HC Deb 10 March 1942 vol 378 cc1019-20

Third Resolution read a Second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

Mr. Lawson (Chester-le-Street)

I wish to ask the Parliamentary Secretary one question in respect of this Supplementary Estimate. It seems very wide, but in fact it is limited to one simple point, as I understand it, that is, the payment by the Treasury into the Employment Fund of their share of the contributions of those extra workers who have been employed. That, of course, prohibits me from asking questions on some matters we wish to deal with affecting the Unemployment Insurance Fund. Could the Parliamentary Secretary tell the House what is the state of the Unemployment Insurance Fund at present? In the rush of business, and with the paucity of information, we find it rather difficult to know just what the position is. This is a very important fund and there will undoubtedly be a very great strain upon it when the war comes to an end. It is only right that the House should know exactly what the position is at the present time.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Mr. McCorquodale)

The hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson) is quite right when he says that this Vote is really on one narrow specific point, and therefore I do not wish to detain the House with it. With regard to the question he asks, I understand that, at the moment, the Unemployment Fund has to its credit a sum of about £99,000,000, having paid off all the debt. Of that £99,000,000, some £5,000,000, I believe, belongs to the Agricultural Fund and £94,000,000 to the main Fund. It is, of course, increasing rapidly each week at the rate of something over £1,000,000 a week.

Question put, and agreed to.

The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.