Last night, we were discussing the provisions of Clause 24. We had a debate in which very strong views were expressed in different parts of the House as to the injustice of the Bill, as drafted, in respect of the parents of sons who had been killed during the Great War, and in respect of which sons they were in receipt of pensions; and similar considerations were adduced in respect of pre-War dependent pensioners. In moving the Adjournment of the Debate, I told the House that I had been greatly impressed by the force of the arguments that had been addressed to me, and I intimated that I would like, if possible, to do something to meet those arguments; but I warned the House that in all probability the concession that was being asked for would prove to be a serious charge on the Exchequer, and I asked the House to give me leave to consider a little further what the various implications of this Amendment would be. I have, in the course of the Debates in Committee and on Report, from time to time made concessions upon my own responsibility, because they were not such as would involve any very considerable charge upon the funds of the State; but in a matter of this kind I felt that I could not take that responsibility upon my own shoulders alone, and that it was necessary for me to consult my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Accordingly, I have had a conversation upon this matter with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the course of which we have examined the subject in all its bearings, both financial and moral. We have had before us an estimate of what it would mean to remove from the operation of this Clause the two classes of pensions which were the subject of the representations last night, and I am sorry to inform the House that the cost is very large. In fact, no less a sum is involved in the course of the next 10 years than £3,000,000.
No, over the tea years. It is £3,000,000, or an average of £300,000 a year. Of course, it begins, as the right hon. Member will realise, with a larger sum than £300,000, and then it gradually diminishes. That is a very considerable addition to our liabilities, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer and I both agreed that we could only undertake such an additional burden as that if the case for the change were really overwhelming. We therefore again gave consideration to the arguments that had been adduced. Well, they are very strong. Take the case of a man who is in insurable employment, who is paying full contributions under this Bill, who is in receipt of a pension because he lost a son in the Great War, and who, when the time came for him to receive the benefits under the Bill, would have found himself deprived of the full value of the benefits because of the amount of pension already awarded to him. After a careful review of all the circumstances, we decided that in this ease the evidence and the balance of justice was overwhelming, and that we might properly decide therefore to make such Amendments in this Clause as would meet the difficulties which have been put before us. That being so, I have had words drafted which I may just perhaps read to the House to show hon. Members what it is that we propose. In page 23, line 22, at the end, after the word "payable" I propose to insert the words
Except when such a pension is payable in respect of the service of the pensioner's son during the late War.
I hope that our Amendment will be accepted as right and proper both by the Members of this House and by the nation at large, and that, even if this should mean at some later date that we have to come down to this House and ask for some addition to be made to the con-
tribution which is contemplated in the Bill by the Exchequer, they will agree that that contribution will be properly made and that what we have done here is only an act of justice. I cannot move now, but, if the proposal be acceptable and the Amendment be withdrawn, I can then move my Amendment in its proper place.
I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman has so far understood the opinion of the House as expressed in the Debate last week in Committee and yesterday as to realise that some alteration is necessary in the Clause now under consideration. I want, in the first place, to express my regret that he cannot see his way to accept the Amendment, which we felt was an exceedingly just one having regard to all the circumstances of the case. It is, however, gratifying to us on this side of the House to hear the observations of the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the financial considerations. Like Members in every other quarter of the House, we were somewhat astonished last week when in the Committee stage we heard references made to the fact that our Amendment, if accepted, would mean an additional cost of between £4,000,000 and £5,000,000. The revised estimate which the right hon. Gentleman has given us to-day certainly comes much nearer to the anticipations which we had in mind when we drafted the Amendment.
Before making any further allusion to the suggestion which the right hon. Gentleman has made, I want, in relation to this revised estimate, to make a reference to a point which was raised yesterday, I think, by the hon. and gallant Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Captain Macmillan), when he spoke later in the Debate. He suggested that this Amendment for the deletion of the Sub-section could not be supported, because, if carried, it would bring into the operations of the Clause not only existing war widows, but women who might in the future become war widows. When I raised this matter in Committee last week, I certainly had no such impression in my mind, because, if hon. Members will look at the Clause as printed in the Bill, they will see that it deals only with service dependants' pensions. In all the Royal Warrants dealing with war pensions administration, every war widow is treated as a separate and distinct individual. No reference is made to them in this Clause at all, and, when we moved our Amendment for the deletion of the Sub-section, all we desired to do was to preserve for dependants of ex-service men that which we felt was their undoubted right.
In my remarks last night, I said that the Amendment, if carried as it stood, would include pensions additional to those of existing war widows, and that I take it to be the difference between the estimate of this very large sum and the smaller sum which is the present estimate. At any rate, the point has been cleared up.
I am sorry if I have given any wrong impression of any remark which the hon. and gallant Gentleman made, but I did want to make our own position clear. After all, we were seeking to preserve the position and right of dependent parents of ex-service men. There are just two questions which I would like to ask the right hon. Gentle-man. In his first observation he referred to the man. I want to know if the provision he is now suggesting that the House might accept in place of this Amendment also refers to the woman dependant as well as the man. Then a reference was made to those who were associated with the great War. Does that include consideration of pre-war pensioners?
On those two points, we are quite satisfied. No doubt some of my hon. Friends will want to raise other points following the suggestion which the right hon. Gentleman has made, but I want to repeat, as I begun, that I feel that the just circumstances of dependant pensioners can only be met by the acceptance of the deletion of this Subsection. Whether after further elucidation we can accept the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman will depend upon the response to the answers which he may give to these questions. But having gone so far as he has in meeting the wishes of the Committee, I hope that the arguments which will be subsequently adduced will be so much more strong than yesterday the the will yet accept our Amendment, and pave the way for a real clarifying of the position as presented to us to-day.
I should, first of all, like to congratulate and thank the Minister for the concession that he has given in connection with this Clause. I am one on those who believe that we have to study economy more to-day than ever, but I object to practising economy at the expense of the ex-service men's pensions or those of widows and dependants of those who laid down their lives. I would far sooner that economy might be practised, not at the expense of those who suffered in the War, but on armaments of war. After all, many of us made great sacrifices and sustained great losses during the War, and I do not think any class suffered more than wives or mothers. The woman had to stay at home and watch and wait until she got the news, perhaps, that she had lost her son or her husband, as the case may be. They bore their suffering well, and they gave their all for the sake of their King and country. We cannot make up to them by any pension the loss they suffered. The pension has been well earned, and I am glad to know that, the Minister of Health and the Chancellor of the Exchequer do not propose that their pensions shall be affected by this Bill. I am certain I am voicing the thanks of the majority of Members of all parties for the concession which has been granted, and I feel sure that the people who have to find this money will do so without any grumbles. In this matter public opinion is behind the Government, and as far as the British Legion is concerned, I, on their behalf, offer their thanks and congratulations to the Minister.
I rise for the purpose of adding my word of thanks to the Minister for the way in which he has met us. The hon. Baronet opposite (Sir J. Pennefather) has stated that there was a good deal of confusion in the minds of hon. Members when the matter was raised before as to where the grievance lay which we sought to have removed. We had from the hon. and gallant Member for Dumfries (Brigadier-General Charteris) and the hon. and gallant Members for Bootle (Lieut.-Colonel Henderson) and Stockton-on-Tees (Captain Macmillan) explanations so
lucid that I hoped the matter would now be clear. But there must be still a little confusion in some minds, because the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West. Bromwich (Mr. F. Roberts) seemed even now to be uncertain as to the reason for the difference between the sum mentioned before as the cost of this concession, about £5,000,000, and the sum mentioned by the Minister of Health just now, which, though a very large sum, is less than that. My hon. and gallant Friend who sits behind me, mentioned yesterday what I think is the cause of this confusion which still lingers in. some minds, but if his very lucid statement was unable to make it clear, I do not suppose anything I can say will make it clearer. The confusion arises from the fact that in the present Clause there is a reference to "service dependants' pension within the meaning of this Act," and in a subsequent interpretation Clause, Clause 45, "service dependants' pension" is taken to mean
any pension or allowance payable out of moneys provided by Parliament in respect of certain persons,
among whom war widows are undoubtedly included by the terms of the definition that then follows. The persons known as "service dependants" apart from this Act, did not include war widows but only those parents who have been granted and are in receipt of pensions in respect of the death of their sons serving in the late War. The Minister has agreed to give a concession which in my view, and I believe in the view of the hon. and gallant Gentleman who sits behind me, and of others who are perhaps precluded by the rules from speaking again, entirely meets the case, we have presented. No question arises on account of war widows, who, by Clause 37, are exempted from the provision of this Bill and pay no contribution under if. The complaint we made was that the already existing pension received by parents on account of sons who lost their lives in the War should be telescoped into the other pensions under this Bill, and that people should be asked to make contributions under this Bill without any possible chance of receiving any benefit due to them on that account. It was in respect of that very real grievance that hon. Members in all parts of the House made representations to the Minister. Our point has been very handsomely met, and we are glad justice is to be done to
a class whose pensions ought never to have been in jeopardy. We are most grateful to the Minister for the manner in which he has met our representations.
Although I do not feel quite clear as to how far the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment will carry us, it appears on the face of it to remove the most pressing grievance which was put to him by Members of all parties last night. As I took the words down, they appear to be
Except in the case of a person in receipt of a pension for a son killed in the Great War.
In those circumstances, I think the House might well say the right hon. Gentleman has met us fairly on this point, though, of course, he will recognise that there are other cases affected by the Clause as to which he has not seen his way to meet us. I should like to thank him for what he has done so far.
There is another important section whose case has not been met. Take the case of a war widow who has a pension of, say, £l per week for her husband, and who has one child. If she goes to work in an insurable trade, she will have to pay for this benefit for, perhaps, 20 or 30 years, and yet there is no provision in the Bill for that woman to receive benefit. [HON. MEMBERS: "Look at Clause 37; she docs not pay contributions!"] If that is so, I have nothing more to say.
Lieut.-Colonel DALRYMPLE WHITE:
I wish briefly to thank the right hon. Gentleman for meeting us as he has done on this matter. We fully realise the great responsibility that rested upon him in view of the large sum of public money concerned. I am glad he realised the hardship that was inflicted on a pensioner who had lost a son in the War, but there was also the additional point of making people pay contributions for benefits which, in fact, they hardly receive.
With the permission of the House, I should like to re-address to the right hon. Gentleman a question about which there has been a little misunderstanding. I asked him whether his Amendment would apply to pre-War dependants, and he nodded his head. Now I understand that his Amendment will not apply to them. I would like to ask him is he prepared to accept an Amendment to delete the words "the late" in the last line and substitute "during war service''? That seems to me more likely to meet the circumstances of a large number of cases which might be implicated, now or subsequently, and I think it would better meet the wishes which the House has expressed with regard to the Amendment under consideration.
If I may, by leave of the House, reply, I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for calling attention to a possible misunderstanding which, I think, arises out of a phrase which is current, but which might be taken in different senses, namely, "pre-War dependants." The term "pre-War dependants" refers to cases in which, before the War, a man was helping to support his parents. Where that could be proved, the parents have been able to claim pensions which may go up to as much as 40s. a week. That is not the same thing as pensions to people whose sons were killed in other wars than the late War—in the wars before that. The Amendment I am proposing to move refers to the first class of pre-War dependants, and does not apply to dependants when the death took place in other wars. I am afraid that what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Roberts) asked would introduce a fresh liability of an unknown and considerable extent, and I am afraid I could not possibly accept it.
The right hon. Gentleman has dealt with circumstances arising out of wars that preceded the late War. What we have in mind are possible future military encounters, or wars, on a small scale, such as might occur next week or next month in China, in India or anywhere else where we have a military force. We desire to have the words so framed as to cover present and future losses as well as the losses sustained in the late War.
There is one other point to be taken into consideration. Certain casualties were incurred during operations in Russia which may not technically be called part of the late War. I refer to persons who were in Russia assisting the White Guard. A number of them were killed about the time the late War came to an end. Those operations, either in the north or the south of Russia, may not technically or legally be called part of the late War. Does the Minister intend to include persons who were killed, if I may use the expression, in something connected with or round about the late War which is not technically part of the late War, such as the Russian Expeditions? I think that is a material matter, and it may have been taken into consideration, but I doubt whether the words, "the late war," if read in the strict sense, would cover the cases of men killed, say, after Armistice.
I think those points have already been settled by decisions given in other matters. I should be very sorry on the spur of the moment to give an interpretation which might not be in accordance with the precedents already established.
But quite apart from the words, do the Government intend to cover all those persons who wore in any way connected with the recent hostilities? If the Government say that is that intention, the wording is a matter of adjustment, but is it their intention to cover that class of persons?
I beg to move, in page 23, line 22, after the word "payable, "to insert the words
except when such a pension is payable in respect of the service of the pensioner's son during the late War.
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, to leave out the words "the late."
The Amendment would then read:
except where such pension is payable in respect of the service of a pensioner's son during war.
Our proposal is that this right should be given, not only to persons whose sons were killed in the late War but in any war. Small tribal wars are constantly going on, and we may have future wars. We may not have another Great War, but we may have small wars which from the point of view of the widows are just as important as a great war. We wish it to be laid down that in future, if the son of a pensioner is still doing war service, if that son is killed, that pensioner should have equal rights to those of the pensioner killed during the late War. If the argument is correct that persons who serve in war should not be allowed to suffer by this deduction of pension, there can be no logical distinction made between a person killed during the late War and a person who may be killed to-day or hereafter in war service. We wish this bill to protect all those who serve in war. The only possible ground on which we can justify a distinction between the late War and service in war in general is that the nation was in greater peril in the late War than it is likely to be in any future war. The service of a man on the Indian frontier or some remote savage place is just as much war service as in the late War, and therefore we say that this right of the pensioner to receive the pension under this Bill, irrespective of the war in which the service is performed, should apply to all wars in the future. In addition to that, I contend that it ought to apply to the wars of the past, and I do not believe this will be found to involve a heavy liability. The number of people who lost sons in the South African War or any other small wars cannot be very great now in respect to the persons who are entitled to pensions under this Bill.
I appeal to hon. Members who fought so gallantly for the principle—which we all congratulate the Ministry of Health upon having recognized—to realise that it is invidious to make a distinction between the late wars, the wars which preceded it or wars which may come in the future. Surely the right principle to adopt is that when men are killed in war service the pensions which flow from that service ought not to place in jeopardy the right of the pensioner under this Bill. It will probably be said that in reference to past wars this question will not very much arise, but if that be so then the liability will be small. My point is that past wars, present wars and future wars have all got to be considered, and you cannot distinguish them from the late War except on the ground of the magnitude of the contest. Whether the country was in great peril or slight peril does not matter to the widow who loses a son, and she should be protected from the liability of losing her pension by leaving out the words "the late." We hope the Minister will accept this Amendment, more particularly as the liability for other wars must be very slight, and the liability for future wars is problematical. If he docs not accept this Amendment, and if a man on service to-morrow gets killed, then all the things which hon. Members opposite have been condemning in regard to this proposal will operate automatically against the widow. If the son of a widow is killed on the Afghan frontier to-morrow, that would not be during the late War. Finally, there is
The remarks which have been made by the hon. and learned Gentleman, who moved this Amendment to the Amendment, seem to show that he is entirely ignorant of how the Amendment stands. This Amendment is intended to protect a person drawing a dependant's, pension in respect of a son who was killed during the late War. There is no dependant's pension in respect of persons killed in war before the Great War, and there is no dependant's pension for anyone who may be killed now on the Indian frontier. If this Amendment to the Amendment is to have any effect, you will have to make it payable to the dependants of a pensioner who is killed now. This Amendment to the Amendment would do no good, and it is far better to keep to the wording of the Amendment moved by the Minister of Health.
|Division No. 311.]||AYES.||[4.40 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Cautley, Sir Henry S.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Blades, Sir George Rowland||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Blundell, F. N.||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Chadwick. Sir Robert Burton|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Chapman, Sir S.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Brass, Captain W.||Charteris, Brigadier-General J.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Brassey, Sir Leonard||Christie, J. A.|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, E.||Briggs, J. Harold||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer|
|Astbury, Lieut. Commander F. W.||Briscoe, Richard George||Carry, Reginald George|
|Astor, Viscountess||Brocklebank, C. K. R.||Clayton, G. C.|
|Athol, Duchess of||Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. l||Cobb, Sir Cyril|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Cochrane. Commander Hon. A. D.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Brown, Maj. P. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.|
|Balniel, Lord||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Buckingham, Sir H.||Conway, Sir W. Martin|
|Barclay-Harvey. C. M.||Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Cooper, A. Duff|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Bullock, Captain M.||Cope, Major William|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Couper, J. B.|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Burman, J. B.||Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Burton, Colonel H. W.||Cralk, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Crooke, J. Smedley (Denitend)|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Butt, Sir Alfred||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)|
|Bennett, A. J.||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Crooksnank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)|
|Berry, Sir George||Caine, Gordon Hall||Curzon, Captain Viscount|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Campbell, E. T.||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Dalziel, Sir Davison||Hunter-Western, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Preston, William|
|Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Royton)||Huntingfield, Lord||Radford, E. A.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hurd, Percy A.||Ramsden, E.|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Hurst, Gerald B.||Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Jacob, A. E.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Rice, Sir Frederick|
|Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. H.||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Ropner, Major L.|
|Elveden, Viscount.||Lamb, J. Q.||Ruggles-Brice, Major E. A.|
|England, Colonel A.||Lane-Fox, Colonel George R.||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Sandon, Lord|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Loder, J. de V.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Falls, Sir Charles F.||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harm n||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Fermoy, Lord||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfast)|
|Fielden, E. B.||MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Skelton, A. N.|
|Finburgh, S.||MacDonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Macintyre, Ian||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Forrest, W.||McLean, Major A.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Macmillan, Captain H.||Spender Clay, Colonel H.|
|Frece, Sir Walter de||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John.||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Stanley, Col. Hon. G.F.(Will'sden, E.)|
|Gates, Percy||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G.(Westm'eland)|
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Malone, Major P. B.||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Margesson, Captain D.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Grace, John||Meller, R. J.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Grant, J. A.||Meyer, Sir Frank||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Sir H.(W'th's'w, E.)||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Gretton, Colonel John||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Grotrian, H. Brent||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir H. (Eastbourne)||Moreing, Captain A. H.||Waddington, R.|
|Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Hammersley, S. S.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Harland, A.||Murchison, C. K.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Harrison, G. J. C.||Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Nelson, Sir Frank||Wells, S. R.|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Neville, R. J.||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Hawke, John Anthony||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Nuttall, Ellis||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Henniker-Hughan, Vice-Adm. Sir A.||Oakley, T.||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Herbert, S.(York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Hilton, Cecil||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)||Pennefather, Sir John||Wood, Rt. Hon. E. (York, W. R., Ripon)|
|Holt, Capt. H. P.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Wood, E. (Chester, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Homan, C. W. J.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Philipson, Mabel||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Pielou, D. P.||Young, E. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Pilcher, G.|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Pilditch, Sir Philip||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Power, Sir John Cecil||Major Hennessy and Lord Stanley.|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Dalton, Hugh||Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southward, N)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Hall, G H. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Hardle, George D.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Day, Colonel Harry||Harris, Percy A.|
|Baker, Walter||Dennison, R.||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Dunnico, H.||Hayday, Arthur|
|Barnes, A.||Fenby, T. D.||Hayes, John Henry|
|Barr, J.||Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)|
|Batey, Joseph||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Hirst, G. H.|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Gibbins, Joseph||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Gillett, George M.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie|
|Broad, F. A.||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)|
|Bromley, J.||Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Greenall, T.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)|
|Buchanan, G.||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||John, William (Rhondda, West)|
|Cape, Thomas||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Clowes, S.||Griffiths, T, (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Groves, T.||Kennedy, T.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Grundy, T. W.||Kenyon, Barnet|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Kirkwood, D.|
|Lansbury, George||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Lawson, John James||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Lee, F.||Rose, Frank H.||Viant, S. P.|
|Livingstone, A. M.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Lowth, T.||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Lunn, William||Scrymgeour, E.||Warne, G. H.|
|MacLaren, Andrew||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Maxton, James||Slesser, Sir Henry H.||Watts-Morgan, Lt. Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Smillie, Robert||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Montague, Frederick||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)||Westwood, J.|
|Morris, R. H.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Whiteley, W.|
|Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Snell, Harry||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Murnin, H.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Naylor, T. E.||Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Oliver, George Harold||Stamford, T. W.||Wilton, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Paling, W.||Stephen, Campbell||Windsor, Walter|
|Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Sutton, J. E.||Wright, W.|
|Ponsonby, Arthur||Taylor, R. A.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Potts, John S.||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)|
|Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Riley, Ben||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. T.|
|Ritson, J.||Thurtle, E.||Henderson.|
|Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich)|
With regard to the Amendments to Clause 25, I understand that it is desired to have one discussion on the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for lnce (Mr. Walsh) to leave out the Clause, and then, possibly, two Divisions only on two further points in the Clause. If that be the case, I will put the Question after the right hon. Gentleman's Motion, in such a way as to preserve the possibility of two Divisions on subsequent Amendments.
I bog to move to leave out the Clause.
I am sorry that there seems to be a determination to continue, in this Measure, an injustice against which this party protested fourteen years ago. Last Session it was stated that Section 16 of the Art of that year was dependent upon Section 11 of the Act of 1911. The right hon. Gentleman was not in the House at the time, but associated with the House, and certainly one of the most honoured names connected with Parliament, was that of a man who more than any other was responsible for the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1897. When pressing that Measure through Parliament, he pointed out more than once that it was to be a great Measure of relief to the people engaged in industry, and was not in any sense to be a charge upon them. It was to be borne by those who set up the machinery for making profit out of labour. He did not use that word in any invidious sense, I am sure, during his life, nor do I now, but the Workmen's Compensation Act—certainly the greatest Measure of social legislation that had been passed up to that tinie—was to be free to the people included in the Measure, and they were not in any sense to suffer disadvantage.
In the Bill of 1911, Clause 11 laid it down that, in the event of a person receiving the benefits of workmen's compensation, if the amount of that compensation was equal to or greater than the benefits set out in the National Insurance Bill of that year, no benefit, either for sickness or for disablement, was to be paid to the person in receipt of that workmen's compensation benefit. Compulsion was to be applied so far as deduction from wages was concerned; every person included in the scheduled trades was to be compelled to submit to a deduction from wages; but this free benefit was to be held as the full extent to which they should benefit, notwithstanding the fact that they were compelled to pay under the provisions of the National Insurance Bill.
We contended at that time, small as our party was, against two things. We held that the contributory principle was quite wrong, and I still believe it to be wrong; and we also held that, when you compel people to pay for certain benefits, the mere fact that they are already in receipt of a definite benefit for which no payment was made ought not to disentitle them from any benefit towards which they are compelled to pay. I can see no argument on the lines of equity against that case to-day. First of all, the workman is to be compelled to pay, and will probably pay, in the long run, for an average of about. 40 years. He becomes insurable at the age of 16, and he ceases to be in insurance at 65. We may take the average duration of payment at not less than 40 years, and during that time there are being bulit up in the ordinary way certain rights for his orphan children in the event of his and meeting with a fatal accident: but. should fatal accident overtake the man, compensation equal to or greater than the benefits of this Measure be aid, because of his rights under the Workmen's Compensation law, then the whole of the benefits (hat are paid in the ordinary way are to be taken from his children.
I consider that to be a vicious and inequitable principle. There is no fairness in it. That there is a tremendous number of accidents in industry, of course, goes without saying, but in the industry with which I am specially associated there is a greater ratio of fatal accidents than in any other occupation except that of seafaring, and a greater number of disablements than in any industry whatever. I ask the Minister how ho can reconcile his undoubted sense of fairness, his undoubted desire to do right, with the fact that hundreds of thousands of these men are compelled to pay. and yet, should fatality overtake them, it is almost certain that not one single penny that would otherwise be payable to the orphan children will be paid to their dependants. I am not 'going into the small limiting provision which says that any small deficiency in the amount, either of the value of the lump sum or the weekly payment to the children, will be made up. I know it will, but as a matter of fact there will be very little deficiency indeed in respect of the vast majority of the accidents that happen in the mines. So small is the pension in itself that there will not be one case in ten thousand in which any deficiency will have to be made good. Therefore, for the purpose of the argument on either side, either of those who are opposed to our Amendment or of those who are in favour of it, it is really not worth while pressing the case.
It is said that the reason why this provision in Clause 25 is being brought forward is because it. is based on Section 16 of the Act of 1024, and Section 10 of the Act of 1924 is based on Section 11 of the Act of 1011. This House did wrong at that time; it deprived the people of benefits which, in the presentation of the Measure, they were led to believe they would receive. It compelled, in 1911, millions of people to pay for benefits which they were denied. We felt it to be wrong then: the whole Labour movement of this country, both organised and unorganised, felt it to be wrong. What were the grounds upon which it was presented to the House at that time? It was said that the friendly societies would never be able to live, that the approved societies would never be able to live, if this particular condition were put in. It was said that even at that time they found it very difficult to provide the benefits where people were suffering from accidents in the mines and in industry generally, that the difficulty of the continuance of benefit was such that the friendly societies might find themselves in very great difficulties, and that if you did pay this double benefit they would be utterly unable to live. The degree of malingering, it was said, will be so great. I do not believe two wrongs make a right and I did not believe it then. I never believed that, because the friendly societies found it difficult to live, the House was justified in taking away this right. Surely any case against malingering at that time does not apply to the orphans. Orphans do not malinger. On the death of the parents the orphans should be entitled to receive their rights. The whole case under Section 16 of the 1924 Act, which was a consolidating Measure, derived its basis from Section 11 of the 1911 Act. It was the exact principle, except that Section 16 of the Act of 1924 brought in common law and the employers' liability. However, the principle is the same, and the whole argument and basis of the case presented by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, put the point very strongly. He admitted there was a very great case indeed for paying these benefits as long as deductions were being compulsorily made from the wages of the workmen. The great argument against it was that if those payments were made, malingering would go on to such an extent as to deprive the friendly societies of their life. Is there any force in the argument now? This only applies to payments in respect of children and orphans. Surely there can be no malingering now. When you take that one ground on which all the previous arguments were based, then the whole argument for this particular Clause is gone.
It would be interesting to show how very many of the people who are occupying positions of responsibility—some of them, indeed, high positions in the present Governments—took up the same line of argument as ourselves. I might perhaps give one or two. The present Home Secretary said—and we talk about the Members of this party using hard words—
It is robbing those who are unfortunate enough to meet with accidents. The young man is robbed to make up for the older man, and here we find the man who is injured is compelled to make up for the man who is not injured. You are compelling these men to pay, not 4d., but 7d.
It would be well if hon. Members would let the words sink in—
Many of us think that sooner or later a good deal of the employer's 3d. will fall on the shoulders of the workmen. You compel him to pay and yet deprive him of the benefit he has paid for.
Those are not the words of a Bolshevist, but of the right hon. Gentleman who now occupies the position of Home Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman who is now Secretary of State for War, while he was perhaps not so emphatic in his language, was equally convinced that the House was doing a wrong thing by embodying Section 11 in the Act of that year. The Noble Lord who is now Assistant-Postmaster-General said:
Not only will this Clause, as it stands greatly increase malingering, but it will also inflict an injustice on many thousands of workers who are injured, and, if allowed to stand without amendment, will injure thousands of workers.
It was clear at that time that the Labour party, small as it was at that time, was not pressing captious Amendments on the House. The present Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of "Pensions voted against the Government at that time, convinced as he was, with us, of the injustice and harshness of
Section 11. If I might refer, Sir, to your own colleague who has just now mounted the steps of that revered Chair, he also was convinced of the injustice of Section 11 being embodied in that Act. We on this side have always felt that that Section inflicted a great hardship upon the people who were not voluntary contributors under the Insurance Bill, who were compelled to pay— the millions who had never been consulted—that you should at the time of their greatest need deprive them of the benefits for which they had paid on the ground that they were already receiving a benefit for which they had not paid. Section 16 of the Act of last year continued the injustice. I think that because injustice has taken place on those two distinct occasions it is no reason why it should be repeated. I am sure hon. Members in their own minds are satisfied that this is an injustice that ought not to continue just because on two previous occasions it has been inflicted. The groundwork of the injustice was the malingering that would take place if the double provision were made. That argument can no longer apply, because the conditions are merely applicable to orphans or additional allowances. There can be no malingering and therefore the whole case for this Clause disappears. Nor can it be said that this will be expensive. We know the rate of fatal accidents in this country. It only applies in the case of fatal accidents, where additional allowances are made, or where orphans are paid consequently on fatal accidents.. That number of cases is easily ascertained; the number of children is easily obtained; the estimate of duration of the period can easily be ascertained. Any argument that this would be a costly Amendment, if carried, is entirely without foundation. In the case of the miners, where the rate of fatality is the greatest in industry, with one exception—1,200 killed every year— not one-half of those are children. The House ought to remember we are compelling these people to pay for an average of 40 years and ant. when fatality overtakes them, they are to be deprived of the benefits their orphans would have in all other cases.
I wish to second the Amendment, and in deference to the wishes of Mr. Speaker. I will not detain the House very long. I spoke very strongly and vigorously against this Clause on the Committee stage, and I will not repeat my arguments now, but I wish just to put one new argument that struck me after hearing the right hon. Member for Ince (Mr. Walsh) stating the case. I want to ask the Minister why he is going to treat members who contribute towards this scheme differently from the manner in which the trade unions deal with their members? In the large trade unions, members pay for what is called an accident benefit. In my own society, if one of our members, according to the class he belongs to, meets with an accident where he is permanently disabled, he will receive in the C class £100, in the B class £150, and in the A class;£200. When that man is receiving his compensation pay from the office, sometimes he may—I am speaking about the old Act—be receiving about £l a week. He may receive that for 12 months, which equals in round figures £50. If he dies, at the end of 12 months that £50 is deducted from the death benefit he is entitled to from the insurance company. Even then he receives £250 to make up his full £300, of three years wages. Supposing a trade union were to turn round to the widow and say, "You are now going to receive £250 from the firm as a result of the fatal accident to your husband. We are not now going to pay the £200 you are entitled to from the society." You would at once get every branch all over the country passing resolutions asking what business they had to stop the payment to this widow and children of £200 from the money the man had paid into the society.
No trade union could turn the request of that branch down. There are millions of people who would prefer to make arrangements through their own societies, and they would get better benefits than they would under this Bill. What right have you, therefore, if the husband dies as the result of a fatal accident, after he has paid his contributions, to deprive these poor orphans of the benefits which have been paid for? It is most iniquitous. You cannot go to any trade union branch and justify your action.
This Clause will hit the coal industry more hardly than any other, be ause we have more fatal accidents than any other section of the community, and we are therefore going to suffer more harsh treatment as the result of the Bill than any other section. It is evident that the draftsman and those who have been authorising him have had some diffidence and some fears with regard to the Clause, because they are not going to touch the widows' pensions as far as I can see. A many be killed and leave a wife and two children, and she will get the widow's pension. It is only the children or the dependants, when the mother is living, who are going to be deprived of their pension. Why have you done that? The father has paid his contributions. I want to deal with another aspect of the question, because there are borderline cases, and these are very important, in which you cannot definitely state whether you would be awarded compensation or not. A case was decided in the Law Courts yesterday and compensation was granted to the extent of the full £600. The man died undoubtedly as the result of heart disease, and it was only because we could establish that the strain of his immediate work had contributed to his death that we were able to get compensation. The colliery company refused point blank to pay. In other circumstances in these borderline cases they might say, "It is no use going to law. to are both in doubt. You may win or we may win. Let us take a lump sum." Suppose I take £300 instead of £600. How is the Minister going to calculate that compensation? To whom is it supposed to be payable, and on whose behalf? Will it be payable on behalf of the wife? If the Minister accepts that it is paid on behalf of the wife, the children will get their allowance. If he says the full amount is paid on behalf of the children, the wife will get no compensation at all and until the £300 is exhausted on behalf of the children she will not get a single penny.
In a case of that kind a real hardship would he imposed on the widow unless a very sympathetic view is taken by the person who happens to be representing the Ministry at the time. This is a contributory Bill. What right is there to deprive a contributor of the benefits he has paid contribution for? You may say, "It is an actuarial scheme. If I am depriving him of a little here you must not look at one or two details, but at the whole frame of the scheme, and then you will realise that if he loses there ho gains somewhere else." There may be something to be said for that, but in our industry we are particularly liable to fatal accidents, and this is a most important matter for us. When you get the full £600 there is this anomaly in the Act. I had to attend a County Court not long ago, whore we got £529 for a widow and one child. The full amount for a widow and four children is £600. It means that a widow who may have seven children, as we have in some cases, under 12 years of age is going to be deprived to a very large extent of the advantages under this Bill. She is going to get certain additions in respect of some children, but she ought to have the full allowances in cases of that kind, and if she could get the full allowance she would not have sufficient to bring the children up as they ought to be brought up. This is hitting our industry extremely hard and the Minister ought to give it very sympathetic attention. I do not think it is right in a contributory scheme to make this difference between one section of the community and another. If a man gets killed his children should have the same rights under the Bill as if he had died, because he has made contributions for their benefit.
I deprecate the tone of bitterness, about the speech of the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Griffiths) and I deprecate it because I am a supporter of his view. I think the case may be put quite differently without the least feeling. Having said that, I think my right hon. Friend might grant the concession which has been asked for in a most reasonable speech. Our law never recognised a workman's compensation claim as a common law right. Now it is established. and we are seeking, in that which is now and has long been a right, by Statute, tinder this Bill, which is a compulsory contributory Bill for a pension on certain terms to certain persons, to bring into account that which the dependants of the deceased man had an absolute right to under the Workmen's Compensation Act. I do not think it is right Further, the Minister proposes to take as much of the profits as are apportioned in favour of the infants. He does not undertake the obligation of the law suit that the infant or the mother may have to carry on at her expanse to recover that money. What right, then, has he, after a long contested law suit, which may be carried to the highest court in the land, to say, "I will take the fruits of it while I will not support you in your law suit," and we know the trouble, were it not for the trade unions, that these poor people would have in fighting their eases. Is it quite just?
I put it in another way. What is the additional expense of this administration going to cost? Is it really worth considering in this scheme? Last night I voted with the Government on the point of people being absent from the country. I was greatly impressed with the argument of the largely increased cost of the administration of the Act. But here you are making a very great increase in the administration of the Act for a very small purpose. No one can justify the principle contained in the Clause on any real grounds that are logically sound in my view. You have only taken the case of a person who has no common law right but has only a right to succeed under the Workmen's Compensation Act. Of course the one may overlap the other, but I am assuming a case where the widow or the children of a man who has been killed have a common law right wholly independent of the Workmen's Compensation Act, and they can pursue their action, either as infants or the mother on their behalf, under Lord Campbell's Act, and recover damages. To take a common illustration, the bread-winner happens to be run over by a motor car. He was in no way responsible. It was solely due to the negligence of the defendant. The widow and orphans got a large sum of damages far in excess of what they would ever receive under the Workmen's Compensation Act, and you do not take a halfpenny. How can you logically justify that? I really think, if you look at the whole case from every point of view from which it can be fairly put, there is no justification for bringing in this windfall, for windfall I call it, into the Bill. Here we have something for which you pay. As the hon. Member for Exeter (Sir E. Newman) said the other night, it is their money and it is not ours. An award is made which you did not obtain, which was obtained at her expense, and it may be at considerable cost, because often the taxed costs do not cover the costs you have to pay. Under this Bill you take it.
Take a case where, legally, though a man might have boon covered under the Workmen's Compensation Act, ho had a clear right as against a third party for negligence. 11is orphans bring their action under Lord Campbell's Act for negligence and recover a large sum of money, and yon cannot touch a halfpenny of it. I cannot believe whatever you hope to receive in this way could in any way make up for the expense to which you would be put in following out the calculation. Suppose an award of £100 is given. On what basis are you going to apportion the money so as to supplement that £100 and make good the additional allowance that the child would receive? Who is to be the trustee of that £100 for the child? Let us keep things sharp and clear, and when we are passing a Bill which, despite all that has been said against it, I regard as a splendid Bill, and a great foundation on which we can build up something good for the poor people of this country, who cannot or do not make provision for themselves, do not let us take something away. When we are not taking it away in one case, and we do not touch it in another, is it worth while? I believe the Government would only be dropping a few pounds, and I doubt whether they would be even dropping that if they were to leave out this Sub-section.
The Committee will agree that the case for this Amendment has been stated with great force and fairness, particularly by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ince (Mr. Walsh) who moved it. He has taken a great interest in these matters. He took part in the original discussion in 1911, and we are very glad to see him still with us. I want to state the ease for the Clause. This Clause provides that
Where the death of an insured person was caused, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, by an injury sustained on or after the first day of January, nineteen hundred and twenty-four,
in respect of which compensation has been awarded or agreed under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1906, as amended by any subsequent enactment, or under any scheme certified there under, an additional allowance or an orphan's pension in respect of the insurance of that person shall cense to be payable.
Then follows the proviso. What are the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1906, as amended by the Act of 1023, so far as children are concerned. This is what Clause 2 (a) of the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923, says:
if both the widow or other member of the workman's family and such child or children as aforesaid were all wholly dependent on the workman's earnings, there shall, in respect of each such child, be added to and dealt with as part of the compensation payable under paragraph (1) (a) of the First Schedule to the principal Act. a sum equal to fifteen per cent, of the amount arrived at by multiplying the average weekly earnings of the workman, or where such earnings are less than one pound, then by multiplying one pound, or where such earnings exceed two pounds, then by multiplying two pounds, by the number of weeks in the period between the death of the workman and the date when the child will attain the age of fifteen…
Therefore, you have, apart altogether from the amount payable to the widow under the Workmen's Compensation Act, a definite and fixed amount for the children.
The hon. Member should make- it perfectly clear that with a limitation of .£300 for the children, that could pretty nearly be reached by one child. A child and a quarter would swallow up every bit of that, and there might be several children.
My point is, that under this provision there is an amount definitely added for the children, subject, of course, to the conditions of the Act. If the amount under the Act of 1923 does not come up to the amount mentioned in this Bill, we make up the difference. Under the Act of 1923, irrespective of the amount payable to the widow, a definite sum has to be added in respect of each child. A point was put to me by one hon. Member as to what would be done in regard to the limit of £300. He asked how the amount in respect of each child would be arrived at. The answer is, that that sum would have to be taken to Court, and the registrar would have to apportion the amount as between the widow and the children, and see that a proper part was paid to the children. Under the Act of 1923, a definite fixed allowance was made for the children.
If the Bill we are now discussing had been in operation at that time, with the provision where we give a definite allowance for two children, a definite allowance would have been made in respect of that provision in the Workmen's Compensation Act. In a case of workmen's compensation, whatever the amount, subject to the limitations of the Act, the intention of Parliament at that time was to give a fixed definite allowance to the children. Therefore, the arguments of the right hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment as to what the Home Secretary said or what the Secretary for War said, are not applicable to-day, because undoubtedly when the Act was passed, a definite allowance was made for the children. It is not unfair that provision should be made in this Hill in the way was propose it.
The right hon. Gentleman referred to the reasons which actuated the promoters of the National Health Insurance Act in 1911. He was not quite accurate in his definition of the object of the material Clause. In the National Health Insurance Act of 1924 it is provided in Section 16 (1.a) that:
No sickness benefit or disablement benefit shall he paid to an insured person"—
I hope to be able to disprove that statement. This is what the Section 16 (1, a) of the Act of 1924 says:
No sickness benefit or disablement benefit shall be paid to the insured person in respect of that injury or disease in any case where any weekly sum or the weekly value of any lump sum paid or payable by way of compensation or damages is equal to or greater than the benefit otherwise payable to that person, and where any such weekly sure or the weekly value of any such lump sum is less than the, benefit in question, such part only of the benefit shall be paid as. together with the weekly sum or the weekly value of the lump sum. will be equal to the benefit.
In that provision, there is laid down the principle which we are following in this particular Bill. This case was very strongly pressed in 1911, and it had to be defended by someone who was much better
able to defend it than I am, a gentleman who is no longer a Member of this House, that well-known Liberal, Mr. McKenna. On that occasion, the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) did not seem to intrude so much in the Debate as he usually did in connection with the passing of the Act of 1911. He left the defence of this Clause mainly in the hands of Mr. McKenna, and, in defending it, Mr. McKenna said:
The real and the only issue here is whether a man who is receiving compensation for an accident, no matter who pays the compensation—that is not relevant to the issue in this Clause should at the same time be a charge upon the funds of his society. [An Hon. MEMBER: 'Any kind of accident?'] Any kind of accident, whether under the Workmen's Compensation Act or the Employers Liability Act. He is already being provided for in his time of sickness. He ought not, therefore, to come upon the funds of the society."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th July, 1911; col. 1149, Vol. 23.]
He went on, because The matter was still pressed upon him:
It is that such benefit should be withheld where a man is already provided for by payment of compensation in respect to an accident; and that it does not matter whether that compensation comes from the employer or from any other person."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th July, 191.1; col. 1150, Vol. 28.]
That was the foundation upon which Mr. McKenna resisted the Amendment which was pressed upon him in those days. In another discussion, the same attitude was taken up, when it was stressed that the funds of the approved societies were being protected. There was wisdom in that. It is just as necessary to protect the funds in that respect to-day. It would be a very unfortunate thing for any approved society under the National Health Insurance Act if that Clause were deleted. In my judgment, many approved societies, especially in the case of miners, would be in a very bad way, but for that provision in the National Health Insurance Act, 1911. While I am seeking the aid of the precedents of both the National Health Insurance Act of 1911 and the provision that has been made for children under the Workmen s Compensation Act of 1923, I would point out that we are not going as far in this Clause as the legislators went in 1911. All that we are seeking to do is to take into account the amount paid in respect of workmen's compensation. The National Health Insurance Act of 1924 goes much further than that, for in Section 16 (1) it says:
or under the Employers' Liability Act, 1880, or at common law.
Under the Clause now under discussion, we take what we consider to be a fair course and in accordance with precedent. Under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923, there is a very definite provision for children, and I do not think it is an unfair thing in a Measure of this kind to follow the precedent of the Acts of 1911 and 1923. All we say is that the amount the children receive shall in no way be less than the amount mentioned in the Bill, and, if any sum is received by way of benefit under the Workmen's Compensation Act, that shall be taken into account. I. want the House clearly to understand that under this provision there is no question of interfering with the lump sum paid to the widow. It is a reasonable provision, and I hope the House will accept it. It was accepted on the last occasion it was discussed, by a large majority, and I hope the House will come to the same decision to-day.
This question has become a little obscure in the argument we have had. It is a simple point. Before 1006 no compensation of any kind was paid to children who lost their parent, unless their parent was killed by an act of negligence on the part of the employer. Therefore, they receive compensation for the wrong which was done to them. Now the principle of the Workmen's Compensation Act is this: Children who are deprived of their parents by violent means will be paid compensation. The principle of this Bill is that children who are deprived of their parents by natural means will be paid. If both of these were in the same position, I would regard it as quite fair that, if the children are drawing from the State a certain sum by reason of the death of a parent by violent means, they ought not to draw an additional sum by reason of the death of the parent by natural means. That would be fair if they stood on the same footing, but they stand on a wholly different footing.
When we gave children something for the loss of a parent under the Workmen's Compensation Act, we gave it purely out of the establishment charges of the employer. It was regarded as portion of the incidence of carrying on industry that men had to take risks and might be killed, and the principle of the Workmen's Compensation Act was that there should be appropriated to children of a parent who has lost his life a certain sum out of the general gross profits of the establishment, and that this should be regarded as part of the cost of carrying on the business. It is different in the case of this Bill. My hon. Friend says, "We are only doing the same as was done under the Act of 1911." You are not. You are doing something very different. What you did under the Act of 1911 was this: At that time persons who had been injured in their work were obtaining health benefit under the form of accident funds. Under the Act of 1911 the State itself makes an arrangement, whereby persons so injured also get benefit from a health fund. It was right that they should not get both.
Here we have a wholly different thing. Under this Bill, you are saying: "Because you have contributed something you have bought a benefit, and you have paid for that benefit," and why persons should be denied this benefit because they are obtaining other benefit on a wholly different principle for the life of me i cannot sec. Mr. McKenna was perfectly right in the defence which he made, because he was dealing with a different set of facts. There was then a comparison of State funds, which were drawn to relieve persons in the same condition of sickness, whether it was caused by an accident or by natural causes. Here it is wholly different. We are providing pensions for widows and allowances for the children, and we are providing that because the insured person makes contributions. What is received in other respects has nothing to do with any contributions which are made. It is based on a wholly different principle, and I do not see why the two things should be mixed up, and more than that the Minister of Health should say that in any case where parents have their children looked after by an aunt or an uncle they should be deprived of benefits.
May I add my voice also in support of the Amendment. It seems to me that the discussion this afternoon, especially the historical discussion, is entirely beside the point. When you have, as in this particular case, a free gift under the Workmen's Compensation Act, which has been given for a large number of years, it does not seem to me that this is the time at which or that this is the Bill, a great measure of social reform which we have heard so much talk about, under which we should do what is now proposed. I am not at all impressed by the defence of the Minister. Indeed, I think that it is the poorest defence which I have heard for a very long time. I should like to point out that in the converse case, which you get occasionally, when a person has been killed in a railway accident, and he may have insured his life and paid high premiums for a considerable number of years, the courts have laid down that, in considering the question of damages which the representatives of that person are to receive in respect of his death, they are not entitled to take into consideration the fact that the man has insured his life. It seems to me that that is entirely on all fours with the position at the present time. I would have liked to hear from the Minister, what the cost is likely to be. I do not care much about the argument that the cost is very small. I do not think that in this particular case the people who are going to be deprived will be malingerers. They are often children, and if they can get the advantage of benefit under the Workmen's Compensation Act that is no reason why they should be deprived of benefit under this Bill.
We are only prolonging this discussion in the hope that we still shall have some real reason given why this Amendment is being refused. I say with every respect to the Parliamentary Secretary that, although on other matters he has been convincing and eloquent, the weakness of his case on this occasion is such that even he is unable to give us any convincing argument. I am aware that this matter was debated at some length in the Committee stage, and I am equally aware that I spoke on the Committee stage, and, therefore, I do not propose to speak at any length now; but we are really discussing a matter of very considerable importance, because in all the other cases of disqualification there is some measure of turpitude, some real reason why the person who is disqualified should not receive benefit. For instance, there is the case which we have been discussing where the complaint is made that people are not fit to administer benefit, but here we are dealing with a case where the only ground for withholding the orphan allowance or additional allowance is that the person has met with an accident.
I have pointed out before, and I would like an answer to the point, that the rights of the insured person under the Workmen's Compensation Act are purely personal, as between the employer and the insured person.. It is not a case of paying a double pension, even from State resources. It is not even a case of a grant from the local authority on the one hand and from the State on the other. It is purely a private legal liability. It is, as I have pointed out, merely an accident of law whether the individual insured person or the dependant receives the money under the Workmen's Compensation Act, or at Common Law, or under the Employer's Liability Act. It is true that, under the National Health Insurance Act, all these three are disqualifications. For some pretended reason which I do not understand, except that I suspect that the Minister is impressed by the strength of the case, and therefore has weakened on this point, if the man claims the money under the Employer's Liability Act, the money then is not counted under this Clause, and it is merely an accident of legal advice, whether he is advised to proceed under one Statute or another, which governs whether he is deprived of benefit or not. That cannot be justified.
The only attempt to justify it was a reference to the Act of 1911 and the Act of 1924, but they do rot help the hon. Member. Those two Acts deal with an entirely different set of circumstances, and actually in their disqualifying terms they are different. What we are waiting for is not merely references to the Acts of 1911 and 1924, which deal with different matters, but to some principle on which it can be said that, because persons have received compensation for damages from another private individual people who have a right to pensions from the State should be deprived of those pensions. You might as well say that if a person has received damages of any kind that should be taken as a mitigation of payments under this Bill. You cannot defend this proposal. It is a very significant thing that persons versed in the law and who appreciate what legal liability means—I am not suggesting that other Members do not—persons from every party in this House, persons of authority and experienced in the law, from the same party as the hon. Gentleman himself, have all been forced by the legal necessities to see-what lies at the been of this confusion.
We have all been taught that the question of damages between one person and another is one thing, and the question of the benefit of a pension from the State is another, and it is nullifying every principle of legal justice that these things should be confused, as they have been in this Clause. No Member has risen in this House to defend the proposal of the Government, because, as has been pointed out by an hon. and learned Member, who is not a Member of my own party, in a claim for damages the question of insurance would not be taken into consideration in determining the amount. Even at this late hour perhaps the Minister would reconsider the position and give us some concrete reason, not based on obsolete reports in the OFFICIAL REPORT, but some real reason, why, when a man has been killed and his orphans have rights in a Court of law, they should be deprived of rights under this law, rights for which the parents have paid separately.
We have not had an explanation. The hon. Gentleman has not given one, because I do not think that he has one to give. As a matter of justice, his position is untenable. I do not want to be able to make party capital out of the continuance of this Clause. I am sure that we could. Nobody could Justify this Clause. From the political point of view I ought to hope that this Amendment will be rejected. In my own constituency I think that we shall hear a great deal of the injustice of depriving a man of rights under the Workmen's Compensation Act. The case was felt to be so weak that we have now the proviso, which was not in the Clause at first, guaranteeing the minimum. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman now to put down an Amendment giving us a real proviso. The whole position is untenable, weak, and vacillating: he has vacillated several times already, and we finally appeal to him to vacillate once more and to complete the process.
I would like to draw attention to one point to which reference has not been made so far. Under the Police Pensions Act and under the Firemen's Super-animation Bill, which I have had the privilege of conducting through this House this Session, there is in both cases a Clause against double compensation. The object of that Clause is obvious. It is to excuse the local authority, which in that case is the employer, from having to contribute under the scheme towards a pension for the policeman or the fireman, and at the same time having to pay premiums to insure themselves under the Workmen's Compensation Act. Under this Bill, the employer in most cases will not be the State or the. local authority but a private employer. But that private employer is contributing under the scheme. If you cut out this Clause you will be asking the private employer to pay not only premiums to insure himself against liability under the Workmen's Compensation Act but also to pay contributions under the scheme for liability from the same accident. It is unfair to expect a person to pay twice over for the same liability, and it is only reasonable, I think, that the Government should maintain the attitude which they have adopted.
I have listened to the whole of the Debate, and I regard the Parliamentary Secretary's reply on this Amendment as the weakest that he has made so far. He is an astute Parliamentary debater, but on this occasion he could not defend this Clause very well. He tried to point out that there is some benefit somewhere. The only benefits to the children are these—that where there are a number of children who come within the £300, they come under the benefit of this Bill. Three shillings will be given to those children. The hon. Gentleman mentioned that we had a Division the other night, and that it indicated exactly how the House felt. To judge by what has been said from the Conservative Benches to-day, and the feeling displayed, I suggest that if we had a free vote on this Amendment, the result would be something that we are trying to get. There is not a Member opposite who cannot see the value of what has been said so far from all quarters of the House. I would draw attention to a significant remark made last night. In discussing whether the widow should have 20s. or 10s., the Minister said, "We on these benches think that 20s. even is not enough. But what can we do? The Measure itself tells us that we can pay only so much." Following up that argument, I hold that if 20s. or 10s. is not enough, 3s. cannot be enough for the child. The Government have no right to hold back benefits under this Bill when people are already paying for what benefits they get under the Workmen's Compensation Act.
If you take the record of deaths from natural causes, you will find that the deaths are generally of people who are well on in life and have had some chance to make provision for dependants, but that the man who is killed in industry, especially in the mine, is the man who has not been able to make any provision. In the mining industry, the majority of the accidents happen at the coal face, and the men who work at the coal face are after those with large families, comparatively young men who have been able to make no provision for their dependants. All that is obtainable is £300 for the widow and 6s. for the children up to £300. But that is the extreme amount. There are cases where we do not get as much: the widow can get only £200, and if the husband has been a poor wage earner, only 3s. is given for each child. What we are asking for here is a fair deal in the case of the person killed in industry. Neither under the Workmen's Compensation Act nor under this Clause is sufficient money given. This House has no right to make money out of the poor widow and the orphan children, but that is what is proposed under this Clause. The Minister has not said anything, but he must have something in his mind as to this benefit. I hope that after reading what has been said on the matter he will reconsider his decision. This Measure has certain good points, and the right hon. Gentleman could add to those good points by conceding this particular claim.
Although I have risen many times to catch Mr. Speaker's eye, this is the first opportunity I have had of speaking on this Bill. After having read or heard all the speeches, I conclude that this Bill, as to one-half, is to provide the arrangements for taking compulsory contributions from the insured, and as to the other half is to see how little can be paid to those who have contributed. In practically every Clause that fact appears. The Government try to make out that contributors are not entitled to this thing and the other thing. We have had the Parliamentary Secretary quoting the National Health Insurance Act and the Workmen's Compensation Act. He must have forgotten that things have changed, and that he is now introducing a compulsory and contributory scheme for widows and orphans. We may have two workmen living and working side by side and paying the same contribution to the widows' and orphans' fund and under the National Health Insurance Act. and also helping to pay for workmen's compensation. Suppose that one of the workmen gets killed. His widow by law is entitled to compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act and is able to get some little consideration for herself and her children. The other man dies. The widow can get the full payment allowed by this Bill for herself and her children. Because the other woman's husband was killed you want to deprive her of the full amount of her benefit, although her husband and the husband who died had made the same contributions to the same fund. That is not just. The idea running through it all is that there is a possibility that the widow may get a little more than 10s. a week, or a little more for her children than she would otherwise have got if her husband had died naturally instead of being killed. But it is not just to take contributions from each of these men and then to differentiate in the case of their widows. I hope that the Minister will look at the matter from that point of view, and endeavour to do justice to all.
|Division No. 312.]||AYES.||[6.10 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Elveden, Viscount||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Albery, Irving James||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Meller, R. J.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Merriman, F. B.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Falls, Sir Charles F.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Fanshawe, Commander G. D.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, E.||Fermoy, Lord||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Fielden, E. B.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Finburgh, S.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Forestler-Walker, Sir L.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Forrest, W.||Moreing, Captain A. H.|
|Balniel, Lord||Foster, Sir Harry S.||Morrison H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Frece, Sir Walter de||Murchison, C. K.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Gates, Percy||Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Gower, Sir Robert||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Grace, John||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G.(Ptrsf'd.)|
|Bennett, A. J.||Grant, J. A.||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Berry, Sir George||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Oakley, T.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Gretton, Colonel John||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Grotrian, H. Brent||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne)||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Blundell, F. N.||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Hammersley, S. S.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Perring, William George|
|Brass, Captain W.||Harland, A.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Harrison, G. J. C.||Pielou, D. P.|
|Brings, J. Harold||Hartington, Marquess of||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hawke, John Anthony||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Preston, William|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Radford, E. A.|
|Brown, Maj. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Ramsden, E.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Henniker-Hughan, Vice-Adm. Sir A.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Herbert, S.(York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Ropner, Major L.|
|Burman, J. B.||Hilton, Cecil||Ruggles-Brice, Major E. A.|
|Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D.||Hogg. Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Rye, F. G.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Holt, Captain H. P.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Cassels, J. D.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfast)|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Huntingfield, Lord||Skelton, A. N.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hurd, Percy A.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Hurst, Gerald B.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Smithers Waldron|
|Christle, J. A.||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Spender Clay, Colonel H.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Jacob, A. E.||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F.(Will'sden, E.)|
|Clayton, G. C.||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Lamb, J. Q.||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Cope, Major William||Lane-Fox, Colonel George R.||Tasker, Major R. Inigo|
|Couper, J. B.||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Loder, J. de V.||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend)||Lougher, L.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Waddington, R.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Curtis-Bennett, Sir Henry||Lumley, L. R.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||MacDonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Royton)||Macintyre, Ian||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||McLean, Major A.||Wells, S. R.|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Macmillan, Captain H.||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. H.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)||Womersley, W. J.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Winby, Colonel L. P.||Wood, Rt. Hon. E. (York, W. R., Ripon)||Young, E. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George||Wood, E. (Chester, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Wise, Sir Fredric||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Wolmer, Viscount||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)||Major Sir Harry Barnston and|
|Captain Douglas Hacking.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Ritson, J.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hardie, George D.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Harney, E. A.||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Harris, Percy A.||Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stretford)|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)|
|Baker, Walter||Hayday, Arthur||Rose, Frank H.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hayes, John Henry||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Barnes, A.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Barr, J.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Batey, Joseph||Hirst, G. H.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Smillie, Robert|
|Broad, F. A.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Bromley, J.||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Buchanan, G.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Snell, Harry|
|Cape, Thomas||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Clowes, S.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kelly, W. T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Kennedy, T.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Compton, Joseph||Kenyon, Barnet||Taylor, R. A.|
|Connolly, M.||Kirkwood, D.||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)|
|Crook, C. W.||Lansbury, George||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lawson, John James||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lee, F.||Thurtle, E.|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Lindley, F. W.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Livingstone, A. M.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Lowth, T.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Lunn, William||Viant, S. P.|
|Dennison, R.||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Duncan, C.||MacLaren, Andrew||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|England, Colonel A.||March, S.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Maxton, James||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Fenby, T. D.||Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Montague, Frederick||Westwood, J.|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Morris, R. H.||Whiteley, W.|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Gillett, George M.||Murnin, H.||Wilkinsen, Ellen C.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Naylor, T. E.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Neville, R. J.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Greenall, T.||Oliver, George Harold||Wilson, R. J (Jarrow)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Paling, W.||Windsor, Walter|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Wright, W.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Groves, T.||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Grondy, T. W.||Potts, John S.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Purcell, A. A.||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr.|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Warne.|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Riley, Ben|
|Division No, 313.]||AYES.||[6.20 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Ashmead-Bartlett, E.||Barnston, Major Sir Harry|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Beamish, Captain T. P. H.|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Atholl, Duchess of||Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)|
|Albery, Irving James||Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Balniel, Lord||Bennett, A. J.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Berry, Sir George|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Oakley, T.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Gretton, Colonel John||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Grotrlan, H. Brent||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Blundell, F. N.||Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R.(Eastbourne)||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Hammersley, S. S.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Perring, William George|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Harland, A.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Harrison, G. J. C.||Pielou, D. P.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Hartington, Marquess of||Pilcher, G.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Hawke, John Anthony||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Brown, Maj. D. C. (N'tn'l'd., Hexham)||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Preston, William|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Radford, E. A.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Ramsden, E.|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Burman, J. B.||Hennlker-Hughan, Vice-Adm. Sir A.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D.||Herbert, S.(York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Hilton, Cecil||Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stretford)|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Ropner, Major L.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Ruggles-Brice, Major E. A.|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Holt, Capt. H. P.||Rye, F. G.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Hope, Cant. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Cassels, J. D.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Sandon, Lord|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hume, Sir G. H.||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Charterls, Brigadier-General J.||Huntingfield, Lord||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Christle, J. A.||Hurd, Percy A.||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfast)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hurst, Gerald B.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Clayton, G. C.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Smith-Carington Neville W.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Smithers, Waldron|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Jacob, A. E.||Spender Clay, Colonel H.|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F.(Will'sden, E.)|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Couper, J. B.||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Storry Deans, R.|
|Cralk, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Lamb, J. Q||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Crook, C. W.||Lane-Fox, Colonel George R.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Doritend)||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Crcokshank, Col. C. de w. (Berwick)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Loder, J. de V.||Tasker, Major R. Inigo|
|Curtis-Bennett, Sir Henry||Lougher, L.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Dalziel, Sir Davison||Lumley, L. R.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Royton)||MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||MacDonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Waddington, R.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Macintyre, Ian||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||McLean, Major A.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. H.||Macmillan Captain H.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Elveden, Viscount||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Wells, S. R.|
|England, Colonel A.||Malone, Major P. B.||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Margesson, Captain D.||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Meller, R. J.||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Falls, Sir Charles F.||Merriman, F. B.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Fanshawe, Commander G. D.||Meyer, Sir Frank||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Fermoy, Lord||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Fielden, E. B.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Finburgh, S.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Forestler-Walker, Sir L.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Forrest, W.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Wood, Rt. Hon. E.(York, W. R., Ripon)|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Frece, Sir Walter de||Moreing, Captain A. H.||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Morrison H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Gates, Percy||Murchison, C. K.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph||Young, E. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Goff, Sir Park||Newton, Sir D. G. C, (Cambridge)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Captain Douglas Hacking and|
|Grace, John||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G.(Ptrsf'd.)||Major Cope.|
|Grant, J. A.||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hardle, George D.||Riley, Ben|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Harney, E. A.||Ritson, J.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Harries Percy A.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hayday, Arthur||Robinson. W. C. (York,, W.B., Elland)|
|Baker Walter||Hayes, John Henry||Rose, Frank H.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertlliery)||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burniey)||Runclman. Rt. Hon. Waiter|
|Barnes A.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Barr, J.||Hirst, G. H.||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Batey, Joseph||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Beckett John (Gateshead)||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Benn Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Broad F. A.||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Smillie, Robert|
|Bromiey, J.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keinhley)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Snell, Harry|
|Cape, Thomas||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Clowes, S.||Kelly, W. T.||Stamford. T. W.|
|Cluse W. S.||Kennedy, T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Clynes, Right Hon. John R.||Kenworthy. Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph, M.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Kenyon, Barnet||Taylor, R. A.|
|Compton, Joseph||Kirkwood, D.||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)|
|Connolly M||Lawson, John James||Thorne, G, R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Dalton Hugh||Lee, F.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lindley. F. W.||Thurtle, E.|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Livingstone, A. M.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lowth, T.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Davison J. E. (Smethwick)||Lunn, William||Variey, Frank B.|
|Day Colonel Harry||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Viant, S. P.|
|Duncan, C.||MacLaren, Andrew||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Edwards C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Evans Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||March, S.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Fenby T. D.||Maxton, James||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Gillett, George M.||Montague, Frederick||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Morris, R. H.||Westwood, J.|
|Graham Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Morrison, H. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Whiteley, W.|
|Greenall, T.||Murnin, H.||Williams, T. (York. Don Valley)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Naylor, T. E.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Grenfell D. R. (Giamorgan)||Oliver, George Harold||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Paling, W.||Windsor, Walter|
|Groves, T.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Wright, W.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Pethick-Lawrcnce, F. W.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Guest J. (York, Hemsworth)||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Guest Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Potts, John S.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hall, F. (York W. R., Normanton)||Purcell, A. A.||Mr. Warne and Mr. B. Smith.|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Richardson, B. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Division No. 314.]||AYES.||[6.30 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut. Colonel||Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish||Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Berry Sir George||Bullock, Captain M.|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Betterton, Henry B.||Burney. Lieut.-Com. Charles D.|
|Albery Irving||Birchail, Major J. Dearman||Burton. Colonel H. W.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'Pool, W. Derby)||Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Butler. Sir Geoffrey|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold d C. M. S.||Blades, Sir George Rowland||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward|
|Ashley, Lt. Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Blundell, F. N.||Caine, Gordon Hall|
|Ashmead-Bartiett, E.||Bourne, Captain Robert Croft.||Camphell, E. T.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Cassels, J. D.|
|Atholl Duchess of||Boyd-Carpentain Major A.||Cautley, Sir C. (Chester, City)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Brass, Captain W.||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Brassey, Sir Leonard||Cazalet, Captain Victor A.|
|Bailout George (Hampstead)||Briggs, l J. Harold||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)|
|Balniel, Lord||Briscoe, Richard George||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Chamberlain. Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)|
|Beamish, Captain T.P.H.||Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Chapman Sir S.|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Charteris, Brigadier-General J.|
|Bellairs Commander Cariyon W.||Brown, Maj. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Christle, J. A.|
|Benn, Sir AS. (Plymouth, Drake)||Brown, Brig,- Gen. H.C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winton Spencer|
|Bennett, A. S.||Buckingham, Sir H.||Clarry, Reginald George|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hilton, Cecil||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Perring, William George|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Holt, Captain H. P.||Plciou, D. P.|
|Colfox, Major Win. Phillips||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Pilcher, G.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Pliditch, Sir Philip|
|Cope, Major William||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Couper, J. B.||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Preston, William|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Hume, Sir G. H.||Raine, W.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Eillis||Ramsden, E.|
|Crook, C. W.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. sir Aylmer||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend)||Huntingfield, Lord||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Hurd, Percy A.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Hurst, Gerald B.||Ropner, Major L.|
|Curtis-Bennett, Sir Henry||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Bye, F. G.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Jacob, A. E.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Dalziel, Sir Davison||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Royton)||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Dawson, sir Philip||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Lamb, J. Q.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Dixon. Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert||Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Col. George R.||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfast)|
|Elveden, viscount||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Loder, J. de V.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Erskine. James Malcolm Monteith||Lougher, L.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Fairfax, Capain J. G.||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Smithers, Waldron|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Spender Clay, Colonel H.|
|Falls, Sir Charles F.||Lumley, L. R.||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden. E.)|
|Fanshawe, Commander G. D.||MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Fermoy, Lord||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Fielden, E. B.||Msclntyre, Ian||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Finburgh, S.||McLean, Major A.||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Macmillan, Captain H.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Forrest, W.||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Frece, Sir Walter de||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel||Tasker, Major R. Inigo|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Malone, Major P. B.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Gates, Percy||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Margesson, Capt. D.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. sir John||Mason, Lieut.-Colonel Glyn K.||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Goff, Sir Park||Meller, R. J.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Merriman, F. B.||Waddington, R.|
|Grace, John||Meyer, Sir Frank.||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Grant, J. A.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Greene, W. p. Crawford||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Greenwood. Rt. Hn. Sir H.(W'th's'w, E)||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Gretton, Colonel John||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Wells, S. R.|
|Grotrian, H. Brent||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Wheler, Major Granville C. H.|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||white, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne)||Moreing, Captain A. H.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Hall, Capt. W. D A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Morrison H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Hammersley, S. S.||Murchison, C. K.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Nail, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Harland, A.||Nelson, sir Frank||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Harrison, G. J. C.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Wolmer. Viscount|
|Harvey, Major. S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Hawke, John Anthony||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Nuttall, Ellis||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L, (Bootle)||Oakley, T.||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||(O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Worthington-Evans. Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Henn, Sir Sydney H.||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh||Young, E. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Henniker-Hughan, Vice-Adm. Sir A.||Pennefather, Sir John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Herbert, S.(York, N.R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Major Sir Harry Barnston and|
|Mr. F. C. Thomson.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Broad, F. A.||Compton, Joseph|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Bromley, J.||Connolly, M.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilson)||Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Dalton, Hugh|
|Baker, Walter||Buchanan, G.||Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Cape, Thomas||Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)|
|Barnes, A.||Charleton, H. C.||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)|
|Barr, J.||Clowes, S.||Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)|
|Batey, Joseph||Cluse, W. S.||Day, Colonel Harry|
|Dennison, H.||Kennedy, T.||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Duncan, C.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Kanyon, Barnet||Smillie, Robert|
|England, Colonel A.||Kirkwood, D.||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Evans, Capt, Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Lansbury, George||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Fenby, T. D.||Lawson, John James||Snell, Harry|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Lee, F.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Lindley, F. W.||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Livingstone, A. M.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Gillett, George M.||Lowth, T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Lunn, William||Sutton, J. E.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Taylor, R. A.|
|Greenall, T.||MacLaren, Andrew||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Cone)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolvorhampton, E.)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Giamorgan)||March, S.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Maxton, James||Thurtle, E.|
|Groves, T.||Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Grundy, T. W.||Montague, Frederick||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Guest, j. (York, Hemsworth)||Morris, R. H.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Guest, Dr L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Viant, S. P.|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Murnin, H.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Naylor, T. E.||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Hardle, George D.||Oliver, George Harold||Warns, G. H.|
|Harney, E. A.||Paling, W.||Watson. W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Harris, Percy A.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Watts-Morgan, U.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Webb, Rt Hon. Sidney|
|Hayday, Arthur||Ponsonby. Arthur||Westwood, J.|
|Hayes, John Henry||Potts, John S.||Whiteley, W.|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Purcell, A. A.||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Hirst, G. H.||Riley, Ben||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Ritson, J.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Windsor, Walter|
|Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland)||Wright, W.|
|Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Rose, Frank H.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Salter, Dr. Alfred||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Scrymgeour, E.||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. S.|
|Kelly, w. T.||Shaw. Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Smith.|
I beg to move, in page 26, line 4, to leave out the word "superannuation," and to insert instead thereof the word "pension."
This is to provide that schemes which deal with widows and orphans pensions as well as schemes dealing with old age pensions may be modified under this Clause.
I beg to move, in page 26, line 13, after the word "so," to insert the words "either absolutely or."
This is to include schemes where the instrument under which the scheme is regulated does not contemplate any change at all.
I beg to move, in page 28, line 19, to leave out from the word "there under'' to the end of the Sub-section, and to insert instead thereof the words
except in such cases and to such extent us may be prescribed affect the benefits of or contributions by any poison employed in an employment which is an excepted employment within the meaning of Section fifteen of this Act.
This requires a little more explanation than the previous Amendments. The Clause was originally introduced in order to enable over-insurance to be avoided in the case of certain employ merits which were not excepted employments, where, in fact, a certificate of exception could not he given, but it now appears that certain employers, in cases where the employment is excepted, have seen in the new Clause an opportunity of reducing their own benefits and contributions at the expense of the State. That is not at all what was intended by the Clause, and indeed would be an abuse of the intentions of the Clause, and, therefore, I am moving this provision, which
makes it impossible for that particular use to be made of the Clause, except in certain prescribed cases; and the class of case we have in mind is the case where benefits are provided under the scheme similar in character to those provided under the Bill, but as to which the Minister could not certify that they are equally favourable to the contributor. In such eases, therefore, it is desired to allow this scheme to be modified so that the contributions may be reduced, even though the benefits are not equal entirely to those under the Bill.
I beg to move, in page 29, line 5, at the end, to insert the words
Provided that where it is shown in any such case as may be prescribed that failure to make a claim within the time above limited was due to circumstances over which the claimant had no control the pension shall commence to accrue on the date on which the claimant became entitled thereto.
This is to carry out a promise that I made in Committee that I would endeavour to provide for hard cases under the first Sub-section of this Clause. Subsection (1) limits the time during which a claimant may put in a claim for a pension, so I am providing that where it is shown that the failure to make a claim in time is due to circumstances over which the claimant had no control, the pension is to accrue on the date on which the claimant became entitled to it, instead of on the date on which the claim was made. That, will, I think, carry out the promise that I made in Committee.
In page 30, line 4, to leave out the word "Minister," and to insert instead thereof the words
local authority who, for the purposes of this Section, shall be the council of every borough and urban district, having a population according to the last published census for the time being of 20,000 or over, and of
every county (excluding the area of any such borough or district).
I beg to move, in page 30, line 10, after the word "referees," to insert the words
of whom one-fourth shall he women.
I feel that the right hon. Gentleman will not be able, in replying, to devastate me with an actuarial statement as to the financial position, and as to what expense will be incurred if my Amendment be carried. From a somewhat detailed watching of his methods during the past three weeks, I have noticed that, while he has knuckled down to the methods of the actuary, he is rather inclined invariably to try to meet such other suggestions as have been put forward. I hope very much that this particular Amendment will receive the impartial and very careful consideration of the Committee. Throughout the whole of these sittings many of us, I think I can say, in different parts of the House
have been fighting very hard against this whole system of inquisition into the manner of life of the people to whom pensions are to be awarded. We have been defeated, and have got out as gracefully as possible. The Minister has met our objections to a certain extent.
We are very anxious indeed that this Court of Referees, which usually consists, at the outside of three referees, should be chosen from as wide and fair a panel as possible. I confess that I am in a little difficulty, which, I hope, the right hon. Gentleman will help me out of when he replies, for in spite of a very careful search in the Library I cannot find the exact Regulations or directions which the promoters of this Bill had in mind when they decided to adopt the Regulations made by the National Health Insurance Joint Committee, or whoever decided that these should be the Regulations. However, I would point out to the House that the Court of Referees, on the many different points which will be raised in connection with this Bill, have a harder and much more difficult task in many ways than even those who are dealing with complaints under the National Health Insurance scheme. Owing to the Amendments which have already been made, and in view of the moral and ethical aspects of the case, it will require, if any kind of justice is to be done, that the panel of referees shall be selected on the broadest possible basis.
We are asking in this Amendment that one-fourth of the panel of referees to whom these cases will be submitted shall be women. We want that, because we feel it is so important in the very difficult cases, in deciding as to what kind of life a woman has been leading and all that kind of thing, that a woman, or women, should be there. We believe in all questions affecting women that it would be a very great help to the Minister, and to the humane and enlightened administration of the Act if we can enlist the services of our public women. I do not think that there can be any doubt in the minds of hon. Members to-day that there are many qualified women who would be extremely useful in the capacity indicated. I do not want to weary the House with many long arguments, or we shall inevitably begin to open up the sex question, but I do hope that this very modest request will be granted, that one-fourth of the panel to deal with the very many cases which particularly affect women and children, and moral and ethical standards as applied to women, shall be women. We do hope that the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to give us this concession, which means nothing in money, but, I believe, will make it much easier to administer the Act. Already hon. Members will know quite well that we are getting large numbers of letters asking us all kinds of questions in this connection. I am not blaming the right hon. Gentleman for this, but it would look as if he were going to add 20 per cent. to our correspondence in connection with this Bill. I feel it will be much more satisfactory for us if we can feel if we believe that our people can go to a Court of Referees of whom at least one-fourth are women with the standing and understanding of public women, who will be able to consider these cases and give us the benefit of their advice.
The hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Beckett) perhaps has not fully appreciated, so it seems to me, what will be the effect of accepting this Amendment. Let us see for a moment what we are dealing with. In Sub-section (2) of Clause 29 we find that
If any person is dissatisfied by the award of the Minister in respect of any pension the question shall, on application being made within the prescribed time, be referred to one or more referees selected in accordance with Regulations made by the National Health Insurance Joint Committee from a panel of referees to be appointed in accordance with Regulations so made, and the decision of the referee or referees shall be final and conclusive.
What is the Amendment? The Amendment is that this panel of referees, from whom the particular referee is to be selected, and who is to consider any particular case, shall consist, as to one-fourth of its numbers, of women. What is the point the hon. Gentleman wants to secure? What he wants to secure, I venture to say—and he will correct me if I am wrong—is that where a woman is concerned in an application before a Court of Referees by whom the case is to be heard there shall be one woman referee. Is not that the point of the matter?
That is exactly the point I am making. That is what the hon. Gentleman wants. But that is not what he is going to get if this Amendment be accepted. Let us see what happens. There is nothing in the Amendment to secure that in any particular case one of the women appointed on the panel shall be a referee in that case. On the other hand, let me tell the hon. Gentleman what are the Regulations made under the National Health Insurance Act. No. 163 is as follows:
(1) For the purpose of determining the prescribed appeals, the Minister shall constitute a special body (in this part of these Regulations referred to as the ' body of referees ') consisting of such persons, being barristers at law or solicitors, as he may from time to time appoint.
The House will perceive there is nothing in these words to prevent women being appointed as members of the panel of referees; if we discover barristers-at-law or solicitors, who are also women, and who are competent to act in that capacity. That is the difficulty. If such women can be found, and are available, there is nothing whatever in these Regulations to debar them from being members of the panel. Let me go further and warn the House as to what is the special Regulation in force under the National Health Insurance Act dealing with cases where women are concerned. The Regulation (No. 164) says:
Where it is necessary that any prescribed appeal should be determined the Minister shall appoint one or more of the members for the time being of the body of referees for the purpose of determining such appeal.
It goes to say:
If a woman is a party to any prescribed appeal in which a hearing is required, the Minister shall, unless the case is one in which a medical practitioner, being a woman, is appointed as assessor under the preceding paragraph, or unless he is satisfied that the appeal involves solely or mainly questions of law, appoint a woman having experience of social or public work to act as such assessor as aforesaid.
What we have to consider is what practical proposition can be put forward to meet this point. I hope that, having heard the Regulations, and recognising the practical difficulties in inserting the
proposal that one-fourth of this body shall; be women—women who are competent the hon. Member will consider—
I think the Minister —if I may say so—has met our case in part only. I had hoped that he would have said to my hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead (Mr. Beckett) that, having power under the Regulations, he would meet his point by himself appointing a number of women on the panel. The right hon. Gentleman has not exactly said that; but I thought he was aiming at it in some form or other. This is a very important issue, because we are dealing with quite a different type to the cases under National Health Insurance. I have never heard much complaint that women have not been acting in a proper way as assessors under that scheme. Here, however, you have thousands upon thousands of widows whose cases will, I imagine, be more properly dealt with by women referees than by men. The point has been made by the Minister that there will not be a sufficient number of qualified women to form one-fourth. I feel sure, however, that the time is fast coming when that position will be remedied, and, although I perceive the difficulty at the moment, I feel sure that it will be got over in the very near future. I trust, however, although this Amendment may not be carried by the House, that the Minister will take note of the suggestion we are making, and that adequate representation of women will be secured on these panels, particularly in view of the fact that women in the main will be beneficiaries under this scheme.
I beg to move in page 34, line 40, to leave out Subsection (5).
It seems apparent to most of us on this side of the House that the Government have been at some pains to load this Bill with Regulations and conditions and qualifications of every description in order to make it as difficult as possible for the recipients to receive the pension when it becomes due. I think they reached the peak when they succeeded in including a Clause of this description. It is a very mean Clause and entirely unworthy of any Government. It is rather curious that it should come from a Government which claims— whether there be any substance or justice for the claim is another matter—that they are specially concerned with the sanctity of the home, particularly at election times. The insertion of a Clause like this would probably do more in many cases to break up that particular home for which they profess to be so concerned than anything else contained in the Bill. We do not think it is necessary, and I do not think a good many Gentlemen on the opposite benches think it is necessary. I think that was conveyed the last time we discussed it in the Committee stage. Surely the law of the land and the Regulations that are laid down in the Bill are quite sufficient to deal with any delinquent or anybody who violates the conditions of the Bill without asking for a condition such as this to be put in? It is in violation of a principle that we have known in this country for centuries. To ask for a Clause of this description to be put in a Bill like this is violating a principle that I think is sacred to nearly everybody in this land. After what was said, and the promise of the Minister, I am rather disappointed that he has not seen his way to go a little further than he intends in the Amendment which I think comes next. I think he would have shown more gracious attitude, and pleased the members of his own party, if he had seen his way entirely to eliminate this Sub-section. I do not think any good can arise out of it. I will ask him even at this late moment, and in spite of the fact that he has met the House to some extent, to go a step further and consent to the elimination of the entire Sub-section.
I beg to second the Amendment.
This is the Clause which caused great feeling when it was discussed in Committee, because, in the case of an offence against the Insurance Act, husband and wife might be compelled to give evidence against each other. The Minister has now introduced an Amendment by which they will only do so with their own consent. I am bound to say that the Minister has not carried out what was, as the whole Debate showed, the desire of the Committee during that discussion. I followed all the speeches in the Debate that took place on that point, and the desire of the Committee was that this whole Sub-section should be deleted.
I will explain, if I may do so, to the Minister, some of the difficulties which now occur to my mind as following from the Amendment he has introduced. What is the position? Take the normal case of husband and wife, who are on fair terms with each other. It is desired to get evidence. Will the Minister visualise what will happen? Suppose the husband is being prosecuted. I think it is perfectly clear that the wife will not volunteer to give evidence. I presume the police will call round at her house. Will they tell her that she has the right to refuse to give evidence? In the talk with her, will they make no attempt to use their influence and authority to induce her to give evidence? I say that, if they do make that attempt, it will be grossly tyrannical and unfair. Such an attempt might not have any influence on Members of this House who have solicitors to consult, but, with these simple, inexperienced women, the very fact of a policeman walking into their rooms will frighten them and disturb their judgment, with the result that they will, through their inexperience, find themselves sending their husbands to gaol.
I quite understand that. In that case, there will be no difficulty. The whole point of this Clause is that they should be induced to give evidence for prosecution, and I am dealing with the case for prosecution. I do put it to the Minister that I think this Clause, with his Amendment, is now likely to give rise to the possibility of undue pressure, and I cannot see how, without undue pressure, it is going to be operative at all. I do not know whether he recollects what the himself said during the Debate. The Parliamentary Secretary, when asked to introduce this very Amendment, stated that if this Amendment was introduced, the Clause would be useless, and the Minister for Health himself stated a few minutes later, that if this Amendment was introduced, the Clause would be nonsense.
May I interrupt the hon. Member. I thought that, as he had refreshed his memory as to what took place, he would also remember that I made it clear later on, that the reason [said that was because I was misunderstanding the intention of the Amendment that had been moved by my hon. Friend. I thought the consent he was referring to was the consent of the person charged, but as soon as I understood that he was referring to the consent of the wife or the husband called upon to give evidence, I said I would meet that if possible immediately, and I have met it.
I do not quite follow. No such qualification was made by the Parliamentary Secretary. I do not think the speech shows that. My point; is a simple one. I do not see how this Clause can become operative unless the police use influence which may have effect on a very simple and inexperienced class of person. I think the Minister will be better advised if, instead of intro- ducing this Amendment, he would leave out the Sub-section altogether.
There is perhaps one other point that ought to be submitted, following the submission of my hon. Friend the Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith). He suggests that the inclusion of the Minister's Amendment will more or less render the Clause nugatory. I think that is a fact. Should that not be so, and should any cases arise where the husband or the wife were called and consented to give evidence against either husband or wife, as the case may be, it is pretty obvious that, out of love for the husband or wife in either case, they will not do so unless, of course, coercion is brought to bear, as suggested by my hon. Friend. If coercion is brought to bear, then it is obvious that that is a thing that the Minister ought to attempt to guard against.
Secondly, in case coercion is not brought to bear, but the husband expresses a willingness to give evidence against his wife, assuming that they live together under the same roof, domestic complications are bound to arise, which are very unpleasant to contemplate, and too unpleasant for this House to be a party to create. In the case of a husband living apart from the wife, or the wife living apart from the husband, and either one or the other being called upon to give evidence, and either he or she consents to give evidence, it is fair to assume that they will do so not in a spirit of good-will or with a desire to see that justice is done, but with a desire for the opposite merely because for the moment they happen to be separated.
I rather think that no real case has been made out for this Clause, even with the addition of the words suggested by the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill. I submit that the number of cases of either fraud, or fraudulent intention, will be infinitesimal, and that we ought not further conform to what I conceive to be a wrong principle in calling, either voluntary or otherwise, upon a husband to give evidence against his wife, or a wife to give evidence against her husband. The small number of cases in which the one or the other will give evidence will be so few that not even the Section in the Unemploy- ment Act of 1922, referred to by the Minister of Health, ought to deter him from doing what he conceives to be the best, and avoiding many domestic complications that ought not to be created, or the possibilities of coercion referred to by my hon. Friend. For these reasons, I support the Amendment.
I rise to support the Amendment and to ask if it is possible to delete this Sub-section, which I think is a slur on the Act. I think that the Minister has done his best by the Amendment which appears lower down on the Paper to rectify the position, but he has not succeeded. What he proposes to do is to put in the following words:
That the wife or husband, as the case way be, shall only be a witness with his or her consent.
Reading that in conjunction with the rest of the Clause, brings out the futility of trying to make sense of a Clause like this by putting in an Amendment of this sort. What the Clause would then read to say is, that the wife or husband, or the person charged, may be called as a witness, if she or he consents, and it goes on to say that they may be called without the consent of the person charged. The effect of the Amendment would be that the wife or husband would have an absolute right to appear at the trial, and to give evidence, notwithstanding that the person charged, whether husband or wife, did not want him or her to be there at all. That is really a very serious and real difficulty. It is not only the evidence that that person may offer; it is the possibility that that person will be cross-examined, and may do considerable damage to the person who is standing on his or her trial. For that reason, I submit, the Amendment does not go to the root of the difficulty at all. I take my stand on broader grounds than that. The very principle of this Clause is class legislation of the worst possible kind. There are many cases in which it would be desirable, if the law of evidence alone were considered, that the best evidence should be obtained, namely, the evidence of the person who is closest to the facts at issue; but the law does not allow those persons to be called in circumstances where higher considerations intervene, In the case of a husband charged with conspiracy
with his wife, surely if the law of evidence were the only consideration the obvious thing would be to make one or other of them a compellable or competent witness against the other; or if a husband were charged with collusion in a divorce case, then again the other party to the matter would be a most helpful witness. Higher considerations arise, however. One is the sanctity of the home, which has been emphasised by hon. Gentlemen opposite, and another is that legislation of this kind, which infringes the principles as to evidence laid down by our forefathers, goes far to sully the very fount of justice itself.
The changes regarding the admissibility of evidence which were brought about during the 19th centry, from the time of Jeremy Bentham and going on through the Acts of 1857 and 1868 until the Criminal Justice Act of 189S, were followed by progressive increases in perjury and progressive disregard for the sanctity of the oath, and, therefore, a consequent diminution in the value to be attached to testimony in a Court of law. This is another advance in the same direction, and it is not safeguarded by any of the safeguards that accompanied the Act of 1898, for instance. By that Act, which allowed a prisoner to give evidence on his own behalf, or the wife of a prisoner to give evidence on behalf of her husband, it was specially stipulated that such wife or husband was to be asked no questions which should infringe the old common-law principle. For instance, they could not be asked to disclose secret communications passing between them during the married life, which have always been regarded as confidential by our common law, and it was a wise provision. We do not see any similar safeguard here. A wife or husband may go into the witness-box and disclose confidential communications which have always been regarded as privileged. For that reason I submit that the Minister should, if possible, delete this Clause. There can be no value in evidence obtained in such circumstances. There can be no value in the evidence of a petulant wife who vindictively goes into the witness-box to send her husband to prison. There can also be little enough value in her evidence if she goes into the witness-box to support her spouse. So from both points of view her evidence is not going to be of much value. For those reasons, for the higher reason that the Clause offers an additional inducement to perjury, and for the final reason that the Minister's later Amendment would really make nonsense of the Clause, because it would enable a person to give evidence whether or not the prisoner wished it, I urge that the Minister should withdraw the Clause.
I cannot, of course, say anything of any worth to add to the legal argument to which we have just listened. The one point I would ask hon. Gentlemen opposite to give some attention to is the point the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Luton (Captain O'Connor) made just now, that this is essentially a piece of class legislation. It would do in the case of the poor what is not being done in the case of people in other circumstances of life. I believe the origin of this Clause is to be found in the Poor Law. Poor Law guardians very often have a wife and a husband before them giving evidence against each other. I am sure there is not a man here who has served on a board of guardians who will not agree with me that that is the worst kind of evidence that ever comes before them. Over and over again we have found the truth of what the hon. and learned Member who sits for one of the Midland divisions pointed out on the last occasion, that this provision would enable a vindictive wife or a vindictive husband—and we all know there are such people in the world—to "get their own back" on each other. Quite honestly, I do not believe evidence of this kind would be worth anything at all. The point made, that pressure would have to be brought to bear upon decent people to give evidence, is true. Let us put it to ourselves. Would any one of use, if we had any sort of regard for our wife, give evidence against her under any circumstances? I tell the House that nobody would ever get me to give any evidence against my wife. If I did I should in all probability commit perjury wholesale. [Laughter.] There is no humbug about that. Nothing on earth would compel me to do it. If this proposal be accepted, what would be the result? How can a man and wife live together afterwards when one has behaved in this fashion towards the other? We should create no end of difficulty amongst the few who would be prevailed on to give evidence, and I really think the Minister is taking a precaution that is absolutely worthless.
I would draw the attention of the House to the fact that this provision in this Bill is not being introduced into our legislation for the first time. The fact that it has been part of the Statute law since the passing of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1922, indicates that there was, at any rate, a case for a Clause of this kind. A great deal of criticism was directed against it at the time on the ground that it was an almost unthinkable thing to compel a husband against his will to give evidence against his own wife, or vice versa, and there is a great deal of truth, probably, in the contention that evidence forced out of a man in such circumstances could not possibly be of value. I thought I had met that criticism by the Amendment I put down which stands next on the Order Paper, but it appears that the House is still not satisfied. This is not a matter in which I can claim to have any special competence. I cannot claim to know from my own experience what value this particular provision would prove to be to those who want to guard against abuses, but I should be disposed to agree that its value is rather questionable, and, on the whole, in view of the objections that have been expressed here, I am not inclined to press for the retention of this Sub-section.
I beg to move, to leave out the Clause.
This is a Clause on which we differ from the Government over a matter of principle, and therefore it is proposed to make a few observations and to take it to a Division. It is a Clause by which women in receipt of a pension of 10s. a week are thereby prohibited from becoming insured under the National Health Insurance Act. 1911, or the Unemployment Insurance Acts. The view of the Government is that a woman in this position, with 10s. a week, is not in need of the primary benefits of health or unemployment insurance, and that they are justified in prohibiting her from insuring. A woman may have 10s. a week, but when she is ill, or disabled or unemployed, she loses her wages, and if she is sick or disabled she must incur extra expenditure, and any benefits which she would get as the result of her own contributions to insurance would be very acceptable. Under the National Health Insurance Act, 1911, the same question arose—what was to be done with people in industry who were earning 10s. a week? The answer that was given by that Act was that if those persons wished they could pay their contributions and become employed contributors on the same terms as the rest. This provision is going to be peculiarly harsh now that so many approved societies are building up schemes of additional benefits. It selects this class of women and prevents them from obtaining a share in those enlarged advantages which the rest of the working community are beginning to enjoy. There is another factor which also makes it harsh, and that is that the employers will have to make their contributions on behalf of these women although the women will be prohibited from adding their own contributions and getting the benefits. The Clause also contradicts the whole conception of his scheme, as the Minister of Health himself has described it on four or five occasions. In dealing with Amendment after Amendment, in which it was proposed to separate off other voluntary contributors' benefit under this Bill from the benefits under the National Health Insurance Act. the Minister said he considered that, in the case of women particularly, the benefits of the National Health Insurance Act were so overwhelming that he wished to encourage every possible woman to come under its provisions, and for that reason he was laying it down that, if a woman was to become a voluntary contributor under this Bill, he would compel her to become a voluntary contributor under the National Health Insurance Act at the same time. I am bound to say that the Minister's argument convinced me on this point, although I did not agree with him at the beginning of these Debates, and, having been convinced by the unanswerable character of his argu- ments, I have more confidence in moving this Amendment.
The inconsistency which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith), who moved this Amendment, seems to have discovered as regards my attitude is more apparent than real. I think it should be remembered that in regard to the Clause we are now dealing with a great number of these people will not have been insured at all, because they are married women who have not been at work, and who have been taking care of the household, and when the husband dies they go into insurable employment because the breadwinner has been taken away from them. That is the kind of people we are now dealing with, and the great majority of thorn are people who do not pay contributions. We are inclined to think that widows with pensions will probably desire to be relieved of making contributions to these benefits. I think on the whole this Clause ought to be carried.
I am sorry that the Minister of Health has not responded to our request. I do not think this Clause has very much to do with the Bill, and this Measure would not be marred in the least if the Clause were omitted. It has been argued that it would be in the interests of the woman herself if she were left out of the two other Insurance schemes. The woman will get 10s. per week as a widow's pension, and that will be the only allowance probably that she will get under this Bill. Take the case of a widow without children who gets 10s. If she were insured under the National Health Insurance Act and belonged to an approved society, she would be entitled to 15s. sickness benefit for a whole six months if she was otherwise eligible.
There would therefore be some women who are not in the category provided for in this Clause who would be better off than a woman would be in the type of case to which I have referred. The other night I put a question as to how many persons would be affected by this Clause, and I was simply staggered to learn that in a given period there would be eliminated 1,305,000 women who, but for the Clause, would be included both for National Health and Unemployment Insurance. I understand that the right hon. Gentleman does not attach very much importance to this Clause when he calculates the benefits that will be lost by these women and the additional benefits provided by approved societies. He is depriving these, women of very valuable benefits indeed, and I hope that ho will reconsider his position in view of the fact that this Clause is not of very much consequence to the Bill.
I rise to make a further appeal to the right hon. Gentleman. It is my own personal experience that many thousands of women would prefer to continue their payment in case they are in receipt of a pension in order to place themselves in a position to obtain sick benefit. The value of these benefits to the person who makes the weekly contribution would be very great indeed in case necessity should arise for sickness benefit. Obviously, only the person in receipt of a pension and who has employment will be affected by this Clause. the fact that a person is in receipt of a pension and also in receipt of wages should at. least make hon. Gentlemen opposite, and particularly the Minister of Health, think carefully before excluding their contributions week by week. Since this Clause does not cost. the pension scheme a single penny piece and will be extremely useful to the widow who happens to be a pensioner, I think the right hon. Gentleman would be well advised, for the sake of improving the general scheme, to reconsider his decision, and, if, he does not accept the complete abolition of this Clause. he ought to consider the possibility of allowing those women who wish to continue to make the payment to do so.
Mr. T. THOMSON:
I beg to move, in page 35. line 31, to leave out Subsection (1).
Of all the anomalies in this Bill I think this is the most flagrant. In the case of an insured person, you are taking away from him at 65 the right to unemployment benefit and also National Health Insurance benefit. The unemployment benefit seems to me to be a very serious loss to the individual; in fact, it is equivalent to a breach of contract. May I give an illustration as to what will happen if this Clause passes in its present form? I take the case of a person who has been insured since 1911 when the Unemployed Insurance Act came into force. He may have had a run of good luck, and he may not have required the doctor and has not drawn unemployed benefit. He has been insured for 13 or 14 years, and, when he comes to the age of 65, he falls out of work, and at once he is disfranchised from all the benefits to which he has been contributing for 13 or 14 years.
That seems to me an almost impossible position for the Government to take up, and I cannot see any justification for it. I know that if an ordinary insurance company had been guilty of such treatment there would have been a tremendous outcry from hon. Members opposite and from all business men. I understand from the Attorney-General that the defence was that the Government were offering the insured person something which they considered was as good as what they were losing, and they argue that the actuarial value of the pension at. 65 is considerably more than the national health insurance benefit of which they were being deprived in these cases. That may be so, but it does not seem to me to affect the question which is whether the insured person desires to make that change. He has made a contract with the Government which he has fulfilled for 13 or 14 years. He has paid his contributions regularly, and I understand that if he fell out of work he would not, receive the benefits provided by the Act.
What are the benefits he is going to lose? He will lose the 18s. a week, which should come to himself, 5s. for his wife, and, if he has two or three children, he will lose 2s. each for them. Therefore, the robbery which is inflicted upon him, and there is no other name for it, is that if he has two children he will be deprived of 27s. a week so long as his insurance runs. He has drawn no in- surance, and he would be entitled to benefits for 2½ years. I think this is a very serious infringement of the right and liberty of the subject, and there is no justification for putting it into this Bill. We have been told over and over again that this was a contributory Measure, and, that being so, surely the contributors are entitled to that justice which they would receive if they had been paying into an ordinary commercial insurance company. I was greatly astonished when I read this Clause, and I cannot see how it can possibly be justified.
I beg to second the Amendment.
I need not add much to what my hon. Friend has said, except to point out that, if you believe in the contributory principle, it is very important that you should see that people who contribute get that for which they contribute. If you take away from them that for which they have contributed, you are destroying the whole value of the contributory basis. My hon. Friend has spoken of the effect of this provision on existing cases, and the Minister spoke of what is being offered now in comparison with what is being taken away. I want to consider the future. The position of the future is that this Bill is to be self-supporting. People will enter hereafter and will contribute, and their employers will also contribute on their behalf, and between the two they will find the money to give the benefits set out in the Bill. That is a purely contributory, self-supporting scheme, as will be seen from the Actuary's Report. That having been done, a man who comes to take the benefit for which, he and not the State, has contributed, finds that another benefit, for which he has been called upon to contribute, namely, unemployment benefit, is not forthcoming. That being so, I cannot see what possible justification there is, if this Clause be passed, for exacting from him a contribution to Unemployment Insurance in the future. It means that he is being forced to pay for a thing which he cannot in certain circumstances receive, and if that is done because the Minister cannot find the money—and, after all, these things are not defended by the Minister on the ground of justice, but on the ground of finance—if that is done, and if it is clear in the future that people will have to pay contributions for Unemployment Insurance from which they cannot derive any benefit, I say that it does destroy the whole contributory basis and the belief of the people in it. For this and other reasons I have pleasure in seconding the Amendment.
I support this Amendment, which I feel is, perhaps, one of the most important Amendments that has been dealt with during the Report stage of this Bill. Apart from the sanctity of contract, which was referred to by the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. T. Thomson), it seems to me, on the basis of the figures given to-day by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour, to the effect that when this Bill becomes operative 65,000 people will be automatically diverted from receiving unemployment pay to receiving the 10s. pension—it seems to me that that is a very serious proposition for those men whose pay is going to be so very materially reduced. My hon. Friend the Member for Clay Cross (Mr. Duncan) said that he would like to see the Attorney-General confronted by an individual who, having reached the age of 65, but whose wife was below that age, and who happened to be in receipt of 23s. per week as unemployment pay, persuading that individual that justice had been done to him by reducing his weekly income from 23s. to 10s. per week. I also would like to see the Attorney-General, or, indeed, any hon. Member, confronted with that proposition.
I know that to duplicate the payments and enable a person to receive at the same time both unemployment pay and pension, as determined under this Bill, would be entirely out of the question, when we remember Clauses 24 and 25, and what has happened to the war pensioners and to people who are in receipt of compensation. The right hon. Gentleman has said in effect that, if a widow and her children, owing to the loss of her husband during the War, is in receipt of a pension larger than the amount determined by this Bill, she shall not be permitted to receive a double pension, but she shall be entitled to receive the larger of the two. Likewise the right hon. Gentleman has determined similar conditions where compensation is being received owing to the husband and father having been killed by an accident while following his employment. In that case also, if the compensation is higher than the amount granted under this Bill, the widow will have the benefit of continuing to receive the higher payment, and in no case will her position be made worse as the result of the passing of this Bill.
The right hon. Gentleman will observe, however, in regard to the present case, that it is quite conceivable that a man just reaching the age of 65, with a young wife and two or three children still of school age, may be receiving, not only 23s. for the husband and wife, but 2s. each for the children, making 25s., 27s., or 29s. a week, and, on the day when this Bill comes into operation, that 29s. will be reduced to 10s. Obviously, the only thing is for the income to be supplemented by Poor Law relief. I do not think hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who have really tried to examine this Clause in its full application at the moment and in. the future can support the Clause as it stands in the Bill. I would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman, even now, whether there is not. time to consider the advisability of placing persons who are unemployed in at least no worse a position at the commencement of this Act than at the present moment, that is to say. while not permitting thorn to have both the things they have paid for—both the 10s. old age pension at 65 and unemployment pay—at least enabling a person at 65 to have the higher of the two incomes, whether it be 18s., 23s., or even more, instead of the 10s. determined by this Bill. That has been done already under two Clauses. and it could be repeated a third time.
I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman ought to reconsider this Clause. It will cause more vexation in the country than, perhaps, any other Clause in the Bill. On the day when the Bill becomes operative, 65,000 people will be turned from unemployment pay on to their pensions, with a tremendous reduction in their weekly income. That is not likely to create more pleasantness, but will undoubtedly create a great deal of discontent, because these men have paid for their unemployment pay, and have lived always under the belief that should they be turned out of work, unemployment pay will be waiting for them. For these reasons I hope the right hon. Gentleman will reconsider his whole position, and at least leave these people in no worse a position, if no better, on the final application of this Bill.
The speeches which have been delivered on this Amendment seem to me to rest upon an extraordinary misapprehension of the position as it exists to-day. The hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) has talked as though Unemployment Insurance benefit were a sort of pension, to which a man was entitled week in and week out for the rest of his life.
The argument of the hon. Member was based upon that assumption, because he said, "Here is a man receiving 23s. unemployment benefit, and you ought to give him the option whether he shall receive that 23s. or the old age pension to which he would be entitled under the Bill, whichever is the higher." The 23s. is only a right under certain conditions, and those conditions strictly limit the time during which he can draw his unemployment benefit. Again, the hon. Member who moved the Amendment, and the hon. and gallant Member who seconded, spoke about breach of contract. The Mover of the Amendment described this Clause is robbery, and spoke of the awful names that any private insurance company would be called if they proposed such an alteration in their terms. Does he really mean to say that any alteration in the terms of Unemployment Insurance, whether alteration of contributions or of benefits, constitutes a. breach of contract? There never has been any scheme which has been altered so many times as the Unemployment Insurance scheme. There have been no fewer than nine separate Acts of Parliament, every one of which has varied the terms of the unemployment insurance scheme. Has there been a breach of contract every time? The original contribution under the Unemployment Insurance Act was 3d. weekly; now it is 6d.; and the benefits also have been altered. If it was really right and proper to alter the scheme from time to time, what constitutes the breach of contract in this particular alteration? There really is no breach of contract. If it were said that the benefits which we are offering to insured people under this Bill are less valuable to them than the present benefits, I could understand that, though I might not agree with it, but I cannot accept any argument based on the assumption that these people have a vested right to draw whatever unemployment insurance pay is in force at the time.
Surely, there is all the difference in the world between a variation in the amount, whether of contributions or of benefits, and denial or refusal of any benefit whatever. That is what I complain of. These people have paid for 14 or 15 years for unemployment benefit should they fall out of work, and when they fall out of work they are refused any benefit whatever.
The hon. Member is leaving out of account what they get in exchange, and, as I hope to show, they get very much better value in exchange than they are losing. I am perfectly ready to argue the merits of what we are giving against the merits of what we are taking away, but I do protest against any suggestion that there is a breach of contract involved. Let us see what the contract is. Take the unemployment benefit, because I notice that rather more stress has been laid upon that than upon the Health Insurance benefits. The standard benefit, that is to say, the benefit for which the man has paid, as the hon. Members says, is limited. He is entitled to one week's benefit in respect of six weeks' contributions, and in any event he cannot exceed 26 weeks in any year. The hon. Member may say that there is uncovenanted benefit, but in that case what about the contract? That is no part of the contract. The man has not paid for uncovenanted benefit. Has the hon. Member forgotten that, or is he adding the uncovenanted to the covenanted benefit when he talks about breach of contract? If so, there is obviously a confusion of thought. As a matter of fact, the pension of 10s. a week which the Bill gives a man covers him for 29 weeks' unemployment benefit at 18s. a week, and if you take into account that the man's wife, when she reaches the age of 65, also gets a pension, I think it is perfectly obvious that the benefits we are giving and assuring to these people, without any further ques- tion or doubt or uncertainty at any time, are, indeed, as the Actuary's Report shows, of very much more value than those received under the present scheme. Moreover, do not let us forget that these individuals are exempted from contributions, and no longer have to pay any contributions towards sickness or unemployment benefit. That, again, must be taken into consideration in comparing the two sets of benefits. Sickness benefit is contracted for under the Health. Insurance Act for 26 weeks. The largest benefit he can get throughout the year under the Insurance Act is 10s. a week, and he can get that under this Bill. If you take the benefit at. the rate of 15s. for sickness benefit, and another 5s., let us say, for additional benefits he might get from his approved society; therefore, assuming that his sickness benefit amounts altogether to 20s. a week, he gets 26 weeks of that assured to him by the pension under the Bill, and that added to the value of his wife's pension when she becomes 65 years of age. Let us not forget that the cessation of benefits and contributions under the National Health Insurance Act and Unemployment Insurance Act by reason of this Clause has enabled us to reduce contributions right the way through. Those are solid gains which, I think, must be kept in account. We are not committing any outrage or breaking any contract, and we are giving the people who come under this Bill something very much more valuable than we have taken away.
When this Clause was discussed in Committee, a question was raised, after the Minister had spoken, to which he gave no reply, although he had an opportunity of doing so. I am hoping I shall have his attention in order that this point may be cleared up. He was reminded in that Debate that, under the existing Unemployment Insurance Act, the man who roaches the pensionable age of 70 is still able to draw unemployment benefit as long as he observes all the conditions and regulations laid down by the committee. I want to know by what process of reasoning the Minister has arrived at the necessity for this change. Surely, there is more reason for preventing a man of 70 from continuing to draw unemployment benefit than there is for preventing a man of 65, because a man of 65 is much more likely to be physically able to work, as many of them have to do, especially those who are engaged in casual occupations, and I want to know from the Minister—I hope he is not running away from my question—I want to know by what process he has arrived at the point of preventing a man of 65 from taking unemployment benefit when under the existing Act a man of 70 is able to do so.
The right hon. Gentleman has just complained of the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. T. Thomson) describing this Clause as a species of robbery. I think the phrase is fully justified, and it is that kind of robbery that can have no reasonable kind of defence. I would rather describe it as a kind of insurance confidence trick. You agree to pay these men certain benefits in return for certain contributions, and the Minister goes towards an Exchange and meets a man who has just reached the age of 65 or will do so in a few days' time. That man has his unemployment benefit of 23s. in his hand, 18s. representing his own benefit and 5s. on account of his wife. The Minister says, "What have yon got there?" The man says, "I have 23s. here, unemployment benefit." The Minister says. "Well, would you not like 10s. old age pension?" The man says, "Yes, I would." The Minister says, "Hold out your hand," and, instead of putting in 10s., he takes out 13s. That is what I call a kind of insurance confidence trick, practised on men who are least able to bear the infliction.
What is to become of the men who are too old at 40 and are discharged, largely because their means of producing so much as the younger men has brought them to the notice of their managers or employers and they are discharged from what has been hitherto regular employment? Then they become casual hands. Even at the age of 65 they can carry on the work that comes to them to do, and they have been allowed to carry on under the existing Acts. Here we have a Bill on which the Minister prides himself that it amends the existing Act to the advantage of the man and woman for whom provision is made. Yet here is a Clause that will bring consternation and dismay to the men of 65 and to the younger men who hope some day to be 65. It is a practical condemnation to compel those men to accept a 10s. pension and make up what is necessary to enable them to live at the expense of the Poor Law authorities. I hope the Minister will give further consideration to this Clause, as he is doing a great injustice to a very deserving class of men.
The attitude of the Minister on this particular Amendment has been very disappointing. He seemed to have been in a very reasonable frame of mind on some of the earlier Amendments, and I hoped we were going to get that same reasonable spirit as far as this Clause is concerned. A grave injustice is going to be done to thousands of men. and women in this country. You are also going to create a difference as between the voluntary side of insurance in the friendly society movement and compulsory insurance as represented by National Health Insurance. Friendly societies, from the voluntary point of view, insure their members so long as they produce a certificate that they are unable to follow their employment in illness. Thousands of men and women have insured in the National Health Insurance side of the friendly society movement, and they have been guaranteed, from 1912, in return for the insurance contributions paid, sickness benefit where they can produce a medical certificate. They were guaranteed benefit till 70 years of age. Without any compensation being paid, this particular Clause is going to take away five years of insurance so far as those people are concerned.
Regarding unemployment, all we are asking is that those who have paid insurance for unemployment benefit shall get what they have paid for. We are not asking that something shall be paid at the will of the rota committee. Under the Acts today people are guaranteed extended benefit in return for the insurance contributions. The Minister, in replying to the Mover and Seconder of this Amendment, dealt with the unemployed man who was drawing unemployment insurance to-day. He claimed that there would be far greater benefits in return for the contributions paid under these proposals than under the existing Acts. But I am pleading, so far as the deletion of this Sub-section is concerned, for the man and woman who have paid insurance contributions and up to the present time have received no unemployment benefit and have been guaranteed unemployment benefit in the event of their becoming unemployable during the period. This is going to take away these rights. I heard the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas) picturing the Chancellor of the Exchequer going to the Minister of Health and, in the words he used, the Chancellor of the Exchequer saying to the Minister of Health, "Please give me a lend of your baby to get me out of the hole in which I find myself." I think myself that there is not much of the baby about these proposals. They are more like a pair of forceps for extracting from people what has been given to them. It is nothing more or less than sheer robbery, and would be an injustice to any cat burglar who had been robbing the people of London. I trust the right hon. Gentleman is going to accept this Amendment. You have done some measure of justice in connection with Clause 24, and some measure of justice by the acceptance of a recent Amendment to delete a Sub-section of a Clause, and I appeal to the Minister to do another little bit of justice to those who have paid for Unemployment and Health Insurance by accepting the Amendment.
I believe the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated that he was engaged in a series of delicate balancing feats, and that it was a question of balance as between this Bill and the Unemployment Bill, etc., in making them all adjust themselves one to the other. I fancy the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or the Minister of Health, or the Parliamentary Secretary, would have a difficult job to prove to a man of 65 or over, who would have been due 18s.. or in the case of a wife 23s. a week, that it is a delicate balancing feat to bring him from 23s. down to the 10s. proposed under the Bill. I would not apply the term delicate to that, I would rather use my hon. Friend's term. It is more in the nature of robbery to do a thing like that. The Minister complains that this is not a contract, but surely, as the case has been put. many of those people will have been paying to this unemployment fund for a considerable number of years, and in a good many eases they will have received nothing. Surely they have considered that they were paying under a contract and that if ever they were unemployed that contract would be honoured, but apparently ft is not to be if they reach 65 years of age. We learn again to-day— I suppose this is another example of balancing—that there are over 65,000 people who will be affected by this new Clause—65,000 people drawing unemployment pay who will be brought down to 10s. That is one of the methods by which money is going to be saved to the Unemployment Fund at the expense of these 65,000 poor unfortunate beings. I suppose there is another advantage which will be gained by the Government. The unemployment figures, which are so appalling, and which are causing them so much disturbance, will be reduced by this 65,000, and it will count to the advantage of the Government, I suppose, that they have reduced the figures by that amount, making the country believe they have found work for 65,000 people when all they have done is to rob them of anything from 8s. to 13s. a week when they have paid for all these things.
When one looks at the Clause from that point of view, surely hon Members opposite cannot expect us to have anything decent to say about it. It is a most unworthy Clause, and they cannot apply the argument that has been applied to so many of our Amendments, that it was going to cost money to this Fund. They will get the 10s. out of the Fund in any event. Therefore you will not save anything from the Widows and Orphans' and Old Age Pensions Bill. All you will save is from the Unemployment Bill, and you will save money which is due to these people. I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to consider it in this light. We have had two Amendments conceded to us. This is an excellent opportunity to perform the hat trick and give us another. I have formed the opinion that the argument which has been offered from this side—real good, solid argument—is beginning to have an effect on the Minister, which has been exemplified by our receiving two concessions. I am equally sure that the arguments which have been adduced on this Amendment are so much stronger that he can have no possible reason for withholding this from us in addition. We appeal to him to do justice to all these 65,000 people, and to have regard to the fact that when a man reaches 65 years of age, the possibility of his becoming unemployed is rather greater than when he is young. The older he gels, the loss he is required by people who want strong men in industry We appeal to the hon. Gentleman from all these points of view to reconsider the Amendment, and see if he cannot give us a third, and at the same time do justice to these people who are going to suffer as a result of the Bill.
I should like to join in the appeal to the better side of the Parliamentary Secretary, and ask him to visualise what would have happened if he had been sitting in this corner seat, and anyone else had brought in this Bill. He would have been the first to talk about necessitous areas, such as Woolwich, where this provision will inevitably throw on the rates a very large proportion of men and women. We have been hearing over and over again during the Debates on the Finance Bill, and Debates on trade, and in speeches made by the hon. and learned Gentleman last year on many an occasion, that the pressure of rates was very bad for industry and trade generally, and under this provision there is no doubt at all that the major part of these 65,000 people will be driven either to starve or to go to the Poor Law to get assistance. Already the boards of guardians in the East End, in preparing their estimates for the coming winter, are enlarging them because of the evil effects which will come from the passing of a Measure which is being considered upstairs just now, and whenever this Bill comes into operation we shall have another load put upon us. I cannot understand what is going to happen to a man of my age who is a, casual labourer, who for one reason or another has been obliged to exist on extended benefit, and then gets a run of good luck, when he is just about 64 years and 11 months old, and is able to pay up into the Unemployment Insurance Fund—I cannot understand what is going to happen to him when he is 65, and is out of work, because I do not take it that you are going to make a man of 65 leave off work of necessity. He may be able to get a job if there is one going. You are not going to make him compulsorily retire. What is going to happen to him if he goes on working for a couple of years longer and is able to pay his contributions in for out-of-work pay? Why should he be denied what he paid his contribution for? Why should you say to him when he is out of work again, "You cannot have what you have paid for. Although all your life you have been paying in, now we automatically rule you out and call you a pensioner instead of giving you what you have paid for."
This is a most iniquitous proposition, that a man because trade has been very bad, should automatically be driven into the position of existing on 10s. a week plus whatever he can get out of the boards of guardians. I cannot for the life of me understand the reason of this, except that it seems to me you are always afraid the poor may got a little too much. You treat them all the time as if it is a, crime that they should have anything move than the meanest subsistence. All the machinery of this Bill against the duplication of pensions, all the machinery you are putting in here now, you would not dream of applying to yourselves at all. I do not know of any provision to make a man who has served, say, as an Admiral or a General, who gets, say. a lump sum of ®100,000, which really is a perpetual pension of ®5,000 a year—I do not know of any provision for hedging him round so that he cannot bo the Governor of New Zealand or the First Sea Lord. I do not understand why you should have one sort of law to take precious good care that these wretched, poor people should not get too much. Twenty-three shillings is only enough for them to starve on. Now you are proposing to cut them down to 10s. That is one of the most—and there are a lot more— iniquitous Clauses in the Bill. I cannot feel a spirit of harmony because you give us a paltry concession here and a paltry concession there.
The whole of this Bill, the whole structure of the Bill, is a piece of jerrymandering finance. It is a pretence to give the poor something, when all the time you are making them pay very extravagantly for anything they are getting. In this Clause you are going to take away what they have paid for. With the rich people it is another thing. The rich do not pay for their pensions and allowances; they get them for nothing. These poor people, having paid, are to be refused the thing for which they have subscribed compulsorily week by week. It is a joke, no doubt a very excellent joke, to imagine, when you have taken away from an old man of 65 13s. a week, and you have shoved him down either into the pit of destitution or under the hated Poor Law, that you are doing something for these old people. When I remember that an ex-Lord High Chancellor gets ®5,000 a year pension, ®100 a week, and that you are going to make an old man who has helped to provide that money exist on a paltry 10s. a week, when probably he has a wife and one or two children, it seems to me despicable. No more despicable, contemptible thing has ever been done by this House of Commons.
This might be interesting as being a desirable thing had representations been made to the Ministry by the approved societies. I do not know that any approved societies have made representations asking the Ministry to make this provision to protect their funds. Nearly all the representatives of the approved societies, especially of the friendly societies, with whom I have come into contact are very anxious to strengthen this Bill in the interests of their members, rather than to weaken it against them. In this Clause, it seems to me that those who have framed the Bill have gone out of their way to take away wherever they can the advantages which the contributors are paying for. This Bill ought to go down to posterity, not as the Widows',. Orphans', and Old Age Pensions Bill, but as the "Collar and Dodge Bill.' You are collaring all the contributions you can and dodging all the benefits. We have not long since concluded one Clause where the Government were dodging the benefits in regard to workmen's compensation, and now they are dodging the benefit in regard to those who have been members of approved societies.
What right have you to mix up two Bills, two funds? If a man has made contributions to one fund for the purpose of certain benefits and has complied with all the conditions in regard to that benefit, he ought not to be deprived of them. If he makes a separate contribution under this Bill for an old age pension or a widow's pension, he should not be deprived of the advantage paid for under the scheme. The contributors are to be so deprived, and just at a period in their lives, especially with regard to the old people, when they ought to receive additional benefits rather than be deprived of benefits.
In the Association to which I belong we do all we possibly can to help the old people. My right hon. Friend smiled when someone made reference to the fact that people could get better benefit than is given in this Bill, if they contributed elsewhere. I want to tell him that our people are getting far better benefits under our organisation than are given in this Bill or under the Unemployment Insurance Act. They pay 1s. a week. No contribution is made by the employer. They get. ®1 a week out of work pay. We are paying every old man in Nottinghamshire under our Association a pension of 6s. a week. Notwithstanding the fact that we had a debt of ®172,000 in 1921, money which we had borrowed in order to pay strike benefit, we have paid every old age pensioner his pension when it has become due. To-day we owe ®20,000, but we have attended to our old people notwithstanding our debts. They have not been deprived of any benefit for which they have paid.
In this Clause the contributions which the old men have made for benefit under the National Health Insurance Act and the Unemployment Insurance Act to be neutralised and they are to be deprived of those benefits. You are taking together separate Bills and trying to amalgamate them. I suggest to the Minister that it is not fair to build up his Measure in that way. He is seeking to enrich Peter by robbing Paul. All along the line, those who are being deprived of benefits are the very people who can least stand being deprived of those benefits. It is not a credit to a great party or to a great State to make provision on one hand and take it away with the other. Before we part with this Bill, I hope that it will be improved on behalf of the old people. It certainly would be so improved if this Amendment were accepted.
|Division No. 315.]||AYES.||[8.32 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyto, Lieut.-Colonel||Fanshawe, Commander G. o.||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Fermoy, Lord||Nail, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Fielden, E. B.||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Finburgh, S.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Ashmead-Bartlett. E.||Foster, Sir Harry S.||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Frece, Sir Walter de||Oakley, T.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Galbraith, J. F. W.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Ganzonl, Sir John||Penny, Frederick George|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Gates, Percy||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Gllmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Perring, William George|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Grace, John||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Pielou, D. P.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Plicher, G.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Grotrian, H. Brent||Pliditch, Sir Philip|
|Bentinck. Lord Henry Cavendish||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Berry, Sir George||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Radford, E. A.|
|Bethell, A.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Raine, W.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne)||Ramsden, E.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Remer, J. R.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Harrison, G. J. C.||Rentoul, G. s.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Harvey, Majors. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Hawke, John Anthony||Rice, Sir Frederick|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clivn||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. v. L. (Bootle)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hennessy, Major J. R, G.||Rye, F. G.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Henniker-Hughan, Vice-Adm. Sir A.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Herbert, S.(York, N.R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Brown, Maj. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Hilton, Cecil||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Sandon, Lord|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Holt, Capt. H. P.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Burman, J. B.||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Burton, Colonel H. W,||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Hopkison, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Howard, Capt. Hon. D. (Cumb., N.)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Cassels, J. D.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Huntingfield, Lord||Smithers, Waldron|
|Chadwick, sir Robert Burton||Hurd, Percy A.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden. E.)|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Jacob, A. E.||Storry Deans, R.|
|Chilcott, Sir Warden||Jephcott, A. R.||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Christie, J. A.||Jones, G. W. H. (stoke Newington)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Clayton, G. C.||Kidd, J. (Linilthgow)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Knox, Sir Alfred||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Lamb, J. Q.||Tasker, Major R. Inigo|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Lane-Fox, Colonel George R.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Cope, Major William||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Couper, J. B.||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Loder, J. de V.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Lougher, L.||Waddington, R.|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Crook, C. W.||MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Macintyre, Ian||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert||McLean, Major A.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Curtis-Bennett, Sir Henry||Macmillan, Captain H.||Wells, S. R.|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Dalziel, Sir Davison||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Royton)||Malone, Major P. B.||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Wilson. R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Melter, R. J.||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Merriman, F. B.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Meyer, Sir Frank||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Doyle, Sir N. Grattan||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Edmondson. Major A. J.||'Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Elveden, Viscount||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Mr. F. C. Thomson and Captain|
|Falls, Sir Charles F.||Moreing, Captain A. H.||Margesson.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rose, Frank H.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hardie, George D.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hayday, Arthur||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hayes, John Henry||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Barnes, A.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Barr, J.||Hirst, G. H.||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Batey, Joseph||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Smillie, Robert|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Bonn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Broad, F. A.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Bromley, J.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Snell, Harry|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Buchanan, G.||Kelly, W. T.||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Cape, Thomas||Kennedy, T.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kenyon, Barnet||Sutton, J. E.|
|Clowes, S.||Kirkwood, D.||Taylor, R. A.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lansbury, George||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Lawson, John James||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Compton, Joseph||Lee, F.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Connolly, M.||Lindley, F. W.||Thurtle, E.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Livingstone, A. M.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lowth, T.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Lunn, William||Viant, S. P.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhrughton)||MacLaren, Andrew||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Day, Colonel Harry||March, S.||Warne, G. H.|
|Dennison, R.||Maxton, James||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Duncan, C.||Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Montague, Frederick||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Morris, R. H.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|England, Colonel A.||Murnin, H.||Westwood, J.|
|Fenby, T. D.||Naylor, T. E.||Whiteley, W.|
|Forrest, W.||Oliver, George Harold||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Paling, W.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Ponsonby, Arthur||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Greenall, T.||Potts, John S.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Purcell, A. A.||Windsor, Walter|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Wright, W.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Riley, Ben||Young, Robert (Lancaster Newton)|
|Groves, T.||Ritson, J.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Sir Godfrey Collins and Sir Robert|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stretford)||Hutchison.|
I beg to move, in page 36, line 27, to leave out from the word "cancellation" to the word "of" in line 29.
Under the Bill, certain cancellations have to take place, but until some arrangements are made for Northern Ireland, that will not be possible, and this Amendment and that which follows are simply to safeguard the position and provide that reserve values for persons resident in Northern Ireland shall not be affected until reciprocal arrangements are made.
Further Amendment made: In page 36, line 34, at the end, insert the words
Provided that such reduction or cancellation of reserve values shall not have effect for the purposes of Section one hundred and
twenty-two of the Insurance Act unless and until reciprocal arrangements with Northern Ireland are made under this Act."—[Sir K. Wood.]
I beg to move, in page 37, line 5, at the end, to insert the words
Provided also that where an employer has failed or neglected to pay any contributions which, under the Insurance Act as amended by this Act. he is liable to pay in respect of any person, such person shall be deemed to be an insured person during the period of such failure or neglect.
This I regard as a very important Amendment, and I shall be very much surprised if the Government are unwilling to accept it. The House will bear with me while I refer to the provisions of the National Health Insurance Act covering this subject. Section 106 of the National Health Insurance Act of 1924 provides that there shall be included among the debts which, under Section 209 of the
Companies Act, 1908, are, on a distribution of the assets of a company being wound up to be paid in priority to all other debts, all contributions payable under this Act, and so on. But it is found that in actual practice many insured persons are deprived of benefits because of the failure of employers to stamp the insurance cards at the proper time. The most common case is that of the bankrupt employer. In that case very serious and cruel hardships Fall upon a considerable number of persons insured under the National Health Insurance Act. What this Amendment proposes is to throw on the Government the onus of seeing that, provided the insured person has carried out his part of the transaction, he shall not suffer any loss of benefit. I shall be told of course that as the contributions are paid, that consequently the liability of the Government to pay pensions will not accrue
I want to give a concrete case. Take the case of a person who is insured from the age of 16 to 60. The contributions are paid in respect of him week by week without failure. All of a sudden his employer finds himself in financial difficulties, and without the knowledge of the employé the employer becomes bankrupt. I will reduce the case a step further. Suppose that the employer finds himself in financial difficulties in January. He does not pay any contributions in respect of his employé for the whole of the first half of that year. When the employé desires to secure his contribution card he finds that there are no stamps on it at all. Strange as it may seem, very few insured persons bother much about their insurance cards until they desire to claim benefit, and then the first thing required of them is that the contributions must have been paid. The Ministry of Health has ample information at its disposal to prove my contention that there are hundreds if not thousands of insured persons every year who are deprived of their benefits merely because of the neglect of their employers. I know that the Minister's answer will be, as it has always been, that although the employer has failed to stamp the card an opportunity is provided to an insured person to make good the amount of contributions respect of himself, leaving the employer's contribution out of account for the pur- pose. But I must point out that the hardship may have fallen upon the insured person by that time.
There are provisions in the Insurance Act calling upon the employer to pay the benefit where the loss of the benefit is the fault of the employer. But much time is wasted and many employers have no means whatever of meeting their dues in such cases. I hope that the Minister will accept the Amendment. I feel sure that it will appeal to him.
It would be a monstrous thing if a man had paid his contributions up to nine months before his death, and then 'left a widow and two or three little children under 14 years of age, who, because the employer his failed to stamp the man's card, were deprived absolutely of the, benefits that would otherwise accrue to them. The Amendment is moved in the best spirit because cases of this kind have happened so often. There was the case of a colliery company the other day. The approved society made a complaint in respect of several of the men employed, and the men had the option to pay the contributions, but that was absolutely unfair to them. I know the difficulties there are in the administration of this scheme, but I feel sure that the Ministry would be able to get over them. No person insured under this scheme ought to suffer the loss of a penny of benefit merely because the employer has neglected to carry out his part of the transactions. The Treasury will in any case have received the contributions. The Treasury will have received. in some cases, probably 40 years of regular contributions, but because the employer has become bankrupt the insured person would be deprived of benefit. That is our case.
I beg to second the Amendment.
It is not very often realised that many employed persons hardly ever see their insurance cards. The cards are dealt with in bulk, especially in the case of large factories. The money is deducted compulsorily from their wages, the whole of the cards are dealt with in the office, and they are sent in bulk to the various societies. The employé naturally is entitled to assume that the employer has done his share. The State does not place on the employé the responsibility in this case. The employer is made the collecting agency for the State. Therefore, if the State's own agent defaults, the loss should not fall on the employé who has done his share. Of course it is open to the State to make this a civil debt, and the resources of the State, which are infinitely more powerful than those of the employé, can be used to recover the money, if the employer becomes bankrupt, by making the debt a charge upon his assets. With all that machinery at the disposal of the State it is surely only fair that the employé or the widow and her children should be paid during such time as the State is making arrangements to settle with the employer. You might have the case of a helpless widow with children around her, knowing nothing of the law. knowing only that she expected her benefit and is not getting it. I hope that the State will stand in loco parentis —I do not know the Latin for husband— to a woman, and collect the debt for her and see that she gets her benefit?
I recognise the importance of the Amendment, but I should say at once that this is more a matter of amendment of the National Insurance Act than of amendment1 of this Bill. I appreciate the points that have been raised and the difficulty that may occasionally occur. As to that, I will make a few observations and give an undertaking. If the Mover of the Amendment will refer to Section 1 of the National Health Insurance Act, 1924, he will there see a definition given of "insured person." The Clause says:
Subject to the provisions of this Act, all persons of the age of 16 and upwards who are employed within the meaning of this Act shall be, and any such persons who are not so employed but who possess the qualifications hereinafter in this Section mentioned, may be insured in manner provided in this Act, and all persons so insured shall be entitled in the manner provided by, and subject to the conditions contained in. this Ant to the benefits in respect of health Insurance and prevention of sickness conferred by this Act.
It is fair to say that that is the definition so far as insurance is concerned. Payment of contributions, whilst undoubtedly normally the test as to whether a person is insured or not, is not the only test that is left. Any employed person remains an insured person so long as there is one stamp on his card in
each year. When an approved society does not receive a stamped card from the man, it is the duty of the society, in the first place, to ascertain why the stamped card is missing. Secondly, if in such circumstances as the hon. Gentleman has indicated the member by reason of the absence of contributions is treated by his society as having ceased to be an insured person, he has then the ordinary right of appeal against the society, and if he can establish the fact that he has satisfied the first condition to which I have referred, he is entitled to be reinstated. I should also inform the House that if an employer is negligent in paying contributions, it is the duty of the employé to report the matter to his society or to the Department in order that the Department may take the necessary steps to ensure compliance. Finally, I would refer the hon. Member to Section 106 of the Act of 1924. He has referred to the possibility of an employer's bankruptcy. There is a helpful, provision in this Section which meets the case of winding-up or bankruptcy or anything of that kind, and gives unpaid contributions priority over the general creditors' claim against the assets.
My hon. Friend is quite correct. There is a difficulty, but I am sorry to say his Amendment does not meet it. I daresay he has brought this matter forward, quite properly, merely in order to express an opinion in this direction and to see whether anything further can be done. As he knows, a Commission is now sitting in connection with National Health Insurance and, no doubt, some of the societies may be able to put forward some practical suggestion for dealing with this matter. My hon. Friend will not take me as unduly criticising his proposal if I say that a simple declaration such as is suggested would not take the matter very much further. We ought to have some provision by which a man should be deemed in certain circumstances to have made contributions, but directly you begin to say that you are in difficulties with the societies so far as their accounts and benefits are concerned. I hope my hon. Friend will agree that in regard to this particular matter we must see if anything can be worked out in order to meet the difficulty and, as he knows, there will be a further opportunity of dealing with the subject when we are bringing forward our Insurance Bill next year. Perhaps he will feel that in the circumstances what I have said is a sufficient reply for the present occasion.
I beg to move, in page 39, line 3, after the word "borough," to insert the words "and a Metropolitan borough."
The object of the Amendment is to enable Metropolitan borough councils to administer this Act in preference to the London County Council. It will be noticed that I stand alone in proposing this Amendment, but if hon. Members cast their minds back to the Committee stage, they may recall that a large number of hon. Members subscribed to the principle on that occasion, including many who sit on the opposite side, and some of whom I see present. In accordance with a practice with which we are becoming accustomed, these hon. Members, having put their names down to the Amendment, and some of them having spoken on the subject, went back on the position which they had taken up immediately after the Minister replied. The hon. Member for West Fulham (Sir Cyril Cobb), whoso name was down to a very similar Amendment, and who did not receive a single iota of concession, is in his place, and I confidently expect that he will either give me support or explain in what particular this proposal is wrong.
Prior to the Minister's Amendment, the local authorities empowered to administer this Measure were the London County Council, the borough councils of county boroughs and county councils, but in order to meet various pleas which were put forward, the Minister introduced an Amendment providing that non-county borough councils and urban district councils, in cases where those bodies were both education authorities and the authorities empowered to administer the Maternity and Child Welfare Act, 1918, should have power to administer this Measure. In the case of these authorities there will be two sets of officials, first the maternity and child welfare visitors who will have the duty of administering this Measure in respect of children under five, whereas in the case of children between the ages of five and 14 an entirely different set of officials will be employed. One argument against that system is people object to having a succession of officials calling round to their houses for various purposes. These hordes of officials are growing and it would be a splendid thing, whoever is to administer the Act, if only one set of officials were employed.
My Amendment proposes that instead of the London County Council having authority to administer the provisions of this Measure in London, these should be administered by the Metropolitan borough councils. These councils, though not education authorities, are authorities under the Maternity and Child Welfare Act and therefore, have already in their employment maternity and child welfare visitors who could quite easily carry out all the duties required. As I have pointed out, if the Bill remains as it is, in addition to these visitors, we shall have another set of officials from the London County Council making inquiries. I suggest that is an indefensible proposal and that the whole power ought to be given to the Metropolitan borough councils. If the Minister cannot accept the proposal, I hope he will explain the reason why this power should be entrusted to the London County Council in preference to the Metropolitan borough councils. I have already said something in criticism of hon. Members who—though perhaps I am putting it too strongly in saying so—ran away from this Amendment on the Committee stage. I submit this may have been due to an unintentional misrepresentation by the Minister of Health when I proposed the Amendment in Committee. I would like a reply on this point from the hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary, and I hope he will give it his attention.
I shall quote from the OFFICIAL REPORT of Wednesday, 15th July, and shall read it quite accurately. The hon. Gentleman need have no fear that I shall misquote the OFFICIAL REPORT. I had proposed that the Metropolitan borough councils should have this power to administer the
Measure, and the Minister brought in another Amendment, as follows:
Provided that where the council of any non-county borough or urban district is both a local education authority and an authority for the purposes of the Maternity and Child Welfare Act. 1918, that council shall, as respects that borough or urban district, be the local authority for the purpose of this Act to the exclusion of the county council.
That had the effect of bringing non-county boroughs and urban district councils, if they happened to be authorities under the Maternity and Child Welfare Act, and also education authorities, but it did not bring in the Metropolitan borough councils at all. In these circumstances, I ask" the hon. Member to consider whether this remark of the Minister of Health was justifiable. When my Amendment was being answered, the Minister said:
This is not really a question which ought to raise large principles of a distribution of powers between the London County Council and the metropolitan boroughs.
These are the words of which I complain:
The real object of the Amendment which the hon. Member has moved, I think, is incorporated in the Amendment I have put on the Paper."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 15th July, 1925; col. 1445, Vol. 186.]
That misled, quite unintentionally, a large number of hon. Members. My object was perfectly simple. It was to include metropolitan borough councils as the authorities for administering the Measure, and the Amendment which the Minister brought forward, though he said that my object was incorporated in his Amendment, did not in fact go a single step towards achieving that object. That may explain why many hon. Members, whose names were down to a similar Amendment to mine, did not proceed with their Amendment. The Metropolitan borough councils are powerful bodies, they have done their work very well, they already have most important powers, and it is a wrong principle that they should depend for the exercise of their powers on delegation from the London County Council rather than on the direct authority of this House. I hope the hon. Member will accept my Amendment, or at any rate give some substantial reason why it should not be accepted.
I should like to put one point to the hon. Member in charge of the Bill. As I understand it. under the Clause as re-drafted, the London County Council will be the authority to administer the duties under this Bill as provided in Clause 6. The London County Council can do one of two things. It can, in the first place, delegate to the borough councils all those duties relating to children under five now administered by the maternity and child welfare committees of the borough councils, and at the same time it can delegate to its education committee all those duties which relate to children between five and 14. It can also take up another position, that it will not delegate at all any of its powers with regard either to children under five or to children between five and 14, though necessarily the powers with regard to the latter children will fall into, the hands of the education committee, who will be able most effectively to carry them out through their great system of care committees in London. The machinery of the care committees for the purpose of visiting families is far more effective than the machinery of the maternity and child welfare committees.
That is by the way, but the second position may be that the London County Council will delegate none of its powers, but will keep in its own hands, so as to have a uniform system throughout London, the whole of the duties regarding all the children, whether under five, or between five and 14 years of age. What I want to know from the hon. Gentleman is this: In the case of the first position, will these duties, which are carried out by (he maternity and child welfare committees, rank for grant under the Ministry of Health in the same way as all the other duties carried out at the present time under the maternity and child welfare committees: and will, at the same time, the duties which are carried out by the education committee rank for grant under the Board of Education in the same way as all the other care, committee work that is carried out at the present time?
On a point of Order. I am afraid that, if we are led off on this side track. I shall not get a direct reply to my question. I submit that it is not relevant to this Amendment whether or not any grants are given to the education committee or to the maternity and child welfare committees.
I submit that it is relevant indeed, because naturally both the borough councils and the London County Council want to know whether, if they do carry out these duties, they will rank for grant. In regard to the second position, if the London County Council takes over the whole of these duties for all the children, will the whole of that work rank for grant? If so, I am perfectly satisfied with the arrangements which have been made in the revised Clause 42, although I am bound to say that I was a little doubtful, at the time when we were discussing this question in Committee, whether the matter was satisfactorily settled, not only from the point of view of the interests of the children, but also from the point of view both of the borough councils and of the London County Council, as to whether this work would rank for grant.
With reference to the last question put to me by my hon. Friend the Member for West Fulham (Sir C. Cobb), I think I can give him an assurance in the terms which he desires, both as regards the ordinary conditions of the grant and the proper carrying out of the work. In regard to the matter raised by the hon. and gallant Gentleman who moved the Amendment, I confess that I cannot see any ground of complaint that he has in what my right hon. Friend said on the last occasion. I think ho was perfectly clear and definite, but I do not think that is material now, and I will deal with the merits of the Amendment. The simple reason why we are asking the London County Council to undertake this work —and I may say that these observations apply equally to the Amendment that my hon. Friend the Member for the City of London (Mr. E. C. Grenfell) has on the Paper with regard to the City of London—is that neither the metropolitan boroughs nor the City Corporation are education authorities, and I think the whole House desires that as far as possible the administrative work and the inquiries necessitated under Clause 6 should be associated with the education authority. That is really the main reason why we are entrusting the London County Council with this work. It is
perfectly true, as my hon. Friend has said, that the London County Council are also empowered to make arrangements with the metropolitan boroughs or with the City Corporation, and, of course, they will have to consider as to that, but that is the simple reason, which I hope will satisfy the hon. and gallant Member. As my right hon. Friend said on the last occasion,
We are dealing here with children up to the. age of 14. The officers of the maternity and child welfare committees deal with children up to the age of five, and I think it must be fairly obvious that the proper officers for the local authority to employ to deal with children from five to 14 are the school attendance officers."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th July. 1925): col. 1445. Vol. 186]
I think that will commend itself as a reasonable and proper arrangement to most Members of the House, and it is for that reason, and no other—I recognise, as the hon. and gallant Gentleman said, the good work that many of those metropolitan councils are doing, and especially the work of the City Corporation—that we have entrusted the London County Council with this power. I hope that, with that explanation, my hon. and gallant Friend will feel satisfied, and not, press his Amendment further.
I beg to move, page 41, line 7, to leave out Subsection (2).
I want to assure the Minister of Health that this is the last Amendment we have to bring forward on Report stage. Perhaps I might congratulate him on his appearance after the strain of the last few weeks. His demeanour shows no signs of that strain, which I hope we have not factiously added to. This Amendment is really one on which we must proceed to a Division, because it raises a point which is one of first-class importance and principle. I do not want to make any very lengthy remarks. This Clause provides that the contributions from both employers and employed shall be increased at decennial periods into the almost immeasurable future. The contributions at present are fairly modest, but if this Clause be carried, they will increase as the years go on till they become Is. 3d. per man and 7d. per woman, and will be not far from double what they are at present.
The special point which we wish to raise on this Clause is one which we have not been able to raise upon any other Clause. It is this: 2 you calculate out the purposes for which these increased contributions are necessary it becomes clear that they are wholly unnecessary for the direct purposes of the benefits of this Bill. The reason for this increased contribution is that it is intended by this means gradually to put the old age pensions at 70 from a non-contributory on to a contributory basis. We on this side regard that as the most reactionary social step of the last generation, and practically the repeal of the principle of an Act which up to the present every party in this House has supported. I brought this forward a few days ago. I was not quite correct then in my figures. Now the position T gather is this: that a boy enters into insurance next year, we will say at the age of 16. When he is 26, on the first increase of payment, he must pay a contribution not wholly for the purposes of the benefits of this Bill, but part of which he will pay in order to provide for the old age pensions of the future. Gradually these contributions are to be increased until, finally, the whole of the expense of the old age pensions for those over 70 are to be placed on industry and the poor, and wealth is to pay nothing at all.
This is not the place, nor the time, to argue this out. We raise this point merely because, in the assistance and co-operation which we hope to give to the Minister of Health in explaining the provisions of this Bill to the people, we can assure the Minister that this point,
at any rate, so far as we are concerned, shall not be entirely overlooked. There is one issue in regard to this on which there seems to be a good deal of misapprehension to which, I think, the Minister of Health has himself contributed On the Second Reading Debate the right hon. Gentleman said:
We have decided to extend the exemption from the means test to those old people who have attained the age of 70 before the scheme comes into operation."—OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th May, 1925; col. 79, Vol. 184.]
If I understand this Bill correctly, that is not the case. The means test is not abolished for all old age pensioners over 70. I think that is the position. Is not the position, as a matter of fact, that there still remains the means test for such people as small tradesmen, costermongers, fishermen, smallholders, crofters and an entire class of person who are just as poor as those who are brought under this Bill, but who, because they do not happen to be wage-earners, do not come within the category? These will remain, so far as this Bill is concerned, for ever a large portion of old age pensioners. So far as I have been able to make out this Bill will affect about 100,000 old age pensioners out of somewhere near one million. I am sure that there would be the greatest possible disappointment and disillusionment amongst those who are left out when the real facts of this Bill are made known.
I beg to second the Amendment.
I want to bring before the House the question of the women contributors under this Bill. I have pointed out to the right hon. Gentleman and to the Parliamentary Secretary at all points in the Bill where I could possibly find a relevant place in which to put it, the fact that these women are paying in regularly to this fund for benefit of which many of them will be the recipients, but paying contributions which are also going to finance other Sections of the Bill. By that I mean that of the 2½d. contribution of the women which the right hon. Gentleman says will, in fact, supply their old age pensions, they are really paying about 1½d. per week more than is necessary to provide them with the pensions when they get to the age of 65. We have also pointed out the fact that because large numbers of women, from the necessity of the case, fall out of industry long before they get to 65 they will not even get that benefit for which they have paid. All these injustices exist under the present Bill. I would point out to the right hon. Gentleman that, if every woman is going to have her contribution increased by Id. that injustice is going to be simply enormous. I mean that you are going to have with a girl starting at the age of 16, we will say, and being one who does not marry, and having her contribution increased when she is 26, and 36, and 46, she is going to pay this penny until she gets to a stage when she is paying far more for merely a five years' benefit under the Old Age Pensions Act to bring down her pension to the age of 65 instead of 70 than is really necessary. She is creating a fund for other people. That may be very heroic, or very unselfish, and all the rest of it, but I want to submit that the single women in industry are helping to pay far more than their share towards this Bill and far more than they will ever get out. It does seem to me to be extremely unjust on the face of it. In asking that this Sub-section should be rejected by the House, I ask them to bear that point in mind. We may be told—I am sure we shall be told—that the whole finances of the Bill have been worked out on the basis of this Subsection (2). The figures have been brought forward and have convinced at least this side of the House or the party on these benches that this Bill is heavily over financed. We feel that if it is the case that the whole of the financial basis of this Bill rests on this decennial increase, at least the Minister might consider whether, in another place before the Bill is finally passed out of our hands for ever, he could not leave out the single women under this Bill, especially those who are getting older. I think it probably could be done by a very small amending Clause. I do ask the House in general to consider the position of the single woman who is going to pay so much more than is necessary and more than she will ever get back in benefits.
I expected that this particular Sub-section would be the subject of a further Amendment and a further protest on the part of hon. Members opposite. I think the House must feel that there is a certain unreality about the Debate upon this point, because the Sub-section itself is prefaced by the words "unless Parliament otherwise determines." In any case the increases which are contemplated will not fall upon the contributor for a good many years to come. I think the reason for this provision was sufficiently explained by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the speech which he made upon the Budget. It was pointed out what is shown in the Actuary's Report, Table VIII, that the increase in the cost of old age pensions under the existing Act is going to be very much heavier than was ever supposed before as the years go on, and whereas now, in 1925–26, the amount is £27,000,000 a year, that will be doubled by the year 1956, when it will amount to £54,750,000. I think I mentioned on a previous occasion that I had calculations made to see how long it would be better anybody who entered into the enjoyment of the old age pensions under this Clause would have contributed anything towards that benefit, and I found that 38 years will have to elapse before a single person would be affected by these contributions and would contribute anything to the old age pension he received. In these circumstances I really do not think it is of much more than academic interest to us to-day. If the situation of the country is such that, later on, it is found that it is unnecessary to proceed with this provision, then it will be open to Parliament to reverse it and to determine otherwise, in which case these increases will be withdrawn.
Yes, that is exactly what it does mean. If Parliament does not wish the amounts to be increased, it has the power of changing the provision in the Bill. As to the point raised by the hon. Member for East Middlesbrough (Miss Wilkinson), that is one which has been discussed before, namely, that in insurance everybody does not get the same benefit out. She stresses the hardship upon the single woman. That is on the assumption that a woman who enters into insurance knows that she is going to be single for the whole of her life. I dispute the certainty. The hon. Lady herself has no certainty that
she will always remain in her present condition. That is one of the risks that are contemplated in the insurance scheme. Taking the various uncertainties which were provided for in the figures that have been produced to the House, the benefits to women who may be single at this time, but might not be single hereafter, are very much in excess of the contributions that they are asked to pay.
|Division No. 316.]||AYES.||[9.30 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend)||Home, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.|
|Ago.-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Howard, Capt. Hon. D. (Cumb.. N.)|
|Albery, Irving James||Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M,(Hackney, N.)|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Allen. J. Sandeman (L'pool. W. Derby)||Curtis-Bennett, Sir Henry||Hunter-Weston. Lt.. Gen. Sir Aylmer|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Huntingfieid, Lord|
|Ashmead-Bartiett, E.||Dalziel, Sir Davison||Kurd, Percy A.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F, W.||Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Royton)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Atholl Duchess of||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Jackson, Lieut. Colonel Hon. F. S.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Dawson, Sir Philip||Jacob, A. E.|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Doyle, Sir N. Grattan||Jonas, G. w. H. (Stoke Newington)|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Elveden, Viscount||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Berry, Sip George||Everard, W. Lindsay||Lamb, J. O.|
|Bethell, A.||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Col. George R.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Little, Dr. E. Graham|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearraan||Falls, Sir Charles F.||Lloyd. Cyril E. (Dudley)|
|Bird, E. B. (Yorks, W, R., Skipton)||Fanshawe, Commander G. D.||Looker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Fielden, E. B.||Loder, J. de V.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Finburgh, S.||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Brass, Captain W.||Forestler-Walker, Sir L.||Macandrew, Charles Glen|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Foster, Sir Harry S.||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Frece, Sir Walter de||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Macintyre. Ian|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Ganzoni, sir John||McLean, Major A.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Gates, Party||Macmillan, Captain H.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John|
|Brown, Maj. D. C. (N'th'l'd, Hexham)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Mac Robert Alexander M|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Gower, Sir Robert||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Grace, John||Malone Major P B|
|Burman, J. B.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Margesson, Capt, D.|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Grotrian, H. Brent|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||wiener, R. J.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Merriman, F. B.|
|Cassels, J. D.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. sir F. (Dulwich)||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne)|
|Cnadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Mitchell, S.(Lanark, Lanark)|
|Chambarlain Rt Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hannon Patrick Joseph Henry||Mitchell, W. Foot (Streatham)|
|Champman, Sir S.||Harland A.||Mitchell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Charteris, Brigadier-Genera; J.||Harland, A.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Chilcott Sir Warden||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon. Totnes)||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Christie, J. A.||Hawke, John Anthony||Moore, Sir Newton J.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. c.|
|Clayton G. C.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Moreing, Captain A. H.|
|Cobb Sir Cyril||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Morrison. H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Henniker-Hughan, Vice-Adm. Sir A.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh by)||Murchison, C. K.|
|Cope, Major William||Hilton, Cecil||Nail, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Couper, J. B.||Hogg. Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Holt. Captain H. P.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Craig Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Crook C. W.||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Oakley, T.|
|O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Sandon, Lord||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Waddington, R.|
|Penny, Frederick George||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Perring, William George||Shepperson, E. W.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Pielou, D. P.||Sinclair, Col. T.(Queen's Univ., Belfast)||Wells, S. R.|
|Pitcher, G.||Skelton, A. N.||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Pliditch, Sir Philip||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Power, Sir John Cecil||Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Radford, E. A.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Wilson, M. J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)|
|Raine, W.||Smithers, Waldron||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Ramsden, E.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Reid, D. D. (County Down)||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Remer, J. R.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Rentoul, G. S.||Storry Deans, R.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Rice, Sir Frederick||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Richardson, Sir p. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Styles, Captain H. Walter||Wood, Rt. Hon. E. (York. W. R., Ripon)|
|Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Rye, F. G.||Tasker, Major R. Inigo|
|Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Sandeman, A. Stewart||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Major Hennessy and Mr. F. T.|
|Sanderson, Sir Frank||Turton, Edmund Russborough||Thomson.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hardle, George D.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Ammon, Charles George||Harney, E. A.||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bliston)||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Scurr, John|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertiliery)||Hayday, Arthur||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Barnes, A.||Hayes, John Henry||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Barr, J.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Sinton, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Batey, Joseph||Hirst, G. H.||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Broad, F. A.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Smillie, Robert|
|Bromfield, William||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rothe-h'the)|
|Bromley, J.||Jones, Hanry Haydn (Merioneth)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones. Morgan (Caerphilly)||Snell, Harry|
|Cape, Thomas||Kelly, W. T.||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Charleton, H. C||Kirkwood, D.||Stamford, T. w.|
|Clowes, S.||Lansbury, George||Stephen, Campbell|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lawson, John James||Sutton, J. E.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Lee, F.||Taylor, R. A.|
|Collins, sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Lindley, F. W.||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)|
|Compton, Joseph||Livingstone, A. M.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Connolly, M.||Lowth, T.||Thurtle, E.|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Lunn, William||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Dalton, Hugh||MacLaren, Andrew||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Varley, Frank B.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Werthoughton)||March, S.||Viant, S. p.|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Maxton, James||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Dennison, R.||Montague, Frederick||Warne, G. H.|
|Duncan, C.||Morris, R. H.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermilne)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Murnin, H.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Naylor, T. E.||Webb. Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Fenby, T. D.||Oliver, George Harold||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Forrest, W.||Paling, W.||Westwood, J.|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Whiteley, W.|
|Gillett, George M.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton||Ponsonby, Arthur||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Potts, John S.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Greenall, T.||Purcell, A. A.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Riley, Ben||Windsor, Walter|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Ritson, J.||Wright, W.|
|Groves, T.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Rose, Frank H.||Mr. T. Kennedy and Mr. T. Henderson.|
Question, "That the Bill be now read the Third time," put, and agreed to.
I beg to move, in page 41, line 36, to leave out the words "who was living with him," and to insert instead thereof the words "whom he was supporting."
This Amendment and the next one on the Order Paper are correlated. At first sight they may seem to be unimportant, but I submit that, at least as far as the illegitimate child is concerned, they may be very important indeed in the future. This Clause defines the word "child," and says that "child" shall include a step-child,
and, in relation to a man, an illegitimate child, whether his or his wife's.
Then follow the limiting words which I wish to see deleted
who was living with him at the time of his death.
Supposing when the father dies the child is living with the mother, or is at a boarding school, or is away from home. Then, under the words of this Bill, if they are interpreted strictly, the child would not be able to receive any benefits at all. What I said as regards the child of a father applies equally well to the definition of an illegitimate child of a woman. Under the terms of this Bill benefit is precluded there unless the child is living with its mother at the date of the death of the mother. I ask the Minister to leave out the words "who was living with him "and" who was living with her" in order to insert "whom he was supporting "and" whom she was supporting." It may be asked, why should any money be paid at all unless the child is living with the father or the mother? But, as so often happens in legislation dealing with illegitimate children, the illegitimate child itself is the very last person to be remembered. On behalf of the illegitimate child, who under our present system of administration and our law already has enough against it, I would plead that this definition of an illegitimate child should be broadened in the way I have suggested.
I beg to second the Amendment.
I have great pleasure in associating myself with this proposal. The Minister I think will agree that this is not a moral question, because it was the intention to include the illegitimate child in the Bill. I wish to point out that the actual words in the Bill are limited, and might easily exclude children who ought reasonably to come within its provisions. I do hope that the Minister will see his way to accept the slightly wider words which have been put forward in this Amendment in order that the real purpose of the Bill will be actually carried out.
I have every sympathy with what I understand to be the object of my hon. and gallant Friend in moving this Amendment, but I think his objection to the Clause as it now stands is probably founded upon an assumption that the words are to be taken exactly literally, but I do not think that is so. I think the term in the Bill,
a child who was living with him at the time of his death
would include the child at a boarding school and children boarded out, as well as the illegitimate child of a man or his wife not in fact living in the house but boarded out. Those cases would be covered by the Bill. If that is all my hon. and gallant Friend has in mind, I do not think his Amendment is necessary, and the substitution of the words which he has proposed would not lead us out of the difficulty. Again the question would arise as to what is the exact meaning of the word "support" and whether it meant partial support, and there would be the possibility of claims being put in after the death of the reputed, father in regard to which it would be difficult to establish paternity. The child must be the child of the man or the woman concerned, and we could not deal with it unless the parentage was clearly established. I hope with this explanation my hon. and gallant Friend will not think it necessary to press this Amendment.
Those hon. Members who are members of boards of guardians often come across cases where the fathers have done a pierhead jump, and the mother has gone away, and the children have been left behind, and nobody knows where they have gore. In these cases boards of guardians are always left with the responsibility of keeping those children In such eases why should the responsibility be placed upon the guardians to find the wherewithall to keep those children? I am not a lawyer, and I cannot exactly understand what this proposal means, but does it mean that the children have to be living with their parents, because it is sometimes very difficult to ascertain who the parents are, and even some members of this House might find themselves in trouble in that respect. What is the position of these derelict children we have to deal with? We have hundreds of them in our district, not because they want to be like that, because the children are not responsible, and you are not going to visit the sins of the parents upon the children. We want to know where this responsibility is going to be placed. Often we have entered into communication with the authorities in Australia and Canada to find out the parents of these children, and we cannot find them. I want to know if anything is going to be allowed for these children.
This is a most serious question, and I hope the Minister will give it serious consideration, because it is really a matter of justice to the child we are now considering. The object of the Bill is that the benefits which are to accrue in return for the contributions paid should go to the child, and the qualification as to where the child is living is no proof whatever of the responsibility of the parent of the child. We know that in practice many children do not live with their parents, and they are boarded out, and under this Bill I am afraid these children will not receive the benefits which are really due to them. I would like to know if boarded out children are included?
I desire to join in the appeal which has been made to the right hon. Gentleman to grant this concession. Then. is only one point I wish to make. The Minister of Health seems to have a doubt as to cases where the paternity is not established. I should have thought it would meet the case put forward if he could accept this Amend- ment and treat it in respect of those cases where the paternity is established. I should imagine that there will be many cases in that category, and as this is our last appeal to the right hon. Gentleman on our last Amendment, I hope he will grant this concession, because in my view it would be a blemish on this Bill if these children were left out in the cold, and for these reasons I hope the right hon. Gentleman will reconsider his decision.
I beg to move, in page 43, line 13, at the end, to insert the words:
(6) A person who would be entitled to an old age pension under the Old Age Pensions Acts, 1908 to 1924, by virtue of this Act, shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to be entitled thereto by virtue of this Act notwithstanding that that person would be entitled to an old age pension under these Acts independently of this Act.
This Amendment simply carries out what I explained on Clause 26, and we are now inserting the wider provision instead of the narrower one. It will now apply to all cases where a person is entitled to an old age pension under the Bill.
Amendment made: In page 43, line 31, after the word "Health," insert the words
except in Section twenty-seven, in which Section references to the Minister shall be construed as references to the Secretary for Scotland, references in the said Section twenty-seven to a local authority shall be construed as references to a local authority within the meaning of the Local Authorities Loans (Scotland) Acts, 1891 to 1924."— [sir John Gilmour.]
The House has now reached the Third Reading stage of a very important Bill, and I only propose to detain hon. Members for a few minutes for the purpose of a review of some of the important provisions of the Bill, and also a criticism of its financial scheme. Before I do so, I ought to say at once that, while we on this side strenuously oppose the basis on which this Bill is reared, while we have promoted many Amendments which have not been accepted in the course of the Debate, while we have succeeded here and there in getting others adopted by the Minister, I think I express the opinion of all Members of the House when I pay a tribute to the patience of the Minister of Health and his colleague, and their willingness at all stages, even when they differed from us, to give us all the information in their power. Strongly as we differ from them on many points, that tribute ought to be paid to them to-night.
There are two proposals turning on the finance of this scheme which I venture to think the House, on the Third Reading, will wish very briefly to review. The Minister of Health indicated that he would take this opportunity of making a statement to the House with regard to the suggestion that the contributions under the National Health Insurance Act should be reduced, in order that that reduction might be set alongside or against the contributions which industry has to bear under this Bill. That proposal has been associated, so far, with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Home), and I think also with other hon. Members, but I cannot at this stage anticipate anything that they intend to say in this Debate. All that I intend to do is to express our views of that proposal, from whatever quarter it comes, as clearly and as plainly as I possibly can. A great deal has been said about the apparent burden on industry which this new scheme suggests, and all kinds of proposal have been put forward to give industry concessions in other quarters, of which, undoubtedly, the proposal to reduce the contributions under the National Health Insurance Act is one of the most attractive.
I agree that in general, in view of the fact that the first valuation of these societies shows an apparent surplus of £17,000,000, and having in mind the prospective second valuation, which will place that surplus, probably, at about £30,000,000 or more, there may be grounds for thinking that that affords a definite sphere of remission or reduction to industry as a whole, to be set against the extra burden which is imposed under this Bill. That proposal is, however, only superficially attractive. The very minute we go back to the Insurance Acts in this country, the minute we refer to what it was intended to do by way of extended benefit and other provisions under that legislation, it becomes perfectly clear that this scheme is only attractive on the surface, and that it is not one which, by any strict view of finance at all, or regard for the public health services in this country, we on this side of the House for one minute would support.
The ideal of the earlier Acts was undoubtedly to provide extended benefits, and I sometimes wonder if it is correct to refer to these apparent surpluses as surpluses at all. There is not the least doubt that a vast field in public health endeavour in this country under the National Health Insurance Acts remains to be covered, and it is of vital importance to the great masses of the people, particularly in crowded localities, that that work should be overtaken at the earliest possible moment. The suggestion now is not, indeed, to raid the surpluses of these funds, because that, of course, would, I think by common consent, be an intolerable proposition; but it is to reduce the contributions under the National Health Insurance Acts which, unfortunately, in my judgment and in that of many other hon. Members of this House, is another way of substantially achieving that result; because, if you are going to reduce the contributions, it is perfectly plain that you make a serious inroad upon these apparent surpluses, you postpone the coming into operation of the extended benefits which were intended, and I think you are guilty of some breach of faith, if I may say so without the slightest offence, as regards the financial operations of that scheme and the pledges which were undoubtedly given in previous Parliaments. Certain hon. Members have been encouraged to put forward that proposal by statements which have been made, directly and indirectly, from the Government side of the House, mainly to the effect that in all these schemes of social insurance it is the broad idea of the Government to see that they stand together. Be that as it may, even that would not afford any ground whatever for a departure from legislation which dates from 1908 or thereabouts, under which certain rights and expectations of rights have been built up. That would not give the slightest ground for altering the rate of contribution under that scheme in such a way as to endanger the completion or provision of those rights at some date in the future. I think we must absolutely safeguard the National Health Insurance Acts and all that is involved in them from every point of view. Accordingly, I very much hope that, when the Minister comes to reply, he is going to make it plain—much plainer, indeed, than he made it, or possibly could make it, to the deputation which met him some days ago—that there will be no reduction or invasion of the provision of these benefits, that there will be nothing, in short, which would in any way weaken the possibility of the National Health Insurance Acts overtaking a great and important part of the public health services of the country.
The only other point that I will venture to mention concerns the financial mechanism of the Bill. Hon. Friends of mine on this bench and behind me have attacked the scheme at almost all stages of its career through this House, and in particular they have drawn attention to what they regard, and what we commonly regard on this side, as serious flaws in its financial provisions. I think they can be very clearly and simply explained to the House. There is not the least doubt that large sums of money, running into many millions a year, are involved in this scheme, and the House would not wish to-night to part with a new departure in social legislation without understanding exactly the kind of financial arrangements that it involves. Let us notice exactly what the Minister of Health proposes in this Bill. He does not set up anything in the nature of a fund for widows' and orphans' and old age pensions on a contributory basis, as this now is, in the sense of a fund which can be actuarially measured. Clause 11 of the Bill sets up what is called, first of all, simply a Pensions Account, and then there is a second line of defence behind that in what is called the Treasury Pension Account. Into the first account, or the first pool, as I will call it for the purposes of clear debate—the Pensions Account—we pour in year by year the contributions of all the parties to this scheme. We pour in during the first 10 years, under the Actuary's proposal, a stabilised State contribution of £4,000,000, and there are also concessions which were made in certain Clauses —concessions which, as I think the Minister himself will agree, have flowed largely from Amendments promoted on this side of the House. Further, the Minister may, upon the decennial view under Clause 44, improve upon that to the extent of arranging for such further and additional review of the state of this account as may be necessary from time to time. We have, first of all, this pensions account. It is not in any sense an actuarial fund. We pour into that contributions from all sources. The Treasury is authorised to set up a Treasury Pensions Account. That is the account which carries all the surplus or unnecessary money, year by year, which is not required in the first account, and in which these sums are invested and in which they accumulate, what interest they yield, and out of which the initial fund is replenished as necessity requires by the rise or fall of the demand of the beneficiaries. There is nothing new in that class of finance. We have seen it in many quarters and schemes, but I hardly think it can be regarded as a satisfactory arrangement financially by anyone who wants to see pensions under a contributory scheme based on a sound actuarial footing. It is made plain by many of the passages in the Actuary's Report, in which he safeguards himself all along by estimating conditions and making deductions, and saying that these things are subject to many problems, which none of us can foresee.
What is the weakness of this scheme? The real weakness is that you do not establish any fund at all; you add one more to the series of Treasury accounts in teachers' and other classes of superannuation which are, on a strict basis, not superannuation at all, because it is the essence of a superannuation scheme that you have an actuarial fund behind it, and you have not anything of the kind in this case. We on this side of the House do not dispute that the benefits will be paid, but I am rather inclined to think that the Minister of Health, if he refers to the Treasury, will agree that it will not probably protect the masses of the people, the contributors under a scheme of this kind, unless you make it perfectly plain that they will get the benefit of any improve- ment in this account which might come through less call on it, or more favourable conditions. We will get benefits year by year tinder this scheme. But suppose for a moment the call on the account is very much less than we anticipated. Suppose you had very favourable conditions as regards contributions, with fewer widows, what is to be the exact arrangement for giving the people the benefit of that improvement, because I understand you are carrying the contributions over to a fund to be invested by the Treasury, But I do not see anything to suggest that you are going to do more for the beneficiaries under your pensions account year by year, either by lessening contributions or improving benefits.
In the last place, I make what is believed to be a practical suggestion for this finance of our social insurance scheme. We on this side of the House made our demand for a non-contributory basis for this Bill, and we were defeated. We recognise that there existed before this Bill large numbers of contributory schemes, National Health Insurance, for example, and contributory schemes now for teachers' superannuation and police superannuation. Has not the time come, more particularly in connection with the inquiry into the finance of unemployment insurance when we should try to get these things collected together, and when we should endeavour to set up some kind of general fund or stabilised arrangement under which we are able to say we have taken a very broad basis of all the classes of contributions, and under that arrangement we may be perfectly certain that people will get the benefit of any improvement in the condition of the fund. That state of affairs, I think, we have not got under this scheme, and I think it is a very important criticism that ought to be advanced before we part with this Bill. I therefore hope the Minister of Health—who in another sphere has given great attention to schemes of superannuation—will be able to tell the House that a more permanent basis is contemplated, and that we are going to see that employers and people get, not merely the protection of a pensions account year by year but also any benefit that comes from the investment of a fund which these people, by their contributions, have built up.
We have listened to one of those clear and lucid expositions of the right hon. Gentleman to which the House has long become accustomed, but I think his Scotch faculty of logic rather failed him at one portion of his speech. He began with an attack on the proposition I addressed to the Committee some days ago upon the ground that it was taking advantage of some surpluses that had been created, or that it was not proper when surpluses were being created that the contributions should be reduced. He went on immediately in his next proposition to claim that one of the unfortunate features of the present scheme was that when the surpluses were being built up there was no provision whereby the contributions should be reduced to those who were beneficiaries under the scheme. I also listened with some interest to his last attack upon the contributory character of the scheme, because the House, I am sure, has waited for long for some definite asseveration, on the part of those who were responsible for the Treasury during the last Government, that the scheme they intended to propose was a non-contributory tone. But I leave these particular items of controversy to the Minister of Health. In what I have to say, I am very reluctant to detain, the House even for a moment from a decision on the Third Reading of the Bill. In particular, I regret very much that I should be seeking to create an extra bunker in the course of the right hon. Gentleman after the fine game he has played throughout the whole period of the discussions we have had on the Bill. "I entirely endorse what the right Hon. Gentleman has said with regard to the serenity of temper and the courtesy of manner which has been displayed by the Minister of Health throughout the conduct of the Bill. I have also to apologise to the House for a certain amount of correspondence in which I have involved hon. Members in connection with the proposition which I was so rash as to venture. I am only consoled by thinking that, at least, the Post Office has obtained some revenue and that the printing trade has been a beneficiary from some of the remarks I have made.
The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down said he hoped the suggestion I made will not be taken into serious con- sideration by the Minister of Health on the ground, as he put it, that the benefits that are enjoyed to-day under the National Health Insurance Scheme would be jeopardised. As a preliminary observation I should like to remind the House of the very close concatenation of Health Insurance and this new Pensions Bill. The people who are insured under the Pensions Bill are the same people who are insured under the Health Scheme. It is forgotten by everyone who directs his attention to the subject that one of the additional benefits, on which the right hon. Gentleman laid such great stress, which is attempted to be provided by the Health Insurance Bill is that of setting up a pensions fund, the very thing that this Bill proposes to do. I should like to add this, that the people whose dead relatives have been insured under the Health Insurance scheme are going to enjoy under the Pensions Bill a benefit which no one has ever paid for and which they are never going to contribute a cent towards, to the enjoyment of a pension for the widows and orphans of men who have been previously insured under the Health Insurance scheme and accordingly there is a close alliance between the Health Insurance scheme and the Pensions Bill. It is perhaps worth telling the House what the present value is of the pensions which will be enjoyed by the widows and children of men now dead who were insured under the Health Insurance scheme for which no penny has ever been paid by people who are contributors under the Health Insurance scheme. These widows and children are going to enjoy pensions of a capital value of £42,000,000 for which no contribution has ever been paid by anyone and which the State is now about to provide. Accordingly, I am going to submit to the House that it would not have been unfair if the Government had thought fit, in producing this pensions scheme, to say, "We are providing at great cost one of the additional benefits which the Health Insurance scheme contemplated but for which it was unable to pay. We are providing £42,000,000 for the widows and children of men who were insured under the Health Insurance scheme, but who never contributed a penny towards these pensions, and accordingly we propose to take some portion of these accumulated funds which it would have been perfectly justifiable for the approved societies to devote to setting up just such a pension scheme as this. "But I recognise that it is no good butting one's head against a brick wall. I am not going to ask that any such action should be taken. I leave entirely aside any surpluses which have been accumulated up to date, and I am not going to make any suggestion of what is called a raid upon any surpluses which may be accumulated in the future. The one practical proposition I make is this—
I do not know what the hon. Member means by saying that the dog has shown its teeth. On the present occasion, if I am a dog, I do not propose to put my teeth into that surplus. What I want to put to the House is a very definite and very practical proposition. It has been agreed from every quarter of the House that industry to-day is not in a position to bear any further burden. That view has been expressed from the Liberal benches, and upon that ground the whole of the Labour party went into the Lobby in support of a Motion that the Government should bear the entire cost of the pensions scheme. I take it that it is acknowledged that it is a precarious action to take to put any further burden upon industry at the present time. I take it that that is agreed.
Is there any Member in this House who can read the statistics of the coal trade, which are presented day by day in the newspapers, who does not realise that the contributions towards this pensions scheme, as far as the coal trade is concerned, are only going to be added in innumerable cases to the losses which firms to-day are suffering, and in many other instances will drive out of business firms who to-day are with difficulty carrying on, thus adding to the number of those who have come to an end and who, unfortunately, have had, as a result of their action, the opprobrium cast upon them of putting 315,000 men out of employment. That is a situation so serious that the House must contemplate every possible means of alleviating the burden which industry has to bear. I am sure that proposition will be accepted by everybody. The Government has so far met the contention which was made by the proposals which they have adopted in connection with unemployment insurance. They have suggested that those contributions should be reduced by 2d. in the case both of the employers and the men. That is a certain alleviation, but it is an alleviation which the taxpayer has to pay, and as industry is one of the great taxpayers of the country, it is obvious that industry does not enjoy the full benefit of the concession which has been made.
I turn, accordingly, to the National Health Insurance Scheme. It is impossible to divorce or separate the contributions which are made to these various social services. Industry has to bear the burden, both the man and the employer. To-day, for Health and Unemployment Insurance the employer pays a contribution of Is. 3d. and the workman a contribution of Is. 2d. Under the Government proposals, assuming that there is a real concession under the Unemployment Insurance Scheme, they will still have to bear, if the present pensions burden falls entirely upon them, Is. 5d. in the case of the employer and Is. 4d. in the case of the workman.
Well, whoever pays it, if you add the two together you get the increased sum which I have mentioned. I can make a present of that to my hon. Friend in order that I may get on with my argument. At any rate the cumulative burden on industry is the addition of these two sums. I am certain that everybody looked for a diminution in the burden on industry rather than an increase, and to-day, in a time of such great depression, we are faced with an increase which is going to be a serious burden to everybody. What is the condition of health insurance? At the present time the employer pays 5d. for every man he employs, and the employeé also pays 5d. But I am sure that the House recognises that there is nothing sacred in the number of pence. It previously was 3d. from the employer and 4d. from the worker. The contribution was raised from 3d. to 5d. from the employer, and from 4d. to 5d. in the case of the worker—in order to do what? Not to give additional benefits, which seems to be the only thing which the controversialists on the other side think of in this matter, but in order to double the ordinary benefits. That was the purpose for which the increased contributions were levied.
But I would point out that the 5d. has got no sacrosanct character and that the House surely is free to see if contributions are being exacted in excess of those which are required. What is the situation? At the last quinquennial valuation there was declared to be a surplus of £17,000,000, of which £9,000,000 was distributed, while £8,000,000 was kept. For the quinquennial valuation, which is still going on, I have not the exact figures, but there are available to the House the figures which the Minister of Health gave on the 17th March this year, when he stated that there were in the hands of the National Commissioners £66,000,000 of accumulations, and invested on behalf of the approved societies £40,000,000 accumulations, with £2,000,000 in cash, making in all £108,000,000 accumulations. I am certain that I am not overstating the figures if I state that the result of the quinquennial investigation which is just finishing will reveal £60,000,000 available or the reserves which the actuaries desiderate, and that something like 40,000,000 of surplus will be achieved y the various approved societies. As soon as I state these figures it would appear evident that at least the insured persons' contributions are producing more money than is required for the distribution of ordinary benefits. For the moment I shall put it like that. And the question comes to be whether, at a time of great distress, this House should not consider whether it would not be wise, at least for the next quinquennial, to reduce the contributions. If I am asked what would I suggest by way of reduction—
Yes, apart from the additional benefits which are in the schedule, but, as my right hon. Friend knows, it is possible with his acquiescence to substitute for the statutory benefits one or more of the additional benefits.
I shall deal with that point later. My suggestion to the House and to the Minister is this—that he should, before he brings the Pensions Bill into operation, take into very serious consideration, and I hope sympathetic consideration, the possibility of reducing the contributions to Health Insurance. So far as I have been able to examine the figures, with such knowledge as an outsider may have and without the assistance of any Government expert, it would be perfectly simple for the Government at the present time to take from the contributions of Health Insurance a penny in the case of the employer and a penny in the case of the workman, and still not merely keep the fund solvent but enable it to yield surpluses to go to additional benefits. That is my proposition. Let me give the reasons why I arrive at that conclusion. In the first place, I would remind my right hon. Friend that the expectation of the burden upon Health Insurance is calculated upon an old theory which has proved to be entirely wrong. By experience "they have found at the Ministry of Health that the tables upon which they were acting, which were those of the Manchester Unity, are out of date. They have been acting upon the Manchester Unity's experience from 1903 to 1907, and in the minutes of evidence I find that the Controller of this Health Insurance scheme has admitted that it is quite out of date, and that the experience is that the health of the people is very much better than it was when calculated for those particular tables. Accordingly, they had more money coming in than they expected.
I am not going to build upon that. I leave it to the Minister as an off-set to any bad luck that he may anticipate in the years to come. But I would direct attention to another feature of the Ministry's action which is entirely out of date. All the accumulations under the Health Insurance scheme are calculated to yield an interest of only 3 per cent. One knows that there is not an actuary to-day who would value these accumulations at 3 per cent. I am sure that no actuary would value them at less than 4 per cent. One has only to look at the right hon. Gentleman's Bill now before the House to find that they are calculating, they are valuing the accumulations under the Pensions Bill at 4 per cent. Why the different percentage for money under the Health Insurance Act and the Pensions Bill? The situation cannot be justified. I am advised that if you value, as you ought to do, the accumulations under the Health Insurance Act at 4 per cent. instead of 3 per cent., it would give you far more than enough to take a penny from the contribution of the workman towards his Health Insurance. I may be asked where I am to get the next penny. I will tell the House. If you take the balance of last year, 1924, which was considerably below the average of previous years, you find that there was a surplus on the year's working of £6,700,000. In order to give a penny off the contributions—
On a point of Order. Is the right hon. Gentleman in order in making this very detailed discussion of health insurance arrangements on the Third Reading of a Bill which has no connection with health insurance, and, if so, shall we on this side be allowed to reply in equal detail on the Health Insurance Act?
The question was opened by the right hon. Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham) of a possible reduction of contributions on the health insurance, on the ground that it was interlocked with this Measure, and he was possibly anticipating something that might be said by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Home). That is the reason I have not intervened. But I should say that, on the Third Reading, anything that is said' should be connected with what is in the Bill, and should therefore be based on the contributions required1 from employers and employed under this Bill.
I quite appreciate the point of order raised by the hon. Gentle- man opposite, and I shall endeavour not to go into any more detail than I can help on this matter. It is perfectly obvious, however, that a challenge was thrown out by the speaker who initiated the Debate and also in the considerable amount of conversation which has taken place on my previous suggestion. I shall confine myself now to a very short statement showing my point of view. As I have suggested, a second penny taken off the contributions represents only £2,700,000, and if you subtract that from the £6,700,000 surplus of last year—which was a bad year in comparison with the previous year—you leave a balance of £4,000,000 for the purpose of such additional benefits as are required. The kind of reply which was made is that not all approved societies are making surpluses. That is the common reply. It is the reply which my right hon. Friend on the Front Opposition Bench made on the last occasion, or it is one of them. I have no doubt he has hundreds more—a fertile mind like his would imagine many more —but it is a complete fallacy to suppose that this creates any difficulty. In fact the consolidated scheme of 1924 provides that all deficiencies should be made up by a central fund which is initiated for the very purpose of making up deficiencies. Section 67 of the Statute of 1924 provides that it shall be incumbent upon every society to pay a certain amount to contingencies, in the first place, and, in the second place, to a central fund, and only if the contingencies are used up does the central fund come into operation. Let me tell the House what happened with regard to this central fund in the course of the first quinquennial. It was only called upon for £11,000 altogether, and I venture to make this prediction, that in the second quinquennial, which has been even more fruitful than the first, the sum for which the central fund will be asked will be still less. I cannot imagine why anybody raises this difficulty except the societies which present deficiencies.
I think the right hon. Gentleman is going rather beyond what is permissible. He is going into the question of the machinery and the fund of the other Measure. I understood he wished to express a view with regard to the contributions exacted by this Bill?
I certainly accept your ruling, Sir, and am grateful that you should have allowed me to go as far as I have gone. It will probably be my duty to elaborate the argument which I would produce to the House in some other way upon some other occasion. But I would venture to urge the Minister of Health not to close the door upon the suggestion which I have made, and I would venture to ask him to reassure those of us whom he is asking to give the Third Reading to this Bill that he is going to make a definite and serious attempt to lessen the burdens upon industry rather than to increase them. I am sure that everybody realises to-day that these burdens are very great. I am sure also that the House understands that I am not here as an opponent of an improvement in the social services of this country. There is nothing in that direction which I would deny so long as the country could afford it, but I am oppressed by the conditions which menace the country to-day. We have lost, in the course of the War, a vast amount of wealth which we had accumulated, and we are living to-day fictitiously, as if we had still got wealth which we have lost. With an export of 75 per cent. of what it used to be, we are living as if we had a greater production to-day than we had in 1913. The day of reckoning is here now. We are unable any longer to obtain our prices in the market—
Our costs and our burdens and our charges are greater than those of any other nation. We must reduce these, or we shall lose the place which hitherto we have held amongst the nations of the world.
I rise with very great trepidation to address the House for a few moments after two such accomplished orators as my right hon. Friend the Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Home) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham). But I feel I must tell the House that many hon. Members on this side will offer the most uncompromising opposition to the proposals which have been outlined by my right hon. Friend the Member for Hillhead. He seems altogether to have forgotten that the original scheme of the Insurance Act of 1911 contemplated and made provision for additional benefits. The White Paper that was issued when that Act was first introduced by the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) stated that an addition of 10 per cent. had been made to the experience of the Manchester Unity in order that additional benefits which were provided by that Act could be given by the approved societies. Whatever may be said by my right hon. Friend about the fact that one of these additional benefits includes the provision of pensions, the fact remains that the option as to which of the additional benefits should be given rested under the 1911 Act, and rests now, with the members of the approved societies themselves, and not with the Government or with any other body of persons. Really, that is the whole point at issue between my right hon. Friend and those who disagree with him on this point, that he wishes the Government to make selections in the interests of one section of those who contribute to the Insurance Fund, whereas the law as it stands at present and as it was introduced into this House, said that the insured people should select for themselves what benefit they would have.
Apart from that point, I would venture to point out to the House that the right hon. Gentleman seems to have discovered a short cut to all social reform. His only explanation for singling out the members of approved societies as the people to help industry in what is admittedly a crisis was that the National Health Insurance Act deals with the same people as the Pensions Bill, which we are now discussing, though possibly a stranger to our Debates might not think so! That seems to me to be a very inadequate argument. The Unemployment Insurance Act also affects the same people as the Health Insurance Act and the Pensions Bill. You could put forward the argument that old age pensions should be paid out of the unemployment fund. If you are going to deal with classes of persons affected by the same kind of legislation you might use the Trade Facilities Act for the purposes of the Export Credits Scheme on the ground that it affected the same people, and, therefore, according to the right hon. Gentleman, you should interlock the schemes as closely as may be.
My hon. Friend really must forgive me, but that is not the argument I presented. My point was that the contributions towards the Health Insurance showed a large surplus; and altogether apart from the Pensions Bill there is a case for reduction.
I apologise to my right hon. Friend if I have misinterpreted what he said. I understood him to stress the fact that the people affected by the National Health Insurance Act and affected by this Bill are the same people. Apart, however, from that point it does surprise me to find these propositions coming from my right hon. Friend who has been Chancellor of the Exchequer on this side of the House. The first proposition, which I understand he has now withdrawn, was nothing more or less than a form of levy on capital, and that capital the savings of the approved societies! The only thing I cannot understand about that proposition is that it was not supported by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the other side who assure us of their belief in a Capital Levy. It does strike me as odd that such an argument should have been put forward on this side of the House. Indeed, the second proposition that my right hon. Friend has now advanced is one which would inevitably lead to the nationalisation of the Health Insurance services. Again, this other proposition is one I should have expected to find not on this, but on the other side of the House. If you are going to reduce the contribution, as has been pointed out in the course of conversation across the Floor of the House, you have to remember that there are numbers of societies that have deficits as well as those which have surpluses. When you made up the contributions of the societies that had deficits the result would be that the Central Fund would be absorbed. You would then have longing eyes again cast at the surpluses of the societies that had still a surplus. Ultimately you would get to the point when you would have to pool the surpluses, an operation which has been advocated in various quarters before now. Once you pool the surpluses there is no longer any excuse for the existence of approved societies, because the whole of their object is to carry on management so as to secure surpluses for their own members. Once you abolish the approved societies, you have to all intents and purposes nationalised insurance. To set up an entirely State scheme of insurance, excluding the members of the societies from the management, and abolishing the approved societies themselves would be then merely a matter of time or of evolution.
Therefore, I am very much surprised that the proposal should come from my right hon. Friend. I say it with great diffidence respecting one who has occupied the position he has, but it seems to me that his argument has entirely begged the question. He stressed the unfortunate condition if industry at the present time. When he was doing that I am quite sure he was preaching to the converted. I am sure there is no Member of this House who is not impressed by the difficulties and dangers of the time through which we are passing. It seems to me that if my right hon. Friend's arguments have any effect at all, it is up to him to show that the benefit industry would receive from the reductions of contributions by a penny would be more than commensurate with the injury that would be done to the approved persons by reducing the contributions to their fund. One penny off the contributions for National Health Insurance would amount to about £3,000,000. If the whole of that £3,000,000 went to distressed industries there might be something in the argument of the right hon. Gentleman. But I submit to the House that by far the greatest amount of that sum would not go to distressed industries at all, but would go to industries which are quite able to pay the contributions. The alarm and distress caused to insured persons by these proposals have made themselves felt in a correspondence and in the Resolutions which have been passed by Approved Societies all over the country. I therefore venture to hope that the Minister of Health will not offer any hope to the right hon. Gentleman that he will put his proposals into action. I am perfectly certain that the more these proposals are known, the less they will be approved of. I am perfectly certain that the injury that will be done to insured persons, who are such a large section of the population, would very much outweigh any possible advantages that might accrue to industry.
I quite agree with the right hon. Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Home) that we are in a very bad state as regards industry, and that every effort should be made not to add to its burdens. But it seems to me that that is no reason at all for robbing Peter to pay Paul. Something has been said about the circumstances. I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman—if he will pardon me for saying so—has at all presented to the House a true conception of what those circumstances are. When the 1911 Act was being formulated, the additional difficulty was that it was desirable, because it was found impracticable to do otherwise, to have contributions on a flat rate. A flat rate involved this difficulty: How are you going to pay equal benefits for equal contributions to persons of unequal ages. In order to deal with that, a scheme was established whereby the Government was to assume the liability that would represent what each approved society would have, on the assumption that every one of its members had been paying from the age of 16. That was a very large sum of money, and in order to meet it a sinking fund was created. What the Act of 1911 did was to say in effect: "For your contribution, you are to get certain benefits which are prescribed in the Act. But you will not get the full amount of them at first, because there will be a deduction of two-ninths made to go into this sinking fund. When the sinking fund has been worked out, then the two-ninths will come back, and you will get the full nine-ninths benefits, for which you paid in the contributions that were fixed."
That was the scheme of the Act. It was found after being in operation for five or six years, that even with the seven-ninths that had been available for paying the minimum benefits as they were called, there were some societies that had a surplus and others that had a deficiency. That was necessary to the scheme, because those that had a surplus were the societies who had good lives and good management. Those that had a deficiency were those that had bad lives and, perhaps, not so good a management. That was an inevitable corollary to the scheme. You had to have a benefit that would be enough for the poor society and not be so big that it would result in a surplus in the successful society.
By reason of that disparity between the societies, an inquiry was held in 1917, and so far from it being found that the contributions could be cut down, as the right hon. Gentleman now contends, the finding of that inquiry was:
The only alternative course is to increase uniformly the contribution income of all the societies to such an extent that the deficiencies is well-administered societies, if not wholly avoidable, will become exceptional.
So far from it being the fact that the existence of surpluses predicates too high contributions, it was found by the Commission that the contribution was not sufficient to keep up to the mark the ordinary societies. They said, "Too much is going into the sinking fund and too little going into the benefit fund, and henceforth we will make an arrangement whereby the sinking fund will have something taken off which will, through the contingencies fund, come back into the benefit fund." The House will understand that, in coming to that conclusion, those who were promoting or were behind the Act of 1918 had to say to the approved societies that were in surplus, "We are going to take something from you. You were told that you would have the full benefit not merely of your immediate but of your deferred benefits, which would come in in 20 years. We are going to reduce the sinking fund, which will shift into the distance the deferred benefits." When the societies asked, "What are you going to give us in exchange?" the answer was this, according to the Report of the Commission. It was a regular bargain:
We are aware that objections may be entertained to this proposal on the ground that the present generation of insured workers have had the expectation of benefits in 1932, but we consider that this advantage is net (1) because we now propose to recommend that we will leave unimpaired the right of members of societies with a disposable surplus to the immediate enjoyment of it. and (2) that the scheme will gradually diminish, if it may not in some cases wholly remove, the prospect of the members of the deficiency societies having to make levies on their members or reduce their benefits or increase their contributions.
It was on that basis that the agreement was come to prior to the Act of 1918, which resulted in the Sinking Fund being diminished, so that the ultimate benefits would be put back. I would like to read to the House one or two extracts dealing with the very point made by the right hon. Gentleman. When the right hon.
Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon (Mr. Lloyd George) was explaining the Bill, he was at pains to emphasise these words:
According to the actuarial calculations which have been made, the proposed contributions will provide a margin of approximately 10 per cent. in addition to the amounts required for the payment of the minimum benefits. This margin will, if the actuarial anticipations are realised, be made available for the grant of additional benefits as provided for in the Bill as soon as experience shows that it can safely be devoted to that purpose.
Was it not the very genesis of the Act that there were two classes of benefits to be given those out of ordinary fund and those out of the surplus which would ultimately arise at the expiration of the sinking fund period. We have been told that the contributions are to be raided as well as the actual surpluses, but are you going to raid the rivulets that feed these pools? What are these rivulets? What would be the effect? It would mean in the first place that the amount going into the sinking fund would be lessened. Secondly, it would mean, even if you diminish the present contribution scheme which the Royal Commission found to be too little, that you may diminish the overflow which offends the right hon. Gentleman so much, but at the same time you will be further increasing the deposits in the other societies which led to the necessity of appointing the Royal Commission and the necessity for raiding the sinking fund.
There is no necessity for me to do that, because they actually found the figure they fixed would be sufficient to fulfil the purpose, having regard to the fact that some societies would have good lives and others bad lives, and taking the average it was necessary to fix a certain amount, and that must run into the surplus. You cannot arrange any system whereby every approved society will have exactly the same calibre of health in its membership. We are asked, what harm is there after all in taking their surpluses? Whose money are you taking? It is the money partly of the employers and partly of the workers who have paid for these contingent benefits. We are told that the same people are concerned in both cases, but you cannot say that one society selected for its healthy character is the same as another. The societies are wholly different, and what right have you to say to society A, which has conducted its operations well and invited only fine healthy people to join, that you will penalise them on that account in order to make up the deficiencies of other societies, and to make good a deficit that would press too heavily on the employers under this new Bill?
I, for my part, think that both suggestions made by the right hon. Gentleman, one of which has been adopted by the Government and the other of which will, I hope, be refused, are absolutely unworthy of this pretended boon that is being given to the country. People were told, "You pay 5d., and you will have widows' and orphans' and old age pensions," but what happens? Take the explanatory Memorandum of the Bill. There you are told, "You will not have to pay 5d.; 4d. will do." Why? A penny comes off. How? Because that penny represents what was paid in health benefits under the Health Insurance Act between 65 and 70. 'Take the next 2d. The right hon. Gentleman comes to this House and says that industry is in a very bad way; there is £11,000,000 pressing upon the poor employers. I am not saying anything unkind, but of course it is the case. "They cannot stand it," he says, "and I advise the Government to think what they can do." The Government think. They come back after 10 or 12 days' thinking, and they say to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead: "We will tell you what we will do; we will take off 2d., and will put it on to ourselves," but they do not. The 2d. they take off there is 2d. taken off by lengthening the waiting period and making discretionary what was before a right with reference to uncovenanted benefit.
Now the right hon. Gentleman comes along and says, "Thank you very much. You have taken £5,500,000 off the £11,000,000 that is put on the employer, and the other £5,500,000 must come off. I will make a suggestion where you can get the other 2d. You can get the other 2d. from the contributions that have already been made under the Health
Insurance Act." I tell the right hon. Gentleman that, as he knows perfectly well, and as the House knows, these very surpluses—not only the pools themselves, but the anticipation of the streams that are pouring into those pools from these contributions—are now being used. I have the figures here:
During 1924 the approved societies associated with this conference alone contributed to voluntary hospitals and convalescent homes a sum of £186,000, and spent £226,000 in the provision of dental benefits.'
The right hon. Gentleman's case is that, having got Id. from the health benefits, having got 2d. out of the pool, he now wants another 2d. out of those who are getting the benefits of surgical and dental treatment under the extended benefits that are conferred by the Act of 1911. I, for my part, consider this an attempt to turn what is put before the country as a great gift of the Conservative Government into a piece of camouflaged commercialism whereby what they are giving really represents only something taken from the people out of that which they already possess. The taking away is hidden; the giving is proclaimed; and we are told, "Vote for the Tory Government because of this great, good Act." The right hon. Gentleman has been the main offender in bringing it about, but what, really, the poor widow and orphan ought to shed tears of gratitude over is not what the Tory Government give them, but what is taken from those of their own class under a hand that is masked the Whole time.
Before I enter upon the brief observations that I want to make, I should like, first of all, to express to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham) as well as to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Shit. Home) my very grateful appreciation of their courteous and kindly references to myself and my colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary. All through our Debates on this important Measure, and, looking back on the discussions that we have had, it is only right to record my opinion that, throughout, the Bill has been treated with the seriousness that it deserves, and that the Amendments put forward have been argued with force and sincerity." While I am naturally gratified that the main features of the Measure have successfully withstood criticism and have emerged unimpaired from the objections to which they have been subjected, I am bound also to say that in many minor details the Bill has been improved in its passage.
I do not propose to dwell in my review on the changes made in the Bill, although I am glad to think that they have benefited three classes in particular—the children, the elderly people, and the dependants. But there is just one remark which fell from the hon. and gallant Member for Burton (Colonel Gretton), I think yesterday, in the course of our Debate, to which I would like to revert. He pointed out that the Bill had undergone various changes in Committee and on Report, and that I had made a number of concessions, almost every one of which was calculated to increase the charge on the Exchequer, and he expressed some apprehension lest we might be piling on our own shoulders burdens perhaps greater than we were appreciating. Those were weighty words, and I think the House would like to know what has been the financial effect, as far as we can estimate, of the various Amendments we have put into the Bill on Committee and in Report. Of course, the House will realise that the actuarial calculations on which a Bill of this kind is based, however great be the skill and experience of those by whom they are formulated—and I am sure everyone who knows the work of the Government's actuaries will agree that we are fortunate in having people whose gifts are of such a high order—neverthless, when you are dealing with a Measure such as this, in which £25,000,000 will be expended every year, it is impossible that you should get to more than an approximation of the actual figures which will only be revealed by experience.
I frankly say that when we started the discussions I was conscious that we had in hand what I might call a margin of safety, that is to say, where the data was insufficient to enable us to make an actuarial calculation, we preferred to err on the side of safety rather than in the other direction. But I must say to the House, quite frankly, that, in the opinion of actuarial advisers, we have by these concessions eaten up the whole, or more than the whole, of this margin. The total concessions will probably amount to something like £750,000 a year. That means a sum of £7,500,000 in the course of the first ten years. Therefore, I think we have done extremely wisely in inserting in one of the Clauses of the Bill a proviso that the Treasury might from time to time call upon the Actuary to make an investigation of the financial conditions of the scheme, and report to the Treasury so that the conditions might be reviewed, and such modifications might be made as might be found necessary. That brings me to the criticism upon the scheme made by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, a criticism which I think was a development of an idea that he had expressed at an earlier stage of the Bill. When you are dealing with a number of independent financial unite, as you are in the case of the Health Insurance scheme, it is very necessary to have accumulated funds in order to be quite certain that your liabilities are going to be: met. Here we are in a different position. The right hon. Gentleman himself does not doubt that the benefits that are promised under the scheme are secure, but he suggests that under the financial scheme there is no security that the benefit of any improvement in the conditions will inure to the contributor. But, on the other hand, it is quite possible that things may turn out worse than we are anticipating at present, and I think the provisions we have got, which enable us to see exactly what the financial position of the scheme from time to time really is all that is necessary, and does enable us to vary the conditions of the scheme if that should prove to be possible and desirable; and the people who are to benefit under the scheme at any rate have this security that even if they do not get better terms in case conditions improve, at any rate they are made safe against any deterioration in the benefits of the scheme.
I should like to say a few words—I do not need to say very much—about the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Home). I do not think the House would desire that I should go into the details of the Health Insurance Scheme in a Debate on the Third Reading of the Pensions Bill, but I am myself, I am afraid, responsible for inviting my right hon. Friend to enlarge a little more on his ideas on the Third Reading, and I promised that I would endeavour to make some answer to him and put before the House some considerations which, I should think, had been present to his mind when he first spoke on the subject. I am very glad to hear my right hon. Friend disclaim any idea of raiding the surpluses. That, in my view, would certainly be interpreted, and, I think, with some justification, as a breach of pledges which have been given to approved societies. It has been expected that the reward of efficiency of administration on their part would be the power to use these surpluses in order to give additional benefits to their members, and to say to those who have exercised efficiency in their administration in the hope of obtaining these additional benefits, "we are going to take away that which you have by your thrift and your care accumulated" would, it seems to me, be an unjustifiable procedure. Therefore that does not form any part of 'his proposition. But he says the fact that those surpluses have been accumulated in past years shows that the contributions are higher than is necessary, and he thinks it should be possible to effect a reduction which would prevent such surpluses from arising in the future. I was in some doubt about the right hon. Gentleman's point.
The proposition I put showed that I expected surpluses in the future, but that the contributions might be reduced and still leave surpluses to be accumulated. I say, frankly, that I think this scheme is over-financed, and I beg my right hon. Friend to go into the matter very carefully with the Government Actuary and in particular to deal with the rate of valuation which every modern actuary displays, and see whether he could not adopt the same basis.
My right hon. Friend is a little impatient. I had not got to that point. I was anxious, because I was not certain whether he was contemplating that in future it would be possible to reduce the contributions while still maintaining the additional benefits which are being declared by the societies as the result of surpluses accumulated in past quinquennial periods, or whether he proposes to do away with these additional benefits, and use the money which would be required for that purpose to reduce the contributions. I understood from the reply which he gave to me when I put the question to him that what he thought should be the aim in the future might be the preservation of the statutory benefits, but that he saw no reason why the additional benefits should not be put an end to in order that the surpluses which had been devoted to them in the past should in the future be devoted to a reduction of contributions. If that were contemplated, I must confess that I should view it with very grave alarm and concern. It would be a retrograde step in the efforts which we have been making to improve the general health of our people, and incidentally, of course, it would leave its injurious effect upon the finances of the societies, because these additional benefits are in the nature of preventive measures, and are, therefore, reducing the calls on and the liabilities of the approved societies. He may say that he believes it would be possible to reduce the contributions without reducing the additional benefits. What is his" definite and practical proposition"? I am using his own words. It is to take one penny from the employer's and one penny from the workman's contribution., and he thinks it would be possible to do that and still keep the fund solvent. I am sure he is fully aware of the National Health Insurance scheme. The fact that he spoke about keeping the fund solvent seemed to me to be significant, because he seemed to represent—although I do not say he himself is in error—a point of view which has been held and which is founded upon a complete misapprehension of the condition—
I was not allowed to develop my argument. I was out of Order. The right hon. Gentleman must not think that he answers me by making a reply to a proposition which I was not allowed to defend. I perfectly understand the point he is on, and an perfectly prepared to explain it.
I was taking a phrase which the right hon. Gentleman used as an illustration of an error, not an error on his part, but an error entertained by a great number of people, who do not understand that it is not one fund with which we have to deal, but that there are an aggregation of funds, Consisting of surpluses in some cases, less deficiencies in other cases.
If you reduce the contributions you must add to the number of societies that will be deficient and decrease the number of societies that have surpluses. It is certain that you are going to throw the whole scheme into discredit if you are going to put a large number of societies into deficiency. Unless you have a sufficient margin of contributions your central fund will disappear altogether. I want to examine this a little more closely. My right hon. Friend suggested that Id. from the employer and Id. from the worker was a reduction of contribution which could easily be made, but it amounts to a sum of £6,000,000. Taking the aggregate surpluses of the societies, after deduction of the deficiencies at the end of 1923, I find, according to the figures, that the surpluses were only accumulating at the rate of £5,000,000 a year. The result would be that you would be taking away £1,000,000 more than you had been accumulating.
But is if certain that we can count upon the repetition of the surpluses which were accumulating down to the end of 1923; I beg the House not to take that as by any means certain. I beg them to understand that there are some rather disquieting features of which we have information which render it very unlikely that in future quinquennia the surpluses will be anything like what they were. Take one item, which is an annual charge of about £2,000,000 for doctors and drugs. There is at present a balance which has accumulated, from which that is paid, which will come to an end in 1926, and that charge of £2,000,000 will then fall upon the contributions and the accumulations of £5,000,000, should they continue, will be at once reduced to £3,000,000 a year, even if the other factors remain the same. Then there are questions arising out of the rate of disablement benefit and sickness benefit, in both of which there are rather disquieting features. Again, I might suggest that the existence of so much unemployment means a reduction in contribution surpluses which will be found to have its effect upon the gross surplus.
My right hon. Friend relies upon the adequacy of the reserves and the rate of interest. But it is not correct to take the rate of interest upon the societies' investments as being 4f per cent. When you came to value the societies, taking their liabilities and their assets, a large part of the assets, more than half, consists of paper credits which only earn 3 per cent., and the full rate of interest earned by the societies is reduced from 4¾ per cent. to something between 3¾ per cent. and 4 per cent. Then, again, it must be remembered that if you raise the rate of interest you lower the value of the reserves and necessarily therefore you lower the assets which you have to set against your liabilities.
The whole question of the finances of the National Health Insurance Act are now being considered by a Royal Commission. The Royal Commission is being assisted by an actuarial sub-committee. They are now going into just these questions—the rate of disablement benefit, the rate of sickness, the question of the rate of interest which should be taken into account—and in due course they will report. As a result of their Report, it will no doubt be shown whether the contributions which are now being paid are merely adequate or whether they are sufficient to produce a surplus. The Commission will, no doubt, make their recommendations as to what should be done with that surplus, if surplus there should be. Until we get that Report we are not in a position to say exactly what surplus we are likely to get, whether, indeed, we are likely to get any surplus at all. It is quite impossible, therefore, to contemplate in the present stage of our experience any reduction in the rate of contribution.
Just a word or two to sum up what it is that we have been aiming at in this Bill. In the first place, we have introduced this Bill in fulfilment of our Election pledges. I know there are some cynics who think that any scheme of social benefit or betterment is merely a bribe that is offered by one party or another in order to secure office. Personally, I do not think there is anything to be ashamed of in a desire for office, provided that that desire is founded, not on personal aggrandisement, or even party aggrandisement, but on the consciousness that office is the only instrument by which you can carry into operation Measures which you believe to be right. It is because we believe that a Measure of this kind, a contributory scheme of pensions, was right and was good, because we believe it would have a great effect in strengthening the moral character of the nation, that we have advocated it at Election times and that we are now carrying it into effect. In spite of doubts and disbelief expressed by hon. Members opposite, I still remain firmly convinced, at any rate, that the more responsible and more thoughtful members of the community prefer a scheme of this kind to which they will feel that they have contributed for something to be given them as a right, rather than a scheme to which they have given nothing and from which they had to receive something as a charity from the State.
We have, by an unkind fate, brought in this Bill just at a time which coincides with one of the greatest depressions that has ever overtaken our industry. Very gloomy anticipations have been expressed from time to time in this House. It may be that presently we shall find ourselves in face of a national crisis which will demand much more drastic measures than merely a postponement of a new reform of this kind. If the prophets of evil be right, and if such a crisis come upon us, I feel certain that the nation will be prepared to make whatever sacrifices are necessary to preserve its existence. Do not let us exaggerate our troubles. Do not let us be stampeded unnecessarily in the depression. After all, we are not dead yet. I submit to this House that they may pass the Third Heading of this Bill —I do not say with a light heart, but with that calmness and confidence which befits a nation that has overcome in the past great dangers and perils, perhaps not less than these, and which, if it keep its head, and shows its old courage, will overcome its present difficulties too.
I was deeply moved by the fine peroration of the right hon. Gentleman. References to perils which we are going to weather in the future always appeal to the true British heart. But surely he was getting a little too far up into the heights in a valedictory address, which, in spite of all the fine things he or his friends may say, proposes to give to the widows of this nation ten miserable shillings a week. That is the salient fact. The Government came forward to redeem election pledges by granting a pension of 10s. a week to a woman, 5s. for the first child, and 3s. for subsequent children. Yet the right hon. Gentleman feels this scheme worthy of a great peroration about the future, if we are prepared to make sacrifices. I am interested in the contribution of my colleague the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Sir It. Home) It is a proposition worthy of consideration by the people. He tells us that Capitalism in this country is in a serious state. The Minister of Health thinks we may weather the storm by sacrifices, but the right hon. Member for Hillhead doe3 not think we can weather the storm unless an extra Id. or 2d. is taken off the employer's contribution. He suggests that big business is insolvent and on the verge of a crisis, and that the Government must turn to the approved societies, which are, to a large extent, run by ordinary working people, and say to them, "For God's sake, save Capitalism from the mess it has got itself into."
Is that a misunderstanding of the Hillhead argument? It is that argument as I see it, and I am perhaps more capable of following the workings of the Northern mind than are many hon. Gentlemen opposite. He appeals in vain so far as his colleagues of the City of Glasgow are concerned. We are not going to put out a finger to save Capitalism from destruction. I never went into the Lobby to protest against a penny extra being put upon employers of labour, but I have gone into the Lobby against a penny being put on to the working people, who in the last number of years wave seen their wage steadily falling with the connivance and support and often the active aid of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. While wages have been steadily going down, you say to these people: "Your aged folk are to be kept on 10s. a week." This will not keep anybody in comfort. Widows cannot be kept at all on 10s. a week, yet imagine hon. Gentlemen asking a woman of the working class to keep a child for 5s. a week. Last week we heard much about the Eton and Harrow match, and I was interested in the pride which each side displayed in its own school. If I am not misinformed, it will cost any-right hon. Gentleman £250 a year at the very Jea6t to keep one boy at Eton or Harrow—£5 a week! And you ask a widowed mother to keep her boy for five shillings a week!
The right hon. Gentleman talks about the great concession he has made when he extends the age from 14 to 16. A quotation was made from my right hon. Friend the late Chancellor of the Exchequer on more than one occasion in the course of this Debate that this 10s. a week to the widows would be hailed with relief by thousands of people throughout this country. It is God's truth, and that is the shameful thing about it. Think of the condition of a country where thousands of the people look to a miserable payment of this amount with a sigh of relief! Mark you, we here have not produced that state of affairs in this country. We have not brought Capitalism to such a. state that it cannot stand another penny a week. [HON. MEMBERS: "YOU have done nothing!"] I will tell you what I have done up till now, and it is a remarkable contribution to the public life. I have stirred up discontent among the common people, and if you realised the value of your country and of the population, you would thank the men who stir up discontent in this country, because men and women who are contented with the hellish conditions that you have produced are less than human beings. I hope that the discontent we have aroused will become stronger and stronger, and that the people will turn with scorn absolutely from miserable doles of this kind, and demand that what they are going to get are not small pittances of this sort, but the right to own and run their own country, and the common people will run it very much better, and at the end they will not have to come forward and confess, like the right hon. Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Home) and the Minister of Health that to-day you are in such a miserable state, after 100 years of private enterprise, that 18s. is all you can give to a mother with two children to enable them to face the future after the breadwinner has been removed.
I know that I ought to have more sense. I have been in the House long enough to know that neither reason nor vehemence makes very much difference, and I wonder whether it is worth while talking here, and whether I would not do far better to talk to people outside. I hope people outside will not wait the three or four years that the right hon. Gentleman opposite hopes to remain in office. The power of the working classes is not exhausted. The civil population have got other resources. They have been quiet and meek, but I hope that in a very short time they will be prepared to stand up and refuse to accept calmly this Bill, and things like it, which I regard as a great insult to the working-class population.
It is very nice for you to shout "Divide," but some of us want to have a reason why we should divide. We are divided already by the fact that we belong to the class who are being told that this Bill is a gift to them, and we know very well that this gift is an insult and is intended to be so, because the right Hon. Gentleman himself, in winding up the Debate, told us it was better for the people to get something from the State in reply to a contribution paid than to accept charity from the State, Do hon. Members opposite suggest that those who receive pensions from the State without payments are receiving charity? If so, then the biggest charity-mongers and the biggest dole-takers in this country belong to the class represented on the benches opposite. They are the only people who receive pensions without paying for them, and when the right hon. Gentleman talks about charity from the State we say that it is an insult to the workmen of this country. I would like to ask the right hon. and hon. Member who support, this Measure what is going to be the position of local authorities in the administration of this Measure. Somebody else will have to pay to keep the woman and her children. What will happen will be that we in the local districts, who are more inclined to be kind-hearted, will make up the difference. The Poor Law authorities will be mainly responsible for helping to enlarge the amount that the woman will receive.
The other districts will take advantage of the Act, and will give them nothing. The woman will then have to continue her charing work to make up the amount necessary for the maintenance of herself and her children. Really, instead of relief to the people it is an insult to their intelligence. I hope we shall vote against this Bill as a party I, for one, am prepared to do so [An HON. MEMBER: "Do it!"] Oh, yes, openly, and confess that I am in opposition to the whole of the Bill. The principle is a rotten one. The worker must pay for all all the time.
The soldier fights for all,
The lawyer pleads for all,
The King rules over all; and
The worker pays for all!
That is your Bill. We repudiate it, and express our hostility to it.