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Unemployment Benefit (Holidays)

Volume 986: debated on Thursday 19 June 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will amend the regulations so as to permit a person who had booked a holiday in good faith before being made redundant, and who is still unemployed, to claim unemployment benefit for the period of the holiday.

Unemployment benefit cannot be paid to someone who goes abroad on holiday. It may be paid to a person who takes his holiday in this country provided that he has taken satisfactory steps to ensure that any opportunity of suitable employment will be brought to his notice without delay and that he is able and willing to take up such employment straight away. Availability for employment is an essential condition for the receipt of unemployment benefit and it would be wrong to make an exception for particular categories of claimants.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what evidence he has of the numbers of unemployed persons who go on holiday for up to 13 days, especially when such a holiday coincides with the general holiday period for the area and who do not declare their intentions but draw unemployment benefit; and, in view of the resentment this situation can cause in certain cases among those who do declare their intentions, if he will make a statement.

Cases of this kind do arise and prosecution action is taken wherever sufficient evidence can be obtained; but precise information about the numbers involved is not available. If the hon. Member has any specific information about offences of this nature I shall be glad to arrange for it to be followed up.