§ (1) No payment shall be made in respect of sickness disablement or maternity benefit of any insured person during any period when he is an inmate of any workhouse, hospital, asylum, or infirmary, supported by any public authority or out of any public funds or by a charity, or of a sanatorium or similar institution established under this Part of this Act.
§ (2) During such period as aforesaid any such benefit which would otherwise have been payable to such person—
- (a) shall be paid to or applied in whole or in part for the relief or maintenance of his dependents (if any) in such manner as the society or committee by which the benefit is administered think fit; or
- (b) if such person is an inmate of a sanatorium or similar institution in which he is receiving treatment in accordance with the provisions of this Part of this Act, and has no dependents, shall be paid to the local health committee towards the general purposes thereof.
§ (3) For the purpose of this Section, the expression "dependents" shall include such of the following members of the insured person's family as are wholly or in part dependent upon the earnings of such person at the time when he became an inmate of any such institution as aforesaid—that is to say, his or her wife or husband, father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, stepfather, stepmother, son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, stepson, stepdaughter, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister.
§ (4) The society or committee by which the sickness, disablement, or maternity benefit of any insured persons is administered, may enter into any agreement with the proper officers or authorities of any convalescent home or sanatorium, admission to which is conditional on the payment of the whole or any part not less than one half of the cost of maintenance, for the payment thereto of any sickness, disablement, or maternity benefit which would, apart from this Section, be payable to or in respect of any such person 202 who becomes an inmate of such home, during any period for which he remains an inmate.
§ Amendment proposed [31st July] in Subsection (2), after paragraph (6), to insert the words "or
(c) if such person is an inmate of a hospital or infirmary supported by charity and has no dependents, shall, if an agreement for the purpose has been made with the hospital or infirmary, be paid in whole or in part according to such agreement towards the maintenance of such person in the hospital or infirmary;
§ Provided that in the case of a married woman or widow who is entitled to sickness benefit in addition to maternity benefit no part of the maternity benefit shall be paid or applied for the relief or maintenance of her dependents, but may be paid to the hospital or infirmary of which she is an inmate as aforesaid in like manner as if she had no dependents."—[Mr. Lloyd George.]
§ Question again proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd George)
I should like to withdraw this Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), after the end of paragraph (b), to insert the words "unless such person is not a member of an approved society."
I have looked into the matter that was raised last night by the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Cassel). I think there is something in his criticism, as far as paragraph (b) is concerned, but not so far as paragraph (a) is concerned. Under paragraph (a) the Post Office contributor is not to be drawn upon at all, and the fund would not be impoverished by a single penny by the operation of paragraph (a). Paragraph (b) is rather different, because it provides:—
"If such person is an inmate of a sanatorium or similar institution in which he is receiving treatment in accordance with the provisions of this part of this Act, and has no dependents, shall be paid to the local health committee towards the general purposes thereof."
Undoubtedly the hon. and learned Gentleman is right in respect of paragraph (b) in so far as it affects the deposit 203 contributors, because during the time they are in the sanatorium the whole of their fund to the extent of 10s, per week would be paid over to the sanatorium, and by the time they left the institution they would find they would have nothing to draw upon, and that the whole of their fund has been exhausted in paying benefits to that particular institution. I agree with the hon. and learned Member that that is not fair, and I do not think it is all desirable. That is not the case with the member of an approved society. It does not matter to him, because when he leaves the institution his fund is not impoverished. Therefore I withdraw the previous Amendment in order to meet the case, and I propose the Amendment now before the Committee, which means that the benefits of the Post Office contributor would not be drawn upon during the time he is in the sanatorium.
§ Mr. CASSEL
The words meet the point I raised. I agree with the Chancellor of the Exchequer that does not apply to paragraph (a). The other point which I raised, and which the Attorney-General told me he would give me an opportunity of dealing with at a later stage, is not met by the new Amendment. I handed in a fresh Amendment to deal with that, but so long as it is understood that the point has not been disposed of, I agree that this Amendment meets the particular point in regard to deposit contributors.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I beg to move, after the words last inserted, to insert the words "or
(c) if such person, being a member of an approved society, is an inmate of a hospital or infirmary supported by charity or by voluntary subscriptions, and has no dependents, shall, if an agreement for the purpose has been made between the society or committee and the hospital or infirmary, be paid in whole or in part according to such agreement towards the maintenance of such person in the hospital or infirmary;
"Provided that in the case of a married woman or widow who is entitled to sickness benefit in addition to maternity benefit no part of the sum which would otherwise be payable on account of maternity benefit shall be paid or applied for the relief or maintenance of her dependents, 204 but such sum may be paid to the hospital or infirmary of which she is an inmate as aforesaid in like manner as if she had no dependents."
We have made an alteration, in response to a criticism from an hon. Member below the Gangway, to make it perfectly clear what "agreement" means. We have made it quite clear, that the agreement is between the society and the hospital. The second point we want to make clear is that we are confining the payment to members of approved societies.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, after the word "hospital" ["inmate of a hospital"], to insert the words "convalescent home."
§ Amendment to the proposed Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendment in the proposed Amendment made. After the word "hospital" ["Committee and the hospital"], insert the words, "convalescent home." —[Mr. Austen Chamberlain.]
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
I beg to move as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, after the word "infirmary" ["between the society or committee and the hospital or infirmary"] to insert the words, "with the authority of such person."
Unquestionably the Amendment proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer is a great improvement upon the words of the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman evidently assumes that the mere fact that it is an approved society that must make the agreement with the hospital or infirmary is sufficient protection. I think that at least the man himself ought to be consulted in the matter. I did not understand that the proposal was really to subsidise these institutions or almost to fasten them on to the fund contributed by the workmen under this Bill, but that is practically what it amounts to.
I think that the man who has had part of his wages stopped for the purpose of providing this benefit ought to have a voice in deciding whether or not an agreement should be made between the society of which he is a member and the hospital. The present proposal is a great improvement, because it distinctly states that, where a man is a member of an approved 205 society, unless the approved society makes the arrangement the deduction is not necessarily to be made. At the same time I think the man himself should decide whether his benefit may be taken in this way, and for that reason I move this Amendment. We have heard a great deal of talk about the necessity for protecting the rights of minorities in relation to other matters connected with societies of this description. A ballot might be taken as to whether the members of an approved society were in favour of such an agreement Being made, and a member might vote against it. Yet if misfortune in the shape of an illness or an accident overtook him, necessitating his becoming an inmate of a hospital or an infirmary, although he had protested and voted against the arrangement the institution would be entitled at once to take the benefit he is supposed to have secured. I do not think that that is quite fair; therefore, I move the insertion of these words.
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I hope my hon. Friend will not press his Amendment; it renders the whole of this other Amendment quite nugatory. After all the inmates of the hospital would not under any conditions receive the benefit; it has been decided that the benefit is only to be paid to the inmate's dependents, because if he is in the hospital his maintenance there, the care that he receives, and so on, means a good deal more money being spent on him than the 10s. Under those conditions, I think the very least that can be done to the hospitals, where there are no charges, that whatever benefit the man is receiving from his society should be paid to the hospital. Yesterday the Committee decided that if he had dependents no part of the money should go to the hospital, but the whole of it to the dependents. When he has no dependents at all I think the money ought to go to the hospitals.
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
The case I was particularly referring to is one in which a young fellow has no one dependent upon him. At the same time he has got some little property, and it is necessary for him to hold that together in some way. A few shillings at least must be devoted to that purpose—a shilling or two shillings, it may be. Then there is his previous lodgings. To say that the Committee should absolutely hand over all to some institution, and that he should not be in a position, as 206 it were, to maintain some sort of place like that, some place that he could go to the moment he comes out, is I think somewhat unfair. I am not against the hospital. It is against that sort of thing that I have referred to.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
That sort of case is covered. It has been taken into account. A case of that kind I have no doubt will be considered.
§ Mr. JONATHAN SAMUEL
I have very great pleasure in supporting the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke. I would go a little further even than he does. I think it is very hard upon a young man who is compelled to contribute 4d. per week under this Bill, and also to contribute, as they do in thousands and thousands of eases, to the hospitals. I gave cases yesterday within my own knowledge where all the young men employed in the works are compelled to contribute towards the maintenance of the hospital, where they have a right to go into in cases of illness. In the case of the young man going into the hospital, I think it is very unfair that he should have these benefits deducted by the approved committee and the hospital in the case such as has been suggested. Let me give a case of a young man under the Bill. As a boy starting work, say, at the age of fourteen years, he pays up till sixteen without any benefit. From sixteen up to twenty-one, if he has no dependents, he gets 5s. per week. From the age of twenty-one he gets full benefits.
Let me put the case in this way:—Supposing that that young man has been contributing from the age of fourteen up to the age of forty under this Bill towards the maintenance of the hospitals where he would have the right to go into in the case of illness; I want to know what right anyone has to deduct from him the benefits under this Bill? I contend that that man, if he has no dependents, has a right to obtain the benefit if he has contributed towards the maintenance of the hospital. Let me put it in another way. If he is a member of a friendly society, the Foresters or Hearts of Oak, or any other society, he will, as a matter of right, be entitled to his benefit. They would not think of deducting anything from the amount of benefit for his maintenance in hospital; and I contend, Mr. Emmott, that we ought to place men who do maintain hospitals upon the same footing under this Bill. I can quite understand the matter with regard to London. As I pointed out yesterday 207 the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who has had a deputation from the London Committee ——
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
It was introduced by a provincial hospital trustee, a Manchester representative. There were only one or two gentlemen from London, the rest were all from the provinces.
§ Mr. J. SAMUEL
I am sorry, but I read that Mr. Holland had made a certain statement. But what I contend is this: So far as a large number of the provincial towns are concerned, they are governed entirely upon a different system from London. The fact is that men are very much surprised when they come to London to receive begging circulars. We have no begging circulars. Our hospitals are well maintained. They have plenty of money. They are well contributed to by the working men. Where, under this scheme, the miner, the iron worker, the shipyard man, and the engineer, contributes to the maintenance of the hospital, whether it is a fever hospital, a small-pox hospital, a surgical, or a general hospital. I hold that under this Bill no power should be given whatever, if a man has no dependents, to deprive him of his benefit. He may, under this Bill, pay from the time that he is fourteen to the time that he is forty. If he is then stricken down with cancer, say, if he is taken into hospital for an operation, he will have his benefits that he has paid for, deducted from him. I say I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will reconsider this matter, and that he will put words into this Clause to the effect that where a man is a contributor, that he shall be exempt, whether he has dependents or not. I think that would be a much fairer system under which to place the Bill before the working men of this country. I want, further, to say that I am a strong believer in this Bill. I am a defender of it, both publicly and privately. But it is very hard, I confess, especially to go before my Constituents, knowing as I do that they are contributors, and handsome contributors, towards the maintenance of the hospital, and defend a Clause like this. I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will listen to the appeal and put in a proviso that where a man is a contributor he is exempt from this Clause.
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
I do not think the hon. Gentleman who has last spoken was quite right in his facts with regard to the existing practice of friendly 208 societies. As I understand it, the existing practice of friendly societies is that where a man who is in benefit is in a hospital or an infirmary which is maintained at the public expense, he does not get his benefit money. That is quite contrary to what the hon. Gentleman has just told us. That is really the intention, of this Clause—that where a member of a friendly society is at a hospital which is maintained out of the rates, a town infirmary or so forth, he does not get the benefit money to which he would otherwise be entitled. There is a paper issued by the Manchester Unity on this very point. They say:—It is agreed that where a member is maintained out of public funds, he shall not be entitled to sick pay, unless he has dependents upon him.This is in accordance with the approved rules of the Manchester Unity. So far as this Clause has gone it is in accordance with the principles of the Manchester Unity. We yesterday decided that where a man is taken to a public hospital or infirmary he is not to have the money which he is otherwise entitled to; either it has to go to his dependents or to the hospital. The sole question for us to-day is as to whether a hospital provided for from voluntary sources is to be treated differently from the hospital which is provided for out of the rates. Let us see the ridiculous position which we will be put in if we do not accept this or some similar Amendment. Two men receive an accident in a town. Both are members of approved societies. One of them is taken to the town infirmary, and there so long as he is in that infirmary, being maintained out of the rates, under the Clause as we have already passed it, he gets no benefits.
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
Where they are maintained by private subscriptions—that is the point! We are dealing with that one. The hon. Member I think yesterday told us that a large number of hospitals were not maintained by voluntary subscriptions.
§ Mr. J. SAMUEL
I was referring to the fever hospitals and small-pox hospitals, not the surgical or general hospitals. 209 These latter are maintained by private subscriptions, and not out of the rates.
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
Very good, very good. Let us be perfectly clear. I think I understood what the hon. Member was saying yesterday. Two men, let us say, in one town are stricken down, one by typhoid fever, whilst the other breaks his leg. The one stricken down by typhoid fever goes to the ordinary infirmary, where he is maintained out of the rates. In that case he will get no benefit under this Bill. The other man, whose leg has been broken, goes to the voluntary hospital, and the hon. Member suggests that he should get the benefit and that the man who has got the fever should not. Those are the facts. Surely——
§ Mr. J. SAMUEL
I only claim that where a man has been a contributor— where the approved society helps to maintain the hospital—then I contend that that man ought to be exempt.
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
How are we to find that out? The hon. Member suggests that where a man has been a contributor! You will have to ask whether a man has ever given 1d. or 1s. to the hospital. It is impossible to know whether a man is a contributor. Probably the man who is a ratepayer pays more to the infirmary than the man who pays 1d. a month by way of voluntary subscriptions. Yet the man who is a ratepayer does not get benefit. This is the principle of it. I think this Clause should be supported upon the main principles of the working of ordinary friendly societies to-day. It would be impossible though, I submit to the Committee that a man who has voluntarily subscribed to a hospital should have an extra benefit against the man who goes to an ordinary fever hospital. Under these circumstances, I do not think it is possible to support the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Stoke. The Clause, or some such Clause, as the Chancellor has put before us, must be carried in order to put the two classes of hospitals and the benefits derived by the two men, the one who has the fever and the other who has received the accident, exactly on the same lines.
§ Mr. LEACH
I am very unwilling to take the time of the House, but as this is my first speech on this Bill in this House, perhaps the Committee will bear with me for a few moments. I am, like my hon. Friend behind, a very earnest supporter of this Bill, but I am as anxious 210 as hon. Gentlemen who sit below the Gangway and in other parts of the House to see it improved. I shall vote for this Amendment if the Chancellor of the Exchequer pushes it to a Division, but I confess at once that I do not like it one bit. I am thinking not so much of class interest as I am of the sick man and the sick woman. You make them contribute to this scheme. They have no choice. They are obliged to do it. Then you take from them the benefits which I hold they ought to have under certain circumstances. When you have taken those benefits from them, you give them no right of decision as to where their money shall be paid. Shall I be in order to ask about further restrictions? Look at the restrictions already placed upon sick men or sick women. First of all we decided yesterday that when a man is in an institution he shall not receive any of his sick benefit. When his wife is confined, this Bill will prevent her getting the maternity benefit in cash.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE dissented.
§ Mr. LEACH
I shall be very glad to know that I am wrong, and that I have misunderstood the Bill, but if I understand it correctly, she is not to have in cash the maternity benefit. It is to be expended for her by someone; but I shall be delighted to know that I am wrong. In this Amendment you have further restrictions. Even if these women were in an institution and even if they had dependents they are not to have any sick benefit. There may be children and others in the home who sadly need this money, yet they are not to have it. You also compel a sick man when he gets back to work to pay, not only his own subscription, but the employer's subscription also, and you make him contribute to sanatoria, to hospitals, and to infirmaries. I am one of those who think that hospitals ought to be supported, and I agree entirely with the hon. Member who said we ought to face this question of the hospitals and not leave them any longer dependent upon charity; but we certainly ought not to make these hospitals receive their support out of the sick pay which is due to the sick man.
I am sorry to interfere with the hon. Member, but he is speaking now on the Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I think that it would be better for him to deal with the Amendment to the Amendment, and he might speak later on upon the Amendment of the Chancellor.
§ Mr. LEACH
I was afraid, Mr. Emmott, you would call me to order, but I was trying to show that under this Amendment of the Chancellor you are making a man contribute to these various institutions, and I was trying to show that you have already made a man who suffers an accident contribute 1s. for every 10s. paid him in sick benefit. That is a very serious matter, and does not seem quite right. I think it would be better to give a little more consideration to the sick father and mother and less to class interests. We think of the doctors and the friendly societies and the convalescent homes, but we think very little about the person who is suffering. I hope the Chancellor will not push this to a vote, but if he does I will vote with him.
§ Mr. SANDERSON
I cannot help thinking that the hon. Member for Stockton and the hon. Member who has just sat down have not quite appreciated the effect of this Amendment. Both hon. Members base their arguments upon this, that we are making the insured person contribute to these institutions. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] That was what the last hon. Member said just now, and that, therefore, you should not allow the distribution to be made between the committee and the institution without the man concerned being consulted. If we look at the Amendment proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer we see it is confined to hospitals, convalescent homes, and infirmaries supported by charity or voluntary subscription. These are not the institutions to which an insured person is bound to contribute by this Bill at all; they are outside this Bill altogether, and, therefore, it seems to me that the arguments put forward by hon. Members opposite are not applicable to this new Section at all. If an insured person is treated in an infirmary or convalescent home which is supported entirely by voluntary subscription or by charitable people to which he is not a subscriber at all, and if there is a fund which is applicable to that purpose, is it not fair that some part of it, at all events, should be allocated to the hospital? If it turned out that that individual or insured person was a voluntary subscriber to the hospital—and that is the point which the hon. Member for Stockton makes—do not hon. Members think it would be perfectly safe to leave that matter in the hands of the local health committee and the institution? They would take into consideration that he was a man who had been a 212 subscriber, and if that was so we may be perfectly certain no reduction would be made.
§ Mr. STEPHEN WALSH
The hon. Member who spoke last really put his finger upon an important point. I take it that the Amendment under discussion is, that the subscription of the man should be reserved, that a particular majority that may have decided in circumstances of which he had no knowledge shall not be entitled to take away the man's discretion and right of saying how his money shall be devoted or what shall become of the benefit to which he is entitled. I have in my mind the case of the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary at Wigan. That infirmary supplies the needs of a population of not less than 40,000 people. There are deductions made every week for that institution from the wages of the colliery workers top and bottom. That deduction is made from the wages of tens of thousands of men, yet it is a voluntary institution. There is no compulsion, but yet they pay. In fact, I think I may say that probably after all it is the highest form of compulsion, because there is not a single person, men, women, and children for miles around that refuse to pay their penny towards that infirmary, and those very people who may have been paying for twenty or twenty-five years, and who never may be at a meeting at which it was determined that their benefits should be allocated may be deprived of a portion of their sick pay. There is not the slightest doubt that the approved societies will meet under conditions that will make it very difficult for the vast body of contributors to attend, and therefore decisions may be arrived at upon points as to how the money shall be allocated to this fund in respect to persons and without their knowledge who have already paid to these institutions for a quarter of a century, and their money may be allocated at the very time when they themselves need it most and require the benefits to which they are entitled under this Bill. I believe the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not taken that kind of case into consideration. This infirmary of which I speak is not one of the ordinary big institutions; it is dependent upon the pennies per week willingly given by the coal miners, and it gets this money more regularly than any other institution in the country. At the same time, it is a voluntary institution. No one would say the payment is compulsory, yet the boys in the mines and the 213 girls upon the pit hills who pay this money, any one of them overtaken by accident might find their benefits under this Bill allocated under conditions over which they have no control. This Amendment reserves to the sick person an unquestioned right which they possess. Why that right should be forfeited or taken away simply because the approved society or local health committee determine it, I cannot understand. I shall have great pleasure therefore in voting with my colleagues in favour of this Amendment.
§ Mr. J. WARD
I understand it is paid over to the committee of the infirmary— that is that the sick pay the man is receiving is to be paid over, and therefore that a man will lose the sick pay which he should receive.
§ Mr. PENRY WILLIAMS
I think there is some misunderstanding between the general hospital and the infirmary, especially as they exist in the North of England. In the North of England the infirmary hospitals had a meeting the other day at which it was publicly stated that 75 per cent. of the subscriptions of these hospitals came from the workers. The system under which we run these hospitals is that the workers subscribe one penny a week; they appoint representatives from each works upon the house committee of these infirmaries, and they are entitled to so many tickets in accordance with the amounts of the subscriptions they pay. These tickets are not charity tickets, they are tickets paid for, and they are the workmen's by right, and therefore I say that to deduct anything from the holder of a ticket of that sort is unfair. If my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke goes to a Division I shall have pleasure in voting with him.
§ Mr. WYNDHAM
The hon. Member for Kingston (Mr. Cave) has stated that the whole of this question was decided yesterday. If that be so I regret the decision, but 214 I did not understand that it was so. I think the real central point raised originally by the proposal to omit the words "or by charity" was reserved for discussion today by the Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I understand the Mover of the Amendment under discussion also thinks that was so, and his desire is that the decision should be left to the contributor. I take a rather old-fashioned view of this matter. I speak entirely for myself, and I am not in harmony with those who sit behind me, but that is not only my view, but it is also the view I promised to lay before the House. It is a fact that members of friendly societies in the past received their sick pay when in hospitals not supported by public funds. At any rate, it was so in some cases. I am so informed by the friendly societies, and I believe what they tell me, and on that ground alone I think a man entering into such a contract as he does under this Bill, ought not to be lightly deprived of the benefit of that contract. But there are cases of people who in addition to having paid to friendly societies are also voluntary contributors to hospitals. If these two conditions prevail, surely we have to consider whether it is desirable that such a man should be deprived of the benefits which he is entitled to expect; and the other question, namely, whether it is necessary to this Bill that that which is on the face of it undesirable should be done. My opinion of it is that it should not be done, and unless a strong case is made out showing that it is necessary that it should be done, I shall vote for the view which I have undertaken to lay before the Committee.
§ Mr. WALTER M'LAREN
I desire to support what the hon. Member for Middlesbrough has said. I speak also from close knowledge of these infirmaries. I am connected with the largest industrial ironworks and colliery works in the country, employing over 50,000 men. We have in connection with these works hospitals which the men support. One penny per week is deducted from their wages for the upkeep of these hospitals. It is a voluntary contribution, although it is deducted from the men's wages in the office. If any man refused to pay the contribution he could do so and no one would blame him. It is absolutely cheerfully, and voluntarily, given. The men pay for all the expenses of the hospital. The directors of the company pay nothing. It is absolutely in the control of the men who pay, and if 215 they have accidents, or are ill, they go to their hospital and have the best medical attendance that can be secured for them. That is only one instance of many in my own business experience. I say that these men have, for years and years, provided for the expenses of that hospital, and it would be absurd to take away from them the benefit of the 10s. a week. I am sure the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not know of these institutions. I say therefore that in a case of that kind the workman is as much entitled to 10s. a week when ill (though he is in hospital) as if he wore in——
The question is whether the worker is to have any say as to the agreement made between the hospital and the society.
Sir HOWELL DAVIES
I support the hon. Member for Stoke on the ground that he would require that contributors in large works should receive for their contributions what they are now receiving. I know that in the city of Bristol—and that part of Bristol which I particularly represent— there are many very large works in which many thousands of men and women contribute weekly funds for the general hospital. The result is that the firm has a very large number of in-patients' votes sent to it. If these workers (who may be members of approved societies and have been regularly contributing in the ordinary way for the support of the hospital), when the occasion comes, go to the firm for a vote, it does seem to me they ought to have some voice in asking for the contribution they would receive under the approved societies. I am convinced that if these people who are now giving these voluntary contributions are not to receive some personal benefit they will lose——
This really does not arise. I have explained what the Amendment is about, and the hon. Member is not keeping to it.
§ Mr. CHARLES BATHURST
The criticism of this new Amendment is largely based on a confusion between sickness and medical benefits. What is this penny a week being paid for? Is it being paid for medical attendance or maintenance of the man, his wife, and family, and the upkeep of the home? This Section relates solely to sickness disablement and maternity benefit. It has nothing to do with medical benefit. I 216 venture to submit to the Committee that it is only fair that, while a hospital maintains a man who has no dependents—that is to say, supplies him with the equivalent of his wages—it is right the hospital should obtain whole or part of this sickness benefit. It is not medical benefit you are dealing with. The medical benefit is in no way applied towards the maintenance of this individual in the hospital. So far as the argument of the hon. Member for Stoke is concerned I agree that if you are. through this sickness benefit, contributing towards the maintenance of the man, his family, and home, the home cannot be properly maintained in his absence, and that some proportion of this should go to the maintenance of the home. I venture to suggest this is perfectly fair. This applies only to the inmate of the hospital. The hospital is maintaining the man entirely, and is doing for him what he would be doing for himself out of his wages. I think it is a very fair Amendment.
Mr. MacCALLUM SCOTT
This grievance, this hardship, seems more imaginary than real. If you analyse the case fully you will find it is not even a theoretical grievance or hardship, for you are dealing with the case of a man who has no dependents. When this man is in hospital he is receiving additional benefits to those provided by the Act. Of the benefits provided by the Act, he is receiving medical attendance and medicine in the hospital. But he is also receiving board and lodgings. He is receiving shelter and food, and these are not provided in the Act. It is only reasonable the man should pay for this; that he should pay for the board and lodging he is receiving in an institution which is not supported out of public funds. Now there is a supposition that he has been contributing to this hospital for years. That is not affected by this Amendment, which does not propose to rule out such a man, and the point to which the hon. Member referred is one which ought to be raised by a separate Amendment. It is not raised by this Amendment.
§ Mr. CHIOZZA MONEY
I think it is very difficult to consider one Amendment without considering another. I, for one, am decidedly opposed to any use of any part of this fund for charitable purposes. It is an insurance fund set up by the contributions of the workmen. If we take Sub-section (a) it is true we deny the sickness benefit to the man, but we give it to his dependents. In Sub-section (b) we deny 217 it to the man, but we give it to the general insurance fund. We now propose, if a man has no dependents to take the money out of the Insurance Fund. That is a new feature of the Bill. That is the reason why I object to this Sub-section.
§ Mr. CHIOZZA MONEY
I pointed that out at the beginning of my remarks. I shall support the Amendment of the hon. Member as a means of opposing the new Sub-section.
I support the Amendment with a view to finally opposing the whole Clause. It seems quite
§ unjustifiable to take money subscribed for insurance purposes and to apply it to other purposes. I admit that subscriptions have got to be got for hospitals, but to take money from this fund and to apply it to hospitals is not business at all. It is proved it is not business, for if when a man has dependents it is not to be taken, when a man has no dependents it should not be taken. A man, whether he has dependents or not, pays the same contributions, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer is mixing up charity with business.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the proposed Amendment, as amended."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 128; Noes, 263.219
|Division No. 299.]||AYES.||[4.45 p.m.|
|Abraham, Rt. Han. William (Rhondda)||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||O'Grady, James|
|Adamson, William||Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Hancock, John George||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Archer-Shee, Major M.||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Ashley, W. W.||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Peel, Captain R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Bagot, Lieut. Colonel J.||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Pointer, Joseph|
|Baker, Sir R. L. (Dorset, N.)||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Balcarres, Lord||Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Richards, Thomas|
|Barnes, George N.||Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Barnston, H.||Hodge, John||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Hohler, G. F.||Rothschild, Lionel D.|
|Bird, Alfred||Holt, Richard Durning||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Home, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Hudson, Walter||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Hunt, Rowland||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)|
|Burn, Col. C. R.||Jessel, Captain Herbert M.||Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (Liverp'l, Walton)|
|Butcher, John George||Johnson, W.||Snowden, Philip|
|Campion, W. R.||Jowett, Frederick William||Stewart, Gershom|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Kirkwood, John H. M.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Kyffin-Taylor, G||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Thomson, W. Mitchell (Down, North)|
|Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Lansbury, George||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Crooks, William||Lloyd, George Ambrose||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Dixon, C. H.||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Wadsworth, John|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Walker, Colonel William Hall|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Mackinder, Halford J.||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Faber, George D. (Clapham)||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine)||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Mallaby-Deely, Harry||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Fell, Arthur||Martin, Joseph||Williams. P. (Middlesbrough)|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Fleming, Valentine||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Forster, Henry William||Morrell, Philip||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Foster, Philip Staveley||Needham, Christopher T.||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Gardner, Ernest||Neville, Reginald J. N.|
|Goldman, Charles Sydney||Newdegate, F. A.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. John Ward and Mr. G. Roberts.|
|Goldstone, Frank||Newman, John R. P.|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Norton-Griffiths, J. (Wednesbury)|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Baird, J. L.||Barton, William|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Beck, Arthur Cecil|
|Alden, Percy||Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Beckett, Hon. Gervase|
|Alien, Charles P. (Stroud)||Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Benn, W. VV. (T. H'mts., St. George)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Barlow, Sir George Emmott (Somerset)||Bentham, George Jackson|
|Armitage, Robert||Barran, sir John N. (Hawick B.)||Bethell, Sir John Henry|
|Bigland, Alfred||Harris, Henry Percy||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||O'Dowd, John|
|Black, Arthur W.||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Boland, John Plus||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Boyton, James||Hayward, Evan||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Helme, Norval Watson||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Brigg, Sir John||Higham, John Sharp||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Hill, Sir Clement L.||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Hinds, John||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Horner, Andrew Long||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Houston, Robert Paterson||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Quilter, William Eley C.|
|Cassel, Felix||Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan)||Radford, G. H.|
|Cave, George||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Reddy, M.|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)|
|Clough, William||Joyce, Michael (Limerick)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Kelly, Edward||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Robinson, Sidney|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Kilbride, Denis||Roche, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Kimber, Sir Henry||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton)||Rowlands, James|
|Crumley, Patrick||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Leach, Charles||Scanian, Thomas|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Lewis, John Herbert||Sheehy, David|
|Dawes, J. A.||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Delany, William||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Shortt, Edward|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lundon, T.||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lyell, Charles Henry||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)|
|Dickinson, W. H.||Lynch, A. A.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo., Han. S.)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Dillon, John||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Donelan, Anthony Charles||McGhee, Richard||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Doris, W.||Maclean, Donald||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Duffy, William J.||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Summers, James Woolley|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Macpherson, James Ian||Sutherland, John E.|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||M'Laren, H. D. (Leicester)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Magnus, Sir Philip||Tennant, Harold John|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Manfield, Harry||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Essex, Richard Walter||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Valentia, Viscount|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Falconer, J.||Masterman, C. F. G.||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Meagher, Michael||Walters, John Tudor|
|Ferens, Thomas Robinson||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Ward, Arnold S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Field, William||Millar, James Duncan||Waring, Walter|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Wason, Rt.- Hon, E. (Clackmannan)|
|Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Molloy, M.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Gelder, Sir William Alfred||Mooney, John L.||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Morgan, George Hay||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Gibbs, George Abraham||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Gibson, Sir James Puckering||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Gilmour, Captain John||Mount, William Arthur||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir T. P.|
|Glanville, Harold James||Munro, Robert||Wiles, Thomas|
|Goldsmith, Frank||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Green, Walter Raymond||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Winfrey, Richard|
|Greig, Col. J. W.||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glagow)|
|Griffith, Ellis Jones (Anglesey)||Nolan, Joseph||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Hackett, John||Norman, Sir Henry||Younger, Sir George|
|Haddock, George Bahr||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Hamersley, A. St. George||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)||O'Doherty, Philip|
Question, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. STEPHEN WALSH
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, to insert after the word "infirmary" 220 ["made with the hospital or infirmary"], the words, "save in the case of injured persons who have themselves prior to 221 admission been regular contributors to the upkeep of such institutions." This Amendment will really give the people who are continuous contributors to such institutions the right to be exempted from the condition that the Committee has been previously discussing. The point I have raised with regard to the infirmary is parallel with scores of other institutions throughout the country where you have men, women, and children in their thousands contributing from the outset of their working life, and completely maintaining those institutions. I think the equity of my proposal will be apparent to everybody. Where the institutions of which the injured or sick persons are inmates have been maintained continuously by the contributions of such persons it would be utterly inequitable that at that time they should be deprived of the benefits for which they have been compelled to pay under the Bill.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
On a point of Order. I wish to point out to you, Mr. Chairman, that the hon. Member is raising substantially the Debate we have had before. It will be quite impossible to go on discussing this Amendment without using the same set of arguments for and against as were repeatedly used in support of the other Amendment. If we were to go on in this way we should never get to the end of this or any other Bill ever proposed in this House.
This Amendment puts forward the exact point that was made the principle reason for supporting the last Amendment, and a great deal more was said about it than was in order. I do think to argue this Amendment would be going absolutely over the same ground again.
§ Mr. STEPHEN WALSH
I beg respectfully, Mr. Chairman, to differ. This is not the same as the Amendment that was before the Committee at all. The last Amendment simply reserved the right of the injured person to say whether or not his benefit should be allotted. That particular Amendment, if carried, would deprive the committee of an approved society of the opportunity of making the arrangement in the case of those who are regular contributors to the institutions in which they find themselves. The two things are quite distinct. The hon. Member for Stoke desires that the man should have a discretion, but my Amendment goes further, and says that in the case of people who are continuously—
I do not say that the Amendment is not different, but I think in a case like this it is rather an abuse to discuss the matter over and over again. If the hon. Member wants to move this Amendment I think I had better put it, and he can take a Division upon it.
§ Mr. WYNDHAM
Is it not a fact that the point involved in this Amendment was used only as an illustration in support of the last Amendment? This Amendment is now limited to that point, and surely it is not out of order.
The Committee can decide the point, but I should deprecate having another discussion upon it. It was not used merely as an illustration, because it actually formed the main subject of the Debate.
§ Mr. STEPHEN WALSH
I regret that other people have traversed the ground which I intended to keep for my own argument, but that is no reason why the Chancellor of the Exchequer should make an appeal to prevent me debating a point of real substance. There are tens of thousands of people throughout the country who purely from goodwill and because of their desire to keep up these noble institutions, maintain them altogether, and they have been maintained by men, women and children week after week throughout the year for a quarter of a century; and yet we are told that when a poor man is injured or sick that the approved society may take away altogether his liberty of action.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
The argument of the hon. Member is that in such cases as he deals with in his Amendment the money is the property of the individual and something which he ought to have. May I point out that if his Amendment is carried that will not be the result. The man will not have the money, because under Sub-section (1) the House has already decided that he must not have the money. The choice now is between the general fund of the society to which he belongs and the hospital if the society is prepared to make an arrangement to contribute to the hospital. The hon. Member's point is, I admit, a serious one and worth arguing, but I am afraid his Amendment would not achieve the object he has in view.
§ Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and negatived.223
§ Amendments made in proposed Amendment:—
§ After the word "hospital" ["made with the hospital"], to insert the words "convalescent home."
§ After the word "hospital" ["paid to the hospital"], to insert the words "convalescent home."—[Mr. Austen Chamberlain.]
§ Question proposed, "That the words of the proposed Amendment, as amended, be there inserted."
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I think anybody who has listened to the discussions yesterday and to-day must feel we are dealing with an extremely difficult problem, and, accustomed as we are to difficulties in this Bill, it is unusually difficult to arrive at a result of which all the House will approve, and which is fair to all the parties concerned. I do not suppose any of us desire that workmen who, as individuals or as members of societies, are making a fair and suitable contribution, and continue to do so, to the voluntary hospitals of their town, should be expected to double that contribution. It would be something more than reasonable to expect that of them. Two considerations have moved me, and I think must have moved the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the action he has taken. In the first place, the knowledge that a great number of people who might make some contribution to the hospital, though they could not pay for the whole of their treatment, make no contribution at all; and, in the second place, that when a general system of insurance is established by compulsion, men who have made voluntary contributions to hospital funds, whether they be employers or workmen, will be likely to lessen their contributions, and the hospitals may find themselves deprived of that support which is necessary for the health of the community, for the maintenance of those great institutions, and for the progress of medical and surgical science, which is enormously dependent upon the success of those institutions.
I am bound to recognise that I myself tried my hand at a solution which was not satisfactory to the Committee. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had himself put down a solution which the course of the Debate showed would be open to Several of the objections which had been taken to my own, and accordingly between 224 yesterday and to-day he has made yet another attempt to find the via media which should escape these different objections and deal fairly alike with the insured and with the hospitals. I am afraid we must all admit that well-intentioned as the endeavour was, it has not been wholly successful. It is not wholly satisfactory from the point of view of many of those who have spoken in the Debate as representing the friendly societies or the insured people. The friendly societies, I think, have very little to complain of under this Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because no agreement can be made without their assent. Those who take the view expressed by the hon. Member who moved the last Amendment (Mr. Walsh) that this money is the property of the insured person, and is indefeasibly his, and that no one else has a right to deal with it, are, of course, not satisfied with the solution at which we have arrived. I only say, in passing, with regard to their position, that I do not understand the attitude they take up towards sanatorium benefit. Why, if a man who has no dependents has an indefeasible right to receive sick pay, although he is being provided with treatment, board, lodging, nursing, and all that he requires in a hospital, has he not the same right when he is in a sanatorium? I do not think their position is logical. I admit they can draw cases which are very effective from the point of view of anybody who desires to make unfriendly or damaging criticism of the Bill. I will not say more about their position at this stage.
My interest in the matter has been really on behalf of the hospitals. I do not wish it to be understood that I am in any way authorised to speak on their behalf, or that I have received any commission from them to represent their views, but I have, from the first, felt their position was jeopardised, and I have made some efforts to inform myself as to the views of the hospital authorities. I began by admitting that the much larger proposal which I made yesterday did not commend itself to the Committee, and I do not blame the Chancellor of the Exchequer for not accepting it, but I am afraid the proposal which we have been debating to-day is so whittled down that though it has not met all the objections of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway or of hon. Gentlemen opposite, or, indeed, of some of my own Friends, because we were divided on this question, as hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House, it has very seriously detracted from the 225 value of the proposal from the point of view of the support the Amendment would give to the hospitals. What is now the position of the hospital? If a man has dependents, they get nothing. If a man has no dependents but his society has not made an arrangement that his money is to go to the hospitals, they still get nothing. The only condition under which the hospitals get something is where the man has no dependents, and where the society, having the option between using the money which would have been payable to the dependents, if any, for the general purposes of the society, or in applying it to the hospitals, chooses by an arrangement made beforehand to pay it to the hospitals. I am afraid they would very seldom so choose, and I am quite certain no voluntary hospital, largely dependent upon any sources of supply, can count with safety on this Amendment to make good the gap in their funds, which may arise through the action of the Bill
I am driven to the conclusion, whether this Amendment suits or not, and if the Chancellor of the Exchequer thinks it desirable to pursue it, I shall vote with him in support of it—that it is not in itself adequate to the needs of the hospitals, and I think the Committee and the Government ought to consider whether the whole question could not be better or more adequately dealt with in another way without giving rise to the objection which has been expressed in many quarters of the House. I am not entitled, of course, to argue about another Clause here, but any hon. Member who will turn to Clause 15 will see it is the duty of the local health committee to make arrangements with institutions for the administration and provision of the sanatorium benefit. I have been forced to the conclusion—it is one which will not come wholly as a surprise to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because I think I did suggest it as an alternative way of dealing with the matter the other day—that in the case of these compulsorily insured people you ought to provide a hospital benefit as well as a sanatorium benefit, and you ought to treat that hospital benefit in the same way as you treat the sanatorium benefit in Clause 15. You ought to make it a charge upon the general fund, and you ought to make it the duty of local health committees or responsible people to arrange for the provision of hospital treatment for insured persons who need it and who cannot 226 be adequately dealt with in their own home for insured persons who need hospital treatment of kinds to which persons of that class do not habitually have recourse in rate-supported institutions. I do not mean to say they are to take upon themselves the provision of fever hospitals which is now done by the public health authorities, but they ought to have the same power to make arrangements for hospital treatment as they have under Clause 15 to make arrangements for sanatorium treatment. I make this suggestion in no unfriendly spirit—I am sure the Chancellor of the Exchequer will recognise—to the Bill. I believe, if he can see his way to adopt it, it will relieve him of the very considerable difficulties with which he is now confronted, and I feel sure it is a much more satisfactory proposal for the hospitals than to leave them dependent on these strictly limited and occasional arrangements with societies, or on chance subscriptions made under Clause 17. I do not press the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he does not wish to give it, for a definite statement on this point at once, but I hope he will at least give it the most favourable and friendly consideration that he can, and perhaps he will consult, if he has the opportunity, with the hospital authorities themselves, to see whether that is not the way in which they would prefer to be treated under the provisions of the Bill.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I am rather alarmed at the prospect of having to follow the right hon. Gentleman in the very wide field of inquiry which he invites me to pursue. I agree with him, it is of first-class importance we should consider the general position of the hospitals. I do not think the present position of the hospitals in this country is by any means satisfactory. I think it is very undesirable they should be dependent upon the precarious kind of income upon which they have now to rely in order to carry on operations which in themselves are essential to the well-being of the community. I do not think any great community like ours ought to rely upon such an unsatisfactory method of carrying out what, after all, is a great communal obligation. That, however, is opening out a question which is strictly irrelevant to this Amendment, and it is one which could not be discussed now. I agree with the observations which appeared in one of the papers to-day that one of the results of the Bill will be to force the 227 community to reconsider the position of the hospitals generally throughout the country. I am not sure it would be desirable for us to attempt to deal with it in this Bill. I gave a good deal of consideration to the matter before I submitted the Bill in its present form to the House of Commons, and I came to the conclusion it would be undesirable to make even any attempt to deal generally and thoroughly with the position of the hospitals. It is far better we should attempt this experiment first. Then in a very short time we shall see what is the position of the hospitals. We shall have, in the meantime, a great organisation or a series of organisations dealing with questions of public health, each and all of them primarily and directly interested in the well-being of the hospitals. Having had a good deal of experience in the meantime, the hospital authorities will either be prepared to take steps themselves or to advise the Government for the time being as to what steps ought to be taken, if it turns out Government intervention is desirable. In the meantime, I think it is far better we should deal in this tentative way with the hospitals, interfering as little as possible with them. If we give them a very large slice of these funds, we should certainly have to introduce some measure of control. It is undesirable that we should, and, indeed, we are not prepared to take upon ourselves the whole responsibility for the hospitals. We cannot possibly contemplate that, and I think that, on the whole, we have adopted the wiser course of interfering as little as possible with them. If it is found, as a matter of experience, that the hospitals are seriously injured in their finances by the operation of this Bill, it will be for the Government to find some remedy in some direction or other.
§ Sir RANDOLF BAKER
I am unable to agree with either of the two right hon. Gentlemen who have spoken. If we begin dealing in this way with the hospitals, giving them but a very small fraction of what they might expect, we are liable to arouse in the minds of present contributors to hospital funds an idea that they are going to get something out of the Bill, and that in consequence it will not be necessary to continue their subscriptions. I am afraid the hospitals may find themselves in a much worse position if this Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's is carried than if it were left 228 out altogether. I am of opinion that if you are not going to give the hospitals a considerable amount to make up the deficiency, if you are not going to deal with them under Clause 15, it would be much wiser not to put this in at all, for the reason I have stated, i.e., that it is likely to arouse in the minds of insured people an idea that as they are going to get something out of the hospitals it is not necessary to contribute voluntarily to their support as they have done in the past. I repeat it would be much wiser to leave this Sub-section out altogether, and deal in another place and on a more generous basis with the hospitals.
§ Mr. ALFRED LYTTELTON
I agree with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, speaking from the hospital point of view, that it would be most dangerous to take away their voluntary character, and that, therefore, any measure calculated to put them on the rates or public funds would diminish their voluntary character and greatly depreciate the spirit in which they do their work. I think it is inevitable that the operation of this Bill will both diminish the revenues of the hospital and increase their obligations towards the sick. One af the most undesirable results of this Bill will be to force on the hospitals a necessity for further specialisation than that which they at present undertake. I believe the idea is that the immense organisations for the relief of the poor which already exist, and which extend to millions of people in this country, will be greatly added to by this Bill. We ought, therefore, to place hospitals in their true position, and that is as consultants and operators of the poor. In hundreds, I might say in thousands of cases, people go into hospital at the present time and receive treatment at the hands of skilled operators and physicians—very highly specially skilled persons—when they might be perfectly well dealt with by general practitioners, and I hope some day it may be made a condition precedent to entering a hospital that there shall be a certificate by a general practitioner that it is a case proper for hospital treatment. There must of course be wide exceptions to meet cases of emergency. I think it is highly important that it should be noted the Chancellor of the Exchequer has admitted that the real problem of hospital administration is left outside this Act.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I beg to move after the words last inserted to insert the following words:—" (c) Such sum or any part thereof not paid or applied as aforesaid shall be paid to or applied for the benefit of such person, or, in the case of a deposit contributor, placed to his credit in the Post Office funds, as the society or committee administering such benefits, after consultation whenever possible with such insured person, think fit."
It is at the request of the Attorney-General that I have brought this point forward at this particular place. The object of the Amendment is, in the first place, to meet the case of a man in a hospital, infirmary or convalescent home, who has dependents, for whose benefit part only of his sick pay is applied. Under Sub-clause (a) it is possible for the sick pay to be applied either wholly or in part for the benefit of the dependents. The case cited by the Attorney-General was that of a man who had, previously to his illness, been allowing his grandmother 5s. a week. When he goes into hospital it is unreasonable that the grandmother should, in consequence, receive the whole 10s. Thus there is 5s. a week available, and my suggestion is that at least there ought to be an opportunity of applying it for the benefit of the man himself. Assuming that he desires to purchase certain surgical appliances the money ought to be available for that purpose, as it is well known that it is not the practice in hospitals to supply surgical appliances gratuitously. The man, it must be remembered, has paid in order that he may receive a sick benefit of 10s., and if only half of that amount is required for his dependents he ought in justice and in equity to be allowed to have the remainder applied for his own benefit. It might even be utilised for providing him with some extra comforts. I do not know whether the Labour Members have realised that in the case where there is no agreement with the hospital under this Bill the whole of the 10s. is forfeited.
§ Mr. CASSEL
A friendly society at present pays the 10s. benefit where the man is in a private hospital supported by charitable contributions. My information, which comes from the hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Harry Lawson), one of the arbitrators of friendly societies, tells me that a man in a private hospital receives his 10s. a week.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Rufus Isaacs)
Does the hon. Member mean a hospital in which the man pays?
§ Mr. CASSEL
No, I mean such an institution as the London Hospital or St. George's Hospital, any ordinary convalescent home, or any infirmary not maintained out of the rates. I quite understand that friendly societies do not pay the sick benefit when a man is in an institution maintained out of the rates. But if my information is correct they do pay the 10s. when he is in a private hospital, and their obligation to pay will still continue so far as existing members of friendly societies are concerned, unless, indeed, this Bill abrogates their contract. If it does not abrogate the contract, then friendly societies will be in a difficulty, because, so far as existing members are concerned, in cases where there are no dependents they will still be liable to pay the 10s.
Labour Members have been objecting to the 10s. going to the hospital. Are they satisfied it should not go to the man at all, whether there is an agreement or not, but that it should simply go into the general fund? Surely what they were contending was that the 10s. should go to the man himself where the man has no dependents, and where there is no agreement with the hospital. Where the amount is partly required for the dependent of course it will be so applied, but with regard to the balance of the 10s. not so required you are under the Bill forfeiting it; you are not at any rate proposing to give an opportunity of applying it for the benefit of the man himself. It would be an extremely hard case where a man is in hospital, and 5s. only of his sick benefit is being paid to a dependent, if the remaining 5s. were not allowed to be used for supplying him with surgical appliances which he may require, or for providing him with some additional comforts which might be of great use in helping forward his recovery. Owing to the somewhat hasty manner in which I have drafted the Amendment, its scope goes a little beyond what is intended, but that may be met by putting at the beginning the words, "in the case of a person in a hospital, infirmary, or convalescent home supported by charity or voluntary contributions." I maintain you should treat persons insured under the Bill on the same footing as friendly societies have treated them in the past. It is only fair that the man who has paid in order that he may receive a 10s. benefit should get that benefit, and where only a part is 231 required for his dependent or dependents, or in a case where there are no dependents and no agreement with the hospital, it is unfair that he should not have his 10s., or that, at all events, there should be no opportunity of applying the 10s. for his benefit.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
Although the hon. and learned Gentleman sent me a copy of the Amendment, unfortunately I have been unable to deal with it, and we have had no opportunity of considering it. The Amendment as it stands is out of order on more than one point, and it is not quite in proper drafting form, but we desire to deal sympathetically with the argument of the hon. and learned Gentleman. There is some kind of case made out certainly, and we should like to consider it very carefully and see whether we can meet it with reference to surgical appliances. For example, take the case of a man who has met with some accident, or in consequence of some illness requires a surgical appliance which he is not able to buy. There is, I think, certainly a case which requires very careful consideration. I suggest that the hon. and learned Gentleman should withdraw the Amendment and that we should deal with the matter in some form before we get to the Report stage, so that we can introduce some Amendment which will give him some benefit from the money which would otherwise be kept in hand. It is not a very easy thing to do in this way, but in some form or other we desire to meet the Amendment.
§ Mr. CASSEL
What the Attorney-General says does not quite go far enough. I applied this not only to the case of surgical appliances. I will take the Amendment at any point that is most convenient, but I cannot narrow it down to the case of purchasing surgical appliances only. I only gave that as an illustration. There are numerous other things which may be absolutely necessary and may help to save a man's life.
§ Mr. CASSEL
If the hon. and learned Gentleman will tell me he will give favourable consideration to the whole of this Amendment before the Report stage, I am in the hands of the Committee as to when it is most convenient to discuss it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.232
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
I beg to move, to leave out the words, "such of the following members of the insured person's family as are wholly or in part dependent upon the earnings of such person at the time when he became an inmate of any such institution as aforesaid, that is to say, his or her wife or husband, father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, stepfather, stepmother, son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, stepson, stepdaughter, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister," in order to insert instead thereof the words, "any person ordinarily dependent wholly or in part upon the insured person, whether such dependent be a relative by blood or marriage or not."
The Amendment has for its object to take out the list of dependents in Subsection (3), and to substitute words of a more general character, which will cover a number of persons as dependents who are not included in the list. In that list no mention is made of an adopted child, and there is a very common case where an uncle or aunt takes the children of a late brother or sister. I think this is art Amendment which might be accepted, because it seems to me it is not a question of relationship, but of whether a person is a dependent or not.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The Government have deep sympathy with the principle of the Amendment, but the wording is not quite adapted to the Clause as it stands. I propose in a subsequent Amendment to make the position quite plain, and to leave the society or committee to determine whether or not a person is dependent. With the Amendments I propose it will read thus:
"For the purpose of this Section the expression 'dependents' shall include such persons as the approved societies or local health committee may determine to be wholly or in part dependent on the earnings of such inmate of any such institution as aforesaid."
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
There will be no power on the part of the health committee to deprive an illegitimate child?
§ Sir ALFRED CRIPPS
Is it intended that whether a person is dependent or not will depend on the local health committee?
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
Supposing a local health committee in one county took the view that an illegitimate child was a dependent, and the health committee in the next county took a different view, would the Bill be differently administered in the two counties?
§ Mr. KEIR HARDIE
Do the Government intend to accept the Amendment in my name, to insert the words, "whether legitimate or not"?
§ Mr. CASSEL
Is not the only question which the society or local health committee have to determine whether the person is dependent or not? Whether legitimate or illegitimate, so long as he or she is a person, they are bound to give it. The question of legitimacy or otherwise is an irrelevant consideration from their point of view, and, I think, rightly. If a person is illegitimate he ought to be entitled to receive assistance just as much as a legitimate person. There ought to be no distinction made while the insured person is in the hospital.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
Certainly, that is the intention, and, I think, the effect of the words. They make it quite plain that there is one thing which the approved society, if you are dealing with an approved society, or the local health committee, if you are dealing with a local health committee, has to do, and that is to determine whether or not a person is dependent. It is left purposely in this way as a clear question of fact, irrespective of relationship, whether legitimate or illegitimate, or an adopted child, or no relation at all.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I beg to move, to leave out the words, "of the following members of the insured person's family as are wholly or in part dependent upon the earnings of such person at the time when he became an inmate of any such institution as aforesaid—that is to say, his or her wife or husband, father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, stepfather, step- 234 mother, son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, stepson, stepdaughter, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister," and to insert instead thereof the words, "such persons as the approved society or local health committee may determine to be wholly or in part dependent upon the earnings of such inmate of any such institution as aforesaid."
§ Mr. KEIR HARDIE
I desire to have the point I raised made perfectly clear. The Amendment now proposed is certainly a very great improvement on the Clause as originally drafted, and if the Attorney-General will give me an assurance that an illegitimate child would have the same right to pursue a case in a court of law under the Bill as a legitimate child would have, I would not press my Amendment. I do not wish to see included in the Bill any form of words which would leave that matter in doubt.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
We will consider that point, and I give an assurance to the hon. Gentleman now that we will take out any words which would leave doubt in the matter. The question of legitimacy or illegitimacy is not relevent to the question whether a person is a dependent. The point which the hon. Member has raised is, I think, covered by the Amendment.
§ Sir ALFRED CRIPPS
The Amendment now proposed by the Attorney-General really comes to this, that the question whether any particular person is to be deemed a dependent so as to get advantage of the Act is to be entirely decided either by the approved society or by the local health committee. I think that is entirely wrong. We ought to lay down in the Bill who dependents really are. Let me put this to the Attorney-General. One approved society may desire to limit the area of the dependents as much as possible. It might be in their interest to do it. It would be in their interest to do it under certain circumstances. Why leave the Bill in a form which will enable different local health committees and different approved societies to lay down different regulations?
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
That is entirely irrelevant. The question as to what is the position of a particular person, and whether he is or is not a relation is entirely irrelevant. The whole question which has to be considered is simply this: Is that person at the time that an 235 insured person goes into an institution dependent or not? Anything else would be irrelevant.
§ Sir ALFRED CRIPPS
May I say that that really makes the matter much more wide? You are going to have nothing at all in the Bill in regard to the relationship of the dependent. But the question whether a person is a dependent in the sense of receiving help from an insured person at the time he goes into a hospital is to be left to the discretion of the local health committee or the approved society. It does not appear to be a question of legitimacy or illegitimacy. I should be strongly against giving an illegitimate child the right to make a claim, but I do not go into that question now, because the Attorney-General says it is not relevant to this particular Amendment. A dependent may be a son or a daughter, a grandson or a granddaughter, a stepson or a stepdaughter, and he or she might be ruled out by the local health committee, although according to my view and the view of the Attorney-General that person might be a dependent at the time the insured person went into an institution. The decision is to depend on the ipse dixit of the local health committee or the approved society. I think that is a most dangerous part of the Clause. It is a dangerous privilege to give to either the approved society or the local health committee. You ought really in the same spirit in which the Section was originally drafted to define the person who is to get benefit under the conditions. That ought not to be left to the mere ipse dixit of an outside body. That body might decide very harshly. You might have a local health committee who took a very generous view and side by side you might have another local health committee who took a very ungenerous view. This Bill ought to be so framed that it could be administered irrespective of the separate views taken by different committees over the country.
This is really a question of fact which has to be determined. The whole thing to be decided by an approved society or local health committee is whether a person is a dependent. I would suggest to the Attorney-General that the words "supported by" would be better than "dependent upon." I think the words "dependent upon" are vague, and therefore I would like to move that the 236 words "dependent upon" be omitted and the words "supported by" put in their place.
The Committee should first decide whether they will leave out the words proposed to be left out. It will then be possible to move an Amendment of the words proposed to be inserted.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I wish to say a word in support of my hon. and learned Friend (Sir A. Cripps). I think what he stated has entirely destroyed the argument of the Attorney-General. As I understand my hon. and learned Friend, the word "dependent" has no meaning in law. There is no phrase in law such as "dependent upon." Therefore various health committees and approved societies would be able to put whatever interpretation they liked upon the words "dependent upon." We will suppose that there is a health committee composed of members who are very kind-hearted. I happen to know that sickness is coming upon me, and I make a present to my hon. and learned Friend. He says, "I am dependent upon that man. He gave me a present before he became ill, and he entered into an undertaking to give me something during his illness." The health committee says: "Certainly, it is State money. Let us give it away." [An HON. MEMBER: "That is not serious at all."] I think it is a very serious question. I do not. know what the hon. Member means by saying it is not serious. I think Members of Parliament should not allow in Acts certain phrases and words which allow different interpretations to be put upon their meaning by different people throughout the country. I think this is a very serious question for working men themselves, for they cannot tell what decision will be given by health committees or approved societies. Although the Amendment does not propose to spend money, that does not alter the question. I understand that under the Amendment it will be open to different people to give different decisions as to who is and who is not dependent. That is a very serious question, and it is one I wish to have some explanation upon from the Attorney-General. If he says I am wrong, I am perfectly willing to be convinced.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The hon. Baronet is wrong in the view he takes in so far as he seems to consider that different societies may take different lines on the matter of principle. All that a local health committee or an approved society has to deal 237 with is a question of fact. It seems to me the point is perfectly clear. There is no doubt as to what is to be done. The only question is whether a person is dependent, and it is not relevant to that question to ask the relationship between him and the insured person who goes into an institution. The sole question is whether that person has been either wholly or in part dependent upon the person who is accommodated in an institution. If the society or the local health committee find that that is so, what they have then to do under the Bill is to apply the money. The only point of the Sub-section is to make it clear that the approved society or the local health committee has to determine that question. We tried at first to introduce not a definition, but a statement of the persons to be included. We came to the conclusion, after considering the various Amendments of which notice had been given by hon. Members on both sides of the House, that it was necessary to find the most elastic words possible, because the last thing desired was to deprive a person who up to that moment had been receiving money from the breadwinner of the help he had been getting because that breadwinner was the inmate of an institution. What was intended was that the same state should continue. We do not want courts of law in this matter. That is impossible machinery for a matter of this kind, and therefore it is left to the approved society who are themselves interested, and who therefore may very well, if you place any confidence at all in friendly societies, be left to determine the question of fact on broad lines. All the Committee will be doing by accepting the Amendment I am proposing is to leave the question of fact to be determined by the local health committee or the approved society without any question of principle being gone into at all.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Mr. DUKE
There is considerable danger that the intention of the Attorney-General will be disappointed by the use of the words he proposes. The Attorney-General proposes to use words which will leave it absolutely in the discretion of the approved society or the health committee to say whether a particular person is or is not dependent. I am sure that is not the intention. It certainly will not carry out the intention of the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Keir Hardie) who asked the hon. and learned Gentleman just now whether an illegitimate child would have the same right in a court of 238 law as a legitimate child. The fact is that neither of them will have any right, and as regards their absence of right they will be quite equal. That is not the intention of the Attorney-General. I am sure it cannot be intended that a health committee in some part of the country shall set itself up as a tribunal to exercise its discretion uncontrolled as to whether there is dependency or not. There is a method by which a decision can be secured, and that is to put on a named authority the duty of ascertaining who dependents are. Then they could be controlled in the county court, or you might introduce some words which would give to a person claiming to be a dependent the right to have reviewed an unreasonable decision of the local health committee. Nobody wants any interference by courts of law with these committees, who are exercising domestic jurisdiction. One knows quite well there are rare occasions on which these committees exercise domestic jurisdiction, not only harshly, but in a manner totally contrary to the very principles of equity. They are left uncontrolled by the words of the learned Attorney-General; it is left to their unfettered determination. If they are to be left without any review, it should be left to be ascertained and not to be determined. On the other hand, I think it would be a wise and proper precaution to see that any unreasonable action in this respect should be controlled, and in any event I do not think that the word "determined" is the word which will meet the intentions of many Members of this Committee.
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
The definition of "dependent," which this House has already passed in another Act, has worked exceedingly well, and that definition in the Workmen's Compensation Act of 1906 might very well be left in this Bill. The Clause of this Bill appears to be taken almost entirely from Clause 13 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1906. There you have the definition: "Dependents mean such of the members of the workman's family as were wholly or in part dependent upon the earnings of the workman at the time of his death, or would but for the incapacity due to the accident have been so dependent," and so on; and then it defines in the next paragraph what the members of the family are. Those members of the family are exactly the ones that are set out in this Bill. If you accept the suggestion of the learned 239 Attorney-General, and leave it to the approved societies themselves to say who is and who is not a dependent within the meaning of this Act, you make it quite possible to have rival definitions of the word "dependent" in regard to the very same man. You will have the Act of Parliament of 1906 deciding who is a dependent within the meaning of that Act if he has an accident, and you will have the approved societies coming along with reference to the same man and the same accident, and saying "that person is not a dependent in. our opinion." There you get a cross set of purposes between the two definitions.
The definition in the Workmen's Compensation Act of 1906 is a legal definition, and cannot be controverted. It is a definition which has worked exceedingly well during the last five years. I do not think there has been the least difficulty in my experience in deciding under that Act who is and who is not a dependent, and I would venture to suggest that in the interest of the workman himself it is very much better to stick to that definition which you have already got than to attempt to impose a new definition at the arbitrary will of the committee of an approved society, who may in one town say so-and-so is a dependent, and in an adjoining town may come to quite a different decision. If we accept the Clause in the Workmen's Compensation Act we shall have one Clause defining dependents throughout the length and breadth of England, and if a man asks if he is a dependent it will be perfectly easy to say whether he is or is not, but if he has to ask under the learned Attorney-General's Amendment whether he is a dependent or not, the answer will be, "I cannot say; you must wait until your approved society has made up its mind." I trust that the Government will not press the Amendment, but will accept the Bill as it stands, carrying out the definition of the Workmen's Compensation Act of 1906.
§ Mr. CHIOZZA MONEY
The Attorney-General, in explaining his Amendment, used the words, "irrespective of relationship." Has he any objection to inserting those words in the Amendment?
§ Mr. CASSEL
I hope that the Committee will not take up time in settling a long table of consanguinities. Look at the table of consanguinities we have already got and the cases it omits. It omits nephews and nieces; it omits the case of 240 an adopted child, and it omits numerous other cases which I could mention. If we try to settle a table the chances are we shall omit the cases which most of all require to be included, and it would be safer to put in general words which would cover the case that we want to meet. That is the case where the bread-winner is in hospital and we want the person who has previously been dependent upon or supported by his earnings to get the sick benefit. The only question raised by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Duke) was the question as to what tribunal was to either ascertain or determine this. It is a question for the Committee whether it does not think that the health committees and the societies are not good enough to decide this question without further appeal to a court of law. I should have thought that that was a question that might be well left to those societies to settle. The only question they have got to settle, either to determine or to ascertain—I do not think it makes very much difference which it is—is whether the particular person in question is dependent upon or supported by the earnings of the person in hospital. That is the only relevant question. They are able to decide on the Clause as it stands, and it is a question which would still remain for their decision even if you put in the table of consanguinities.
§ Sir RANDOLF BAKER
For my part I much prefer the way this Clause now stands to the table of consanguinities to which the Member for West St. Pancras (Mr. Cassel) referred. I think it might be advisable to have some right of appeal to some person. A court of law, perhaps, would be a cumbersome method, but if some right of appeal were given, it would meet most of the objections which have been raised to the Attorney-General's words.
§ Mr. CHARLES BATHURST
May I ask whether it is the intention of the right hon. Gentleman, in his proposed Amendment, that the decision as to who is a dependent shall rest with the approved society in the case of one of its members and with the health committee in the case of the Post Office depositors? I venture to suggest to him that as his Amendment is framed, it would be an alternative to the dependent to appeal to either one or the other according to his own discretion. You will notice that in Sub-clause 4 it is specifically laid down that the persons concerned in each case are the persons by 241 whom the sickness disablement or maternity benefit of the insured person is administered. To make it absolutely clear, I would suggest that some similar words would be necessary in order that there shall not appear to be an alternative to every applicant to choose either one authority or the other.
§ Mr. A. LYTTELTON
May I give an instance of a problem which might be put before people who are unaccustomed to deciding legal matters? Take the case of a man who has abandoned his wife and children. As a rule he has formed an irregular connection by which he has other children. He is incapacitated; the issue arises between the two sets of persons, which are dependents. The illegitimate children and the illegitimate mistress are those who have been in immediate receipt of the earnings of the worker. Which would be entitled as between those two sets of parties to the insurance money? I have a serious doubt as to whether that is a question which ought to be left to the decision of an approved society.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
You put a complicated question of fact that has to be dealt with. I am not presuming for a moment to say what the decision would be, because it would not be a legal decision: it is a question of fact. I can quite conceive cases in which if the irregular family has actually been receiving money at the time the man goes into the institution, they would have some right to the money. I can also conceive that the legitimate wife and her family have some right to the money. If I were an approved society I would consider that they were both entitled to a portion of the money between them.
§ Question, "That the words 'of the' stand part of the Clause," put, and negatived.242
§ Question proposed, after the words "shall include" to insert the words "such persons as the approved society or the local health committee may determine to be wholly or in part dependent upon the earnings of such inmate of any such institution as aforesaid."
§ Amendment to proposed Amendment agreed to.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I beg to move to leave out Sub-section (4):—
"The society or committee by which the sickness disablement or maternity benefit of any insured persons is administered, may enter into any agreement with the proper officers or authorities of any convalescent home or sanatorium admission to which is conditional on the payment of the whole or any part not less than one half of the cost of maintenance, for the payment thereto of any sickness disablement or maternity benefit which would, apart from this Section, be payable to or in respect of any such person who becomes an inmate of such home, during any period for which he remains an inmate."
§ Question proposed, "That the words of the Sub-section down to the word 'convalescent' ["officers or authorities of any convalescent home"] stand part of the Clause."
§ Mr. POLLOCK
I do not think this Sub-section should be left out unless there is some good ground shown for it. The Sub-section as I read it is the only provision, which enables the society or committee to enter into an agreement with the proper officers or authorities of the convalescent home or sanatorium—an agreement which may be of great importance to a convalescent home or sanatorium. All that the Sub-section gives is permissive power to a society or committee to enter into an agreement with the proper officers of the convalescent home or sanatorium. Surely we ought to leave some power in the Bill for that purpose, and I do not see any reason why the Subsection should be deleted. What the 243 Committee have done this afternoon is to provide how the money which will be deflected from the insured person during certain periods while he is an inmate of the hospital or infirmary or convalescent home shall be made use of or deflected into the hands of either his dependents or possibly in part to a hospital, and so on. We still want the power conferred by the Sub-section by which the approved society or health committee can make an agreement with the convalescent home or sanatorium authorities. It does not require that an agreement shall be made, but if the approved society or health committee think that the position of the person to whom they have regard, and whose interests they are looking after, would be preserved by making an, agreement with the convalescent home or sanatorium, surely there ought to be power for them to make that agreement. It is not compulsory; it is only permissive; it seems to fill up what is really a gap, and if you were to delete the Sub-section you would restrict the power of the society or committee to make these agreements, and I think it would be a great misfortune if the Sub-section were left out. No sufficient ground has been shown for it, and I hope the Committee will not delete the Subsection, but will leave it in the Bill for the purpose of serving the object for which it was originally placed there, namely, to give permissive powers in circumstances in which may be thought wise by the health committee or by the society to exercise them.
§ Mr. FORSTER
I only rise to appeal to the Attorney-General to give some answer on this matter. I really do not understand why it is that the Government wish to keep out Sub-section (4). The reason cannot be so far as any Amendment already put into this Clause is concerned, that is to say, the Amendment which the Chancellor of the Exchequer moved earlier this afternoon, because that only relates to the particular category of insured persons. It might very well be that the approved society and local health committee may find it desirable in the interests of their members to make such arrangements as are suggested in the Subsection. I think the Attorney-General ought to tell us the reason why the Government move to leave it out.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I was about to reply when the hon. Gentleman rose. The Government desire to leave out Sub-sec- 244 tion (4) in consequence of the adoption of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Amendment, which, it is quite clear, provides for an agreement being made, and we have introduced the words "convalescent home." It is, therefore, intended that an agreement shall be made, and having introduced those words they make it quite plain that an agreement can be made by the society or committee, and it is not necessary to retain this Sub-section (4), which was intended to cover the ground which has been dealt with. We think that the ground is sufficiently covered already by the provision we have made.
§ Mr. FORSTER
The only question I have in my mind is whether or not the power will be given to the society to make special arrangements with regard to these persons.
§ Mr. FORSTER
As long as that is quite clear then I think the case is at an end. As long as the Attorney-General can assure us that the position is safeguarded, then I think we might dispense with Sub-section (4). But I do think that we ought to leave the approved societies and health committee power to make those arrangements.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
What we are dealing with under this Clause has reference to money which we have already decided should not be paid to the member, and then it is provided that either in whole or in part, under an agreement, it may be paid to a hospital. As far as this Clause goes, Sub-section (4) becomes unnecessary. Later on, when we come to discuss what an approved society can do, we may want to introduce some more general provision, but this Clause with which we are dealing treats the matter of money which otherwise would go to the insured person.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I should like to draw the attention of the Attorney-General to the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Amendment makes no reference whatever to a sanatorium. This-Sub-section, which it is now proposed to delete, does specifically use the word "sanatorium," and it is provided that arrangements shall be made with the officials of the sanatorium. Is it proposed to leave out such an arrangement altogether?
§ Mr. POLLOCK
I am not quite satisfied that the Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which has been inserted in the Clause, really covers the same ground. The whole of Sub-section (3) only deals with the case where an inmate has no dependents. I am not satisfied that some powers are not needed such as are contained in Sub-section (4). If it is convenient that those powers should be inserted elsewhere, will the Attorney-General undertake that we shall have an opportunity of considering it from that point of view? If so, I will be satisfied; but if the Attorney-General says that he has covered the ground by the Amendment put in Sub-section (3) a short time ago, I do not think that is sufficient. I hope the Attorney-General will say that by leaving out Sub-section (4) at the present time, we are only leaving it out so that it may be dealt with more conveniently at a later stage of the Bill.
§ Amendment agreed to.