§ 15. Mr. Robert Hughes
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in view of the current unemployment figures, he will now suspend the four-week rule whereby persons deemed not to be seeking work may have their benefit stopped.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security (Mr. Paul Dean)
No, Sir. The rate of unemployment varies throughout the country, so in areas where the Department of Employment advise that unskilled work can be obtained without difficulty the arrangements for allowances initially limited to four weeks continue. These areas are under constant review.
§ Mr. Hughes
Does not the hon. Gentleman feel, however, that with more 1289 than 922,000 people currently unemployed, his officers would be far better employed trying to help unemployed people with their financial and other problems than hounding them in the way in which they are being hounded at present?
§ Sir B. Rhys Williams
While the unemployment figures are deeply worrying, cannot some comfort be drawn from the fact that the number who have been unemployed for more than six months has not risen to anything like the same extent?
§ Mr. Skinner
The Minister has read out a list of areas which are exempt. Why does the rule apply to Bolsover?