Out-of-Work Donations.

Oral Answers to Questions — Naval and Military Pensions and Grants. – in the House of Commons on 2nd April 1919.

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Photo of Brigadier-General Sir George Cockerill Brigadier-General Sir George Cockerill , Reigate

17.

asked the Minister of Labour whether the Returns of unemployed persons in receipt of out-of-work donation are analysed with a view to detecting any marked excess in the supply of those skilled in any particular industry, having regard to the probable eventual demand for skilled labour in that industry; and, if so, what, if any, steps are being taken to divert such labour into other channels of employment instead of continuing to pay out-of-work donation?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

I am afraid it would be impossible to make such an analysis as is suggested, in view of the fact that the probable eventual demand for labour in any given industry could not be even approximately estimated. I may add, however, that the Returns of persons in receipt of out-of-work donation are regularly scrutinised with a view to ensuring that all possible steps are taken to utilise unemployed labour for filling vacancies which are at the time known to exist.

Photo of Mr Walter Smith Mr Walter Smith , Wellingborough

19.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he has received any representations from trade unions in favour of the substitution of Clause 8 of the out-of-work donation scheme by a provision that any worker offered employment in another district where wages are lower shall be guaranteed the district rate of his place of residence; and whether he will consider this matter?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. The rule is based upon the corresponding rule in Section 86 (c) of the National Health Insurance Act, 1911; and I do not see my way to altering it.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Williams Mr Aneurin Williams , Consett

20.

asked the Minister of Labour whether married women with children are being offered domestic service by the Labour Exchanges without the opportunity of returning to their homes in the evenings; and whether unemployment benefit is being refused to those who decline to take such work?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

It is the duty of Employment Exchanges to offer suitable employment wherever possible to all women who claim out-of-work donation. The domestic circumstances of applicants are in all cases taken fully into account before unemployment donation is refused; and, further, all suspensions of donation are referred to a Court of Referees, before whom the applicant is entitled to attend and state his or her case. I am not aware of any particular instances raising the point contained in the hon. Member's question.

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , West Ham Silvertown

Is he prepared to allow these appeals to be made to the local advisory committees before they are finally sent to the Central Committee?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

No; I do not think I am prepared to give that assurance. The present system has been devised as being the best possible under the circumstances.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Williams Mr Aneurin Williams , Consett

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the circumstances set out in my question?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

In every case it is the duty of the Employment Exchanges to consider such circumstances as the hon. Member mentions, and if they are unsatisfactory to the applicants it is then the duty of the Court of Referees to deal with it.

Photo of Mr Frederick Banbury Mr Frederick Banbury , City of London

22.

asked the Minister of Labour if he will state what Act and what Vote authorises the payment of money to unemployed persons until November next?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

Moneys required for out-of-work donation are provided in the Vote for the Civil Demobilisation and Resettlement Department. Parliament will be asked in due course to confirm this Vote in the Appropriation Act. No other statutory authority is being sought.

Photo of Mr Frederick Banbury Mr Frederick Banbury , City of London

Am I to understand from that answer that the money has been spent before either a Vote or an Act has been obtained?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

I am afraid I am not sufficiently familiar with the forms of this. House to be able to answer that question, but if the hon. Member will put it before me in a subsequent question I shall be glad to answer it.

Photo of Mr Frederick Banbury Mr Frederick Banbury , City of London

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is the habit of the Government not to know when they spend money whether they are authorised to do so or not?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

I do not think it is the habit of the Government; it is only my own personal ignorance on this question.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Walter Guinness Lieut-Colonel Walter Guinness , Bury St Edmunds

May I ask whether the Law Officers of the Crown have been consulted as to the legality of these payments?

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , West Ham Silvertown

Have the unemployed been consulted?

Photo of Colonel Frank Hilder Colonel Frank Hilder , Essex South Eastern

26.

asked the Minister of Labour if he will give the number of men in England classified as agricultural labourers who received out-of-work donations for the second week in March?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

The number of men in England classified as agricultural labourers who received out-of-work donation for the second week in March was 2,352.

Photo of Colonel Frank Hilder Colonel Frank Hilder , Essex South Eastern

28.

asked the Minister of Labour if he will state the number of agricultural labourers in England in receipt of out-of-work donations who obtained employment through the Employment Exchange during the second week in March?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

The number of agricultural labourers (men) in England who obtained employment through the Employment Exchanges during the second week in March was 119.

I should like to add to the three answers which I have just given that the men submitted for employment are very frequently refused, and the fact that a man represents himself as an agricultural labourer is no guarantee that he has sufficient skill to induce the employer to take him on.

Photo of Colonel Frank Hilder Colonel Frank Hilder , Essex South Eastern

29.

asked the Minister of Labour if he will give the number of painters and the number of bricklayers of all grades who were in receipt of out-of-work donations during the second week in March?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

The number of painters and painters' labourers who were in receipt of out-of-work donation during the second week in March was 9,804. The number of bricklayers and bricklayers' labourers who were in receipt of out-of-work donation during the second week in March was 7,884.

Photo of Colonel Frank Hilder Colonel Frank Hilder , Essex South Eastern

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the extreme difficulty in the country of obtaining this kind of labour?

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , West Ham Silvertown

Is he aware also of the difficulty of these men in finding employment?

Photo of Mr Thompson Donald Mr Thompson Donald , Belfast Victoria

Is he aware that in Ireland they are coming for their out-of-work donation in motor-cars?

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , West Ham Silvertown

Can he say if they are not entitled to a ride sometimes?