Oral Answers to Questions — Workmen's Compensation.

– in the House of Commons on 23rd July 1942.

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Photo of Mr James Griffiths Mr James Griffiths , Llanelly

asked the Home Secretary whether he proposes to take steps to amend the Workmen's Compensation Acts with a view to improving the rates of payment for total and partial disability and to increase the benefits provided for dependants of persons fatally injured in industry?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to a Question by the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. Ellis Smith) on 16th July.

Photo of Mr James Griffiths Mr James Griffiths , Llanelly

I know what that answer was, but may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he is aware that, in addition to the hardships of these people, there is very definite evidence that the inadequate payment of compensation is retarding the recovery of men and their getting back to work, and that in the end the nation is losing by this inadequate payment, and will he reconsider the matter from that standpoint?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

If my hon. Friend can give me any evidence on that point, I shall be very glad to look into it.

Photo of Mr John Tinker Mr John Tinker , Leigh

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware of the feeling of dissatisfaction caused to men on light work and in receipt of partial compensation that when an increase of wages is given they have their compensation reduced; will he take measures to stop this and allow them to keep their compensation payment at the same rate as it was before the increase of wages was made?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I would call my hon. Friend's attention to Section 11 (3) of the Act, which was enacted for the very purpose which he has in mind. Under that Sub-section any workman who can show that his earnings during the last 12 months would, if he had remained uninjured and continued in the same class of employment as that in which he was engaged at the date of his injury, have been increased by more than 20 per cent., can apply for an increase in his weekly payment on the basis of those increased earnings. It would seem that in view of recent increases in wages, most workmen should be in a position to take advantage of this provision.

Photo of Mr John Tinker Mr John Tinker , Leigh

Cannot the Home Secretary see the trouble that would be caused by taking all the cases into court, and surely, in war-time, could not advances be given without interfering with workmen's compensation? To give a man an increase of, say, 5s. a week and to take away the compensation payment of half-a-crown does not lend itself to getting the best out of these workmen.

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I understand that it is not a very difficult process to secure the necessary adjustment. This legislation was passed for this purpose, and I hardly think that we would be well advised to bring in amending legislation on this point.

Photo of Mr William Foster Mr William Foster , Wigan

asked the Home Secretary whether he will consider the advisability of suspending Section 12 (3) of the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1925, so as not to apply to members of His Majesty's Armed Forces who are in receipt of compensation under the Act, in view of the hardships and difficulties involved in having to secure leave and travel home at their own cost to attend to the matter?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I have not previously received any complaint that the provision referred to by my hon. Friend has been a cause of hardship to members of His Majesty's Forces. If he will furnish me with particulars of any case which has come to his notice, I shall be glad to look into it.

Photo of Mr William Foster Mr William Foster , Wigan

I thank my right hon. Friend very much and will send particulars to him.