HC Deb 14 November 1929 vol 231 cc2190-1
12. Colonel HOWARD-BURY

asked the Minister of Labour whether her attention has been drawn to a deputation of unemployed men at Porthcawl who approached the local council for work without wages provided their unemployment benefit was safeguarded and that the council accepted their offer; and whether, seeing that the men are kept fit and the question of genuinely seeking work is solved, she can see her way to extend this system all over the country?


I have noted this case with interest. As regards its possible extension, I would point out that this is a matter for the local authorities and not for my Department. On this matter generally I should like to say that I am strongly of opinion that any arrangements which provide unemployed persons with opportunities for voluntary occupation or recreation are all to the good. At the same time, I must add that, so far as I had any responsibility, I should think it necessary to satisfy my-self that the result was not to perform work without wages for which wages would normally have to be paid, or other-wise to depress the standard of wages.


Does not the right hon. Lady consider that an idea such as this should be broadcast throughout the country, seeing that it enables these unemployed men to do useful work, and so saves them from deteriorating?


I thought I had made the answer clear. I welcome any-thing that will help the unemployed man to throw off his depression and make him feel that he is a member of the community. From that point of view, I welcome the action taken in this case.


Are we to understand that the Minister welcomes unemployed men being employed without wages?


That question does not arise.

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