Clause 1. — (Extension of purposes for which policies may be issued.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Industrial Assurance and Friendly Societies Bill. – in the House of Commons on 15th March 1929.

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Photo of Sir Basil Peto Sir Basil Peto , Barnstaple

I beg to move, after the words last inserted, to add the words: (3) "No such policy shall be issued dependent on the life of any child born in wedlock except with the consent of the father of the child, if surviving, unless he is divorced or separated from the mother or insane. The reason why I think it is necessary to move this Amendment is that the bulk of this industrial insurance business is conducted by house-to-house canvass on the part of the agents of insurance companies, and that the people they meet are almost invariably the mothers of the children and that they do not have any transaction with the fathers. The father is away at work; he is the breadwinner of the family, and in many cases he is never consulted about the matter. I have had cases brought to my notice where the mother seems to have had a positive mania for this kind of insurance. In one case there were six policies on the life of the husband and of two children, and there were other policies taken out, all without the consent of the father. In this case, as in the bulk of these industrial cases, the man has to provide the money for the family, and if excessive deductions are made from his earnings, even in times when he is employed, it may reduce the standard of living of the family below what it ought to be and make this insurance positively a burden instead of a benefit to the family as a whole.

Although this Bill does much to improve matters so far as industrial insurance is concerned, particularly in respect of lapsed policies, and in giving more reasonable returns to the policy holders for the money which is extracted from them week by week, it does not touch the question of whether the husband who is living with his wife should be consulted in a matter which concerns the money which he has to provide for the family. That is the broad principle on which I should like to hear the views of the Attorney-General. It may act as a drag on the number of these policies taken out, but it is a reasonable provision that the husband should concur in these policies being taken out, where he is living with the wife and supporting the family. That is the principle laid down in this Amendment, and I commend it to the consideration of the Committee.