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asked the Minister of Labour whether boys serving as indentured apprentices are excluded from any grant under the Unemployment Insurance Act when, for reasons over which they have no control, the firm training them closes down; whether he is aware that in cases where these boys are fed by their respective firms the officials of his Department are none the less contending they are mainly maintained by their relatives and therefore not available for benefit; and that this policy is driving out-of-work families on to the Poor Law; and whether, in view of the regrettable associations thus formed, he will reconsider this treatment both of the young and their parents?
In the case of claims to benefit by boys serving as indentured apprentices, the decision depends upon the terms of the indenture in the particular case. The Umpire, whose decision is final on such matters, has taken the view that where the apprentice is, under the terms of his indenture, entitled to wages from his employer during periods of slackness, he is not unemployed or entitled to benefit. I have no power to alter this decision.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the case of some of these boys, all that is being offered to them now by some of the unions concerned is that they should be admitted to the workhouse, and does he think that is socially and economically desirable?