§ Mrs. Braddock
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance why a decision was taken to exclude a number of men from unemployment benefit who had been made redundant by Messrs. John Laing Limited at the Littlewoods contract in Derby Lane, Liverpool, on its closure by the company; if he is aware that the decision indefinitely to suspend operatives 17W from benefit, in an area where alternative employment in the building industry is unobtainable at this time, has caused unnecessary hardship; and if he will have the decision reviewed.
§ Mrs. Thatcher
As the hon. Member will be aware, entitlement to unemployment benefit is decided by independent statutory authorities. I understand that, in the case referred to, the insurance officer decided that the men concerned were disqualified for benefit because they had lost their employment by reason of a stoppage of work due to a trade dispute at their place of employment. My right hon. Friend has no power to interfere in this decision but any claimant who disagrees with it can, of course, appeal to the local tribunal and, from it, to the National Insurance Commissioner.