HC Deb 29 June 1964 vol 697 cc909-10
2. Mr. C. Morris

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he will introduce legislation to amend the National Insurance (Unemployment and Sickness Benefit) Regulations to obviate the anomalous situation which arises when an employee ceases to be entitled to unemployment benefit as a result of a reduction in his weekly working hours, details of which have been supplied to him by the hon. Member for Manchester, Openshaw.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance (Mrs. Margaret Thatcher)

No, Sir. The hon. Member is referring to a claimant who during the winter works part-time only. The adjudicating authorities decided that during the period in question he had been employed to the full extent normal for him. Unemployment benefit is not intended for days when a man does not in the normal course expect to be working. I am writing more fully to the hon. Member about the particular case.

Mr. Morris

While thanking the Joint Parliamentary Secretary for that reply, may I ask her if she is aware that, through no fault of his own, John William Marshall, a park attendant in Manchester, finds himself in a situation in which, if he were not more conscientious than he is, he would derive greater financial advantage by drawing unemployment benefit than by working for his living? Surely this anomalous situation is worthy of more consideration than it has received so far, and I ask the hon. Lady to reconsider the decision not to amend the Regulations.

Mrs. Thatcher

I have been through all the details of the case which the hon. Gentleman sent to me in advance. It depends on the "full normal extent" rule, the principle behind which is that a person should not be entitled to benefit for days when he would not normally be working. This rule was considered in 1955 by the National Insurance Advisory Committee and it recommended no change.