§ Viscount SANDON
asked the Minister of Labour whether he can tabulate the concessions made by the Government in the Unemployment Insurance Bill since its introduction, giving the costs thereby involved where this arises?
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
The following statement sets out the Amendments (other than those of a drafting character) made by the House of Commons in the Unemployment Insurance Bill. An estimate of the increased cost of benefit on the basis of 9 per cent. of unemployment is added in those cases where the Amendment makes a direct and substantial addition to the amount of benefit payable.
The references are to the Clauses of the Bill as passed by the House.
Rates of Benefit.—(Clause 4 (1).)
(i) The rates of benefit for young men and young women aged 19 and 20 were increased, as shown in the following table:
— Increased Rate. Rate originally proposed. s. d. s. d. Young men aged 19 12 0 10 0 Young women aged 19 10 0 8 0 Young men aged 20 14 0 10 0 Young women aged 20 12 0 8 0
Estimated annual cost—about £450,000.
(ii) In addition, the Bill was amended so as to provide for the payment of the adult rate of benefit (17s. for men and 15s. for women) to young men and young women between the ages of 18 and 21 234W who are also in receipt of additional benefit in respect of a wife or child or other dependant.
Estimated annual cost—about £20,000.
The 30-contribution, rule.—(Clause 5 (4) and (5).)
The Bill, as introduced, provided that where failure to satisfy the 30-contribution condition is due to incapacity by reason of sickness, the period of two years during which the 30 contributions are to be paid should be lengthened by the period of incapacity up to a maximum of three years. The Bill was amended so as to extend this maximum to four years.
The Bill as introduced provided that in the case of ex-service men whose failure to satisfy the statutory condition was due to their disability, the number of contributions for the purpose of the condition should be 15 instead of 30. This number—15—was reduced to 10.
Extension of the "Continuity Bridge."—(Clause 7.)
At present the maximum period, of employment after which a person can resume benefit without the requirement of another waiting period (of six days without benefit) is six weeks. By a new Clause (Clause 7) this maximum period was extended to 10 weeks.
Estimated annual cost—between £250,000 and £300,000.
Provision for grants out of the Unemployment Fund towards the cost of courses of instruction.—(Clause 8.)
By a new Clause (Clause 8) the Bill gives the Minister power to authorise payments out of the Unemployment Fund towards the cost of approved courses of instruction for boys and girls aged 16 to 18 who are insured persons under the scheme or are normally employed, or likely to be employed, in an insured occupation. The grants are not to exceed the net amount provided for the same purpose out of the Exchequer.
The amount which this will involve in 1928–29 cannot yet be stated, as the Estimates have not been settled.
Arrangements with associations.—(Clause 10 (1).)
A reduction was made in the yearly amounts of benefit which an association's rules are to be required to provide out 235W of its own funds in order that the association may be eligible to make an arrangement for paying out State benefit to its members. The yearly amounts originally proposed by the Bill and the reduced amounts are as follows:
— Reduced amount. Amount originally proposed. s. d. s. d. In the case of men 21years and over. 75 0 120 0 In the case of women 21 years and over. 60 0 100 0 In the case of young men and boys aged 16–21. 37 6 60 0 In the case of young women and girls aged 16–21. 30 0 50 0
Exemption.—(Fourth Schedule. Amendment of Section 3 of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1920.)
An Amendment relating to exemption from unemployment insurance was redrafted so as to provide expressly that persons whose only insurable employment is ordinarily confined to a seasonal occupation ordinarily carried on for not more than 18 weeks in a year may claim exemption.
Fourth Schedule.—(Amendment of Section 26 (4) of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1920.)
The Bill as introduced proposed to extend from four to twelve months the period for which preferential claims for unpaid contributions could be made against companies which are being wound up. An Amendment was made which has the effect of making the same extension of period in the case of bankrupt employers who are not companies.
Relief work subsidised by Poor Law authorities.—(Fourth Schedule. Amendment of Section 47 of the Unemployment Insurance Act,1920.)
The Bill as introduced proposed to make uninsurable all work provided by arrangement between a local authority and a Poor Law authority under which the latter contributed towards the worker's remuneration. The Bill was amended so as to restrict the effect of this to the case of persons who have not 236W previously been in receipt of unemployment benefit, or who are not employed full time under the arrangement.
Employment excepted by Minister's Certificate.—(Fourth Schedule. Amendment of First Schedule, Part II, of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1920.)
The Minister has power under certain conditions to grant Certificates of Exception covering the permanent employés of local authorities, railway companies, public utility companies and other employments to which a statutory superannuation scheme applies; but it is in general necessary for contributions to be paid by such employés for the first three years of permanent service. At present, a person who is covered by such a Certificate of Exception and who leaves the employment and goes to another local authority, etc., which also holds such a certificate, must in general again pay contributions for three years under the new employer. A provision was inserted in the Bill under which this will not be necessary, and such a person may immediately be excepted in his new employment.
Fourth Schedule.—(Amendment of Section 5 of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1921.)
Words were added which will make it possible for the interest on the debt of the Unemployment Fund to be paid direct to the National Debt Commissioners instead of through the Treasury as at present.