HC Deb 01 February 1900 vol 78 cc284-5
SIR J. T. WOODHOUSE (Huddersfield)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether it is the intention of the Government, during the present session, to introduce a Bill to extend the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1897, to agricultural labourers and other classes of workmen not now comprised within the Act; and, if so, when such Bill will be introduced.


The Government have always hoped to be able to propose an extension of this Act, but under present circumstances we cannot see our way to promising such proposals during this session.


I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has received a resolution from a meeting of the Dockers' Union, held in Dublin, protesting against the decision of a judge excluding casual labourers from the benefit of the Working Men's Compensation Act; and whether the Government intend to introduce an amending Act in respect to casual labourers, and to the definitions of factory, machinery and plant, buildings, scaffoldings, distance of fall, time for service of notice and claim, and also other points which have been legally interpreted against the interests of the working men.


Yes. I received a copy of the resolution. The hon. Member was himself good enough to send it to me. I have seen it stated that there is to be an appeal against the decision in question. Whatever the result of the appeal may be, there are no doubt several points in the Act as to which amendment will eventually be necessary; but I do not think that the Act can be said to have been interpreted at all generally against the interests of working men. I have already stated, in answer to a previous question, that we cannot see our way to legislation on this subject at the present moment.