HC Deb 18 March 1952 vol 497 cc2078-9
9. Mr. William A. Steward

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the hardship caused to men and women attending employment exchanges owing to the present cost of bus fares; and if he will consult with the British Transport Commission, with a view to the authorisation of reduced fares for those registered as unemployed.

Sir W. Monckton

I do not think that satisfactory arrangements of this kind could be made.

Mr. Steward

Does the Minister consider it fair and reasonable that a man living at New Eltham, which is in my constituency, should have to pay 2s. 8d. a week to attend the Woolwich Labour Exchange to qualify for unemployment benefit and to stand a chance of getting a job?

Sir W. Monckton

The first thing I would say is that the suggestion for remedying the position is one which I am advised would be expensive to administer and would be open to abuse. I would also point out that, although an unemployed person has to attend a local office twice a week in order to get benefit, if he lives more than four miles away he need go only once a week, and if more than six miles away postal claims can be made. We are, therefore, trying to meet the situation.

Mr. Anthony Greenwood

Would not the Minister agree that instead of making concessions of the type suggested, the important thing is to increase the weekly rate of pay for unemployed workers?

Captain Robert Ryder

Will my right hon. and learned Friend bear in mind that this problem applies in the London area where, for some unaccountable reason, the fares have been increased long before those in other parts of the country?

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