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Volume 155: debated on Wednesday 14 June 1922

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Trade Dispute Disqualification (Committee)


asked the Minister of Labour if he is now in a position to state the composition of the ad hoc Committee which he promised to set up to inquire into the possibility of framing amending legislation whereby the innocent victims of a trade dispute should not be debarred from receiving the unemployed pay to which they had been compelled to contribute when at work?

The composition of the Committee is as follows:


Sir Thomas Munro.


Employers' side:

  • My hon. Friend the Member for Croydon South (Sir Allan Smith).
  • Sir Henry Holloway.
  • My hon. Friend the Member for Stretford (Sir Thomas Robinson).
  • Sir Andrew Duncan.

Workers' side:

  • My hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham West (Mr. Hayday).
  • Mr. Arthur Pugh.
  • Mr. Arthur Shaw.
  • Mr. A. H. Smethurst.

Ministry of Labour:

  • Sir David Shackleton.
  • Mr. T. W. Phillips.

And the terms of reference are—

"to examine the working of the trade dispute disqualification for unemployment benefit as contained in Section 87 (1) of the National Insurance Act, 1911, and Section 8 (1) of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1920, and to consider whether any, and if so what, modifications should be made therein."

Can the right hon. Gentleman encourage the Committee to meet promptly, so that if legislation be recommended, it can take place without delay?

I said when I promised the Committee that it was very doubtful indeed whether it could deal with such a complicated question in such a way as to make it possible for us to legislate this Session.



asked the Minister of Labour the approximate number of unemployed fishermen of all classes in the British Isles and the average amount paid weekly in unemployed benefit; and can he state the number of share fishermen who are not eligible for unemployed benefit?

19 and 20.

asked the Minister of Labour (1) the approximate number of share fishermen in the British Isles who are exempt from the Unemployment Insurance Act; whether he proposes to take any steps to bring such men within the scope of the Act;

(2) the approximate number of unemployed fishermen of all classes in the British Isles; and what is the weekly amount of unemployment benefit paid to them during the past three months?

On 22nd May about 3,000 fishermen in Great Britain insured under the Unemployment Insurance Acts were unemployed. The amount paid in benefit for the week commencing on that date was about £1,550 and for the previous three months averaged about £1,920 weekly. I cannot state the total number of fishermen unemployed or the number of share fishermen not eligible for benefit. But the number of fishermen insured represents about 35 per cent. of the number in the industry. Share fishermen could not be brought within the Act without fresh legislation. I am not prepared to introduce such legislation at the present time.



asked the Minister of Labour the number of women who before the War were in domestic employment; and, if he cannot, will he state the total number of women receiving unemployment pay?

According to the Census of 1911 the number of women aged 18 and upwards employed in domestic indoor service in Great Britain at the date of the Census was about 1,200,000. On 6th June, 1922, the total number of women wholly unemployed and in receipt of unemployment benefit was under 57,500, all of whom had paid a considerable number of unemployment insurance contributions, or had otherwise shown that they are normally employed in some insured trade among which domestic service is not included.

Land Drainage Scheme


asked the Minister of Agriculture why he ordered that land drainage schemes for the relief of unemployment should be discontinued on the 31st May last; whether he is aware that the Gloucester Agricultural Committee and other county committees have unanimously passed resolutions urging that this useful work should be proceeded with as the summer is the time when the work can be best done, and that the National Farmers' Union have intimated that such a course would not interfere with the supply of labour on the land; and whether, since, taking into account the contributions made by owners and occupiers and the large employment of unskilled labour, expenditure on drainage schemes for the relief of unemployment is more economical and of greater national benefit than the payment of doles, he will reconsider his decision?

The closing of all drainage work unemployed on 31st May was decided upon by His Majesty's Government after full consideration of all the conditions, and was accepted by drainage authorities and County Agricultural Committees as an essential condition when applying for grants from public funds to enable them to carry out schemes. The matter has received constant attention and my right hon. Friend has been able to arrange with His Majesty's Treasury for schemes carried out by County Agricultural Committees to continue to be financed by Government up to 30th June, by which date it is expected that all the schemes which are now in hand will be completed. My right hon. Friend regrets that, as he explained in reply to the hon. Members for the. Forest of Dean and Stroud on the 29th May, the Government is not able to extend the scheme beyond the date mentioned.