HC Deb 01 August 1924 vol 176 cc2409-10W

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that dissatisfaction exists in East Wemyss, Coaltown of Wemyss, and Dysart districts of Fifeshire at the unsatisfactory arrangements made by the local exchanges for the miners of these districts signing the unemployed registers, and also at the arrangements for payment of unemployed benefit; that the men were informed that they were to attend to sign the registers on 22nd July; that they attended, and waited from 9 a.m. to 11.30 a.m., but no clerks of the Ministry put in an appearance; and what action, if any, does he propose taking to avoid similar occurrences in future?


I have made enquiry and find that about 9,000 miners in Fife-shire have made claims for unemployment benefit during the past month. To meet this very heavy volume of unemployment special arrangements were made. These arrangements, which included the opening of temporary offices at East Wemyss, Dysart, Windygates and Methil, were made in consultation with representatives of the Miners' Union, and I have no reason to believe that in general the arrangements made are unsatisfactory.

As regards the second part of the question, I find that on the 22nd July the officer in charge at East Wemyss, who lives at a distance from East Wemyss, was delayed by a cycling accident, but that in spite of injuries received he arrived at the office at 10.50 a.m. In the meantime the Manager of the Employment Exchange at Kirkcaldy had arrived about 10.30 a.m. It will, therefore, be seen that the delay on this date was due to circumstances which could not be foreseen.

As regards the payment of benefit, I understand that the claims of certain miners were antedated and that difficulty was experienced in ascertaining the days of unemployment. An opportunity has, however, been given to the men concerned to attend at the Local Office with a view to any necessary adjustment of their payments being effected.