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Volume 87: debated on Friday 29 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the number of people who were refused unemployment or supplementary benefit for failing to take up suitable employment in the United Kingdom in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984, respectively.

Under section 20(1)(b) and (c) of the Social Security Act 1975 a person is disqualified for receiving unemployment benefit if, without good cause, he either refuses or neglects to avail himself of suitable employment. The number of disqualifications for these reasons since 1979 is shown in the table.Although supplementary benefit may be withheld if a claimant refuses suitable employment and if the situation is still vacant or open to application, such cases are rare, and no statistics are available about the number of cases in which this happens. However, a voluntary unemployment deduction is applied to a supplementary allowance when a person has been disqualified, or would be disqualified, for receiving unemployment benefit under section 20(1) of the Social Security Act. This may be for other reasons than refusal of employment—for example, because of leaving work voluntarily without just cause—but the available statistics do not permit the precise reason for deductions to be identified. The table therefore shows all cases with such deductions.

United KingdomRefusal of unemployment benefit*Reduction of supplementary benefit†
19841,965Not available
* The figures for refusal of unemployment benefit are for Great Britain 1979–1980 and for the United Kingdom 1981–1983; the information for Northern Ireland is not available for 1979 and 1980 and is not yet available for 1984.
† The supplementary benefit figures have been estimated from information in the annual special inquiry, on the assumption that deductions apply for, on average, four weeks.