HC Deb 09 May 1898 vol 57 cc690-1
MR. D. A. THOMAS (Merthyr Tydfil)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been directed to the terms of the proposal put forward by the Beard of Management of the South Wales and Monmouthshire Miners' Permanent Fund for a scheme of compensation in substitution of that contained in the Workmen's Compensation Act; is he aware that the additional amount which it is proposed that the employers should in future contribute, on condition that the workmen contract themselves out of the new Act, is less than 1d. per ton, and is little, if at all, in excess of the figure estimated by the Government during the time the Bill was under discussion by the House, when regard is had to the more than ordinarily dangerous nature of mining in South Wales and Monmouthshire; and whether, seeing that the Chairman of the Permanent Fund did by letter when the Bill was before the House express the opinion that the Act would impose a liability of 3d. per ton on the output of coal in South Wales, will the Government draw the attention of the Registrar of Friendly Societies to this latter circumstance before he sanctions any scheme for South Wales in substitution of the Act?


I have not seen the terms of the proposed scheme, but I am glad to learn from various sources that the terms on which coalowners are able to insure themselves against the risks under the Act confirm the accuracy of the estimate, which I put before the House last year, of the liability which the Act would impose on the coal industry. The Registrar of Friendly Societies, in approving or disapproving schemes under the Act, occupies an independent position, and I do not think it would be desirable that I should attempt to influence his judgment.