§ 9. Mr. Leonard
asked the Minister of Labour the cost of administration of the Unemployment Assistance Board, and its percenatge to the total cost of unemployment assistance?
§ Mr. E. Brown
The cost of administration of the Unemployment Assistance Board during the year ended 31st March, 1937, was £4,387,000, including about £2,750,000 in respect of the cost of services rendered by the Ministry of Labour and other Government Departments. This represents about 11.7 per cent. of the amount of £37,459,000 paid out by way of unemployment allowances or 10.5 per cent. of the total cost of unemployment assistance.
§ Mr. Leonard
Will the Minister inquire into the administrative costs of the Unemployment Assistance Board, in view of the fact that the administrative costs of public assistance throughout the country average about 4 or 4½ per cent.?
§ Mr. Graham White
Can the Minister say why, the administrative costs of the Board are nearly double, while the number of cases to be dealt with is only half what it was when the scheme was initiated?
§ Mr. Leonard
In view of the other figures of the number of people found without means of support, does not the Minister think that this is very high?
§ Mr. Lawson
Is not this an excessive cost having regard to the remarkably small amount saved, and does he think it is worth while chasing these poor men about for this?
§ Mr. Herbert Morrison
Is not the Minister aware that public assistance authorities do a great deal of personal investigation—are indeed, required to do so by the Minister of Health—and will not the Minister make such inquiries as will show whether his Department and the Unemployment Assistance Board are not unduly extravagant in administrative costs?
§ Mr. Brown
I do not believe that is so. The right hon. Gentleman will notice that I used very careful words there. Some public assistance authorities do a good deal of personal investigation, but anyone who takes the field as a whole will agree with my conclusions that the Board's system of personal investigation is by far the most economical that has ever been devised.