§ 5. Mr. T. SMITH
asked the Minister of Labour in respect of each administrative district of the Unemployment Assistance Board, the approximate number of payments of unemployment allowances under the Unemployment Assistance Regulations as being equal to or more favourable than according to transitional payments practice, and the number of payments made according to that practice, as being more favourable than under the Regulations?
§ Mr. E. BROWN
These statistics are not available for the administrative districts of the board, since these are not coincident with the areas of the Ministry's offices at which the payments are made. I am circulating in the form of a White Paper, a return for the week ended 26th June last, giving these figures, and also the numbers in receipt of unemployment benefit at each of the Ministry's offices other than those at which the total number of payments did not exceed 100. Copies of this White Paper will be available to Members to-morrow morning.
§ 8 and 9. Mr. DALTON
asked the Minister of Labour (1) what additional public expenditure would be incurred by the substitution of an individual means test for a household means test, the scales in the proposed new Regulations remaining otherwise unchanged;
(2) what additional public expenditure would be incurred by the complete abolition of the means test, the scales in the proposed new Regulations remaining otherwise unchanged?
§ Mr. BROWN
I regret that it is not possible to make any reliable estimates of the kind asked for. I would point out in the first place that for the purpose of such estimates it would be necessary to define with some precision what is meant by the vague phrase "an individual means test"; for example, whether or not the resources of dependants who are covered by the allowances are to be taken into account and, if so, according to what rules. Again, as regards any suggestion for the complete abolition of the means test it would be necessary to know for example whether the applicant's own earnings are to be disregarded and whether or not the Board's discretionary power to increase 2204 the scale allowances in special cases is also to be abolished seeing that it is essentially dependent on their appraisement of the applicant's needs in relation to the resources available to him. Apart from considerations such as these, such a wide relaxation of the existing system would result in applications being made by unemployed persons who at present, not being in need, do not claim allowances. The number of such persons, though certainly very large, is necessarily unknown; similarly no particulars of their circumstances are available, though it may be assumed that they possess appreciable resources.
§ Mr. DALTON
Am I to understand that these new Regulations which are to be debated next week have been framed without the Ministry being in a position to estimate the cost that would be involved in making either of these changes?
§ Mr. THORNE
Is it not a fact that when a man is out of employment, he is entitled to receive unemployment pay without regard to other sources of income?
§ Mr. THORNE
Do I understand from that answer that if a man has paid his ordinary contributions and is out of work, he is not entitled to unemployment benefit because he has some other source of income?
§ Mr. SHINWELL
Is not the right hon. Gentleman in a position to say what the estimated cost would be if unemployed persons under the supervision of the Unemployment Assistance Board were treated precisely as those who come under the scope of insurance?
§ Mr. GALLACHER
Is it not a fact that a general pledge was given by hon. Members opposite at the General Election to remove the family means test?
§ 18. Mr. POTTS
asked the Minister of Labour whether, in a case where a person in receipt of unemployment assistance allowance dies and prior to death has, say, three or four days due, it is his intention under the regulations that his relatives shall be paid such days due toward meeting the man's weekly liabilities?
§ Mr. BROWN
This is a matter which depends on the provisions of the Act and is not directly affected by the terms of the draft Regulations. I am informed that the board have the matter under consideration with a view to making such payments to the fullest extent which their statutory powers permit. Mr. POTTS: May I call the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the fact that I have in my hand a report from the area officer himself declining payment, and is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the point of this case is that a man in receipt of benefit under the board had four days' benefit due to him; he died on the fifth day, and the board declined to pay four days for his lodgings? I want to know whether the Minister believes that the money ought to be paid to the people who represent this man?
§ Mr. TINKER
Seeing that this is a very important question, would the right hon. Gentleman, through the channels of the OFFICIAL REPORT, make the decision known, as everybody is affected by it?
§ Mr. R. J. TAYLOR
Would the Minister agree that it is the case at the present time that if a man dies on the day on which his benefit is due, his widow receives the week's benefit; and would he further agree that where it is a case of having three or four days' benefit to draw it is just a question of degree?
§ Mr. BROWN
Under the draft Regulations the question of the reduction on account of rent in any class of case in any area is a matter on which the Advisory Committee is asked to make recommendations. It is clearly impossible in advance of these recommendations to say precisely what the result will be in a hypothetical case in any area. I would, however, call the attention of the hon. Member to paragraph 16 of the Board's Explanatory Memorandum (Cmd. 5229) and also to my answer of 14th June to the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson) of which I am sending him a copy and in which it is pointed out that in general the basic figure for a man and wife without available resources is 26s.
§ Mr. BATEY
Does the Minister suggest that the Regulations are so complicated that it is not possible to give a direct answer to the question on the Paper? Can he not say how much money will be received by a man and wife who are entitled to 24s. a week—because the amount of 26s. mentioned by the Minister is not correct—if they are paying 4s. rent?
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Has the board not power under the Regulations, in the case of a man and wife with no dependent children and entitled to 24s., to make it 26s., no matter what the rent may be?
|Division.||28th January, 1935.||22nd June, 1936.||Decrease between 28th January, 1935, and 22nd June, 1936.|
|Wales and Monmouth||…||…||106,515||102,141||4,374|
§ 23. Mr. GEORGE HALL
asked the Minister of Labour the number of local advisory committees set up in South Wales, under Sub-section (3) of Section 35 of the Unemployment Act, 1934; and the name of the chairman and members of each committee?
§ of the benefit level which, for man and wife, is 26s.
§ Following is the reply:
§ The figure of 784,242 for 28th January, 1935, relates to the total number of applicants for transitional payments or unemployment allowances, while that of 620,000 relates to the number of weekly payments at the end of June, 1936. The numbers of persons with applications authorised for payment at 28th January, 1935, and 22nd June, 1936, in each administrative division, were as shown below:
§ Mr. BROWN
Nine local advisory committees are being set up by the board in South Wales. With the hon. Member's permission I will circulate the names of the chairmen of these committees in the OFFICIAL REPORT. The appointment of members to these committees is still pro- 2209 ceeding and at this stage it would not be proper to publish lists which would only be incomplete.
§ Following are the names:
§ Chairmen of Advisory Committees in South Wales.
§ Committee and Chairman.
§ Cardiff and district.—G. Leighton Seager, C.B.E., J.P.
§ Merthyr Tydfil and district.—Hon. John H. Bruce.
§ Pontypridd and the Rhondda.—Ivor W. Thomas, J.P.
§ Newport and district.—Alderman John Moxon, O.B.E.
§ Bargoed and Caerphilly districts.—G. D. Inkin.
§ Ebbw Vale and district.—Sir Thomas Allen.
§ Swansea and district.—Alderman E. Harris, J.P.
§ Mid - Glamorgan.—Alderman John Thomas, J.P.
§ Counties of Cardigan, Carmarthen and Pembroke.—Lord Merthyr.