Workmen's Compensation.

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Defence Personnel. – in the House of Commons on 26th February 1942.

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Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

asked the Home Secretary whether he will introduce legislation to provide that compensation for death or injury suffered through working on munitions, whether in a Government establishment or otherwise, shall be approximately equivalent to the pensions paid for death or injury due to military service?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I do not see how it would be possible to justify a distinction being drawn in the sphere of Workmen's Compensation between workmen employed on munitions and workmen engaged in other classes of work, as, for example, the transport and agricultural industries: and the proposal would involve a departure from the principles of the Act, under which compensation is given for loss of wage-earning capacity and is not based on the degree of physical disability as under the Services Warrant.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Does my right hon. Friend appreciate that the widow of a man who has been blown up inside a Government works receives a far less rate of compensation than if he had been working outside as a Civil Defence worker; and in view of the discrepancy between the two rates of compensation, which causes a good deal of disturbance and hardship among the civilian population, would he not at least consider the matter from that angle?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

My hon. Friend should remember the word "repercussions," which I have to remember. If he puts that argument, what can I say to the bus driver who is blown up while driving his bus, or any other citizens who may be killed by enemy action while doing useful work?

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

It really means that there should be one rate of compensation for all kinds of workers.

Photo of Mr George Isaacs Mr George Isaacs , Southwark North

asked the Home Secretary whether he is now in a position to state the result of his conferring with employers' associations and insurance companies, relating to the question of injured workers' rights at Common Law being barred by the practice of obtaining signatures for payment, as having been made under the Workmen's Compensation Act; and, if legislation is necessary, will he consider taking such steps to end that practice at an early date?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

The discussions are proceeding, and I hope to be in a position to make a statement on the question at an early date.