Benefits (Transfers)

Oral Answers to Questions — National Insurance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th December 1949.

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Photo of Mrs Lucy Middleton Mrs Lucy Middleton , Plymouth, Sutton 12:00 am, 13th December 1949

asked the Minister of National Insurance how many names have been transferred from the register of unemployed people to the register of people drawing sickness benefit in each of the quarters during which the National Insurance Act has been in operation, to the latest available date.

Photo of Mr James Griffiths Mr James Griffiths , Llanelly

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.

Photo of Mrs Lucy Middleton Mrs Lucy Middleton , Plymouth, Sutton

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?

Photo of Mr James Griffiths Mr James Griffiths , Llanelly

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.