Unemployment Benefit

Oral Answers to Questions — National Insurance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th October 1949.

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Photo of Major Donald Bruce Major Donald Bruce , Portsmouth North 12:00 am, 18th October 1949

asked the Minister of National Insurance whether he will state the total amount of unemployment benefits disbursed in the year 1938; give an estimate of what the disbursements would have been in 1938 had the current rates of benefit been then in force; and the total benefits granted in respect of unemployment in the year ended 5th July, 1949.

Photo of Mr James Griffiths Mr James Griffiths , Llanelly

The total amount of unemployment benefit paid in the year 1938 was £52,400,000. It is estimated that if the current rates of unemployment benefit and family allowances had then been in force the disbursements would have been rather less than £90 million. The total amount of unemployment benefit paid in the year ended 2nd July, 1949, was approximately £21,500,000, including £4,900,000 in respect of extended benefit under Section 62 of the National Insurance Act, 1946.

Photo of Major Donald Bruce Major Donald Bruce , Portsmouth North

Does not my right hon. Friend realise that although the payments for the individual unemployed person have gone up, the total expenditure has gone down, and does not he agree that this is the finest way of economising in the use of the taxpayers' money?

Photo of Mr James Griffiths Mr James Griffiths , Llanelly

I hope that the nation will note the figures, for they show the success of the policy of full employment.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Orpington

Will the right hon. Gentleman also give the figures showing the purchasing power of the pound in 1938 and 1945?

Photo of Mr James Griffiths Mr James Griffiths , Llanelly

That is not a question for me to answer.

Photo of Colonel Sir Alan Gomme-Duncan Colonel Sir Alan Gomme-Duncan , Perth

Would the right hon. Gentleman send a special message to the United States of America to thank them for this policy which they have helped to make so successful?

Photo of Mr James Griffiths Mr James Griffiths , Llanelly

These payments are made from money which we provide in this country.

Photo of Mr Philip Piratin Mr Philip Piratin , Stepney Mile End

Has not the Minister made out a good case for an increase in unemployment benefit?