Orders of the Day — Clause 4. — (Provisions with respect to benefit in third and fourth special periods.)

– in the House of Commons on 6th April 1922.

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(1) If it appears to the Minister that, haying regard to all the circumstances of the case, it is expedient in the public interest that a person, notwithstanding that by reason that he does not satisfy the first statutory condition, or that he is disqualified under Sub-section (4) of Section eight of the principal Act for receiving benefit, or (except as hereinafter otherwise expressly provided) by reason of the provisions of paragraph 3 of the Second Schedule to the principal Act, he may not be entitled to receive benefit, should be allowed to receive benefit in the third or the fourth special period, as the case may be, the Minister may, subject to the provisions of this Section, authorise that person to receive benefit—

  1. (a) during the third special period for periods not exceeding in the aggregate fifteen weeks;
  2. (b) during the fourth special period for periods not exceeding in the aggregate twelve weeks and, subject to the provisions of paragraph 3 of the Second Schedule to the principal Act (which 2569 provides that a person shall not receive more benefit than in the proportion of one week's benefit for every six contributions paid), for two further periods, neither of which shall exceed in the aggregate five weeks.

(2) When and so often as a person has received benefit under this Section in the third special period for periods amounting in the aggregate to five weeks, he shall cease to be qualified for the receipt of benefit in the third special period until the expiration of five weeks from the end of the last period in respect of which benefit was payable, and if at any time before the seventeenth day of April, nineteen hundred and twenty-two, the amount of benefit received by any person since the commencement of the second special period amounts in the aggregate to twenty-two weeks, he shall not be qualified for receiving any further benefit until the said seventeenth day of April.

(3) The Minister shall not authorise any person to receive benefit under this Section unless that person proves

  1. (a) That he is normally employed in such employment as would make him an employed person within the meaning of the principal Act:
  2. (b) That he is genuinely seeking, but unable to obtain whole-time employment:
  3. (c) Either that not less than twenty contributions have been paid in respect of him under the principal Act, or that, having regard to the opportunities of employment in his normal employment, he has since the thirty-first day of December, nineteen hundred and nineteen been employed for a reasonable length of time in some occupation employment in which would if the principal Act had been in force during the whole period of his employment have made him an employed person within the meaning of that Act, or, in the case of a person formerly engaged in war service, that he had been so employed before becoming so engaged, or had no opportunity owing to his youth of being so employed.

For the purposes of paragraph (c) aforesaid the Minister may, in the case of any person formerly engaged in war service who has at the cost of funds administered by the Minister, or by the Minister of Pensions, undergone training for an occupation employment in which would have made him an employed person, treat that training as if it were employment which would, if the principal Act had been in force during the period of training, have made that person an employed person within the meaning of that Act.

(4) For the purpose of qualifying a person to receive, within either the third or the fourth special period, benefit up to the aggregate amount which may be authorised by the Minister under this Act, but for no other purpose, there shall be treated as having been paid in respect of him such number of contributions as are sufficient so to qualify him.

(5) Notwithstanding anything in the Unemployment Insurance Acts, 1920 and 1921, or in this Act, no person shall be entitled to receive benefit in the third special period for periods amounting in the aggregate to more than fifteen weeks, or in the fourth special period for periods amounting in the aggregate (except as hereinbefore otherwise expressly provided) to more than eighteen weeks.

(6) No person who holds, or who has at any time held, a certificate of exemption under Section three of the principal Act shall be entitled to benefit under this section.

(7) If any question arises as to whether any person satisfies the requirements of this section, the question shall be decided by the Minister.

Photo of Sir Charles Edwards Sir Charles Edwards , Bedwellty

I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words If it appears to the Minister that, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, it is expedient in the public interest that a person, notwithstanding that by reason that he does not satisfy the first statutory condition, or that he is disqualified under Subsection (4) of Section eight of the principal Act for receiving benefit, or (except as hereinafter otherwise expressly provided) by reason of the provisions of paragraph 3 of the Second Schedule to the principal Act, ho may not be entitled to receive benefit, should be allowed. and to insert instead thereof the words Every person who fulfils the conditions laid down in this Section shall be entitled. We consider this Amendment a very important one. What we ask is that the same condition shall apply to the second, third, and fourth periods as apply to the first. That the man will find when he has paid his contributions that he is automatically entitled to receive benefit under this fund, we ask that the same thing shall apply to the people who receive benefit in the other periods, but as at present the Minister decides the point, we consider that unfair. We say that this payment is not a charity in any sense; if so, we say that any expensive and irritating inquiries should be, as far as possible, dispensed with. The workers pay their share, and we have to remember that the employers' portion is a charge on the industry and comes out of the workers' wages, and, as a matter of fact, they pay a big share of the State contribution as well. The late Minister of Health once said that the workers pay at least five-sevenths of the whole of these contributions. Therefore the conditions ought to be made as light as possible for them. If this Clause goes through as it is in the Bill, it will be imperative that rules shall be drawn up for the guidance of the local committees, and this will disqualify many of them from receiving benefit. All the payments should be automatically made provided that the applicants fulfil the conditions of the Clause. We are not asking that these payments should be made unconditionally. My only point is that the same conditions should apply to the second, third, and fourth periods as apply to the first period.

Photo of Mr Thomas Macnamara Mr Thomas Macnamara , Camberwell North West

There are two parts of this Act. One is the permanent structure for which the man gets benefit under the Statutory provisions, and that is not touched by this Bill. As a result of very grave unemployment since the fall of the year 1920, I have added another section, bringing in the 8,000,000 people who then came into insurance, and for these people I wanted to make the conditions less onerous.

It is this side, the uncovenanted side, with which we are now dealing. I am not proposing to touch the covenanted side, provision for which is laid down in the Statute. I am proposing in regard to the uncovenanted side to have some discretion as to the conditions under which these benefits shall be paid. From the fall of 1920 to the present time the accumulated funds provided for 52 weeks' benefit. We are now providing to the end of October for 15 weeks more, and from October to June next we shall provide for another 22 weeks, and this benefit will be received by many people who have paid little or nothing into this fund. We are paying benefits in advance of contributions, and I think, in these circumstances, I am entitled to

lay down reasonable and just conditions under which this free uncovenanted benefit should be granted. My hon. Friend's Amendment would take my discretion away entirely. The hon. Member talks about his proposal being automatic. May I point out that these benefits have not been contributed, and they are free uncovenanted benefits. Therefore I am bound to make such regulations as, will secure that this fund shall be conserved for those who need it most. I cannot think that the House will agree that this side shall not be at the discretion of the Minister. As to the statement that I wish to have an expensive; and irritating inquiry, I want to do nothing of the kind. All I want is to; see that such money as I have got shall go to the people who need it most of all, and to that end I ask to be allowed to retain this discretion.

Photo of Mr William Gillis Mr William Gillis , Penistone

The object of this Amendment is to provide that each person covered by the Bill shall receive benefits if he fulfils the conditions laid down in the Bill. The Minister in Clause 4 asks for power to make Regulations, to say whether a person is entitled to benefit or not. He wishes to have two voices for one. I suppose it will be said the object is to provide against young persons imposing on the Act. I think we can rest-assured there will not be very many impostors under this Bill.

To my mind it is absolutely unfair that there should be two chances to one. There are three contributors to the fund. It is like three playing at a game—"heads I win, tails you lose; what I lose on the swings I shall get back on the hobbyhorses." What we say is, that all contributors to this Act should receive benefit, and I hope the House will support the Amendment.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 139; Noes, 50.

Division No. 86.]AYES.[11.15 p.m.
Amery, Leopold C. M. S.Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive
Armstrong, Henry BruceBellairs, Commander Carlyon W.Brittain, Sir Harry
Atkey, A. R.Bonn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)Broad, Thomas Tucker
Baird, Sir John LawrenceBird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)Brown, Major D. C.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyBlades, Sir George RowlandBruton, Sir James
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Blane, T. A.Buckley, Lieut. Colonel A.
Barker, Major Robert H.Borwick, Major G. O.Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.
Barnett, Major Richard W.Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith-Carew, Charles Robert S.
Barnston, Major HarryBowyer, Captain G. W. E.Casey, T. W.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A.(Birm., W.)Johnson, Sir StanleySassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)Johnstone, JosephScott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. SpenderJones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)
Coats, Sir StuartKing, Captain Henry DouglasSeddon, J. A.
Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.Lindsay, William ArthurShaw, William T. (Forfar)
Colvin, Brig.-General Richard BealeLloyd-Greame, Sir P.Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)
Coote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely)Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)
Davidson, J. C. C.(Hemel Hempstead)Lorden, John WilliamSmith, Sir Harold (Warrington)
Dawson, Sir PhilipLort-Williams, J.Stanton, Charles Butt
Doyle, N. G rattanLoseby, Captain C. E.Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.
Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W.Strauss, Edward Anthony
Elveden, ViscountMacnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.Sturrock, J. Leng
Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.Sugden, W. H.
Falcon, Captain MichaelManville, EdwardSutherland, Sir William
Faile, Major Sir Bertram GodfreyMoore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.Taylor, J.
Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.Morden, Col. W. GrantThomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Forrest, WalterMoreing, Captain Algernon H.Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)
Fraser, Major Sir KeithMurray, John (Leeds, West)Thorpe, Captain John Henry
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.Neal, ArthurTownley, Maximilian G.
Ganzoni, Sir JohnNewman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)Townshend, Sir Charles Vere Ferrers
Gee, Captain RobertNewson, Sir Percy WilsonWard, William Dudley (Southampton)
Gibbs, Colonel George AbrahamNewton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)Watson, Captain John Bertrand
Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir JohnNicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.
Goff, Sir R. ParkNicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)Willey, Lieut.-Colonel F. V.
Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)Oman, Sir Charles William C.Williams, C. (Tavistock)
Hacking, Captain Douglas H.Parker, JamesWilliams, Lt.-Col. Sir R. (Banbury)
Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert PikeWilson, Lt.-Col. Sir M. (Bethnal Gn.)
Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryPerkins, Walter FrankWilson- Col. M. J. (Richmond)
Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)Pownail, Lieut.-Colonel AsshetonWinterton, Earl
Henderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston)Pratt, John WilliamWise, Frederick
Hennessy, Major J. R. G.Ramsden, G. T.Wood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)
Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel FrankRandles, Sir John ScurrahWood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Hohler, Gerald FitzroyRees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, East)Wood, Major Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)
Holbrook, Sir Arthur RichardRemer, J. R.Young, E. H. (Norwich)
Hood, Sir JosephRoberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)
Hopkins, John W. W.Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Hurd, Percy A.Roundell, Colonel R. F.Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.
Inskip, Thomas Walker H.Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)McCurdy.
Jameson, John GordonSanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur
NOES.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. WilliamGrundy, T. W.Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich).
Ammon, Charles GeorgeGuest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)Robertson, John
Banton, GeorgeHancock, John GeorgeSexton, James
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Hartshorn, VernonShort, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)Hayward, EvanSitch, Charles H.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Widnes)Spencer, George A.
Bromfield, WilliamHogge, James MylesSwan, J. E.
Cairns, JohnJohn, William (Rhondda, West)Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)
Cape, ThomasJones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)
Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)Lawson, John JamesWilliams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)Lunn, WilliamWilson, James (Dudley)
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeon, C.)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)MacVeagh, JeremiahYoung, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedweilty)Naylor, Thomas Ellis
Finney, SamuelParkinson, John Allen (Wigan)TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Gillis, WilliamRaffan, Peter WilsonMr. Kennedy and Mr. W. Smith.
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)