§ Mr. STEPHEN
asked the Minister of Labour the total number of applications for unemployment benefit to the latest available date under the present Unemployment Insurance Act and the number refused on the ground of the applicant not genuinely seeking employment?
§ Mr. BETTERT0N
From 19th April, 1928, to 14th January, 1929, inclusive 7,439,160 fresh and renewal claims to benefit were made at Employment Exchanges in Great Britain. During this period 189,509 claims were disallowed by insurance officers on the ground that the applicants were not genuinely seeking work, while 30,654 claims were recommended for disallowance by courts of referees on the same ground on review after 78 days' benefit had been paid in the previous six months.
§ Mr. LEE
asked the Minister of Labour if he has received a resolution passed at a conference held in Derby on 23rd January, representatives being present from five county boroughs, 16 urban district councils, nine rural district councils, 10 boards of guardians, and presided over by the Mayor of Derby, unanimously calling his attention to the additional burdens being placed upon the local boards of guardians, and asking that the Clause in the Unemployment Act, "not genuinely seeking employment," should be waived; and whether he proposes to do anything to meet this view?1967W
§ Mr. BETTERTON
My right hon. Friend has received a copy of this resolution. The condition that claimants for unemployment benefit should prove that they are genuinely seeking work is a statutory one, imposed by the Act passed by the Labour Government in 1924. It would clearly not be right to burden the Unemployment Fund with payments in cases where this condition is not satisfied. The right of claimants to an impartial examination of their claims is secured by the procedure set up by the Unemployment Insurance Acts, under which any case of doubt is decided by the statutory authorities, subject to the rights of appeal granted by the Acts. It does not seem to be the case that additional burdens have been thrown upon the board of guardians in this connection. Between November, 1927, and November, 1928, the total number of insured men in receipt of outdoor relief in England and Wales fell from 99,000 to 68,000, although in the meantime the live register of unemployed men had increased by over 153,000.