HC Deb 14 March 1928 vol 214 cc1923-5

I beg to ask leave to move the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, "The improper use of the Unemployment Fund in subsidising the wages bill of the Victoria Films, Limited."


The hon. Member has submitted his proposal to me. I think it is quite a proper question to discuss on the Estimates, but it does not, in my view, come within the definition of Standing Order No. 10.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

May I put this consideration to you, Mr. Speaker. The Estimates may not come on for some time, and Standing Order No. 10 was agreed to by this House for the purpose of dealing with matters of urgency. There are over 200 men concerned in this case. They are unemployed, and liable to be dispersed, and, if that occurs, they would have to seek work. Unless this matter is dealt with urgently, they are likely to lose the money due to them. In these circumstances, and in view of the fact that we may have to wait some time for the Estimates, I put it to you, Mr. Speaker, that von should allow a discussion to-night.


It all depends upon what my view is as to whether or not this case comes ender standing Order No. 10.


I put it to you, Mr. Speaker, that this film company has made an improper use of the machinery of the Unemployment Insurance Act; that they have deliberately attempted to defraud men out of a day's wage, thus making them a charge upon the Unemployment Insurance Fund. A test case has been settled in the Derby Court which establishes the right of one man to wages from this company for that particular day. There are 200 other cases which are affected in this way. The Minister has told us in this House that he has no responsibility for seeing that these men are properly treated. I put it to you, Mr. Speaker that if the Minister is prepared to deal very smartly and harshly with any worker who is found to be defrauding the public it is a matter of urgent importance that these 200 men should be protected against this particular private company?


Before you give your decision, Mr. Speaker, may I point out that a most important public situation has arisen on account of the answers which have been given this afternoon to questions on this subject by the Minister of Labour, who has told us that in case of any default by an employer a claim for unemployment benefit becomes legal and legitimate. That is an important public announcement, and it should be a matter for discussion here to-night.


I have heard the whole of the supplementary questions which have been put, and I think I am fully seized of this matter. Clearly, in my view it does not come under Standing Order No. 10. If the hon. Member likes to raise this question to-morrow night after Eleven o'Clock, I think there will he sufficient time then to go into the matter.


On a point of Order. May I submit that the concession you have now made, after ruling that the matter can be raised only on the Estimates, shows that you believe that a matter of urgency really does arise? [HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"] May I suggest that the point which has been raised by my hon. Friend the Member for East Newcastle (Mr. Connolly) should weigh with you, and that you should accept a Motion for the Adjournment of the House this afternoon?


The Rules governing the Eleven o'Clock Adjournment are similar to those in the case of the Estimates, and the opportunity is open to any hon. Member.

Forward to