HC Deb 11 November 1943 vol 393 cc1309-10W
Sir H. Williams

asked the Minister of Labour why it was necessary to pay £1,036,000 in unemployment benefit and unemployment allowances during the 13 weeks ended 25th September, 1943, having regard to his power to direct persons to employment?

Mr. Bevin

Notwithstanding my powers of direction which are always exercised wherever any advantage would accrue to the war effort, there are week by week a number of workers whose short spell of unemployment between one job and another is covered by payment of unemployment benefit to which they are entitled and have contributed. There is also a residium of persons for whom it is very difficult to find employment adapted to their capacity and they have to be maintained.

Mr. E. P. Smith

asked the Minister of Labour under what authority a cadet of the Merchant Navy who is granted a third month's leave ashore to complete his studies for the second mate's certificate examination receives benefit as an unemployed person, whereas he is, in fact, fully occupied in his studies?

Mr. Bevin

A person attending a course of training or instruction is normally unable to satisfy the third statutory condition for the receipt of unemployment benefit, which requires that he shall be "capable and available for work." Section 24 (2) of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1935, however, provides that an insured contributor shall not be deemed to have failed to fulfil the third Statutory Condition by reason only that he is attending at an authorised course or at a training course or course of instruction approved by the Minister in his case.

Attendance at courses of training in the case of officers and ratings of the Mercantile Marine who are studying for the Ministry of War Transport certificates are approved under this Section where leave has been granted and the applicants are not in receipt of reserve pool pay.