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Unemployment Benefit (Nantlle Valley)

Volume 497: debated on Monday 10 March 1952

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39.

asked the Minister of National Insurance if he is aware that unemployed persons in the Nantlle Valley, Caernarvonshire, are being disallowed unemployment benefits if they refuse to accept work in Bristol or London or other distant towns; and if he will change this.

I am aware that certain claimants in this valley have been disqualified for unemployment benefit on the ground that they refused without good cause to accept employment which was offered them elsewhere. But I have no power to vary the decisions of the independent statutory authority in these cases.

Is the Minister aware that these men were offered jobs which were so poorly paid as to make it impossible for them to maintain two homes; that it was most unfair and that they had no alternative but to refuse these jobs? Is he further aware that the application of the regulations under his dispensation is far harsher than it ever was under the previous Government? Would he bear in mind that next month a new factory is due to open in this valley, and that it would be a pity to disperse the available labour force which is already there?

These offers of employment are, of course, made by the Ministry of Labour, and perhaps the hon. Gentleman would put any question on that aspect to my right hon. and learned Friend. So far as I am concerned, there are four cases of men who have been disqualified by the insurance officer. One appealed to the local appeal tribunal, which has upheld the decision of the insurance officer.