HC Deb 22 February 1922 vol 150 cc1933-4W

asked the Minister of Labour what provision is being made to deal with the unemployment problem in other countries by way of relief works, unemployment insurance, or other assistance?


The available information is limited, and any endeavour to set out the details of each plan would involve very considerable labour and a very long reply. But I may shortly say that in Italy and Austria national compulsory contributory insurance schemes similar to that in operation in this country have been initiated since the War.

In Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Czecho-Slovakia there are no national insurance schemes, but out-of-work donations (to which the workers do not directly contribute) are operative, the cost being borne jointly by the State, the regional or local authority (in Germany, Switzerland and Sweden), and the employer (in Switzerland and Sweden). These donations are subject to various limitations and conditions in the different countries.

In France, in addition to subsidies out of public moneys for certain trade union and other insurance funds, a national unemployment fund was established in 1914 to assist local unemployment funds, which are voluntary organisations, functioning in many, but not in all, districts.

In Belgium the State subsidises voluntary unemployment insurance funds, and has established, in connection with the present emergency, a national fund to assist members of voluntary funds for whom benefits from those funds are no longer available. In the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway the unemployment insurance funds of trade unions are subsidised by the State. In the United States and the British Dominions no provision is made, so far as I know, for assisting schemes of unemployment benefit out of public funds.

Public works for the relief of the unemployed have been put in hand in most countries; and in Germany and Switzerland provision has been made for subsidies or loans to prevent the closing down of establishments.