Unemployment Fund.

Oral Answers to Questions — Unemployment. – in the House of Commons on 12th November 1936.

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Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

asked the Minister of Labour the present amount of the funded debt of the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the present amount outstanding to the credit of the fund, together with the respective average rates of interest paid and received respectively?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

At the present time the amount outstanding of the debt of the Unemployment Fund is about £104,740,000, on which the current rate of interest averages about 3⅓ per cent. As from October, 1938, the rate will be 3⅓ per cent. At the 7th November, 1936, the balance of the fund was about £36,800,000; this balance is invested in short term securities on which the rate of interest averages about 1⅓ per cent.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

Having regard to these figures, would it not be an advantage if some of the surplus were used to pay off the debt?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

The Committee reported on that and were not of that opinion. The Committee will make another review at the end of the year, when the situation will be again reported on.

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

Is it not possible to get better rates of interest on this surplus, bearing in mind the amount that is paid on the debt?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

No, Sir. The hon. Member must understand that the debt was incurred over varying periods of years, and that in the early period the rates of interest were higher than in the later part.

Photo of Mr Ernest Thurtle Mr Ernest Thurtle , Shoreditch

Cannot the right hon. Gentleman put some of the surplus into longer-term securities and get better interest?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I am satisfied that the very best is being done with it. A comparison with past figures will show that it is going down.