HC Deb 21 March 1940 vol 358 cc2095-6
1. Mr. John Morgan

asked the Minister of Labour whether unemployed persons can take on allotments for growing food in war-time, with the assurance that the amounts from any sales from surplus produce will not be deducted from their insurance benefits; and what will be the position of similar persons receiving payment from the Assistance Board?

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Ernest Brown)

As regards unemployment benefit, no deductions would be made, and a claim would not be affected by the fact of the claimant working on his own allotment. As regards unemployment assistance, I am informed that the practice of the Board is to make no deductions on account of produce consumed in the household or of cash sales which are merely occasional. I will send the hon. Member a copy of a poster on the subject which is exhibited in Employment Exchanges.

Mr. Morgan

Does that mean that in effect the unemployed man can take up an allotment at the present time with a good deal of assurance that his position will not be penalised?

Mr. Brown

If the hon. Member looks at the poster, he will see that he himself has rendered a service by calling attention to this matter.

Mr. James Griffiths

Would the right hon. Gentleman secure this consideration to those who make regular weekly sales of the produce of their allotments?

Mr. Brown

I would not like to give a definite ruling on that, but if the hon. Member would like a precise statement— I think that one was made some 2½or three years ago—I would be very glad to make it.

Mr. Thorne

Is it not the fact that a man working on an allotment is entitled to an amount of 3s. 4d. a day?

Mr. Brown

I would like to know the precise terms.

Mr. Montague

Will this excellent scheme of land settlement be continued after the war?

Mr. Brown

That is looking a long way ahead.

Mr. Attlee

In view of that answer, will the right hon. Gentleman realise that whatever the regulations might have been two or three years ago in peace-time, they should not be the same in war-time, when we are urging everybody to produce food?

Mr. Brown

These things were in mind in peace-time, and if the right hon. Gentleman will look at the arrangements, he will find that it has been found satisfactory and helpful.