, it would not be possible to grant them certificates of exemption.


Do I understand from the Minister that the Ministry are prepared to take contributions from workpeople and, when they are unemployed, to deny them the right of drawing benefit because they happen to possess some small business, which may be run by a wife or other relative?


This, like the point in the next question, is one of those extraordinarily difficult compromises which are incidental to the Act. I will gladly communicate with the hon. Member afterwards about this also, if he will allow me.


asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that a man in an insured trade, having also a spare-time job bringing him over 3s. 4d. a day, is in the position of having to pay regular contributions to unemployment insurance, while, if out of work, he is unable to obtain any benefit; and whether he contemplates any change in the regulations to alleviate this case?


The position is substantially as stated, and is one of the difficult compromises which are inseparable from a system of this kind. It cannot be altered without legislation, and, I understand, is one of the points which Lord Blanesburgh's Committee will consider.

Colonel DAY

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider introducing legislation to obviate this?


Yes; after the Committee has reported, I have not the least doubt that legislation will be necessary, and it may be possible to deal with difficult points of this kind.

55. Mr. HARDIE

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that women having standard benefit qualifications who after applying at Employment Exchanges have accepted uninsurable employment, and who have when again unemployed through no fault of their own made application at the Exchange, are informed that because they accepted uninsurable employment they have no right to any benefit for which they have paid; and will he investigate such cases with a view to reconsideration?


I am not aware of what is suggested, and I will gladly inquire into any case of which full particulars are furnished.


We are asking the Minister to publish this information. The Department itself has had this information, and I want to know what is meant by their asking for information which they have already got?