HC Deb 01 June 1897 vol 50 cc56-8

(1.) This Act shall not apply to persons in the naval or military service of the Crown, but otherwise shall apply to any employment by or under the Crown to which this Act would apply if the employer were a private person.

(2.) The Treasury may, by warrant laid before Parliament, modify for the purposes of this Act their warrant made under section one of the Superannuation Act 1887.

MR. GIBSON BOWLES moved, after the word "Act," in the first line of the clause, to omit the words, shall not apply to persons in the naval or military service of the Crown, but otherwise He said he did not in the least suggest, that persons in the naval or military service of the Crown who were engaged in active naval or military operations proper should be brought within the purview of the Bill, but he claimed for them that when they were employed as workmen, in the sense that that expression was understood by the Bill, they should come under the same rule as other persons who were in the Bill, and should not, because they were nominally in the naval or military service of the Crown, be deprived of such advantages as the Bill gave. Take the case of a dock labourer employed in the making of a dock for the construction of which machinery was employed, the work being under the superintendence of an Engineer officer. The dock labourer was worth £300 to his family, but the Engineer officer was not worth a farthing. Why should this be so? The Engineer officer, although in the military service, was not then employed in military operations, but was engaged in superintending the workmen at the dock, and, if the Amendment were accepted, he would be in the same position as the men who came under the Bill. Soldiers and sailors were constantly employed by their commanding officers, as workmen, and surely a soldier who was injured whilst engaged in cleaning windows ought not to be left out of the purview of the Bill. He thought the Amendment was a reasonable one, and he trusted it would be accepted by the Government.


was of opinion the Government could not be expected to consider the Amendment at this stage. He feared the effect of the Bill, without the Amendment, would be to increase the employment of military as against civilian labour in purely civilian work, which would be a bad thing, both for the labour and the military world. The evidence before the Committee on Government contracts showed that an increasing amount of civilian work was done by soldiers—which took them off their proper military duties—for the purpose of saving money, and he was afraid that the effect of a Bill under which the Government would have to pay heavy compensation to their civilian labourers who were injured would have the tendency to make them. employ soldiers to a still greater extent. However, the difficulties raised by the Amendment were great, and he was not prepared to face them.


said the Government were in the same position. The right hon. Gentleman, however, was wrong in supposing that, if these persons were left out of the Bill, that would be any temptation to the Government to employ them in work on which they would not otherwise be employed. He would point out that where Government servants were injured in the course of their employment at the present time something was done for them, although there was no statutory liability. He believed that was the practice in the great workshops at Woolwich and elsewhere. ["Hear, hear !"] The Government were quite willing to consider the matter, but they should have to consult the two Departments concerned. He could not say anything now, but on the Report stage he might be able to do so.


would, on that understanding, withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 4,—