HC Deb 13 February 1934 vol 285 cc1810-1

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

5.51 p.m.


As the Amendment which stands in my name has not been called, I wish to ask the Minister a question. The point is one of some importance. An employer may have failed to stamp the card of an employé, and because of it that employé's rights to benefit may be seriously affected. I know that in certain cases the court of referees have power, within certain limits, to deem that the stamps have been affixed. All I' want is an assurance from the Minister that where it can be shown that the employé is not to blame for any omission on the part of his employer to stamp his card, he should be credited with the number of stamps which the card ought to bear, and that if there is a conflict afterwards it should be between the Ministry of Labour and the employer, and the workman should not suffer in any way.

5.52 p.m.


When I saw the hon. Member's Amendment on the Paper, I looked into this matter, and the conclusion to which I came was that the Amendment was unnecessary because it is the present practice, where an employer has not paid contributions, to deem that they have been paid if the insured person has made reasonable efforts to see that the contributions were paid by his employer.

5.53 p.m.


The point I raise concerns those cases in which it has been decided to take criminal proceedings against the employer. There are a number of cases in which the employer is not proceeded against in the criminal courts, because it is decided that he is not criminally responsible. All I ask is that where criminal responsibility on the part of the employer is proved the workman should not have to prove anything. I do not mind the position as it is at the moment in cases where the Department says, "This is not a case for criminal proceedings"; but where the employer has been proceeded against for a criminal offence the Department should take the fact of that prosecution as sufficient proof for its purpose.

5.54 p.m.


I will certainly look into the point between now and the Report stage, and perhaps have a word with the hon. Member, and if there is anything in his point I will see whether appropriate words can be inserted on the Report stage.

Clause 24 (Amendment as to summary recovery of sums due to Unemployment Fund) ordered to stand part of the Bill.