asked the Minister of Labour under what circumstances he is prepared to assist with the travel expenses of unemployed workers who, upon their own initiative find employment at varying distances from their home towns; and if he will give sympathetic consideration to the case of Mr. D. Makin, details of which have been sent to him by the hon. Member for St. Helens.
Daily travelling expenses are not payable under the Ministry's transfer schemes. These schemes are designed to help unemployed workers for whom no work is available in their home areas to transfer to employ- ment elsewhere by contributing to the extra cost of maintaining a home in one district and living in another.
I have written to the hon. Member about the particular case of Mr. D. Makin.
Is the Minister aware that the individual to whom he referred in reply to me was out of work for twelve weeks with no chance of getting employment in St. Helens and that he moved out to Partington? I think it is generally understood that a wages grade man who has been out of work for twelve weeks cannot afford to pay travelling expenses and that, where it is possible for him to go home, it is in the interests of those for whom he is responsible that he should be able to get home. [HON. MEMBERS: "Speech."] I should like to appeal [HON. MEMBERS: "Question.]—may I ask the Minister if he is aware that in these cases, particularly where married men and widowed mothers are concerned, it is essential that assistance should be given?
If the hon. Member reflects on the matter, he will see that for the Government to take on the burden of paying a contribution towards daily travelling expenses would be quite impossible. The Greater London area alone is a travel-to-work area in which 10 million people would be involved. In the particular case he mentioned this man could have been eligible for lodging allowance, but he preferred to make the sort of arrangements outlined by the hon. Member. I made this point in my letter to the hon. Member.