HC Deb 27 May 1963 vol 678 cc896-7
9. Mr. P. Browne

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he will amend the National Insurance (Seasonal Workers) Regulations, 1950, to enable persons to draw unemployment benefit during the whole of the off-season if no other work is available to them.

Mr. N. Macpherson

No, Sir. Unemployment benefit is an insurance benefit payable for a limited period only, as compensation for loss of earnings; it could not properly be paid year after year for periods during which the claimant does not normally work and has no prospect of working.

Mr. Browne

Is my right hon. Friend aware that I violently disagree with him? Will he please read what his predecessor said in Committee on the Family Allowances and National Insurance Bill on 30th November, 1961, when his predecessor used as one of his arguments the fact that at chat time it would be wrong to increase expenditure? When he has read this, will my right hon. Friend please refer the matter to the National Insurance Advisory Committee?

Mr. Macpherson

In reply to the first part of the question, I am aware that my hon. Friend violently disagrees with me. With regard to the second part, I have read those proceedings and am aware that it was as a result of the steps then taken by my predecessor that credits were given during periods of unemployment. I am sure that we all appreciate that action. As to referring the matter to the National Insurance Advisory Committee, it was the N.I.A.C. which originally made this recommendation. The Committee has looked at the matter twice subsequently, and I see no object which would be gained by referring it again to the Committee.

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