HC Deb 13 November 1967 vol 754 cc12-3
12. Mr. Scott

asked the Minister of Labour if he will seek to amend the Redundancy Payments Act so that redundancy pay cannot be claimed more than six months after a man is made redundant instead of the present six years.

Mr. Hattersley

Section 21 of the Act already provides that an employee who has not already received a redundancy payment shall not be entitled to one unless within six months of redundancy he makes a claim in writing to his employer or the question has been referred to an industrial tribunal.

Mr. Scott

Are not employers required to keep records for six years at present? In the construction industry, in particular, employers will have to keep records for well over half a million people. This will involve a fantastic amount of work.

Mr. Hattersley

With the number of industrial tribunal proceedings which could possibly take place, it is essential that employers keep records for some time, simply to safeguard the interests of the men who might apply.

28. Mr. John Page

asked the Minister of Labour if he will amend the Redundancy Payments Act so that redundancy pay is not payable where collusion between employer and employee has been proved.

Mr. Hattersley

Although an employer may by agreement with an employee make a payment purporting to be a redundancy payment, no payment of rebate is due under the Act if collusion to defraud the redundancy fund is proved. Machinery already exists to safeguard the public interest in this respect.

Mr. Page

If this machinery exists, no one in industry has ever heard of it, so far as I know. As the redundancy fund is now running at the rate of £50 million a year, since the rate was doubled earlier on, ought not the Minister to take the matter much more seriously? The cost is getting out of hand.

Mr. Speaker

Order. Supplementary questions should be questions, even from the Front Bench.

Mr. Hattersley

I should not like the hon. Gentleman or anyone else to think that my right hon. Friend and I do not take this question seriously. We do. The fact is that no one has brought evidence to our notice which suggests that any substantial proportion of the payments made out of the fund are going in illegal payments, which is what the Question implied.