Orders of the Day — Eighth Schedule. — (Provisions as to the determination and payment of Compensation to Officers.

– in the House of Commons at on 1 February 1929.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

It would appear that the first Amendment in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ealing (Sir H. Nield) and others—in page 116, line 10 after the second word "the" to insert the words "fees, salary or"—is unnecessary, as the word "emoluments" covers it. I do not know whether they attach any importance to it.

Photo of Mr William Graham Mr William Graham , Edinburgh Central

The short point of this and the other Amendments is that at this stage it will not be necessary to move them as the Minister of Health is receiving a deputation this afternoon. On that ground, I do not propose to move.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I beg to move, in page 116, line 24, at the end, to insert the words: and if a council fail to inform any claimant of their decision upon his claim within six months after it has been so delivered to them, the Minister may, on application made to him in that behalf by the claimant, direct the council to do so within such time, not being less than one month, as may be specified in the direction. This is an Amendment which we have put down to meet the wishes of the Poor Law Officers' Association, who have suggested that cases of hardship may arise owing to a council's delay in assessing compensation payable in respect of loss of office under this Schedule. This and the three subsequent Amendments are designed to meet the point by providing that, if a council fails to inform the officers of their decision within six months, the Minister may direct the council to do so within a specified time, and, if they again fail after that, he may himself decide the claim.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made:

In page 116, line 25, leave out the words "under this Section."—[Sir K. Wood.]

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I beg to move, in page 116, line 26, after the second word "council," to insert the words "or of any Committee appointed by the council for the purpose."

This is to meet a suggestion that has been made that it is not now the practice of a council to deal with such business as the settlement of compensation of a particular officer in full council and that these cases are generally dealt with in committee. This enables the examination of the officers concerned to take place in committee, if desired, and not in the full council.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made:

In page 116, line 28, after the word "council," to insert the words "or committee."—[Sir K. Wood.]

Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Nelson and Colne

I beg to move, in page 116, line 34, to leave out the words "after he attained the age of eighteen years."

This deals with Paragraph 5: In computing the service of any officer for the purpose of the award of compensation, the council shall take into account all the service of that officer after he attained the age of eighteen years. The years prior to that may have been years of wage-earning service, and the organisation particularly concerned in this feel that they have a claim to have regard to the service of officers or servants under the age of eighteen.

Photo of Mr Neville Chamberlain Mr Neville Chamberlain , Birmingham, Ladywood

We must be careful to distinguish in this matter between superannuation and compensation. We are dealing here, of course, with compensation and not superannuation, and, while the years of service before the age of 18 do come under our scheme for superannuation, it would not be reasonable that they should be counted in for the purpose of compensation, and, though I think there is a precedent for that being done, there are many more precedents for its omission. For instance, in six local Acts that were passed last year for the extension of boroughs, the provisions for compensation were limited to service after the age of eighteen. I may also, perhaps, remind the Committee that contributions made before the age of 18 are returnable with other contributions. I should say that the limitation that arises here is not objected to by the National Association of Poor Law Officers.

Amendment negatived.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I beg to move, in page 117, line 34, to leave out Paragraph 11 and to insert instead thereof the words: 11. "No service of which account has been taken in assessing the compensation payable under this Act to an officer in respect of the determination or relinquishment of any appointment held by him shall, in the event of his accepting any other office after the commencement of this Act, be reckoned for the purpose of computing any sum payable in respect of that office under any superannuation scheme or other scheme for ensuring benefits to an officer on retirement whether under any enactment or otherwise. This Amendment has been put down to meet an objection raised on behalf of Poor Law officers. The paragraph as now drafted, is limited to the case of an officer who enters upon a new office after the commencement of the Act, and it is intended to prevent a period of employment being reckoned in the calculation of superannuation allowance payable in respect of his new office if that employment has already been taken into account in determining his compensation under the Act for the loss of any previous office. The original paragraph, which is now superseded, effected this object, but it has been suggested that the paragraph went further than was intended and would apply in a case such as the following: A man holds office, say, for 10 years as assistant clerk to a board of guardians, and then receives promotion and obtains two offices, say that of clerk to the board and superintendent registrar. On the appointed day, he loses the former office owing to the operation of this Act, and he would be entitled to compensation in respect of it. Ten years afterwards, say, he becomes entitled to superannuation on retirement from the office of superintendent registrar. It is right that in this case the original 10 years' service as assistant-clerk should count, in calculating both the compensation for loss of his clerkship, and also the superannuation allowance on his retirement from his office as superintendent registrar. It is in order to meet that case, which has been put forward by Poor Law officers, that we have put down the Paragraph in its amended form.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made:

In page 117, line 45, after the word "by" insert the words the failure of the council to inform him of their decision upon his claim within the time required by any directions of the Minister or by.

In page 118, line 1, after the second word "the," insert the words failure or after the date on which he receives notice of the.

In line 2, after the word "council," insert the words "as the case may be".—[Mr. Chamberlain.]

Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Nelson and Colne

I beg to move, in page 118, line 2, after the word "to," to insert the words "a standing arbitrator appointed by".

This Amendment deals with cases of appeal. As the Schedule now stands, if the claimant feels that he has a grievance with respect to his payment for compensation he may appeal to the Minister, whose decision shall be final. My hon. Friend the Member for Rotherhithe (Mr. B. Smith), in whose name the Amendment stands, is in this matter representing his Union, which is a very large and powerful body. They feel that in cases of appeal of this kind it should be to an independent arbitrator appointed by the Minister rather than to the Minister himself. I am not sure whether the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to accept the Amendment.

Photo of Mr Neville Chamberlain Mr Neville Chamberlain , Birmingham, Ladywood

If I consulted the feelings of myself or of any of my successors, I should certainly accept the Amendment, because it would relieve the Minister of a good deal of trouble, but I think that such a move would probably be very unpopular with the officials chiefly concerned. The office of arbitration in connection with a matter of this kind is already performed by the Minister in the case of the Poor Law Officers' Superannuation Act, 1896, and it is also, I believe, proposed that he should perform the same office under the Act of 1922. I am told that the arbitration by the Minister is very popular among these officers. I do not know what inference is to be drawn from that, but perhaps I might point out that this particular work is performed by the Minister for nothing. If you are going to employ an arbitrator, the probability is that he will require fees for doing the work. That may be one reason why the officers prefer arbitration by the Minister, whose services are entirely gratuitous.

Amendment negatived.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I beg to move, in page 118, line 7, after the second word "or" to insert the word "other."

This is a drafting Amendment, to substitute for the phrase "local or public authority" the words "local or other public authority." That expression occurs in a number of Acts of Parliament, and for the sake of uniformity it is desired to use the same expression in this Bill.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I beg to move, in page 118, line 28, at the end, to add the words: 16."For the purposes of this Schedule the expression "emoluments" includes fees and salaries, and the office of a regis- tration officer or registrar of marriages shall be deemed to be an office held under a local authority. This Amendment has been put down at the suggestion of the Poor Law Officers' Association, and my right hon. Friend is glad to be able to meet them. It is to avoid any possible ambiguity arising from the fact that in Clause 103 the term "fees, salary or emoluments" is used, whereas in the Eighth Schedule the term used is "emoluments." The object of the Amendment is also to make it clear that the Schedule no less than Clause 103 applies to registration officers and registrars of marriages.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I beg to move, in page 118, after the words last inserted, to add the words: In this Schedule the expression 'local authority' means any local authority as defined in section three of the Local Government and other Officers' Superannuation Act, 1922. This, also, is a drafting Amendment. Local authority is defined in Section 3 of the Local Government and other Officers' Superannuation Act, 1922, as having the same meaning as in the Local Loans Act of 1875 that is to say any authority having power to levy a rate including a precepting authority. The term "local authority" appears in various sections of the Schedule, and in order to avoid confusion it is desirable to have the word defined. The object of the Amendment is to clear up any ambiguity.

Amendment agreed to.

Question, "That this Schedule, as amended, be the Eighth Schedule to the Bill," put, and agreed to.