HC Deb 30 March 1939 vol 345 cc2188-9
8. Mr. Vyvyan Adams

asked the Minister of Labour whether he can give an accurate or approximate total figure of the unemployed who are not registered at the Employment Exchanges, and who have to be added to give the total number of the unemployed?

Mr. E. Brown

No, Sir; but I have no reason to suppose that the number is at all considerable.

Mr. Adams

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the statements alleging that there are hundreds and thousands of such unregistered unemployed men and is he able to supply me with the facts with which to refute such statements?

Mr. Brown

It is the general practice of public assistance authorities to require able-bodied unemployed persons who apply for relief to register at the Employment Exchanges as applicants for work. The suggestion underlying the question of my hon. Friend is that those who apply do not register, but that is not so. In January, 1939, the latest date for which I have figures, the number of persons ordinarily engaged in some industrial occupation, who applied for relief, and who were not registered as unemployed, was under 4,000.

Mr. Adams

In the whole country?

Mr. Brown

Yes, Sir.

Mr. McGovern

Is the Minister not aware that a large number of people who are refused benefit under the means test refuse to sign the register at the Employment Exchange?

Mr. Brown

That is another question.

Mr. Lawson

Do not public assistance authorities say that large numbers of people on their funds are without registration?

Mr. Brown

I do not agree that that is so. They may say that there are numbers of people on relief who are not under the Unemployment Assistance Board, but that is an entirely different matter. I am pointing out to the House that it is a complete misapprehension to think that those who get public assistance are not registered at the exchanges; they are almost entirely so, except for 4,000, at the latest date.

Mr. Leonard

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a large number are on relief in Glasgow?