Gas Workers (Strike Payments)

Oral Answers to Questions — National Insurance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th February 1951.

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Photo of Mr Nigel Fisher Mr Nigel Fisher , Hitchin 12:00 am, 5th February 1951

asked the Minister of National Insurance if the National Assistance Board has recovered payments made to gas workers in the recent illegal strike.

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

No, Sir; the Board have no power to recover them.

Photo of Mr Nigel Fisher Mr Nigel Fisher , Hitchin

With great respect, is not the Minister satisfied that, under Section 9 of the 1948 Act, the Board is entitled to recover this claim? As this illegal strike was of great inconvenience to the public, is it reasonable that the public should be asked to subsidise an illegal strike?

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

The hon. Member is under a misapprehension. I would ask him to read the Act again, more carefully.

Photo of Sir Edward Keeling Sir Edward Keeling , Twickenham

Has the Minister read the Section of the Act? Is she also aware that it is not only in accordance with the Act that recovery should be made but in accordance with the intentions of the National Assistance Board, as expressed in a letter of 31st October last, when they said: If assistance is granted to a person on strike, it is on the understanding that the amount granted will be repaid"?

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

If the hon. Member reads the Act more carefully he will see that we can only recover allowances which are made when a man is in full employment.

Photo of Sir Edward Keeling Sir Edward Keeling , Twickenham

What about Section 11 (2)?

Photo of Mr William Blyton Mr William Blyton , Houghton-le-Spring

Is my right hon. Friend aware that during the Committee stage of the National Assistance Act we passed an Amendment which abolished the Vagrancy Act, which the Opposition now seek to resurrect?