Able-Bodied Unemployed (State Maintenance Cost).

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance. – in the House of Commons on 26th November 1936.

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Photo of Mr Joseph Hepworth Mr Joseph Hepworth , Bradford East

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the cost to the State if it, took over complete responsibility for the maintenance of all able-bodied unemployed in this country; and what is the cost at the present time of partial maintenance by the State in the last 12 months for which figures are available?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

In the financial year 1935–36, the amount provided by the Exchequer for the maintenance of the able-bodied unemployed in the form of unemployment allowances and grants to public assistance authorities, and including the proportion of the block grant appropriate to the expenditure on the able-bodied unemployed borne by local authorities, was approximately £50,000,000. The expenditure borne by local authorities, less the block grant, was approximately £950,000. The extra cost to the Exchequer in that year of assuming complete responsibility for the able-bodied unemployed would thus have been £950,000 assuming that the block grant had been appropriately adjusted. These figures do not include the cost of the assumption by the Exchequer of the payments to the unemployed now made by way of unemployment benefit under the Unemployment Insurance Acts.

Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

Can the right hon. Gentleman remember the time when this principle was not accepted?

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

Does the right hon. Gentleman regard the figures granted in the recent Regulations, 24s. for a man and wife and 10s. for an adult, as maintenance?

Photo of Sir Herbert Holdsworth Sir Herbert Holdsworth , Bradford South

If it is such a small amount, why not grant the complete amount and accept the whole principle?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

If it is a small amount, why grant it?