§ 8. Mr. McSHANE
asked the Minister of Labour whether she is aware that, although over 500 miners are unemployed at Cannock, Staffordshire, which is distant only two or three miles from the Littleton Colliery, unemployed miners from Aldridge and Walsall, 12 to 16 miles distant, are being sent to this colliery and are disallowed unemployment benefit if they refuse to go; and whether she will draw the attention of the Employ- 558 ment Exchanges concerned to this state of affairs in order to avoid hardship to the men concerned?
§ Following is the reply:
§ It is the practice of the Employment Exchanges to submit, in the first place, local applicants for local vacancies notified by employers provided that those applicants are suitable and fulfil the requirements of the employer. That practice has been followed in the area of the Cannock branch office. In the past three months, 11 men have been submitted to the Littleton Colliery from the Cannock area and 29 men from the Bloxwich, Rushall and Walsall areas. I am informed that, on the 7th February, there were no applicants apart from men already accepted by, or under submission to, the company, registered at the Cannock branch office who were regarded as suitable for the company's requirements.
§ In submitting workpeople from other areas, care is exercised to submit only those applicants who have ready means of travelling to the colliery. I cannot accept the implication of my hon. Friend's question that the offer of work to unemployed men constitutes a hardship if that work involves some daily travelling.
§ As my hon. Friend is aware, the question of the disallowance of benefit following a refusal to accept employment, is a matter for the statutory authorities. I understand that of the seven men from the Bloxwich, Rushall and Walsall areas who have refused work at the Littleton Colliery in the past three months, four have been disallowed benefit by the court of referees, and in two cases the court has allowed benefit. I have not yet been informed of the result of the court's consideration of the other case.