HC Deb 02 March 1978 vol 945 cc294-5W
Mr. Madden

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement concerning the publication of the report on the experimental scheme to pay unemployment benefits fortnightly rather than weekly.

Mr. Booth

I asked a joint working party, comprising representatives of management and Staff Side unions, to set up, monitor and evaluate the experiment in fortnightly attendance and payment of benefits to unemployed people. I have now received their report. This shows that the trial arrangements were found to be practicable, and were acceptable to the majority of claimants and staff. The majority conclusion of the report is that overall, the pilot scheme has demonstrated that fortnightly signing and payment offers a worthwhile improvement in the service that my Department offers to claimants. The representatives of the Civil and Public Services Association have attached their own minority conclusions. The Government will now be considering the report before deciding whether to put forward proposals for the extension of these fortnightly arrangements nationally. Copies of the report have been placed in the Library of the House and in the Vote Office and are available to other interested people through the Public Enquiry Office of the Department of Employment at 8 St. James's Square, London S.W.1.