§ 2. Captain HEILGERS
asked the Minister of Labour whether he is now in a position to make a statement in regard to unemployment insurance for agricultural workers?
§ 3. Mr. T. WILLIAMS
asked the Minister of Labour whether he is now in a position to state when he will introduce legislation to include agricultural workers within the unemployment insurance scheme; and whether the scheme will propose benefits higher than those suggested by the Unemployment Statutory Committee?
§ 1. Mr. OSWALD LEWIS
asked the Minister of Labour whether any decision has yet been reached as to the insurance 1858 of agricultural workers against unemployment?
§ The MINISTER of LABOUR (Mr. Oliver Stanley)
The Government have given careful consideration to the report of the Unemployment Insurance Statutory Committee, and have decided to accept the principle of unemployment insurance for agriculture, but without necessarily committing themselves to the level of contributions and benefit proposed in the report. There are still a number of important matters to be settled, and I am not at present in a position to indicate when it may be possible to introduce legislation on the subject.
§ Captain HEILGERS
While appreciating that His Majesty's Government have accepted the principle, may I ask my right hon. Friend to bear in mind that practice is more important than principle, and that the scheme, to be effective, will need to be in operation before January?
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
Now that the principle has been accepted, will there be a chance of the Bill being introduced this Session? Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that at least 26 contributions will be required before the scheme can actually commence, and that, unless the Bill passes fairly rapidly, it will be of no use to agricultural labourers during the coming winter?
§ Mr. STANLEY
If the hon. Member will read the second part of my answer, he will see that I said that I am not at present in a position to say when legislation will be introduced.