HC Deb 21 July 1910 vol 19 cc1427-8

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention has been drawn to the case of Sidney A. Maunder, late hired plumber, Devonport Dockyard, who has been awarded 13s. 10d. a week on the basis of totally destroyed earning capacity; whether, when accepting the scheme under which this sum is the maximum compensation to which the man is entitled, in lieu of the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1906, the facts were properly explained to him by a solicitor or some person having the necessary legal knowledge; whether he is aware that the man was earning 34s. 6d. per week as late as November last, that he has a wife and two children dependent on him, and that he himself is suffering from the effects of acute lead poisoning; and whether he will consider the possibility of adding such an amount to his weekly payment of 13s. 10d. as, in the circumstances of the case, seem necessary for the subsistence of the family?


Generally the facts are as stated by the hon. Member. The acceptance of the scheme contracting out of the Workmen's Compensation Act was optional, and its provisions were promulgated beforehand, so as to enable the workmen to determine for themselves whether they should accept or decline. The provisions of the scheme were not explained individually to the men, but every man had full opportunity to consider them. Although the amount awarded in this case is less than the maximum which could be paid under the Act itself, the provisions of the scheme must be dealt with as a whole, and, as prescribed by the Act, the Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies has certified that the scheme is not less favourable to the workmen and their dependants than the Act. It is regretted that there is no power to add to the amount already awarded.


If I understand correctly the answer of the hon. Gentleman, the provisions of the scheme do not give the workmen the same advantages as the Act, therefore the scheme, according to the Act, is out of order?


No. In the matter of Hurt Pay, for instance, the provisions of the scheme are more favourable generally to the workmen than the provisions of the Act.