HC Deb 27 April 1939 vol 346 cc1283-5
4. Mr. Gallacher

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that although the Cardiff Public Assistance Committee have decided to raise the allowance to single coloured seamen living in seamen's lodging houses from 12s. to 15s. a week, thus putting them on the same level as single men living at home the Unemployment Assistance Board have refused to follow suit for men living in identical conditions, although when the Unemployment Assistance Board scale was originally decided upon, 12s. was chosen so as to be in line with the public assistance committee; and whether, in view of this differentiation, he will take the matter up with the Unemployment Assistance Board?

Mr. E. Brown

I understand that the Cardiff Public Assistance Committee have recently reviewed and increased the allowances made to coloured seamen in a number of individual cases, but that no general rate of 15s. a week has been established. As regards the Unemployment Assistance Board's practice, I am informed that while the allowances are based upon a rate of 12s. In accordance with the advice of the local advisory committee they are adjusted according to the circumstances of the case and that they range in fact up to 15s. Or more per week.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the very serious complaints that many coloured seamen who are in exactly the same position as those receiving 15s. per week, receive only 12s.?

Mr. Brown

I do not accept that as a general statement. As a matter of fact, in a census taken in 1938, 109 coloured seamen living in Cardiff dock area had an allowance from the Board as single persons and in 49 cases were receiving from 13s. 6d. to 17s. per week.

Mr. George Hall

May I ask why there is any distinction drawn between coloured and white seamen?

Mr. Brown

There is a special rule in the case of coloured seamen in order to meet the particular circumstances of the case, because it is a question whether men are living communally or not. The hon. Member will see that the position is not quite the same with regard to white seamen.

Mr. Hall

I know Cardiff fairly well, and I cannot see why there should be any distinction.

Mr. Brown

If the hon. Member desires a precise statement about white seamen I shall be glad to give it.

6. Mr. Daggar

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that an unemployed man living at Wrexham and in receipt of an allowance of 32s. per week for his housekeeper, his two children, and himself, had occasion recently to return to Abertillery, where he remained for one week and was granted an allowance for himself of 15s., and, before returning to Wrexham applied to the Abertillery Unemployment Assistance Board offices for assistance; was informed there that no assistance could be given for that purpose, and that he should jump a lorry and get back the best way he could, although after inquiries were made, the applicant was allowed 5s.; and whether he will advise the local officer at Abertillery to refrain from making such suggestions?

Mr. Brown

I am informed by the Board that they are inquiring into this matter, but that their inquiries are not yet complete. I will communicate with the hon. Member as soon as I am in a position to do so.

7. Mr. S.O. Davies

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will give for Carmarthenshire, Glamorgan, and Monmouthshire the number of applicants for assistance under the Unemployment Assistance Board who, since 1st January, 1938, have been penalised under Section 40 of the Unemployment Act, 1934, and have as a consequence been either refused assistance or whose assistance has been given partly in money and partly in kind or wholly in kind?

Mr. Brown

I am informed by the Unemployment Assistance Board that statistics are not available to show the number of applicants whose cases have at some time since 1st January, 1938, been dealt with under Section 40 of the Act. A recent inquiry relating to a given date, namely 25th March, showed that in the counties of Carmarthen, Glamorgan and Monmouth 92 allowances were then being paid subject to one or other of the conditions set out in that section, including 44 which involved payment partly in kind. No applicant has been refused an allowance under Section 41 in consequence of his failure to comply with any of the conditions set out in Section 40.

Mr. Davies

Will any inquiry be made as to why there is this increasing pressure of the application of Section 40?

Mr. Brown

I do not agree that there is any increased pressure.

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