asked the Minister of Labour whether, seeing that paragraph 6 of Circular U.I.A. 505 C compels local employment committees to refuse benefit to a single man or woman who lives with an adult relative who is employed half-time or more, he will say whether these persons are entitled to benefit towards which they have contributed; and under what section of what Act is he acting in directing committees to refuse benefit?
As I have repeatedly stated, persons entitled to benefit under the permanent provisions of the Unemployment Insurance Scheme in respect of contributions paid are in no way affected by the condition referred to, or the other special conditions relating to un-covenanted or "free" benefit. These conditions have been laid clown in the exercise of the discretionary power conferred by Section 4 of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1922.
I will send my hon. and gallant Friend a copy of the Circular which I sent to the local authorities on the point which will more fully explain the position.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in many cases men who form part of a family, all of whom are unemployed, have had their extension of benefit discontinued, for the sole realm that one member of the family is in receipt of unemployed benefit?
My hon. Friend has not correctly given the rule. The rule states that. "ordinarily persons will not be entitled," and the last paragraph says that these conditions are not designed to rule out of benefit cases where the provision would inflict real hardship. They are intended, however, to prevent the depletion of a fund which is limited, which is built up mainly by heavy contributions, and which is urgently needed in the case of those for whom it is properly designed.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the general interpretation is that all single men are prevented from getting unemployed benefit, that there has been no end of hardship to the family—where there is a big family—and that the only person getting benefit is the head, while the rest must come under the Poor Law or starve?
Since November, 1920, I have managed to make the Insurance Act find 57 weeks' benefit for persons who in some cases may not have paid anything at all. I do not think that these Regulations are unjust. They do not affect covenanted benefit.