The number of claims for unemployment benefit disallowed on the ground that the claimant is not capable of work is about 850 a quarter. These numbers are small in relation to the total number of persons changing from unemployment to sickness benefit in normal course. No statistics of such transfers are available.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that in certain districts the statement is being made that these figures are being "cooked," that people are being transferred from the one register to the other in order to make the employment situation in this country look better than it really is? Would he give the direct lie to that propaganda?
The fact of the matter is that under the old scheme it often paid men better to go on unemployment benefit than on sickness benefit. I think hon. Members on both sides of the House will have had experience of men who badgered their doctors saying, "Please say I am fit for work so that I can get unemployment benefit at the higher rate." Now the benefit rates are the same, and this is in the interests of the men themselves.