HC Deb 03 May 1937 vol 323 cc785-6
53. Mr. Guy

asked the Minister of Labour the total number and percentage of able-bodied poor transferred from the local authority to the Unemployment Assistance Board in the Edinburgh area since the second appointed day?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead)

In the Unemployment Assistance Board's Edinburgh area the number of persons in receipt of public assistance prior to the second appointed day who made applications for unemployment assistance allowances and who were taken over from public assistance authorities was 1,804, representing about 68 per cent. of the total number of such applications.

Mr. Guy

Is the hon. and gallant Member aware that the Board appear to be looking at this question in a rather narrow way?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

I have no reason to believe that the Board are interpreting the regulations otherwise than as they should do.

54. Mr. Thorne

asked the Minister of Labour whether he can give the House any information in connection with the way that the Unemployment Assistance Board are dealing with the cases under Part II of the Unemployment Assistance Act; whether he is aware of the different interpretations of the regulations that are being given; whether he can give any reason why only 40 per cent. of cases have been accepted in Haslington and in Preston and Chorley 80 per cent. have been accepted; and whether he is aware that there is a big demand in many parts of the country for a complete withdrawal of Part II of the Act?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the transfer of applications from the public assistance authorities to the Unemployment Assistance Board on the Second Appointed Day. The conditions under which such transfer may take place are laid down by Section 36 of the Unemployment Act, 1934. The decision is given in the first instance by the Board's officer. The local authority and the applicant, if dissatisfied with the decision, have the right to appeal to the chairman of the appeal tribunal. There have been considerable variations in the proportion of cases transferred to the Board in various areas and this has been due to variations in the numbers of different classes of applicants. I have no reason to suppose that the Board is interpreting the Act differently in different parts of the country and would point out that, as I have stated, there is in each case the right of appeal.

Mr. Thorne

I take it that the Parliamentary Secretary knows the percentages which have been handed over to the public assistance committee by various boards?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

That may be the case, but each applicant has a right to appeal if he wishes.

Sir John Haslam

May I ask whether it is Haslington or Haslingden which is meant in the question? I know no place called Haslington, but I do know a place called Haslingden?