HC Deb 04 March 1947 vol 434 cc219-20
11. Mr. Douglas Marshall

asked the Minister of National Insurance whether he is aware that hardship is being caused to many fishermen in Cornwall because they are either excepted from unemployment insurance or, although insured, are being disallowed benefit during periods when fishing is impossible; and what action he proposes to take in the matter.

Mr. J. Griffiths

I have recently had inquiries made into the application of the unemployment insurance scheme to the fishing industry in Cornwall. These disclose difficulties in the application of the present statutory provisions which can only be satisfactorily dealt with under the scheme embodied in the new National Insurance Act. I am, therefore, forthwith extending the field of my inquiries to other parts of the country, with a view to submitting the whole matter, as soon as possible, to the National Insurance Advisory Committee which I am now setting up. The committee will no doubt invite evidence from the interested parties and will, I hope, make recommendations on which I can frame regulations to deal with the situation as a whole as early as possible.

Mr. Marshall

Does the right hon. Gentleman contemplate that he will be able to deal with this important matter as early as the autumn of this year?

Mr. Griffiths

I cannot give any definite promise because it has to go before the advisory committee, and I cannot commit them as to the time they may require to investigate the matter. But if I can have a satisfactory solution and a report from the committee at an early date, I can anticipate the appointed day provided for in the new Act, and bring in regulations before then.

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

Will the regulations which the right hon. Gentleman envisages extend to inshore fishermen in Scotland?

Mr. Griffiths

I want to make the fullest inquiries into the position of these men in every part of the country. I am anxious to bring all these men within the scope of the Insurance Act.

Brigadier Mackeson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these inquiries will be welcomed by all of us who represent inshore fishermen, and will he try to get this matter through before the autumn, as it is in the winter that there is unemployment?