HC Deb 08 July 1977 vol 934 cc684-5W
Mr. Sproat

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will order an inquiry into the incidence in Torbay and other climatically pleasant resorts of jobless persons, or persons who have given up their previous jobs, coming from other parts of the United Kingdom, registering for occupations for which there are few vacancies and then living for the rest of the summer off social security benefits; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Orme

Any person who, without good cause, left his work voluntarily to go to a seaside town, or who refused an offer of suitable employment when he got there, would be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefit for up to six weeks by the insurance officer. Any supplementary benefit to which such a person was entitled would be reduced by up to 40 per cent. of his personal scale rate—a maximum reduction of £5.08 a week—for as long as the disqualification lasted. Such a person would be likely to be regarded as available for employment only if he was prepared to accept any seasonal work that was available in the seaside town. If he restricted himself to an occupation in which he had no reasonable prospects of securing employment in the resort the question of whether his claim should be specifically disallowed on that account would be considered by the insurance officer.

As far as supplementary benefit is concerned, there are special arrangements for dealing with claims in areas where plenty of seasonal work is available.

Benefit Estimated average number of payments being made at any one time Estimated annual cost (£ million)
Flat-rate unemployment benefit with earnings-related supple-ment. 250,000 312
Flat-rate unemployment benefit only 400,000 365*
Supplementary benefit—
(i) paid in addition to unemployment benefit 165,000 60
(ii) paid to registered unemployed not in receipt of un-employment benefit. 500,000 555
* Includes estimated expenditure on unemployment benefit paid to the temporarily stopped, school leavers and adult students.

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