HC Deb 13 February 1929 vol 225 cc392-4
25. Mr. HARDIE

asked the Minister of Labour whether in the new buildings for Springburn Employment Exchange provision has been made for lean-to shelters over entrances?


The new premises will contain more waiting space and better facilities for dealing with applicants and there should be no necessity for applicants to wait outside the premises. It is not considered either necessary or desirable to provide lean-to shelters outside the new building.


Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that, owing to the fact that many of these men have to travel long distances, it is not possible to house them when they arrive, and will he not consider giving a lean-to shelter which would provide accommodation for a wet day?


There is a choice between two alternatives; giving reasonable accommodation for people who arrive or similar accommodation with a lean-to shelter outside. We have chosen the first course, and we hope to be able to give accommodation within the building, with some latitude for people arriving from outside. Lean-to shelters are inadvisable, because other people loiter about them. It is far better to do as we are trying to do.


Is it not the fact that, taking the plan as now drawn and worked upon, you have only a slight increase in floor space inside for working, with no increase in floor space as far as applicants are concerned?


I am advised that there should be reasonable accommodation under the roof for people coming in.


I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter again.


asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that the unemployed in Clydebank have to travel to Glasgow to go before the court of referees; if so, whether he will allow Clydebank a court of referees of its own; and, if not, whether his Department will pay the expenses of the Clydebank unemployed in travelling to and from Clydebank?


There are insufficient cases arising from the area of the Clydebank Exchange to justify the holding of courts at that Exchange. Claimants summoned to the Glasgow court from Clydebank can claim expenses in accordance with the authorised scale.


Then it follows that any constituent of mine who has to travel eight miles to Glasgow to the court of referees will be paid travelling expenses?


They are paid their travelling expenses on an authorised scale, and the summons to the court of referees, which they will be able to see, gives notice in regard to it.


asked the Minister of Labour the total number of persons who have appeared at the court of referees in Glasgow, and whose claims have been refused, since the new Act has operated; and the number of persons not in any organisation who have been granted the right of appeal to the umpire, and the number refused this right?


Between 19th April, 1928, and 14th January, 1929, 36,954 cases were considered by courts of referees in Glasgow. The courts recommended disallowance of benefit in 5,602 of these cases. As regards the second part of the question, I regret that statistics giving the information desired are not available for the whole of the period since 19th April, 1928. As I promised the hon. Member on 5th December, a record was specially kept for the period of four weeks ending 12th January, 1929, and shows that out of a total of 660 cases in which the courts of referees in Glasgow recommended disallowance of claims made by persons not known to belong to a trade union, leave to appeal to the umpire was given in four cases.


asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that the court of referees hearings for men are held in Brown Street Exchange, Glasgow, on the sixth flat, to which no hoist is available; that a number of persons claiming benefit are well up in years and others have difficulty in being able to climb the stairs; that the applicants have in some cases to wait for over one hour; that the place where they wait has no door, and that it is not provided with any heat; and if he will take steps to have better arrangements made for the hearing of cases?


The premises at Brown Street are occupied temporarily pending the completion of the new building. The court of referees is held on the fourth (not the sixth) floor of the building, and as the staircase has an easy gradient I do not think there is any cause for complaint in this respect. I am not aware that appellants have to wait an hour. If that has happened it must be quite unusual and probably the result of attending before the time appointed. I am endeavouring, however, to arrange for a waiting room with a fire.


Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that there are far better places in the City of Glasgow for the court of referees than this one, and will he ask his staff to make inquiries and see if another place can be found?


I will gladly see if there is anything else which is better, and if the hon. Member knows of any place perhaps he will suggest it.

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