HC Deb 23 February 1891 vol 350 c1346

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is cognizant of the resolution of the Executive Committee of the Agricultural Labourers' Union of 6th February, "that no more sick benefit or superannuation benefits be paid;" if he is aware that a large number of poor labourers, who have for many years subscribed to the Sick Fund, will be deprived of the result of their thrift at a time when they most need it, and that the President of the Union has declined all offers of an independent inquiry into the funds of the Union; and having regard to the hardship of the case whether the Government will institute an inquiry into the state of the funds of the Union, and to the allegations made that moneys contributed to the Sick Fund have in the past been appropriated to other purposes connected with the Union?


I am not surprised at the question of my hon. and gallant Friend if the facts are as he describes them. There is no subject which excites greater sympathy than the case of agricultural labourers or other wage earners who make contributions towards a fund for providing for their sickness and old age, and then find their hopes disappointed. But whatever the facts are, the Government has no power to order an inquiry into the application of the funds of a Trade Union. It is a question whether a Select Committee of the House could deal with such a case.