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.
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.
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?