HC Deb 03 June 1897 vol 50 cc205-44

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

  1. (a) where death results from the injure—
    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, he made to the legal personal representative of the workman, or, if lie has no legal personal representative, to his dependants, or, if he leaves no dependants, to the person to whom the expenses are due.

(3.) Tine 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 tine dependants is an infant his share of compensation may be invested for his benefit as directed by tine 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.

THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY, Lancashire, Blackpool) moved in Section (3) to leave out the words "as are entitled to damages in eases under," and to insert instead thereof the words "as are specified in."

Amendment agreed to.

SIR JOHN BRUNNER (Cheshire, Northwich) moved, in Section (3), after the words "Fatal Accidents Act 1846," to insert the words, "In the Third Schedule of this Act." He should like to persuade the Government to get rid of this legislation by reference. This Bill would have to be interpreted in many instances for years to come by workmen acting through their organisations or in their individual capacity, and where possible, he urged that the Government should print in the Bill the list contained in the Fatal Accidents Act of 1846. If this course was not adopted, great additional expense would be imposed on poor people because the Government would not take the trouble to copy a few words from an Act and insert them in the present Bill. It might not be an elegant method from the point of view of draftsmanship, but if the Amendment could not be inserted here he would attempt to induce the Prime Minister to insert it in the Bill when it reached the House of Lords.


The Amendment would be contrary to order. The Committee has not seen the proposed Third Schedule.


said that if hon. Members had seen the Act of 1846 they were in possession of the knowledge as to the full extent of the Schedule.


It is contrary to order to move an Amendment in this way referring to a proposed Amendment which does not appear on the Paper, and of which no notice has been given.

SIR MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY moved, in Section (3), after "1846," to insert the words:— as were wholly or in part dependent upon the earnings of the workman at the time of or immediately prior to his death.

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

put the case of a child earning 5s. a week, with a parent or grand-parent dependent on its labour. Under the Bill as it at present stood would that child be entitled to a minimum of £150 a year? Again, supposing there was a dependant of a working man who at the time was in receipt of a shilling or two a week, would the effect of the Bill be to give this dependant £150?


said he had framed an Amendment to meet this case, which he looked upon as of great importance. He put the case of an old miner supported by a number of sons. If one of the sons died, the father, who was receiving, perhaps, a shilling or two a week from the son, would be entitled to £150, and the same thing would happen in the case of a child. It did not seem to be right or just that such a large sum should be paid. He suggested that the arbitrator should have the power to give such an amount as, in respect of any minimum, was right and fair in the circumstances of the case.


suggested to the hon. Member that it would be advisable to wait his proper turn in moving that Amendment.


Is the case of the posthumous child dealt with? ["Hear, hear!"]


There will be a mother then. [Laughter.]

Amendment agreed to.

MR. J. W. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire) moved, in Section (3), after "1846; and," to insert the words:— Provided that the word 'child' shall, if the arbitrator thinks fit, be construed to include an illegitimate 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. He pointed out that this Amendment dealt with a hard case. If a mother, leading a respectable life, and working in a factory, met with a fatal accident, her illegitimate child was cut off from all compensation on account of a misfortune for which it was in no way responsible. It might be urged that this was a very great change in the law; but, after all, this Bill was a still greater change in the law, and to include such a case as this was really in harmony with the generous principle of the Bill.


said that the Government could not accept the Amendment. It involved a startling change in the law. The cases of illegitimate children were not the only hard cases, and if the Committee were to add these dependants and other relations, whether legitimate or illegitimate, he was afraid the time of the Committee would be greatly occupied.


thought that the reason adduced by the Home Secretary was a very bad one. The Committee could not be better engaged than in considering with a view to adoption an Amendment dealing with a hard case like this. The Amendment had been moved in a very guarded form. Though it would still leave hard cases, the Amendment was so limited that he believed it would be safe to insert it in the Bill.

MR. LIONEL HOLLAND (Tower Hamlets, Bow)

said that as he understood the principle of Lord Campbell's Act of 1846, it was that compensation should only be paid to people who had a legal claim upon the workman during his lifetime. He did not say that that general principle should be discarded. What was now proposed was not to alter it, but to extend it somewhat further by including such illegitimate children as would have a legal claim if the workman had lived, and thus secure that the legal claim of those children should not be destroyed by the workman's death. He hoped, therefore, the Government would see their way to accepting the Amendment. It was not designed to encourage indiscretion on the part of the man. Its object was to protect innocent children. It was none of their business to see that the sins of the father were visited on the children. But it was their business to see that the original taint was as far as possible removed from the child, and that he was given an opportunity of growing up a respectable citizen. As the Bill steal it was more likely than the Amendment to encourage lax ideas in regard to marriage, for it would be to the pecuniary advantage of the employer—though he did not say that the employer would allow the idea to influence him—to employ men whose children were illegitimate.


thought it was perfectly justifiable for the hon. Gentleman who had just silt down that the tendency of the Bill, as it stood, would be to encourage employers to employ men with illegitimate children. Why, it had been argued already by hon. Gentlemen opposite that the effect of the Bill would be to encourage the employment of single men, or men without families; and that came to the same thing as the argument of the hon. Gentleman. To his mind the Amendment was far too narrow. He would include within the scope of the Act all illegitimate children, on the ground that those children must lie the greatest sufferers from, while they were no partners to, the indiscretions committed by their parents. Besides, it was not from a love of doing wrong that those indiscretions were committed. They were due in many cases to a want of proper acommodation, and it was society, and not the man or the woman that was the criminal. He knew a great number of cases where the housing of the poor in rural parishes was so bad, that young men mid women, from 12 to 28 years, brothers and and sometimes lodgers, all crowded together in one small attic called a bedroom. How could these poor creatures be held responsible for the immorality of their lives? He thought it was a monstrous thing, under the circumstances, to exclude illegitmate children from the benefits of the Act.


said he had great sympathy with the Amendment. Nothing saddened him so much in the considerable experience he had now hail of the criminal courts than the sight of a poor girl put on trial, while the father got off perfectly scathless. Therefore, hon. Members would understand that, while he was obliged to point out how impossible it was to accept the Amendment, he felt strongly for a class who were unduly punished both by society and the law. ["Hear, hear!"] But that really was not the question. They must remember that illegitimate children were not the only deserving class that were left out. The case of a nephew or a niece, a brother or a sister, supported by the man who had been killed, was even more deserving than the case of the illegitimate child; and yet it was found impossible to include those eases. The Amendment would only bring in one out of many deserving classes; and, however they might sympathise with it, they must feel that the decision of the Home Secretary in refusing to accept it was the only possible decision.

MR. J. WILSON (Falkirk Burghs)

was not at all surprised that English Members were in sympathy with this Amendment, but he was astonished to find the Amendment moved by a Scotchman, because the Scotch managed these things better. [Laughter.] In Scotland marriage legitimised children born out of wedlock, and he advised the Government to bring up the English law to the level of the Scotch law.


said that this was not a case of being generous, but of being just to the unfortunate children of an illegitimate union. He trusted the Amendment would be pressed to a Division.

*SIR ELLIOTT LEES (Birkenhead)

did not suppose a single Member of the House would desire to visit the sins of the father upon the child, but at the same time it must be remembered that there were hard cases through illegitimacy amongst all classes, and until the law was altered so as to allow illegitimate children to succeed to property in case of intestacy, they could not, in justice, offer the illegitimate children of one class special benefit under this Bill. It would be a slur upon the working classes—["Hear, hear!"]—to enact special legislation dealing with the illegitimate children of that class, on the assumption that a state of things existed amongst them which did not exist amongst all classes.

SIR ROBERT REID (Dumfries Burghs)

said it would be hard that punishment should descend upon the illegitimate child. Under the Amendment, however, there would be a difference between the legitimate and illegitimate child, because in the case of the legitimate child there would be a right to compensation, and in the case of the illegitimate child the granting of compensation would be discretionary on the part of the arbitrator.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided:—Ayes, I06; Noes, 203.—(Division List, No. 234.)

SIR J. BRUNNER moved to add the following proviso:— Provided that the word 'dependant' shall in no case be construed to include a person of unsound mind. His Amendment, he said, might look cruel, but it was, in fact, intended by him to have a merciful effect. The Committee would see at once that the maximum provision under the Bill was entirely inadequate for a person of unsound mind, and his idea in moving the Amendment was that persons of unsound mind should not be maintained at the homes of relatives and under circumstances which were not fitting for those kind of persons. It seemed to him that every person of unsound mind should be under skilled charge, and that, if possible, unless the relatives were wealthy enough to provide ample supervision, these poor persons should be under the charge of the public authorities.


was quite sure the hon. Baronet intended the Amendment in the most kindly spirit, but he could assure him it might be productive of the very greatest hardship, while at the same time it would be difficult of practical application. ["Hear, hear!"] There were a great many cases in which these persons were most affectionately treated by their relatives at home, and it would be a cruelty to compel them to be sent to some other place away from those who were now taking care of them. ["Hear, hear!] He thought it was too difficult a matter on which to lay down anything like a stereotyped rule.

Amendment negatived.

MR. SETON-KARR moved further to add the following proviso:— Provided that in any case in which such dependants are only in part dependent upon such earnings the minimum of £150 mentioned in Clause 1 (a 1) of this schedule shall not apply, but the arbitrator shall decide what part thereof shall be paid to such dependants. The object of the Amendment, lie said, was simply to deal with the case of a child earning, it might be, a few shillings a week, who was killed in the course of his employment. Under the clause referred to in this Amendment the parent or parents of that child would receive the minimum compensation of £150. But could it be said that in that case the parent or parents were dependent upon that child's earnings to such an extent as to entitle them to the minimum amount of compensation? A great deal had been said in the course of their Debates about justice and expediency, but this was neither justice nor expediency. It was simply lavish generosity. These were cases which should be provided for, and if the Government did not approve of the wording of his Amendment, but would put the same idea into their own words, he should be perfectly satisfied.


said the case put by his hon. Friend was one which had escaped the consideration of the Government. It was, briefly, that the workman who was killed might be a boy or a girl or a person earning very small wages indeed. The dependants on that person could not, therefore, have received, or be expected to have received, very much pecuniary benefit from those earnings, and it would he unfair in such a case to award to them the minimum which was provided by this Bill—that was to say, a sum equal either to three years' wages or £150. That was a case which was not intended, and which would have to be met. But he did not like the words of his right hon. Friend's Amendment, which vent a little too far and practically did away with the minimum, because he said that in every case in which the dependants were only partially dependent the minimum was not to apply. That would take almost every case, because even in the case of a wife and child it was quite possible they might be earning something at the time of the workman's death, and, therefore would not be entirely dependent on him. The Government would try their hands at an Amendment to meet this case. It was a rather complicated matter, and he was afraid they could not do so without further time for consideration, and he would suggest the withdrawal of the Amendment, with the promise that. Government would consider it and endeavour to meet the case.

MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)

thought the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman a very fair one; but he hoped that in allowing the Amendment to be considered on Report it would be distinctly and clearly understood that, as far as Members on that side of the House were concerned, all those Amendments that were intended in substance to reduce the amount of compensation would be strenuously resisted. If an Amendment could be framed dealing with this small point in which some injustice might possibly be done, they would be willing to consider it on Report; but Amendments that were really intended indirectly to reduce the amount of compensation would receive their strenuous opposition. ["Hear, hear!"]


said he thought the speech just addressed to the Committee was a very unnecessary speech—[cheers]—absolutely unnecessary, whether as regarded the Government and their supporters or hon. Members behind him. Nothing of the kind suggested was ever intended by anybody on the Government side of the House. They had strenuously resisted every Amendment which had been moved—and he thought most of them had come from the Opposition side of the House that was intended to reduce the amount of the compensation. ["Hear, hear!"] At the same time they were not going to shut their eyes to an injustice if a clear case was made out. [Cheers.]


said the right hon. Gentleman had somewhat misunderstood him. Looking at the Amendment as it stood, and at what the right hon. Gentleman had said about it, it appeared to tend in the direction of reducing the compensation. The Government had been very strong in reference to things of that sort, and what he had said was only in order to assure the Government of their support. [Ministerial laughter and cheers.]

*MR. J. WILSON (Durham, Mid)

had no wish to speak for all hon. Members on that side—[laughter]—but he thought he could speak for four or five. His opinion was that to accept this Amendment would be to open the door to very serious complications. There was hardly a family in the country that the change would not apply to. He appealed to the Government not to depart from the principle of a stated money payment. It vas all very well to put a simple case like that mentioned 1,y the Mover of the Amendment, but it was getting in the thin end of the wedge; it was an interference with the principle of the Bill which should be avoided.

MR. STUART-WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam)

said unreasonable things had been said about the Government. The Colonial Secretary had promised to be most careful in safeguarding genuine losers by a man's death. But was it to be supposed that an able-bodied loan should be the gainer by the death of his child?

MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)

said the other night the hon. Member for the Kilmarnock Burghs expressed in better form the views which the hon. Member for St. Helen's had put in what he might term a harsh and brutal way. The result was that the hon. Member for the Kilmarnock Burghs saw that the Amendment of a similar character which he had put down would do much harm if pressed, and consequently he withdrew it. Let them suppose the case of a family in which there was a lad apprenticed as a carpenter or engineer. From 19 to 21 he would earn 8s. or 10s. per week. The father was killed just as the lad at 21 jumped into the position of a journeyman with a wage of 30s., 35s., or £2 a week. What would happen if the hon. Member for St. Helen's Amendment were law? Compensation would be given to some extent dependent on the lad's wages as an apprentice, with the result that they would get only £50 or £60, both for the lad and for his mother, whom he intended to keep perhaps for four or five years. Now it was agreed that in establishing a minimum of £150 in all cases, they would lay down a simple general rule, but it would be most unfair to accept an Amendment that would press upon sons who were helping to maintain their mothers a pecuniary disqualification, and upon widows an obligation that ought not to be imposed. He would ask the Colonial Secretary to have the Bill and nothing but the Bill, and to be as generous towards the dependants of a man who had been killed, and who were receiving low wages as he had been to other people.


said the hon. Member for Battersea had obviously misunderstood the matter. There was no tendency, on that side of the House at any rate, to cut down fair compensation, although they did want to see the principle of the Bill justly applied. What the hon. Member referred to would not be dealt with by the Amendment. The Amendment referred to a case in which the person killed was a child earning small wages; and, as it had been put by an hon. Member on his own side of the House, was it a fair principle that an able-bodied man should get a large sum in compensation owing merely to the death of his child? He might be dependent on that child's wages to a very small extent indeed. The child might be earning 5s. or 6s. a week, and the father only getting an advantage perhaps of 6d. a week or some other very small sum; and if the child happened to be killed, was the father under the circumstances to be paid the minimum of £150? That was the simple point, but it was not the point raised by the hon. Member for Battersea.


pointed out that the real difficulty arose on the construction of the words put into the Bill that afternoon—" wholly or in part dependent on the earnings of the workman at the time." The construction of the word "dependent" in that connection would really decide the case whether con- tributions were to be made or not. Who was or who was not dependent on the earnings would be a question to be decided by the arbitrator. The mere fact that a deceased child contributed something to the general stock—that something being merely enough to make up for the deceased child's own maintenance would not make the parents and other members of the family dependent upon the child. He submitted that the proper way of dealing with this question was to leave it to the arbitrator to decide who was dependent and who was not dependent on the earnings of the deceased. ["Hear, hear!"]

MR. PARKER SMITH (Lanark, Partick)

said it was perfectly true that the Amendment depended on the words introduced just now—"in part dependent." It was an explanation of those words. He took it that with the definition of "dependent" here given, a father would certainly be "in part dependent" on a child earning 4s. a week, and bringing it in as part of the family income.


It provides for the child's own maintenance.


would be greatly surprised if any arbitrator would say that in such a case a father was not partly dependent on the child killed. Take another case, that of a person who was "in part dependent" in the sense that half-a-dozen sons were contributing a couple of shillings a week each to the support of their father. If the father was to get the minimum of £150 when one of the sons was killed, he would be absolutely better off than if the son had lived all the time. He would remind hon. Members that the principle to which the Government had promised favourable consideration was the principle of Lord Campbell's Act, which had been acted upon for fifty years. The only necessity for explaining it arose from the fact of there being a minimum sum fixed by the Bill. Under Lord Campbell's Act the Court was bound to consider how much the dependant received from the deceased. If the loss sustained by the death was small, the damages given by the jury were small. If there was not the minimum of £150, and the arbitrators were free to reduce the amount as much as the necessities and the justice of the case required, there would be no need for the Amendment.

MR. J. W. LOGAN (Leicester, Harborough)

thought the workman under the circumstances would suffer great hardship. It was intolerable that they should be left dependent in this way.


objected to leaving this matter to the discretion of the arbitrator. In reply to observations from the other side, he begged to say he had no idea of reducing the amount to be given as compensation under the Bill. He absolutely repudiated any accusation of the kind. He understood that the Government accepted the principle of the Amendment.


No, Sir. What I said was that I thought, if there was a case of hardship made out, we should have to consider how it would be possible to meet it.


said he understood that the case was one that would be considered by Her Majesty's Government, and that they would proceed to deal with it. The statement just made by the right hon. Gentleman was not quite satisfactory. Still, he should withdraw his Amendment.


said he did not wish to have any misunderstanding. If the hon. Member was not satisfied with his statement, then lie hoped he would go to a Division.

MR. S. WOODS (Essex, Walthamstow)

agreed that if any attempt were made to cut down the compensation that would be given under the Bill, serious difficulties would arise, and he hoped that the Government, in considering the matter, would bear that in mind.


said that as the matter would be brought up again on the Report stage he would rest satisfied with what the right hon. Gentleman had said, and withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

MR. CHAMBERLAIN moved, in Section (4), to leave out the words, "If any of the dependants is an infant, his share of compensation may," and to insert the words, "The sum allotted as compensation to any dependant." The right hon. Gentleman explained that his object was to give a wider discretion to the arbitrator than he would otherwise have under the Bill.

*MR. J. WILSON (Durham, Mid)

inquired whether the word "arbitrator" would include "committee?"


explained that he had given notice of an Amendment to make it read "committee or arbitrator."

Amendment agreed to.

MR. PARKER SMITH moved in Section (4), after the word "invested," to insert the words "or otherwise applied."

Amendment agreed to.

MR. THOMAS BURT (Morpeth) moved at the end of Section (4) to insert—

  1. "(1) The arbitrator may order any sum awarded as compensation, in case of the death of a workman from any injury sustained by him, and payable to or for the benefit of any infant or person under disability, to be invested in whole or in part in the Post Office Savings Bank by the Registrar of the County Court in his name as Registrar.
  2. "(2) Any sum so ordered to be invested may be accepted by the Postmaster General as a deposit in the name of the registrar as such, and the provisions of any statute or regulations respecting the limits of deposits in savings banks, and the declaration to be made by a depositor, shall not apply to such sums.
  3. "(3) No part of any money invested in the name of the Registrar of any County Court in the Post Office Savings Bank under this Act shall be paid out to any Registrar, except upon authority addressed to the Postmaster General by the Treasury or by the Judge.
  4. "(4) Any person deriving any benefit under any moneys paid into a Post Office Savings Bank under the provisions of this Act, may nevertheless open an account in a Post Office Savings Bank or in any other savings bank in his own name, without being liable to any penalties imposed by any statute or regulations in respect of the opening of accounts in two savings banks, or of two accounts in the same savings bank."


remarked that these words were taken from the Bill of 1893. They were arranged in concert with the Post Office, and he was quite willing to accept them with a verbal alteration. He moved to amend the proposed Amendment, by omitting, all the words from the commencement to the word "disability" in Sub-section (1), and to insert instead thereof the words— Any sum ordered by the Committee or the arbitrator to be invested may be ordered.

Amendment to the proposed Amendment agreed to.

Amendment, as amended, agreed to.

SIR ALFRED HICKMAN (Wolverhampton, W.) moved in Section (5) to leave out the words "at intervals of not less than three months." He thought it only reasonable that there should be a less period of revision than three months.


said he had an Amendment on the Paper suggesting that the period should be 14 days, and he strongly pressed, in the interests of both employers and employed, that they should at reasonable intervals be able to have a man examined. If a workman, for instance, found that he had not recovered as soon as the doctors had anticipated, he ought to be able to appeal for a further examination in order that he might obtain further pecuniary assistance from the employer. On the other hand, the employer might find that a workman would recover sooner than was anticipated, and he in turn ought to be able to ask for another examination, as the workman might be capable of performing his work.

MR. C. B. RENSHAW (Renfrew, W.)

hoped the Government would give favourable consideration to this Amendment, or else to that suggested by the hon. Member who had last spoken. The Colonial Secretary stated the other day that the duration of an accident did not as a rule exceed four or five weeks. But under the provisions of the Bill as it stood the payment would have to be continued during the whole of the three months, and there was, apparently, nothing which would give rise to a revision of the terms in regard to the weekly payment until after the expiration of the first three months. He hoped the limit would be taken out altogether, or that the fourteen days suggested by the previous speaker would be agreed to.


did not think it necessary to keep the words in the Bill, and if they were omitted in all probability the good feeling of the parties would prevent any abuse by unnecessary revision. He did not see much difference between "less than 14 days" or no interval at all, but he thought that some less period than three months might prove acceptable.

*MR. J. WILSON (Durham, Mid)

hoped the Government would retain the period of three months. The fact that the duration of an accident was only four or five weeks proved that the men did not malinger or remain on the funds longer than was necessary. From whom was this inquiry to come? The men had proved their willingness to work by only remaining at home on an average of three or four, or four or five weeks. They had inducements to remain on the funds if they wanted to malinger. A very large number of men in the two northern counties were not only on the permanent relief societies, but were also members of the friendly societies, and they had likewise the extra inducement, if they wanted to malinger, of 5s. a week which was now paid by the employers. This might be a matter of opinion, but in the two northern counties if an injured man desired to make the duration of the compensation longer than it should be, he had now every inducement to do so, because he received 5s. from the relief fund, 5s. from the employer, and 10s. from his friendly society. For the first four or five weeks he would be receiving £1 a week. He asserted that if this time were reduced, it would open an avenue to a large amount of irritation, and would not tend to create good feeling or to smooth the working of the Bill. ["Hear, hear!"]


said he believed that the Amendment was more in the interest of the workman than of the employer. In the first place, as a rule the employer would not adopt proceedings amounting to persecution, by bringing a poor injured workman before the arbitrator. The only object an employer could have in doing so was that if he was clearly of opinion or had received evidence which showed the condition of the workman to have materially changed, he might have the matter reviewed in that light. But let them take the case of the workman. Suppose he had met with an accident, and had gone before an arbitrator, who fixed the duration of the compensation at three weeks and the amount at 5s. As the Bill now stood, that could not be altered, and if the workman, instead of getting well at the end of three weeks, found himself worse, he would have to wait for three months in order to get his case reviewed.

*MR. J. WILSON (Durham, Mid)

Are we to understand that it is within the competency of the arbitrator to fix the time that a man is to remain on compensation?


Yes. Subsection (3) of Clause 1, which we have already passed, says that the matters to be referred to the arbitrator are, amongst other things, "as to the amount or duration of the compensation under this Act."


submitted that that (lid not mean that the arbitrator had to fix the duration of the payment. It was quite impossible for the arbitrator to fix the duration of the compensation at three or four weeks. ["Hear, hear!"]


said he was not a lawyer, and he would leave the true interpretation of that. Setting that aside, however, there still would remain the case of the workman who at the expiry of three weeks found his condition much worse, by which he would become entitled to 10s. or 15s. instead of the 5s. he had been receiving. He would have to go on taking the inferior compensation.

MR. G. C. T. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)

said that no friendly society would How three months to run absolutely without any reconsideration, and what was settled by the workmen themselves in the case of their friendly societies would be fair rule here. ["Hear, hear!"]

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

said that the period of three months would only come in in cases where very long disablement resulted. He thought it was in the interest of the workman as well as the employer that this period should not be inserted. Of course, the employer had the remedy of sending word to the workman that if he did not come back to work on such a day he would not be allowed to come at all, but that was not a system anyone would wish to see put in force.


contended that there ought to be a. power of fairly adjusting the conditions from time to time. He thought the Amendment was well justified.


asked whether there was any provision in the Bill under which the duration of the period over which the compensation was payable could be reviewed?


said that the duration of the period could only be reviewed from time to time. It could not be fixed beforehand.

*MR. J. WILSON (Durham, Mid)

said he would be satisfied if the Colonial Secretary would explain what he meant by saying that the arbitrator had power to fix the duration of the compensation.


said that the arbitrator had power to limit the duration of compensation to the period of incapacity.

Amendment agreed to.

MR. CHAMBERLAIN moved, at the end of Section (4), to add:— Where any weekly payment has been continued for not less than 12 months the liability therefor may, on the application of either the workman or the employer, be redeemed by the payment of a lump sun!, to be settled by arbitration under this Act, but not exceeding 312 times the weekly payment payable at the date of the application. He said this was a very important Amendment, but the principle had been discussed at very considerable length in other Amendments, and he hoped that a decision might be come to upon it without lengthened discussion. This was another of those Amendments which he proposed, confidently believing them to be in the interest both of the employer and the workman. It had been pointed out that in the case of lengthened disability there would be very great inconvenience in winding up an estate if it was burdened with this compensation. The same thing applied in a minor degree to change of residence, transfer of business, and other changes. Further, still speaking from the point of view of the employer, a fixed scale of compensation in certain cases would materially affect the rates of insurance, and as there must be insurance under the Bill, all would wish it should be as cheap as possible. He now came to the workman. The Amendment was to his interest, because, to a certain extent, it would increase his security. He would be able to make this demand, and, in many cases, probably, would be able to obtain a lump sum, thereby closing the transaction, instead of being dependent on the solvency of his employer. Another advantage was to be found in connection with the common occurrence of the workman changing his occupation or his residence after the accident. For instance, a man in Birmingham might wish to go to Leicester. It would be an additional complication for the workman to have to make all the arrangements for receiving his pension. It was all very well to say it might be paid to his personal representative, but the moment an employer lost sight of a workman, he might wish to have his case reviewed, and that might give rise to great complications. There were also many cases in which the workman could better invest the money than in an annuity. There were cases in which the workman could use to very great advantage a small capital, and could make from it a much larger income than by investing it in an annuity. There was only one objection to the Amendment, and that was that if a lump sum were paid to the injured workman he might squander it. Of course there was a possibility of that, but after all they could not keep the working class entirely in leading-strings. On the whole, he was inclined to think the working classes showed a considerable amount of common sense in connection with any little property that came to them. There were people of weak mind who did misuse opportunities of that kind, but on the whole he thought they must put aside that as being a conclusive objection. On the other hand, the arguments in favour of giving an option were so great that they entirely outweighed that objection. The Government did not think it necessary to commute, in cases of minor incapacity. If the incapacity did not last for more than 12 months no commutation was possible. In the case of an accident which led to a long illness the Government proposed that the injured man should have a. weekly payment for twelve months, and after that the payments might be redeemed by a lump sum equivalent to six years' wages. He moved the Amendment.


said that with regard to the payment of a lump sum the Amendment was not as bad as the Attorney General had led them to expect it would be. The Amendment might be worse, but such as it was from the point of view of members representing the workmen, they disliked the Amendment and objected to it. After the twelve months the employer might make an application against the working man, and the application would be treated only as a question whether it was a case for higher compensation or not, and would be settled against the working man entirely against his will. The objections to the Amendment involved objections to the whole principle of the Bill. The Measure had been limited to certain trades, and he was unable to support an Amendment to include other trades because of the difficulty of continuing payment in the case of the employers who might be unable to pay in the circumstances which had been discussed. But he hoped that Parliament having gone so far in the direction of compensation would ultimately pass a Bill embracing all trades. But did not the adoption of the six years' principle make it more difficult? To limit the Bill to certain trades was a limitation which could be got rid of; other trades could be included, but he was afraid a six years' limitation would be difficult to get rid of. This was his main objection to the Amendment.

MR. T. WILSON (Falkirk Burghs)

agreed with the Colonial Secretary when he said that this was one of the most important of the Amendments yet proposed. He entirely supported the principle of redemption of the weekly payment, and that not in the interests of the employer alone, but much more so of the workmen. He was a mine owner, and also represented a very large mining constituency, and he would have no hesitation whatever in going down to that constituency and supporting the principle of this Amendment. The Colonial Secretary had given so clearly and lucidly the reason for both employer and workman being in favour of it that there was little left to say in that form except that in case of a mine owner whose colliery gets exhausted, and came to an end, it was of importance that he should be able to settle the weekly claims of his injured workmen, and in case of workmen wishing to emigrate or to start business in any way, it was of still greater importance that he should have the sum. He thought, however, the Colonial Secretary, if he looked at his own Amendment at the foot of page, would find that it met the difficulty suggested by the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean, viz., that the employer may force the workman to accept. For these reasons he trusted that the Colonial Secretary would embody in his Amendment the terms of men which had been very carefully thought over and adjusted.

MR. R. B. HALDANE (Haddington)

admitted that commutation might be advantageous. The words were, "not exceding 312 times the weekly payment payable at the date of application." This meant that the Colonial Secretary hail gone back to the most objectionable limitation of the Employers' Liability Act, 1880. This was inconsistent with the principle of the present Bill, by which a distinction was drawn between the amount of compensation paid to the dependants of a dead man and that paid to a living man who was incapacitated. To the dependants would be given a lump sum, probably of a less amount than might be reached in the case of a living man. Money paid to dependants would be used by them, but in the case of a man who might be hopelessly incapacitated, no longer able to earn anything, the Colonial Secretary differentiated this case from the other, and grave the workman half his wages for the term of his life. It might be that only in this way could adequate compensation be made. What was the use of giving a man a lump sum which did not nearly produce an equivalent of what was given in case of incapacity. It seemed to him that the proposal of the Colonial Secretary was going back on the wise and generous principle of his Bill. He recognised that the right hon. Gentleman was in an extremely difficult position—he had fought this Bill in the interests of the workmen against a great deal of opposition on his own side. ["Hear, hear!"] They appreciated what he had done, but he was bound to say that when he had yielded, it had gene-ally been to the pressure of those who sat upon his own side of the House. [Ministerial laughter.] He was speaking of he changes which had been made in the kill. They preferred the original conception of fins Bill, which, with all its defects, was in many respects a mast admirable Measure, to the alterations which had been made in it.


I cannot accept the compliments of the hon. and learned Gentlemen, because they are compliments to which I am not in the slightest degree entitled. He represents me apparently as a good man struggling with adversity—the adversity coming from these Benches—and encouraged by the cheers and support of hon. Members on the other side. That I daresay might be a possible position, but it certainly is not the one which I have occupied in the course of the proceedings on this Bill. No support has been warmer, more entire, more thorough than that which the Government have received from their own supporters. There have, of course, been. Members of our Party who have taken a different view, and who have represented a particular interest; but certainly as a party it is quite impossible for any Government to have had a warmer or more satisfactory support. I do not accuse hon. Gentlemen opposite of acting as au Opposition as a whole—that is to say, as being opposed to this Bill—["Hear, hear!"]—although certainly their welcome on its first introduction was anything, but encouraging. [Ministerial laughter.] I am glad to say that the more they see of the Bill the better they seem to like it. I am much obliged to them for all the support they have given it, but I cannot allow them to go to the country and represent themselves as being the real supporters of this Bill as against a hostile Government Party. [Cheers.]


Mr. Lowther, I want to speak about this Amendment. [Loud laughter.] He pointed out that, although it was perfectly true that by the terms of the Bill workmen could not as a general rule contract themselves out of the Bill, yet when the award had been made there was nothing to prevent the workman and the employer from compounding by mutual agreement either to abandon the privileges or to commute them for a lump sum. He did not, therefore, think that there was very much weight to be attached to the argument as to convenience. Another point was that it was most important that the insurance should be facilitated, all the more so because a sort of charge or lien had been given to the workmen over the sum of money that was due from the insurance company. He wanted to see this insurance very much encouraged. If the premium would be very different that was the measure of the disadvantage which the workman suffered from. ["Hear, hear!"]


said the moment they came to the element of additional uncertainty the premium went up very much. He had seen the manager of one of the greatest insurance corporations on the subject, and had been surprised at the large difference which took place. It was not a difference which could be represented by the difference in payment, but was due to the fears and uncertainties.


thought that the difference would be partly due to the element of uncertainty, but at the same time a good part would be due to the difference in the benefit. Was it not true that the employer under this Amendment would always be able after the first year to fall back on the old limitation under the Employers' Liability Act? To his mind such considerations outweighed even the consideration of insurance, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would consider the matter.

*COLONEL MILWARD (Stratford-upon-Avon)

referred to the incidence of the weekly payments upon the employer. He ventured, he said, to address the House on behalf of the small manufacturers, as he had already done on behalf of the workshops. In neither case was he interested personally, because so far as he was concerned he did not in the least fear the Bill in any way whatever. But in his constituency there were a large number of very small manufacturers who had water mills, steam mills, or perhaps only a gas engine, and whose yearly income did not exceed £70 or £100. Under this Bill as it stood at present, at the end of the first year the employer was compelled to commutate the payments which he was to make. To commute a weekly payment, say, of 15s., would mean £240, and there were many employers who could not possibly raise that amount. Then at the end of the second year an employer could commutate it, lie understood, for £200, and that was equally impossible for him. He was speaking in the interests of a large class of employers whom such an amount would ruin altogether. They would be tieing round their necks a log which would hamper them all their lives. There was some limit to which the weekly payments, too, should extend, for if a small employer with an income of £70 or £100 a year had a charge of 15s. a week on his income, may be for the whole of his life, he would be simply dragged down. Then there was another principle that when the time bad come where this liability upon the employer had ceased, the Poor Law might take the place. That was to say they might say to the employer after six or seven years' payments, that as the accident was none of his doing, and a rose from the act of God—as a good many accidents did arise—the liability of the employer should cease, and if necessary be thrown upon the State. He meant that at the end of that time the Board of Guardians should take up the liability for the pension. He believed what he said was felt by a great many employers on that side of the House, who were large employers, and in whose interests he was not speaking. In his constituency there were many small employers upon whom a liability of this sort for the whole of their lives meant ruin. He suggested, therefore, to those who were in charge of the Bill that this Amendment should be enlarged so that there should be a limit of time beyond which the liability for these weekly payments should not extend.

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


was of opinion that there was a great deal to be said for the principle of this Amendment, both from the point of view of the employer and of the workman. It 'would certainly facilitate the process of insurance. Many small employers would find a difficulty in insuring against accidents under the Bill. Being engaged himself in a very risky and dangerous business, he had already approached the insurance companies himself, and he found that the premiums they asked for insuring railway contractors under this Bill were very heavy. Unless small employers could insure at a reasonable price, they would run the risks and liabilities under this Bill, and to prevent possible loss to the workman he should like to se the facilities for insurance increased as much as possible. But, while he was in favour of the principle of the Amendment, he could not support it in its present form.

MR. G. WHITELEY (Stockport)

thought this was one of the most excellent and desirable Amendments which had yet been proposed to the Bill, in the interests alike of employers and employed. What an employer would object to was not being cast in damages, but that his liability should be undetermined and continue perhaps during the whole period he worked his business, or possibly his successors as well. It would hamper him in effecting an insurance, with the management and conduct of the business, and more especially if lie intended to dispose of it, it would be a serious matter to deal with. But the desirability of the Amendment was shown chiefly from the workman's point of view. Take the case of a workman in a cotton factory. As was well known, the cotton trade was now in a "parlous state." Suppose the case of a cotton operative, who had received compensation payable for a lifetime. The man had no guarantee whatever of the continuance of that compensation. He might, from the bankruptcy of his employer, find himself stranded. He believed the working classes throughout the kingdom would take immediate advantage of this power of commutation. They would say a "bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."


said that he was glad the Government had accepted the principle of commutation in regard to accidents, but was somewhat disappointed that the terms of the Amendment were so large. As it was a fair average rule that three years' wages were about sufficient in case of death, so, in the same way, for any injury three years' wages ought to be enough. But by the Amendment a larger standard was taken. It was provided that no commutation could take place for a year after the date of the accident. He did not understand the object of the limitation, nor why the parties should be bound to wait for 12 months after the date of the accident before negotiating for commutation. In regard to permanent incapacity, again, it seemed a reasonable principle to fix a maximum just as in the case of death. In arranging the terms of commutation, the weekly payments made before commutation should be taken into account. He begged to move, as an Amendment to the Amendment, to leave out the words "has been continued for not less than 12 months" and insert the words "is current."


said that the Government could not assent to dispense with the preliminary period of weekly payments. The standard which they had fixed was fairly between the demands of the workmen and the employers.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

MR. BAINBRIDGE (Lincoln, Gainsborough)

supported the Amendment as tending to facilitate insurance. He had the best reason to fear that it would be almost impossible for the employer to obtain insurance unless a limit were placed to the liability for compensation. He thought, however, that the period after which the injury should be regarded as permanent would be better fixed at six months instead of 12. That was the period adopted by the Miners' Permanent Relief Society. He moved to leave out "twelve" and insert "six."


said that the Government had considered this question most carefully, and had endeavoured to meet the conflicting views and interests. Their Amendment had not been put down hastily, and the Government must adhere to it.

*MR. J. WILSON (Durham, Mid)

said that the period of six months adopted in the Permanent Relief Fund was for the purpose of increasing the weekly payment to the injured man. He was decidedly against this Amendment. Either the workman or the employer might institute proceedings for commutation. This offered a direct inducement to malingering; because the man who, at the end of 12 months, felt recovery near, would apply for commutation. The men who were permanently injured did not want commutation. It must not be forgotten that six years' payments was the maximum amount of commutation. The workmen, as a matter of fact, might get anything between one week's payment and 312 weeks' payment. Let the Government, if they desired to make the Amendment somewhat acceptable, fix the amount of commutation at 312 times of the weekly payments absolute. Even that sum would be too little. The statistics of the permanent relief funds of the country showed that the average duration of permanent incapacity was more than six years. For those reasons he was entirely against the Amendment.


The discussion has mainly had reference to the original Amendment. I think it would be best to decide the question before the Committee, which is the substitution of "six months" for "twelve months" in the Amendment.


hoped the Amendment to the Amendment would not be proceeded with.


said that in view of the opinions which had been expressed he did not wish to press his Amendment.

Amendment to the proposed Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


said he was sorry that the Government, yielding to pressure not from the country, but within the House, had consented to place this, the greatest, blot upon the Bill. They would, by accepting this Amendment, in the interest of the mine owners, alienate the support of every workman who was otherwise inclined to accept the Bill. The Colonial Secretary said that the mine owners were more frightened than hurt by the Bill. He would tell the Government that the mine owners' bark was much worse than their bite; and if they had to choose between the support of the workmen by rejecting the Amendment, or the opposition of the employers if they refused to accept it, they should have pronounced against the selfish, narrow views that lay behind the Amendment. He ventured to assert that the Amendment would be an incentive to malingering. If a man sustained an injury that incapacitated him from work for six or eight months he would resort to all sorts of tricks and dodges to reach the commutation period of twelve months. On the other hand, the man who was seriously injured, and was laid up for twelve months, would prefer the regular weekly payment rather than accept commutation and invest the amount in a business for which he had neither the financial or the commercial ability to conduct. What would happen in the case of such a man? He would be compelled by the employer or by designing relatives who wanted the handling of the lump sum to accept commutation, say twelve or eighteen months of his weekly payments, and at the end, perhaps, of a year, all the money would be gone, and he would become a charge upon the rates or dependent upon his family. That was the experience of his own society, the Amalgamated Society of Engineers. The society gave a commutation of £100 in a case of partial or permanent incapacity. In ninety per cent. of those cases, the man, after eighteen months had elapsed from the time he had received the £100, was much worse off than before he had got the commutation allowance. If that were so in the case of the engineers, who were well organised and fairly intelligent men, surrounded by advisory and controlling influence, what would happen in the case of the stevedore, the dock labourer, the navvy, and the platelayer, whose commutation would, perhaps, not amount to more than £60 or £80? He hoped the Government would not accept the Colonial Secretary's Amendment. The Amendment of the Colonial Secretary destroyed the Bill; it made the Bill unpopular, and it deprived the Bill of all the generous attributes it had hitherto been supposed to have. The acceptance of the Amendment was nothing more nor less than a climbing down to a well-organised attempt to take the vitals out of the Bill. What was more, this was a log-rolling Amendment—an Amendment that had not got the country at its back; it was an Amendment that was the result of deputations to the Government of a few wealthy mine owners who had shown their generosity by subscribing £4,000 to the permanent relief fund to which the workmen subscribed £90,000. There was an impression gaining ground that if the Bill was not mutilated and weakened in the House of Commons the House of Lords would probably throw it out. [An. HON MEMBER: "Nothing of the kind."] The Government had encouraged the House of Lords to mutilate the Bill by accepting the suggestion of the coal and mining lords, the worst form of aristocracy. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] If the Amendment were accepted he hoped, not so much that the Government would be punished, but that Tory and Liberal workmen would mark those Tory and Liberal mine owners who had prevented workmen when injured from receiving what they wanted—regular weekly compensation.


hoped the Committee would take note of the hon. Member's statement that half of the working classes were malingerers.


said that the only reference he made to malingering was to the effect that the Government would encourage it by their 12 months' condition. He did not say that half of the workmen of the country were malingerers; he did not believe that 1 per cent. were.


said he was in perfect possession of what the hon. Member said, and he thought the working classes would say, in respect to the hon. Member, "Save us from our friends." ["Hear, hear!"] He did not believe that any working mail ever expected that any Ministry would give him a weekly allowance for, possibly, 50 years, and he was persuaded that any politician who rushed forward and promised workmen such an allowance would be received with good-natured smiles rather than with anything else.

MR. W. ABRAHAM (Glamorganshire, Rhondda)

said the working classes never asked for the Bill, but as it had been brought in they were entitled to ask that that should be given them which they had been led to expect. It was quite evident that if commutation were permitted the workmen would be deprived of many years' compensation. The acceptance of this Amendment was, in his opinion, a deception of the working men of the country. ["Hear, hear!"]


said that this Amendment was so fraught with the possibility of evil to a number of people in this country that he was most anxious to draw the attention of the Committee and of the Attorney General to it. He did not know whether it had occurred to the Attorney General that, if the Amendment were carried in its present form, it would inevitably lead to the ruin of a great number of small employers. As he understood the Amendment, it meant that, if a workman had been injured, after he had received a weekly payment for 12 months, he had a right to go to the arbitrator and claim from the person who made these weekly payments commutation at the rate of 312 times the weekly payments.


At a rate not exceeding that, but of course the arbitrator will have to consider whether he is permanently injured or not.


My point is that he can insist on the commutation.


If he is permanently injured.


said that to large employers that did not matter. They could all afford to make provision for that kind of case, but with small employers it n as not possible to do so. Take the case of a. man—and it was a. very frequent case in this country—whose income, after he had paid the workers in his employ, did not exceed £100 or £120 a year. He paid his men, say, £1 a week. There came an accident, and under the Bill he had to pay that man 10s. a week, or £26 a year. At the end of the year the workman came forward and claimed commutation, which would be six times £26, or £156. That was a sum entirely beyond the means of the class of employers in whose interests he was speaking particularly. He thought sonic words should be inserted making the commutation subject to the arbitrator's consent, so that he might act the part of a Judge and say this was a. case in which he would not enforce it. In fixing a time of trial the Government had done a. benefit to the employers, because they had thereby lessened the premium on insurance. He was at issue entirely with the hon. Member for Battersea, and the hon. Member for the Rhondda Valley. If their views were carried out they would be directly against the labour interests of the country. A labourer met with an accident and was allowed 10s. or 15s. a week, but there was no provision in the Bill for that charge being put upon the property of the person paying it. Take the case of a colliery. An explosion occurred, and there were, say, five or six men injured. The owner of the colliery could not face the commutation. He sold his colliery, he parted with the property, and when ire had got the money he could go away. Where was the security then for the weekly payments? It was all gone. There was no security in the Bill for the payments which were to be made under it; and if the Government wanted to make the Bill effective they must either make them a charge in some way or they must do as they were doing now—they must commute the payments into a sum which was paid over to a third party. Then the workman got his security, and the Bill would become effective as a protection to the men injured. If they passed the Amendment as it was they would inevitably force a very large number of small employers into selling their business, and, in fact, ruin them, and he thought it would be covered entirely if the Government could see their way to give to the arbitrator before whom the question came the right to refuse to give a price at all.

MR. B. PICKARD (York, W. R., Normanton)

said he was surprised at hon. Members on both sides of the House speaking so confidently as to what colliery owners would do in the future if this Bill came into force. He was surprised that the colliery owners had so many resources in the way of avoiding payments under the Bill when it became an Act of Parliament. The hon. Member for Southampton said that he, as a colliery proprietor, would sell his colliery.


said he only gave a colliery as an illustration. He was not a colliery owner. He was referring to small employers, and gave a colliery as an instance of what might be done.


said the colliery owners had used arguments which the Colonial Secretary in the crushing reply lie gave to the hon. Member for Gainsborough, completely disposed of, showing that their exaggerated fears were unfounded. He and his hon. Friends from South Wales and Durham knew the colliery owners well, and did not think them quite as bad as they were painted. They did not believe that they would do everything that was being threatened in their Paine. Hon. Members had been talking about the Permanent Relief Funds. He found that in Yorkshire last year that great fund had the noble contribution from the wealthy employers of £447. He could quite understand, therefore, that they were afraid of this Bill. When they came here and talked about what they had done in the past and what they expected to do in the future, and when they found that £447 represented the whole of their contributions to the Yorkshire Permanent Relief Fund, he felt ashamed for people in that House who went to Lancashire and Cheshire, to Northumberland and to Durham, for arguments when they had no arguments in their own bosoms to establish what they advanced here. In Yorkshire, since the year 1887 the sum of £188,000 had been paid in relief, and the employers had paid about £10,000. That was a fact which ought to be stated in that House, and should be well understood. He wished to say further, with regard to this Amendment, that he thought it would work injuriously. It had been stated by the Colonial Secretary it might fix probably a 5s. weekly allowance for a man who might be totally incapacitated, and that was to be the sum and substance of what he was to receive from the owners under this Bill. What did that amount to? Supposing under this Amendment his compensation was commuted and he was given the full benefit of the six years, it would amount to this, that the man would be paid £78. Was that worth having? They were told the other night by the Colonial Secretary that every young woman and girl at the pit bank, and every man underneath would get £150 certain. Under this commutation arrangement, all that was knocked on the head. As he understood it the working men of this country would have no cause to thank the Government or that House if the Amendment were allowed to be put on the Statute-book. They did not ask for the Bill. They were promised the Bill; and he said from the commencement—and, therefore, he had nothing to retract—he told the men whom he represented that he thought the Bill was a fair attempt to do a good thing for the workmen; and he was prepared to come there, not to attack the Bill, not to make speeches, but if he found the Government were prepared to carry this Bill in its integrity, he was prepared to support it. Formal Amendments here and there would no doubt have to be made, but he was prepared to suggest, if he did suggest, to the 300,000 union men whom he represented that they might accept this Bill as an instalment—[cries of "Oh!" and laughter] — that future Governments would develop—["Hear, hear!"]—and with all its infirmities he was quite prepared to advise his friends and colleagues to accept the Bill. What did he find? Why, on the Second Reading—and it should be clearly understood that it was not from the Opposition side of the House but from the Government side—that there came an Amendment—it was moved by the hon. Member for Derby—which, if it could have been carried, would have destroyed the Bill.


Order, order! I must ask the hon. Member to confine himself a little more closely to the question raised by the Amendment.


apologised. At the same time he wished to remind the Chairman that the Question had been referred to this afternoon, with regard to whether the Bill was asked for and who promised it. ["Order!"] He had been in the House all the time, and he had heard most of the Debate, and lion. Members, including the Colonial Secretary and the hon. Member for Dumfries—




had simply wished to enjoy the Same privilege which other hon. Gentlemen had indulged in. However, he would not pursue that line. ["Hear, hear!"] He only wished to say that in his judgment if the Amendment was placed on the Statute Book they would do a great injustice to the workmen of this country. ["Hear, hear!"] Talk about malingerers. Well, he supposed there were malingerers in every class of society. Walk about the streets of London mid they would see a host of them, and if they went into other places he was certain they were to be found there also. [A laugh.] The miners as a class were not malingerers. He agreed with the hon. Member for Battersea that there were not one per cent., and if there were they would be found out by their fellow workmen and would be treated in a drastic manner. He did not think the Amendment would get rid of malingering. He was certain that it would not give the compensation Government intended when they drafted the Bill. He hoped that, the influence of the coal owners outside the House and the deputations which had met the Colonial Secretary privately and confidentially would not induce the Government to put into the Bill Amendments that would destroy it in its working out. If, however, the Government did press it and carry it by a majority he hoped they would take time and consider whether on the Report stage they could not make the arrangement for commutation one of a mutual character, so that the men if they must have it might have the pill gilded before they swallowed it.


thought he could, if time permitted, answer a good many of the arguments that had been used. But he would venture to make an appeal to the Committee. This Amendment had been under discussion three hours. He quite agreed that there had been a marked difference of opinion between certain Members of the House and others with regard to the Amendment, but he hoped they might now proceed to a Division. There were very few points left, and if they could complete the Committee stage, so that the Bill might be studied during the Recess, it would be an advantage. He did not want to prevent discussion, yet he hoped they would get on with this Amendment.

MR. W. A. MCARTHUR (Cornwall, St. Austell)

would only occupy the House a moment. He wanted to explain the motives which would guide him in voting against the Amendment of the Colonial Secretary. He had only refrained from voting against the Second Reading of the Bill on the ground that it appeared to him totally impossible that the Bill could stop where it was. It appeared to him absolutely certain that the Bill must lead to a system of State insurance. He might say that he had no personal interest in the Bill, having no body of men in his employ. He should feel compelled to oppose the Amendment of the Colonial Secretary.


rose merely to associate himself with his hon. Friend.


thought that the effect of the Amendment would be to take the clause out of the Bill and make it inoperative as to the disabled soldiers of the Army. He said that he wished only to make one remark, and would endeavour to speak on behalf of the workmen whose feelings he understood. They objected altogether to be dependent on charity, and so far as he knew they were anxious to be removed from the irritating effect of having to depend on exceptional assistance under afflictions of that kind. If the Amendment were adopted it would after seven years leave the men who were permanently disabled without resource of any kind. ["Hear, hear!"]


understood that the object of the Bill was to keep the injured man out of the workhouse. If a man was in receipt of 18s. a week and was permanently disabled it good to reason that an employer would try to commute that sum. The most a man could get was £150, and if he invested that it would amount to about 2s. 4d. a week. He believed the Amendment would defeat the object of the Bill.

MR. W. ALLAN (Gateshead)

observed that the Colonial Secretary in all his speeches had always insisted on the fairness, the justice, and the necessity of this Measure. But this Amendment contained a great deal of injustice and one-sidedness. The Amendment was not honestly worded. It was all one-sided. He could have understood it had it read like this:— Where any weekly payment has been continued for not less than twelve months the liability therefor may, on the mutual application of either the workman or the employer, be redeemed by the payment of a lump sum, to be settled by arbitration under this Act, but not exceeding 312 times the weekly payment payable at the date of the application. But the way the Amendment was worded left the workman no chance. The right hon. Gentleman had put an Amendment into the Bill which took away the mutuality, and which gave the workman no chance, but compelled him to do some thing which might be against his interest or that of his family. Was that fair? That was not the right hon. Gentleman's intention, he was sure, when he introduced the Bill, and therefore he would be well advised if he would insert the words "mutual application" in the Amendment, which would then give the workman a chance, and remove a great injustice.

MR. ALBERT SPICER (Monmouth Boroughs)

, as one who had said he would do nothing whatever that would detract from the value of the Bill, felt very strongly that this Amendment would take away its benefits, and he protested against it because it seemed to him to have been conceived in the interest of a limited class. After all, it was against the policy that the general employers of the country adopted to-day. Nearly every Member of the House was an employer in one form or another, and he ventured to say he was not in the habit of carrying out in his daily practice the principle that was laid down in this Amendment. It would be bad for the workman, and it would also be bad for the employer. The ordinary working man in receipt of weekly wages was not able to make the best use of a commuted sum, and there was not a Member of that House, whether in his private life or business, or professional life, who would carry out in his daily life what this Amendment was proposing. The working men were looking forward for a weekly allowance, and at the end of 12 months to make it possible only to have a commuted sum would not only cause great disappointment, but it would be unjust to the working men as a whole, and it would not be in harmony with the system that each one adopted in his own life.

MR. T. P. WHITTAKER (York, W.R., Spen Valley)

said it seemed to him only reasonable that both the workman and employer should have the opportunity of commuting the payment if they wished to do so. The only objection to the Amendment was the fixing of a limit of six years. Why fix a limit at all? Why not allow a man to have the full value of his allowance? Suppose a man had been permanently injured so as to prevent him working; he would be in a condition that he might live for many years, and to limit such a man to six years' value of the weekly payments would be to deprive him of the greater part of the value of the allowance. He thought the arbitrator should be left to fix the amount without any limit whatever in the Bill, deciding in each individual case what should be the capital value of the allowance, and then there would be no objection to the Amendment. The limit could only have been introduced in the interests of the employers, to enable them to get out cheaply, for there was no limit the other way. He agreed that the Amendment as it stood was a disastrous one to the Bill, but if the limit was struck out then the Amendment was one which ought to be introduced.


had no idea how perfect the Bill was when it was introduced. He admitted that this was a very difficult and complicated subject, and he thought it quite possible there were points of view from which Amendments might be suggested which the Government might accept. In the Course of the discussion, however, he had discovered that, whenever an Amendment was accepted by the Government, from some quarter or another it was stated that it would absolutely destroy the value of the Bill. [Laughter.] That was the case now, but he should have been more impressed by it if he bad not heard it so often. As to this Amendment, he would say that before he had the honour of a seat in that House, be was largely engaged in industrial undertakings, and it was always to him a most pleasant recollection that in the course of his industrial experience he was brought into intimate association with a great number of working men. He was happy to say that that association had been continued in many cases down to the present day. ["Hear, hear!"] He sat for a working class constituency, and, speaking with that experience, he said he was perfectly satisfied to take this Amendment to any platform in the country and to any meeting in which working men were in a majority, and he was convinced they Would prefer that there should be this option of commutation. ["Hear, hear!"] The ordinary working man might be ready to accept a permanent annuity or payment during incapacity, but he would desire to have the option of commuting that payment by a lump sum if he believed, as he would believe in a great number of cases, that his interest was concerned in accepting a lump sum in preference to a weekly payment. The Government had given him that option. They had given the same option to the workman as to the employer, and it was his firm conviction that for one case in which the employer asked for this option there would be a hundred cases of the workman asking for it. ["Hear, hear!"]

*MR. J. WILSON (Durham, Mid)

observed that, as he understood the word "option," it implied a right to choose or refuse, but if a man had no right to choose then there was no option in it. He submitted that the Amendment gave no option to the workman. The workman should have the right to refuse the commutation. Therefore, he would ask the right hon. Gentleman to put the word "option" in and leave it in reality to the option of the workman.


said the Amendment as it stood was a perfect option. What the hon. Member asked for was a double option. At present, what was proposed to be conferred was an absolutely mutual option; but the hon. Gentleman asked the Government to add to that an option of refusal. Of course, if the Government it agreed to that proposal, that option must also be mutual—["hear, hear!"]—and the employer also be given the right to refuse. He believed that the large majority of the working classes would decline to accept a double option of that sort, because that would place them absolutely under the control of the employer. If the employer chose to refuse the option, the workman could never obtain the commutation. He wanted to do the best he could for the workman, and to enable him to obtain this commutation, if lie desired it, even if the employer refused it. ["Hear, hear!"] The proposal was absolutely mutual and absolutely fair, and the only discretion left was to the arbitrator, who, if he thought the commutation wrong, would be able to refuse it both to the employer and to the workman.

MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, N.W.)

said he wished to have a fair and square issue before the Committee, and with that object he proposed that the Amendment should be amended by leaving out all the words after the word "Act" to the end of the Amendment. He desired that the workman should have a fair option.

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

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 164; Noes, 77.—(Division List, No. 235.)

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 172; Noes, 78.—(Division List, No. 236.)

MR. BAINBRIDGE moved, at the end of Section (4) to insert the words— and, if the incapacity or the continuance of the incapacity to the workman is wholly or partially due to ill health or to any excess or misconduct on his part, the weekly payment may be ended or diminished. He mentioned, as an illustration of the necessity for some such Amendment, the case of a man who was examined by a colliery doctor, when it was found that the damage for which he claimed compensation was entirely due to an ulcerated leg. The circumstances of such a case as that ought certainly to affect a claim to continued compensation. If the Government considered that his object was already met by the provision for the review of cases by a. medical officer he would withdraw the Amendment.


thought that it was perfectly clear that the hon. Member's object would be met by the words agreed to respecting revision.


after that assuranse, asked leave to withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

SIR MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY moved in Section (6) to leave out the word "or."

Amendment agreed to.

SIR MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY moved in Section (6), after the word "charged," to insert the words "or attached."

Amendment agreed to.

THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. GRAHAM MURRAY, Buteshire) moved, at the end of Section (6) to add the following section:— (7) In the application of the Act and of this schedule to Scotland the expression 'dependants' means the persons who, according to the law of Scotland, are entitled to sue the employer for damages or solatium in respect of the death of the workman, and who are wholly or in part dependant upon the earnings of the workman at the time of or immediately prior to his death. The expression infant shall mean pupil.


asked whether this Amendment would make the operation of this Bill in Scotland the same as in England?


said that practically it would put matters on the same footing, but as a matter of fact, the persons who were entitled to sue in Scotland were not precisely the same as the persons who were entitled to sue under Lord Campbell's Act in England.


observed that the Amendment supplied another illustration of the inconvenience of legislating by reference. The Committee were engaged in passing legislation which was supposed to be for the guidance of people who were less erudite than Members of Parliament, and yet he did not feel sure that all Members understood it.

Amendment agreed to.

*SIR FRANCIS POWELL (Wigan) moved, after the words last inserted, to add— any workman claiming compensation under this Act shall, if so required by the employer, from time to time submit himself for examination by a duly qualified medical practitioner appointed and paid by the employer. If the workman refuses without sufficient cause to submit himself to such examination or otherwise obstructs the same, his right to such weekly payment shall be suspended until such examination has taken place. The object of the Amendment was to prevent fraud. The proposed procedure would be analogous to that of the Friendly Societies and of the Mining Societies of Durham and Northumberland.


said that he appreciated the object of the hon. Baronet, but that it was already to a large extent met by the provision agreed to as to revision. The Government were prepared to meet the general wish that the medical practitioner to be consulted should be someone in whom all would have confidence, that was to say, someone in the position of an official.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

First schedule, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.