HC Deb 22 April 1937 vol 322 cc1893-4
17. Mr. Gibbins

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that men and w omen are herded together in a room far too small at the Employment Exchanges, Upper Parliament Street, Liverpool; that applicants are kept waiting five or six hours for assistance, and others after waiting all day receive no help at all; and whether he will take steps to improve these conditions?

Mr. E. Brown

The premises in question are offices of the Unemployment Assist- ance Board. The board is aware that some congestion has occurred. The waiting-room space has only been seriously taxed on the last two Fridays when, following the Second Appointed Day, large numbers of persons applied for allowances in supplementation of benefit. Certain of these applicants were adjudged not to be in need, but I have no reason to suppose that any cases of hardship were not assisted. The need for improved accommodation to meet the expansion on the Second Appointed Day was fully realised in advance, and every effort was made to secure other offices within reason-able distance of the applicants' homes. New premises were, 'in fact, provisionally selected several weeks ago but proved to be defective. Search was immediately renewed and there is now a good prospect that new premises will be acquired shortly.

Mr. Gibbins

Is the right hon. Gentle-man aware that some of the men have been waiting a fortnight and have not yet been given any benefits, and have been chased between the Unemployment Assistance Board and the public assistance committee?

Mr. Brown

I am not aware of that. If the hon. Member will let me have the names, I will look into the matter.