HC Deb 02 June 1897 vol 50 cc97-142

Seale and Conditions of Compensation— Scale.

(1.) The amount of compensation under this Act shall be

  1. (a) where death results from the injury—
    1. (i) if the workman leave dependants, a sum equal to his earnings during the three years next preceding the injury, or the sum of one, hundred and fifty pounds, whichever of those sums is the larger, but not exceeding in any case three hundred pounds, provided that the amount of any weekly payments made under this Act shall be deducted from such sum and
    2. (ii) if he leaves no dependants, the reasonable expenses of his medical attendance and burial, not exceeding ten pounds.
  2. (b) in case of incapacity for work, a weekly payment during the incapacity after the second week not exceeding fifty per cent. of his weekly earnings at the time of the accident, such weekly payment not to exceed one, pound.

(2.) The payment shall, in case of death, be made to the legal personal representative of the workman, or, if he has no legal personal representative, to his dependants, or, if he leaves no dependants, to the person to whom the expenses are due.

(3.) The expression "dependants" in this schedule means such members of the workman's family as are entitled to damages in cases under the Fatal Accidents Act 1846; and any question as to who is a dependant, or as to the amount payable to each dependant shall, in default of agreement, be settled by arbitration under this Act.

(4.) If any of the dependants is an infant his share of compensation may be invested for his benefit as directed by the arbitrator.

(5.) Any weekly payment, may be reviewed at intervals of not less than three months at the request either of the employer or of the workman, and on such review may be ended, diminished, or increased, subject to the maximum above provided, and the amount of payment shall, in default of agreement, be settled by arbitration under this Act.

(6.) A weekly payment shall not be capable of being assigned or charged, and shall not pass to any other person by operation of law.

Amendment proposed [1st June] in Sub-section (a), Paragraph (i), to leave out from the word "leaves" to the end of the sub-section, and to insert the words:— a widow, the sum of 10s. per week during her life and widowhood, and, if he leaves children under the age of 16, the sum of 1s. 6d. per week for each such child until he or she attains that age. If the workman leaves no widow or children, but leaves dependants, the sum of 10s. per week during the life of such dependants, to be divided amongst such dependants, if more than one, in such proportions as the County Court Judge or arbitrator, as provided by the second schedule of this Act, shall direct; and "—(Sir Alfred Hickman.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'dependants' stand part of the Schedule."

Debate resumed.

*SIR ALFRED HICKMAN (Wolverhampton, W.)

said that after what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies he saw no probability of his Amendment being carried, and therefore he asked leave to be allowed to withdraw it. He was anxious to avoid delaying the progress of the Bill by any lengthened discussion upon the Amendment.


said that he desired to point out that it would be in the interest of employers that weekly charges arising out of claims under this Bill should be commuted for a lump sum in order to facilitate the effecting of insurances. He wished earnestly to press that fact upon Her Majesty's Government.

*SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)

said that on the previous night he had, in the interest of both employers and workmen, entered a protest against the principle of this Amendment. With regard to the question of incapacity caused by accident, it would be inconvenient and out of order to discuss that point upon the present occasion. If hon. Members opposite insisted upon the Amendment being negatived, so that its principle could not be further discussed, he should be forced to take a Division upon the question.

MR. ARTHUR STRAUSS (Cornwall, Camborne)

said that before the Amendment was withdrawn he should like to ask the Government whether they could not bring forward some Amendment upon the Report stage which would meet the views of the hon. Member for West Wolverhampton? It was quite clear that a lump sum of £150 or £300 could not possibly purchase an adequate annuity for the injured workman. If the money were invested in setting the workman up in a small business it would probably be lost in a short time. When fatal accidents occurred in a colliery, a number of men were usually killed, and there would be no possible opening in a remote country district for some 15 or 20 widows to set up in small businesses in the same locality. The result would be that in a year or two the money paid by the employer would be lost, and the widow and children would have to be relieved from the rates. In the case of small collieries the payment of a lump sum of £5,000 or £10,000 would ruin the coal owner, and in many cases he would not be able to pay it, and the injured workmen or the widows would get nothing. He himself had placed an Amendment upon the Paper which was drawn up on somewhat liberal lines as far as the workmen were concerned. Under the practice that prevailed in Germany the widows of workmen who had lost their lives in the course of their employment received a weekly payment. This operated in favour of the employer, because in very many instances the widows married again.


pointed out that it was unusual to make a speech on the question that leave be given to withdraw an Amendment unless it was intended to object to leave being given.


said that he had no desire to object to the Amendment being withdrawn, but he would wind up by giving the Government the option of doing as they pleased in the matter. [Ironical Ministerial cheers and laughter.] The majority of the persons who received lump sums under the Bill would spend the money, and in the course of a year or two would have to be relieved from the rates.

MR. H. ASQUITH (Fife, E.)

said that before leave was given to withdraw the Amendment he desired to say he had no doubt whatever that in the interest of the workmen, which was the primary consideration which ought to govern their minds, compensation should take the form of periodical payments rather than of a lump sum down. At the same time he suggested that between now and Report, the Government should consider whether discretion might not be given to the arbitrator to determine which course would be most in the interest of the family to be compensated.


suggested that the discussion of the point should be postponed until the Amendment respecting the commutation of the sum for incapacity, of which he had given notice came up.

SIR W. HOULDSWORTH (Manchester, N.W.)

thought it was well that the Bill should be made to work automatically. He, therefore, suggested they should consider whether it would not be possible in the case of death to first of all pay a moderate sum—£10 or £15—to meet the funeral expenses, then to make weekly payments, and he would advise generous weekly payments during the first 12 months or possibly two years—he would prefer 12 months—in order to allow the family time to turn round and consider how they were going to live in the future, and at the end of 12 months to give a lump sum. He was sure such an arrangement would be the best in the interests of the working classes.

MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)

was persuaded that the balance of advantage to the working classes was in favour of the compensation being paid by weekly instalments. He had acted with doctors, clergymen, and others as a trustee for widows and others who had received lump sums under the Employers' Liability Act, and he knew how the sums received were threatened with absorption either by relatives, who were not temperance people, and others who looked upon the sum as a happy hunting ground for them. A weekly allowance for a widow who had lost her husband was unquestionably the best form in which compensation could be given. It was said payment weekly would prevent the movement of the widow and family from the spot where the compensation was paid. That was a plausible but a ridiculous argument, because if the Government could make arrangements by means of which sailors' wages, which would be paid in Hamburg, for instance, should be transferred to the men's wives in Dublin or Inverness, surely arrangements could be made whereby compensation could be paid to a person if he or she removed from the spot where the injury was done. It might also be said that if £300 were paid in a lump sum it might be invested in a small business. Experience, however, proved that 80 per cent. of such businesses failed. Again, it might be argued that if a widow were paid 10s. or 15s. a week, she would ultimately lose, owing to the failure of the employer. That would be a very rare occurrence.


did not think the Committee realised the large amount of work they were reserving for report. They were really piling Pelion upon Ossa. Neither did he think they had yet appreciated the enormous amount of work that would be thrown by the Bill upon the Registrar General of Friendly Societies and the County Court Judge. He rose, however, to express the opinion that the question whether compensation should be paid in weekly instalments or in a lump sum ought to be determined upon the schedule.

MR. J. WILSON (Durham, Mid)

entered a protest against the sweeping terms in which working men and working men's widows had been charged with squandering their money. Those terms required some qualification, because it would be wrong for the Committee to assume that every woman was unable to take care of £150 or put it to the best use. He admitted there were families who would no doubt squander the money, but what they wanted to do was to try and find the best means to meet those cases. He believed that this Bill would tend very much towards the formation of committees of employers and workmen, and that the arbitrator and County Court Judge would not have nearly so much work as was anticipated by some hon. Members. ["Hear, hear!"] If that proved to be the case, then he thought it would be well worth the consideration of the Government whether it would not be advisable to give these committees power to say whether they would pay over a lump sum or whether they would invest the sum in favour of the recipients.


pointed out that there were in existence at the present time, at any rate in the case of collieries, many relief funds which did provide for weekly payments to the widows. He would like to ask those in charge of the Bill whether it would not be possible to make some arrangement by which, if these relief funds were kept in existence, and an employer subscribed a reasonable amount to the funds, instead of paying the large amount of compensation due under the Bill to the widow, she should receive the money from the permanent relief fund, and that the compensation payable should be of a more moderate amount. The maximum under the Bill was £300; and he would suggest that this should be reduced to something like £50 or £100 to be paid down at once by the employer, and that the balance should be received by the widow in periodical allowances through the permanent relief funds. He acknowledged it would be a somewhat complicated scheme, but he thought that such an arrangement would be of great value to the widows.


said that a more difficult problem to solve than this could scarcely be presented to the Committee. They could draw no hard-and-fast line on such a matter. There were as many intelligent widows of workmen as there were intelligent widows of men in other grades of society, and, while there were, no doubt, many cases in which a lump sum would be soon dissipated, there were a great many other cases in which it had helped to establish the widows in a little business which they had worked with considerable success. He was sure the Government would carefully consider the question of giving the arbitrator some kind of option in the matter. If it were decided that the payment should be made weekly, he should like to see a lump sum taken from the employer at the earliest possible moment, and then that it should be invested in a trusteeship of a permanent character like a Government assurance. This would be far more advantageous to the recipients than that they should be dependent upon the continued solvency of any firm for their money. Some of the trade unions gave the men the option of taking a lump sum or a pension, and invariably, he believed, the workmen preferred the lump sum in order that they might make a venture with it.


repeated that they had already undertaken to reconsider this branch of the Bill in the light of the decison which might be come to on the question as to how they were to deal with incapacity. He was afraid there were some hon. Members who did not quite understand how this matter would work in practice. Let them look at the Bill as it stood and see what would happen. They proposed, by an Amendment which stood in his name, at a subsequent period to give the arbitrator power to invest, at his discretion, any share of the compensation payable to the dependants for their benefit. The arbitrator might be such a committee as that referred to by the hon. Member for Durham. He hoped that would be the case. He entirely agreed with that hon. Member, and believed that the result of the Bill would be the establishment of committees of workmen and employers. If such a committee were established, to the committee would be left the question whether or not the lump sum should be invested, and there would be nothing to prevent them from investing the sum in such a relief society as his hon. Friend the Member for Lincoln referred to. Therefore all the advantages would be gained with at the same time a greater freedom of action than could be obtained by any statutory provision. In the further consideration which would be given to the matter, he thought the suggestion of his hon. Friend the Member for Manchester was well worthy of attention. That would bring this provision into line with the provision they proposed in the case of incapacity. ["Hear, hear!"] It would make the weekly payment certain for 12 months, and, at the expiry of that time, it would allow of commutation. ["Hear, hear!"]

MR. LEES KNOWLES (Salford, W.)

said he was president of one of the permanent relief societies in his own district, and held in his hands a copy of their rules. There was one rule to which ho would like to call attention. It was this:— The Committee may, under special circumstances, and at their absolute discretion, on the application of the person interested, commute any allowance under these rules at such fixed sum as they may think reasonable. What he thought ought to be done was, in the first instance to give power to pay down a lump sum, which should be administered by one of these societies, and that then the visiting members of the society might, if desirable, afterwards commute the allowance.

Amendment by leave withdrawn.

*MR. A. D. PROVAND (Glasgow, Blackfriars) moved in Section (1) to leave out the words "if the workman leave dependants," and to insert the words "to a workman." The object of the Amendment was to leave "dependants" out of the Bill altogether, and to make the compensation payable without any reference to whether there were any dependants or not. As the Bill stood at present, it would be a powerful inducement to employers to engage only men who had no families. In the case of many small employers, it would be very easy to obtain five, ten, or twenty workmen who were bachelors, or who at least had no children. Employers should all be placed on the same footing, and compensation should be paid whether there were any dependants or not. There was a consequential Amendment further down the Paper, to enable the Government to retain the compensation recovered when there were no dependants, which would form a fund towards meeting the expenses of working the Act. He should like to know whether or not the Government would accept the principle.


said the Government could not possibly accept the Amendment. The object of the Bill, or he should rather say one of the great objects of the Bill, was to give some form of maintenance to those who were dependent on the workman who happened to be killed by accident in the course of his employment. To accept the Amendment would really be to defeat one of the great objects of the Bill. ["Hear, hear!"]

Amendment negatived.

MR. C. A. CRIPPS (Gloucester, Stroud)

said the Committee had already dealt with two Amendments to leave out the word "dependants." his own Amendment was in the same form—to leave out "dependants" and insert alternative words. Of course he would take the Chairman's ruling, but it seemed to him that the same question arose here as in the two previous Amendments.


The hon. Member's Amendment does more than that. What he does is to define "dependants" as including wife, husband, parent, or child, and he says that these people are to be known hereafter as "dependants." If he will look at the schedule he will see that Sub-section 3 specially defines dependants; therefore, the proper place to raise the question of definition is on Subsection 3.


asked if he should be in order to move the Amendment omitting the words "hereinafter referred to as dependants."


No; I do not think it would be in order. To begin with, the Amendment of the hon. Member for Glasgow was put in such a way that "dependants" does now stand part of the schedule. But in addition to that, I also conceive that the Amendment of the hon. Member for Stroud, whether these last words are in or not, is in fact a definition of what is meant by "dependants," and the proper place to raise the question of definition is on Sub-section 3.

MR. J. W. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire)

had the following Amendment on the Paper in Section (1), after the word "dependants," to insert the words— annuities of the Post Office, payable to said dependants, equivalent in amount either to. The hon. Member asked whether his Amendment should not precede that of the hon. Member for Stroud?


I think the hon. Member for Kineardineshire's Motion should come at the end. When the Committee has decided on the particular sum that shall be paid, then the hon. Member will move that it be paid in a particular way, namely, through the Post Office or in any other way.

MR. C. B. RENSHAW (Renfrew, W.) moved the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Ayrshire (Mr. Cochrane)—in Section (1) to leave out the words "a sum equal to his earnings during the three years next preceding the injury," and to insert the words— such sums as may be found to be equivalent to the estimated earnings during the three years preceding the injury of a person in the same grade employed during those years in the like employment, and in the district in which the workman is employed at the time of the injury. He said the Amendment was similar to one he had himself placed on the Paper. It seemed to him there would be a great difficulty in working the application of this schedule, unless it was more clearly laid down what the precise earnings were that were to be fixed as the limit of the employers' liability. The schedule provided that if a workman was killed and left dependants, a sum equal to his earnings during the three years next preceding the injury should be paid them. The case he wished to put was this, and it was not an uncommon one the case of a man who had been earning a high wage, and who had been by some cause thrown out of his employment. The man sought and obtained casual employment at a lower wage. If the new employer were to be liable on the scale of the higher wage, it was obvious that they would place a. difficulty in the way of the man finding work. On the other hand, a young man who had been earning small wages might be promoted to a more highly paid, more responsible, and more dangerous post; and if he was to be compensated at the rate of the low wage he received in his previous employment, that would be an injustice to the workman. The words of the Amendment were taken from the Employers' Liability Act of 1880. They had already formed the subject of decisions in courts, and if that was so, some clear and well-defined legal view must have been already formed with regard to them.


said it had been found in the working of the Employers' Liability Act that what was awarded under that Act was practically an average of a man's earnings during three years. A number of issues would be involved if the Amendment were carried. They would have to find out what the "like employment" was, and what district the man had been employed in, and so on. The principle of the Bill was that they should take the three years' earnings. It practically worked automatically. If a man happened to be out of employment and his earnings for 12 months did not average £150, he got the £150; if, on the other hand, he was fully employed and earned £160, £170, or £180, he got those amounts. This, he thought, was much simpler than to try to establish a hypothetical standard. ["Hear, hear!"]

COLONEL DENNY (Kilmarnock Burghs)

pointed out that if a man passed from the grade of apprentice to that of journeyman he might spring at once from 10s. to £2 a week; but if, on an accident happening, his earnings were to be calculated on the scale of his apprentice pay for any considerable part of the three years, the chances were that he would come badly off. On the other hand, the £150 minimum might be a great deal more than he was entitled to. He had an Amendment lower down, that the compensation should be calculated on full time wages for the three years or such shorter time as the man might have been at work for the employer who became liable. A man's wages represented his value to his employer, and it was on that value that he ought to be compensated, not upon what he might have earned in perhaps half a dozen other places. In collieries the men were paid by piece work, but in most other trades there was a recognised time rate for every trade. If they took the time wage they would get a fixed sum, and that was much better than leaving it indefinite.

MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)

had no doubt that whether they adopted the words in the Bill or in the Amendment proposed, there would be a certain number of hard cases. He thoroughly agreed with the proposal of the Government as against the proposal in the Amendment of his hon. Friend opposite. He had been sitting for some time on the Fair Wages Committee, in which they had had to consider the question of the current rate of wages in the district and in the trade. The Committee had pointed out to them again and again the great difficulty which existed in many cases in arriving at what was or what was not the current rate in a district, and he thought if the arbitrator had, under this Measure to go into the question of what a man ought to be earning at a particular time, it would overlay the Bill with such complications as to lead to all the difficulties, litigation and complication which it was the one object of the Government and the Committee to avoid. He should certainly support the proposal of the Government.


hoped the Government would adhere to the Bill as it stood, because he believed the bulk of the objections raised by the hon. Member for Kilmarnock would be removed by the minimum of £150 compensation under the Bill, and the three years being taken of a man's earnings before death would remove a number of objections. The way to make this absolutely perfect would be to knock off the maximum limit of £300, and so remove any difficulty. As, however, the Government were not inclined to do that, he hoped they would adhere to their own proposal as against the Amendment.


believed that to introduce a limit would be to cause complication and litigation, to greatly impede the action of the Bill, and to a large extent to defeat its object. He was desirous that the Bill, when it became an Act, should work as simply as possible, and he was glad the Government intended to adhere to the Bill as it stood.

MR. PARKER SMITH (Lanark, Partick)

asked was not the fair solution of the difficulty to take as their basis of calculation the wages that a man was actually earning at the moment the accident happened. Under the Bill, as it stood, if a man had been in an employment for a month and then met with an accident, they would have to trace out all his earnings during the previous three years, and compensate him on that footing. The thing would cut equally both ways. They might have a man who was on the down grade in wages, and if they took the average for the last three years they would give him a little more than if they took the men's actual earnings at the moment. On the other hand, they were just as likely to have a man on the down grade, or who had just come out of his apprenticeship into full earnings. The two might be perfectly well set against each other, and would be about equal in amount. Was it not infinitely fairer as a basis of calculation, subject to the maximum limit of £300 and the minimum of £150, that they should take simply the wages that a man was earning at the moment in the occupation where he had met with the accident?

MR. LEES KNOWLES (Salford, W.)

suggested to the Government that smite words were required after the words "three years." Why not take the average of one year, during the three, or sonic, shorter period than that indicated in the Bill.

MR. J. W. WILSON (Worcestershire, N.)

thought that to go back over a period of three years would lead to trouble and necessitate a great deal of investigation, especially in a case where a man had worked for several different employers. At the same time, he considered there were also objections to taking the actual wage on the particular day or week in which the man was injured, and he should have liked the Government to have introduced some shorter period on which to take the average, multiplying it by the figure that was necessary to bring it up to the equivalent of three years.


did not like the words as they stood. Suppose that a man, during the three years, had been out of work for some time, that would evidently make the amount he had earned much less than the amount of compensation he would receive. Again, there would be some complication in going to a man's different employers to ascertain his earnings. The simple way would be to take his weekly wages at the time the man met with the accident.


supported the Amendment in the interests of the workmen. If any fatal accidents took place the foremen of largo employers would see in filling up temporary posts that they did not engage men who would have to be paid more than it was usual to give in such temporary positions. The Government ought to give them some further information as to how the average was to be arrived at.


There is no average. It is the actual amount received.


considered that it was to the interests of the workmen that this Amendment should be accepted.

MR. STUART-WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam)

pointed out that if they took as the basis of the calculation the actual wage that a man was receiving at the date of the accident, they would be following the practice that was now adopted in the case of superannuation. Again, it was the only thing that would afford a convenient measure of the value of the liability for the purpose of insurance. In that case alone would the insurance company be able to take the actual existing scale of payments as the basis of its liability.


Does not alternative sums cover that?


thought the Government had been right in taking the long period of three years. For instance, if they took the wages of the man at the date of the accident and multiplied it by 150, this might be the result: If a man was killed in a house-coal pit in the month of January, his widow would get £300; but if he was killed in June she would only get £150. He thought a committee of the workmen and employers were quite capable of dealing with the matter.

Amendment negatived.

MR. PARKER SMITH moved in Section (1) to leave out the words "equal to," and to insert the words "not exceeding." The hon. Member said the question he desired to raise was how far the principle of Lord Campbell's Act was to be adopted in the matter of dependants and compensation. The principle of that Act was that the jury had to consider how much the dependant was affected by the death of the person who happened to be killed. There were cases in which either the so-called dependants were not really pecuniarily injured by the death of the workman or where the injury, measured pecuniarily, was a very small one. Take the case of a father and son who were both earning full wages. Suppose the father was killed. The son, under the definition of Lord Campbell's Act, was of course, a dependant of the father, but was, in no sense, really dependent upon him for subsistence. Was it intended in a case of that sort, by the pure accident of the father being killed and when no money was really passing from father to son, that the son should have a windfall of £300? The effect of altering the words would be to give discretion to the arbitrator or Committee in circumstances where the substantial loss to the defendant did not amount even to the minimum sum named in the Bill, that same amount, less even than the minimum should be paid.


said it was obvious that the Government could not accept this Amendment. [Opposition cheers.] It was against the interest of the workman. The view of the Government as to Lord Campbell's Act and its application was that money should only be paid to those who were wholly or partly dependant on the earnings of the workman at the time of his death. It was undesirable that the amount of compensation should be cut down by the considerations the hon. Member had just referred to.


said the declaration of the Attorney General satisfactorily covered the object of the Amendment, and he would therefore withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

MR. E. H. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.) moved, in Section (1), to leave out the words:— provided that the amount of any weekly payment made under this Act shall be deducted from such sum. He submitted that any such deduction would be unfair, because the weekly payment during incapacity from work and the payment on death were made under a totally different set of circumstances. When the breadwinner was laid aside by accident, obviously the household expenses were increased beyond the normal rate, while the income was cut down to an amount not exceeding under the Bill one-half of the usual income. On the breadwinner's death, a new state of circumstances arose, for which provision had to be made, and the amount to be paid on death was not more than adequate. It would be a little mean to deduct from the sum payable on death the amount payable during incapacity.


said the Government could not accept the Amendment and increase the burden on the employer in the sense proposed. They had resisted every Amendment which would lessen the advantages conferred on workmen by the Bill. In many cases a long illness might precede the death, and in such cases, if the Amendment were accepted, the burden on the employer would be largely increased.

Amendment negatived.

*MR. PROVAND moved, in Section (1), after the word "pounds," to insert the words:— to an apprentice a sum equal to four and a-half years' wages at the rate of payment he was receiving at the time of the accident. He remarked that the Amendment was designed to meet an obvious case of hardship. Compensation to apprentices should be estimated at a higher rate than to workmen.


said they could not accept this Amendment, and he thought the hon. Gentleman had hardly grasped the effect of the Bill. The apprentice would get his £150 if Ids wages did not amount in three years to £300.


said he did not quite understand the Bill as the right hon. Gentleman explained it. If they killed a man who had no wife, parent, or child, £10 would be paid, but if they killed a man who had such dependants, £300 would be paid. The effect of that would be that careful employers would advertise for unmarried orphans—[laughter]—because, in case of accidents, such men would be £290 cheaper. He thought this difference was a serious one.


asked if the word "workman" included "apprentice?"



Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

MR. J. W. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire) moved, in Section (1), after the word "sum," to insert the words: — and such sum to be paid in the form of annuities of the Post Office payable to the dependants.


said he was afraid they could not accept these words. He thought the satisfactory way would be for the committees or the arbitrator to be the judge of what was best in the particular circumstances.


thought the point raised was one worthy of consideration, but he hoped the hon. Member would not press the Amendment at this stage. It would be undesirable to tie the hands of the tribunal so completely.

*MR. J. SAMUEL (Stockton)

said it had been represented by several speakers that the general feeling of Members on that side was that the working classes were in favour of weekly payments in eases of fatal injury, but lie ventured to say there was a great divergence of opinion among working men as to whether this should be adopted or not. He dissented from the view that the tendency of the working classes was to spend too much. He held that the widows, orphans, or dependants should have the right of exercising their judgment as to what they should do with the money. There were a large number of widows who had engaged in businesses by investing the little capital which their husbands had left them. He thought that to make any hard-and-fast rule would be a serious injury to the working classes. He strongly opposed the Amendment.

SIR J. LENG (Dundee)

said he could not agree with the hon. Member. He had had experience of a case where a charitable fund, amounting to several hundred pounds, was raised for the benefit of a widow. The trustees were for two or three years pestered by her to hand over the entire sum, but they thought it desirable in the interests of the children to retain some control over it, as the widow might have married some profligate fellow, and the children deprived of the amount. He thought it much better that the committees or the arbitrator should be allowed to control this money in the same way as wise trustees would do.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

MR. T. W. NUSSEY (Pontefract) moved to leave out Section (6), and to insert:— (6) In case of permanent injury (including injury to or loss of sight or hearing, or limb organ of the body or any mental derangement) a sum not exceeding two hundred and fifty pounds, provided that the amount of any weekly payments made under this Act shall be deducted from such sum. To his mind the compensation which would be granted under the Bill would be quite insufficient, but it might be asked why did he fix on £250? He was not wedded to that amount. He was quite open to meet the Government on this point. The Amendment was not moved from an hostile spirit, but he thought that a serious mistake had been made in the schedule.


was quite ready to admit that there was no hostile feeling, but it was an Amendment which, looking to the interests of the Bill, the Government could not accept. If they once began to define various kinds of injuries they would have a Bill as long as the rival scheme which he saw down on the Orders. [Laughter.] He thought it a mistake to define a particular class of injuries, and not only that but also a particular amount to be awarded.


stated that he had a Motion on the Paper dealing with these points—to leave out Sub-section (b), and to insert: — (b) In case of permanent physical loss, as follows:— In case such injury shall, within twelve calendar months from the occurrence of the accident causing such injury, directly cause to the workman the loss by physical separation whether by accident or surgical operation consequent thereon of a hand or a foot, or the complete and irrecoverable loss of sight of an eye, a payment for each such loss as aforesaid equal to fifty per cent. of the amount that would have been payable had death resulted from the injury under Section 1 (a), Sub-sections (i), (ii), provided the aggregate amount payable in respect of the accident causing such losses to such workman shall not exceed the maximum compensation payable under Section 1 (a), Sub-sections (i) and (ii). (c) In case of temporary total disablement from attending to work, as follows:— In case such injury shall, independently of all other causes, totally disable and prevent the workman for a period exceeding seven days from pursuing his employment, then during such disablement for a period not exceeding altogether fifty-one consecutive weeks, a weekly payment calculated from and commencing after the first week from the date of the accident causing the injury, not exceeding fifty per cent. of his weekly earnings at the time of the accident, such weekly payment not to exceed one pound. (d) In case of permanent total disablement, as follows:— If at the expiration of fifty-two weeks after the accident causing such injury it is proved by the certificate of two legally qualified medical practitioners appointed by the employer and workman and approved of by, or in case of difference appointed by the Board of Trade, that the injuries sustained will permanently and totally disable the workman from attending during life to work or business of any kind; then such a sum as would be payable to such workman, under the provisions of Sub-section (a), Sub-sections (i) and (ii), where death results from the injury. In the event of it not being certified by such legally qualified medical practitioners that the injuries sustained will permanently and totally disable the workman from attending to work or business of any kind during a period less than life and for a period mentioned in such certificate, then the said weekly payment shall be continued during the period mentioned in such certificate. The expense of such certificate or certificates shall be paid by the employer. At the expiration of the period mentioned in such certificate the weekly payment may, by agreement between the employer and workman, be ended, diminished, or increased, or it may be satisfied by a lump sum, and in default of agreement the question of amount only of weekly payment or lump sum to be paid shall be referred to arbitration under this Act, and on such arbitration it shall be assumed that the employment was one to which this Act applies, and was caused by a person for whose act or default the employer was responsible, and that the injury was caused by accident arising out of and in the course of the employment of the workman injured; and in estimating the amount of compensation it shall not be taken into consideration by whose act or default the accident was caused. He concurred in the Amendment of the hon. Member for Pontefract so far as it related to the omission of Clause (b); not with a view to inserting the words mentioned in the Amendment now before the House, but with a view to inserting the Amendments which stood in his name. This was a compensation Bill; and the schedule was in substance a statutory policy between the workman and employer with the conditions that would be inserted in an ordinary policy. The first criticism he had to offer on the words of the Bill was on the opening portion of the Section (b), "In case of incapacity for work." They did not effect the object of the Bill. They were words and terms which were not known and did not appear in accident insurance policies. Accident insurance had grown up, and over a number of years the conditions of policies had been carefully considered, and apt words were now universally used in every accident policy to meet the case which those words were directed and intended to cover. "Incapacity for work" was a phrase long since discarded from the language used in accident policies. Other words had been adopted. How ineffectual were the words "incapacity for work" might be illustrated by the following case. Suppose in the textile industry a girl in a mill was injured in the eye, by a bit of machinery flying off, and that she was in the hands of the doctor three weeks, and then resumed work which she was capable of performing. Suppose that shortly afterwards she lost the sight of the eye from the accident. Under this assumed state of circumstances, she was in the words of the Act "incapacitated from work" only for three weeks, and under the Bill she would receive the week's compensation, but no compensation for the subsequent loss of the eye, the result of the accident. The insurance companies' policies did not use the term "incapacity for work," but "temporary or total disablement from attending to work," coupled also with an agreed compensation for the physical loss of an eye, or limb, or both eyes or both limbs. The illustration given showed that the words "incapacity for work" used in the Bill were not apt words and that "temporary total disablement from attending to work," or "permanent total disablement" with compensation for permanent physical loss ought to be substituted. Now in framing the wording of the policies, two objects had been aimed at by the offices; (a) The framing of the conditions to avoid litigation or dispute as to the quantum to be paid; (b) The reduction of the risks to defined amounts. Au unlimited amount of risk would not be undertaken or insured against, and in order to be able to carry on the business the conditions of the policies aimed at definitiveness, and automatic compensation. That had been and was the aim of all accident assurance. In consequence there was rarely if ever litigation about the amount payable under the policy as between an office and an accident assured. This was effected by providing that for each physical loss of an eye, finger, hand, or limb, a fixed percentage of the sum assured should be paid; that for the combination of any two, the whole sum should be paid, as in the case of death, and that in case of disablement from carrying on work, the same should be for a fixed maximum total period. Now, the Government had included in the Bill many trades "not really dangerous" on the very ground that if the industry were included, the cost would be reassured at a very small cost. For instance, the textile industry, the assurance for accidents in which could be effected at a very low premium. But unless the terms of the policy or present schedule made the risks definite and certain the offices would not undertake the risks, and the trade or industry would be left to bear them wholly. The Colonial Secretary said with regard to insurance— It is most important, in dealing with a Bill of this kind, in which we are seeking compensation for and relief to the workmen, and not punishment of the employer, that insurance should be encouraged and should be made easy in every way in which we can do so. I agree with my right hon. Friend that the uncertainty which may prevail at present in regard to the scheme for compensation in regard to permanent incapacity may interfere with the framing of a proper scale of insurance. If that were so he thought it would be perfectly possible to make that provision more definite, so as to facilitate the process of insurance. Not only was it advantageous to the employers that they should have the terms of the policy laid down with such definitiveness that the risk might be such as the offices would undertake, but it was advantageous to the workmen that insurance should be encouraged, because the offices would not undertake the risk unless all employers assuring submitted to the following condition: — The assured shall at all times use all reasonable precautions calculated to mitigate or remove risk or accident, and in particular shall provide all necessary, suitable, and efficient ways, machinery, appliances, plant and works, and shall take all reasonable steps to have the same properly supervised by competent persons, and kept in a proper state of repair and condition, and shall use his best endeavours to enforce the observance by all workmen and other persons in his employ or in the employ of a sub-contractor of all proper safeguards and precautions, and on any defects in the ways, machinery, appliances, plant, or works being discovered, shall at once take all necessary steps to remedy such defects, and in the meantime shall cause such additional precautions to be taken as the circumstances may require. The offices insured all risks, but only on the employers covenanting to do all that lay in their power to prevent accident, and took a fixed liability for a term, or a lump sum, and had rates for dock service (loading and unloading) and electric supply (including risk of supply) and engineering heavy works, but in all these cases the offices would not enter into the business unless the maximum risk undertaken was fixed, fixed with the view of preventing litigation, as well as fixed in amounts. Now, the Amendments in his name, which he understood would not be in order, owing to the present Amendment, proposing to leave out the whole of the sub-section, were framed in insurance policy language and were copied from the forms which had been built up by the united experience of all offices and were daily in use. The first proposed in case of permanent physical loss, such as a limb, hand or foot, or loss of sight, 50 per cent. of the death sum for each limb; or in case of a loss of two, the whole suns. In case of temporary total disablement, the weekly sum mentioned in the Bill, not exceeding the period of a year, a period within which, as a rule, shock or permanent injury was found by experience to devolp themselves; that at the end of the year two medical practitioners appointed by the parties, or in case of difference by the Board of Trade, should certify if the injury be permanent, in which case the workman should be treated as dead. If he was not certified as permanently injured, then the weekly payment in the Bill should continue for the period mentioned in the certificate, and that at the end of that period, if the parties could not agree, the matter, limited, however, merely to the amount of compensation, and to that question only, should be referred to arbitration under the Act. The Home Secretary had spoken of these Amendments as a rival Bill, but so far from being a rival Bill they were proposals based on experience, framed with a view to introduce definitiveness, to remove questions from litigation, to be of such a nature as to protect the workman, and to prevent the employer from being shut out from effecting insurance; and in settling this statutory policy in the schedule it was expedient that the Government should avail themselves of the experience of the insurance offices, and of those terms and conditions in their powers which reduced disputes as to quantum to a minimum, and avoided litigation. ["Hear, hear!"] He did not know if he was in order in formally moving the Amendments, but if so he begged to move.


said that the Amendment of the hon. Member for Pontefract was now before the House.


said that he did not propose to put the Committee to the trouble of a division.

Amendment negatived.

On the return of the CHAIRMAN of WAYS and MEANS, after the usual interval,

*MR. REGINALD McKENNA. (Monmouth, N.) moved, in Sub-section (b), after the words "in ease of," to insert the word "total." He said he wished by his Amendment to distinguish between total and partial incapacity, and to lay down a rigid rule for total incapacity on the same lines as in the case of death. He proposed, in the case of total incapacity, that the workman should receive a sum of 50 per cent. of his wages, and that the arbitrator should at once award that amount; in the case of partial incapacity he proposed that the amount should be 50 per cent. of the difference between what the man was able to earn after the accident and what he actually earned before. He submitted that this would facilitate the smooth working of the Measure and avoid a great deal of litigation.


on behalf of the Government, said it was quite impossible to attempt to deal, so to speak, by a money scale, with a particular degree of incapacity. He had not the smallest doubt that if a man was totally incapacitated the arbitrator would award him 50 per cent. of his wages, but it would be wrong to give the arbitrator absolutely no discretion. The Government could not assent to taking out total incapacity and saying there should in that case be a hard and fast line of 50 per cent. without any power of reviewing the circumstances of the case. Therefore, ho could not accept the Amendment. He took the opportunity to add that, doubt having been expressed as to whether "incapacity" included "partial" incapacity, he was prepared to accept a subsequent Amendment in the name of the hon. and learned Member for Dumfries, namely, the words "total or partial."

Amendment negatived.

SIR FRANCIS POWELL (Wigan) moved in Sub-section (b) to leave out the words "in case of incapacity for work," and to insert the words "where incapacity for work results from the injury."

Amendment agreed to.


, on behalf of Sir T. REID, moved, in Sub-section (b), after the words "in case of," to insert the words "total or partial."

Amendment agreed to.

MR. RENSHAW moved in Sub-section (b), after the words "incapacity for work," to insert the words "a sum provided in the preceding Sub-section (a), or in the option of the employer." In other words, he proposed that the payment at the option of the employer should be the same capital sum as in the case of death. The Amendment raised the broad question as to whether or not, in the case of incapacity for work, there should be a limit to the liability of the employer. Reference had been made to the possible bankruptcy of the employer and the consequent loss of the contribution to the workman, but there was another serious case. Take the case of an aged employer and a young employé meeting with an incapacitating accident. The aged employer died, and his trustees might have to keep his estate open for years and years in order that the young workman's interest might be protected. This was a point which had attracted a great deal of attention, and there was a strong demand in the interests both of employers and workmen that some provision of this kind should be inserted.


said the Government had already expressed their sympathy with the necessity of there being some limit to the weekly payment, but it would not be possible for them to accept the present Amendment, because it would put it in the power of any employer at once to commute the weekly payment by a payment of £150 or £300. The Government could not assent to such a stringent proposition, and he must oppose the Amendment.


strongly urged that under any circumstances there ought to be some limit to the liability, in order that the employer might have a fair chance of insurance. Commutation was one provision in this direction. Another that should be inserted was the diminution of the weekly payments after the first year and the termination after a stated period of four or live years.

MR. R. B. HALDANE (Haddington)

contended that the compensation to be paid to the dependants of a workman killed by an accident should be assessed on a different principle from the compensation paid to an injured workman.


urged the Committee to come to a decision.


asked leave to withdraw his Amendment, and

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


, on behalf of Mr. ROBSON, moved in Sub-section (b), after the word "work," to insert the following words: — a sum sufficient to provide for the reasonable medical expenses of such injury, together with. He said that the object of the Amendment was simply to add to the compensation the cost of the medical attendance, which must inevitably be involved by an accident.


said that the Bill had provided a liberal compensation, and he did not think it was advisable to extend the compensation.

*SIR C. DILKE moved to leave out the words "after the second week" in the subsection, providing that the weekly payment in case of incapacity for work shall begin after the second week of such incapacity. He said that he could not see why an injured man should get nothing for the first two weeks. It would generally be possible to deal with these cases very promptly by trade committees. As to shamming, that would be in serious cases, if at all, and not in cases where only a few days' compensation was involved.


said that there were several Amendments dealing with this point, some in the opposite sense of the hon. Baronet's Amendment. In drafting the Bill originally the Government inserted a period of four weeks for which no payment should be made, but if the incapacity for work lasted over the four weeks the payment was to date back from the beginning. It was represented to the Government that this provision was a direct temptation to malingering. It would put an enormous temptation on the workman to strain the effects of an accident over the four weeks. The Government thought it better, therefore, that the initial period should not pay compensation in any circumstances; but, to accompany that alteration with an Amendment favourable to the workmen, the period of exclusion from compensation was reduced from four weeks to two weeks. The pecuniary result was almost exactly the same, and the temptation to shamming was removed. They had reduced the probability of malingering to the lowest possible amount. The hardship of a provision of this kind was not great to the workmen, because those small accidents, which did not last a long time, were provided for by the friendly societies. He hoped that explanation would be satisfactory to the right hon. Gentleman, but in any case the Government could not accept any alteration in the provision one way or the other.

MR. J. WILSON (Durham, Mid)

said he could see no reason why an injured workman should not receive the benefit of the Act in the first week after the accident. The experience both of the Durham, Northumberland, and Cumberland relief fund and the Cheshire and Lancashire relief fund was that in one-fourth of the accidents the incapacity lasted only two weeks and under; and therefore one-fourth of the accidents in mines Would not be covered by the Bill. If the Act was to give an all-round benefit to the men injured, the Government should allow it to come into operation the week that a man was injured, according to the rule of the friendly societies.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill," and agreed to.


said he had challenged a Division in the wrong way. He believed that in a case where the question was misunderstood and the challenge was given in the wrong way, it was usual to allow the opinion of the House to be taken.


I am afraid I cannot go back.

MR. McKENNA moved in Sub-section (b), after the words "of his," to insert the word "average." The object of the Amendment was to secure that the amount of compensation for an accident was to be calculated on "the average weekly earnings of the injured man at the time of the accident." The injured man might be idle five days of the week, and on the sixth day, when he was employed, the accident might happen. As the Bill stood the compensation would be calculated on the one day's earnings of the injured man.

Amendment agreed to.

*SIR A. HICKMAN moved in Sub-section (b) to leave out the words "at the time of the accident," in order to insert the words "at that employment during the previous 12 months, but if the period of his engagement has been less than 12 months then the average during the period of his actual engagement."


said the Government accepted the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

MR. S. WOODS (Essex, Walthamstow)

said it would be observed that, while the maximum amount of compensation was fixed at £1 per week, there was nothing in the Bill About the minimum amount of compensation. He therefore moved to insert after the words "such weekly payment not to exceed £1" to insert the words, "and not less than 10s." He knew from personal experience that if the Bill passed as it stood there would be no compensation in 30 or 40 per cent. of the accidents which occurred in the mines of Lancashire, for in those mines it was quite a common thing for a man to work three or four days in a week and yet at the end of the week have only a few shillings in wages in. consequence of bad winding or a want of trucks to place his coal in.


pointed out that it would be necessary to safeguard the Amendment by inserting before the words it was suggested to be inserted, "in the case of such total incapacity."


said his impression was that the point raised by the hon. Member for Waltham-stow was covered by the two last Amendments, but, without making any definite promise to accept the Amendment, the Government would consider the matter.


was glad the Government had promised to consider the subject. Of course it was impossible for the Registrar of Friendly Societies to certify that a scheme submitted to him was as good as that contained in the schedule unless he saw what the minimum as well as the maximum sum was.


said that the permanent relief societies, sick clubs, and friendly societies allowed 10s. a week as a minimum, on the ground that that was the least on which a man could maintain his family. If he could get anything in the nature of a promise that his point would be conceded he would not press his Amendment now.


said they could not go beyond the undertaking given by the Home Secretary. The matter was more complicated than the hon. Member thought. There were a great number of accidents which occurred to people who had not wives and families to support, such as boys, girls, and bachelors.

MR. McKENNA moved to amend the proposed Amendment by inserting at the beginning of that Amendment the words "in case of such total incapacity." In Monmouthshire there were cases where, owing to the depression of trade, the average wages earned by coal hewers had not been more for a period lasting as long as three years than £1 a week. Those men would in case of total incapacity receive less compensation than 10s. a week unless a minimum were fixed by an Amendment such as that now proposed.


remarked that the hon. Gentleman was quite entitled to move and press his Amendment, but if a division were taken the Government would be relieved from the pledge to consider the subject. ["Hear, hear!]

Amendment to the proposed Amendment withdrawn.


asked leave to withdraw the Amendment. [Cries of "No, no!"]

Amendment negatived.

MR. EMERSON BAINBRIDGE (Lincolnshire, Gainsborough)

said that as the Committee proceeded with its work the opportunity for those who were as impressed as he was with the burdens which this Bill imposed became less, and in putting forward the Amendment which stood in his name, he felt that he had almost a last opportunity of bringing before the Committee the strong argument which existed in favour of reducing the weight of this Bill upon certain industries. Through the courtesy of the Colonial Secretary, he had had the opportunity outside the House of discussing certain figures with him, and he now finally proposed to bring those figures before the Committee. In a matter of such grave importance as this, one suffered from the misfortune that the smoking room contingent of the House, to the extent say of 100, could not form, judgment from the facts presented to the Committee, but when the division bell rang simply took their marching orders, and this placed the advocates on both sides at a disadvantage. He wished to place before the Committee eight separate and forcible reasons for bringing forward this Amendment. (1) The chief other way of lessening the burden would have been by extending the time of exemption from a fortnight to four weeks, but owing to the position taken by the Government as to this, an Amendment to that effect was withdrawn. He did not understand, nor did the Government understand, till yesterday, that the total accidents which were comprised in the first fortnight only amounted to 20 per cent. of the whole of the disablement accidents which happened; but what was much more important, the cost of these only amounted to 5 per cent. of the total cost of disablement accidents, and, therefore, the burden imposed on the employers amounted to no less than 95 per cent. of the cost. It would be agreed this was a most serious proportion, and he questioned whether the House had realised this until he presented these figures, which were absolutely reliable. It was for this reason that as the Amendment with regard to the four weeks was lost, there was the more need for asking to have the maximum of 20s. brought down to 10s. The second reason which he wished to put forward was a very simple and very forcible one. There had been no crying demand for this Bill, lad whether there had been a demand for it or not, there had certainly been no suggestion on the part of the workmen as to the amount which should be placed in the Bill as compensation. This came from the Government itself, and the figure of half the earnings or 20s. was put down as the maximum, but the best test of what was the amount which the workmen themselves thought was the right payment to give a man was surely the amount which under, the present Permanent Relief Societies such a man got, and this equalised from 8s. to 10s. per week, and he contended that whatever sum the workmen's own societies fixed might finally be taken by the Government as representing their judgment, and what was the right figure, and no doubt this figure was arrived at partly because it was considered a fair figure to give to a man who probably had one or two members of his family working for him, and no doubt the workmen themselves had arranged a figure which would cause some check on malingering. This brought him to the third reason in support of this Amendment, and he wished to add a word to what he mentioned on this point at the Second Reading. Nobody knew better than the hon. Members who represented labour in the House, that it had been proved indisputably that with increased payment there was increased tendency to remain off work disabled, and he reminded the House again that the figures he gave before, namely, that in Lancashire and Cheshire, when the rate of payment rose from 6s. to 10s. per week, the average number of weeks at which the workmen remained incapacitated rose from 2.9 to 4.7 weeks, an increase of 70 per cent. Although there was some protest from the hon. Member for Leicester with regard to malingering, he felt sure the hon. Member knew it was a very serious drawback to the management of all societies formed for the relief in case of accidents. Some men had a natural tendency to be constantly as it was called on the club. The Committee might take it for granted that there is a certain figure for remuneration which, as it approached nearer the figure which a man earned when at work, formed a strong inducement to a large number of men to dwell as long as possible on the resources of the fund, and it seemed a mistake to offer any inducements in this direction. The fourth reason he wished to put forward in support of the Amendment related to the question of the continuance of the Miners' Permanent Relief Societies. The Miners' Permanent Relief Societies had now undivided funds of upwards of half a million, and the greater the remuneration or recompense paid under this Bill, the less likely they were to continue. Personally he hoped they would continue. They had been an untold benefit to many thousands of cases, mid it was therefore undesirable to put in this Bill any compensation which would at all jeopardise the existence of these societies. The fifth reason was one which had a special reference to what would be considered to be the burden on the trade. The average of profit made on the coal was only a few pence per ton, and the burden upon coal mines, whether it was borne by the employer, the workman, or the consumer, could be safely taken at 2d. per ton if the rate which now existed in the Bill was maintained. Whilst the compensation was, as he had already pointed out, a fair one to the man who was damaged, it did seem desirable that this Bill should not suddenly be allowed to place what would be a very serious burden upon the coal and iron industries. A good deal had been said on this question in the House, but hon. Members would have a much better idea of what the feeling was if they saw the volume of correspondence from all parts of the country, and the strong feeling there was amongst the employers from the different districts who had been in the Lobby during the past few days. The sixth reason was this. The provisions of the Bill had created a very strong feeling of resentment in the minds of a very large number of people who were to some extent instrumental in placing the present Government in power, and he would suggest with all respect that if the Government could carry their Bill through, and in doing so reduce that strong feeling by making the burdens of the Bill less heavy, it would, for political reasons, be an advantage. He might say that during the past few clays he had received an intimation from a certain section of his own constituents that he had better resign his seat, but that was no reason why he should be at all afraid of putting before the Committee what he considered to be a burden which was calculated to seriously depress one industry. ["Hear, hear!"]


said the Government could not under any circumstances accept the Amendment. [Opposition cheers.] It appeared to them to be an unreasonable Amendment. The hon. Gentleman had told them, in a rather pathetic way, that this might be regarded as the last note of the dying swan. [Laughter.] He was sure the Committee would bear with the hon. Gentleman on that account, and would be very glad to know that, when the question was decided upon this Amendment, it would not crop up again. ["Hear, hear!"] The hon. Gentleman stated in the course of his speech that he had had an interview with him and certain friends of his representing the Lancashire and Cheshire coal industry, at which he thought the hon. Gentleman said they had convinced him on certain points in regard to the pressure on the coal trade.


I do not think I used the word "convinced." That would be rather a bold word. [Laughter.]


said he rejoiced to have had the interview to which he referred, as it was to him most instructive and suggestive. He should not have referred to it, as he understood it was confidential, had not the hon. Gentleman himself raised the subject, but, as it had been raised, he was going to tell the Committee what the result of the interview was. He had not the least doubt of the good faith and sincerity of the gentlemen who came to see him on that occasion. They brought him calculations to show that the cost of this Bill upon the coal trade would amount to no less than 2.46d. per ton of coal raised in the Lancashire and Cheshire coal districts. They did not give him all the details on which they founded their calculations, but he was prepared, for the sake of argument, to accept everything which he was not able at the moment to check as being absolutely accurate, and he dealt in his conversation with them only with the matters which he was able to check. Let him tell the Committee the result. They calculated that there would be per 1,000 men employed 190 deaths, and that the charge on the trade for every single one of those deaths would be £300. That was the maximum under the Bill. The fact was that the maximum could only be reached where the wages were twice as much as the ordinary average wage in the trade. He did not say that it would never be reached, but for one case in which the maximum of £300 would be reached there were 30 cases in which the maximum— charge would only be £10 for funeral expenses, because the man left no dependants. ["Hear, hear!"] He undertook to say that the average charge per death could not, on the face of these figures, be more than £150, and that at once struck off 50 per cent. of the charge which these gentlemen were going about saying would he imposed on their trade. [Laughter and cheers.] The average wage payable all over England was 26s. The half of that was 13s., and the death calculation upon that would give a little more than £150. But then they had got to deduct all those cases, which amounted to one-third of the total cases, in which there were no dependants, and in which— the charge, instead of being £150, would be £10. The next item in their calculation was still more extraordinary. It dealt with cases of temporary disablement. He assumed their figures as to the number of those cases—namely, 16,297, and the average duration—namely, 4.7 weeks. Here, again, they calculated the compensation at the maximum of 20s. a week. It was perfectly evident that, as the average wage was 26s. a week, the average maximum would be only 13s. a week, and even that would have to be reduced because the matter was left in the discretion of the arbitrator, who would have to be satisfied in every case before he gave the maximum. ["Hear, hear!"] But even taking the monstrous and preposterous assumption that in every case the arbitrator would give the maximum there would be another 35 per cent. to come off this calculation. But that was not all. Their calculation as to the duration of accidents was 4.7 weeks. He was struck with that, because it did not agree with his own calculation. He asked them where the allowance was for the two weeks in the Bill for which they would make no payment at all, and their reply was that the total average of duration for temporary accidents was 4.7 weeks. He found that, while on the one hand they had calculated the compensation for 4¾ weeks at the maximum of 20s., they had deducted for the two weeks at the rate which was ordinarily paid, and which was not 20s., but something about a quarter of that amount. That, again, would account for a large percentage of difference. The hon. Gentleman opposite had given him the opportunity of, he thought, finally destroying this absurd calculation of 2½d. per ton, so far, at any rate, as the Lancashire and Cheshire districts were concerned, and, of course, it was of great importance to the coal owners that they should be aware, as far as they could estimate, what the charge on their trade was to be. As he had said, he believed they were much more frightened than hurt, and they had been frightened by these calculations, made, no doubt, in good faith, but which would not stand a moment's examination. The third item in their calculation was for permanent disablement, which they put at 4½ per 1,000, and for which they took an average duration of 3½ years. He thought that was a fair calculation, except that again they reckoned that these permanent disablements were to be calculated at the maximum of 20s. a week as for death, whereas if the maximum were given in every case it could only be 13s. a week. He was convinced that the more this matter was examined into the more the coal owners themselves would come to the conclusion that the Home Secretary, who dealt with the whole coal trade of the United Kingdom, was perfectly right when he said that the charge would not exceed ¾d. per ton. As to the particular point before the Committee, he certainly thought the maximum, of 20s. not at all an unreasonable one, and it was based exactly on the same calculation as that which had already induced the Committee to fix the maximum of compensation in case of death at £300. ["Hear, hear!"] But do not let colliery owners imagine, because there was a maximum in the Bill, that the maximum would always ha reached in every case of compensation. ["Hear, hear!"]

*COLONEL BLUNDELL (Lancashire, Ince)

was afraid that when men were put on the sick-list at a pound a week there would be a very great deal of waste, and the waste would eventually fall upon the men employed as well as upon their employers, unless there was some efficient supervision. He thought the men ought to consider that matter. The real difficulty in this point of the Bill was that the workman would not put his hand to the plough. In the Lancashire and Cheshire experience no one had ever suffered from any bankruptcy, for the simple reason that all were on a level as regarded insurance. What was wanted here was some mutual insurance to cover the time a man suffering from a slight injury was being supported, subscribed to not only by the employers, but by his own people, so that they would then get the supervision of the injured man's fellow-workmen. That was what they wanted, and there was no machinery in the Bill to supply its place. The thing they required was that, as in Germany, there should be supervision of the workman by his fellow-worker. It was perfectly true that in some cases men might go back to work much too soon; but he believed that in every class there were always some who held back longer than they ought, and it would be the case in the industries affected by the Bill, and as he had said, there would be great waste, and it would fall ultimately on the working man himself. He felt that a great mistake had been made in not making the workman from the beginning take a part in his own insurance. What had been said about the Lancashire and Cheshire Fund as to the payments of the men he could not for a moment admit.

Amendment negatived.

MR. CHAMBERLAIN moved in Subsection (b), after the words "one pound," to insert: — (2) In fixing the amount of the weekly payment regard shall be had to the difference between the amount of the weekly earnings of the workman before the accident and the amount which he is able to earn after the accident.

He thought this would be in harmony with the general opinion of the Committee. Of course, it was never intended or desired that a workman who was still able to earn after an accident nearly the same wages as he earned before, should be pensioned for the rest of his life. ["Hear, hear!"]

Amendment agreed to.

*SIR A. HICKMAN moved in Sub-section (b), after the words "one pound," to insert:— Provided that he obtain from the medical officer appointed by the Secretary of State for the district in which he resides, or front the medical officer appointed by his employer for that purpose, weekly, a certificate of such disablement. The object of his Amendment, he said, was to provide a simple means of testing incapacity. The only means provided by the Bill was arbitration, but they could not have arbitration every week, and it was necessary that incapacity should be frequently tested, much oftener, at any rate, than was provided for. Some provision of this kind was found necessary in all cases, whether of friendly societies or arrangements between workmen and employers; and the custom had been that a man should report himself to the surgeon of the works or of the colliery weekly.


asked the hon. Member to what medical officer for the district the Amendment referred?


said what he intended to suggest was that it should be a person appointed by the employer in the first place, but if that were not considered satisfactory by the workman that a medical officer of the district should be appointed by the Home Secretary.


There is no provision in this Bill for the salary of a medical officer to be appoint ed by the Secretary of State, and there is no power in the Secretary of State to appoint such an officer. If the hon. Member will confine his Amendment to the medical officers appointed by the employer, it will be in order, but he cannot move at this stage to insert medical officer appointed by the Secretary of State.


, on a point of order, said he had an Amendment on the second schedule for the appointment of a medical officer by the Secretary of State, qua the arbitration. He assumed that the ruling the Chairman was now giving with regard to the general appointment of a medical officer by the Secretary of State would not apply to the medical officer appointed in connection with arbitration. The point, the Chairman would remember, was raised on the Expenses Vote, and it was explained that the Expenses Vote would be wide enough to include that.


The Resolution of the Committee enabled a charge to be imposed, so far as relates to arbitration, but it does not cover the case raised by the hon. Member in his Amendment.


May I suggest that instead of "appointed by the Secretary of State" we might have "the medical officer of health for the district," who is already paid by the State. [HON. MEMBERS: "There may not be one." "Why not say a medical officer?"] Then I would say, "by the medical officer of health for the district if any."


intimated that those words would be in order.


said that in all friendly societies and in all friendly arrangements between workmen and employers it had been found necessary to have some arrangement for a periodical report from the surgeon; and he had no doubt that something of the kind would be found to be necessary by experience in this case. The temptation to malingering would be immensely increased by the Bill as it stood. It had been found in practice that in proportion to the amount of compensation, so the number of accidents increased, and also the duration of the incapacity—in direct proportion. Nobody, he was sure, wished to facilitate malingering, which was quite as inimical to those who represented the working classes as to those who had to pay. It did injury all round, and undoubtedly the money paid to malingerers must come partly, at any rate, out of the pockets of the working men who were honest. It was in the interest of everybody desirable that every possible precaution should be taken to prevent anything of the sort.


said the object of the hon. Member's Amendment was a reasonable one. It might, no doubt, be necessary to provide for reviewing the weekly payments with a view to increasing or diminishing them according as the consequences of the accidents increased or diminished in seriousness. But to provide for a medical certificate once a week was going beyond the circumstances and requirements of the case. ["Hear, hear!"] With reference to the particular provision proposed, he might point out to his hon. Friend that the medical officer of health was scarcely the person to act in surgical cases. ["Hear, hear!"] That, he felt sure, could not be accepted. The question was to come up (with reference to the appointment of a medical officer) on another part of the schedule, on the Amendment of the right hon. Member for the Forest of Dean. But that was in a. very different category from this. Weekly inspections could not be seriously thought of; but he thought the principle of the Amendment perfectly fair. The point would arise on Sub-section (5) of the schedule; and if the hon. Member thought the period of review ought to be more frequent than three months, something could be done on that part of the schedule. He hoped, therefore, that the hon. Member would not press his Amendment.

Amendment by leave withdrawn.

*SIR FRANCIS POWELL moved, in Sub-section (b), after the words last added, to insert the words:— the payment shall be made on the application of the person entitled thereto, or his authorised representative.


had no objection to the insertion of the words, though he was not aware that they were necessary.


thought the words were quite unnecessary, and might be mischievous.

Amendment agreed to.


had an Amendment on the Paper, proposing, at the end of Sub-section (b), to insert:— Provided that such weekly payments may at any time be commuted by the payment of such sum as with any previous weekly payments shall amount to the maximum sum which would have been payable if death had resulted from the accident. The hon. Member, on a point of order, said the Secretary to the Colonies had appealed to them to take the discussion on points of this kind on the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman, which stood on page 16. He was anxious to consult the wishes of the right hon. Gentleman, and he should like to know if the two points raised on the present Amendment could be raised by moving to amend the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman? If so, he would be willing to abstain from moving his Amendment.


Yes; I think that course may be taken, or else it will be possible to discuss the question of the limit of the amount on the next Amendment which stands upon the Paper, which raises that question, and that question only.


That being so, it will be convenient that I should not move the Amendment which stands in my name.

COLONEL MILWARD (Stratford-upon-Avon) moved, in Sub-section (b), after the words last added, to insert the words:— provided always that the total a mount such payment shall not exceed the sum payable if death had resulted from the injury. The hon. Member argued that it was necessary that some limit should be placed on the sum which should be payable. If an unlimited liability was hanging over a mine-owner or a manufacturer, he did not see how he could possibly insure, or, at all events, how he could advantageously insure. It was, therefore, very desirable that they should limit the sum payable to the injured person. In fixing such a limit, they should only be following the example of the benefit societies which existed at the present time, and which had their full pay, their half-pay, and their diminished pay. He thought it was fair to suggest that the limit an employer should be called upon to pay to an injured man should be the sum which would be payable in the case of death. They had also to consider the case of employers who wished either to sell their business, change their partners, or realise in some way or another. He ventured to say that with an unlimited liability hanging over a business, it would be almost impossible to do any of these things. What would the goodwill of a business be worth if it had to make weekly payments to three or four injured persons? Suppose they had four injured men, each of whom was in receipt of a weekly sum of 15s. for permanent incapacity. That would represent £156 a year, and would create a liability on the business of £4,680. What would become of the goodwill of a business of that kind? A liability of that nature would swallow up the goodwill of any moderate-sized business therefore, while it was right that they should be generous towards the working man, he thought it very important that a limit should be put on the amount which he was to receive. He begged to move the Amendment.


observed that he had an Amendment on the Paper for a later stage which raised a question closely connected with the one dealt with by the present proposal, and all the objections of his hon. Friend could be met when they came to the subsequent Amendment. All he could say now was that he could not go quite as far as the hon. Gentleman, and say that in no circumstances ought more to be paid for total incapacity than would be paid in the case of death. ["Hear, hear!"] In the case of death they were paying the persons who were not the sufferers except pecuniarily. They were only making to them certain pecuniary compensation, but in the case of injury they had got a man who was mutilated for life, and it was to this man that the payment was to be made. Compensation in cases of incapacity should be on a more liberal scale than in those of death when they compensated those who had suffered only by the loss of the services of the person killed.


submitted that the principle of limitation was applicable as much to the system of weekly payments as to the payment of a. lump sum. Where the weekly payments were commuted the employer knew the extent of his liability.


contended that the limitation proposed by the Amendment was unjust in principle, and quite impossible to work in practice.


agreed that the total of the weekly payments should be limited like the payment in case of death.

MR. BRYN ROBERTS (Carnarvonshire, Eifion)

said there was no more uncertainty about the extent of the weekly payments than the ordinary uncertainty of life which insurance societies accepted. He argued that the payment of a lump sum would be far more advantageous to the workman. The employer would naturally prefer weekly payments and to take the chance of the injured man dying, coming into a fortune, or emigrating before the time was up.


said the provisions of the Bill should be made as certain as possible if it was to work well. The justice of the Amendment was undoubted. If compensation was to be measured by the gravity of the accident and the injury inflicted, the greatest injury that could be inflicted on a man, surely, was to kill him. ["Hear, hear!"] Consequently any injury short of that should not be visited by compensation of a larger amount than would have been the case if death resulted. He considered the Amendment to be a perfectly reasonable one.


said, in the hope that the Colonial Secretary would consider the point raised by his Amendment between now and the Report stage he would withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

MR. W. E. M. TOMLINSON (Preston) moved at the end of Section (2) to insert: — The employer shall not be liable to pay any sum of money for compensation under this Act which shall not have been applied for within three months after the time when the same became payable.


said he was not prepared to accept the Amendment at present, but he would consider the point.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

COLONEL MILWARD moved at the end of Section (2) to insert words with the object of making the sum payable under certain conditions to 12 nominees approved by the County Court Judge, to be invested or expended by the said nominees for the benefit of the beneficiary or beneficiaries.


said the Registrar of the Court of Chancery would generally compel these nominees to pay the money over to the beneficiary at once. He doubted if the words proposed would effect their object.


pointed out that he had an Amendment on the Paper giving discretion to the arbitrator to invest this money, and he hoped that would meet the case.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

MR. E. H. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.) moved in Section (3) to leave out the words: — means such members of the workman's family as are entitled to damages in cases under the Fatal Accidents Act 1846, and to insert the words: — the wife, husband, grandparent, stepfather, stepmother, child, grandchild, stepson, stepdaughter, brother, and sister of the workman.

The first part of the Amendment simply specified the relationships which were enumerated in the Act of 1846, which he thought was preferable to legislating by reference. To these he had added "brother and sister," as it often happened that the brother or sister of the deceased workman had become the main or sole support of the family.


said he had intended to put an Amendment on the Paper proposing that the first part of the sub-section should read: — The expression 'dependants' in this schedule means such members of the workman's family specified in the Fatal Accidents Act 1846 as were wholly or partly dependant on the earnings of the workman at the time of or immediately prior to his death. The Fatal Accidents Act had been in operation since 1846, and had been perfectly understood. As to its extension to other relationships, he was aware that some hon. Members desired it to be extended to illegitimate children—["hear, hear!"]—but as the Act of 1846 was clear and precise, and had given complete satisfaction he thought it was better not to attempt to extend the relationships.


said that on the drafting point he understood the words he proposed to put into the Bill were really shorter than the words in the Bill as drawn. He felt so strongly that the words "brother and sister" ought to be included that he must press the matter to a division.


called attention to the next Amendment on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for the North-wich division of Cheshire (Sir John Brunner). That Amendment ran:— The grandparent, parent, stepfather, stepmother, husband, wife, brother, sister, child, stepchild, and grandchild of the workman, or any one or more of them, who shall at the time of the death of the workman be dependant wholly or partially upon the wages of the workman: Provided that the words 'brother,' 'sister,' and 'child' shall, if the arbitrator think fit, be construed to include an illegitimate brother, sister, and child, and the word 'parent' to include the unmarried mother of the workman, who was or were at the time of the workman's death living in the house of the deceased: Provided that the word 'dependant' shall in no case be construed to include a person of unsound mind. There would in some cases be very great hardship if under certain circumstances illegitimate children were not to receive any benefit.


mentioned the case of persons who might have undertaken to bring up a child having no child of their own. It would be a great hardship if such children were not allowed to participate. For his part he should not confine it to relatives at all, but extend compensation to every person immediately dependant upon the man without reference to relationship.

Question put, "That the words such members of the workman's family" stand part of the Schedule."

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 208; Noes, 89. (Division List, No. 233.)

And, it being half-past Five of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.

Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.