HC Deb 13 July 1971 vol 821 cc196-7
10. Mr. Bidwell

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is satisfied with the working of the National Insurance Act, 1965, in so far as it relates to procedure to determine the payment of unemployment benefit arising from industrial disputes ; and if he will make a statement.

Sir K. Joseph

Yes, Sir : I consider the procedures normally work satisfactorily.

Mr. Bidwell

Will the right hon. Gentleman undertake to confer with the Secretary of State for Employment, with whom I have had correspondence concerning a stoppage of work at the A.E.C. factory at Southall in a single workshop which resulted in lay-off of a much larger number of workers who have not yet had their cases heard, in spite of the fact that this was at the end of April, because of the cumbersome machinery? Does not this challenge the Tory concept of individual liberty and freedom? These workers are all entitled to have their cases heard singly. If that be so under the 1965 Act, it will take a considerable time under the present machinery.

Sir K. Joseph

Yes. The normal way to make the machinery less cumbersome is by a test case in agreement with the trade unions. On this occasion the trade union did not co-operate with that machinery.