Out-of-Work Donation.

Oral Answers to Questions — Naval and Military Pensions and Grants. – in the House of Commons on 26th March 1919.

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Photo of Mr Samuel Hoare Mr Samuel Hoare , Chelsea

23.

asked the Minister of Labour if he will state what are the latest figures for unemployed men, women, girls and boys, and the amount of the donation that is being paid them?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

The latest figures for unemployed men, women, girls and boys having out-of-work donation policies lodged are for the week ending 14th March, namely:—

Men444,277
Women486,945
Boys26,327
Girls31,070
988,619

During the week the amount of donation paid was approximately £1,200,000.

Photo of Mr Samuel Hoare Mr Samuel Hoare , Chelsea

Do those figures show an increase over the figures for the previous week?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

They do, but I should point out for the information of the House that there has been a decrease in the number of those who have asked for a continuance of the unemployment benefit, which they have already got for thirteen weeks.

Photo of Mr George Renwick Mr George Renwick , Newcastle upon Tyne Central

Is this out-of-work donation given to men, women, boys and girls other than those who were employed upon munitions work?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

Yes. The reason is, as the hon. Gentleman will readily understand, that practically the whole effort of the country was engaged on war work of some kind. All, therefore, whether munitions workers or not, if thrown out of employment as a result of the Armistice, should have the same treatment. One is just as much entitled as the other.

Photo of Mr George Renwick Mr George Renwick , Newcastle upon Tyne Central

Then all those who are out of employment from whatever cause are entitled to this donation?

Photo of Mr Alfred Waterson Mr Alfred Waterson , Kettering

Have any steps been taken by the Ministry of Labour to prevent this unemployment, and is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to state to the House the nature of these steps?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

I think that that would require a somewhat lengthy statement. I have no doubt that the hon. Gentleman will find other occasions for raising this question.

Photo of Colonel Charles Yate Colonel Charles Yate , Melton

On what date does this benefit come to an end?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

The date on which the original unemployment benefit would have come to an end would be the 21st of May, being six months after the 21st of November, but as the House already knows there has been an extension of the original period for another period of six months.

Photo of Mr William Redmond Mr William Redmond , Waterford Borough

Will this unemployed benefit be revived at the next General Election?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

We must wait for that occasion.

Photo of Sir John Butcher Sir John Butcher , City of York

Is special attention being paid to the case of domestic servants?

Photo of Mr James Lowther Mr James Lowther , Penrith and Cockermouth

We must endeavour to go through the other questions.

Photo of Mr George Lambert Mr George Lambert , South Molton

25.

asked the Minister of Labour if he will rearrange the payment of the out-of-work donation so that only men and women who cannot get work may receive it?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

It is already a condition for the receipt of out-of-work donation that an applicant must be unemployed, capable of work and unable to obtain suitable employment. It is the practice of the Department to suspend donation and refer claims to Courts of Referees when it is brought to their notice that suitable employment has been refused.

Photo of Mr George Lambert Mr George Lambert , South Molton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a very large number of employers in the country are asking for labour to-day?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

I am aware that there are cases in which the unemployment donation is abused. I should be grateful to every Member of the House who would bring before my notice cases in which that is being done.

Mr. THOMAS:

Is it not also true that employment is being offered to men and women at less than the current rate in the district, and often at less than the unemployment benefit, and that in these cases the unemployment donation is being refused?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

If employment is offered at less than the prescribed rate for employment in that district I do not think that it would be incumbent upon the Employment Exchange to refuse the unemployment donation.

Photo of Sir Henry Craik Sir Henry Craik , Combined Scottish Universities

Can the right hon. Gentleman give any instances of employés who are receiving this donation for whom employment is not waiting at this moment?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

It is an almost impossible task for me to produce instances of persons who are receiving unemployment donation who are unworthy of it, but if the hon. Member would furnish me with cases in which the donation is given in which it ought not to be given, I shall be glad to have these instances looked into.

Photo of Sir Clement Kinloch-Cooke Sir Clement Kinloch-Cooke , Plymouth, Devonport

Are not London dressmakers imploring young women to come to them, employers who are willing to pay them high wages, far above the ordinary ones?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

I should be grateful if my hon. Friend would give me instances of such cases.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Williams Mr Aneurin Williams , Consett

Is there anything to prevent employers who cannot get workers appealing to Unemployment Exchanges?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

They do appeal, and we keep a constant record. So far as we can judge the figures from week to week, there is no large amount of employment available in this country for those who are out of work.

Photo of Mr Henry Croft Mr Henry Croft , Bournemouth

27.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour whether, in view of the statement by his Department that the number of workpeople in every occupation exceeds the demand, his attention has been called to the fact that in numerous cases firms have applied for girls, who refuse employment whilst receiving unemployed benefit; whether he is aware that a large number of men are similarly refusing offers of employment; and whether he will give an undertaking that unemployed benefit will be discontinued to persons who refuse employment at wages at a greater amount than the unemployed benefit now being paid?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

Reports have reached the Department that applicants for out-of-work donation have refused offers of employment. It is already a condition for the receipt of out-of-work donation that applicants shall not refuse offers of suitable employment, and in all cases in which it is reported to the Department that such employment has been refused, payment of donation is suspended and the claims are referred to Courts of Referees for decisions whether or not donation shall me paid. It is very desirable that employers should in all cases furnish the Department with particulars of such cases.

Photo of Mr Henry Croft Mr Henry Croft , Bournemouth

May we take it as the fact that no unemployment benefit will be paid when wages are offered at a higher rate to the person unemployed?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

I should not like to commit myself to an answer in the form in which the question is put for this reason, that if a man is skilled in any particular industry his wages are higher than unemployment benefit, and I do not think it could be said that suitable employment was offered to him if it were employment at a wage which was not comparable to that which he ought to earn in suitable employment. Therefore I cannot commit myself to an answer to the full extent the hon. and gallant Gentleman's question involves.

Photo of Mr Henry Croft Mr Henry Croft , Bournemouth

How long is the State going to find money in these kind of cases where employment is generally offered?

Colonel THORNE:

Is the State prepared to put everybody in work?