§ 48. Mr. Bowles
asked the Prime Minister whether he will make arrangements for employers who pay their employees their wages for the guaranteed minimum week, although they are not working on account of the present fuel crisis, to receive the amount of the unemployment pay which would otherwise be paid to such employees.
§ 47. Mr. Piratin
asked the Prime Minister whether in view of the hardship created by the widespread unemployment as a result of the fuel crisis, he will intro duce emergency measures authorising the payment of additional allowances to those in receipt of unemployment benefit in order to make their total money up to that of their basic wage.
§ The Prime Minister
No, Sir. I am confident that we can rely on our system of unemployment insurance and allied social services together with the good will of employers to meet the present situation.
§ Mr. Edelman
Is the Prime Minister aware that, in order to keep their teams of workers together, many employers have offered to supplement unemployment pay in order to bring it up to the guaranteed weekly wage, and will he encourage this patriotic and useful action?
§ Mr. Bowles
Does my right hon. Friend appreciate that I put this Question down to him because I felt it is most important? In view of the fact that it is quite an exceptional crisis, and that the workers will suffer unless this suggestion is accepted, although there may be legalistic reasons for not doing so in this case, could he possibly see his way to reconsider the matter?
§ The Prime Minister
If my hon. Friend will discuss this matter with my colleagues the Minister of National Insurance and 1174 the Minister of Labour, he will understand all the implications and difficulties involved.
§ Mr. Langford-Holt
Will the right hon. Gentleman view with apprehension this capitalist suggestion from his supporters?
§ Mr. Blackburn
Will my right hon. Friend consider making the reasons for this decision known to the public as a whole, because this matter is being closely watched by hundreds of thousands of workers?
§ Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite
Can the right hon. Gentleman indicate what is the weekly cost to the unemployment fund of the present situation?