§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £23,036, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1901, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Charity Commission for England arid Wales."
§ Attention called to the fact that forty Members were not present (Dr. TANNER, Cork Co., Mid). House counted, and forty Members being found present,
MR. GRANT LAWSON (Yorkshire, N.R., Thirsk)
I understand that a right hon. Member on the Front Opposition bench desires to offer some remarks upon this Vote, but he is engaged in public business elsewhere at the present moment. I therefore beg to move that the motion be withdrawn.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 4. £25,774 to complete the sum for Civil Service Commission.
§ MR. CALDWELL
I have a motion on the paper for a reduction of this Vote, but probably it will not be necessary to move it. It is a rule of the Civil Service that none of its members should engage in anything of a political character, and it so happens that the greatest offender against that rule is the head of the Civil Service Commission himself. I have brought the matter under the notice of 1447 the First Lord of the Treasury* in reference to certain letters of a highly controversial political character which have appeared in The Times, and the answer I obtained was a reference to the rule of the Civil Service that such things should be avoided, and the right hon. Gentleman expressed the hope that Civil servants would observe that rule both in the spirit and in the letter. There was nothing wanting in the answer of the right hon. Gentleman, so far as concerned the rule and the spirit in which that rule should be observed. My only reason for referring to the matter on the present occasion is that we are now face to face with the salary of the official in question, and I wish to know whether the matter has been brought under his individual notice, and whether there has been any undertaking on his part that for the future he will observe the rule, as the First Lord of the Treasury said, both in the spirit and in the letter. We on this side of the House do not attribute the slightest importance to this gentleman's criticisms as criticisms; I do not wish him to suppose that his criticisms were of such a character as to be in any way felt on this side of the House. The feeling is nothing of that kind; it is that when there is a rule of this kind which is being enforced on those in inferior positions in the Civil Service we ought to take care that it is enforced on the man at the head. I hope therefore we will have an assurance from the Secretary to the Treasury that the matter has been brought under this gentleman's notice, that he is prepared to act in the manner described by the First Lord of the Treasury, and that the rule in future, so far as he individually is concerned, will be observed both in the spirit and in the letter.
§ MR. HANBURY
So far from having read these letters, not only have I not read them, but until I listened to the hon. Gentleman's speech I did not know that any such letters had been written. But I quite agree with the sentiments of the hon. Member, and it seems that the First Lord of the Treasury was also generally in accord with his views. No doubt it is very important that a Civil Service which works in co-operation with whatever party is in office, and docs its work so* See page 425 of this volume.1448 admirably as our Civil Service does, should keep itself as far as possible—and that is altogether—apart from party strife and party discussions. I do not in the least know what was in these letters, but the First Lord of the Treasury seems to have read them, and to have considered that the rule of the service ought to be-carried out both in the letter and in the spirit, and apparently these letters transgressed that rule. I think the rule is one which ought to be maintained, so that both parties should feel thoroughly in sympathy with the Civil Service. The hon. Member is entirely mistaken in saying Mr. Court-hope is at the head of the Civil Service, but still, whether he be at the head or at the bottom, whatever his position, the rule ought to be observed.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
Having had the advantage of reading some of the letters to which reference has been made, I am bound to say the hon. Member was perfectly justified in calling the attention of the House, both now and on a previous occasion, by question to the matter. It is true the writer of the letters is not the head of the Civil Service, but he is the head of the Civil Service Commission, and performs a very important function in regard to the regulation of the rest of the Civil Service, at any rate at the early portions of that service. If any member of the Civil Service more than another was bound by the rules I should say it was the head of the Civil Service Commission. I accept the statement of the right hon. Gentleman as being in itself entirely and perfectly satisfactory as to what the rule is and as to his intention, at all events, as far as he is concerned, of causing the rule to be obeyed. Possibly the reason why his attention was not called to the matter was that the communications appeared not as the letters of the head of the Civil Service Commission, but, by a kind of subterfuge not very creditable to the organ in which they appeared, the letters were put forward as the contributions made to that paper by the Professor of Poetry at Oxford. With the Professor of Poetry at Oxford this Committee has nothing whatever to do, nor do I believe it would be very much interested in the personal aspect of the question, but that it so happens that the Professor of Poetry at 1449 Oxford is at the same time the head of the Civil Service Commission. I gather from the most recent letter from this gentleman that it is to be his last. That letter followed the question which my hon. friend addressed to the First Lord of the Treasury. Whether or not the intention of the writer to conclude the series of letters was caused by that question I do not know, but at all events the gentleman has ceased his endeavours to enlighten the public on the question to which these letters were devoted, and the matter may very well rest there. I am one of those who believe that the permanent Civil Service of this country is the best in the world. I believe, also, that the worst Civil Service in the world is that of the United States, where all the men are partisans, where from the moment of their entrance into office until the time they leave it they are party men. The result is that the Civil Service changes with each Administration to an extent which is simply scandalous, and which is destructive of all efficient administration. If we have been saved from that calamity, it is because our Civil servants have been faithful and loyal, that they are the servants of both parties or of no party, and that they are not allowed to take any opportunity of expressing their views upon matters of party or political controversy. The only thing I would add is that now the rule has been obviously broken it ought to be made publicly known. I asked the First Lord of the Treasury the other day where the rule laid down by the Treasury was to be found, and he gave me a reference to a Treasury minute, dated 1884, which he said appeared as a Parliamentary Paper. My object was that if this minute had not appeared as a Parliamentary Paper it should be laid upon the Table of the House at once. I have had the assistance of the officials in the Library, but neither they nor I can discover any Parliamentary Paper containing any such minute. The matter is of such importance for the purity and efficiency of the service, of which hitherto we have all been proud, that I hope the right hon. Gentleman will promise that the minute or minutes shall de novo be laid upon the Table as a Parliamentary Paper.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
The attack with regard to these letters of Professor 1450 Courthope is a desperate and last attempt to prove what is not a fact, namely, that there exists an Opposition. That miserable assembly on the other side of the House may be excused for catching at any straw and trying to make out to the House that it still exists. It is not aware that it is dead, but goes on jabbering in ghostly fashion as though it was alive. But certainly it would require something more than an attack on Professor Courthope to persuade the public that it really is still in existence. What is the cause of complaint? I understand the Professor wrote to a newspaper. This House exists, but newspapers exist merely in the minds of those who read them. It is notorious that everybody listens to the speeches in this House; those speeches are always fully reported and always fully read by the public. But when a Professor writes to the newspapers the case is entirely different. Nobody reads his letters; or if they do, they remember that he is neither an actor, nor a politician, nor a man of business, but a Professor, whose business it is to profess. But he is absolutely incapable of acting, or of pursuing any policy, or of carrying out any plan. Consequently, these letters of a Professor are nothing except so many lines of print, which nobody will read or pay any attention to, and I am surprised that a member of the Front Bench opposite should be so foolish as to seize on a case like this in order to engage in an entirely hopeless attempt to prove that he and the Opposition still exist.
§ MR. CALDWELL
I quite accept the answer given by the First Lord of the Treasury, and also the general reply of the Secretary to the Treasury, but I think they ought to go a little further. The matter should be brought under the personal notice of the writer of the letters, and I hope before the Report stage of this Vote that will be done, so that he may know that his conduct has been under consideration, and that, owing to the pledge practically given in this House, we abstained from moving, at this stage, at any rate, a reduction.
§ MR. WEIR
called attention to the position of boy copyists. These lads were engaged at sixteen years of age, and at twenty they were dismissed. They had to pay an entrance examination fee of 1451 10s., and a medical examination fee of a similar amount. These were very large sums for boys receiving salaries of 12s. per week to have to pay. But the hardest part of all was that at twenty years of age they should be thrown out on the world to earn a living as best they could. He suggested that a smaller number should be employed, the entrance examination fee abolished, and the medical examination fee reduced to, say, 2s. 6d.
§ MR. HANBURY
If the suggestion of the hon. Member were carried out we should have a very much greater difficulty than that which is complained of now, because the alternative to boy copyists is men copyists, and one of the greatest difficulties the Commission had to deal with was the question of men copyists. If you have men doing this class of work— which, of course, is material work, but inferior to anything done by the lower grades of the second division—it leads to work being given to the men of a higher class than that corresponding to the pay they receive. It was found when we had men copyists that they were undoubtedly set to do work which ought to be remunerated by the wages of certain of the higher grades, and the creation of boy copyists and the abolition of men copyists was entirely due to the recommendations of the Royal Commission. No doubt it is in some respects a hardship that these boys should retire at the age of twenty, but it is a much better system than that they should grow up into the old class of men copyists. After all, it must be remembered that these toys have a chance of competing for the second division of the Civil Service, and many of them do compete and enter the service, and this is a very good training for them. There are a great many advantages in this system, although there certainly are hard cases when boys retire at twenty and do not go in for the permanent service, but as a rule I believe the boys do enter the competition and join the permanent Civil Service. As to the question of fees, I am not quite certain whether the medical fee has to be paid a second time when they enter for the second division; I think not, but I will look into the question.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
could not understand why there should be any 1452 objection to the medical fee, as it was in the interest of the State and all concerned that these servants should be in good health and proper condition.
§ Resolution agreed to.
§ 5. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £38,691, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 81st day of March, 1901, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of the Comptroller and Auditor General."
§ MR. CALDWELL
thought there should be a better equalisation of the conditions of employment in the Civil Service. The only other matter he desired to refer to was the salary of the chief clerk, who was in receipt of £1,000 a year for acting as chief clerk to that Department. He did not say that the salary was too much for the work that had to be performed, for that was not his point. In addition to this £1,000 per annum this official also got £450 a year as auditor for the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. In both those offices he had to perform most important duties. He thought the chief clerk should devote his whole time to that office, and. he should not have any other interest outside that work so far as the Civil Service was concerned. He did not think that one man could discharge the duties of both those positions satisfactorily, and: two such important posts should not be combined in one man. Unless he was given some assurance that some other arrangement would be made, it would be necessary for him to propose a reduction of the Vote in order to protest against these two important offices being, held by one man.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
pointed out that the officer alluded to by the hon. Member for Mid Lanark, and all his staff, were really servants of the House, and he-thought they ought to be especially tender towards that official. With regard to the plurality complained of, if £450 was a proper remuneration for the extra work done by this clerk, he did not think there was any incompatibility in it. This was not a ease which he should properly call an instance of plurality of offices. He thought it was quite proper that this clerk should do both duties, for he 1453 did not believe anybody else would do the work as well. This clerk had to pay for his own clerical assistance, and therefore he did not think he was paid too much, and he hoped his hon. friend would not move a reduction. He wished to have some explanation in regard to an item of £10 for auditing the accounts of the Crown agents abroad. They had had considerable difficulty in finding out what the salaries of Crown agents amounted to. They had a permanent fund which had been allowed to accumulate, and last year it amounted to over £33,000. What it amounted to this year he did not know, but he desired to be informed if the audit to which he had alluded extended to this accumulated fund. There was also £3,000 a year paid for premiums on life insurance, and he wished to know if the audit of that fund was included in the £10, and did it also include the whole of the expenditure over which the Crown agents had control. If it did in the case of the Uganda railway it would amount to £1,500,000. He believed there was a separate audit provided for in the Uganda Railway Act, and that that money came within the ordinary business of the Exchequer and Audit Department. The sum charged was so extremely small that they might assume that the work was also small. He should like to see the whole matter investigated in reference to the grants to Crown agents, especially with regard to the Uganda Railway. It seemed to him, in regard to this item of £10, that either the audit was a very inadequate one or else it extended only to some very small expenditure of the Crown agents.
§ MR. WEIR
said the Committee must not lose sight of the fact that the chief clerk received £450 a year over and above his £1.000 for the duties of chief clerk. He did not complain about the amount, but the hon. member for King's Lynn had stated that out of this £450 this clerk had to find the necessary clerical assistance. That was the very thing he objected to, for it opened the door to sweating. How much did the clerk he employed receive? Perhaps about £50 a year was paid for clerical assistance, and then the £400 would go to this gentleman. He strongly objected to the dual system, and the gentleman who was paid £1,000 a year should attend 1454 to the duties of one office alone. The hon. Member for King's Lynn had stated that this official was the most competent to do the job, but on the same principle he might audit the accounts of a dozen different departments. He was very pleased to hear that his hon. friend the Member for Mid Lanark was going to move a reduction.
§ MR. HANBURY
I am not surprised at the hon. Member for King's Lynn wishing to pursue his investigations into the case of the Crown agents. I only wish I was able to assist him to-night by more knowledge on this point, but I do not quite know how far this audit extends.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
May I remind the right hon. Gentleman that in the year 1860 it was decided that the audit of the accounts of the Crown agents should cease.
§ MR. HANBURY
I shall be very glad to look into this matter, and if the hon. Member will raise it again upon the Report stage perhaps I shall then be able to give him a satisfactory answer. With regard to the question raised by the hon. Member opposite, in principle I confess, that I agree with him, for I do not like to see these dual offices. But I think there is a great deal in what has been said by my hon. friend the Member for King's Lynn, that there is less objection to dual offices when the work done is exactly of the same character. We have instances of this in the Treasury itself, and an auditor is an exception to the general rule. I do not know how it comes about that this chief clerk receives his £450 direct, instead of it being treated as an appropriation in aid, as happens in the case of the other officers mentioned on the Vote. The reason may be that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners is not so essentially a Government office as the other offices mentioned, the payments to which are treated as appropriations in aid. At any rate, it is impossible for us to do anything during the life of the existing chief clerk. I should think that in view of the fact that the chief clerk holds this additional office, we are paying him a smaller salary, so far as the duties of the chief clerk are concerned. I quite admit that a good case ought to be made out before it is decided 1455 to keep up an office of this kind, and although we cannot very well move in the matter during the life of the present holder of the office, in case of a vacancy the objection raised by the hon. Member opposite might very well be considered.
§ MR. CALDWELL
I quite recognise the spirit of the answer given by the right hon. Gentleman, and so far as the present holder of the office is concerned that difficulty will continue to crop up. I do not, however, agree that because the work is of the same character you should combine the two offices. It really makes no difference whether the work is of the same nature or not. It is simply a question of a man devoting himself entirely to the service of the State in one position without any conflicting interest. When a vacancy occurs in this post I hope the matter will be considered.
§ MR. WEIR
The right hon. Gentleman has not given us any information as to what the chief clerk pays for his clerical assistance. I object to the system of letting out work, for it opens the door to sweating. We ought to know exactly what amount of clerical assistance he gets, and how it is paid for. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give us some assurance on this point, and that he will in future state in the Estimates what
§ is paid for this assistance. If I do not get this information I shall be under the painful necessity of moving a reduction of this Vote.
§ MR. HANBURY
This £450 is not charged on the Vote. It is paid by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and it does not come out of the Vote at all. Therefore the hon. Member is somewhat unreasonable in demanding full details of the way in which it is expended. I cannot undertake to do anything at all in the matter.
§ MR. WEIR
This is a Government servant who is allowed to go and do outside work. We know he has to provide his own clerical assistance, and what I want to get at is whether or not he is a sweater, and whether he pays a fair wage. It is no answer to tell us that it is outside this Vote, and that the taxpayer does not provide the money. This gentleman is a Government servant, and he ought to be kept for the purpose of doing Government work. As a protest I beg to move a reduction of this Vote by £250.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That Item A (Salaries) be reduced by £250, in respect of the salary of the Chief Clerk."—(Mr. Weir.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 33; Noes, 85. (Division List No. 120.)1457
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Holland, William Henry||Richardson, J. (Durham, S. E.)|
|Burt, Thomas||Kilbride, Denis||Souttar, Robinson|
|Caldwell, James||Macaleese, Daniel||Strachey, Edward|
|Channing, Francis Allston||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Crilly, Daniel||M'Crae, George||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Donelan, Captain A.||M'Ghee, Richard||Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Duckworth, James||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Woods, Samuel|
|Fenwick, Charles||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Goddard. Daniel Ford||O'Malley, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Weir and Mr. Stead-man.|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Hogan, James Francis||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Chelsea, Viscount||Fry, Lewis|
|Baillie, James E. B.(Inverness)||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Goldsworthy, Major-General|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Curzon, Viscount||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)|
|Beach, Rt. Hon Sir M.H.(Bristol)||Doughty, George||Graham Henry Robert|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Bethell, Commander||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Win, Hart||Gull. Sir Cameron|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Faber, George Denison||Gurdon, Sir William Brampton|
|Blakiston-Houston, John||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert W.|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn)||Finch, George H.||Hardy, Laurence|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Haslett, Sir James Horner|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Fisher, William Hayes||Howorth, Sir Henry Hoyle|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Flower, Ernest||Hozier, H on James Henry Cecil|
|Hutton, John (Yorks. N. R.)||Maple, Sir John Blundell||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Strauss, Arthur|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J.H.||Monckton, Edward Philip||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn)||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Morrell, George Herbert||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Lecky, Rt. Hon. Wm. E. H.||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford)||Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts.)|
|Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Sw'ns'a)||Plunkett, Rt. Hn Horace Curzon||Williams, J. Powell- (Birm.)|
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Purvis, Robert||Wyndham, George|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Charles T.|
|Lucas-Shadwell, William||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Sandon, Viscount|
|M'Killop, James||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ 6. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £5,197, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1901, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Registry of Friendly Societies."
§ MR. WOODS (Essex, Walthamstow)
I rise for the purpose of moving the reduction of this Vote by £100. I regret that it should have fallen to my lot to be the first to make complaint in this House as to administration of the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1897. That Act gave to the Registrar of Friendly Societies certain powers to certify schemes whereby workmen could be made to contract out of the Act. For my own part, I never could see the philosophy of making an Act of Parliament with one hand and then giving power to contract out with the other, or the necessity for the contracting out clause in this Act. Certainly the two years experience we have had of the Act has justified to a great extent the expectations which many hon. Members had regarding the effect of that clause. The Return of the Registrar of Friendly Societies, issued twelve months ago, shows that of the hundreds of thousands of workmen affected by this Act not more than sixty collieries, factories, and other works have taken advantage of the contracting-out clause. I am not going to say that some of the schemes which were certified by the Registrar of Friendly Societies were not mutual schemes, and that in some cases the advantages under the schemes did not exceed the advantages under the Act itself. It is, however, my intention to-night to raise the question of 1458 the schemes which were certified by the Registrar General in connection with Messrs. Andrew Knowles's Pendlebury Colliery, near Manchester, and five collieries in the Cannock Chase district, because I consider these schemes have been certified in contravention of the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act. Of course if the right hon. Gentleman who represents the Registrar General, and who is always courteous in meeting the objections of hon. Members, will answer the points I will put before the Committee, I will be satisfied. I plead for no less than 7,000 or 8,000 workmen whose pecuniary interests are affected by the schemes. Under the Workmen's Compensation Act certain power is given to the Registrar of Friendly Societies to certify schemes whereby workmen contract out of the Act. Of the seven points on which power is given to the Registrar General I will only refer to two which affect my proposition. The first is that power was given to the Registrar General to ascertain whether a scheme is on the whole not less favourable to the workmen and their dependents than the provisions of the Act, and the second is that no scheme must contain a condition of hiring. As far as I am able to understand, both these provisions have been violated in the cases to which I will refer. It is, of course, very difficult to prove that a man is compelled to join a scheme under a condition of hiring, but the greatest objection to contracting out is that it leads to the exercise of undue influence, if not to a condition of hiring. I have evidence that in the cases with which I will deal considerable influence was brought to bear on the workmen to force them to accept the schemes. I have official correspondence which shows that, in the case of Messrs. Andrew Knowles's scheme, the colliery manager, 1459 when the men were coming out of the pit, actually went to the pit bank and almost forced them to go to the colliery office to sign the contracting-out form. I have similar evidence of an official character in the case of the Cannock Chase Collieries. I am not going to assert anything I cannot prove —I should be sorry to do so—but I do assert, because the correspondence proves it to be true, that in these cases undue influence was used to get the workmen to contract out. Messrs. Andrew Knowles's scheme was certified on 11th November, 1803. Under this scheme the workmen pay 3d. per week full members, 1½d. per week half members, and the employers pay the same amount as the workmen. A ballot was conducted when the scheme was first brought forward, and at it both employers and workmen were represented. The result of the ballot was 1,714 against the scheme and in favour of remaining under the Act, and 721 in favour of the scheme and against the Act. The Registrar General, according to his own statement to a deputation which I attended, has power under the Act to certify a scheme if one man in a colliery or factory or on a railway is in favour of it as against all the other men employed. I think that makes the Act ridiculous. In this case 1,714 men out of 1,950 were against the scheme; yet in face of that it was certified by the Registrar General, and the result has been that there has been nothing but friction and irritation and bad feeling at that colliery since the scheme came into operation. Now, I desire to prove to the Committee as conclusively and as clearly as I can—and I am sure I will have the sympathy of the Committee—that under these schemes the men receive from 30 per cent. to 35 per cent. less monetary advantage than they would obtain under the Act. I will quote three cases. During last summer a man was killed at Clifton Hall Colliery who had contracted out of the Act. He was a married man without a family, and a good workman, and if he had been under the Act his dependents, would have received almost the maximum amount—£300. What did his widow receive under the scheme, for which he himself paid half of the contribution? His widow received 5s. a week for seven years, or £91, and a funeral allowance of £10, making a total of £101. The men had contributed one half, leaving the employer 1460 to pay as compensation £50 10s. Under the Act the average obtained in Lancashire has been considerably over £200 — nearly £220. Of course it may be stated, and I agree, that this is an extreme case, but I will quote two other cases, and the three will, I think, form a fair average of what happens under this scheme. Take a man who is killed, leaving a widow and three children. The children would receive 2s. 6d. a week each for seven years, making £136 10s., the widow would receive 5s. a week for seven years, making £91, and the funeral allowance would be £10, making a total of £237 10s., of which the men's contributions amount to one half, leaving the contribution of the employer at £118 15s., whereas under the Act it would be considerably over £200 at a minimum. Take another case. Suppose a man meets with a fatal accident and leaves a widow and six children. Each child receives 2s. 6d. a week for seven years, or £273, the widow receives 5s. a week for seven years, or £91, and the funeral allowance is £10, or a total of £374, of which the men again contribute one half, leaving the employer to pay in compensation £187. Accordingly it will be seen that the benefits under this scheme are nothing like what would be received under the Act. Then with reference to the Cannock Chase scheme there are five collieries—Cannock and Readyclay, West Cannock, Brereton, Cannock Chase, and Leacroft—employing, I should think, between 2,000 and 3,000 men, and all are under one scheme, which was registered on August 17th, 1899. I have very strong evidence from the workmen that undue influence was brought to bear on them in order to get them to sign the contracting-out form. The details of the scheme are as follows:—over sixteen years 2d. per week; under sixteen years 1d. per week, employers paying an equal amount. In case of disablement a workman gets 12s. a week for the first twelve months, and 8s. a week afterwards, and for boys under sixteen half these amounts are paid. In case of a fatal accident the dependents get £150 only, the minimum under the Act, and if there are no dependents only £20 is paid. I have inquired into the matter, and I find that the committee who have charge of the distribution of the money mete it out as if it were Poor 1461 Law relief. I could quote eases in which, under the Act, compensation was paid under the Act as follows: £225, £165, £190, £300, £280, £210, £215, and £250, and only in March of this year, in the John Haydock Park Lane Collieries, £225 was given. It will be seen that the general average is about £230, without any payment at all from the workmen. I could, of course, quote schemes which give greater benefits than the Act, and to which no reasonable man can take exception, but in the cases which I have brought before the Committee, what I object to is that the men have been practically forced to accept the schemes if they wished to remain comfortable and at peace with the management, and to avoid irritation and friction all round. There is no mutuality at all in these two schemes. It is an open secret that when the Bill which is now the Compensation Act was before the House of Commons, 1897, there was much objection taken to such gigantic power being placed in the hands of a public official as is placed in the hands of the Registrar General. I am not finding fault at all with the impartiality and fairness of the Registrar General. In fact, from my knowledge of him, I believe him to be a very trustworthy and efficient public servant, but at the same time I believe, from information that I have received, that in these two cases he has certainly been misled, and that he signed the contracting - out certificates without full knowledge of all the circumstances. When the Bill was under discussion three years ago, strong objection was taken to this power being placed in the hands of the Registrar General. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife stated—He must express his surprise that the Government had thought it worth its while to introduce this clause. They were going to put on the shoulders of the Registrar of Friendly Societies a task of enormous perplexity, for the performance of which, however skilled he might he in determining actuarial questions, neither he nor any other Government Department possessed either the necessary knowledge, the necessary experience, or the necessary judgment.Then I may quote also the words of a large colliery owner, the hon. Member for Preston. He said—As an employer he would have nothing to do with any alternative scheme unless he 1462 was satisfied that the workmen of their own motion desired it.The hon. Member for Mid Durham realised the tremendous power which was proposed to be placed in the hands of the Registrar of Friendly Societies, and its effect on the workmen. His words were as follows—He asked if it were desirable that one half of the workmen should overrule the other half. Could not some arrangement be come to whereby the question could be put to the whole of the men to accept or reject the scheme.The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies was one of the Gentlemen in charge of the measure during its passage through the House, and he said, in reply to the hon. Member for Mid Durham—He would try to find out words, after consulting with hon. Members, which would meet the difficulty that they apprehended.I regret to state that the words were not found, and the difficulty was not solved. Then the Home Secretary, who had charge of the Bill, said—The Registrar General, a most capable and able officer, would, when a mutual scheme was brought before him, estimate the whole of the benefits under the scheme, and see that, if the workmen contributed to the scheme, there should be a quid pro quo for their subscription over and above what the employers were bound to give under the Bill.Now I venture to assert that when the Bill was under consideration in the House it was never dreamt that any scheme would be certified by the Registrar General that gave less benefits than the Act of Parliament. Such schemes are unfair to other employers who are bound to give compensation according to the provisions of the Act. It is for these reasons that I venture to move a reduction of this Vote. The two points I wish to put to the right hon. Gentleman are, firstly, if he will give me a promise that there shall be a fair test taken at Messrs. Andrew Knowles's colliery. The Registrar General has power to order an investigation into the circumstances under which the scheme has been submitted, and I ask that a fair and impartial ballot of the men shall be taken. Secondly, I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to cause an inquiry 1463 to be made as to whether the schemes I hare detailed are less favourable to the workmen than the provisions of the Act. These are two fair propositions, and if the right hon. Gentleman will satisfy me in them I will be quite willing to withdraw my motion. But unless I obtain reason- able satisfaction I shall, in the interests of the workmen, be bound to proceed to a Division.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item A (Salaries) be reduced by £100, in respect of the Salary of the Chief Registrar."—(Mr. Woods)
§ MR. HANBURY
I cannot, of course, follow the hon. Member into a great deal of his speech, which, so far as I understood it, consisted of objections to some clauses in the Act. He objects, for instance, altogether to the principle of contracting-out, and also to public officials having the large powers he describes in connection with these schemes. We must take the Act as it stands, and all we can do tonight is to see whether a public official has properly carried out his duties under the Act. With regard to Mr. Brabrook, I was glad to hear the testimony of the hon. Member that he was not only a thoroughly competent, but a most fair official, and I am bound to say that is entirely my own experience. Mr. Bra-brook is thoroughly well fitted for the work imposed on him, and no man could undertake that work with a greater desire to deal fairly between employers and their workmen. It is also satisfactory to have it admitted by the hon. Gentleman that in the great majority of cases there is no cause for complaint whatever, and that what the Registrar General has done has given the workmen great satisfaction, because, as I understand, the majority of the schemes approved by him are actually better for the workmen than if they had remained under the Act itself. Then the hon. Member referred to the case of Messrs. Andrew Knowles's colliery and to the joint scheme effected in connection with the Cannock Chase collieries. The main allegation of the hon. Gentleman is that in the case of Messrs. Knowles's collieries and the Cannock Chase Collieries the schemes were forced on the men, and that great pressure was used to induce them to come in. I think, 1464 however, that the hon. Gentleman will agree that Mr. Brabrook could have been no party to any such pressure. Although I do not myself know anything about Messrs. Knowles's collieries, I do know something about the Cannock Chase Collieries, and I think the Cannock Chase colliers are the last men in the world to yield to pressure of that sort. I should be extremely surprised if this alleged pressure, for it amounts to very little more than hearsay report, really has existed, and after all, these things must be judged by results. The hon. Gentleman asked whether the Registrar-General would exercise certain powers which he had under the Act to make sure that no such pressure was applied. Well, this is hardly the time for him to exercise those powers. I am quite sure that a man of such businesslike capacities as Mr. Brabrook would not favour any scheme in which he had the slightest suspicion that any such pressure was being brought to bear. I am quite willing to meet the hon. Gentleman on the ground of results. The hon. Gentleman spoke of many cases where, under the operation of the Act men, or their widows or representatives, had received large sums of money in cases of accident or death. It is perfectly true that in individual cases it is quite possible, under any scheme, to bring to the front particular cases of that kind.
§ MR. HANBURY
Well, if the hon. Gentleman appeals to averages I am perfectly willing to meet him on that ground. I have not got the particulars with regard to Cannock Chase, but it so happens that I have them with regard to the Messrs. Knowles's collieries. In Mr. Brabrook's report I find an allusion, in a footnote in his own handwriting, to the scheme of the accident society at these collieries, to the effect that under the existing scheme the men had received £558 in compensation, that only £378 would have been payable under the Act, and that the scheme practically amounts to this—that, so far as the periods in respect of which payment was to be made under the Act went, the men had received a little over the amount they would have received if the Act had been enforced. But the advantage which 1465 Messrs. Knowles's workmen had under the scheme was that they had received a large amount of money for injuries which kept them from work for periods of two weeks and under. There are sometimes cases of hardship under the Act, and it is these cases that have been provided for under this scheme. On the whole, Mr. Brabrook assures me that in this very case which is put in the forefront of the argument by the hon. Gentleman the men benefited to the extent of 50 per cent. more than if they had been under the Act. I think if the hon. Member breaks down in this, his chosen instance, he must have been somewhat misled in regard to others.
§ MR. HANBURY
Yes, Mr. Brabrook tells me that the men's contributions have been taken into account, and yet they have received the benefits he speaks of. I am sorry that I have not the figures as to the Cannock Chase Collieries, but if the hon. Gentleman will give me any information on the subject I shall be glad to communicate with Mr. Brabrook, and shall look into the matter. I hope the hon. Member will do Mr. Brabrook the justice to admit that if the results of this case are satisfactory it is only right that that should be acknowledged. I am sure the Registrar has brought the greatest ability and fairness of mind to bear in dealing with these schemes, and it is hardly likely that a scheme which has produced such good results to the men as has that of Messrs. Knowles could have been the outcome of any pressure whatever. It is no good trusting to rumour in these matters. After all, the best test is the results, and I have shown that this scheme has produced good results.
§ MR. WOODS
I may state that when the scheme was first suggested to the men, I was asked to fully investigate the benefits which would come to the men under it and under the Act. At the men's request I accompanied them in an interview with the Registrar General, and I think we satisfied him that the benefits under the scheme were not fit to be 1466 put in comparison with those under the Act.
§ MR. HANBURY
Well, the results have proved exactly the opposite; and that is the opinion of the Registrar General at the present moment. But I shall be happy indeed, if the hon. Member will give me further facts, to look into the case. However, I do think that on the case he has brought forward, he is hardly justified in saying that Mr. Brabrook is doing anything unfair or very wicked.
MR. PICKAKD (Yorkshire, W.R., Normanton)
Our chief complaint is not so much about the schemes, but that the Registrar General takes no trouble whatever to send anyone into the localities to make any inquiry. We say that the arbitrary power which, he uses is not at all for the good of the men, and we conclude, after two years experience, that the Government should intervene. We suggest that there should be a joint committee of employers and workmen in every mining district, and that that committee should arrange a scheme of compensation for the district. If that is not done, there are some collieries where great trouble will arise, followed, perhaps, by strikes. I am a man of peace myself, and I can only hope that the Government will try to make the schemes mutual, and put in a word for the workmen to the Registrar General. If they do not know, I know that when a scheme is once formed it is bound to go on for five years; and I trust that before any more five-years schemes are fixed some better information will be placed before the workmen. The Registrar General should not, without consulting the men, say that he approves of a scheme, and that it must be adopted. I do not consider that that is fair. When the Workmen's Compensation Act was passing through the Committee in this House the Colonial Secretary made wonderful promises. We wanted a two-thirds ballot for any scheme, but now there arc schemes in existence where the men were not consulted at all. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Rhondda Valley is not present, as it was in reply to him that the Colonial Secretary made the promises in regard to the 1467 schemes. None of these schemes, however, provide compensation equal to that granted under the Act. I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury to try and allow the men to have some little more influence with the Registrar General.
§ * SIR DILLWYN LLEWELYN (Swansea Town)
I know something about these schemes in South Wales, and I am equally sorry with the hon. Member for Normanton that the hon. Member for the Rhondda Division is not present to-night. In Glamorganshire and Monmouthshire the men have equal representation on the schemes with the employers, and there are a large number of men in the permanent society even though the Workmen's Compensation Act was passed, I must say that the Registrar General's schemes have been accepted by a very large number of the men, and there are now
§ 29,000 out of 70,000 workmen under these schemes. So well have they worked that only a fortnight ago the society was able to announce that, in accordance with the promises foreshadowed, there was a sufficient surplus to pay one hundred old-age pensions to the oldest members of 5s. per week so long as the scheme existed. But that is not the chief point. In my judgment that which principally induces the men to continue to remain in the miners' benefit societies is the compensation which is given to them dining the first fortnight after injury. I must say it is very hard to say that the men remain in these societies from any pressure whatever. They, have the full right to remain in them or go out of them if they choose, and the members of the societies are constantly increasing.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 39; Noes, 96. (Division List No. 12].)1469
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Gurdon, Sir William Brampton||Rickardson, J. (Durham, S. E.)|
|Holland, William Henry||Roberts, John H. (Denbigsh.)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C.B.|
|Brigg John||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||Steadman, William Charles|
|Burt, Thomas||Stratchey, Edward|
|Kilbride, Denis||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Lewis, John Herbert||Tanner Charles Kearns|
|Crilly, Daniel||Ure, Alexander|
|Dillon, John||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Donelan, Captain A.||M'Crae, George||Warner, T Courtenay T.|
|Doogan, P.C||M'Ghee, Richard||Weir, James Galloway|
|Duckworth, James||Morton E. J. C. (Devonport)||Williams, J. carvel (Notts.)|
|Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis||Nussey, Thomas Willans||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Woods and Mr. Pickard.|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Chelsea, Viscount||Fletcher, Sir Henry|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Flower, Ernest|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Man.||Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Foster Colonel (Lancaster)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W.(Leeds)||Cubitt, Hon. Henry|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Curzon, Viscount||Gedge, Sydney|
|Barnes, Frederick Gorell||Goldsworthy, Major-General|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H.(Bristol||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Doughty, George||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)|
|Bethell, Commander||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Graham, Henry Robert|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Dyke, Rt. Hon Sir William Hart||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Bowles, T.(Gibson(King's Lynn)||Gull, Sir Cameron|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Faber, George Denison|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E.||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord George|
|Finch, George H.||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert W.|
|Cavendish, V. C.W. (Derbysh.)||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Hardy, Laurence|
|Haslett, Sir James Horner||Maple, Sir John Blundell||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Howorth, Sir Henry Hoyle||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Stanley, E. James (Somerset)|
|Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Hutton, Joon (Yorks, N. R.)||Milward, Colonel Victor||Strauss, Arthur|
|Monckton, Edward Philip||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Jessel, Captain Herbert Herton||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropsh.)|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Morgan, Hn. Fred(Monm'thsh.)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Morrell, George Herbert||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Morton, Arthur H. A.(Deptford|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hon Sir John H.||Murray, Charles, I. (Coventry)||Welby, Sir Chas. U. E. (Notts.|
|Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Plunkett, Rt. Hn Horace Curzon||Williams, Jos. Powell- (Birm.)|
|Lecky, Rt. Hn. William Edw. H||Purvis, Robert||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Wyndham, George|
|Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Sw'ns'a)||Remnant, James Farquharson||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.|
|Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson||Younger, William|
|Lucas-Shadwell, William||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Royds, Clement Molyneux||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Macdona, John Cumming|
|Maclure, Sir John William||Sandon, Viscount|
|M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. STRACHEY (Somersetshire, S.)
I beg to move to reduce the Vote by £100. I want to know what action the right hon. Gentleman has taken lately in regard to shop clubs. I take exception to the way in which these quasi-benefit societies arc established, and it is very necessary that some action should be taken, because lately great companies have been coming to this House, and putting in their private Bills a short clause establishing these shop clubs. There is great objection to introducing these shop clubs, and interfering in many ways with legitimate friendly societies.
§ MR. HANBURY
I am not quite sure what action the Registrar General is taking with regard to this matter, and I -should like to consult him more fully.
§ MR. WEIR
I beg leave to move to reduce the Vote by £50. I find that the Registrar General receives a salary of £800 a year and allowances. In Scotland the Registrar receives £300 a year, and he has an 1470 allowance for clerical assistance of £200. The Registrar in Ireland has a salary of £300 a year, and an allowance for clerical assistance of £100. I find, further, that the assistant registrars in Scotland do not give their whole time. I should like to know what other work they are engaged in, and what other offices they hold. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give some assurance that if the assistant, registrars require assistance the amount paid will be inserted in the Votes, so that we may know how the money is expended. For aught we know, the present system is simply one for sweating the juniors.
§ MR. HANBURY
On the contrary, I think the system of officers employing clerks who are not in the Civil Service is a better system. We pay these officers a certain sum, and allow them to find their own assistants. That is a practice which has been growing in the Civil Service, and has been found convenient. No doubt, after all, the system of putting all these men on the Votes is a good one where the staff is large, like, for instance, the staff of the Ordnance Survey; but where yon have to deal with a totally different kind of clerk, and where the means of dealing with those clerks are not so easy as the means for dealing with the head who engages them, it is much better to trust to his discretion and let him find his own assistants. I cannot agree with the hon. Member's suggestion to revive a retrograde practice which was deliberately abandoned some years ago.
§ MR. HANBURY
I apologise to the hon. Member. The assistant registrars both in Scotland and Ireland are practising solicitors who do not profess to give their whole time to the public service.
§ MR. CALDWELL
I think it is very much to be deprecated in the case of the assistant registrars of Scotland and Ireland that these positions should be in the hands of a lawyer. When you are dealing with what is an increasing and enlarging business, and have regard to the influence which these gentlemen have in sanctioning certain claims which are brought before them, I think the office ought to be held independently by a person who, above all, has no interest whatever, such as a practising lawyer or solicitor is bound to have who has a private business of his own. If the salary is not sufficient, make it a little larger. Instead of £300 a year, make it £400 or even £500, because after all it is not a question of money. What you want to do is to get an efficient man and one who will command confidence in the country, and I contend that that could be done without more expense. The present practice is to give a salary of £300 a year and £200 a year for clerical assistance and offices. Now, a man does not keep a clerk all the year through, and such clerical assistance as he requires he can perform himself. He has his office already for his other business, and he will not have any other room for his registrarship, so that you are practically paying £500 a year for the assistant registrar. Now, I do not know why for that same salary you could not get an assistant registrar in Scotland who would
§ perform the whole work, and who would be a man without any bias and without any business of his own. Supposing a scheme comes up for approval by a. registrar, and he is a practising solicitor, the people who bring up the scheme to be sanctioned by him may be his own clients or connected with them, and how can you expect the registrar, in a case of that kind, to exercise an impartial judgment, where he may have a special interest either on one side or the other? I think it is exceedingly objectionable, and that in the future the registrars for Scotland and for Ireland should be men without any business of their own, and, above all, should not be lawyers. If a reduction is moved I shall certainly support that reduction.
§ MR. WEIR
expressed his conviction that there were in Edinburgh many thoroughly competent men who could be found to perform these duties for a salary of £450 a year and, say, an allowance of £30 or £40 or £50 for an office. He could not quite see the objection which the hon. Member for Mid Lanark had to the employment of solicitors, always providing; they did not practise; he knew many good lawyers who would give the whole of their time to such duties as these, and, so far as he could see, there was no objection to employing such men. It was a very bad plan to allow a man to carry on a private business as well as perform the functions of assistant registrar, and, seeing that there was a sufficient sum to provide a competent man, he was compelled, as a protest against the present system of employing such people when competent men could be obtained, to move the reduction of the vote by £50.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That Item B (Salaries and Allowances, Scotland) be reduced by £50, in respect of the Salary of the Assistant Registrar in Scotland."—(Mr. Weir.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 30; Noes, 93. (Division List No. 122.)1473
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Dillon, John||Griffith, Ellis J.|
|Doogan, P. C.|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Duckworth, James||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Kilbride, Denis|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Pickard, Benjamin||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Whiteley, George (Stockport)|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Richardson, J. (Durham, S.E.)||Williams John Carvall (Notts.)|
|M'Crae, George||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|M'Ghee, Richard||Woods, Samuel|
|Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)||Steadman, William Charles|
|Strachey, Edward||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Weir and Mr. Caldwell.|
|Nussey, Thomas Willans||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Purvis, Robert|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Gull, Sir Cameron|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord George||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon A. J. (Manch'r)||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert W.||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn Gerald W(Leeds)||Hardy, Laurence||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Barnes, Frederick Gorell||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M.H.(Bristol||Hutton, John (Yorks. N. R.)||Sandon, Viscount|
|Bethell, Commander||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D.(Strand)|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Stanley, Edward Jas.(Somerset|
|Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Cavendish, V.C.W(Derbyshire||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Strauss, Arthur|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Chelsea, Viscount||Lawrence, Sir E. D. (Cornw'l)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Lecky, Rt. Hn. William Edw. H||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Curzon, Viscount||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Swan.|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Ure, Alexander|
|Doughty, George||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts.|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Faber, George Denison||Maclure, Sir John William||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Williams, J. Powell-(Birm.)|
|Finch, George H.||Maple, Sir John Blundell||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Wyndham, George|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Milward, Colonel Victor||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Fletcher, Sir Henry||Monckton, Edward Philip|
|Flower, Ernest||More, Robert J. (Shropshire)||Younger, William|
|Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Morgan, Hn. Fred.(Monm'tsh.)|
|Morrell, George Herbert|
|Gedge, Sydney||Morton, Arthur H.A. (Deptford||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Goldsworthy, Major-General||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon|
|Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Plunkett, Rt. Hn. Horace C.||Plunkett, Rt. Hn. Horace C.|
Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ Resolutions to be reported.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £9,778, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1901, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Commissioners in Lunacy in England."1474
§ MR. CALDWELL
I am surprised at the Government asking for this Vote when the Report of the Commissioners for the present year has not been presented. From the last Report of the Commissioners it appears that at the present moment, owing to the want of accommodation of Broadmoor Criminal Asylum, a number of criminal lunatics have to be boarded out with the County Lunatic Asylum.
§ MR. CALDWELL
The Lunacy Commissioners have charge of the inspection of all these different asylums, and they present a Report every year to the House of the whole of the proceedings of these asylums, and it is in their Report in connection with this that this occurs. It is part of the administration, and the foundation for this Vote.
* THE CHAIRMAN
The hon. Gentleman is dealing with the want of accommodation at Broadmoor. This Vote has nothing to do with that. That is the subject of another Vote.
§ MR. CALDWELL
proceeded to point out that the Vote included the charge for criminal lunatics boarded in the asylums. He held that the charge ought to be in another Vote altogether. The Lunacy Commissioners had pointed out that the practice of boarding criminal lunatics in the ordinary county and burgh asylums was detrimental to the interests of the ordinary patients, and also to the discipline in the institutions. They thought, therefore, that other provision for them ought to be made. Another matter referred to by the commissioners was the question of post-mortem examinations. The Com- missioners pointed out that the percentages of post-mortem examinations were lower than they ought to be, and they referred to the circumstance that it was only by such examinations that they were able to detect whether in the case of lunatics they had not been ill-treated, The percentage for 1899 was 78, as against 79–3 in the previous year. Apart from that, there was a great discrepancy in regard to the number of post-mortem examinations. In some cases they were 95 per cent., and in other cases they were as low as 40 per cent. He asked the Attorney General whether any steps had been taken with the view of calling the attention of those concerned to the cases where the percentage was so low, in order that they might be brought up more in accordance with the recommendation of the Commissioners. Another point was that the percentage of the recoveries was a great deal less. It would be important to find out the cause why this had taken place. The hon. Member for Edinburgh and St. Andrews Universities, speaking on the subject lately, had attributed a good deal of it to the want 1476 of care in the preliminary stages before the patients were received into the asylums at all. It was amongst the pauper lunatics that there was a certain falling off in regard to the recoveries. The boarded-out lunatics in England were very considerable in number, being; between 6,000 and 7,000. There again there was a very considerable discrepancy in the administration in different parts of the country. In Wales the number boarded out with relatives and friends was sometimes as high as 30 per cent. He thought that greater care ought to be taken with regard to this method of boarding out.
§ MR. CALDWELL
The Lunacy Commissioners have power to authorise any one to be boarded out, or to withhold their consent. There is no question about the law in the matter. They have the whole control, and they have the fixing of the rules and regulations, and it is under these rules and regulations that boarding out takes place. The hon. Member said the system of hoarding out was fraught with very considerable danger, because there was a temptation to cheapness on the side of the local authority boarding out patients. They probably got a patient boarded out at 6s. a week, 4s. of which they got from the County Government grant, so that they had practically only to make up 2s. On the other hand, with respect to the interest of the patient, it would be much better, and would tend more to his recovery, if he were retained in a proper asylum under proper supervision. How was it possible in the case-of England to have proper supervision of the 105,000 patients, of whom 6,000 were boarded out? It seemed to him that the staff was overworked. They had only six Commissioners in England to do six times, he amount of work that was done in Scotland by two Commissioners and two Deputy Commissioners. It would be a great advantage if they followed, as regards lunatic asylums, the course followed in connection with factories and workshops, lamely, that an abstract of that part of he law which relates to the powers and methods by which a patient might communicate with the superior authority 1477 should he tabulated in such a way that every patient might be able to see it for himself. There was a feeling that there was a want of careful inquiry when any complaint was made. There should be more inquiry, and men ought to be appointed for the purpose. They could get very good medical men in England as Deputy Commissioners for £600 a year each. A few men of that kind would cost a mere bagatelle compared with the enormous expense lunacy created. The Commissioners in their Report pointed out that there was a lack of asylum accommodation all over, and that being so, there was a great temptation on the part of the authorities to board out patients. The question of asylum accommodation should receive more attention than had yet been given to it.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir ROBERT FINLAY,) Inverness Burghs
The first point raised was with regard to the allowance for travelling expenses. The Commissioners have a very great deal of travelling to do, and the scale of payment is only 30s. a night for expenses. If the hon. Member has regard to the amount of travelling they have to do, I think he will see that it does not come to anything at all excessive. The hon. Member who has just spoken referred to a number of points. I think he has ranged over the whole subject of the treatment of lunatics, whether it directly related to the duties of the Commissioners or not. He complained that Broadmoor is too small. If it is too small, that is not the fault of the Commissioners. Another thing he complained of was that the number of post mortem examinations was too small. That is determined by the circumstances of the particular cases. I do not think any fixed standard could be adopted. He complained that the percentage of the recoveries of lunatics was getting small. I do not think the hon. Member at all established that. He supplied the Committee with no statistics whatever, but if it be the case I cannot think he has found the true explanation. He suggests that the want of an adequate percentage in the cases of recovery is due, to there being not enough care before the patient is admitted to the asylum. If that is so, it is not the fault of the Commissioners, and I do not think there is 1478 anything whatever to show that the percentage of cases treated for any lengthened time at home before admission to an asylum is increasing. I think it is very much the other way. If it be the case that the percentage of recoveries is decreasing it must be due to other causes, and may be accounted for by the strain of modern life, which we all know is ever increasing. The hon. Gentleman was very severe on the system of boarding out. I would remind him that there are really two sides to this. It depends very much on the nature of the ease, and I can quite understand that it may be very much better for a person. afflicted with insanity to be boarded with friends if he would be very kindly and judiciously treated. The hon. Member said the number of Commissioners was too-small, and he endeavoured to establish that by reference to Scotland, where there are two Commissioners and two Sub-commissioners. The conditions of inspections in Scotland are very different from those in England. An inspection in the Highlands and Islands necessarily takes a very much greater amount of time, and there must be a great deal of travelling to the cases inspected. One can understand how a larger staff in proportion to the population is required there than in England, where the facilities for travelling are necessarily greater. The hon. Gentleman complained that inquiries are not adequately con-ducted, and suggested the appointment of additional staff-assistant Commissioners for the purpose of making inquiries. The Commissioners exercise their discretion in this matter. They make such inquiry as they think fit, and I really do not think, with all respect to the hon. Member, that he has brought before the Committee any substantial evidence that these inquiries are inadequately done. The only other matter he suggested was that lunatics should be invited to study the law of lunacy, and that an abstract should be hung up in every room. If anything could be calculated to make slight cases serious and serious cases absolutely incurable, it would be a study of the law of lunacy.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said lunatics had certain rights by Act of Parliament, and surely there was nothing unreasonable in suggesting that notices should be put up 1479 to let them know what these rights were. If the answer given by the Attorney General was what they were to get, there was no use discussing the matter at all. As regards post mortem examinations, he simply called attention to what the Commissioners stated in their Report, and the Attorney General in his reply had argued against his own Commissioners. In dealing with the question of recoveries, he referred to what the Member for Edinburgh and St. Andrews Universities had said, but the Attorney General had, in reply, acted on the footing that he had come forward with certain statements of his own motion. If the Commissioners gave them a Report it ought to receive the attention of the Government, but here they found the Attorney General got up and argued 1480 that the Commissioners were actually wrong in every particular. He ventured to think that the hon. Gentleman could not have furnished a better argument for a reduction of the salaries of these men than he had done by traversing their report on every point.
It being midnight the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next; Committee also report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.
§ Adjourned at five minutes after Twelve of the clock till Monday next.