HC Deb 27 February 1936 vol 309 cc621-2
22. Mr. MAGNAY

asked the Minister of Labour whether he has received a report from the Unemployment Insurance Statutory Committee on the state of the finance of the Unemployment Fund; and whether he can make a statement on the Government's intentions in the matter?


Yes, Sir. The Unemployment Insurance Statutory Committee have reported that the Unemployment Fund is, and is likely to continue to be, more than reasonably sufficient to discharge its liabilities and that the fund has a disposable surplus of something under, but approaching, £6,500,000 a year. The Committee recommend by a majority that in the case of persons aged 18 and over the weekly rates of unemployment insurance contributions by employers and workers shall be reduced by 1d. Two members of the Committee append notes of dissent making other recommendations for the disposal of the surplus. The Government have decided to adopt the recommendation made by the majority of the Committee. A draft Order for the purpose, to operate from July next, will be laid before both Houses of Parliament in due course.


Would it not be in the best interests of the unemployed persons and of the country as a whole if, instead of reducing contributions by 1d. per person, the Government were to increase the benefits?


I hope that the report of the Committee will be in the Vote Office at 6 o'clock, and I suggest that Members should read the report before discussing these questions.


Has the Minister considered the recommendations of the Minority Report in the light of the great need in the country for more purchasing power among the working class?