43. Mr. TYSON WILSON
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that the form that is sent to employers asking them to state why workmen have been discharged or have left their employment is causing dissatisfaction, and that workmen are being deprived of their unemployed benefit through the statements made on the forms; and whether he will either withdraw the forms altogether or supply the workmen affected with a copy of the form as returned by the employers?
In view of the provisions of Section 87 of the Act it is necessary to ascertain the circumstances under which the workman left his previous employment, and it is, therefore, not practicable to dispense with inquiry. Where owing to the reply given by the employer, or for any other reason the insurance officer is not satisfied that the applicant is entitled to benefit, the general ground is communicated to the workman who may thereupon appeal to a Court of Referees. If the workman has claimed through an association the association has a similar right of appeal to the Umpire. In either event the case for or against the workman's claim can be fully heard by an impartial tribunal.
44. Mr. TYSON WILSON
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that unemployed workmen who are members of associations that have made arrangements under Section 105 of the Insurance Act have in many instances, owing to the Labour Exchange officials not notifying their societies, to wait from two to six weeks before they receive their benefit; and whether he will take steps to expedite the payment of benefit in the future?
The arrangements under Section 105 of the Act contemplate a maximum interval in ordinary cases of about two weeks between the date when a claim is made and the date on which the decision is communicated to the associations, but in practice this interval is usually much shorter, except in cases in which delay has been occasioned by the inaccuracy or incompleteness of the claim. 1196 Every effort will be made to expedite decisions on claims, but I cannot admit that associations are necessarily prevented from paying their members promptly the unemployment benefit to which they are entitled under their own rules, by any delay which may take place in deciding whether a subsequent refund to the association out of the unemployment fund will be due in respect of any particular member.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in quite a number of instances the secretaries of associations have written asking why payment has not been made and why some communication has been sent, and they have received no reply for a fortnight?
I believe in various cases some delay occurred owing to the difficulty of dealing with the large number of claims coming in at first, but I understand we are doing our very utmost to expedite the treatment of claims.