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Benefit Claim, Holloway

Volume 345: debated on Thursday 30 March 1939

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asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that when a claimant to benefit, Mr. W. Bailey, of 33, Frederick Street, N.7, appeared before the Court of Referees at Holloway on 21st February, the chairman of the court refused to allow a friend whom he had brought to be present during the proceedings, and later, told the claimant that he should not bring his girl friend next time; and, as it is undesirable for a chairman to advise a claimant as to whom he shall bring with him in the capacity of friend or to use expressions of this character which had nothing to do with the matter in hand, will he have inquiry made into the matter?

I am having inquiry made into this matter, and will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Is the Minister aware that the person taken was not a personal or intimate friend of the kind implied; that an unemployed man is entitled to have anyone he pleases to assist him at a Court of Referees; and that there is far too much of this sort of impertinence at the expense of unemployed people?

With regard to the second part of the hon. Member's supplementary question, the answer is "Yes" My preliminary inquiries lead me to believe that the statement complained of was made more as a joke than anything else.