§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ (12.10.) SIR EDWARD STRACHEY (Somersetshire, S.)
In moving the Second Reading of this Bill, I shall deal with it as briefly as possible, but it will be necessary for me to remind the House what its history has been. The Bill was introduced in the last Parliament at the request of the National Conference of Friendly Societies, in order that a Bill carried by myself in 1894 might be amended and extended. I believe the House thoroughly understands the object and purport of the Bill, which is to give assistance to those who have been thrifty, and to show that it is an advantage to become members of friendly societies, and that those who do so are not to be penalised by the poor law, or by decisions of any Board of Guardians, 1233 by reason of the fact that they themselves have made provision against sickness or accident. The Bill was introduced in the last Parliament, but never went farther than the First Reading stage. The General Election came soon after, and the Bill was taken up throughout the length and breadth of the country by members of friendly societies, and, these being non-political bodies, this non-political Bill secured almost universal support from hon. Members on both sides of politics. When the Bill was introduced again at the beginning of the new Parliament, it was treated absolutely as an unopposed Bill; in fact, every stage of it up to the Third Reading went through after midnight. And, what was still more important and significant, as showing that the Government recognised the value of the Bill, the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board gave it his blessing and used every endeavour to get it sent up to the House of Lords. If it had not been for the action of the right hon. Gentleman, the Bill would never have been sent last session to the Upper House. I have every reason to believe that the President of the Local Government Board is prepared to support the Bill again in the same way, and to give it every facility, as far as he is concerned, so that it may once more be sent to the Upper Chamber. Of course, I recognise this fact. Last session the Bill was an unopposed Bill. This session, although it has been so fortunate as to get a good place on a private Members' day, it is no longer unopposed, for there has lately appeared on the Notice Paper, in the name of the hon. Member for St. Albans, a Motion for its rejection. I do not know on what ground the hon. Member is taking that step, but I cannot help thinking the probability is he comes here as the spokesman of the Charity Organisation Society. If he is not he will, no doubt, tell us what other ground he has for his action. As far as I can make out, the only objection from any organised body of opinion in this country comes from the Charity Organisation Society. On the other hand, I rather expect the hon. Gentleman will not make much more than a sham fight; those who are 1234 opposed to the Bill are in a miserable minority in this House, and therefore I quite expect he will run away from the division and let the Bill get a Second Reading unopposed.
I will now deal with the objections raised in the House of Lords to this Bill. It is rather curious that even in the House of Lords the Bill went through all its stages without opposition until, on the Third Reading,† opposition was developed on be half of an independent Peer—the Earl of Northbrook; and I believe that the noble Lord who successfully moved its rejection was influenced by the action taken by the Charity Organisation Society. What were the reasons adduced on that occasion against this Bill I It was said that it was not in the real interests of friendly societies that the Bill should become law, and a suggestion was thrown out that some further expression of opinion by those organisations was desirable. One would have thought that a great body like the National Conference of Friendly Societies, which had again and again affirmed its approval of the Bill, would have known whether it was in the true interests of their societies that the Bill should pass into law. The Conference represents over 3,750,000 of members of friendly societies, and I think it sufficiently answered the noble Lord on that point, for at the meeting which was held so recently as the 20th March last a resolution was carried expressing strong disapproval of the action of the House of Lords in rejecting the Bill after its acceptance by the House of Commons, and placing on record the determination not to be satisfied until the measure has become the law of the land. Surely that sufficiently disposes of the argument of the noble Earl that the friendly societies have not sufficiently declared their opinion. The noble Earl has got the result of their further consideration, and he now knows that they are determined not to allow the House of Lords to stand in the way of the Bill, as to the value of which they have absolutely made up their minds. Another objection raised by the noble Lord was that so important a change ought not to be made in the poor law by a private
§ † See (4) Debates xcvii. 5.1235
§ Member, but that it should be done at the instance of the Government. If the noble Earl had not left this House so long ago he would have known that in these days it is practically impossible for a Government to take up a matter of this sort because they have such an enormous amount of contentious business to deal with. They are therefore glad, in the case of questions of an uncontentious character—like this Bill—to avail themselves of the services of a private Member; indeed, it is not infrequently the case that they have inspired private Members to bring in Bills of a non-political and non-contentious character, and in the end given the measure the Government blessing. I do not mean, however, to suggest that there was any such inspiration in this case, but they have supported and heartily approved it. I have heard it said that the Government did not approve of this Bill in the House of Lords, but we must judge of their opinions by the way they voted, and I would point out that every Cabinet Minister present in the House of Lords when the division was taken voted for the Bill. It may be said that the Prime Minister walked out when the division was called, but that may have been merely an accident. I do not think there was one Cabinet Minister who opposed this Bill. Again, the noble Earl complained that the Bill had never been discussed in the House of Commons. To that I reply that he left this Chamber so long ago that he cannot be aware that the mere fact of a Bill not being discussed, and being accepted and supported as non-contentious by the representatives of the people, is considered as an indication that the Bill has the country at its back.
§ I cannot help thinking that what influenced the House of Lords was the speech made by Lord Wemyss, when he said it would be much better to repeal the Act of 1894, which was permissive, and to deprive the guardians of the small amount of discretion they now have—a discretion which the Bill now before the House proposes to limit to a certain extent. The noble Lord asked—Why limit the discretion at all? We propose it for the reason that there has been no uniform procedure in this matter. While the 1236 great majority of the Board of Guardians have carried out the Act in a broad and liberal spirit, other Boards of Guardians have not done so, and would do nothing more than relieve absolute destitution. These are the Boards of Guardians which are backed up and encouraged by the Charity Organisation Society. We have not to legislate for people who are good citizens and try to carry out their obligations in every way, but we have to legislate for people who are reactionary, and who consider that the only ground on which a man should be granted relief is that he would starve if it were refused. Surely there ought be a difference made between the thrifty and the unthrifty, and between the drunken and dissolute man and he who has been a sober citizen all his life. It has been said that Boards of Guardians object to this Bill. Well, in order to test their feelings, a circular was sent out by a Somersetshire Board of Guardians in September last year, asking for their views in regard to it. The circular was forwarded to 650 unions, 236 replied, 98 in favour of the Bill and only 36 against, while 86 were neutral. In the case of 16 Boards the discussion on the Bill had been adjourned. What does that show? It shows that even Boards of Guardians, who certainly are people who might be supposed to take an objection to the Bill, inasmuch as it limits their discretion, are by no means opposed to it. Ninety-eight, in fact, are in favour of having their discretion limited, and only 36 oppose it. It further shows that the great majority of the Boards of Guardians were of opinion that it did not matter, as, at the present time, they were doing exactly what the Bill said they ought to do. Of the 36 which were opposed, 7 were in London, and I should like to point out that among the Boards in agricultural districts in favour of the Bill 33 counties, including Yorkshire, were represented. As far as the Boards of Guardians which did not trouble to reply to the circular are concerned, it may be taken that, generally speaking, they are not hostile to the Bill, while of those which have taken the trouble to express their views upon it, the great majority are in favour of it. I notice that the South Eastern Poor Law Conference, which is practically 1237 run by the Charity Organisation Society, held a meeting last December which was attended by the Registrar of Friendly Societies, who, in referring to this Bill, described it as "the conversion into a compulsory measure of an optional measure passed at the instance of Sir Edward Strachey a few years ago." The Registrar also said that he was not consulted at the time, or he would have raised objections to it. He, like Lord Wemyss, evidently thinks that we ought not to give permissive powers to Boards of Guardians to make any difference between members and non-members of friendly societies. It may be that the Registrar does not wish to glorify the friendly societies, and does not think we ought to do anything to make it more easy for such societies to get members. Still, it shows that, in his own mind, not only is he opposed to the Bill itself, but he is entirely opposed to the idea that there should be any legislation in this matter. He also called this Bill a modified system of giving old age pensions. As to that he is clearly under a misapprehension. The Bill has nothing whatever to do with old age pensions, and if hon. Members will only take the trouble to look at it they will see that the discretionary power which is limited by the Bill only comes into operation when sick pay money is given in cases of either accident or sickness. Those words were introduced to avoid the mixing up of the question of sick relief with that of old age pensions.
§ The Central Poor Law Conference, which last March also had this Bill under consideration, condemned it. One of the speakers read a paper on this question—Dr. Wright, of the Grimsby union—voicing the opinion of the Central Poor Law Conference, and he said that the contention of the Charity Organisation Society was that poor law relief should be institutional, and that charities should supply all other relief that might be necessary and inevitable. That is exactly the attitude taken up by the Poor Law Conference and by hon. Gentlemen who oppose this Bill on their behalf, by other societies outside, and by the House of Lords. Their view is that there should be a hard and fast line, that a man must be in actual danger of starvation before he gets poor law relief. He is only to be allowed it in order to keep 1238 him from starvation. This Bill rather encourages, they say, outdoor relief. The Charity Organisation Society wishes to draw working men and women into the workhouses, and therefore advocates the refusal of outdoor relief altogether. There are certain unions in the country which act on that view, and which hold that such cases as would come within the powers dealt with in this Bill ought to look to private charity. That is the real reason why the Charity Organisation Society objects to this Bill. They say it encourages the idea that outdoor relief ought to be given to thrifty and industrious people, and not merely on a small scale, but on a larger scale than usual in order to make their lines more pleasant than those of men and women who have never done anything to put away money for a rainy day or to ensure themselves against sickness and accident. The objection to this Bill is thus confined within a very narrow area. I ask the House to read it a second time and thus to re-affirm the principle which it affirmed on a previous occasion, that there ought to be a decided distinction drawn in our poor law administration between the thrifty and the unthrifty, between the man who has done his best to keep off the rates, and he who has done nothing; between the man who has made sacrifices in order to gain and continue his membership of a friendly society, and the man who has done nothing of the kind, so that the former may have better treatment if the necessity should unfortunately arise for him to have recourse to the poor law. I venture to suggest that the refusal of such distinctive treatment is calculated to induce the man who has never joined a friendly society and never made any sacrifice, but who has been contented to lead a happy-go-lucky life, to say to himself, "Why should I trouble? when the end comes I shall not be any better off; if sickness ensues I shall have to obtain sick relief in any case, and then I shall get just as good treatment as the man who, by self denial, has kept his membership of a friendly society for many years."
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That this Bill be now read a second time."—(Sir Edward Strachey.)1239
§ (12.35.) MR. VICARY GIBBS (Hertfordshire, St. Albans)
There is only one remark in the speech to which we have just listened to which I take exception. The hon. Baronet said he believed I was the spokesman of an outside society. I consider that a suggestion of that sort is very objectionable. I object to this Bill, and offer opposition to it as an independent Member of this House, regarding my position as a trust, and believing that the Bill will not be for the advantage of the country if passed. I object altogether to being represented as the henchman of any society with which I have no connection. The hon. Member was also good enough to say that I belong to a miserable minority. I would venture to suggest to him that if he had used the word "small" it would have been less invidious and offensive, and a, more apt description of the body to which I belong. I know perfectly well that I am engaged in an unpopular task—unpopular in this House, judging from the fact that the Bill has passed without opposition in a previous year; and certainly unpopular in the country, where large and highly organised bodies are in favour of the measure. Nothing is easier than to obtain popularity in this country by advocating the claims of individuals or of organised bodies to money out of the public fluids. At the same time, there is nothing of which hon. Members ought to be more shy. I consider there is a serious danger of this House and of the Governments of this country meeting organised demands, and neglecting demands equally just because they are not organised.
I hope the House will credit me with entertaining a strong conviction as to the way in which the poor law ought to be administered. The hon. Member and those who support him desire to remedy an injustice. That injustice, if it be an injustice, or so far as it is one, is the different way in which the wastrel man who has saved no money is treated as compared with the man who has been in a friendly society. But that difference can already be cured by the action of Boards of Guardians, under the hon. Member's Bill of 1894, and he has advanced no evidence whatever that the Guardians have abused that power. 1240 The Guardians have an opportunity of judging each case on its merits, and of considering whether in any particular case they should, or should not, ignore the fact that the applicant is in receipt of 5s. a week sick pay from his friendly society. These are eminently cases for individual treatment, and not for being treated en bloc. Again, the hon. Member says he desires uniformity. But how is he going to get it? Need the Bill in particular cases be operative at all? Even if it is passed there will still remain with the Guardians absolute discretion as to the amount of poor relief which they will give, and they will be under no obligation to give a reason for any decision they may come to. They still might offer the member of a friendly society the workhouse or nothing at all. One Board may act in the spirit which the hon. Member desires, and give the member of a friendly society more than is necessary to keep him from destitution, while another Board, which regards the disposition of public funds by claims on the rates as a trust, may do the direct contrary, and may, indeed, put the member of a friendly society in a worse position than he is already in. Then, the hon. Member says he desires to encourage thrift. Will he do that by making the very mistake which was denounced by the important Commission of 1874—a Commission of which the present Chancellor of the Exchequer was a member—a Commission which said it was a mistake to encourage men to join clubs on the inducement that if they became paupers they would receive more favourable treatment?
The hon. Member desires justice as well as thrift. These are very fine things, which we all desire. But the question is—How are they to be obtained? Will it advance thrift, or will it advance justice, to remove from the men any inducement to obtain from friendly societies sick pay of more than 5s. a week? Will it be just to give a money bonus to insufficient thrift? The criticisms offered on this Bill on the 19th June last year, have evidently had no effect whatever on the framers of the measure. They have remained unanswered, and they are unanswerable. Is it just to pick out one form of thrift 1241 for reward, and to neglect other equally meritorious forms? What was said last year about the Army pensioner? Is not his money earned by service at least as meritorious to the State as that of men who subscribe to friendly societies? What about the man who pays into a building society, or, indeed, the member of a friendly society who gets superannuation pay so-called? We are told he is not to have the advantages of this Bill because he is not in receipt of "sick pay." I suppose the hon. Member will say that these people all ought to have it. Yes, so they ought, if members of friendly societies have it, but, of course they must organise and agitate; they must make their voices heard in the constituencies, and they must make hon. Members understand that they will lose their election if they do not vote for it. Then they will get it in a moment. There is not much abstract justice about that. How about the poor women who do not organise, who do not belong to friendly societies, and yet may be as thrifty as any man? They are left entirely out by this Bill. How about the thrifty man who happens not to have been able to get a medical certificate in his youth; he is left clean out of it. Support of this measure is extremely popular on the platform, and it will be an admirable thing if I have an opponent at the next election who will come down and say, "Your Member spoke against the Friendly Societies Bill," no doubt it will lose mo a lot of votes. But that is not what ought to influence us in this matter.
I feel very strongly that this Bill does not remove injustice—accepting the hon. Member's own view, it simply shifts the point at which the injustice begins. More than that, it creates a great many new inequalities. The Bill is popular, and yet it is going to give a preference to the healthy over the sickly. It is a Bill to give rate aid to healthy people. Grant it is just to allow friendly societies to obtain subscriptions by holding out to members the prospect I 'of becoming privileged paupers, this premium should only be given to sound societies because the effect of unsound societies, is to discourage thrift. What does that mean? It means State 1242 supervision and inspection. Is that what the friendly societies desire? No, and yet it is the obvious corollary of this demand. If you are to give State aid there should be State inspection and control. No one thinks more highly of friendly societies than I do, I feel the same admiration as the hon. Member does for Mr. Bray broke—the man who is perhaps one of the greatest supporters of friendly societies, and has done more for them than any one in this country. But in this matter he agrees with me. We admire friendly societies because their motto has been Co-operative independence, and because they have benefited the country so much by saving rates. I feel gratitude to them for doing it. I recognise the benefit that they have conferred on the country by lessening pauperism, and I am distressed, and regret that for the first time in their magnificent record they should come forward to support a Bill which will have the inevitable tendency of increasing outdoor relief, and the expenditure from the rates in this country. At this moment there is no more than one member in 6,000 members of friendly societies who comes on the poor law for relief; therefore they have not a very large interest in this matter at the moment, but if they are to obtain a large interest through this Bill it must be because they are going to hold out poor law relief as an added State bonus to the subscriptions of their members. They certainly will not in that way serve the cause of thrift. A man will say, "If, after all, I am to get into the hands of the guardians, and to become a pauper in order to increase what I have got from my society, I may as well begin where it is suggested I should end, and take no trouble to save at all but go straight to the guardians, who will thus become the best benefit club in the country." The Bill will make for outdoor relief, it will discourage thrift; it will do real injury to friendly societies, for the more you set poor law relief in competition with them the more you cripple and weaken them. This Bill undoubtedly confers a direct premium on members of the friendly societies, and I am convinced that it will in the end tend to the levelling up of outdoor relief all round. By it you tell the 1243 guardians they are not to count the 5s. weekly an applicant has got, and the tendency of that will be to make that sum the minimum of outdoor relief. It might be a real benefit to friendly societies if the guardians were instructed not to give outdoor relief where there was no evidence of thrift. What is the meaning of the phrase "sick pay" as used in this Bill? Does it mean that the society, which divides sick pay from superannuation pay—which is an excellent thing for any society to do—are to be at an absolute disadvantage as compared with one which muddles the two together? If so, it seems to me most unreasonable. The hon. Member said the guardians were in favour of this Bill last September.
§ SIR EDWARD STRACHEY
I said the circular was sent out to them last September. Some of the answers have only just been received.
§ MR. VICARY GIBBS
I assert that they are not in favour of it now, at any rate, for during this present Spring the Central Poor Law Conference, which was attended by 202 representative guardians, by an enormous majority expressed disapproval of the Bill. The S. E. Conference took the same course, and so have a number of individual Boards of Guardians. My objection to this Bill is really not the details but to the principle. I object to our light-heartedly and by piece - meal abandoning the principle that the Boor Law Fund consists solely for the relief of destitution and should carry with it, as it now does, electoral disability and the brand of pauperism; guardians have no charitable funds which they can distribute to meritorious people, and I object to that fund—which has hitherto been used solely for the purpose of keeping from starvation men who largely are the most shiftless and most worthless Members of the community—I object to that fund being dipped into to provide good conduct prizes for people who have observed one particular form of thrift. I say the inevitable principle of the Bill is to attack the whole principle on which our poor law is now based. I consider that so large a Bill as this in its effects, yet so 1244 small a one in its size, should be introduced by a member of the Government; and if we so deliberately introduce the Socialist principle into a poor law let it be after the most careful deliberations by the House, and not in this free and easy and light-hearted manner. I beg to move that the Bill be read a second time this day six months.
§ (12.50.) SIR JOHN DORINGTON (Gloucestershire, Tewkesbury)
I rise to second the Amendment of my hon. friend. In doing so one is, of course, confronted with the popular character which this Bill presents at first sight, in view of the fact that its proposal is that Boards of Guardians shall be compelled to assist that form of thrift which is represented by subscription to benefit societies. That on the face of it everybody will say is an excellent thing and ought to be supported. That was the feeling which I should think animated Parliament last year and prevented the House considering the Bill, until on further reflection it was perceived that much larger questions were raised by these proposals than those which concerned this particular grant of an addition to sick pay. This Bill attacks fundamentally for the first time all the traditions of the poor law. I am very much surprised to find the President of the Local General Board, with all those traditions behind him, should be in favour of the Bill. How it happened I cannot say. But we must assume that both the right hon. Gentleman and his professional advisers are in favour of all their traditions and principles being cast to the winds. My hon. friend has mentioned how this Bill only favours one particular form of property. But it is quite clear if you do that you cannot stand still. Why, because a man has 5s. weekly from his benefit society, should you say, "I am not to regard that; you are absolutely destitute. I shut my eyes to what you are receiving, and here is another 5s. for you." If you do that, how are you going to deal with the next case which comes before you of a man who has some property not derived from a benefit society who finds it necessary to apply for poor law relief because of the insufficiency of his property He will say in answer to the usual question that he has tome property. Are 1245 you going to say in reply, "Then you are not destitute and have no claim." Surely that would be a very hard position to take up. At the present time, through the discretion which Boards of Guardians exercise—not always legally, but still generally, acting on sound common-sense principles—they do deal with both these cases on their merits. But under the proposals of this Bill the question of merit is to disappear; in some cases you are to be bound to give relief, and in others you are to refuse it, and you thus will create most grievous and gross inequalities. That being so, it is clear we cannot stop here, we must go on and legalise the guardians, disregarding the possession of property in every case. Destitution is no longer to be the qualification for poor law relief. When we have done that we shall have jumped into the position which we took up more than a century ago, when a wave of sentimentalism, very much like that which is now passing over the country, led to the grant of outdoor relief on a most lavish scale. What was the result? It was absolute ruin, both to the poor and to the ratepayers, and in the course of thirty-four years great abuses and much misery were created by this lavish distribution of outdoor relief to privileged paupers. If a man was a householder with a large family, or his wages were insufficient, he was enabled to get a certain amount of relief. You are opening the door to exactly the same kind of thing now. The grievance became so great that by 1834 the country had come to recognise the magnitude of the evil and at a cost of immense unpopularity swept the whole system away and established the new system which has on the whole worked so beneficially by reducing pauperism and increasing the tendency to thrift. The House is now asked to go back to the old system. This is the first step—a little one perhaps, but it is a first step which may lead to disastrous results. You must, if you take it, go on step by step from one class of property to another, until you open the door to out door relief in all that extravagance which characterised it at the beginning of the last century, but which was happily cured in 1834. These are my reasons 1246 broadly for rejecting the Bill. It is not in consequence of any hostility to friendly societies—for I am myself a Member for more than one, and I believe I have the proud honour of being an old age pensioner. I desire in every way to foster the interests of friendly societies, I believe, with Mr. Bray broke, that this Bill will prove injurious to them, that it will lower their status and put their Members in the position of privileged paupers, with the ultimate result that they will lose the great and independent position they now occupy.
To leave out the word 'now,' and at the end of the Question to add the words 'upon this day six months.'"—(Mr. Vicary Gibbs.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of of the Question."
(1.0.) SIR WALTER FOSTER (Derbyshire, Ilkeston)
I think I may, in the first instance, say that the speeches which have been delivered against the Second Reading of this Bill deserve the serious consideration of the House, for it is well that hon. Members, when considering a Bill of this nature, should have before them all the different views held in regard to it. The last speaker referred to the fact that this measure had the support of the President of the Local Government Board, but I would like to remind him that the Act which this Bill seeks to amend was passed by the Parliament of 1894, after considerable deliberation, and after the Local Government Board had carefully considered all the pros and cons in relation to it. That Act was more or less forced on Parliament by the action taken by Boards of Guardians, their common practice at that time being to go away from the principle which has been so well and properly advocated by the hon. Baronet. The old doctrine was that destitution was the only thing to be considered in granting poor law relief. That doctrine was forced upon the mind of the country by the unparalleled abuse of the poor law that prevailed previous to the Act of 1831. Anybody who reads the evidence given before the Commission of 1834 must be astounded at the laxity that existed 1247 under the poor law at that time. It brought about a very strong reaction, and gave birth to the principle, that destitution was the only thing to be considered. Within the last fifteen or twenty years that principle has greatly weakened, not only in practice but by the growth of a more humane standard of poor law administration. It is felt that the hard and fast lines absolutely necessary to be enforced in the earlier part of the century are no longer necessary under the altered conditions under which we live at the present time, and for years past the feeling has been growing up, and I think, rightly growing up, in the poor law administration of this country, that in the administration of the poor laws other factors besides absolute destitution must be taken into consideration, and that the aim should be to inculcate habits of thrift among the more self-respecting poor. What could be more shocking, for instance, than a case that occurred some time ago under this rigid administration of the poor law. A man with a little home filled with little chattels, gathered together with great pain, in consequence of sickness had to apply for poor law relief and had to go into the workhouse, with the result that his home was broken up never to be replaced. Case after case occurred in that way, and homes were broken up which could never again be restored, when by a little temporary assistance they might have been preserved. That was a harsh administration which I am glad to say has been gradually giving way to that more humane interpretation of the law which is making for the welfare of the poorer classes of this country.
The Act of 1894 recognised that that spirit had been going on for a long time, and recognised that the poor law guardians were constantly in the habit of saying: "This man is receiving sick pay amounting to 2s. 6d. a, week from a friendly society, and, though we will give him relief, as he is receiving sick pay we will take care to give him 2s. 6d. less than we otherwise should." In some cases it was only 1s. 3d. that was deducted under such circumstances, but that became the system of many of the unions in the country, and the 1248 result was that until the law of 1894 was passed the poor law guardians were disobeying the law and the orders of the Local Government Board. But in some of the unions the old strict law was followed out, and a man was told he could not receive any relief because he was in receipt of sick pay, though as I have said in other cases he got something. The Act of 1894 gave a sanction to friendly societies, because it gave poor law guardians authority to act on their own discretion with regard to these matters. The result of that has not been satisfactory. It is the general practice of friendly societies, and is generally thought throughout the country only an act of justice, that those who have been thrifty and have desired to save a little should be relieved in time of stress, and it is not to the interests of good administration generally that there should be a sense of injustice in the minds of the best section of the poorer classes, the members of the friendly societies. There is still a diversity of practice which does not tend to create that feeling of satisfaction, and take away this sense of injustice from members of friendly societies. The Bill before the House proposes to do away with that, because it proposes to give the poor law guardians a certain power to recognise such pay to the extent of 5s. a week, and not to take that into consideration in granting poor law relief, and that practice will become compulsory among all poor law guardians. Of course, it is said that if you make this recognition in the case of friendly societies, you should recognise all kinds of thrift. I admit that that is so, but it is a poor reason for opposing the Bill that it does not recognise all kinds of thrift. I should like to see every form of thrift brought before the guardians and recognised up to 5s. a week, so that it might not be taken into consideration in granting relief, because we want to encourage thrift. But this Bill will, at all events, bring about a more uniform practice and will remove from the minds of a large section, and the best section, of the poorer community that sense of injustice which now prevails.
§ (1.10.) SIR SAMUEL HOARE (Norich)
Although I am a warm supporter of this Bill, I do not regret that some of my hon. friends have suggested its rejection, because that enables us to hear from them all the objections that can be raised against it. They have treated this measure as if it were a new departure, whereas the law of 1894 has settled the principle, and this is no very important change. That Act was discretionary, and being discretionary, it has led to some difficulties, and it was thought that when this Bill was introduced last year it would solve those difficulties and would remove any uncertainty that might exist in the minds of the poor law guardians. Last year this Bill was passed unanimously by this House, and although it was thrown out in another place I was certainly under the impression and am still that the majority of this House was certainly in favour of the Bill, and I shall be extremely surprised if it is not carried by a large majority. I am, however, quite ready to own that many of the points brought before the House by those who oppose the Bill are worthy of consideration, and if I differ from them it is not because I have been forced by my constituents or have taken this step with any idea of catching votes, but because I have served on two very important Committees of this House: The Friendly Societies Committee and the Old Age Pensions Committee. It is owing to the experience I have gained on those Committees that I am convinced that it is our duty to do all we can to further this great motive of thrift which has grown up among our working class population.
Now I will at once answer the question which has been put by my two hon. friends—Is it just to pick out one form of thrift? I would remind the House that this is not the only form of thrift that this House has said shall be picked out for special consideration. In the case of those who are rich enough to insure their lives, they are by an Act of this House exempted from the payment of income tax on that money which they devote to the premiums on their life insurance. This House has marked out life and property insurances for special consideration; they are exempted from all payments of income tax. It has, therefore, shown that while 1250 it acknowledges there are many useful and desirable ways of thrift, there is no kind of thrift so certain in its effect as that which the richer classes can avail themselves of in making provision for death. Equally important is it in the case of the working classes in regard to illness. I see no reason why the House should hesitate to pass the Second Reading of this Bill because other means of thrift ought to be taken into consideration. I wish it were possible to take thrift in other channels more into consideration. In the Report of the Committee on Old Age Pensions on which I sat, it is suggested that thrift of various kinds should be considered equally with membership of a friendly society. My hon. friend here may well be proud of being one of the old age pensioners in a friendly society, and I know he has a high opinion of the society as a means of thrift. But I would remind him that, according to his own evidence before that Committee, that society does not meet the point which the societies we are now discussing do meet, because, although that was a society in which deposits were made and the money accumulated so that at a certain time on old age pension could be secured, many of the Members withdrew their money for different purposes. They might sometime withdraw it for very improvident reasons, with the result that when sickness came they would be without those benefits which are assured to members of friendly societies, because the latter are unable to withdraw their subscriptions. The friendly societies, I think, therefore, do work which of all kinds of thrift is the most useful to the working people of this country,
I understand that my hon. friend the Member for St. Albans is afraid that this Bill will encourage members of friendly societies to be content with smaller subscriptions, believing that by providing 5s. a week they will be doing all that is necessary. My experience of members of friendly societies does not at all lead me to confirm that opinion. I take a totally opposite view. The great motive of all who join friendly societies is that they should be absolutely independent of all poor law relief. For that reason we find members who join; more than one society in order to have absolutely safe benefits on which to rely in any emergency.
1251 My hon. friend asks—Why are women exempted? I am glad that in many of our friendly societies there are flourishing branches for women, but I. do not think we should go far to encourage women joining in those numbers which we should like to see if, by being reactionary on the present occasion, we led them to understand that this House does not give them that full and warm support to which they are entitled.
What are the friendly societies really doing for the country? Have they a claim upon us? If so, what is that claim? There are over 5,000,000 members of friendly societies, almost entirely from the working classes, who have saved nearly £35,000,000. According to the last returns, I have been able to see the receipts of the societies come to no less than £6,700,000; the amount paid for sickness and medical help amounted to £4,736,000, and other payments to £700,000, or over £5,000,000 altogether. It must strike the House that by that £5,000,000 being forthcoming in time of difficulty and sickness there must have been an enormous saving to the ratepayers throughout the country. It is difficult to say what that saving would be. Then to that must be added the vast number of cases where by thrift and this determination to avoid going on the rates the working classes have been able to meet out of their own resources cases of extreme illness or epidemics. I think, therefore, that these 5,000,000 people have a claim upon us when they ask, not for fresh legislation, but that the legislation passed in 1894 should be made more definite in its actions.
We are told that a great number of Boards of Guardians are against the Bill. My experience has been somewhat different. There may be some who look upon it with a certain amount of fear and anxiety, but I have no anxiety whatever as to its working. There is no greater work that we can do in this House than that of showing those who are trying to help themselves that we wish, even by legislation, to encourage their thrift. I would not describe this Bill as one offering good conduct prizes. If a man endeavours to provide for himself and his family, it may be by subscribing to a friendly society for the greater part of his life, I think he has a right—and we are justified in acceding to that right—to some little assistance 1252 from the ratepayers rather than be obliged to go into the workhouse. I hope the House will repeat their former decision on this Bill. By so doing I do not believe they will make more paupers. On the contrary, it will be an encouragement to people to make greater efforts to provide for themselves, and so reduce pauperism. I very heartily support the Second Rseading of the Bill.
§ (1.27.) MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
I desire to take part in this debate simply because I happened, while at the Local Government Board, to preside over a Select Committee which considered the whole question of poor law relief and poor law reform. This Bill was in existence then, and more than once by direction of the Local Government Board I opposed it. The Bill has not changed to my knowledge, and I hold the same views now as then. The Act of 1894 was passed with a view to giving poor law guardians absolute discretion in dealing with this question of outdoor relief. It was a great change in the previous law. That absolute discretion having been given, why should friends of local government seek to give a direction which fetters that discretionary power? Hon. Members must face the issue of whether they are in favour of or against local government. If they are in favour of local government institutions let them say so; if they are in favour of a central power being exercised to guide the discretion of the local bodies let them say that; we should then know where we are.
I object to this Bill because I object to any niggling with the question of poor law reform, which is rotten-ripe for settlement. The Committee which sat two or three years ago came to a perfectly clear decision on the matter, and, what is more, the Report of that Committee was generally approved. If outdoor relief is given, it ought to be adequate. I hold that this House ought not to approach the poor law question without taking the whole facts into consideration. I believe that the poor law system is a harsh and oppressive system, and I believe it is perfectly possible to make it a cheaper system than it is at present, and yet give adequate relief to everybody who ought to get it. But this is not the question which we are discussing to-day. 1253 If this were a question of extending outdoor relief and abolishing workhouses I should support it, but this is not a proposal to remodel the whole system, and make the workhouses practically infirmaries as they ought to be. That would be an entirely different thing to what is proposed in this Bill. I object to this measure because it ties the hands of the guardians and limits the discretion which Parliament has placed in their hands, and because it sets up differential treatment between the different classes of the people. For five years I had charge of the Poor Law Department, and I presided upstairs over one of the best Committees which ever sat upon this subject, and which arrived at a perfectly clear decision, which I believe the Government approved of. I understood at the time that the money could not be spared because it was required for other purposes. I object to treating the question of poor law reform in this piecemeal fashion, and I object to giving preferential treatment to any class of the community. Upon a question of this sort, the people of England, Ireland, and Scotland, ought to stand upon the same footing, and no man should stand superior before poor law guardians than any other man. I oppose this Bill because it ties the hands of the guardians, and because it ties their hands where they ought to be free. Poor law guardians know the facts of the cases and they have the people before them, and this Bill will set up a preferential set of applicants, which, instead of promoting poor law reform will prove to be an inducement to people to become paupers who ought never to have sought poor law relief at all. I believe it is a bad Bill, and for that reason probably it will be read a second time. Under these circumstances I am all the more determined to oppose it.
§ (1.35.) CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington, W.)
I desire to say a few words from the point of view of a London Member. I think I am justified in doing so, seeing that we had a Report which was only published this morning, which shows that pauperism, while being on the increase both in England and Wales, is proportionally greater in London than outside the Metropolitan area. Attention has been 1254 drawn to the fact that over 4,000,000 of the most thrifty of the working classes of this country are distinctly in favour of this measure. Would it be possible to introduce a measure of this nature which would have such a thorough backing as this Bill. We find that these 4,000,000 of the working classes have already contributed practically towards their own support a sum equal to about £35,000,000. It has been urged that, because in another place this Bill has been thrown out, that ought to have some effect in biassing our judgment. Many of us are elected by the people and some of us come from the people, and therefore we are better able to deal with this question than those I who sit in another place. We are told that the duty of Boards of Guardians is to relieve destitution, and that by this measure we should be interfering to some extent with their discretion. If we interfere with their discretion, it is only in a very limited degree, and only as it were in the form of guidance and an attempt to bring those Boards which are, if I may so speak, below the level as regards humanitarian instincts into line with the better Boards of Guardians throughout the country. [Cries of "No, no!"] But it is well known that in certain districts there are Boards of Guardians who are dead against outdoor relief and who endeavour to force everybody into the workhouse. I say that that is a bad principle, to which I am entirely opposed. It is a well-known fact that when workhouses were established in Ireland Daniel O'Connell predicted that they would be the ruin of the country, because he said they would encourage immorality and everything else in the shape of crime which exists in Ireland. Surely it is desirable that we should do everything in our power to encourage thrift in every shape and form, seeing that of all countries this country stands lowest in the matter of thrift, although it is first in the matter of wealth. The arguments brought forward by the hon. Member who opposed this Bill were arguments for a complete reform of the poor law system generally. We are not opposed to that: we are thoroughly in favour of it; but that is no reason why we should not endeavour to get half a loaf because we cannot get a whole one.
§ The question of vote-catching has been alluded to. In my own case I have no vote-catching in view, because the 1255 majority of my constituents happen to belong to the higher class of labour, and they belong mostly to the powerful friendly societies, and they rarely come upon the rates. But as to the question of this pressure, is it not right and proper that pressure should be put upon them in a question of this kind, where it is for the benefit of the country and all clasees who pay rates equally that the rates of the country should be, as they would be under this proposal, reduced? The members of the various friendly societies have been referred to as privileged paupers. It has been shown by the hon. Member for Norwich, who, in his excellent speech, has spoken with a knowledge of this subject which few of us possess, that there is only one in 6,000 of this particular class of people who ever come upon the rates. It is said that we ought not to differentiate between class and class, and that all are equally entitled to relief. We know that that is the basis of our poor law system, which dates back to the time of Queen Elizabeth. There have been many changes which have taken place, so far as the poor law system goes, since that time. We are told that Boards of Guardians do not approve of this proposal, but no body of men who have power of any kind like to see that power limited. The question of one particular form of thrift was very ably dealt with by the hon. Member for Norwich, and I frankly admit that every man who by thrift in any way provides for himself has an equal claim upon the community. I know that in the mining districts in the North of England men often purchase a house by paying some small sum of money as rent. I quite agree that these men should share equally with those who happen to belong to benefit societies; but, on the other hand, these men could, if they chose, have placed their money in friendly societies, and it would have been better had they done so. If that is the objection to the Bill raised by the right hon. Member who has opposed this measure, why did he not propose an Amendment in that direction? The hon. Member seems to be opposed to the Bill as a whole, and to any change whatever in connection with the poor law, whereas we are for humanising the poor law system as far as we possibly can 1256 under the existing law. I hope my hon. friend will divide the House on this matter in order that we may see what amount of support we have in the House of Commons upon the question of further humanising the poor law. The objection which has been raised by the hon. Member opposite can be met by moving an Amendment in Committee making the Bill more comprehensive. The fact that the House recognised the arguments which we put forward on a former occasion, when this Bill went through practically all its stages, is a proof that the general sense of the House is with us upon this question. Those hon. Members who are opposed to friendly societies will no doubt oppose this Bill. [An HON. MEMBER: Who is opposed to them?] There are none who can conscientiously say in this House that they object to friendly societies who demand this Bill, and therefore those hon. Members who oppose it are opposed to friendly societies.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON
I am glad to know that the hon. Gentleman is not unfriendly to mo, but I am sorry that I am not able to convince him. What is the tendency of the opposition to this Bill? Opposition to it is undoubtedly opposition to the independence and self-respect of the workers generally throughout the country, inasmuch as it is detrimental to those who have made the best provision they can, according to their position, for the future. They are placed, as it were, at a disadvantage, as compared with those who have made no provision at all. There can be no doubt, moreover, that the extension of this system will encourage friendly societies, and that will lead to a decrease of paupers. When we reflect that we have more than a million paupers in this country, and that there are more than a million always on the border line, and further when we reflect on what was brought before the House in connection with the city of York—and probably the state of things in other towns throughout the country is of a similar character—as to people who are living on the very verge of the pauper line, I think it is of the first importance that we should do everything 1257 we can to encourage friendly societies. My hon. friend the Member for South Tyrone objects to this Bill, mainly because it interferes with local government. I would ask the hon. Member whether, at the present moment, local government is absolutely free, or whether it is not controlled, and controlled in a marked manner, by a central Department. As to interfering with the Local Government Board, I cannot view the matter in the same light as the hon. Gentleman. He spoke of adequate relief being given: I would like to know how often adequate relief is given. Guardians, owing to their position, are almost bound to give a minimum of relief, and, on the whole, it will not be denied by this House that at the present moment rates all over the country are going up. I can certainly speak for London, where the rates are something enormous.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON
My contention is that this will lower then. The tendency will be to largely increase the membership of friendly societies throughout the country and to make larger numbers of working men think it worth while to become members of these institutions. The result will be that fewer persons will come on the rates. In two London parishes contiguous to the one I represent, which is in a much more favourable position, the rates are 9s. 6d in the pound. If we can do anything which will lower rates, which press most severely on the working classes throughout the country, and more especially in London, it is our duty to do it. I hope the House will pass the Bill. If the hon. Member for the St. Albans Division presses his Motion, I shall be obliged to vote against it.
§ (1.50.) SIR ALBERT ROLLIT (Islington, S.)
My hon. friend the Member for South Tyrone dismissed the Bill in one sentence. He said it was a bad Bill. I shall honour the Bill because, using the language of commerce, of the confidence I have in the drawers, the great friendly societies of the country; and I have no doubt it will be met by the House at the maturity of it. My hon. friend who 1258 moved the rejection of the Bill made a complaint which was well founded. He denied the accusation that he was the representative of an outside body, but immediately following that he made certain suggestions which. I think, had as invidious an aspect as the one which he himself repudiated. The hon. Member suggested that the constituencies were using their influence in this matter. I have to say that the only representation I have received from my constituents has been against the Bill. I respect that opinion, and I respectfully say that I differ from it, and mean to support the Bill, which I believe to be well founded. My hon. friend said there was too much I sympathy nowadays. I believe that help is often highly economic in its character, and is not deserving the suggestion that it unduly increases the rates. My hon. friend referred to privileged paupers, and paupers on more favourable terms. There are times when poverty is no sin whatever, and when those who are so circumstanced may properly appeal to the guardians for assistance, and that assistance should not be withheld from those who have providently made provision for such an emergency to some extent by becoming members of friendly societies. There is an inconsistency in the suggestion of privileged poverty in regard to people who have placed themselves in that position, and who, it may be by momentary misfortune, apply to the guardians for relief. My hon. friend went further, and said that the way to benefit the friendly societies would be to reduce the relief to any one who could not prove that he had exercised providence. In other words, going back to the statute of Elizabeth, such people are to be allowed to starve. It recalls the time of Louis XIV., to whom a poor man said, "Your Majesty, I must live," and received the reply, "I do not see the necessity." I think these are principles not applicable to the present century.
My hon. friend said that the Bill shifted the injustice only a point. I think we may be thankful when injustice is removed a decimal point, for it is often an important factor. I think this Bill shifts it a material point. What are the objections which have been raised? It is said that the friendly societies should not be exceptionally treated? I am not going to repeat the many arguments used in reply 1259 to that, but I venture to add this, that the friendly societies have exercised the most potent influence of any institution upon our national character. They have built up a character which is adverse to pauperism. They have not only directly saved the rates, but they have made the character which prevents men coming upon the rates. The friendly societies deserve to be treated exceptionally, and made what I believe they will be, a means of saving to the State. I reply to those who use the argument against exceptional treatment that the friendly societies have already been exceptionally treated, and rightly so, by the Act of 1894. I would point out that in a Supplementary Estimate we voted to the friendly societies fund of this country, together with the savings banks last year, £11,000, purely in encouragement of thrift to make up the difference between the interest received by the National Debt Commissioners in respect of the friendly societies fund, and the interest which the National Debt Commissioners are by statute compelled to pay to the friendly societies. That is; done on the principle that such expenditure is economic in the interest of the State. We are challenged to say why this particular case of the sick fund of the friendly societies should be treated exceptionally. I concur with many of the remarks about its being too narrow. But what has been the cause of the subscription to the friendly society? To provide for a special and particular emergency—that of ill health or sickness. Now, allowing that there has been under friendly society administration some latitude about that point, I claim that the contributor has a right to that miserable 5s. in time of ill health. He is at home sick or assumed to be sick. Surely the sum may well be taken for many comforts which cannot otherwise be provided. There is a distinct hypothecation for that particular purpose altogether apart from any State allowances which may be made. My friend the Member for the Tewkesbury Division said—Why not include other poverty as well as that of members of friendly societies? I have endeavoured to justify the distinction, but I will go another step. In the case of the friendly society it is a distinctly and clearly defined sum which is received. In the other cases 1260 suggested it would require more or less proof that providence had been exercised, such as a deposit in a savings bank, or a pension from the Army, though such a pension, excellent as it is, is not provision for sickness. But under the Act of 1894 there will still be discretion to deal with all those cases when presented and proved, and all that this Bill says is that in particular cases, where relief is needed, the discretion will not be exercised. It provides for the particular case, but leaves the general discretion. I think there is exceptionality which justifies its being engrafted on the Act of 1894.
Another point of some importance is that this is a step in the direction of the best reform of our pauper laws of recent times. I mean in the direction of classification. We want to separate if we can the provident poor from those who have not been provident. I think when you have such a real qualification as consistent subscription to a friendly society, there is a denominator of the worthy and provident poor as distinguished from others who have not the same claim to consideration. I repeat—and this is the great underlying, principle of the Bill—that the foundation of our action in reference to the poor law ought to be at once to relieve and to try to restore. Amid the civilisation of our time, and the wonderful industrial developments which are going on, there are victims of that civilisation in peace just as there are victims in war. There are those who fall out of the ranks and can be restored, and who are distinct from those who never make an effort in the march of civilisation. This is not altogether a philanthropic movement. The expression of human sympathy which has been shown in this debate, and desire exhibited in a large measure for the humane administration of the poor law indicates a hope that some effort ought to be made to bring the soldiers of our great industrial army back into the ranks and make them march again. Apart from its sympathetic aspect, this measure has its economic side. A Bill like this I will be of infinite benefit to the State because it will raise the general status of the poor, and do something to help them to help themselves. (2.3.)
§ (2.33.) MR. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)
In addressing myself to the subject under the consideration of the House, I do not desire for one moment to repeat the arguments adduced by previous speakers. I merely wish to say that the hon. Member for South Tyrone objected to this Bill mainly on the ground that it interfered with the independence of local government. The hon. Member mnst be aware of the fact that the Local Government Board of Ireland have a tremendous power of interference with regard to local government in Ireland. Local government in Ireland is practically nonexistent, and this Bill gives the Boards of Guardians greater power to resist the Local Government Board. Then I would say that the hon. Member must know that, at least under former conditions, what were called poor law guardians were not guardians of the poor at all but rate protectors. I remember orders being given in Ireland, in the area in which I live, not to give outdoor relief at all; they refused to give outdoor relief, and wanted to shut up all the people in the district in the unions. Such a state of things as that ought to be put an end to. There cannot be any doubt whatever that if the discussions on this subject enforce upon the public mind the necessity of this poor law reform they will have achieved a very useful purpose. The poor law of England has no parallel among the civilised nations of the earth. Poor law in this country means imprisonment, and it is subject to no classification whatever. The good, the bad, the in different are all brought together, and in Ireland the men and women who go into the poorhouses are imprisoned for the remainder of their lives. The more you keep people out of the workhouse the better it is for the State, and therefore I cannot understand men with philanthropic minds objecting to this Bill. I do not believe in imprisoning the people in what is called the workhouse, though why it is called the workhouse I do not understand, unless it be for the fact that no work is done there. In my opinion, the whole poor law system requires to be inquired into. I should be out of order in entering into a long argument, but I may say if we adopted the American system, where men are made to work for their living, and rooms are appropriated to the use of the old people in State hospitals for the sick, I 1262 think it would be a great improvement on the poor law of this country. Therefore, I say, any legislation which has the effect of increasing the judicious dispensation of outdoor relief, ought to receive encouragement in this House.
Another thing that ought to be considered is the tremendous cost of the administration. By the time a work house is built and the officials paid, 75 per cent. of the money devoted to the relief of the poor is diverted, but supposing it is only 50 per cent., is it wise that half the money devoted to the relief of the poor——
§ MR. FIELD
As I understand, this is a system of outdoor relief, and in my opinion outdoor relief will be found to be more economical than the present system. I submit respectfully to the House that it reduces to a temporary condition of things that which under the present system might develop into what is called permanent pauperism, because it is perfectly evident that to go into the workhouse means nothing less than demoralisation; therefore the longer you keep people out of the workhouse, the better for all. I submit to the House that what we ought to do is to support this Bill and lift up the working man into a position which would encourage thrift, and by encouraging thrift, reduce the rates. There is no doubt that friendly societies have kept down the rates, and therefore I trust that if the Government is to interfere in this Bill at all, it will interfere in support of it, because it is a useful measure. There is another matter to be considered with regard to friendly societies. The members of a friendly society are examined by a doctor before admission into the society, and unless a man is a good life, he will not be admitted into the society, because he might come on the sick fund sooner than he was entitled to. This class therefore is an exceptional one, and is entitled to exceptional treatment, and I think it would be a good State investment that this Bill should pass. The Bill, I understand, was passed before, and surely it 1263 can pass again. The reasons for passing it last, year surely exist now, and ought to be good reasons for its passing this year. Objection has been taken by some hon. Members to the fact that it would be a temptation to the guardians, but if the Bill is passed the guardians will have absolute discretion.
§ MR. FIELD
We want to give them more power. Another reason I would put to the hon. Gentleman, which will strongly appeal to him, is this, that as a rule the members of these friendly societies are temperate men, and they naturally dislike being obliged, owing to the stress of circumstances, to have to go into the workhouses. I trust the House will pass this Bill by an overwhelming majority, because it divides the slothful from the thrifty, and the result would be to lift up the existing poor law system and put it into a more Christian shape than it now is.
§ (2.42) MR. W. F. LAWRENCE (Liverpool, Abercrombie)
said the hon. Member who had just sat down said that if this Bill were passed they would put the poor law into a more Christian form than it now was. Such an expression as that intimated that those who had gone before us in that matter had not been Christian-like and that he was not prepared to accept. This, though a small Bill, was one which required a great deal of consideration. Surely if this Bill introduced today was intended to change the poor law of the country, the Front Bench ought to have given its opinion upon it. He would further say that years back the principle of this Bill had been considered and rejected, and clearly they ought not to be in a hurry now to pass it through this House. Hon. Members claimed that it went some way to remove injustice, but whatever injustice it removed it created greater injustice than it removed. It removed injustice towards a privileged class, those who had received sick pay from friendly societies; but what became of the unhappy people who had lapsed in their payment, and others? There were a 1264 great many other persons who had been equally thrifty in other ways who would be ignored by this legislation. The hon. Member for South Islington had said he would endorse this Bill, because it was asked for by a very worthy class, viz., the friendly societies; but legislation should not, he thought, be conceded on such grounds. They must not approach this question as sentimental politicians, but as practical legislators, and if they passed this Bill they would change the whole basis of the poor law, substituting thrift for destitution as the governing principle of poor law relief; and, while it was difficult to prove the destitution of the applicant for poor law relief, it would be a hundred times more difficult to prove his thrift. It was very undesirable, in his opinion, that this Bill should become law, though it was argued that it should, because it encouraged thrift. True, it did encourage thrift, but only to a limit, only up to 5s. a week; and he might go-further, and say that it would encourage applications for poor law relief by those who had not more than 5s. a week, with a view to turning that 5s. into 10s. if this law was passed. This Bill was urged strongly in favour of friendly societies, but he noticed that the noble Lord Northbrook in another place last year had referred to the fact that, having regard to their funds, the friendly societies only represented a moderate and appreciable, but not an extraordinary, amount of the general thrift of the country; the noble Lord pointed out that, whereas the Post Office Savings Banks were, responsible for £100,000,000, the, friendly societies represented £32,000,000; and therefore, on the ground of finance, if this Bill was to go through at all, it ought to be amended so as to include every form of thrift. He submitted that they ought not to limit the various methods by which saving might be encouraged. Many friendly societies were mere dividing or deposit societies, and could not be put on the same level as the larger societies. He felt convinced, if this Bill were passed into law, the system of poor law now in existence would be entirely changed. He opposed the Bill.
§ (2.50.) MR. SOARES (Devonshire, Barnstaple)
said that as a Guardian and 1265 a member of various friendly societies, he heartily supported this Bill. He said he thought the position of the question was that this Bill last year passed with the unanimous approval of the House of Commons, and was then destroyed in the House of Lords. The question was whether the opinion of the House of Lords was going to override the opinion of the House of Commons or not. Lord Salisbury had said that if the will of the people was clearly expressed the Lords must bow to that decis on. He therefore hoped the Second Reading that day would be carried by a large majority, and then perhaps Lord Salisbury would use his great influence to enable it to become law. He acknowledged that the Bill contained a large principle, namely that the poor law guardians would hence forth be obliged to reward thrift, and he believed that that principle would have to be developed. If this Bill were passed, they could not confine thrift to members of friendly societies, but would have to extend it to other kinds of thrift; and he would gladly support any Bills introduced for that purpose. Those opposed to the Bill put forward some very curious arguments. It was stated, for instance, if this Rill became law, friendly societies in future would be subject to State control. That was a thing, however, which he did not believe, but he would like to congratulate the hon. Member who had made the statement on the fact that he had evidently been converted by the arguments of the Opposition during the last four days on the Education Bill, with regard to the subject that grants of public money must be accompanied by popular control. The hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Bill also blamed them for supporting the Bill on the ground that it was a very simple matter to defend the claims of organised bodies of men for relief out of the Public Funds. This criticism came with rather a bad grace from members of the party who rode into power in '95 on Old Age Pensions. In fact, it was rather like Satan rebuking sin. It had also been stated that this Bill would not promote uniformity in the action of boards of guardians, who might evade it by altering the scale of poor law relief; but he 1266 did not believe any board of guardians would be guilty of a practice of that kind.
Another argument which had been urged was that it would tend to raise the general scale of outdoor relief. As a poor law guardian, if it did that, he would be exceedingly glad, because in many cases the outdoor relief was absolutely inadequate. It had been said that they might go back to the bad old days when poor law relief was given indiscriminately, and an enormous burden was imposed on the rates thereby. But the cause of outdoor relief being so badly given then was faulty administration. If guardians saw that they had efficient inspectors, and that cases were properly examined, they would run no risk of the squandering of public money.
Finally the hon. Member enunciated the good old Tory doctrine to which he could not subscribe, viz., that poverty must be punished.
§ MR. SOARES
I understood the hon. Member to say that he agreed that outdoor relief should carry with it electoral disabilities and the brand of pauperism.
§ MR. SOARES
And that you approved of it. I absolutely disagree with that doctrine. It is our duty, as far as we can, to brighten the lives of those who, through no fault of their own, have fallen into poverty, and for these reasons I shall have much pleasure in supporting the Bill.
§ (3.3). MR. THOMAS BAYLEY (Derbyshire, Chesterfield)
Before the debate closes I hope the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board will tell us what action the | Government intend to take in regard to this Bill. The hon. Member for South Tyrone has made a strong speech against the measure, and we should like to know whether the Local Government Board today are of the same opinion as when the hon. Member represented them a couple of years ago.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
I in no way pretended to represent the Local Government Board; I should not presume to do any such thing. What I said was that, by direction of the Local Government Board, I had spent a good deal of time opposing this Bill.
§ MR. THOMAS BAYLEY
I have no doubt my hon. friend was educated in his present opinions by the knowledge he gained at the Local Government Board, and I want to know whether the Board have changed their view since the hon. Member was a member. In 1894 the principle was fought out. Today the Guardians may, if they think well, not take into consideration anything up to 5s. that a man receives from a friendly society. That is an excellent principle, and if the word "shall" was substituted for the word "may" it would be a great benefit, not only to the friendly societies, but also to those who, being in distress, require temporary help, and to the ratepayers themselves, because it would keep out of the workhouse many who, by the present hard and fast rules, would be forced to accept indoor relief, when a little judicious help would set them on their legs again. Where the Act of 1894 has been availed of, it has worked very satisfactorily. But supposing in my constituency the Guardians had adopted the Act, while in the next division a reactionary Board had decided differently: there would clearly be a grievance on the part of members of friendly societies in the latter district. What we desire to know is whether the Government will not only help the overwhelming majority of Member's of this House to pass the Second Reading of the Bill today, but also give them an opportunity to pass the measure through its remaining stages. I believe all the members of the Government, in this House at any rate, have pledged themselves in favour of the principle of this Bill. The opposition is not strong; it is very little assistance that we require; and I hope the Government, by a little firmness, will enable us to accede to the wishes of the 5,000,000 members of friendly societies that the exercise of this power should be compulsory instead of optional.
§ (3.12.) MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
This Bill deals with a portion of a 1268 very large subject. We are all interested in the subject of poor law reform. For many years I brought in a Bill making thrift the test of outdoor relief, the object of the measure being to discriminate very carefully between those who had done nothing for themselves and those who had exercised thrift in one form or another. That scheme seemed to be based on a reasonable and sound basis, and I believed it would give an impetus to thrift. To a certain extent, there is a glimmering of the same idea in this Bill, I but I think it is not on a reasonable basis, because it gives a premium to one special form of thrift to the exclusion of others. There are many excellent friendly societies, but there are other forms of thrift quite as good, and many which are really more efficient. Under this Bill, however, people who exercised those other forms of thrift would receive no benefit whatever. A general scheme basing outdoor relief on individual effort—although it would require very careful handling—would, at any rate, have the element of benefit in it; but I hesitate to support a Bill which picks out one particular form of thrift, as in the present case. There are friendly societies which have done as much good to this country as any class of institutions in existence. But there are friendly societies and friendly societies. Some are inefficient and financially unsound. The Bill does not discriminate between them. I should be sorry to do anything to prevent the growth of the idea that thrift should be the basis of outdoor relief, but I cannot support the Bill in its present form. We all sympathise with these people, and would do everything possible for them, but the object of legislation should be to raise and benefit people, not simply to consider poverty as a virtue. Every piece of legislation should tend to make people depend more upon themselves. Without self-reliance there can be no progress. I should strongly approve of this or any other Government going into the whole question of outdoor relief, indoor relief, and pensions. In regard to the feasibility of pensions—a question closely allied with this—I have always said that unless they and all other forms of beneficial receipts outside the workhouse were 1269 based on the principle that the individual should have made some effort himself, they would do more harm than good.
§ (3.21.) SIR MARK STEWART (Kirkcudbrightshire)
Although I fully endorse many of the remarks of the hon. Member who has just spoken, I cannot agree with all his conclusions. The House is; generally agreed that in any old age pension scheme an effort must be made to help and reward only those who help themselves, and that their respective positions must be taken into consideration. My hon. friend objects to this Bill because it takes one single form of thrift. But it is absolutely impossible to bring in a Bill, with any hope of success, which shall be so comprehensive as to include all, and I think the promoters of this Bill are quite justified in bringing in the measure which almost succeeded in passing last year, and which has been amended in some degree with, I hope, the approval of the Local Government Board. I would point out that all forms of thrift do not stand on the same basis. If a man puts his money into a savings bank, for example, he can withdraw it at any time, whereas he cannot withdraw his money from a friendly society. I hope the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board will be able to tell us that the Government approve and will support the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ (3.24.) MR. GALLOWAY (Manchester, S.W.)
I entirely agree with the principle that those who help themselves should be encouraged to do so, and that we should do nothing to deter their efforts, and I believe it is in that view that this Bill has been introduced. But the discussion has brought to light many points which had not been noticed before. The hon. Member for North Islington said very truly that the Bill makes no distinction between what he classified as good and bad friendly societies. How would he define a good or a bad friendly society?
§ MR. GALLOWAY
I have never been able to make out what is and what is not a financially sound friendly society, or what actuarial soundness is. I am certain of this, however, that actuarial soundness in a friendly society does not necessarily mean that the valuation of the lodge or court of the society should be equal to the full amount of the benefits which, under some extraordinary circumstance, it might suddenly be called upon to pay. No such case has ever arisen in the history of the friendly society movement. But the question of sick pay is a very important point. Many of us who are interested in this movement have tried to get friendly societies to distinguish between sick pay and superannuation allowance. There are many friendly societies paying what is really superannuation allowance under the name of sick pay. I understand that those cases would be excluded from this Bill. If that is so, unless a distinction is made, very grave injustice will be done in some cases. While I think the principle of the Bill is undoubtedly in the right direction, it would be unfair, in my opinion, to make this single exception in the case of members of friendly societies. Surely there are other modes of thrift which ought to be encouraged just as much as this. As I understand the Bill, it is really the thin edge of the wedge, and if the principle were once laid down we should then have to go on and include other forms of thrift. It is because I believe that this is a step in the right direction that I think the State ought to make an exception in favour of this Bill. As we all know, a large proportion of sickness comes in the later days of life, and it is because I believe that this proposal will be of the greatest assistance to a deserving class that I am prepared to support the Second Reading of this Bill, although I am of opinion that many Amendments will be necessary to make the Bill workable.
§ (3.30.) MR. HENRY HOBHOUSE (Somersetshire, E.)
I am sorry that I was not able to be present when my hon. friend introduced this Bill. There are many grave questions arising out of this measure which I think demand 1271 serious consideration. This Bill is, I know, promoted by the great friendly societies which we all recognise as most deserving of support, but there is some little danger in our desire to promote their interests of losing sight of the large questions which are involved. This Bill for the first time limits the discretion of guardians in giving relief, and in obliging them to give relief to a class who are not destitute. Hitherto the basis of the poor law has been clearly understood to be that only persons are entitled to poor law relief who are destitute. The Bill now proposes that—In granting out-door relief to a member of any friendly society, the hoard of Guardians shall not take into consideration any sum received from such friendly society as sick pay except, in so far as such sum shall exceed five shillings a week.That is to say that Boards of Guardians, whatever opinion they may have as to the desirability of giving out-door relief to a member of the friendly society, are obliged to give that relief providing he does not receive more than 5s. a week. Boards of Guardians will, at any rate, be conscious of many other cases which will require and deserve relief quite as much as the members of friendly societies, and they will not be able to assist such cases. I consider that this is a grave limitation of the discretion of the guardians, and can only be justified upon very strong grounds. I think it is very undesirable to limit the discretion of guardians in any way. It is clear that we cannot stop with fairness at the proposal made in this Bill, and we must recognise the claims of those who are not destitute and who had not an income exceeding 5s. a week who do not belong to friendly societies, If my hon. friend's object is to encourage thrift we ought to encourage not one form but every form of thrift. I should like to ask the President of the Local Government Board if he thinks this is the best way to promote thrift? Is it desirable to encourage thrift by an extension of poor law relief or by other ways? Are these persons who are not destitute to be regarded as paupers or pensioners? I do not know what answer the right hon. Gentleman will make, but probably he will regard them as paupers. If so, are they to be regarded as a privileged class of paupers? 1272 Are they to lose their votes in consequence of receiving poor law relief, or are we to have a provision that they shall not be disfranchised although they receive poor law relief? What we are doing is to create by a side wind a kind of old age pensioners.
§ MR. HENRY HOBHOUSE
My hon. friend knows very well that a great many of the people who are in receipt of sick pay are those who are too old to earn their livelihood. This applies to a great many members of friendly societies, and the fact that this sick pay is paid to aged persons is one of the causes why many of these societies are not in a very stable position financially. That is why I suggest that, in a measure of this kind, we shall have to go further and deal with those who draw from the superannuation fund as well. If we pass this Bill, we shall create a class of pensioners who are to have their small pensions increased by a payment out of the rates under the name of poor law relief. I am in favour of a reasonable form of pension, but I do not want a scheme to be adopted in which the State contribution is made out of the rates instead of being made out of the taxes. I think the House will see the danger of introducing by this Bill a system of pensions out of the rates. The question is whether these persons will be in receipt of outdoor relief or receiving what is to be regarded as a pension. Surely they must be receiving one or the other, and I urge the House to consider particularly the effect this Bill may have upon any scheme of pensions which may in the future be passed into law. This is a most important question, and we ought not to approach it by passing a Bill like this without due consideration.
§ (3.40.) THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. WALTER LONG,) Bristol, S.
Before I say a word or two as to the views I hold in regard to this Bill, I think I am justified in congratulating the House upon the good start which the new system established by the new Rules has met with today by the presence of hon. Gentlemen 1273 in sufficient numbers to take an active interest in this important subject. Certainly I can congratulate myself upon the fact that this subject has been approached in a sufficiently earnest manner to show that a large number of hon. Members are deeply interested in the administration of the poor law and the welfare of the poor people of this country. I am confident that whether the speeches made this afternoon have been in support or in opposition to this measure they have been well worthy of the subject, and prove that hon. Gentlemen are deeply interested in local government, and in the well-being of the people in general.
I will now endeavour to give the reasons why I intend to give my support to this Bill, not only as a private Member, but also as the Minister for the time being responsible for the Department connected with poor law administration. If I shared the views expressed by my hon. friend who has just sat down, and who has spoken with all the authority which attaches to his position and experience on this question, I should not support this Bill. I do not think I am misrepresenting the opinions he has expressed when I say that I think he has assumed a great deal in addition to what is proposed by this measure. My hon. friend has assumed that by the passing of this Bill you are proceeding from poor law relief to a pension system. I do not hesitate to say that, while that suggestion may be justifiable in connection with the arguments of the hon. Gentleman who is responsible for the introduction of this Bill, I could not under any conceivable circumstances advise the House to support, or support myself, a measure which proposed to exempt from the penalties of the poor law those who have received poor law relief. The suggestion that those who are to receive this particular kind of relief are to be exempt from the disability which at present follows upon the receipt of poor law relief is one which I could not support. I think my hon. friend is asking the House to go further than he should do when he says that by the adoption of this Bill the House is committing itself to a policy; by which a certain class of people will 1274 get a special kind of poor law relief, and will be treated as pensioners.
I think I am justified in asking the House to look at this Bill for what it really is. This Bill proposes only a very small change in the law, but the debate seems to have been conducted on lines which would have been more justifiable if we had been discussing the policy of: 1894 rather than the policy of 1902. The real question before the House today is not whether you are going to make this exception in lavour of a particular classes, because that was done by the Act of 1894. The question of persons being entitled to special consideration was deliberately adopted by Parliament in 1894 and why? Because those immediately concerned in the administration of the poor law had practically adopted it at that time, and it was found necessary and desirable to give the sanction of Parliament to that which had become the practice of Boards of Guardians. The policy of 1894 was of a discretionary kind, and the question we have to decide is not, as it has been put by some hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House, whether or no you should limit the discretionary power of Boards of Guardians, but it is whether you will give to the applicant for poor law relief, who in the days of his prosperity has made an effort to save something himself, and who has been overtaken by ill-health or that form of old age which makes self-support impossible, a statutory right to better treatment than his neighbour who has made no such effort, or whether you are going to leave it to the guardians to treat those two men men upon the same level. From the point of view of Parliamentary argument it is comparatively easy to argue this case from either point of view, but I ask my hon. friends who, with so much ability and good reason have opposed this principle, whether they would find it quite as easy to argue this question with a poor man who has made his effort to save, and in his extremity finds himself treated exactly in the same way as his neighbour who has made no such effort at all. It does not meet this question to say that we are only dealing with one form of thrift in this Bill.
Even if that be a just criticism it is no reason for the rejection of the Second 1275 Reading of the Bill today. This Bill is an Amendment of the Act of 1894 which recognised this particular form of thrift as one deserving the special consideration of Parliament. All that this Bill does now is to ask Parliament to make that uniform which is at present discretionary, and to give to the individual the statutory right which at present is not his right at all, but which is left within the discretion of the Board of Guardians. The wider proposal to include all forms of thrift is one which is worthy of the attention of Parliament, and I should like to see this question discussed. I recognise that we cannot frame our proposals in regard to these matters as we should like, but I think it would be a great mistake if the House of Commons was to offer a direct negative to this Bill simply because the larger question is also one which is worthy of consideration. Let me point out that there is a very wide distinction between this form of thrift and other forms. Hon. Members have asked—Why should this assistance be specially given to members of friendly societies? This Bill does not propose to give special advantages to members of friendly societies as such. Something has been said about the solvency of friendly societies. I agree with the hon. Member for South West Manchester that it is the most difficult question in the world to find out what is meant by the solvency of friendly societies. I think all those hon. Members who have examined this question will agree with me when I say that if it were not for the fact that a great many persons who, out of their scanty earnings, contribute to friendly societies and never have cause to make demands upon their funds, it would be impossible for any friendly society to exist. No man will be able to get the advantage offered by this Bill unless he has not only become a subscribing member of a friendly society, but he must also have been overtaken by sickness, or by that form of old age which is first cousin to sickness and which deprives a man of the ability to earn his own living. A man must put aside out of his earnings something in order to justify the receipt of this assistance when he is sick. In the second place, he has to lose his health and become a broken-down member of society before he can receive this 1276 benefit. Surely there is all the difference in the world between this class of thrift and that class which takes the form of deposits in the savings bank and the purchase of house property. Let the House remember that the man who puts his money in the savings bank can draw it out and spend it upon anything he likes during the time he is in good health. The man who invests his money in any kind of property or in any other form has control over it, and he can realise it or dispose of it whenever he likes. On the other hand the man who subscribes to a friendly society gets no return whatever for his money unless he is sick, and very often he gets no return whatever for the money he has contributed. Surely this is a different kind and form of thrift which justifies special treatment at the hands of the House of Commons. If I thought that any proposal of this kind was going to undermine the foundation on which the poor law system of this country rests I should be the last man in this House to vote for this Bill. I have read the Reports of the great Commission which were the foundation of the new poor law system. Anybody who has tried to realise what the condition of things in our country was previous to the introduction of the poor law would be almost acting criminally if he knowingly did anything which would be likely to cause a return to that condition of things. It is because I take entirely a different view that I give my support to this Bill. I am against any weak administration of the poor law, and I would treat the wastrel and the vagabond, and the man who makes his wife and children paupers because of his own degraded habits in a severe way, and I would make life a burden to him while he remains in the workhouse. I try to insist upon it that in the administration of our workhouses we should make such men realise that if we are compelled to keep them out of the rates we will do it at some discomfort to them. I ask is there anything in the acceptance of the principle of this measure which will weaken the administration of the poor law, as between the poor unfortunate sufferer by the wayside, who is suffering through sickness, and the person who is a pauper, because he will not work or will not be honest, sober, and industrious. I say there is nothing in this Bill which will 1277 tend to weaken the administration of the poor law. On the contrary, I believe it will strengthen that administration and also strengthen the position of the Boards of Guardians.
Something has been said as to the discretion which ought to be left to the Boards of Guardians. I am for giving a wide discretion to local authorities in many matters, but there are some details of poor law administration as to which I regret that Boards of Guardians I have so much discretion at the present moment. Nothing tends to bring the poor law into disrepute more than when men earning low wages who have hard work to make both ends meet find that when they apply for relief in one union there is a system in force which is lax and feeble, while in another union it is rigid and severe. I am sure that my hon. friend who moved the rejection of this Bill advanced powerful arguments in support of his contention, and I admit that he is right when he says that you are not going to get uniformity by this Bill. I think, however, that that is a strong argument in favour of it. Boards of Guardians will still have discretion as to whether relief shall take the form of outdoor relief or admission to the workhouse. That discretion must remain, and it is not removed by this Bill. Even if the administration is not uniform, and the practice of different Boards of Guardians may vary, if this Bill becomes law a man who is a member of a friendly society and adversity overtakes him, and he falls sick, will not have to appeal to those who administer relief, for he will have a right to say, "I have saved something which is my own, and I have a right to ask for such assistance as you can give me." I share entirely the views of my hon. friends who have spoken in commendation of the good work which has been done by our Boards of Guardians. Perhaps I know more about the working of Boards of Guardians than many hon. Members who are not in communication with them daily. I know how unpopular the work is, and it is my business to know how marvellous is the change in the condition of the working classes of this country during the last sixty years. I know that marvellous change is not altogether due to poor law administration, but it 1278 is largely due to the fact that guardians had to risk unpopularity when they might have taken kinder and more philanthropic lines by maintaining the strict law in regard to the administration of the poor, so they have taught the people to realise that self-respect, self-control, and self-denial are amongst the most valuable characteristics of our race. I should be the last person to support this Bill if I thought it would do anything to stop this good work, but I think we shall do well to follow the course which we have before adopted, and do our best to make a wide distinction between those persons who are deserving and those who are undeserving, and offer inducements to men who make provision when they are able to maintain themselves against the day when they are no longer able to maintain themselves. From this point of view I believe this Bill to be a step in the right direction.
Something has been said about the fundamental principle upon which the poor law rests, namely the question of destitution. I think there is something to be said for an Amendment of the law in regard to the question of destitution. I am not going to discuss that point now, but if through the action of private Members or in any other way a discussion of the greater and wider question can be arranged, nobody will rejoice more than I shall; and I shall be ready to take my share in the discussion of the question and do my best to contribute towards a solution of this problem. But because we are not able to discuss the whole question or remove the whole difficulty, or start on new lines, are we to say that nothing must be done until we can deal with the question as a whole. My decision in regard to this Bill has not been founded upon any cursory consideration of the question, but after most careful and exhaustive inquiry into the whole question. I firmly believe, as the Minister responsible for the poor law administration, that a reform of this kind will be beneficial in the interest of the community, and of those who desire to see the poor law wisely administered. It is because I hold those views that I sincerely hope the House will pass the Second Reading of this Bill today. I 1279 shall only be too glad, if I have the opportunity, of assisting the further progress of the measure through the House.
§ (3.58.) Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 262; Noes, 19. (Division List, No. 167.)1281
|Acland Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. P.||Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J (Manch'r||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Ffrench, Peter||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol. S.|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Field, William||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Allen, Chas P. (Gloue., Stroud)||Finch, George H.||Lough, Thomas|
|Anstruther, H. T.||Fisher, William Hayes||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Fison, Frederick William||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth|
|Austin, Sir John||Fitz Gerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Lundon, W.|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Bain, Col James Robert||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B (Hornsey)||Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Flower, Ernest||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Flynn, James Christopher||M'Crae, George|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||M'Fadden, Edward|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Fuller, J. M. F.||M'Govern, T.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Furness, Sir Christopher||M'Kenna, Reginald|
|Beresford, Lord Charles Wm.||Galloway, William Johnson||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Gardner, Ernest||Majendie, James A. H.|
|Bignold, Arthur||Gilhooly, James||Malcolm, Ian|
|Bigwood, James||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herb. John||Manners, Lord Cecil|
|Black, Alexander William||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin&Nairn||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.|
|Boland, John||Gore, Hn. S. F. S. Ormsby-(Linc.||Mellor, Rt. Hon. John William|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Grant, Corrie||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Brand, Hon. Arthur G.||Gretton, John||Milner, Rt. Hon. Sir Fredk. G.|
|Brigg, John||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Milvain, Thomas|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Hay, Hon. Claude George||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh)||Hayden, John Patrick||Morgan, David J (W'lthamstow|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)|
|Burns, John||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Caldwell, James||Heath, James (Staffords, N. W.)||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford|
|Cameron, Robert||Helder, Augustus||Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Murphy, John|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Chamberlain, J. Ansten (Worc'r||Horniman, Frederick John||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Hoult, Joseph||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Chapman, Edward||Houston, Robert Paterson||Newdigate, Francis Alex.|
|Charrington, Spencer||Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham)||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Coddington, Sir William||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Jacoby, James Alfred||Norman, Henry|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Joicey, Sir James||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Jones, David Brynmor (Sw'nsea||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary, M|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Joyce, Michael||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Kearley, Hudson E.||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop.||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow||Kimber, Henry||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W).|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||King, Sir Henry Seymour||O'Dowd, John|
|Crean, Eugene||Kitson, Sir James||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Cremer, William Randal||Knowles, Lees||O'Kelly, James (Roseommon, N|
|Crombie, John William||Lambert, George||O'Malley, William|
|Dairymple, Sir Charles||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||Lawson, John Grant||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Delany, William||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Leamy, Edmund||Pease, Herbert Pike (D'rlington|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Lecky, Rt. Hon. Wm. Edw. H.||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Dunn, Sir William||Leng, Sir John||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S.||Price, Robert John|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Lewis, John Herbert||Priestley, Arthur|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Randles, John S.|
|Fenwick, Charles||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Rankin, Sir James|
|Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Wason, John Carhcart (Orkney|
|Ratcliff, R. F.||Skewes-Cox, Thomas||Webb, Colonel William George|
|Rattigan, Sir William Henry||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Rea, Russell||Soares, Ernest J.||Welby, Lt.-Col. A C E (Taunton|
|Reddy, M.||Spear, John Ward||Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts.)|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset||White, Luke (York. E. R.)|
|Reid, James (Greenock)||Stevenson, Francis S.||Whiteley, H (Ashton-u'r-Lyne|
|Renwick, George||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Richards, Henry Charles||Sullivan, Donal||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Tennant, Harold John||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Roche, John||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)||Wilson, W. (Worcestersh., N.|
|Ropner, Colonel Robert||Thornton, Percy M.||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Royds, Clement Molyneux||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Runciman, Walter||Tritton, Charles Ernest||Woodhonse, Sir. J. T (H'dersfield|
|Rutherford, John||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Tuke, Sir John Batty||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)||Wallace, Robert||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)||Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. H.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Seely, MajorJ. E. B.(I. of Wight||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Seton-Karr, Henry||Warde, Colonel C. E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Sheehan, Daniel Daniel||Warner, Thomas CourtenayT.||Sir Edward Strachey and Sir Samuel Hoare.|
|Shipman, Dr. John G.||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Bill, Charles||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Bond, Edward||Renshaw, Charles Bine||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Russell, T. W.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Sharpe, William Edward T.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES— Mr. Vicary Gibbs and Mr. William Lawrence.|
|Gunter, Sir Robert||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Higginbottom, S. W.||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G (Oxf. Univ|
Bill read a second time, and committed for Friday, 13th June.