HC Deb 15 June 1939 vol 348 cc1470-3
2. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Labour on what conditions railway warrants and expenses for removals are granted at the Employment Exchanges; and what are the current instructions with regard to an allowance made for the transport of tools?

Mr. E. Brown

The answer is rather long, and I propose, with the hon. Member's permission, to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

The following is a brief summary of the assistance offered to workpeople who are seeking or who have secured insurable employment at a place beyond daily travelling distance from their homes.

1.Advances of fares.

  1. (a)A worker in any part of the country who obtains employment at a distance may be allowed a warrant for the journey on the basis of repayment by instalments. In suitable cases a portion of the cost of this warrant is charged to the Unemployment Fund and is not repayable by the worker.
  2. (b)A worker in one of certain areas of heavy unemployment (scheduled transference areas) who wishes to travel to a distant non-scheduled area to look for employment may be allowed a warrant on a repayable basis if friends are prepared to provide lodging or accommodation and there appears to be a reasonable prospect of finding employment in the new area.

2. Free Grants of Fares.

A free warrant may be issued to an unemployed worker in a scheduled transference area who is travelling to take up approved employment in a distant non-scheduled area.

3. Household removal expenses.

A worker resident in a scheduled transference area who obtains employment in a distant non-scheduled area and intends to settle there may be assisted to move his family. The assistance given may include lodging allowances for limited periods whilst two homes have to be maintained, free warrants for his dependents to travel to join him and the reasonable cost of removal of his household effects; normally a further amount of £2 is paid in respect of the incidental costs of removal. These facilities are also available for men from non-scheduled areas who satisfactorily complete a course of training at a Government training centre.

If, however, the remuneration of the worker in the new area is more than £5per week these household removal expenses are allowed only on a basis of repayment by instalments.

4. Tools.

No specific instructions have been issued regarding allowances for the transport of tools, but a worker's ordinary tools which he had not taken with him would usually be included with his household effects for the removal of which payment is made in accordance with the preceding paragraph. Normally this would not cover the removal of heavy machinery but individual cases would be considered exceptionally on their merits.

If there are further points on which the hon. Member would like specific information, perhaps he would write to me.

4. Mr. James Griffiths

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that some unemployed men in West Wales have had their unemployment allowances reduced because thy did not apply for work on the War Department site at Corsham, whereas others who have applied have not been given work at Corsham; and whether the Unemployment Assistance Board has the approval of his Department in reducing allowances in such circumstances?

Mr. Brown

I am informed by the Board that a few applicants for unemployment assistance in the area referred to have had their allowances reduced following their refusal to consider employment at Corsham. As regards the last part of the question, as the hon. Member is aware, all questions regarding the amount of allowances are determined by the Board's officers or, on appeal, the appeal tribunals, and do not require my approval.

Mr. Griffiths

Do I gather that the right hon. Gentleman says that these men's allowances have been reduced because they refused to consider employment offered to them at Corsham? Is he aware that they were not offered employment at Corsham but asked whether they were willing to go there and that other men who consented to go, have not been called up and will he say whether this alleged work is being made a pretext for reducing these men's allowances?

Mr. Brown

Certainly not. I am not aware of the cases to which the hon. Member refers. If he has any particular cases of that kind, I should be glad to know of them. I do know of cases in which, I am informed, work was refused.

Mr. Griffiths

Are we to gather from the right hon. Gentleman that the U.A.B. has no right to reduce these allowances because the men refuse to seek work, but only if they refuse to accept work?

Mr. Brown

The hon. Member must not take that as a ruling from me.

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