Unemployment (Dependants' Benefit).

– in the House of Commons on 28th March 1935.

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Mr. BUCHANA:

I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, the action of the Minister of Labour both at Dudley and Stanningley Employment Exchanges in applying a means test to two applicants for standard benefit, thus committing a grave breach of the principles governing Part I of the Unemployment Insurance Act.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

The hon. Member asks if he can move the Adjournment of the House on a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, the action of the Minister of Labour both at Dudley and Stanningley Employment Exchanges in applying a means test to two applicants for standard benefit, thus committing a grave breach of the principles governing Part I of the Unemployment Insurance Act. I do not think that any of these things would come under the meaning of Standing Order No. 8 which governs Motions for the Adjournment.

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

Is it not, first of all, a matter of very urgent importance that applicants for benefit should not be placed out of reach of the Act? It is one of urgent importance, because it gives rise to terrible suffering among a large section of the population. Consequently, is it not a definite matter when this sort of thing is applied to poor persons, and is it not a matter of public importance when a large number of persons are thus involved? I ask you, Mr. Speaker, seeing that it is a matter of urgent importance, to reconsider your decision and allow this matter to be discussed?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

I appreciate the urgency of it, if there is anything in it, but it is really a matter of the administration of the law, and it is one which may be discussed next Wednesday.

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

With all due respect, Mr. Speaker, are you not aware that, as this affects the question of people receiving benefit for their children, it is a matter of tremendous urgency involving action at once, and will you not reconsider it from that point of view. It might become involved with other things next Wednesday and might not be reached.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

The hon. Member could see that it was reached. Really, this is a matter of the administration of law.

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

May I make a plea to the Prime Minister and ask him whether, in view of the fact that the matter is urgent and of public importance, it will not be possible, through the usual channels, to arrange to move the adjournment a little earlier—it is a question of grave concern to poor people affected by this new administration—in order to discuss the position to-night? The matter concerns the well-being of many of His Majesty's subjects, and will he not give an opportunity for a discussion on the adjournment to-night?

Photo of Mr Ramsay Macdonald Mr Ramsay Macdonald , Seaham

The House is working under an agreement.

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

Is it not possible to alter it?

Photo of Mr Ramsay Macdonald Mr Ramsay Macdonald , Seaham

The Eleven o'Clock Adjournment will be moved in the ordinary way, and this matter can be taken then.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

Is it not for the Government to try to accommodate other sections of the House on matters which they may think of considerable importance? It is quite usual for parties to give and take a little, and surely it is not asking for a great deal in requesting an extra half-hour to-night to raise a matter which we regard as very urgent. I believe that I could persuade the House, if it were in order, that it is urgent, and I ask the Prime Minister to say, as he might say in other circumstances, that, if it can be arranged through the usual channels, he will have no objection to that course.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

Is it not possible that we might save half an hour on the time-table if good progress is made with the Government of India Bill, and to have the Motion for the Adjournment moved at 10.30?

Photo of Mr David Mason Mr David Mason , Edinburgh East

Cannot the Minister responsible give an undertaking that he will make an inquiry?