§ 54. Mr. BURNETT
asked the Minister of Labour whether he will communicate with the Unemployment Assistance Board with a view to arranging that 349 Members of Parliament may obtain from their local. office any information on the local working of the regulations which they may require for the discharge of their duties, instead of having to rely for their information upon complaints which may be made to them by constituents 'as to reductions of allowances?
The information provided to the officers of the board by applicants is obviously of a confidential nature and the board's officers could not disclose this information even to the local Member of Parliament, without the applicant's consent.
§ Mr. BURNETT
Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that at the Employment Exchanges and public assistance committee offices information can be obtained as to general working, but that the instructions are that such information must not be given by the Unemployment Assistance Board?
The information available at the Unemployment Assistance Board offices is not of the same nature as that available at the Exchanges. The information available at the Unemployment Assistance Board offices deals with the intimate family circumstances of an applicant, and is not, I think, the sort of information that ought to be given to any one without the applicant's consent.
§ Mr. BURNETT
The information asked for is not confidential information about cases, but general information about increases or reductions in allowances.
§ Mr. LAWSON
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the offices of the board in the districts are much more remote from Members than the ordinary Employment Exchange offices?
|Insured persons, aged 16 to 64, in the hosiery, and shirts, collars, underclothing, etc., industry classifications recorded as unemployed in Great Britain at the undermentioned dates.|
|Date.||Hosiery.||Shirts, collars, underclothing, etc.|
|Wholly unemployed.||Temporarily Stopped.||Total.||Wholly unemployed.||Temporarily Stopped.||Total.|
|20th January, 1931||…||8,399||13,084||21,483||4,472||3,291||7,763|
|25th January, 1932||…||7,495||6,338||13,833||4,470||2,644||7,114|
|23rd January, 1933||…||6,597||10,462||17,059||4,802||3,997||8,799|
|22nd January, 1934||…||4,054||6,336||10,390||2,913||1,843||4,755|
|28th January, 1935||…||5,812||14,217||20,029||3,807||3,519||7,326|
Yes, Sir, but they are dealing with a totally different type of applicant. The information at the Employment Exchanges is as to whether or not a man complies with certain statutory rules and orders. The information at the board's office is information about intimate details which ought to be regarded as confidential.
§ Mr. LAWSON
Are they not both dealing with the unemployed, and should there not be just as much information available to Members at the board's-, offices as at the Employment Exchanges?
If an hon. Member goes to one of the board's offices at the request and with the consent of an applicant, no-doubt the board will give him the information that he desires. What I want to avoid is Members being able to go in and get any sort of information without the consent of the applicant.