§ 40. Mr. Lindgren
asked the Minister of Labour whether his attention has been called to the growing unemployment within the Wellingborough Parliamentary Division; and what action he proposes to take in regard to the provision of facilities for registration and payment of benefits for unemployed persons living in Raunds, Irthlingborough and adjoining villages who now have to travel to Rushden because of the closure of local offices which previously existed at Raunds and Irthlingborough.
§ Mr. Iain Macleod
The numbers unemployed in the Raunds and Irthlingborough areas are greater by 11 and six, respectively, than those on the basis of which it was decided to close these offices. The present numbers of unemployed are not large enough to justify their reopening.
§ Mr. Lindgren
Even if the unemployment figures are not large in comparison with other areas, does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that when a person has to pay 2s. or 2s. 4d. in bus fares to register for unemployment and to collect benefit, this is a considerable sum to be deducted from the benefit? Will the right hon. Gentleman's Department be prepared to meet the cost?
§ Mr. Macleod
No, I could not undertake to meet the cost. If that were done we would have to do it everywhere else. Of course, distance from an office is recognised in the conditions. That is to say, persons who live between four and six miles from the office are asked to register only once a week, and those who live over six miles away are dealt with by post. I will watch the situation, but these figures represent a very small increase indeed on the ones on which I took my decision.