Oral Answers to Questions — Unemployment Assistance

– in the House of Commons on 8th October 1942.

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Photo of Mr Ness Edwards Mr Ness Edwards , Caerphilly

asked the Minister of Labour the date of operation of winter additions in the calculation of need for unemployment assistance purposes; and whether he will indicate the classes of cases to which it will apply?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

Winter allowances are being granted for a period of 26 weeks from the beginning of November. In general this allowance will be given in the case of an applicant providing his own fuel when the applicant or his wife has no resources apart from unemployment assistance and also when they have resources amounting to less than 5s. a week which are not taken into account in assessing the amount of assistance. Moreover, in cases not falling within this description, the winter allowance will be granted if there are special circumstances which make it reasonably necessary.

Photo of Mr Ness Edwards Mr Ness Edwards , Caerphilly

Is my right hon. Friend not aware that the Regulations lay down that a certain amount shall be ignored, and yet in his answer he indicates that the amount which by Regulation is to be ignored shall be taken into account for depriving people of the winter addition? Has he any views on the matter?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I think my hon. Friend has misunderstood the answer. I will read it again: when they have resources amounting to less than 5s. a week which are not taken into account.

Photo of Mr Ness Edwards Mr Ness Edwards , Caerphilly

Does not my right hon. Friend appreciate that the resource which is not taken into account is not taken into account because by Statute it must be disregarded? Now it is to be taken into account to deprive people of the winter allowance.

Photo of Mr Wilfrid Burke Mr Wilfrid Burke , Burnley

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that many persons who, because of some physical infirmity, are no longer able to follow then designated employment are not allowed to change their occupational designation, as a consequence are refused benefit under Section 36 1 (b) of the Unemployment Assistance Act, and are thereby caused hardship as well as incurring a loss to the industrial effort of the country and will he seek ways of remedying this situation?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

No, Sir. I do not understand how such a case could arise. If my hon. Friend will send me particulars I will have inquiry made.

Photo of Mr Wilfrid Burke Mr Wilfrid Burke , Burnley

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there are many persons, for instance in the weaving occupation, who because of failing eyesight cannot follow their own trade and yet are not allowed to change to another? It particularly affects men over 60 years of age, some of whom could do various classes of labouring work.

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

If my hon. Friend will give me particulars I will certainly look into those cases.