Clause 35. — (Application of Part II of Act.)

Orders of the Day — Unemployment Bill. – in the House of Commons on 19th February 1934.

Alert me about debates like this

7.51 p.m.

The CHAIRMAN:

It may be for the convenience of the Committee just to indicate what Amendments I propose to select. The Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) I am inclined to think was unnecessary, but I understand that it will not take very long and that the object of it is only to get a statement from the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Labour. Therefore, that will be the first Amendment I propose to select. The next five, down to and including that in the name of the hon. Member for North East Ham (Lieut.-Colonel Mayhew), are out of order, because they are outside the scope of the Financial Resolution. As to the next three, standing in the names of hon. Members of the Opposition:

  1. (1) In page 30, line 11, at end, to insert "of any nature."—[Mr. T. Smith.]
  2. (2) Leave out lines 12 to 21.—[Mr. Batey.]
  3. (3) In line 16, leave out from "dispute," to "he," in line 18.—[Mr. T. Williams.]
I understand that they attach more importance to the third than to the second. Therefore, I propose to select that which is in the name of the hon. Member for Normanton (Mr. T. Smith) and next that in the name of the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams). Then follows the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk (Mr. J. Reid): In page 30, line 21, at the end, insert:
  1. (2) A person whose normal occupation has been employment in respect of which contributions are payable under the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1925 to 1932, shall not be held to be disqualified under the immediately preceding sub-section by reason only of the length of time which has elapsed since he was last employed in such occupation, or of his having undertaken other work at a time when he was unable to obtain employment in his normal occupation.

7.52 p.m.

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

I beg to move, in page 29, line 37, after "person," to insert: whether or not he is in receipt of benefit under the Unemployment Insurance Acts. It is understood that the Unemployment Assistance Board may grant an allowance to a man who is in receipt of unemployment benefit, but it is not known whether they will. This Amendment is moved in order to have that point made clear. There are two points which I wish to raise with the Minister. When the present Minister was Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour, under the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth (Sir A. Steel-Maitland) I got a concession. The moulders in Kirkintilloch were on strike, but the labourers to those moulders were not allowed to sign at the Employment Exchanges. The Minister gave those moulders' labourers the concession that they were allowed to draw benefit at the Employment Exchanges, although the work on which they had been engaged was involved in a strike. I want to know if that concession is to hold good under this Clause. The next point is that an unemployed man may be practically naked because his clothing may be worn out and his boots worn away. His case may not be simply one of malnutrition as a result of under-feeding, but the board may be faced with an individual who comes along when his boots are worn out and he is ragged and in a dreadful state. Does this Clause admit of the board giving an extra grant on occasions such as those? If I can get an answer to those two points from the Minister, that will satisfy me.

7.55 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Tinker Mr John Tinker , Leigh

We have been trying to find out the position of a man who may be in receipt of unemployment benefit. We understand that the board which is to be set up will have the power to give greater allowances than the man will get by his statutory benefit, if he is in need. Would it be possible, if the man is in need, seeing that under Part II of the Bill all able-bodied people are taken over, for the board to give such a man extra allowances under Part II, although he is already in receipt of statutory benefit? On this side of the House we have the idea that it is the case, but we want the point made clear and definite by the Minister who is in charge of the Bill.

7.56 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

I am not sure if I understood the first point of the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood), but I think he asked me a question as to what would be the position of men unemployed as a result of a trade dispute. Their position will be no different in future from what it has been in the past, land any concession which he got from my right hon. Friend in the past will remain valid in the future.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

As regards the point made both by the hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker) and the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs, I can give them the categorical assurance that it will be open to the board under Part II to supplement benefit received under Part I, where a man can establish his need. It will be a matter for the board to lay down the exact regulations. The board, in a case where a man's need is obviously in excess of the statutory benefit, can, under this part of the Bill, give supplemental assistance. I think, beyond any shadow of doubt, that I can personally reassure the Committee on this point.

7.58 p.m.

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

Have not the board also the power to reduce the amount of benefit? Have they power not only to increase, but to make the payment less than under Part I?

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

They have no power whatever to reduce a man's benefit, which is his statutory right. The Amendment deals with the case of a man who is drawing benefit under Part I but who also comes under Part II and gets supplementary benefit. That is the point raised by the Amendment, and the only point, and my answer to it is that he certainly can get supplementary benefit.

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

I know that point, but it is as well that the other point should be stated again, because when people come under Part II there are other disabilities. I want to raise the point in regard to strikes because it has never been answered.

The CHAIRMAN:

Like the Parliamentary Secretary I did not follow the first part of the speech of the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood). I must point out that the question of industrial disputes is the subject of a definite Amendment to a later Clause.

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

I know, but if it is in order, I want to put a point. Rights under the Trade Disputes Act are governed by the same conditions as under Part I of this Bill, in respect of transitional payments. That is not the case under this Bill. Those who come under Part II are not governed in the same way as those on transitional payment. A man may be safeguarded under Part I but those who come under Part II are not safeguarded. The Bill proposes that there shall be the standard payment and the assistance given by the board. At the present time those on transitional payment who are engaged in a trade dispute have the right by virtue of the present law, and are governed by the court of referees and the umpire. That will not be the case under Part II of the Bill. That is the difference. An umpire may decide that an unemployed person is entitled to benefit and is not engaged in a trade dispute. That would mean that subject to the mean test he would get transitional payment, but under the Bill the umpire's decision can only govern cases under Part I, not those under Part II, and it may be possible that an umpire may decide that such and such a thing was not a trade dispute, while under Part II the board might decide something different. The question is how men in a trade dispute are affected by Part II of the Bill if the umpire and other authorities are allowed to come to a different decision in regard to those under Part I.

8.3 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

The hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) for once is labouring under a misapprehension. If he will look at the Clause he will see that any question as to whether a man under Part II is affected by a trade dispute is to be decided in precisely the same way as in the case of anyone under Part I, and not only that, but that it applies whether a man is an insured person or not. The words are: or would have been so disqualified as aforesaid if he had been an insured contributor under those Acts. In other words, the provisions of the present law apply not merely to cases under Part I but to cases under Part II; and in Part II not merely to an insured person but to an uninsured person. I am sure that the hon. Member will be glad to have this assurance and will realise that it will be the Umpire in all cases, not the individual officers of the board, who will have the final say in this matter of a trade dispute.

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

I thank the Parliamentary Secretary for his clear and definite reply; it clears the air as far as we are concerned. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

8.5 p.m.

Photo of Mr Tom Smith Mr Tom Smith , Normanton

I beg to move, in page 30, line 11, at the end, to insert "of any nature."

We are moving this Amendment in order to safeguard the position of a man who may be certified for light work. Thousands of industrial workers meet with accidents in the course of their employment, and later on are certified as being fit for what is called light work, although not fit to follow their ordinary employment. In the mining industry a man at the coal face might meet with an accident which will keep him from work for months, in some cases for years. He has to go through the usual procedure with regard to compensation and later is certified as being fit for some work, which means light work. Very often when we have approached the colliery manager and asked for light work for a man we have been met with the retort that if there was any light job at all the manager had it. We want to assure that these men will be dealt with by the board, if the other qualifications are in their favour. If the words are inserted the Clause will read: That he is capable of and available for work of any nature.

8.8 p.m.

Mr. PRICE:

This is a very important proposal as far as industrial workers are concerned. We want to know the position of a man who is in receipt of compensation. There are thousands of cases throughout the country of men who have received injury and commence to draw full compensation, but as time goes on they are seen by the medical referee, their pension reduced, and their names put down for light work. It is difficult to get light work at a colliery, and usually to our applications we are told that there is only one man who has a light job and that is the manager. We want to know the position of these men. We think that the Amendment will safeguard their interest.

8.9 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

I can allay the fears of hon. Members opposite by saying at once that Part II of the Bill is designed to have as wide a scope as possible having regard to industrial conditions generally. Hon. Members will know that the Umpire in the past has interpreted the words: capable of and available for work. very widely indeed. He has laid it down that in order to come within the definition of "capable of work" a man does not necessarily have to be capable of performing his usual work; all that he has to do is to be capable of performing in a normal manner some work which he stands some likelihood of getting in his neighbourhood. To show how widely and sympathetically the Umpire has interpreted these words the Committee will be aware that many men who have been granted 100 per cent. workmen's compensation and very large numbers of men who are in receipt of 100 per cent. disability pensions have been certified by the umpire as being capable of work. With that assurance I hope the hon. Member will withdraw the Amendment. There must be a limit somewhere. If you put these words in the Bill, to take an extreme case, you may have an old lady, bed-ridden, but, nevertheless, able to knit, being described as capable of work. Undoubtedly, it would be work of some nature. When the hon. Member realises the possible implications of the words and has my assurance that our intention is to make the scope as wide as possible, I hope that he will not persist in his Amendment.

8.12 p.m.

Photo of Mr Jack Lawson Mr Jack Lawson , Chester-le-Street

I do not think the Parliamentary Secretary appreciates the gravity of the Amendment. It is true that the Umpire has given a wide interpretation to the words: capable of and available for work. but it is also true that in great industrial areas many men who have been injured and unemployed, sometimes for years, who have been placed on light work, have not been able to get that light work in the factory, mine, or mill. Many men who have been off work for years have been adjudged almost outside the field of industry and because of that it may be possible that these men have been treated as not normally insurable persons. In that case they will have gone to the public assistance committee, and, therefore, the question is how they will be treated when they come under the jurisdiction of the board. They may be left under the jurisdiction of the public assistance committee because they are not normally insurable, they are not counted as unemployed, and, therefore, it seems to me that the Government might consider including these words in order to make sure that these people will get full and adequate consideration by the board. I do not think it is sufficient to say that the Umpire's decision is practically the deciding factor. It seems to me that these words, if included in the Clause, would be practically an instruction to the Unemployment Assistance Board that these people are to receive proper and full compensation, and I would ask the hon. Gentleman to consider their inclusion, because otherwise there seems to me to be a possibility of these men being excluded from consideration altogether.

8.16 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

As the hon. Member knows, every possible consideration will be given to what he says, but I do not think that either he or his friends quite appreciate the difference that Part II makes. I say that because of his remarks and the analogy that he draws as to a man being regarded as not being normally in an insurable occupation. That a man should be normally employed in insurable employment and likely normally to follow an insurable employment, is one of the conditions for the receipt of transitional payments, but the considerations which are set out at the beginning of this Clause are not conditions on the satisfaction of which a man shall receive allowances; they are the qualification which, if he possesses them, bring him within the scope of the Bill. There is a definite distinction between the two; these are not conditions, but qualifications, which, if he possesses them, bring him automatically within the scope of Part II of the Bill. It is to enable the board to have as wide a scope as possible that we have inserted these provisions.

The actual words of the Amendment, I am afraid, we could not possibly accept, because they go very much further, I think, than even the hon. Member himself would desire; but, if there are any other words that he can suggest between now and Report, I shall be very glad to consider them. I think, however, that, even if finally we cannot accept his proposal, he can rest quite assured that a man with these qualifications will quite definitely come within the scope of Part II of the Bill, and the mere fact that he has been unemployed for a long time will not by any means necessarily exclude him. It would be out of order to discuss that question at any length, because it arises on a subsequent Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk (Mr. J. Reid), but I hope I have been able to satisfy the hon. Member that the insertion of these words is not necessary, and that he will be able to see his way to withdraw the Amendment.

Photo of Mr Tom Smith Mr Tom Smith , Normanton

After the explanation of the Parliamentary Secretary, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

8.20 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Parkinson Mr John Parkinson , Wigan

I beg to move, in page 30, line 16, to leave out from "dispute" to "he," in line 18.

The words which this Amendment proposes to leave out are: or during which he would have been so disqualified as aforesaid if he had been an insured contributor under those Acts. These words convey a very important meaning, and I think the power which is here given to the board is too big a power to be given to any board. There will really be no control over the board, and the words are largely hypothetical. They assume certain cases which may arise, and, if the board or the assistance officer were not sympathetic, it would be easy to place a strained interpretation upon them. It will not be possible for a man in an occupation not covered by unemployment insurance, and out of work owing to a trade dispute, to get allowance under Part II of the Bill, but how can any board decide that a person unemployed would have been employed at a given time? The whole thing is hypothetical. How can it be proved that he would have lost his employment on account of any dispute? A dispute may be taking place, say in the mining industry, and a man may be engaged in the dispute. He may also have two sons, one of them under Part I who has exhausted his benefit, and another who has never been employed but will come under Part II of the Act. If, although the father is directly engaged in the dispute, neither of his sons has been able at that time to get employment, how is any board or officer to decide that those people would have been employed in that particular industry at that particular time?

This appears to me to be mere word-spinning, because it is impossible for anyone to lose something that he does not possess, and it is an absurd power to be exercised, either by the board or by the assistance officer. An unsympathetic officer, by his interpretation of these words, could cause great hardship to the people in the area, and might even become a positive danger to those who are unemployed, particularly those who might have been employed in an industry where a dispute had arisen. A sympathetic person would carry out the law in a proper manner, but the door is left open for unsympathetic and unfair treatment, and very heavy burdens might be imposed as a result of a mere assumption. That is carrying things too far, and I hope that the Minister will reconsider the words. It almost seems to me as though they might even encourage blacklegging in a trade dispute; the possible ramifications of a trade dispute are very great indeed.

We are not pleading that people directly concerned in a stoppage should receive any favours, but this is like throwing a stone into a pool—its results will probably go much further than anyone would expect. It is too wide and sweeping in its application. It will be possible for the board to transfer these powers to the assistance officer. We ought to look at it from the point of view of common sense. A large number of disputes have been brought about by the action of employers, but the whole of the punishment is going to fall upon the workers and not upon the employers at all. The employers may try to impose some condition on their people which may be reasonable or unreasonable, but there is no punishment on them. The Minister ought to see the injustice of the whole position. Punishment ought not to be imposed on the workers for something over which they have no control. If the Minister would take the matter back for further consideration, I believe it would meet the wishes of the Committee.

8.28 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

I am glad the hon. Member has put down this Amendment because it enables me to relieve his mind of a genuine misapprehension. I realise now the fear that he had in mind. When I saw the Amendment on the Paper, I did not quite understand what his difficulty was. May I first explain what the effect of his Amendment would be. If two men were employed at a factory, one insured and the other not insured, and there was a trade dispute, the man who was insured would be prohibited under the Clause from coming under Part II. He would have to go to the public assistance committee. The result of leaving out the words would be that a man who was uninsured would get an advantage as compared with the man who was insured. I am sure that is not what the hon. Member had in mind.

Photo of Mr John Parkinson Mr John Parkinson , Wigan

A man who is uninsured will come under Part II.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

No, the Clause applies only to men who were at work at the time of the stoppage. The words are: "would have been so disqualified," not "would have been so employed." The whole object of these words is to put the uninsured man on the same basis as the insured man. They are both at work in a factory where there is a trade dispute, and they both suffer the same fate; that is, they do not come under Part II but go to the public assistance authorities. But it appears that the hon. Member had another fear. What would happen in the case of the head of a household who was disqualified, who had two adult sons not employed and not engaged in any way in the dispute? He seemed to fear that those two youths would also suffer owing to the disqualification of the father. They certainly would not. It would be open to them, if they were otherwise qualified, to come under Part II because they would not be engaged in a trade dispute, and they would, therefore, not suffer the father's disqualification. I do not know whether I have succeeded in a very complicated matter in making the position clear. If I have, I hope the hon. Member will realise that there is a genuine misunderstanding of the words and that the Amendment would really create an injustice as between the insured and the uninsured man.

8.31 p.m.

Photo of Mr Tom Smith Mr Tom Smith , Normanton

I was pleased to hear the Parliamentary Secretary put a different meaning on these words. May I put a case to him? Some pits sign men on only on certain days. Suppose an unemployed man got signed on on a Monday to start on the following Thursday, and on the Wednesday a dispute took place, which later was decided by the Umpire to be a trade dispute within the meaning of the Unemployment Insurance Act, and the men, therefore, were not entitled to benefit. What would that man's position be?

8.32 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

That is a hypothetical question which it is a little difficult to answer without notice. All I can say is that the man would not be in any way prejudiced by this paragraph as compared with his position at present. I imagine that in the ultimate resort the person who would have to decide the matter would be the Umpire in the light of all the circumstances of the case. All that this wording does is to put the insured and the uninsured man in the same situation. If the Umpire decided that the insured man was qualified for benefit, he would come under Part II, and so would the unemployed man, but, if it was decided that they were not entitled to benefit, neither would come under this part of the Act.

8.34 p.m.

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

This is to some extent governed by the Seventh Schedule, which says: A public assistance authority shall not order out-door relief to be given to any person who by a decision for the time being in force has been decided to be a person to whom Part II of this Act applies. It is a question whether the public assistance committee will be allowed to give relief at all. That seems to me the most important point of all. I see the point in this Clause. If a man is unemployed and has a claim to benefit, Part II will not treat him differently from Part I, and the Umpire is a determining factor in a trade dispute as at present, but I am much concerned as to whether miners in a trade dispute can be reliever by a Poor Law authority. As I read the Schedule of the Bill, it seems to come within Part II, and there is no subsequent part of the Clause which puts it outside Part II. The man is obviously under Part I or Part II, and the Bill does not exclude those who are in a trade dispute from Part I or Part II.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

If the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) will look at page 30 of the Bill, line 20, he will see that the words are: deemed not to be a person to whom this Part of this Act applies. That means that he is excluded from Part II of the Act.

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

Does it mean that under the Seventh Schedule the Poor Law authority will be allowed to relieve him if they think it desirable to do so? If that is so, it is the point I required to be met.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

Certainly, the answer is "Yes," within the powers at present specified of public assistance authorities, and in the light of the power which—speaking from memory I think it was on 10th August, 1929—the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) stated to belong to public assistance committees.

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

Poor Law public assistance committees are allowed to relieve wives and families and not the man. In Scotland that is the law, and I do not want any interference with that right. It should be allowed to continue. Whoever is in the battle, at least the wives and children should be kept out of it, and the right of relieving them should be maintained.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

I can give an assurance to the hon. Member for Gorbals that the Bill makes no difference whatever to the existing rights of the public assistance committees, whatever those rights may be at the moment.

8.38 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Parkinson Mr John Parkinson , Wigan

Let us assume a case of a man on strike, who has a son who has never worked, but who receives benefit. Would the public officer have the power to refuse benefit to the son who had never been at work on the ground of the probability, that, if he had been employed, he would have been employed at the mine, and at the moment would be unemployed through the stoppage?

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

The hon. Member refers to a man who, although he had attained the age of 16, and had not actually had any work, might, under item b (ii) of Sub-section (1), reasonably have expected that his normal occupation would have been such employment as aforesaid. Perhaps the hon. Member refers to that provision.

Photo of Mr John Parkinson Mr John Parkinson , Wigan

I am referring to a man in respect of whom, owing to a stoppage in a particular colliery, the assistance officer would refuse benefit on the ground that if he had been employed he would in all probability have been employed in the mine at the moment of the strike, and consequently would have been unemployed as a result of the dispute.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

That again is a hypothetical question, and I suppose that in the ultimate result, it would be answered by the umpire. It is stretching probabilities a good long way to suggest that one of these men who had never had employment at all, and who was nevertheless now not receiving benefit but an allowance under Part II, would have been engaged in the particular pit and no other, even though, of course, the father was employed there. If there was any doubt in the matter, it would always be open to the men to appeal to the court of referees and to the Umpire.

Photo of Mr John Parkinson Mr John Parkinson , Wigan

We are all agreed on this side that everything is hypothetical in this Clause.

8.42 p.m.

Photo of Mr William Mainwaring Mr William Mainwaring , Rhondda East

The term "trade dispute" here remains as indefinite as it has ever been. If an employer offered a resumption of work to a body of men upon terms less favourable than those previously obtained, I take it that it would be regarded under this Bill as a condition of a trade dispute, and that all the workmen, insurable and non-insurable, would be deemed to be outside the operation of this Bill.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

The hon. Member knows that there has gradually been built up a very considerable body of case law as to the precise meaning of a trade dispute. That case law is not being interfered with in any way by the present Bill. That which is a trade dispute now will be a trade dispute to-morrow, and that which is not a trade dispute to-day will not be a trade dispute to-morrow. The situation will remain exactly as it is at present.

Photo of Mr William Mainwaring Mr William Mainwaring , Rhondda East

Is there not a case for an alteration in the terms of this Bill in view of what things are now as the result of the case law referred to by the hon. Gentleman?

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN:

No doubt the hon. Member can make out an admirable case, but I am afraid that the matter does not arise on the Amendment, which applies to a very limited point.

8.44 p.m.

Photo of Mr Joseph Batey Mr Joseph Batey , Spennymoor

May I put this further point to the Parliamentary Secretary in order to see if he can clear it up. I understand that under Part II of this Bill an unemployment committee takes over all able-bodied men—those receiving transitional payment now and those on the Poor Law. Are we to understand that in the future, if an able-bodied man is disqualified from benefit because of a trade dispute, he can go to the public assistance committee?

Amendment negatived.

8.45 p.m.

Photo of Mr James Reid Mr James Reid , Stirling and Falkirk District of Burghs

I beg to move, in page 30, line 21, at the end, to insert: (2) A person whose normal occupation has been employment in respect of which contributions are payable under the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1925 to 1932, shall not be held to be disqualified under the immediately preceding sub-section by reason only of the length of time which has elapsed since he was last employed in such occupation, or of his having undertaken other work at a time when he was unable to obtain employment in his normal occupation. I move this Amendment for the purpose of obtaining an explanation. In the ordinary course of events, during the last few years a number of people have been ruled out of transitional payment and have been sent to the Poor Law, roughly, on the ground that they are no longer normally employed in the industry in which they formerly worked, because they have been such a long time out of work. I imagine that it is the purpose of the Government that all these persons, if they once were in an insurable employment, shall come into Part II of the Bill even if they have been unemployed for 10 years, and have fallen out of National Health Insurance. If the Parliamentary Secretary can give me an assurance that those who have once been insured in National Health Insurance and who have now fallen out of insurance will, nevertheless, come into Part II, the first part of my Amendment will be satisfied.

It may be that the Parliamentary Secretary will have a little more difficulty in meeting the second part of the Amendment. It covers a very important and genuine case, and I hope the Government can meet it within the four corners of the Bill. You may have two people one of whom has drawn benefit or transitional payment without making any particular effort to find a job in any industry, for, it may be, five years. His own industry is closed to him; there are no jobs in it. He might have got a hawker's barrow or have set up in a small shop, but he does not do that and has gone on drawing benefit or transitional payment for years. The other man, being more independent, has set up in a small shop, or taken a barrow, or taken up some other non-insurable occupation as a temporary measure to keep himself and his family during the time that his own industry is in a depressed condition and overcrowded. It is obviously unfair that the man who has simply sat down and drawn benefit should come under Part II, whereas the man who has made some attempt to help himself and has taken up for the time being a non-insurable occupation should fall out of Part II and have to resort to the Poor Law. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will be able to admit that case as well as the other.

8.49 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

I think I can relieve the legitimate fears of my hon Friend. As I explained just now, the words at the beginning of this Clause are not to be regarded as the conditions which a man has to fulfill in order to obtain an allowance, but the qualifications which, if he possesses them, automatically bring him within the scope of Part II of the Bill. The Committee will appreciate that there is a very definite distinction. The hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk (Mr. J. Reid) raises the same point as the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson) and points out that very large numbers of insured persons have been disallowed transitional payment on the ground that they were not normally in insurable employment, or would not normally seek to obtain their livelihood by means of insurable employment. That was a condition for receiving transitional payment.

Under Part II we have tried to make the scope of the provision as wide as possible in order to cover substantially the industrial field. The question that will be put to a man is: "What is your normal occupation?" or, "Have you a normal occupation?" That is a question of fact, and the board and its officers and the chairman of the Appeal Tribunals will, in the light of discussion in the House and the determination of the Government, interpret it in the widest sense and take a broad view of the whole of the man's industrial life. If he has been following an insurable occupation for a considerable period but through circumstances outside his control has been unable any longer to pursue that occupation, that will not of itself be regarded as taking him outside the scope of the industrial field and of Part II. The fact that he has been insurable will normally bring him in. I hope the hon. Member will realise that the words that he suggests would really in practice not work, because the length of the period of unemployment is not defined.

Even if we agreed that the mere fact of being unemployed for a long period was not in itself sufficient to bring the man outside the scope of Part II, the length of that period would depend upon industrial circumstances. Whereas, for example, you might legitimately say that a man on Tyneside or in Durham who had been out of work for six, seven, eight or even nine years was still substantially within the industrial field, you would not be able to say that a man who had not had any work in London for nine years was still within the industrial field. Therefore, the definition of long unemployment would not suffice without a number of other qualifying words. What we have in mind is that the mere length of time a man has been unemployed will not of itself, without a host of other circumstances, put him outside the scope of Part II.

My hon. Friend raised a second point, as to what would happen if a man took up a non-insurable occupation. It is clear that, here again, you have to look at the man's whole life. If the man had been in an insurable occupation during the major portion of his life and had merely taken up uninsurable work as a stop-gap in order to find something to do and to tide him over a time of difficulty, obviously that man would not have forfeited his right to be regarded as inside Part II of the Act. Suppose a man had definitely invested capital that he had accumulated in a business, during such time as he was running that business, obviously he would not be within Part II, but suppose he lost his capital and that his only recourse then was to go back to being an employed person, the Board's officers might well say that that man again came within the scope of Part II. The case in which the taking up of uninsurable work would put him outside the insurance field would be where there were other circumstances which tended to show that the man had definitely abandoned insurable employment. I hope I have succeeded in allaying my hon. Friend's fears and that he may see his way to withdraw the Amendment.

8.55 p.m.

Photo of Mr Jack Lawson Mr Jack Lawson , Chester-le-Street

In the latter case that the Parliamentary Secretary mentions, that of the person who has left an insurable industry in order to take up business or other uninsurable work, it might have been added that under the 1930 Act it was possible to go into an insurable industry before the transition came into operation, to be out for four years, and to go back and still be out of the scheme for benefit. I think that the definition in Sub-section (1, b, ii): The normal occupation would have been such employment as aforesaid but for the industrial circumstances of the district in which he resides. is a very good definition. It is quite clear as far as the definitely depressed areas are concerned. A man might be out of work for eight or 10 years in an area of that kind. For many years there have been areas that were depressed, though for purposes of the Department they were not counted as depressed. In certain industries that have been heavily hit there have been people out of work for a long time, but the area as a whole was not such as to be compared with, say, certain areas in Scotland or in Durham or South Wales, and it was not counted as depressed. I hope that the interpretation of that part of this Sub-section which deals with the industrial circumstances of the district will not be determined by the board along the lines of the previous standards for depressed districts. I think the Parliamentary Secretary sees my point. There has been a standard for depressed districts. In those depressed districts it was clear to all that there was wholesale unemployment. But there were depressed areas on a small scale that were not counted as such for transference purposes. For instance, when a man moved he did not get payment for his removal to another part of the country. Can the Parliamentary Secretary give an assurance that those areas which have hitherto not been scheduled as depressed areas will not be ruled out of this general definition, which in itself is good enough if the minds of members of the board are not prejudiced by the standard previously set up?

8.59 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

The assurance I can give the hon. Member is that this will form the subject of instructions issued by the board for the guidance of its officers. Where you have a very small depressed area in the middle of a much larger non-depressed area not quite the same considerations apply as where a man lives in the middle of a large depressed area. The situation of a girl in Oldham, as regards the prospects of getting a job, is not quite the same as that of a miner's son in Chester-le-Street. Although both regard themselves as depressed areas, having regard to the wider area around they might not be depressed. But that will form the subject of instructions for the guidance of the board's officers.

9.0 p.m.

Photo of Sir Robert Aske Sir Robert Aske , Newcastle upon Tyne East

What the Minister has said is certainly very comforting for many representatives of certain areas where this matter has been one of considerable difficulty, but I ask the Minister to consider between now and the Report stage whether it is not possible to put some words into the Bill in order to give effect to the assurance that he has given to the Committee. I say that for this reason: This word "normal" is in existing legislation and it is a word which has given rise to much difficulty. The authorities who have had to administer the existing legislation have determined as a matter of administration that the person who seeks to prove that he is normally engaged in insurable work fails to do so if he has been out of work for a certain period, but has been engaged in non-insurable work, even for a limited period, and then ceases that work. Sub-section (2), as I understand it, refers only to cases where a person has not had any work at all since attaining 16 years of age. I should be glad if the Minister could make it clear, so that whoever comes to administer the Act will not regard the mere fact of having temporarily been in non-insurable work as a disqualification. We want to ensure that the person would not be disqualified merely by the fact that he had made some effort to help himself and had failed, and then had to come back and re-register.

9.2 p.m.

Photo of Mr Frank Griffith Mr Frank Griffith , Middlesbrough West

I would like to reinforce what has been said by the last speaker. I think the Minister has a perfectly clear idea of the way in which he expects this Clause to work, but we have no assurance that it will work that way. We have had the same experience before. Previous Ministers have assured us that certain words had what seemed to us a plain and intelligible meaning, but subsequently in administration they were found to be interpreted quite differently. As has been said, it is the word "normal" over which we have tripped. No one expected, when the words "not normally" were put forward before, that in fact they were to be extended so far in interpretation that they would bring back practically all of those whom we thought we had saved by abolishing the "genuinely seeking work" provision. Yet that happened. Now we have the assurance that Sub-section (2) affects only those who have not been normally engaged in any remunerative occupation since they were 16 years of age. They are a special part of the problem, and by no means the whole of it. The cases I have in mind are the cases of people who have been in one kind of occupation and through a very laudable desire to help themselves have been forced into another, and then they have been disqualified.

I agree with what the Minister says, that we are not dealing with precisely the same words here. He distinguished between a condition and a qualification. I think that the distinction might prove to be a very narrow one, and I am afraid that if something on the lines of this Amendment is not inserted in the Clause we shall get exactly the same mistakes made under this new interpretation as were made under the old. Although the Minister may intend to give a very wide interpretation to bring all these people in, those who have to administer the Bill may give a different interpretation which will put all these people out. We want to be quite sure. I ask the Minister to realise that we cannot feel assured unless something is put into the Bill. The Amendment expresses lucidly what we want, and if the Minister cannot accept it will he find some words which will ensure that we shall not get the same kind of trouble as we have had in the past?

9.5 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

I think the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. K. Griffith) and the hon. and learned Member for East Newcastle-on-Tyne (Sir R. Aske) are both labouring under a slight misapprehension. The words in the Bill are not the words that are alleged to have caused trouble in the past. What we are dealing with here is not the question whether a man is normally employed in an insurable occupation or might be normally employed in an insurable occupation under the unemployment insurance scheme. What we are dealing with is normal occupation from the point of view of the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Pensions Acts, which is a different thing. What the board's officer has to decide first is whether the man is normally in any occupation at all. That is a question of fact on which I suggest there is no room for any considerable difficulty arising. When that question has been decided, it has then to be decided whether the man's normal occupation is one in respect of which contributions are payable under the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Pensions Acts. I think that the hon. Members who have raised this point will realise that that is quite a different matter from the question whether or not a man fulfils the conditions applying to transitional payments.

9.7 p.m.

Photo of Mr Arthur Caporn Mr Arthur Caporn , Nottingham West

I would support the appeal of the hon. and learned Member for East Newcastle-on-Tyne (Sir R. Aske). The Parliamentary Secretary told us that the question of whether a man was normally in an occupation or not was a question of fact, but with great respect I suggest that the question of a man's normal occupation in the other circumstances indicated is equally a question of fact. I am a little afraid that if this Clause goes through without some definition of "normal occupation" we may find that this body, which, despite all that has been said, is an independent body, may feel bound to follow the decisions given already on similar words though under slightly different conditions. They will be unable to look up the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary for the purpose of ascertaining what was in the mind of the Government and the same interpretation may be given as was given before, and we may find ourselves back in the same difficulty. I hope he will give us the assurance that he will consult the Law Officers in order to make quite certain that there is no need for any further definition and that, if there is such a need, he will introduce words to meet it.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

I can certainly give my hon. Friend that assurance.

9.9 p.m.

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

I ask the Committee to note the words "whose normal occupation is employment in respect of which contributions are payable under the Widows, Orphans and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act." At the present time a man passes out of the Health Acts at the end of two years and nine months. If he has been two years and nine months unemployed he passes out of health insurance with the exception of that portion of the Act relating to the right to a pension up to 1935. It seems to me that in such a case that man's normal period is finished. The law says that he is no longer covered by those Acts, and in order to come within those Acts again he must start to qualify again. It seems clear that a man who has been two years and nine months unemployed must automatically go outside this, because the other Act says that when he has been out for that length of time, in order to qualify to be a contributor again he must start de novo. At the end of two years and nine months that man's occupation has ceased to be an occupation within the Widows, Orphans and Old Age Pensions Act, unless you are going to bring in something which will safeguard his right.

Under the Bill as I see it, the condition as to "not normally in insurable occupation" is abolished but in place of it, you have set a definite limit covered by the Health Acts and until the Minister introduces something overriding it that will be the law. I think I know what is in the Parliamentary Secretary's mind. In the case of a shipyard worker in Glasgow who has been seven years without work, the Parliamentary Secretary says, in effect, that that man is covered because if he had got work during the seven years, it would have been in an insurable occupation. But that applies to the boy who has never worked at all. The Health Insurance Act says to a man "You are no longer a health insurance contributor; you are no longer covered by the Act; for normal purposes you pass outside it—that is to say your normal occupation is finished as far as that Act is concerned." Unless there is something to override it, that other Act must have a considerable bearing upon this question.

9.12 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

I think the explanation is fairly simple. It comes back to what I said earlier that these words at the beginning of Clause 35 do not lay down conditions that the man has to fulfil in order to receive an allowance. They state the qualification the possession of which enables him to come automatically within the scope of Part II. The problem is, what is his normal occupation. Supposing that a man is a coal-miner. The mere fact that he has been out of work for two years and nine months does not make him cease to be a coal-miner. Coal mining remains his normal occupation, and as soon as the pit re-opens whether after three years or five years or ten years he will go back to it and will again follow his occupation as a coal-miner. Unless he takes steps in the interval to divest himself of it, that remains his occupation. It is that qualification which brings him within Part II and not the fact that whether this month or this year or last month or last year, he happens to have paid contributions. The question is whether, if he had been employed, he would have been employed in an occupation in which he would have had to pay Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act contributions.

9.15 p.m.

Photo of Mr Oswald Lewis Mr Oswald Lewis , Colchester

Those of us who sit here are at a little disadvantage, because we did not hear clearly what the Parliamentary Secretary said in reply to an appeal from the opposite side as to his consulting the Law Officers of the Crown. We cannot make up our minds whether he said that he certainly would or that he certainly would not consult them, and if he would tell us what he did say, it would assist us in coming to a decision.

Photo of Mr James Reid Mr James Reid , Stirling and Falkirk District of Burghs

In view of that assurance and also of the assurance that the Government will see that the two classes of people with whom the Amendment deals are covered, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

9.16 p.m.

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN:

The next Amendment that I select is that in the name of the hon. and gallant Member for Tiverton (Lieut.-Colonel Acland-Troyte)—in page 30, line 38, after "applies" insert: may be raised by any person (including a public assistance authority) and.

Photo of Mr Jack Lawson Mr Jack Lawson , Chester-le-Street

On a point of Order. May I ask what is the reason for your ruling out the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. Logan)—in line 31, to leave out "may" and insert "shall"?

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN:

I did not rule it out. I merely did not select it. If the hon. Member presses it as of great importance, I will select it, but it did not seem to me of great importance.

9.17 p.m.

Photo of Mr Jack Lawson Mr Jack Lawson , Chester-le-Street

I beg to move, in page 30, line 31, to leave out "may," and to insert "shall."

I wanted to ask the Parliamentary Secretary a question. This is a case in which a man may be deemed to be capable of and available for work notwithstanding certain periods of sickness, and it says: Rules made under this Part of the Act may provide that a person shall … be deemed to be capable of and available for work. I wanted to ask if the hon. Gentleman could not make that "shall," so that occasional sickness as a test whether a man is capable or not shall be put within the Rule definitely.

9.18 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

I do not think in this case there is any material difference between "may" and "shall," because it is fairly clear that the board will have to draw up rules for the guidance of its officers determining what period of sickness is to be regarded as appropriate. I think the hon. Member may rest assured that these rules will be made, otherwise the board could not possibly carry out its duties.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

Subject to correction—I have been in the House for some time, and I think the hon. Member has been in the House even longer—I think he will find that the wording is always "may." I have heard this point raised by every Opposition, when it has been suggested that "shall" ought to be inserted instead of "may," and my recollection is that the Government have always resisted it.

Amendment negatived.

9.19 p.m.

Photo of Mr Henry White Mr Henry White , Birkenhead East

I beg to move, in page 30, to leave out lines 39 to 44, and to insert: determined by the same persons and in the same manner as if the question had arisen upon a claim for benefit under the Unemployment Insurance Acts. This is one of several Amendments which aim, without destroying the structure of Part II of the Bill, at co-ordinating the activities and also the policy to some extent of the two independent parties to what has been described as this three-decker or tripartite scheme of dealing with help for the unemployed. It may be that if an Amendment on the previous Clause to substitute the local advisory committee of the Ministry of Labour for the advisory committee proposed to be set up under Part I had been reached, the Minister might have accepted that Amendment, and if he had, it would have been in order for him to have accepted this Amendment also, as indeed I hope he will. The Royal Commission, in both its Majority and Minority Reports, did not envisage three independent bodies and authorities dealing with different sections for the help of the unemployed. They envisaged a unitary system. We have now two independent bodies, and very weighty arguments have been addressed to the Committee from various quarters pointing out that there will almost inevitably develop a clash of policies and practice between the three parties to the scheme. These Amendments have for their object, not to destroy the structure of Part II, but to make it more workable than it appears to be at present. Some of us are very much impressed, I might almost say oppressed, by the difficulties which may arise from the clash of policies between these bodies, and we would seek to bring those policies into some kind of relationship.

With regard to the Amendment, which we have asked to be taken with other Amendments, so that its full import may be seen, we are impressed by the difficulties which will arise from the practice of setting up a large number of appeal committees without any co-ordinating authority between them. Under the practice and administration of the Ministry of Labour in connection with unemployment insurance, we have a perfectly well recognised practice. There the insurance officer decides cases, and in cases of doubt they go before a court of referees. The court of referees decides the matter, but if again there is doubt, in certain circumstances they go to the Umpire. The decision of the Umpire, when taken, is given to all the courts of referees and the local employment committees throughout the land, and the result is that case law is built up, which is perfectly satisfactory and which ensures uniformity of treatment throughout the whole of the districts. Whether the practice gives satisfaction or not, there it is. It is well understood, and it gives uniformity of treatment.

It is to be observed that, in connection with the administration of some parts of our help to the unemployed, one of the matters which has given the greatest dissatisfaction has been the unevenness of treatment in regard to allowances and the like as between one district and another. When we come to look at the proposals here, which will set up appeal committees in such districts as may be determined, there is no indication as to how many committees will be set up, but if the number of committees corresponds roughly to the number of courts of referees under the Unemployment Insurance Acts, and there is no co-ordinating authority between them, it opens up a vista of confusion and administrative difficulty of the very first order. Therefore, we propose that, instead of these unco-ordinated committees, the task should be performed by those bodies which are operating at the present time and which have all the experience that is necessary. Something of this kind is essential if there is not to be great dislocation and confusion resulting from the operation of these committees.

These appeal committees will have an extraordinarily difficult task to perform. For example, they will have to decide a very large number of cases chiefly turning on the definition of the terms "normal" and "normality," of the kind which we have been discussing on the previous Amendment. There may be objections which we shall have to take to the constitution of thse appeal committees when we come to the Sixth Schedule, but it is clear that the establishment of these independent committees without any co-ordinating authority, without any machinery by which case-law can be built up, opens up a system which will lead to complete confusion and give very bad decisions.

9.26 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

I am sure the hon. Member for East Birkenhead (Mr. White) will forgive me if I suggest that, although the speech which he has just delivered would have been perfectly appropriate to the Amendment on the previous Clause, it is not appropriate when we are discussing the question of scope. The appeal tribunal with which we are dealing here has to decide purely questions of scope: whether a man does or does not come within Part II of the Bill; in other words, whether or not a man follows a normal occupation in respect of which contributions would be payable under the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Pensions Acts. He said something about the necessity of building up case-law and of seeing that the various decisions were co-ordinated. If he would look at the top of the next page, he would see that there is a proviso that in case of dispute questions shall be referred to the Minister of Health. The court of referees and the Umpire under the Unemployment Insurance Acts have never decided such questions. In the case of unemployment insurance the person who decides whether a man is insurable is the Minister of Labour. In the case of the Pensions Acts, the person who decides whether or not a man's occupation is insurable is the Minister of Health, with the right of appeal in certain circumstances on points of law to the High Court. It is the duty of the insurance officers to see in the first place whether or not a man comes within Part II, and if any question arises the appeal will go to the appeal tribunal, and any case under the Pensions Acts will go to the Minister of Health. Therefore, while there might have been something to be said for this Amendment taken in conjunction with the previous Amendments to Clause 34, if they had been carried, as it stands it is meaningless.

9.29 p.m.

Photo of Mr William Cove Mr William Cove , Aberavon

I want to emphasise the point made by the hon. Member, or to extend it a little further. The hon. Gentleman has replied that what we have contended all along is right. It is obvious from the scheme itself and from the speech to which we have just listened that it is impossible to mix Part I with Part II. Clearly, Part I and its ordinary machinery are intended to be placed upon what is called an insurance principle, with an insurance scheme. The Minister of Health now comes in, and he is the final arbiter. Therefore, since Part II is Poor Law relief, with the means test and all the apparatus that applies to Poor Law relief, it is obviously impossible for the Minister to accept this Amendment mixing the two schemes together. I sympathise with the object of my hon. Friends, but they must bear it clearly in mind that the Minister intends that those who come under Part II shall be treated as paupers.

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN:

The hon. Member is now straying somewhat outside the scope of the Amendment. Whatever the treatment of people who come under Part II may be, it will not be affected if this Amendment is carried.

Photo of Mr William Cove Mr William Cove , Aberavon

I only wish to emphasise in a nutshell what the Minister has told us: that this machinery in Part II must be confined to machinery which has for its object the administration of Poor Law relief.

9.31 p.m.

Photo of Sir Ian Horobin Sir Ian Horobin , Southwark Central

I do not want to press the Parliamentary Secretary, but as I understand his answer he agrees with us that some machinery for appeal corresponding to the Umpire is necessary to review these decisions, and the answer of my hon. Friend is that it is provided in the Bill. That may be so, but I suggest to him that his answer did not fully show that to be the case. I refer particularly to proviso (a) on page 31, where there is provided appropriate machinery for deciding the question whether any particular employment is employment in respect of which contributions are payable under the Pensions Act. Let me take this case. He mentioned a little time ago the case of a coal miner who had not been down the pit for 10 years, and who said that when the pit reopened he would go down the pit, and that would be his normal occupation. That is all right, but suppose that in the course of the 10 years the man has endeavoured to set up a small shop of his own in a laudable effort to find employment. That does not come under the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Pensions Act, and the question might arise for a decision whether, having opened a shop, run it for three years and gone broke and shut it up, it has taken him out of the normal employment of coal mining. That is not a question of whether coal mining is suitable employment under the Pensions Act. The point would then come up for decision, for how long a period employment which was admitted not to be under that Act was necessary to take him out of it within the meaning of the words "normal occupation." Cases of a similar sort may arise, and I am not clear in my mind that the Parliamentary Secretary's answer satisfactorily ensures that there is always a proper appeal. I do not want to press the point, but I think it is one which we should decide.

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Dundee

I should like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary if that does not come under the Amendment with which we have finished? The last Amendment was withdrawn because we had an assurance that these very people who had gone out of work in an industry and had taken up other work would be covered by that provision.

Photo of Sir Ian Horobin Sir Ian Horobin , Southwark Central

If the Parliamentary Secretary will give me the assurance th[...] that is so, I will not press the point.

9.33 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

I do not know whether the hon. Member for Central Southwark (Mr. Horobin) was in his place when I was explaining the matter, but I took particular care to show that in all probability the man would be regarded as being within the scope of the Acts. What the appeal tribunal would have to decide in the case he quoted is whether the man has a normal occupation. If the appeal tribunal said, "Yes, this man's normal occupation is that of a coal miner, from which he departed temporarily in order to try to get temporary work rather than do nothing, and, having failed, he had to seek employment somehow," they would presumably decide that he was a coal miner. If the appeal tribunal decides that his normal occupation is that of a coal miner, the next question for decision is whether coal mining is an occupation in respect of which payment of contribution under the Pensions Acts is necessary. If there is any dispute about that it goes to the Minister of Health.

9.35 p.m.

Photo of Sir Ian Horobin Sir Ian Horobin , Southwark Central

I am afraid I did not make myself plain, and I do not think we are on the same point. I was in my place when the Parliamentary Secretary was speaking, and I think I understood him correctly that the appeal tribunal of "A" district, having that point before them, might settle it in such and such a way and say that the man was normally a coal-miner. The appeal tribunal in district "B" however, may decide the re- verse. You would thus have one appeal tribunal giving a decision contradictory of another tribunal, but under the Bill that is not a case that can come to the Minister for decision, because the only thing in the Bill which can go to him for decision is whether the employment is employment in respect of which contributions are payable. That is not the point at issue.

Photo of Mr William Mainwaring Mr William Mainwaring , Rhondda East

Is it clear in the case of an appeal against a decision of the officers of the board that the appeal is to the appeal tribunal, since it appears to be implied that the appeal is to the chairman of the appeal tribunal whose decision is final?

9.38 p.m.

Photo of Mr Frank Griffith Mr Frank Griffith , Middlesbrough West

I think the Minister is confusing two different questions. We know that it is the Minister of Health who has to decide whether an employment is of a particular kind for which contributions are payable. The question is whether a given person is normally within an employment. As far as I can see, there is a whole system of different kinds of appeal. When we come to Clause 35 (1, b, ii) there is another kind of question about a person not having been normally engaged in any remunerative occupation since attaining the age of 16 years. That is another kind of question which has to be decided, and it would not be decided by the Minister of Health, but by a different method of appeal. In Sub-section (3, b) another question is referred for decision and the purpose of my hon. Friend is to adopt the method laid down generally. This question is: whether a person is disqualified for receiving benefit under the Unemployment Insurance Acts owing to his having lost employment by reason of a stoppage of work which was due to a trade dispute. That has actually to be referred eventually to the insurance officer and determined by the same persons and in the same manner as if the question had arisen on a claim for benefit under the Unemployment Insurance Acts. If that is the right means of dealing with that kind of question under Part II, I cannot see why it is not capable of general application, unless it be that the Minister, in his desire to show his great care for every class under the Bill, deems it necessary to have a different machinery of appeal for every kind of question that can arise. I do not see what his objection is to accepting the Amendment.

9.40 p.m.

Photo of Mr Arthur Caporn Mr Arthur Caporn , Nottingham West

The explanation of the Parliamentary Secretary would be satisfactory if we could assume that there was only one appeal tribunal. He kept referring to the fact that the matter would be decided by the appeal tribunal. The Sixth Schedule seems to suggest that there will be a number of appeal tribunals. Some of us have the fear that these matters may be decided differently by a number of appeal tribunals having jurisdiction in different parts of the country, and what we are asking is that the Minister should consider providing some co-ordination so that by means of an Umpire authoritative decisions can be given to apply to the whole country. I hope my right hon. Friend will assure us that this matter will be considered, and that between now and the Report stage something will be done to make it certain that we shall not have different decisions.

9.41 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

The hon. Member is labouring under a misapprehension upon the work of the appeal tribunals. It is a question in each case of the facts, to be decided in the light of the circumstances. There is no question of co-ordination. It is a question of fact—"Is the man a coal-miner or not?" We do not need an Umpire sitting in London who has not seen the man to decide whether John Jones is or is not normally a coalminer. Such co-ordination as is required will be achieved by means of the various regulations and instructions issued by the board to its officers who make a decision in the first instance and who will have an opportunity of appealing to the proper tribunal. It will only be in rare cases that any particular difficulty will arise. It will be a question of fact, which will be decided by the appeal tribunal in the light of the local circumstances. I pointed out that the words "long unemployment," which one hon. Member suggested, were unsatisfactory, because they had a different meaning in Durham from their meaning in London. That is precisely the sort of question which the appeal tribunal is the most effective body to decide in the light of the local circumstances. No question of law arises at all.

Photo of Mr Arthur Caporn Mr Arthur Caporn , Nottingham West

Would my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour consider between now and the Report stage whether he could provide that the chairmen of the appeal tribunals should meet together from time to time to consider any questions on which different decisions had been given and lay down an authoritative decision for the appeal tribunals?

Photo of Mr Henry White Mr Henry White , Birkenhead East

Did I understand my hon. Friend to say that the board would give directions to the chairmen of the appeal tribunals?

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

No. But the primary decision whether a man comes within the scope of Part II of the Act is with the officers. Therefore, the great majority of the cases which some hon. Members have in mind as creating difficulties will fall for decision originally on the officers. It is not the question of the conditions on which a man may receive an allowance under Part II. The question of qualification once decided, a man is automatically brought within the scope of Part II.

Amendment negatived.

9.44 p.m.

Photo of Mr Jack Lawson Mr Jack Lawson , Chester-le-Street

I beg to move, in page 30, line 39, to leave out "officers of."

This Sub-section lays it down that the officers of the board shall determine whether a person is within the scope of the Bill or not. We suggest that it is not for the officers to determine that but for the board itself. The Committee will notice that later it is laid down that a person can have an appeal from an officer's decision, and that the decision of the appeal board is final. In any case, of course, the officer will make a certain decision about a person. We think that the matter should be considered by the board and settled by them, and that the appeal should be not from the officers, but from the board. We have had the misfortune or the good fortune, whichever it may be accounted—we regard it as a misfortune—to have some advance experience of this method. Where we have had commissioners operating instead of public assistance committees my experience has been that their officers tend to play for safety. They have a sort of rough and ready plan to which they work. I think the Committee will agree that the officers of the board would not have quite the same elastic powers in making decisions as the board itself. At an early stage in our experience of the Commissioner in Durham we had to ask that local representatives of trade unions and various organisations should be allowed to interview the Commissioner and put the cases direct before him. My experience throughout the county generally was that the officers did not act upon the highest standard. That is nothing to their discredit, because they have to be safe in their decisions. When we have appeal to the Commissioner, who naturally has much more power, he has been able to reverse the decisions of his officers.

It seems to us that there will be pretty much the same experience here. We think that instead of leaving the officer to decide, with an appeal from him, the board ought to be the authority to give the final decision whether a person is within the ambit of the Bill or not. If there is one question which the board are paid to settle it is this kind of question; and our contention is all the more important in view of the discussions we have had as to the class of persons who will have to apply to the board. All the questions which we have been talking over for the last two hours will be the subject of decisions by these officers of the board, with a right of appeal, and we say that however broad the regulations may be, they are sufficiently grave questions to warrant a decision being given by the board. In any case the officers will decide first, and there is no reason why the board should not overhaul the decision before an appeal is made. I feel that it would make for the better working of the Measure if the words which we propose to omit were deleted.

9.49 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

The reason why these words were put in was to make quite sure that the two important decisions which will affect the individual, namely, the question of scope and the determination of the amount to be paid, should be made by representatives of the board who are directly responsible. We wish to make it quite clear that the board are responsible for the acts of those who make these decisions. For example, it will not be open to the board to delegate these two particular powers to officers of local authorities; they will have to be made by officers of the board. In certain circumstances the board may possibly appoint an officer of a local authority to be also an officer of the board for this purpose, but any decision made on these two particular points will have to be made on the definite responsibility of the board, and that is why we have put in these words. It is clear that the board could not, in practice, make the determinations in the very large number of cases occurring in all parts of the country, and if the words were left out, we should have to put in some such Clause as exists in the Unemployment Insurance Act of 1920, which says that anything required or authorised under the Act to be done by, to or before the Minister of Labour may be regarded as having been done by, to or before a Secretary to the Ministry or by, to or before an assistant secretary, or any other person authorised by him. We have not put such a Clause in this Bill, but have substituted for it the words "officers of the board." If we accepted the hon. Member's Amendment we should, for practical purposes of administration, have to put in such a Clause in order to enable the board to delegate its authority to its officers.

I think on reflection that the hon. Member will agree that the parallel with the Commissioners is not quite exact, because there the appeal lay from the officers to the commissioners, and here the appeal does not lie from the officers of the board to the board but from the officers of the board to an outside tribunal. Therefore, in some ways, the men coming under Part II of the Bill will be in a more favourable position than people in Durham, because they will be able to appeal to an outside tribunal instead of appealing from Caesar's officers to Caesar.

9.53 p.m.

Photo of Mr Joseph Batey Mr Joseph Batey , Spennymoor

This is a small Amendment but a most important one, because it puts the men who come under Part II in a different position from those under Part I. Under Part I the officer had very little power as to reducing the benefit. Various Measures we have passed have prevented an officer from having that large power, and the question has to go to the court of referees. Here the question is to be left to the officer. We may get a good officer, but, also we may get an officer who is not so good. Seeing that he has to decide the means test, has to decide the amount which will be paid to an individual, he is exercising an enormous responsibility. Even although we dislike the present system of public assistance, it is not one person there who gives the decision. It is so easy for one person to make a mistake, and where it is a matter of almost life and death to the applicant, we ought to hesitate before conferring such power on one man. The Parliamentary Secretary says that it will be impossible to send every appeal to the appeal tribunal for them to decide the amount of relief to be paid to an individual. That ought not to be difficult. It would be a safeguard if, before the officer acted upon his decision, he reported the matter to the appeal tribunal. It is an important function if one person has to make a decision whether 15s. 3d. or 7s. should be paid, and is the most dangerous thing in this part of the Bill. It is contrary to what is in Part I, and it is dangerous to leave the whole application of the means test to one individual.

The CHAIRMAN:

I think the hon. Member is misreading the Clause. It is only a question of deciding whether a person is or is not a person to whom this Part of the Bill applies.

Photo of Mr Jack Lawson Mr Jack Lawson , Chester-le-Street

I think that it was the Parliamentary Secretary himself who first raised the question of the amount to be decided. I do not dispute your Ruling for a moment, because it is true that it is a question of persons who are or who are not under this Part of the Act, as the Parliamentary Secretary has said.

Photo of Mr Joseph Batey Mr Joseph Batey , Spennymoor

Perhaps I was putting a rather wider construction upon the words than I should, in referring to the means test. It certainly does apply to those who are affected by trades disputes. We have had a long experience of trade disputes, and a lot of people——

The CHAIRMAN:

That question does not come under this Amendment, any more than does the question of amount.

9.57 p.m.

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

May I ask only one question, subject to your Ruling? May a person be accompanied before the officer by someone else? Has he a right to go accompanied by his trade union representative or some other person, or does this Clause cut him out from that? This Clause is to decide whether a person comes under Part II or not. Is there anything to deny him the privilege of bringing another person, when he appears before the chairman of the tribunal? Complications may arise in the consideration of the question as to whether he is under Part II. Obviously the officers must put questions in order to settle the point, and they may have to decide important questions of law and of fact. It may, therefore, be important for the person concerned to have somebody to appear with him, either upon the first appearance before the officer, or at his further appeal.

The CHAIRMAN:

I think that I can allow this question to be answered briefly, because it is for the purpose of throwing light upon the Amendment, but I cannot permit a discussion as to questions of procedure.

9.59 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

I think that the question arises upon another Amendment which is upon the Paper, and I do not know whether I shall be allowed to give an answer. It is fairly clear that any interested parties have the right to appear before the officer. On general grounds we think it is desirable not at present to limit the powers of the board but to leave the board free to determine whether anyone shall have access to the officer. We think the board will lay down instructions and rules as to persons who shall normally have access to the officer.

10.1 p.m.

Photo of Colonel Harry Nathan Colonel Harry Nathan , Bethnal Green North East

The important question is not who is to exercise the executive function under this subsection but where the responsibility rests. The Parliamentary Secretary proceeded on the footing that under this Clause the officer of the board is acting as the agent of the board. If that were so, it would be all for the good, and I certainly should not raise any question, but by the specific terms of this Sub-section the statutory obligation of deciding the questions which will come for review under it rests not upon the board but upon an officer of the board. The board, as such, falls upon the Consolidated Fund, and is not susceptible to review in this House for any of its actions, whereas the officer of the board falls upon the Vote and his actions are susceptible to review in this House. The assistance of the learned Solicitor-General might be useful upon this point, because it is merely a question of construction.

By this Sub-section, it is an officer of the board who has to take a decision, but it is by no means stated to be on behalf of the board. If the Parliamentary Secretary will refer to a later Sub-section, he will see that a distinction is drawn. I am referring to Sub-section (5) of Clause 37 and to line 40, page 33, where the board is to act through officers, making it clear that when it comes to a question of investigating the circumstances of applicants for allowances, the responsibility rests with the board, and the statutory responsibility is thrown upon the board as such. In the subsection which we are now discussing, the responsibility of the board is, I submit, excluded, and the responsibility will rest exclusively upon that person who may, for the time being, be exercising these functions, not on behalf of the board, but by virtue of the fact that he is an officer of the board. The two Sub-sections should be brought into line. One of them must have been drafted without due regard to the contents of the other.

10.4 p.m.

Photo of Mr Thomas Martin Mr Thomas Martin , Blaydon

I cannot quite see why an officer of the board should not do one duty, have the appeal tribunal as his superior authority, and state a case for the superior authority. I will go back to what the Parliamentary Secretary said a few minutes ago, in relation to the power of the board, and I would ask a question similar to that put by the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), not only as to whether someone may go with the man, but as to whether there will be a long time-lag between the decision of the officer and appeal to the tribunal. Many hardships have been created in the past owing to a long time-lag before a decision was made. The hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson) mentioned the commissioner in Durham, and I am very glad that he was able to state that he has been successful in prevailing upon the commissioner to change his decision in several cases. I have found exactly the same thing. The commissioner and his officers in Durham have been most reasonable. I ask that a man shall be in a position to get a rapid appeal to the tribunal, and then that he should have every facility to make that rapid appeal as successful as possible. Very often these people cannot present their case, and they are not able to know for some time whether they come under the board or not. I think it is quite right that the officers of the board should be the people to decide this particular point.

10.6 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

Let me deal first with the point raised by the hon. and gallant Member for North East Bethnal Green (Major Nathan). My hon. and gallant Friend would have found the answer himself if he had read further on in the Sub-section. He only read half way down: For the purpose of investigating the circumstances of applicants for allowances, the board may act either through its own officers,"— If he had read on he would have found— or, if and so long as there are in force arrangements made in that behalf by the board with the Minister or any local authority, through such officers of the Minister, or of the authority, as may be provided by any such arrangement. That reinforces what I have said. We want the distinction to show that the board is responsible for the decision of its own officers in the two main considerations as they affect the men, namely, scope and determination; but that where it is merely a matter of investigation it is open to the board to employ its own officers or the officers of the local authority. The fact that in investigations we allow the board to use other officers shows that where they only use their own officers there is an added responsibility. I can assure the hon. Member for Blaydon (Mr. Martin) that the rule which will be made by the board, and which must be approved by the Minister of Labour, will provide that in such cases the applicant will be entitled to have a friend to make sure that his case is properly presented.

10.8 p.m.

Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Wakefield

The Parliamentary Secretary has not met the case we have tried to put. On an earlier occasion I suggested that the officers of the board were going to be given a responsibility larger than that which is normally given to officers of a Department of State or of a statutory authority. The Clause has been described by the Parliamentary Secretary as a matter of scope. That may look a simple term, but as a matter of fact what the officer is called upon to determine is whether a person is within the scope of Part II of the Bill or not. He is to be called upon to determine whether a man is to be the creature of the Unemployment Assistance Board or whether he must go to the Poor Law. Whatever may be the right procedure—I am not satisfied that the people who are ruled out will not be better off—that is not the point. The point is that of the authority. As a matter of fact, we are putting into the hands of officers of the board the power to determine whether a person falls within one Act of Parliament or within another Act. The Parliamentary Secretary, earlier in the Debates, said that it was merely a matter of phraseology. Why is it that in Act of Parliament after Act of Parliament enormous responsibilities are thrown on the Minister of Labour. In thousands of cases the Minister of Labour never hears of them, knows nothing whatever about them, but he has to take the responsibility for the actions of his officers.

Under the Bill a certain responsibility is placed not on the board, not on the Minister, but on the officers of the board. If a person is ruled out of Part II, or ruled in when perhaps he would like to be out, he has an appeal; but that appeal is final. There is no appeal to the governing authority under this part of the Bill; no appeal to the Unemployment Assistance Board. Here is a board which is to lay down the conditions under which people shall receive assistance but which is not allowed itself to determine who are the people who shall receive that assistance, if there are doubtful cases. That is an illogical position. The Parliamentary Secretary says that this is not an appeal from Caesar to Caesar. The truth is that under the Bill Caesar has himself abdicated. There is the Caesar, the Minister of Labour; he is the person who ought to have taken this supreme authority and be answerable to the House of Commons. But Caesar has departed, and has appointed a sort of triumvirate, an Unemployment Assistance Board. They are the new Caesars. An ordinary member of the proletariat—I am sorry I have mixed my language a little—a plebeian, having been deprived of the right of an appeal to Caesar cannot even appeal to the sub-Caesar. He has to appeal to a sub-sub-Caesar, after his case has been decided by a sub-sub-sub-Caesar.

The Parliamentary Secretary has got himself into a knot, indeed, it is more than a knot; it is a matter of substantial importance. The question is whether a man is within the scope of Part II of the Bill or not. The reason we are moving the Amendment is to try and bring the Committee back to this point, that this is an enormous bureaucracy, which is going to be worked against the interests of the unemployed. They are unknown and irresponsible—I do not mean without any sense of responsibility, but irresponsible in the sense that they are responsible to no elected body of persons. They may determine whether a man or a woman is within the scope of the Bill or outside it. If one of of these officers—a pure bureaucrat, not responsible to anybody locally at all, and even, in this matter, outside the jurisdiction of the central authority, the Unemployment Assistance Board, which employs and pays him—says that the person is outside, the only appeal that that person has is to an entirely different body, and, if that body also says he is outside, that ends the matter. The board sits there in supreme authority, and there is no appeal to Caesar. I submit to the Committee that that is most unjust, that the Parliamentary Secretary has not answered the case in favour of this Amendment, and that the Committee would be wise to accept it, even in face of the advice which the hon. Gentleman has given.

10.17 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

I am very anxious not to leave the right hon. Gentleman with any sense of grievance, and, if he thinks it would ease the position in any way, I am prepared, between now and Report, to see whether we can devise a form of words which will make it clear that the responsibility is the board's, although the decision in the first instance will be taken by one of these officers. Obviously, it will be impossible for the board to take every single one of these decisions. It must sit in London, and it must have the power of delegating to its officers. Provided that the right hon. Gentleman accepts the fact that the board must have the power to delegate its authority to these officers, I will certainly see what can be done between now and Report.

10.18 p.m.

Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Wakefield

Now we are coming to some basis of understanding. I am not pretending that the board is going to settle every case; obviously it cannot. My point is that the responsibility should be put on the national authority, on whom Parliament is conferring these powers. If the right hon. Gentleman and the Parliamentary Secretary will do that, and will further consider whether there can be some form of appeal beyond the ordinary appeal tribunal—I am not asking for a pledge, but if they will consider that—I am sure that my hon. Friends would be prepared to withdraw their Amendment.

Amendment negatived.

10.19 p.m.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Gilbert Acland-Troyte Lieut-Colonel Sir Gilbert Acland-Troyte , Tiverton

I beg to move, in page 31, line 19, after "determined," to insert: subject to the right of the public assistance authority to make written or oral representations thereon. At present there is an appeal from the insurance officer to the court of referees, and, while I do not suggest that the courts of referees do not judge these cases perfectly fairly, it is well known that they have a tendency to put people off benefit and on to the public assistance committee on rather slight excuses. Accordingly, we feel that the public assistance committee, which already is given a right of appeal, should also be given the right to be heard, which it has not at present, when the appeal is being considered.

10.20 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

I do not think we can accept this Amendment as it stands, but my right hon. Friend will look into the matter before Report and see whether any form of words can be devised. I hope to have an opportunity of discussing with my hon. and gallant Friend whether some, and if so, what form of words could be accepted.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Mr James Milner Mr James Milner , Leeds South East

I beg to move, in page 31, line 29, at the end, to insert: Provided also that any question of law may be referred by the chairman of the appeal tribunal direct to the High Court and shall be dealt with in conformity with such rules of court as may be made for the purpose. This Sub-section provides that: Any question whether a person is or is not a person to whom this part of this Act applies shall be decided by officers of the board, but any applicant for an allowance under this Part of this Act or any public assistance authority may appeal from any such decision to the chairman of the appeal tribunal. It would appear that it is the duty of the chairman of the appeal tribunal to deal with an appeal made to him in accordance with paragraphs (a) and (b) at the top of page 31. In any case where dispute or doubt arises whether any employment is employment in respect of which contributions are payable under the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Acts, it is the duty of the chairman to refer the matter to the decision of the Minister of Health in such manner as he may direct. The purpose of the Amendment is to enable the chairman of the appeal tribunal, in the event of any question of law being involved, to refer it, if he thinks right and proper, direct to the High Court instead of to the Minister of Health in the first case and thereafter, in accordance with the present law, the appellant or the public assistance authority would have the right of going to a court of law. The Amendment seeks to do away with the intervening appeal to the Minister of Health and in appropriate cases to give permissive powers to the chairman of the appeal tribunal to refer any question of law to the High Court direct. That would be a great convenience and a great saving of time and expenditure to the appellant and to the public assistance authorities.

10.34 p.m.

Photo of Mr Donald Somervell Mr Donald Somervell , Crewe

We have had on previous Amendments the plea that we should as far as possible retain uniformity of procedure and try to fit this Bill in to the existing procedure and machinery and not to duplicate and have parallel procedure which might conflict. Similar questions to this which arise under these Acts, namely, whether employments are employments within the Health Insur- ance Acts, are referred to the Minister, and since 1912 a very considerable body of case-law has been built up. There is an appeal to the High Court by the Minister, and also a person who is aggrieved by the decision of the Minister can appeal and is completely safeguarded. The person aggrieved is completely safeguarded. He can go, or the Minister himself in a proper case can refer the matter, to the High Court. It has generally been found possible to arrange so that those cases, which have not been very many, are taken by the same judge, and on the whole, I think, it is right to claim that procedure has worked to the general satisfaction of those concerned. I suggest to the Committee that it would be much better to keep the machinery which is laid down in the Bill, namely, that where a question arises as to whether any employment is employment in respect of which contributions are payable, it should go to the Minister, who has for the last 21 years been considering, with his officials in the Department, that very question, with the right of appeal to the High Court from his decision, rather than do as the Amendment would do, namely, give a right not to the person aggrieved, but simply to the chairman of the appeal tribunal to make a reference to the High Court at that stage.

As I understand the Amendment, it would not cut out, whatever its intention, the subsequent right—it would be wrong if it did—of the applicant to go to the Minister of Health, and to go from the Minister of Health to the High Court. It would really be introducing two stages at which the High Court could be resorted to, and it would be also short-circuiting the advantage of going to the Minister who has had to deal with these questions, and who has dealt with them for so long. It would really give no increased right to the applicant, and it would be introducing an unnecessary complication in a procedure which has been found to work well and which may properly be introduced into the Act in the form in which it is. I hope, therefore, that possibly these observations may appeal with some force to the hon. Gentlemen who have put forward the Amendment.

10.28 p.m.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I am afraid that what the hon. and learned Gentle- man has said does not quite satisfy us. We want these words inserted in order to short-circuit the Minister in cases where it is obvious to the skilled chairman and to the appeal tribunal that it is a matter that will have to go to the court. It seems unnecessary in this case where you have a skilled chairman, unlike the cases which arise under the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Acts and the National Health Insurance Act, that he should be entitled to say that this is obviously a case which ought to go to the court, and it should go direct to the court, instead of putting the applicant to the trouble of having to go on appeal to the Ministry of Health, and then having to claim his right of appeal from the Minister of Health to the court, and so having to go through three stages. It will only be in cases where someone found competent to judge, the chairman of the appeal tribunal, says: "It is obviously a case which ought to go to the court. It is not worth putting it through another stage to the ultimate Court of Appeal. It is much better to go straight there."

I am sure that the hon. and learned Gentleman will agree with me that in any cases of this sort or of any sort, the more appeals you can cut out the better. The multiplication of appeals is a terrible thing for a litigant or for an applicant of any sort. Where a responsible person says that the case ought to go direct to the courts for decision we are anxious that there should be that opportunity.

That capable person may say: "In this case I am going to refer the matter direct to the court." In another case he may say: "Let it go to the Minister and, if necessary, you may appeal from the Minister to the court. Where this responsible person says that, in his view, considering all the matters, the case should go straight to the court we do ask that that provision may be incorporated in the Bill in order to save in these cases the unnecessary step of the applicant having two appeals to make.

Photo of Mr Donald Somervell Mr Donald Somervell , Crewe

I think possibly in the case suggested the intermediate appeal to the Minister would be purely a formal one. I appreciate the point raised with respect to the skilled chairman. I agree with what the hon. and learned Member has said regarding the advisability of not having a multiplication of appeals, and between now and the Report stage we will certainly look into the matter and see if we can devise a form of words to meet the position.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

In those circumstances, I would suggest that my hon. and gallant Friend withdraw his Amendment.

Photo of Mr James Milner Mr James Milner , Leeds South East

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 221; Noes, 54.

Division No. 111.]AYES.[10.33 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelBrown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)Dower, Captain A. V. G.
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.Burnett, John GeorgeDuncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)
Albery, Irving JamesCampbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)Dunglass, Lord
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)Campbell-Johnston, MalcolmEdmondson, Major A. J.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J.Caporn, Arthur CecilElliston, Captain George Sampson
Apsley, LordCarver, Major William H.Elmley, Viscount
Asks, Sir Robert WilliamCastlereagh, ViscountEmrys-Evans, P. V.
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)Entwistle, Cyril Fullard
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst
Atholl, Duchess ofClarke, FrankFleming, Edward Lascelles
Balley, Eric Alfred GeorgeClarry, Reginald GeorgeFlint, Abraham John
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyCobb, Sir CyrilFord, Sir Patrick J.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M.Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.Fremantle, Sir Francis
Bateman, A. L.Colman, N. C. D.Ganzonl, Sir John
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve CampbellConant, R. J. E.Gillett, Sir George Masterman
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.)Craven-Ellis, WilliamGledhill, Gilbert
Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)Goodman, Colonel Albert W.
Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)Croom-Johnson, R. P.Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)
Blindell, JamesCross, R. H.Graves, Marjorie
Borodale, Viscount.Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel BernardGreene, William P. C.
Bossom, A. C.Culverwell, Cyril TomGrimston, R. V.
Boulton, W. W.Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)Dickle, John P.Gunston, Captain D. W.
Broadbent, Colonel JohnDixon, Rt. Hon. HerbertGuy, J. C. Morrison
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.Maitland, AdamSelley, Harry R.
Hanbury, CecilMakins, Brigadier-General ErnestShaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Hanley, Dennis A.Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryMargesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Unv., Belfast)
Harbord, ArthurMarsden, Commander ArthurSkelton, Archibald Noel
Hartland, George A.Martin, Thomas B.Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel JohnSomervell, Sir Donald
Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)Meller, Sir Richard JamesSomerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)Soper, Richard
Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.Molson, A. Hugh ElsdaleSotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)Moreing, Adrian C.Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Hornby, FrankMorris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)Stewart, J. H. (Fife, E.)
Horsbrugh, FlorenceMuirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.Stones, James
Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.Munro, PatrickStorey, Samuel
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)Nall, Sir JosephStourton, Hon. John J.
Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.Strauss, Edward A.
Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)Strickland, Captain W. F.
Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)Normand, Rt. Hon. WilfridStuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.Nunn, WilliamSugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.Sutcliffe, Harold
Jesson, Major Thomas E.Pearson, William G.Tate, Mavis Constance
Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)Peat, Charles U.Templeton, William P.
Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)Penny, Sir GeorgeThompson, Sir Luke
Ker, J. CampbellPeters, Dr. Sidney JohnTitchfield, Major the Marquess of
Kerr, Hamilton W.Petherick, M.Tree, Ronald
Knight, HolfordPeto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Lamb, Sir Joseph QuintonPickford, Hon. Mary AdaTufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Law, Sir AlfredPowell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.Wallace, John (Dunfermilne)
Leech, Dr. J. W.Procter, Major Henry AdamWard, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Lennox-Boyd, A. T.Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Lewis, OswaldRamsbotham, HerwaldWarrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Liddall, Walter S.Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Lindsay, Noel KerReid, James S. C. (Stirling)Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Little, Graham-, Sir ErnestReid, William Allan (Derby)Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-
Llewellin, Major John J.Remer, John R.Wells, Sydney Richard
Loder, Captain J. de VereRickards, George WilliamWilliams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.Robinson, John RolandWills, Wilfrid D.
Mabane, WilliamRopner, Colonel L.Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)
MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col, C. G. (Partick)Rosbotham, Sir ThomasWindsor-Clive, Lieut-Colonel George
MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)Ross, Ronald D.Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)Wise, Alfred R.
MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)Runge, Norah CecilWomersley, Walter James
McKle, John HamiltonRussell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)Worthington, Dr. John V.
Maclay, Hon. Joseph PatonRutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
McLean, Major Sir AlanSalmon, Sir Isidore
McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)Salt, Edward W.TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Macmillan, Maurice HaroldSandeman, Sir A. N. StewartSir Frederick Thomson and Lord
Magnay, ThomasScone, LordErskine.
NOES.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)Greenwood, Rt. Hon. ArthurMallalieu, Edward Lancelot
Attlee, Clement RichardGrenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)Maxton, James
Banfield, John WilliamGriffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)Milner, Major James
Batey, JosephGroves, Thomas E.Nathan, Major H. L.
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)Grundy, Thomas W.Owen, Major Goronwy
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)Paling, Wilfred
Buchanan, GeorgeHicks, Ernest GeorgeParkinson, John Allen
Cocks, Frederick SeymourHoldsworth, HerbertPickering, Ernest H.
Cove, William G.Jenkins, Sir WilliamPrice, Gabriel
Cripps, Sir StaffordJones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Rea, Walter Russell
Curry, A. C.Kirkwood, DavidRoberta, Aled (Wrexham)
Dagger, GeorgeLawson, John JamesSalter, Dr. Alfred
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)Leonard, WilliamSmith, Tom (Normanton)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Logan, David GilbertTinker, John Joseph
Dobbie, WilliamLunn, WilliamWhite, Henry Graham
Edwards, CharlesMacdonald, Gordon (Ince)Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)McEntee, Valentine L.
Foot, Dingle (Dundee)Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)Mainwaring, William HenryMr. John and Mr. D. Graham.