Assistance.

Oral Answers to Questions — Unemployment. – in the House of Commons on 1st August 1935.

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Photo of Mr Henry White Mr Henry White , Birkenhead East

1.

asked the Minister of Labour the number of allowances under the Unemployment Assistance Board which were in force when the standstill arrangement was made, and the number which have since been disallowed for reasons other than that the applicants have obtained employment?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I regret that this information is not available.

Photo of Mr Henry White Mr Henry White , Birkenhead East

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the number of persons in receipt of public assistance has increased to any notable extent since the standstill order?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I should say not. The only classification that could arise would be from changed circumstances.

Photo of Mr George Griffiths Mr George Griffiths , Hemsworth

Would it not be possible for the Minister to get this information before the House rises?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

No; it would be quite impossible. In cases where there has been a change of circumstances it would mean the examination of every determination of that class throughout the country.

Photo of Mr George Griffiths Mr George Griffiths , Hemsworth

Would it not be good propaganda for the Ministry of Health?

Photo of Mr Joseph Gibbins Mr Joseph Gibbins , Liverpool West Toxteth

5.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that adult children are not considered for benefit by the Unemployment Assistance Board; and what steps he is taking to deal with this matter?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I presume the hon. Member is referring to a person belonging to one of the classes of persons which will not be brought within the scope of the Unemployment Assistance Board until after the second appointed day. The Board is not empowered at present to give assistance in respect of such persons, whether they are living with their parents or not. Subject to this, the practice of the Board is, I am informed, to include the needs of all children, irrespective of their ages, living with an applicant who are dependent on or ordinarily supported by him.

Photo of Mr Joseph Gibbins Mr Joseph Gibbins , Liverpool West Toxteth

Is the Minister aware that a man transferred to the Unemployment Assistance Board is not allowed anything for children over 14 years of age?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

Perhaps, if the hon. Member has any case of that kind, he will bring it to my notice.

Photo of Mr Borras Whiteside Mr Borras Whiteside , Leeds South

Is "adult child" a new classification; and, if so, what is the definition?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

There is a large class of persons who will not be brought within the scope of the board's operations under Part II of the Act until the second appointed day has been fixed. The second appointed day not having been fixed, they are outside the scope of the board's operations.

Photo of Mr Joseph Gibbins Mr Joseph Gibbins , Liverpool West Toxteth

Will the Minister seek information from the public assistance authorities, who will give him scores of cases in which children over 14 are not being considered by the board?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

If the hon. Member is referring to the big class of cases which I have mentioned, that is one of the problems which are linked up with the fixing of the second appointed day.

Photo of Mr Henry White Mr Henry White , Birkenhead East

Can the Minister say approximately when the second appointed day will be fixed?

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

Will the right hon. Gentleman expedite it, in the public interest?

Photo of Major Henry Procter Major Henry Procter , Accrington

6.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that persons receiving public assistance get no benefit for the week in which they commence work; and, as sometimes 10 days elapse before the first pay day arrives, whether he will amend the regulations and Form B. 7 so that such persons may not become destitute during this interval?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

In answer to the first part of the question, I am informed that the present arrangements for the payment of unemployment allowances are such that only in very exceptional circumstances will a person receive no part of his allowance for the week in which he commences work. Ordinarily he will receive a proportion of the weekly allowance, depending on the day of the week in which he commences work or the amount of his earnings. As regards the second part of the question, the Unemployment Assistance Board are aware that difficulty of this kind occasionally arises. The board have this difficulty under examination with a view to the issue of further instructions.

Photo of Major Henry Procter Major Henry Procter , Accrington

Is the Minister aware that there is great hardship in Lancashire in connection with the making-up days for the receipt of pay; and will he look at the wording of Form B. 7 with a view to altering it to refer to receipt of payments instead of earnings?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

That is one of the points that are being considered.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

9.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will secure that any new regulations submitted to him by the Public Assistance Board and laid by him before the House are published a considerable period before discussion in this House; and whether new legislation is contemplated?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

It will naturally be my object to give the House as long notice as possible of any proposals made by the Board. As regards the second part of the question, the answer must depend on the extent to which those proposals are found to be in conformity with the existing law.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

Would not the best course be to abolish the household means test altogether?