HC Deb 26 March 1925 vol 182 cc667-9W
Captain BENN

asked the Minister of Labour whether it is possible to modify the recent Circular in reference to unemployment benefit, with a view to giving local unemployment committees the power to judge on their merits applications for continued benefit?


I presume that the hon. and gallant Member is referring to the Circular regarding the payment of eight contributions in the last two insurance years, or 30 contributions in all. The question has been fully debated in the House and, as I have already stated, I do not feel that it is possible to relax these requirements.

Captain BENN

asked the Minister of Labour how many men over 60 have been refused unemployment benefit on the ground that they are unlikely to find insurable employment in normal times; and how many of these were ex-service men?


No statistics are available giving the information desired by the hon. and gallant Member.

Captain BENN

asked the Minister of Labour whether his attention has been called to the delays that occur in the payment of benefit which has been granted by local employment committees, the ground of the delay being the necessity for reference to the central office in London; and whether he will take steps to obviate such delays?


In general there is no reference to headquarters and no delay in paying benefit in cases where local committees recommend allowance of the claims. Some recommendations, however, are not in accord with the instruc- tions and have to be referred by the local officer to headquarters. In such cases, which form a very small proportion of the total, some delay is inevitable, but every effort is and will be made to reduce it to a minimum.


asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that the fish workers registered at Penzance Exchange have been in the past refused permission to sign on because they have been regarded as seasonal workers, and not, therefore, entitled to unemployment benefit; whether, in view of the fact that they are now regarded as general workers and the previous disqualification removed, any cases have arisen in which retrospective pay has been granted; whether it is intended to make all cases retrospective; and, if so, from what date?


I cannot find that any fish workers have been refused permission to sign the unemployed register at the local office. It appears that five fish workers claimed extended benefit, and that their claims were provisionally disallowed on the ground that they were seasonal workers. Further information showed that they could not properly be regarded as seasonal workers and the previous decision was accordingly revised. One of the live men had continued to sign the register after his claim was disallowed, and he has been paid benefit retrospectively. The other four ceased signing when their claims were disallowed, but benefit will be paid as from the date of disallowance if they can furnish alternative proof of unemployment and can show that they fulfil the remaining conditions for the receipt of benefit.


asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that, at a hearing of a claim before the Court of Referees, in Manchester (E.D. 5,451/1925), the claimant had no knowledge or notice of the representations on which the court refused the claim, and thus no opportunity of challenging their accuracy; whether this practice has the sanction of the Ministry; and, if not, whether he will take steps to secure that this claim shall be reheard on lines more in accordance with recognised legal procedure?


Benefit was disallowed in this case by the insurance officer on the ground that the applicant left her employment voluntarily without just cause. In addition to a formal notification to this effect she was given, in accordance with the usual procedure, a copy of the employer's statement on which the disallowance was based. A further statement made by the employer prior to the Court of Referees hearing was read out in full to the applicant at the hearing. In these circumstances I do not think there is any ground for the allegation that the applicant had no knowledge or notice of the representations on which the court refused the claim. If she has any fresh evidence to bring forward, it will be referred to the court with a view to a further hearing.