§ Considered in Committee.
§ [Mr. EMMOTT in the Chair.]
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I beg to move, "That for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to provide for Insurance against loss of Health, and for the prevention and cure of Sickness, and for Insurance against Unemployment, and for purposes incidental thereto, it is expedient:—
§ (1) To authorise the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament of—
- (a) Sums not exceeding two-ninths (or in the case of women one-quarter) of the cost of providing the benefits specified in Part I. of such Act and of the administration of those benefits, together with—
- (i.) as respects medical benefit, one-half of any excess expenditure on medical treatment and attendance (including the provision of medicines) for insured persons which may be sanctioned by the Treasury;
- (ii.) as respects sanatorium benefit, including research work in connection therewith, a sum not exceeding one penny a year for every insured person;
- (iii.) as respects benefits for persons who have been in the naval or military service of the Crown such additional sums as may be provided by the said Act;
- (b) A contribution not exceeding one-third of the total contributions received from employers and workmen in any year towards the cost of unemployment benefit and other payments to be made out of the unemployment fund established under Part II. of the said Act, and of a contribution by way of repayment to associations of persons of a part (in no case exceeding one-sixth) of the aggregate amount expended by such associations in payments to persons while unemployed; and
- (c) The salaries and remuneration of any commissioners, umpires, referees, and other officers and servants appointed in pursuance of such Act and other expenses incurred in the execution thereof;
§ (2) To authorise the Treasury to make for the purposes of Part II. of the said Act advances out of the Consolidated Fund, and to borrow money for such advances by the issue of Treasury Bills or Exchequer Bonds, the principle of and interest on such Exchequer Bonds to be charged on and payable out of the Consolidated Fund."
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
I understand this is the only occasion on which those of us who would like to propose Amendments to increase the contribution of the State, can raise that question. I suppose we shall follow the usual practice, that you will allow a certain amount of latitude in the discussion, and that it will take the form of a Second Reading debate. I and some of my hon. Friends have Amendments on the Paper proposing to leave out certain words which will have the effect of placing the whole of the cost of the scheme upon the State. [HON. MEMBERS: "Speak up."] I understand the Amendments that are on the Paper are out of order, because they propose to increase the amount of money which is proposed in the Government Resolution, and I think those who are in the position I occupy have some reason to complain of the way in which the 1392 Government have drafted this Resolution. It will not only be impossible to move the class of Amendments which stand in my name, but also any moderate Amendment which will have the effect of increasing the proportion of contribution borne by the State. I may perhaps at the outset be permitted to make a few remarks to justify in general terms the position I take up. This Bill, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer said, in placing his scheme before the House, is one to deal with a certain aspect of working-class poverty. That being so, I think it is necessary we should have a clear understanding as to the principles on which it is attempted to deal with the poorer part of our population. We must understand something of the cause of their poverty. We cannot improve the condition of the workers except by giving them in one form or another the enjoyment and use of a larger share of the national wealth. Therefore, the test I apply to this Bill is: will the proposals in their present form have the result of bringing to the working people of this country the enjoyment and use of a larger share than they have at the present time in the total national wealth? I frankly speak from the point of view of a Socialist. I said it is necessary we should understand some of the causes of poverty, and I do not think I can do better than quote the definition of the cause of working-class poverty given by the greatest economist of the 19th century, John Stuart Mill, who said:—The deep root of the evils and inequalities which fill the industrial world is the subjection of labour to monopoly and the enormous share which the owners of instruments of production are able to take from labour.7.0 P.M.
There you have the cause of working-class poverty. Certain people have a monopoly, and by the exercise of that monopoly they are able to keep the masses of the people poor, and to secure to themselves the greater part of the wealth which is produced. If we accept the proposition as laid down by this great economist, then any reform must strike at the root of that monopoly. It must in its result transfer to the working people a larger share than they have at the present time in the wealth which is produced. Will this Bill do that? If it would do that to any extent at all, and if that extent were as far as it is possible for this House to go, then it would be a measure we could support. I do not say this Bill, even if it be passed in the form in which it stands at present, would be altogether without advantages. I believe it will organise assistance in times 1393 of distress and will give a greater national security, but those for whom I speak—I do not speak in any sense as representing the views of my own party, but I believe there are Members in this House who will agree with the views I am going to put forward—do not think the advantages which would result from the Bill in its present form would be such that we could accept them without a very vigorous protest. I am opposed altogether to the principle of contributions, and the remainder of the remarks I shall make will be directed to opposition to the contributory scheme and in support of a non-contributory scheme. There are a number of objections against this scheme which occur to me. I think it is a wrong policy to put the burden of dealing with what is a special problem upon a section of the people. A contributory scheme takes a direct contribution, as in the case of this Bill, from certain selected classes who have no more obligation to deal with the problem than those who are not called upon to pay the contributions. A contributory, scheme, too, is costly, cumbersome, and irritating. My last objection is that such a contributory scheme as is proposed under this Bill is against the tendency of all recent legislation. The practice of requiring a direct contribution for social services has been gradually abandoned during the last thirty years, because it was both expensive and ineffective. I submit working people cannot afford to pay the contribution which is to be exacted from them under this Bill. The case in support of that has never been put more eloquently or more effectively and conclusively than by the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself. In certain parts of the speech he made in introducing this measure, he told a tale against the proposals he afterwards submitted to the House.
On that occasion he was dealing with a fact which he repeated this afternoon, namely, that at one time or another practically the whole of the wage-earning classes had been members of friendly societies, and that lapses to the extent of something like a quarter of a million occurred every year. In ten years 2½ millions and in twenty years five millions of lapses from friendly societies in the United Kingdom would, he said, take place. He went on to give the reason for it. He stated that these people were too poor to keep up their contributions. They could not afford to pay them continuously. There are a multitude of the working classes, he 1394 added, who cannot spare—the sum he was referring to was 4½d. per week—and ought not to be asked to spare the amount because it involved a deprivation of the children of the necessaries of life. Nothing I am able to say could put the case against compulsory contributions, of 4d. per week generally speaking, but in the case of a considerable part of our working-class population of 6½d. per week, than those words. I believe more than two millions of working men are to be compulsorily insured under the unemployment part of the Bill, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer is proposing to take from these classes a contribution which, in his own words, they ought not to be called upon to pay, because they cannot afford to pay it.
What does 6½d. or 4d. per week mean? My hon. Friend, the Member for Bradford, in connection with a Bill dealing with the feeding of school children some time since, laid facts before this House showing that in the city of Bradford, which, I understand, judged by the income-tax returns, is the richest city in the provinces, there is a very large number of working-class families whose income is only sufficient to allow l½d. per day for food per head of family, and, therefore, this contribution of 4d. practically means three clays' food being taken away from people of that particular class. As a matter of fact there are more than two million families in this country whose income is less than £l per week, and this 4d. per week in their case means that the families are to be deprived of one day's food per week. I submit that that is a charge which this House ought not to place on the working people of this country, who, at the present time, are not able even to get a sufficiency of food, shelter and clothing. The working-class families of this country cannot pay this 4d. per week without depriving themselves of some necessary expenditure which they now incur. In every working-class family in the country to-day every penny of income is mortgaged before it is received, and if there is an additional 4d. or 6½d. to be paid out it means that the children will have to go without food, that meals will have to be abandoned, and that, in other ways, the poverty and privations of the people will be aggravated.
My second objection was that it is irritating and cumbersome. I am quite sure if this Bill passes into law the compulsory deduction every week from the wages of workmen will be very much resented. I remember, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer was speaking on the Old Age 1395 Pensions Bill and was dealing with the German system, he brushed that aside as un-English, and he pointed out, with regard to the German contributory scheme that this country was not like Germany, as the conditions were altogether different. I am perfectly sure from my experience of working people that when these deductions are compulsorily paid a great deal of irritation, annoyance, and opposition will be created. My third objection was that this proposal, imposing a direct compulsory contribution for the payment of social services was altogether in opposition to precedent. We began forty years ago by imposing a direct contribution on the parents of children to pay for the education of their children, and it took thirty years of agitation to get rid of it. The principle of State financial responsibility is embodied in nearly all recent legislation—in the Workmen's Compensation Acts, in Public Health Acts and even in the old age pension legislation. I do not think it would be possible to find in present-day legislation any precedent for the proposals of this Bill. Proposals of direct contribution have, I repeat, been abandoned because of their irritating nature, their costliness and their ineffectiveness.
I come now to that part of the Bill which proposes to levy a direct contribution on the employer. I do not know whether it is necessary for me to make this explanation at the outset of my remarks, but I will say I am not speaking out of any feeling of sympathy with the employer. The case I shall attempt to put against imposing a direct contribution on the employer is because I feel it will prove diastrous to working men themselves. I really cannot imagine any sensible reason why an employer should be called upon to make a direct contribution for the support of his workpeople during times of sickness. I can imagine reasons which might be advanced, but, in my opinion, they are altogether unsatisfactory. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has already said, and he will probably repeat the statement tonight, that he cannot afford to find out of the National Exchequer, the money required for the finance of this scheme, and that he is, therefore, driven to this system of contributions. A second reason which might be put forward is that the employer has a fatherly interest in his workmen. But surely we have got past that. The obligation to improve the condition of workpeople, especially in such a matter as this, is not on the employer, it is on the com- 1396 munity, and to put the obligation of supporting his workpeople during sickness on the employer is going back to the days of the patriarchs, days which I thought we had altogether left behind us. It has been advanced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the contributions from the employer are justified because he will gain through the improved efficiency of the workmen. Surely this again cannot be seriously advanced. Does not the employer gain from everything which is done, and which improves the efficiency of the workmen? Have not our Education Acts improved the efficiency of labour? Yet you do not exact direct contribution from the employer in order to pay for the education of his workpeople. Do not our Public Health Acts improve the physical condition of the workpeople? Yet you do not ask for a direct contribution from the employer in respect of them. [An HON. MEMBER: "There are the rates."] Yes, there are the rates, which everybody pays. I will deal with that later on. We are told that the Chancellor of the Exchequer cannot find the money. Of course he can do so, if he is so disposed.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
The right hon. Gentleman told us, during his speech in introducing the Bill that during the tenure of office of this Government £12,000,000 had been added to our naval expenditure. The right hon. Gentleman had no difficulty in finding that money, and it would be just as easy for him to find money for this purpose as it is to find it for the purposes of destroying life. It seems to be very generally agreed—it has always been assumed that he will make the attempt—that the employer will succeed in shifting the burden of his contribution on to somebody else. I rather gather that the Chancellor of the Exchequer agrees to that. In some cases no doubt this will be done. It depends on the extent of the severity and keenness of competition in a particular trade. If trade be good and the profits large, and if the trade is well organised, I should think it would be very easy for the employer to shift the burden. But take the. case of the cotton trade. That is a trade which depends to the extent of four-fifths of its supplies upon markets abroad. It is occasionally subjected to keen foreign competition, and therefore it is a trade in which it will be found much more difficult for the employer to shift the burden. It has been often mentioned that the German employer is in favour of a contribu- 1397 tory scheme. Quite so! But then we know the reason for that. That is part of the price that the German employer pays for having a protected market, where he can more than recoup himself by putting the cost upon the consumer.
Another objection that I have to the contribution to be paid by the employer is that it will be most unfair in its incidence and will tax some trades to a fan greater extent than others. Take the trade which, in a Parliamentary sense, I am especially interested in, the staple trade of the constituency that I represent, the Lancashire cotton trade. I have had worked out for me by a very competent accountant the figures as to the cost of the employers' contribution upon that trade, and he has taken a period of six years, so as to include both good times and bad times, and in taking an instance where the employer has 500 looms, employing 200 workpeople—and he works under the system which is common in Lancashire that he does not own the building himself, nor the fixed machinery, and the motive power is supplied by the company that owns the building—the employer will have to pay £130 a year as his contribution under this scheme. Taking the average profit of the trade at 10 per cent., and I am sure hon. Members will agree that the Lancashire cotton trade does not over an average of ten years pay a 10 per cent. profit, that would be equal to an Income Tax of 2s. in the £, and if the profit were less, as it would be during bad times, the burden, reduced to terms of Income Tax, would be all the greater.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Yes, a great deal less. Here in the Lancashire cotton trade it will work out at 10 per cent., or 2s. in the £. In the case of a large industry, where there is a smaller amount of labour employed in proportion to the output, the tax, reduced to terms of Income Tax, would be enormously less. I have, for instance, worked it out roughly as applied to the railway companies and the mines of this country, and I find the railway companies' contributions, reduced to terms of Income Tax, will work out at about 5d. in the £, and in the mining industry at about 2½d. in the £, whereas, when I come to distillery and brewery companies, I am not able, except by going into remote decimals, to estimate what it works out at. This is most unfair, be- 1398 cause it does not tax each industry on terms of equality. It is a direct incentive to employers, seeing that they are taxed upon the employment of labour, to reduce labour wherever possible and to employ machinery. It taxes those industries which are the most useful, because I think we all agree that those industries are most useful which provide the largest amount of useful employment. It seems to me, and I know I shall carry the sympathy of many hon. Members opposite here, that it will be especially hard upon agriculture because the burden is going to fall upon the farmer.
If I may go back to my illustration of the cotton trade, I referred to the system of the manufacturer not owning the power and the building, but under this Bill he alone, as the employer and as the profit taker, is to pay the contribution. The owners of the building, who equally make a profit out of the employment of this labour, are to be altogether exempt. Again, in the cotton trade, as in most trades, we have middlemen—agents—who are paid by commission upon the price of the goods, and therefore if the price increases on account of the increase in the cost of production the middle man's commission will be larger. He will gain by it, and yet at the same time he will be altogether exempt from making any contribution to this scheme. Something of the same sort is going to happen in regard to agriculture. It is the farmer who is to pay the employers' contribution. What about the landlord? Why should the landlord be exempted? Why should the Chancellor of the Exchequer now show such sympathy with the landlords? When the Budget Bill was under discussion I protested against certain treatment he was giving to the landowners, and he described me as a crusted old Tory. He is the crusted old Tory now. Under the Income Tax Act the landlord's rent is three times the profit of the farmer, and yet the tax has to be put upon the farmer, and the landlord is totally exempt. He does nothing, I believe, to earn the economic rent. He may invest capital, but that is nothing to do with economic rent. So far I have been arguing on the assumption that the burden will remain with the employer, but I believe he will succeed in shifting it. Who is going to pay it?
Before asking that question, may I deal with another curious point in this Bill in regard to the employers' contribution? The Chancellor of the Exchequer proposes. in a Schedule to increase the employers' 1399 contribution where the wages are low. I should be very much interested to hear the arguments by which the Chancellor of the Exchequer supports that when we come to that stage of the Bill. I can only imagine one reason, that he assumes that where wages are low profits are high. It may be so in some cases, but I do not think it is the general rule. I think the general rule is the other way about, that wages are low because the industry really cannot afford to pay more. It might be a good thing—I think it would be a good thing—if these industries from one cause or another were driven out of existence altogether, but that, of course, is an entirely different matter. The employer can recoup himself in two ways. If he raises prices, which is probably the method he would adopt, that will take from the consumer more than it brings to the revenue of this scheme, because, of course, in the passage of the article through many hands a profit will be added at each stage to the cost. Another way in which he may recoup himself will be by economising. Suppose—and I have no doubt it will be so—that there is greater efficiency on the part of the workpeople as the result of the working of this scheme, that means that the workpeople are going to have to suffer again, because increased efficiency under competition means a greater output per workman, and it means, therefore, the employment of less labour in order to bring in the same amount. The way in which it is proposed, therefore, under this head to deal with the employers' contribution seems to me to be objectionable, because they put an obligation on the employers which is not theirs any more than that of any other section of the community. I can justify putting the cost of workman's compensation on the employer, because the accident can be in most cases directly attributed to the responsibility of the employer, but it is not so in the case of sickness. The sickness may be, and is in some cases, due to causes over which the employer has no control at all, and I am heartily in favour of that Clause in the Bill which proposes to penalise the negligent employer and the negligent landlord, but that raises an entirely different principle.
The incidence of this is bad because it will not remain where it is first imposed, and it is most unfair because it is not taxing the employer according to his means of paying. It puts an exceptional burden upon the most useful trades, and 1400 taxes those most who have the hardest struggle to exist, and it lets off most lightly those who are best able to pay. The Chancellor of the Exchequer asked me just now how I would raise this money. It is not for me to suggest that, but I do not mind responding to his question. He had an interview with some Socialists a few weeks ago, and in the course of his conversation with them he stated that it would mean an Income Tax of 7d. in the £ if the State assumed entire responsibility for this. He is going to place upon the employers under this Bill a sum which eventually will be equal to 3d. or 4d. in the £ of Income Tax at the present rate of the yield of Income Tax. Therefore it would not make any difference to the employer if he paid directly in his Income Tax, but in putting it upon the Income Tax and upon Death Duties it will be much more difficult to shift the incidence of such a tax. It would be then not a tax upon the cost of production. It would be a tax on property. If I had been permitted to move the Amendment which stands in my name I should not have moved it with any very great hope that I should have been able to induce the Chancellor of the Exchequer to accept it. But that does not in the least lessen my confidence that it is right, nor does it lessen my confident belief that by and by we shall have to come to the position that I have attempted to put before the Committee. I am quite sure if the Bill passes into law the agitation in favour of a non-contributory scheme will grow in volume, and that within the next generation we shall do what we have done in regard to national education and other services which have come to be recognised as national in their character, and the State will accept entire responsibility and will spread the burden as equitably as possible over every section of the community.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not see how this arises. The hon. Gentleman must speak to the scheme of finance. He can oppose it, but he cannot talk about the other question with which he is dealing.
§ The CHAIRMAN
We are not discussing the Second Reading of the Bill. We are discussing the Financial Resolution, which must be passed if we are to discuss the financial Clauses of the Bill. The hon. Gentleman can discuss the financial scheme of the Bill, but that is the only point before us.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I have already pointed out that this is a Resolution which enables us to proceed with the Bill, although I think it is not an occasion for the discussion of the whole question of the finance of the Bill. The hon. Member (Mr. Snowden) has put before the Committee points which are relevant to the consideration of the Resolution. He has put them with his usual courage and eloquence. I thought I could congratulate him on having one convert, but I now find that the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Hunt) did not get up to support the view of the hon. Member for Blackburn. As I understand the position of the hon. Member his view is that the whole of this burden ought to be cast upon the State.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN indicated assent.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Yes, that is an intelligible point of view, and I have no doubt it can be defended except by those responsible for raising the money. The hon. Gentleman seemed to think that 7d. on the Income Tax would be a proper proposal to make. I would rather hand over the responsibility for such a proposal to him. I do not know that I could undertake to face the House of Commons if it were my duty to propose an increase of Income Tax all round to the extent of 7d. I find it rather difficult to get 2d., with 6d. from those whose incomes are over £5,000. But if he proposed to put on the increase all round, I am not sure that the hon. Member would find in his own party very many supporters, and outside of it I am sure he would find very few. He took up the cudgels for the employers, and it was a very edifying spectacle to see the hon. Member for Blackburn defending the employers of this country.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Well, at any rate, we will say that he assumed the role of protector of capitalists. I congratulate him upon his courage, and I congratulate them upon securing such a very efficient defender. He will be very useful in defending capital. But with the usual zeal of a convert, he has done it with great zest. He wants to protect the railway companies. He thinks it a most monstrous thing that railway companies should pay 5d. in the pound. Then he referred to the cotton spinners in Lancashire. Let me say that under this scheme the railway companies will pay 5d., while under his proposal they would pay 7d. He treats the whole contribution of the State as if it were a negligible quantity. He seemed to think it is of no benefit to anybody, and that it is just a burdensome scheme which gives nothing to the employés. He took up that attitude also on the Old Age Pensions. He got up and talked about this miserable sum of £7,000,000. That is not. so miserable a sum if you have to raise it. It takes a lot of raising. It is very difficult to raise. It gave rise to a controversy which lasted nearly two years, which shook the constitution, which is still raging, and I should be the last man in this House to venture to predict what will happen But it all arose out of an attempt to raise-money for Old Age Pensions. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] It arose out of an attempt to raise money for Old Age Pensions and the Navy. You cannot raise-taxation in this country without exciting every interest. If you attempt to put an enormous burden on the capitalists, I certainly think that you will find history will repeat itself. To say that the sum of money we are raising in this case will not benefit anybody is to be carried away by partisanship beyond the realms of reason.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that I said that? I admitted that there were some benefits.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I am very glad to have that explanation. The sum, at any rate of £21,000,000, is raised under this scheme to go for the benefit of the working classes. Out of that amount there is a sum raised of £5,000,000 out of taxes. There is already raised £13,000,000, for this is simply part of a general scheme. It started with old age pensions, and we are now going to supplement that by this scheme. We have raised £13,000,000 out of taxes for the purpose of paying members of the industrial classes who cannot 1403 otherwise find any provision outside of the workhouse. Now we have raised another £5,000,000, making together £18,000,000, which come from State funds. Compare that with what has been done in Germany. The hon. Gentleman says I go to Germany for my precedents. I take Germany for the purpose of contrasting what has been done there with the liberality of our provisions. For old age pensions, permanent debility, and sickness, Germany only provides £2,500,000 from the State for all that great population. In this country we raise £18,000,000 for the purpose, and it will not be necessary in my opinion to impose a single penny more to meet that great liability. The hon. Gentleman disparaged the benefits which are provided under this scheme. I do not think he gave the same prominence to the benefits conferred upon the workers as he did to the wrongs of the employers. I think it is necessary to give a few touches to the rather faint strokes he has given in order to bring out, as it were, that part of the picture which shows the benefits which are conferred upon the workers. There is subscribed by the State £18,000,000 for the benefit of the workers.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The hon. Gentleman is perfectly wrong there. If you will look at all the taxes out of which this money is raised, so far as I recollect, you have to take the duty on whisky and the charge on tobacco. These are the articles on which the workers make their contributions. That is certainly not half. I am referring to taxes for this purpose. For this purpose the bulk of the taxation has been upon those who have incomes of over £5,000, upon largo estates of over £10,000, upon those who have unearned incomes of over £160, and upon those who have earned incomes over £2,000. I think the hon. Gentleman will agree that these taxes come from employers and capitalists. Let me look at the contribution which will be raised out of the employers. It is something like £10,000,000, so that a sum amounting to £20,000,000 is raised for the benefit of the workers in connection with the whole of this series of schemes. I do not think the hon. Gentleman should ignore altogether that state of the question. He may say you are not distributing the money in the best way There 1404 is nothing in this resolution to prevent a change in the distribution. I do not say that the way proposed is the best. I do not know that the hon. Member may not be able to suggest a better way. I have had many suggestions made to me which I think will improve the scheme, and I hope we will incorporate them in it. I do not want the hon. Gentleman to dwell on one side and to ignore the workers. I wish him to know the magnitude of the benefits conferred upon the workers, lest in a moment of misapprehension due to criticisms which are not intended to convey that idea, they might forget what the enormous advantages are. The hon. Gentleman seemed to think that the employers would shift the burden on to the workers, but I do not agree with him there. It has not happened in Germany. On the contrary, wages have steadily risen since their scheme was introduced. Does the hon. Gentleman deny that?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I have no doubt that other causes were contributory, but I have not the slightest doubt that wages have risen. I say that during a period of twenty years wages have risen in this country. Of course, the German worker had a much greater leeway to make up. He started on a lower level. When you get up to a certain amount, of course the ratio of increase must be smaller, whether in this country or in Germany. What I want to point out is that so far from the burden being cast upon the workers in Germany, it is borne there by the employers, who receive benefit through the increased efficiency of the workers. That is the view which has been expressed by a considerable number of employers of very high standing in Germany whose opinion we have sought. They are of opinion that they get back their money in the increased efficiency of the worker. I should have thought that the hon. Member would have been the first to take that view. Surely the view of the hon. Gentleman is that everything you do for the benefit of the worker in the way of improving his housing conditions, the sanitary conditions under which he lives, the conditions under which he works, and under which he brings up his children, everything of that kind is refunded to the State, and to every class of the State, by the increased efficiency of the worker himself.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
My point was that the advantage of this increased efficiency should go to every section of the community; it is all appropriated by the landowning community.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Is not the hon. Member making my case? What I say is that the employers would benefit by the increased efficiency.' That is the very point I make. In order to contradict it he says it is absorbed by the capitalists. The point which I am making is the point that the employer will benefit undoubtedly by increased efficiency. But surely he is not the only man who will benefit. The man who benefits principally is the man whose health is improved, the man who is saved from sickness, the man whose children are protected, whose house is cleansed of the scourge of tuberculosis. That is the man who primarily benefits—himself and his household. If this scheme benefits employés and benefits the workman and his household, and the capitalist and his business, is not that a scheme that benefits the whole community, and benefits the State? Therefore I think that the hon. Gentleman will not persist in the opposition which ho has offered to this proposal. I think we have distributed in a way that will be the slightest burden upon the whole community. You have got to raise £21,000,000 for this purpose, and I submit to the House that the way proposed is the most effective way, and the way that will cause least interference with trade.
§ Mr. LAURENCE HARDY
I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman has altogether dealt with the somewhat larger question raised by the hon. Member for Blackburn in connection with the employer's contribution; because there is no doubt whatever that the contribution does fall unequally upon certain industries and that it falls most unequally upon those which are least able to bear it. In the case of failing industries, industries which just carry on. but which give a large amount of labour—I can put my finger upon several very large firms who carry on their business under great difficulties—the new tax will be a very serious matter for them when their profits are small. There-Tore it does raise the very point which the hon. Member for Blackburn raised, namely, that it is a deterrent to further employment and that it discourages the employer from continuing to use the fullest amount of his labour. That must in itself be a great deterrent and a great evil so far as the employer of labour is con- 1406 cerned. There is no doubt that the Chancellor put very clearly the advantage to the State. For myself I do not think that there is any doubt as to the advantage to the employers, but I do think that there is a great deal to be said about the actual incidence of this new burden placed upon the employer, especially when we approach the agricultural point of view. There really can be no question as to the possibility of shifting the charge. Nobody can suggest that with the competition which we have in connection with agricultural industry there can be any opportunity for shifting this charge on to the price. There is no reason to believe it.
There is in this case a low paid class of labour, and the employer himself in a vast number of instances in this country—I was astonished at the result when making inquiries about it—is not even an Income Tax payer even though he may be a considerable employer. It is on that man that you throw the burden of this new charge, and he has to bear it according to this Bill. What I object to in this Money Resolution that we are asked to pass to-day is that in its terms it binds us down so closely that we are unable altogether in discussion on the Bill to alleviate the difficulties and dangers which we see on this point. It is impossible for us for instance to do anything to alleviate what we think is a very great grievance in connection with the low paid labour as affecting the agricultural industry. We are not able to make a greater charge than two-ninths. That leaves seven-ninths to be divided between the employer and employé, and if we suggest that it is very hard for the farmer to have to pay extra contribution it means we are bound, if we pass this Resolution, to throw upon the labourer, who is still less able to pay, that extra contribution. In passing this we are preventing ourselves in the future from really approaching the difficulties which appeal most to us to come from agricultural Constituencies. There is another point. We are asked in this Resolution to bind ourselves in a strict manner to contribute, so far as the State is concerned, only one half of any excess in connection with medical benefits, which may be provided, which are dealt with under Clause 14 of the Bill. That means we have no power when the Bill comes to be discussed of objecting to the other half being thrown upon the local rates.
We have heard a lot about that during the present Session of Parliament. The 1407 Government themselves have instituted a committee and they have promised again and again to give immediate attention to it. There is not a matter on which those who come from agricultural Constituencies are more strongly pledged than to resist any legislation involving any further charge on the rates. Yet if you pass this Money Resolution as it stands now we debar ourselves objecting to the passage of a Bill in which a new charge is placed upon the rates. It seems to me most uncalled for that this Bill if passed into law should bring in another contributor, the ratepayer, who after all is in most cases the very man whom you are obliging to pay the contribution under this Bill. Let us remember when this charge for excess medical benefit is much more likely to arise in the country than in the towns, and therefore it is the rural ratepayer on whom this new burden will fall. In connection with the rates everybody knows that any regular charge made for medical benefits must inevitable be made larger in consideration of the needs of agricultural districts. The mere fact that the doctor has to travel such long distances to go to his patients scattered over a very sparsely populated district involves an extra over the ordinary rate. That means that these excesses are more likely to arise in the country. Therefore they will fall upon the country rates, already too heavily burdened, and will come back upon the farmer, who already is the most seriously burdened of all classes in connection with this Bill.
Therefore, however we look at this Money Resolution, we find that it would deprive us of the possibility of raising on the Bill the very questions that we desire. Why did the Government lay down so strictly their Money Resolution with reference to these points. When they got to seamen and soldiers they were much more general in their words. Although in the Bill those benefits for seamen are described, yet in the Money Resolution they take powers to have such additional sums as may be provided by the said Act, They give freedom to the House to discuss what those provisions will be. By that means we are allowed the liberty of discovering the sense of the House in dealing with the matter. But when we are dealing with these other matters, questions of medical relief, the two-ninths, which are much more important to us, we are bound absolutely down and are prevented from dealing with all the matters that really 1408 come most closely home to us. On those grounds I certainly do take serious exception to the Money Resolution as it is framed at the present time, and I hope that before it passes from us we may obtain from, the Chancellor of the Exchequer some greater elesticity, so that when we are discussing the Bill we may be able really to go into the. points which affect us so closely in agricultural districts.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I rise to support the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden). Yesterday the Chancellor of the Exchequer attacked me without answering my arguments, and so to-day I think he has rather attacked my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn without answering his charges in argument. After all, the argument of the hon. Member for Blackburn that carried most weight with the House was the expression of the undoubted fact that the money required for this sickness insurance comes from the wealth produced by the community as a whole. Part may come from taxation, part from the contributions of the worker, part from the contributions by the employer; but however it comes, it is in every sense a tax on the wealth produced by the community, and the community on the whole will be no better off nor no worse off, although it may call part of this tax a contribution. In the old days of the Lancastrian kings, when it was found that the king could no longer levy taxation he levied what he called a "benevolence," a compulsory loan, upon his vassals, but it amounted to the same thing. It was taxation. So at the present time the contributions from the work people, the contributions from the master, and the contributions from the community out of taxation amount to one and the same thing.
Instead of your total taxation, amounting to £180,000,000 a year, these compulsory contributions really add to the total revenue of the country. It does not matter in the least what you call your tax as long as it is part of the wealth produced by the workers of this country, taken by the State and doled out as the State thinks right. But I am supporting the hon. Member for Blackburn on other grounds than merely explaining that however you raise the money it is a tax. The hon. Member for Blackburn said that there were certain classes who were too poor to make the various contributions. I would like to emphasise that fact. There-are certain classes very ill paid, and 1409 though thrift is an excellent thing it is possible that for a community as a whole thrift will be a bad thing if it is forced upon very poor people. No doubt it is a good thing that people should have something laid up when they are sick to tide over the bad time, but if the money is to be saved compulsorily by the State or voluntarily by individuals at the expense of the health and comfort and well-being of themselves and of the children of the community, then it is going to be a bad thing for the country as a whole. The hon. Member pointed out that the scheme, with its contributions from one source and another, was cumbrous and irritating, and would in the long run disappear, as did the compulsory contribution for education. There I think he was right. But he left out of account altogether the most important point of all and that is this: so long as the scheme of thrift was a voluntary scheme you were perfectly justified in adopting the contributory principle. But directly you make it compulsory, and say that a man must pay in any case, whether he wants to be thrifty or not, you are acting unjustly in using that same contributory principle. The principal objection to the finance of this Bill is that it is unjust to take 4d. from the man's wages and apply it to the purpose of which he does not approve. I do not think a trade union has a right to take part of the contribution of a workman and use it for political purposes of which he does not approve. But it is equally unjust to take 4d. a week from a man for purposes of which he does not approve, however wise the community as a whole may consider that object to be. Just as the hon. Member bases his opposition to the finance of this Bill on the welfare of the community, I base my objection to it on the ground that it is an unjust scheme of finance—that is to say, unjust so long as your scheme is compulsory. When you make it compulsory you ought to make the whole community and not the individual find the money.
In regard to the question of the employers' contribution, I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer need not have dragged up the hon. Member as a support of the employers in this matter. I am certainly with the hon. Member on this point. I do not wish to defend the employers in any way, but to see what the facts of the case must undoubtedly be. It is shown that the contribution from employers vary from 20 per cent. in some industries to a 1410 fractional percentage in others. The employers in each case are called upon to make different contributions, and the greatest interest of all, the landlord's interest, escapes entirely from any contribution whatsoever. I next consider the case of the employer's share and his ability to shift it in certain cases. Wherever an employer has a more or less complete monopoly—for instance, in the case of a railway company or gas or water franchise—wherever the employer is already getting from the consumer all that the consumer can pay, in that case the contribution of the employer will rest upon him, and he will not be able to shift it. Take the second case of the poor employer paying sweated wages and called upon to pay the biggest contributions under this Bill. In this case the men are not combined in strong trade unions, and it is just in this case where an employer will be able to shift his share of the contribution, and he will shift it on the workpeople themselves. They may not lose it from their pay at once, but they will not get the rise in pay they might otherwise get. There is, lastly, the vast mass of employers who are at present assisting in the production of wealth in free competition. In all these cases they will undoubtedly transfer their contributions on to the consumers of the country as a whole, so that the whole country will pay a tax indirectly towards this scheme. The hon. Member for Blackburn showed that the contributions from the employers could be translated into an extra Income Tax, but he missed the point that just as the employer's contribution can be transferred on to the whole community so the Income Tax at present is transferred to the whole community. If you tax capital you make capital dearer for those who want it to use it in production. You induce them to pay a higher rate of interest. Any tax on capital, whether on locomotives, steam ships, or factories, tends to increase the cost of what is produced by that capital, and therefore if you put on an Income Tax and instead of levying your contribution on the employer you levy an Income Tax on all generally, even then it will be shifted on to the consumers, namely, the community as a whole. There is only one tax which cannot be shifted.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
The hon. Member has stated it pretty clearly, although ho slurred it over in his usual artless way. 1411 The only tax that cannot be shifted, as was recognised by Mr. Harold Cox in this House two years ago, is a tax upon land values, and if you want to raise this money not from the community as a whole but from where it cannot be shifted or put upon the price of anything that is produced you must put it on the land values, say a penny in the pound on the capital selling value of land apart from improvements. I will not leave the question there. The hon. Member as well as the Chancellor of the Exchequer was very anxious that the beneficiary should pay his share towards the benefits he was going to receive, and the right hon. Gentleman protested that the people who were going to receive the benefits were the employers and the workpeople and the community as a whole. I think in that list he left out the chief beneficiary of the lot, and it is because the chief beneficiary escapes scot-free that I think this Bill is particularly bad. What will be the result of this insurance against sickness? The first result is that the people will not be turned out of their houses so readily when they come to be sick. They will be able to go on paying their rent, whereas otherwise they would be evicted. They will be left to live in their own homes instead of going into the workhouse. The people who will benefit by that are not only the workpeople but the landlords who own the house, and yet who are not asked to pay a single penny under this scheme. These people who are allowed to go on in their own houses instead of going into the workhouse or getting Poor Law relief will be assisting landlords in another way, because if they do not go into the workhouse or receive Poor Law relief the rates will be less and property owners will again receive a large part of the benefit under this Act. More than that, I believe that the Chancellor of the Exchequer showed conclusively that this Bill will in effect improve the whole conditions of labour as the producers of wealth in this country—that they will be able to produce more wealth per head in future than they can at present—that they will become better human machines and that that will be a benefit to the employer. No, Sir, in economics it will not benefit the employer. I should like to have the attention of the Treasury upon this point.
The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Hobhbuse)
I can assure 1412 the hon. Gentleman that I have been making careful notes of his confession of economic faith.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
The right hon. Gentleman said that the improvement of man as a wealth producing machine does produce an increase of wealth for himself or for the employer.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I would invite the hon. Member to address his observations to the Chair. It is not in order to carry on an informal conversation.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
The hon. Member below me (Mr. Chiozza Money) and I have carried on a long feud over this matter that I was rather carried away. I was intending to show that the improvement of man as a producing machine will not benefit him, because the wealth he produces will not be his, nor the employer, because all employers are in free competition one with another, but it will result in an increase of the land values of this country, and that the persons who have an article to sell which is not in competition and which is in fact a monopoly, the landlords, will be able to get this benefit from the increase of a productive power of the individual which will come from the passing of this Act. Therefore, because I believe the best way of raising the money for this compulsory insurance is by a tax upon land values, because it cannot be shifted on to the community, and that it is the only just way of raising the tax, I shall support the hon. Member for Blackburn.
§ Mr. HICKS BEACH
I cannot help feeling rather strongly that the incidence of the cost of this Bill will be very unfair. In the first place it would fall very severely, not so much upon the large employers, as upon the poor employers, with a small number of workmen, and whose profits are comparatively small. In very many cases the actual profits are not very much greater than the employer pays to some of his workers. A certain number of trades in this country, which are not in a flourishing condition, will be called upon to bear additional burdens under this Bill, while a great many very rich people, who do not employ a large amount of labour, but whose, income is largely derived from investments in other countries, will not be called upon to pay the charge under this Bill, save that proportion which they pay under the State contribution. That is a very unfair part of the incidence of this Bill. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said there was a great outcry 1413 about his Budget, and he tried to make out that the outcry was because the money levied was devoted to additional charges for the Navy and old age pensions; but the right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that the outcry against the Budget was not so much directed to the objects to which the money was to be applied, as to the very unfair way in which that money was raised. It has been quite truly said that to place a burden on the Income Tax that would amount to not less than 7d. in the £ would undoubtedly raise a very great outcry throughout the country. I think it is a matter for consideration whether really in the end it would not be a fairer way to the taxpayers of the country as a whole that the employer's contribution and the worker's contribution should be diminished to some extent, and that the contribution of the State, paid by the taxpayers as a whole, should be increased to some extent.
But the Second Reading of the Bill has now been passed, and we are not allowed to move any Amendment to this particularly skilfully-drawn Resolution, so that we cannot get any alteration made in that direction. As regards the contribution of the employés, there is one consideration which proves the necessity of persons who receive benefit under the Bill continuing to pay contributions, that being a deterrent against malingering. Where there is a local committee a contributor feels that he cannot malinger. The committee know who is getting the money; it comes out of their pockets, and they are induced, therefore, to keep a very sharp and watchful eye on the members of the society. If you did away with all the contributions from the employés it undoubtedly would be a very considerable premium on malingering throughout the country. The hon. Member for Blackburn alluded to the fact that certain industries are very unevenly treated under the Bill. He instanced the industry of agriculture, and I was very glad to hear the hon. Gentleman say that he thought agriculture was unfairly treated under this measure. I think ho is perfectly right in saying so. I do think that agriculturists have a considerable grievance against the Chancellor of the Exchequer. As the hon. Member for Blackburn mentioned, the agricultural labourer is underpaid. It is an obvious truism that labour which receives a low rate of remuneration is by no means the cheapest labour. In the southern parts of England agricultural labour is very much cheaper than in the North of England or 1414 in Scotland. I think that is due to the economic fact that the amount of work done by agricultural labourers in the southern parts of England is not nearly as great as that done by the better-paid labourers in the northern parts of the country. That is an obvious truism. In Scotland or in the northern part of England, for some reason or other—I do not know what it is—the labourers move their limbs more quickly than do the labourers in the South of England.
If you put an agricultural labourer from the north alongside an agricultural labourer in the south, the northern man will do twice as much work as the southern man. I should not wish to be understood as saying that the south country labourer is necessarily less deserving, for everybody knows that the agricultural labourers are an excellent body of men. Agricultural labourers will have to pay very considerable charges, though their labour is not well remunerated. Under this measure the employers and the employés will have to pay a charge which in many cases will amount to almost exactly the sum that a boy receives for his day's labour. Take particularly the case of boys employed during the holidays in following the harvest carts and in doing other work. Those boys naturally are not very highly paid, but their work does tend to keep them out of mischief, and gives them as early as possible an interest in agricultural life. Under this Bill these boys would have to pay contributions practically amounting to the sum received for a day's work. That will not be conducive to increasing the employment of these lads, and they may become a nuisance to their parents if they do not follow that work and stay at home. The hon. Member for Blackburn said the farmer has to pay, the labourer has to pay, but the landlord will pay nothing under the Bill. I would respectfully remind hon. Members opposite that, after all, the landlord in a country district is a very large employer of labour. I can give numerous instances in which the income derived from an estate by the agricultural landlord is spent, every penny of it, upon the upkeep of that estate, upon material bought for it, and very largely upon the actual labour employed.
The landlord, in order to keep up his estate, has to expend a large sum of money every year. In every country village there are large numbers of old people who are almost helpless to do any work. The farmer does not employ them because they are not equal to do the work he 1415 requires, and he engages young and active persons. It is the landlord who gives the old people odd jobs to do in order to keep their homes together. Therefore it is ridiculous to say that the landlord is not paying a charge. He pays quite as much as any other employer of labour, and he pays a great deal more than many richer people who do not employ labour. There is another point under this Bill as to the charge on the rates which may be made under Clause 14 and Clause 43 which authorise the Local Health Committees to spend considerable sums upon sanatoria and various other medical benefits. The county council has to recoup those bodies for half of the additional expenditure that they incur beyond the sum received from the Treasury. The local authorities have only one-third of the representation on those Health Committees, so that it would be perfectly possible for them to incur the additional expenditure without the representative of the ratepayers having the opportunity of expressing their opinions. It is not possible for us under the terms of this Resolution to move any Amendment which will impose that charge from the county rates on to the Exchequer. I do submit it is very unfair that the local rates, which are very unevenly derived, should be expended on objects which are really national objects. I regret that an Amendment is not possible.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I am sorry that we are obliged to debate the question of a contributory or non-contributory scheme at this time of day, because I should have preferred if we could have moved a resolution so as to take the opinion of the House definitely on the question. We have heard a great deal this evening about the cost of this scheme, and as to who has to bear the cost. Reference has been made to landlords and other people who can only get their money either by rent or interest. That is earned in only one way, and that is by other people working for them. There is no other way by which money can have any value at all unless it has labour power somewhere behind it. We may talk here for a century and at the end we would all have to admit that if everybody stopped working there would be no money at all for anybody to give away. We have got an instance now in our ships all around the coast. While they are not working there is no money being earned and no profits being made, although the labourers may starve the divi- 1416 dends are being starved too. Therefore it is as well that this House should realise that you never can give the people who work anything at all unless they first of all earn it. You take it in the shape of rent or profit, and you give it back in the shape of a dole, but you can never give them anything that they have not earned. I am surprised that high financiers do not realise that, because it is so simple, and there are so many instances of it all around. When I hear that landlords are philanthropists who take care of the aged poor and give them jobs when they are too old for anybody to grind a profit out of them, that only means that they are like the rest of us good, kind-hearted people that they cannot bear to see those people suffer, and that they salve their consciences for taking rent and profit they do not earn by taking care of the victims. That is perfectly true, as every honest man and woman is bound to admit. We sit in this House and some day we are going to receive salaries—some day! The Gentlemen who sit on the Front Bench receive salaries already, and some people receive pensions. Where do they come from? The Lord does not rain them down from Heaven and they do not walk out of the sea. Somewhere in this community men and women are toiling in mines and in factories and in sweated dens to earn that money. The sooner we all realise that in discussing this Bill the better it will be for us in arriving at a good conclusion.
Whenever I hear about landlords and the difficulty of our raising money I have a vision of the great ground values of this huge Metropolis in which we live. I remember the Thames when it washed along here, and when we had no magnificent Embankment. I remember the day it was opened, and everybody here knows that that little scheme cost industry in London millions of pounds and put millions of pounds into the pockets of the Westminsters and the Portlands, and all the rest of the people who say that the Lord made this Metropolis for them. When the Chancellor asks where we can get the money, I want to get it out of the landlords, or, as one of my friends here said, we will get the money from where it is, and there is nowhere else where it can come from. That being so I am not worrying myself as to where the money for this is to come. It can come from the same source that I am glad the Chancellor commenced to attack, namely, the people who have got super-incomes. Those people do not 1417 really know how to decently spend their money. We have heard of freak dinners occasionally and we have seen luxury and other things flaunting themselves in the West End during the whole of this season. It would not hurt those people if we compelled them to unload some of the unpaid wages of the workers that they are spending. I want the scheme to be a non-contributory scheme mainly because I think to have it a contributory scheme is really to take a step backwards. This House really, I think, occasionally forgets what it has already done. You have already set up in this country a great public health service. That service provides for the person who gets small-pox, not merely treament but convalescent treatment, and generally deals with the person in an effective manner. That is really the answer to the hon. Member for one of the Divisions of Wiltshire who is afraid that if people are not made to pay that they may malinger.
Nobody has ever heard of a fever patient or a small-pox patient malingering. The whole thing works quite automatically. The advantage in that case of the scheme is that the people are not obliged to pay and the person is kept until he or she is quite well. That is a very great advantage indeed. But some people imagine that if we have not a contributory scheme that the cases of alcoholic excess and other cases which friendly societies do not deal with, sexual diseases and others which are the man's own fault will be dealt with, and that therefore they ought not to get any benefits under the scheme we are discussing. Judging by all the men who gave evidence from the medical point of view before the Poor Law Commission, by what was stated by the men who have had medical service under each of the four Local Government Boards of the United Kingdom, we find that they all agreed that the worst thing you could do would be to drive away people who were suffering from this kind of disease and allowing them to spread it and to contaminate other people, by in any way penalising them in their treatment.
What we ought to do is to hold on to them and to treat them in the best manner possible. An hon. Member says we do. I know that, but his wife and children do not got the benefit. What I mean to argue for is that the State ought to have the health service it now has, and another service to deal with the whole of the public health in an efficient manner. I 1418 have already said my say about all I care as to where the money comes from, but if hon. Gentlemen will think for a, moment they will see that there is from £10,000,000 to £12,000,000 already being spent on the treatment, or supposed treatment, of diseases of various kinds through the Poor Law. It is perfectly certain to my mind that whatever comes from the pockets of the ratepayers now will still have to be paid through the Poor Law if this scheme remains as it is. I would prefer that the twenty or twenty-five million which is going to be raised, instead of being spent in the manner proposed in this Bill, should be devoted to grants in aid of the public health authorities to be paid from the point of view of public health efficiency, to be brought up to whatever standard the central department should set up, rather than see it go into the huge bureaucracy which is to be set up under this Bill.
There is another reason why I object to a contributory scheme. You are leaving out the whole of the children. I have here a report from some of the officers who visited one of the council schools here in London. These inspectors were struck by the want of vigour and energy and the low tone of the children generally, and they set to work to investigate the cause. They found that a number of the children in the school were living in homes where six persons slept and lived in one room. They found that many of the children were members of families where the wages coming in were less than 15s. a week. It is said we are helping the breadwinners, but in many of these there was no breadwinner at all, and they were not able to earn any bread at all. I want to urge that you have the local authorities dealing with this very matter under the Poor Law, but only partly, because it is a case of "may," and not "shall," and I do not think that if you were going to spend the money which you are going to raise under this Bill in seeing that no child was brought up in bad physical conditions you would really save that money in the increased physique and health of these boys and girls who will become our men and women. Therefore, in spending the money in this way, you are leaving out of account altogether this great mass of poverty and destitution which is the main cause of sickness and bad health, and, in my opinion, you are wasting the money. It may be argued "Yes, but we are looking after the man and keeping the bread-winner going." I put it to the House that after all 10s. a 1419 week is not very much to keep a man going. In London the house landlord will see he gets a jolly good portion of that, I was going to say in spite, but not in spite, of the Clause which I understand is now to be redrafted. A man who even does get 10s., it may in a certain way keep him going; but there are multitudes where there is no male bread-winner at all. A number of these children are left as children of widows. For these there is absolutely no provision in this Bill at all, and they are being left out, as you are leaving out other large masses of people whom everyone knows who has investigated the subject, need most help. When I hear the Chancellor of the Exchequer speaking, I am, like everyone else, carried away by him. I think that a new heaven and a new earth has dawned, but when I come down to the cold reading of the Bill, that is another tale. I wake up in the morning, and then I am quite certain his delightful vision of lifting the load from those who are carrying it is after all only a vision, and does not promise to have any real or early effect for these children and widows.
Here, again, I invite the Members of this House to consider the Poor Law Commission. I do not want them to consider the Report, let them leave aside the whole eighteen of us, but let them read the evidence of that Commission and the evidence of the investigators, and they will find that the children who are orphans, sometimes without fathers, and sometimes without mothers also, are the children who grow up and form the large mass of men and women who are called physically unfit in the community. You are talking about this Bill as if it were a Bill for dealing with these orphans. It does not touch them one iota. If you had a National Health Service tacked on to the present health service these children would get treatment, and we should get some real value for the money we are going to spend. There is another point with regard to the contributory scheme, and that is the point of view of unemployment. Everyone who has spoken on this subject has admitted that it is not the fault of the individual man or the individual employer that men and women are out of employment. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said yesterday that we must look forward to the time when the boom in trade will have spent itself and the lean years will have come. Everyone knows that these lean years are not the fault of the individual. We are thinking of people being 1420 out of work in bad times. I say to this Committee, there are men and women out of work by the thousand even in good times, and yet you talk to us as if we have to wait for unemployment until trade is bad. That really shows no appreciation of the facts. The scheme takes hold of a man who is a casual labourer, and says, "You must insure yourself against unemployment." One hon. Member opposite put the case of this class in a way which I think was very admirable. These men will have their money docked whenever they are at work, but I think that many of them would never be out of work sufficiently to get any benefit at all, they will work one or two days a week, or perhaps three days, and they will get their 6½d. docked, but they will not be out of work long enough to come on the fund, I contend that the State has no right to impose upon the victims of our society the responsibility for paying for the cure of those evils which they are not responsible for.
I hear sometimes in the House—and the Chancellor of the Exchequer in one of his speeches said, that he wanted to get at the casual because he really wanted to find out the people who would not work. A sort of uneasy feeling occasionally goes through this place that there are people who really will not work, and that in the main they are amongst the casual labourers. I have lived most of my life amongst these men, and they are as industrious a class as any in the whole community. Many of them are men who have walked mile after mile for the purpose of getting work; and here they are, to be tumbled into What is called a Post Office Deposit scheme. Here, again, I would point out that the money you are going to provide does not provide insurance for all that large mass of men and women. It does not insure them at all. It simply says: We will save up so much money, and we will take first of all so much to pay for medical attendance, so much for sanatoria, and so much for working expenses. What is left we will earmark in case you are ill or need maternity benefits.
You do not require to be able to do a very big sum to realise that a man, even if he is lucky and puts in his fifty-two weeks right off, will have standing to his credit quite a trumpery sum. Remember, that has got to insure himself against both unemployment and against sickness. I contend that that 6½d., if it is deducted, will not insure him against both sickness and unemployment. You are going to rob these people of the 1421 real necessaries of life. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden) quoted the case of Blackburn. But here in London at this present moment there are between 40,000 and 50,000 children who are being fed at the public expense. Of my own knowledge I know that each of these cases is investigated, and in all kinds of ways looked into, to find out whether the parent can afford to pay. I know that attempts were made to get the money, and the amount that we got was quite trumpery. Yet what is the reason of that? That the parents of these children are not able to provide them with the means of livelihood. The main reason is that where there are men they are unemployed. You may say that the men who get a day's work now and again most of them these casual labourers, and you are going to deduct the 6½d. from each two or three days' or week's work. It means that their children will not merely have to come for their dinners, but for their breakfasts and teas as well. That is in this Metropolis, in this greatest city in the whole world? I put against the Chancellor's scheme the scheme that was formulated after the issue of the Poor Law Commission's report on unemployment, as something that this nation itself ought to deal with, just as it deals with the public health. We ought to deal with unemployment out of national funds, and in such a way as to secure work for the men! not insurance, but work, when otherwise they are not able to obtain it.
I do not want merely to talk about insuring. After all, to go back, if our forefathers had thought only of insurance, we would now have been suffering from the plague, smallpox, and all other epidemics that they were heir to. But they set to work to prevent them, and we should set to work to use this money which is to be provided to prevent consumption, tuberculosis, rheumatism, bronchitis, and other diseases, so that we may enable the people to live in healthy surroundings. The money ought to be spent to prevent these conditions, and we are going to insure against the results of them! Instead of insuring against unemployment of this kind, what we ought to be doing is organising some national scheme whereby every man and women who is able and willing to work should have the opportunity of doing so. This manner of spending our money is the most expensive way. When I remember that this is the money Which the workers have earned I object to it being spent in this way, and I at least 1422 am going to vote against the Money Resolution this evening, because I believe, first, that instead of insurance we ought to prevent; and secondly, because I believe that you are putting a burden upon the very poorest people in the community, these Post Office Contributors, who are not going to get anything of real worth for the money they pay.
§ Mr. GODFREY LOCKER-LAMPSON
I think that everybody will agree that the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has made out a very good case against the Post Office contributors' scheme under this Bill. I do think that it is very important indeed to try to clearly understand what the State is actually contributing per week under this scheme in regard to every insured person, because the Chancellor of the Exchequer has led us to believe that it is 2d. It is not really 2d. at all. The Government actuaries (on page 23, paragraph 73) show quite clearly that persons entering the scheme at the age of sixteen will be contributing about 12 per cent. over and above what is required to meet the proportion of minimum benefits they have got to pay for, that proportion being seven-ninths benefits in the case of men, and three-fourths benefits in the case of women. But that is not all. In this calculation of minimum benefits the Government actuaries have included one and five-ninths of a penny in each weekly contribution of 7d in the case of men, and 1½d in each weekly contribution of 6d. in respect of women, these fractions, as hon. Members know, being kept and invested by the Insurance Commissioners for the purpose of reserves for the next fifteen or sixteen years.
The actual weekly equivalent which is to be paid by persons entering the scheme at sixteen to meet the seven-ninths minimum benefit actually paid out is therefore not 7d. in the case of men and 6d. in the case of women, but those sums, minus the 12 per cent. margin—to which I have referred—minus one and five-ninths of a penny in the case of men, and l½d. in the case of women. That makes it a very different story from the one which we have had on the authority of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Instead of 7d. and 6d. in regard to men and women respectively, it is only about 4¾d. and 3¾d. respectively. These are the weekly sums requisite for a seven-ninths minimum benefit in respect of men and a three-fourths minimum benefit in regard to women. The State now comes in and 1423 pays two-ninths of these minimum benefits in the case of men and one-fourth in the case of women; that is to say it contributes two-sevenths of 4¾d. in the case of men and one-third of 3¾d. in the case of women. What does that amount to? Not to 2d. but to about 1½d. in the case of men and women for the first few years, and even fifteen years hence it only reaches the sum of about 1¾d. Surely it would be better if the Chancellor of the Exchequer had really made it clear—for instance at Birmingham the other day—that the working man is paying 4d. per week and that the State contribution is only about l½d. Would not it have been better if he had explained that he was making the working classes lay aside a large reserve for the next fifteen years, and that the State itself is laying by no reserve at all, in order to save expense, thus throwing a very heavy burden upon the future taxpayers of this country?
The reason why I think it very important indeed that the State should contribute 2d. is this. The reserve value required to support seven-ninths of the benefits are shown by the report of the Government actuaries to be £60,000,000. It therefore follows that to support two-ninths of the benefits provided by the Government there ought to be £18,000,000 of reserve value set up. That is to say, the Government ought to pay a contribution of 2d. per week, of which four-ninths of a penny should go to build up the £18,000,000 of initial reserve leaving one and five-ninths for meeting current benefits and any further little accumulations that may be required in respect of Government liability. If the Government do not do this the effect will be after fifteen and a-half years that the Government will have an accumulated deficiency, never having provided for it of about £30,000,000 sterling; that is the original £18,000,000 deficiency with compound interest at 3 per cent. It is quite clear that the need for these reserves will then begin to be felt very sensibly indeed, and for this reason two-ninths of the minimum benefits will be a very different thing in fifteen or twenty years from two-ninths of the benefits at the present day or a year or two hence. At the very moment when the Government are feeling the pressure of the additional cost for minimum benefits in consequence of never having set up reserves it will be called upon to take upon its shoulders the 1424 further liability of two-ninths of the large mass of additional benefits which will have to be provided when the contributors to the scheme have made up their reserve of £60,000,000 sterling.
As hon. Members know, in fifteen and a-half years, instead of getting the benefits supposed to be represented now by the five and four-ninths of a penny the contributors will get the benefits represented by the full 7d. or 6d. as the case may be. And the Government will therefore have to provide two-ninths of whatever extra benefit is thus secured to contributors. It is estimated by the Government actuaries that in the year 1927–8 the liabilities of the Government will be £5,500,000 sterling. Why did not the Government actuaries go a little further and set out what the cost to the Government would be in the following year, 1928–9, and perhaps for a year or two after. In 1927–8 the cost to the Government will be about £5,500,000 sterling, but in the year 1928–29 it will be at least £7,500,000 sterling. And there is another reason of importance to my mind why the Government should pay the additional contribution of 2d., and that reason is the very great increase in sickness during the last few years.
As hon. Members are aware, the Government actuaries have made use of the Manchester Unity sickness experience compiled by Mr. Watson, a very eminent actuary. On page 15 of their report, paragraph 38, the Government actuaries say there has not been any very material change in the rates of sickness prevailing in the Manchester Unity since the year 1897. It is true at that time Mr. Watson's report on the eighth valuation of the Manchester Unity was written, in respect of the years to which the eighth valuation referred chiefly 1900, 1906. Since then there has been, unfortunately, a marked change for the worse. Between 1900 and 1906 the average payment per head for sickness in the Manchester Unity was 18s. 6d. It rose to £l 0s. 4d. in 1907, it reached £l 0s. 6d. in 1909, and there are as yet no figures for 1910. Take now the experience of the Ancient Order of Foresters, which has a similar. In 1900 the sickness rate for the Foresters was a little over thirteen days per annum. It has increased ever since, and was over seventeen days per annum last year. As hon. Members know, these two are the largest affiliated orders in the United Kingdom. In the Hearts of Oak they 1425 have the same sort of experience. If you take the relations of actual sickness cost to the expectation of the Manchester Unity standard tables, we find in case of ages under seventy that between 1901 and 1905 it was 100 per cent. of the expected sickness, and between 1906 and 1910 it was 110 per cent.
The Stoke and Melford Union Association, which is a purely agricultural society of almost 2,000 members, experienced the following relations to the Manchester Unity standard. Between 1900 and 1904 the sickness cost was 82 per cent. of the expected. Between 1905 and 1909 it was 96 per cent. The largest county society, the Hampshire and General, with a membership largely agricultural, shows the following relation to the Manchester Unity standard. Between 1900 and 1904 sickness cost 81 per cent., and between 1905 and 1909 it cost 86 per cent. Thus hon. Members will see that the rate of sickness has universally risen, and it is perfectly clear, I think, to anybody who considers it, that the margin of 11 per cent. allowed for in the actuaries' report will be practically destroyed in the very near future. For these reasons I think it is most important that the Financial Resolution should be most carefully considered, and I think it is the duty of everybody to try and persuade the Government to look into it, and to add to the Government contribution if possible.
§ Mr. EDGAR JONES
I only want to touch upon one phase of this discussion, and that is the question as between a non-contributory and a contributory scheme. I do not know whether the hon. Member for Blackburn and the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley spoke for the United Labour party. I expect that is not so, because I should be greatly surprised to find that any considerable portion of the Labour party associated themselves with the particular point of view which both those hon. Members put forward. As the hon. Member for Blackburn admitted, the whole purpose and intention, as well as effect, I understand, of his speech was that the whole contribution should come from the State, which would mean the absolute elimination of the friendly societies. The hon. Member for Blackburn desires to absolutely wipe out the whole of the friendly society system, and the trades union friendly society branches, and for that reason I quite understand the bulk of the Labour party could not associate themselves with the position he has taken up.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I happen to be a trustee of the biggest unskilled union in the country, and I have been asked specifically to oppose a contributory scheme.
§ Mr. EDGAR JONES
If you are asking for a State scheme, and for the bulk of the contribution to come from the State you are asking for a system of administration exactly opposite to the administration of the particular scheme under this Bill. And it is that we have to face in this particular discussion, and it is upon that we have to vote if there is to be a division. I observe that when the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden) was making his points, a considerable number of Conservative Members seemed to punctuate them with applause as if they agreed with them I think it would be interesting to put on record that the mass of the Conservative party in this House have associated themselves with a point of view that means the elimination and wiping out of the friendly society method of administration. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO, no."] I am glad to have that denial, because by their cheers they conveyed a totally different impression. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] I wish to call the attention of the Committee to the very serious importance of realising the importance of the amount of contribution as between the State employer and the workman from the point of view of administration. You cannot separate at all the question of the proportions of payment from the method of administration. The view put forward by the hon. Member for Blackburn suggests a system of central administration whereas the system of the Bill sets up a common fund administering through the local friendly societies.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I did not suggest a centralised administration. What I advocated was a public system.
§ Mr. EDGAR JONES
I accept what the hon. Member says as to a public system. The difficulty you have got in a public service is that you are not able to administer money with anything like the economy which friendly societies have been able to achieve. The hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) took as his parallel infectious diseases, but they are not parallel at all. There is a type of sickness known as malingering, the symptoms of which it is very often difficult to diagnose. We have to face the difficulty of the malingerer. The working men who have been administering sick funds and 1427 working the committees of friendly societies often complain of the little help they are able to get from medical practitioners in reference to malingerers. It is obvious to every hon. Member of the Committee that where you have got a village remote from any great centre, scattered along the hillsides, and you have the mass of the population interested in getting as much as they can out of the public fund which they look upon as some mysterious chest, the main source and, in fact, the ultimate source of which is somewhere here in London. This affords a temptation and a general conspiracy, not openly expressed, but yet an implicit conspiracy for everybody to try and help everybody else to get as much as they can get out of the State.
The essence of the friendly society system is that the working men themselves, through the local committee in the village, have got a direct personal financial interest to see that there is nobody unfairly utilising the funds, because the more economically they can be administered the greater will be the benefits to the members in general. I have a considerable knowledge of the work of members of friendly societies in my district, and I know how very economically they administer their funds and I know how ruthless sometimes the sick visitors are. I remember many examples during the great revival we had in Wales ten years ago. I remember at one meeting one poor fellow rushing out upon the stroke of eight o'clock. When asked on the following day what was the matter with him he said, "My time was up, and there was a sick visitor sitting in the deacon's seat." I can give an example to illustrate that the whole principle of the Bill lies in the proportion of the contribution.
I will mention a case given to me by one of the deacons concerning a member of one of the friendly societies. It is an extreme case, but it illustrates the efficiency with which these working people have administered these funds, and will continue to administer them under the scheme of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is the case of a man seen on the Monday night staggering along the road, and he was eventually found in the gutter helpless and had to be taken home and put to bed. He has been ill now for two years, laid up with locomotor paralysis. The friendly society to which he belonged received a report from the people who saw the man and who said he was drunk and that that had brought his illness about. They said it 1428 was his own fault, and they cut him off and refused to allow him one halfpenny out of their funds. The doctor appeared before that small local committee, and he told them that the staggering was due to a symptom of the disease and that caused him to be in the gutter, and this medical man contradicted the idea that it was possible that the man could have brought on this illness through drink. But the committee would not listen to him. One of the sick visitors had seen the man enter a club at an earlier hour of the evening, and although for two years that doctor has coaxed them, it has been no use. I give that to the House as an illustration of what is going on in these villages.
With regard to these contributions and the system of administration which is proposed in the Bill, I think in the long run it will mean that the working men will get value for the money they will have to contribute. I agree with the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley and the hon. Member for Blackburn that the bulk of it all will eventually come back to the working men, and it is because I agree with that principle that I am anxious working men should not be allowed to adopt a wasteful system of administration. With regard to the employers' contribution we have heard several arguments about the financial injustice of this contribution from the employer. From the point of view I am taking of the administration of the funds I think the contribution made by the employer is again another incentive to economy. I agree with the hon. Member for Blackburn, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer also agrees with him, that it is practically equivalent to a type of Income Tax. You might have got a contribution from the employers by means of the Income Tax. I sympathise with those people who think that the incidence of these contributions made by one employer as compared with another might be fairer under a system of Income Tax, but the method of getting employers' contributions through the Income Tax would not contribute to an economical and effective administration of the money anything like so efficient as the method which has been adopted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Let me explain that point. Take the case of a village where the population is compact, where everybody knows everybody else. Assume there is there an employer with a hundred workmen. I might take a bigger figure than that, and the only effect would be that it would apply 1429 more drastically. Let us assume that out of those 100 workmen there are ten who are fond of being sick and of going on the funds at every opportunity because of the chance the leisure may give them to drink or to dissipate themselves in one way or another. As a matter of fact, I do not think the actual malingering among workmen is as much as in other classes of the community. Surely it is to the interests of the employer to see that the bulk of the benefits go to the ninety workmen who are hard-working, regular, and honest in their employment, and as little as possible to the small percentage who may not be so industrious or so regular as the majority. The very fact the employer has a local financial interest in seeing the funds are well administered and there is no sponging upon them is a great argument in favour of keeping the employers' contribution. I wanted to call the attention of the House and to put it clearly upon record what the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden) proposes.
The friendly society movement is the most astounding social phenomena in this country in the last hundred years. The friendly society movement was not invented under the guidance of Parliament or of the professors in our universities, or of the professors of economy, or of any body of that sort. It has been built from the bottom, from the very bottom of all. The workmen received practically no assistance. They have built up the movement from their own knowledge and by their own capacity and out of a sense of fairness and of justice one to another. That, and that alone, has built up this great friendly society movement, and I was very glad to get a denial from the Labour party that they were in any sense whatever disparaging this great movement. The capacity of the workmen has been revealed in the friendly society movement in the past. They had no guidance from official actuaries, such as we propose to give them now, and they had no guidance from Parliament or from speeches, either in their constituencies or anywhere else. That fact is the finest guarantee this House could possibly get, and it is the one and only guarantee to which they must look, that there will be no malingering, but that there will be the efficient and economical administration so as to ensure to the men who deserve it and to their wives and children the full value of any benefit the State confers upon them or for which they themselves contribute.
§ Mr. COOPER
I think I shall be able to satisfy the senior Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Edgar Jones) as to where I, at any rate—and I think I shall be supported by my hon. Friends on this side of the House—agree with the remarks that fell from the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury). The main principles enunciated by him, and with which I absolutely associate myself, are summed up in one of those unkind, but very truthful remarks he directed to the Government yesterday:—We are witnessing just now a very great upheaval among workmen up and down the country, and it is mainly owing to the fact that the progressive legislation which this House has passed has left the working-classes worse off than before.I am glad to see this rift in this particular matter between the direct representative of large bodies of working people of this country, because it has been urged by people from one end of the country to another, and from these Benches over and over again, that the indecent haste with which the Government are thrusting this Bill on the House and on the country is not in the very best interests of the working men, the employers, or the State. The fact that there are two separate opinions on this question among the direct representatives of large bodies of working people is the clearest evidence that this financial question is not thoroughly understood by the working people of this country. Let us go one step further. I believe I am right in saying that for the first time in history this House is tampering, and I might almost say juggling, with the slender incomes of the masses of the people of this country. I ask if a Bill of such far-reaching effect, of such magnitude, and of such importance above all to the working people of this country ought to be thrust upon us as it has been when there is so much at stake for the people and especially for the working people. If there is one thing more than another which would entitle us to go into the Lobby and vote against this Resolution, as I personally intend to do, it is that we are going to be precluded from discussing many matters of interest, not to those landlords of whom the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Wedgwood) spoke, but to the working people, the trade unions, the friendly societies, and the other vested interests throughout the country. We are being "kangarood" and closured, and it is a marvel to me party politics can have such an effect as to drive Members like a lot of blind sheep into the Division lobby to support a Govern- 1431 ment and keep them in power against the interests of the working people themselves. One other point which exercised the great part of the speech of the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley was the power of the working people to bear the strain of these additional burdens, and the question where the money is to come from. He has only got to come over to this side of the House, and we will very soon tell him where the money is to come from.
I should like to make one or two brief observations on the effect of the financial Clauses of the Bill on different sections of the people. There is one fundamental mistake which I challenge anyone on the Front Bench to contradict. There is a fundamental fallacy in the Bill from a financial point of view, inasmuch as it has failed to follow the German scheme in the very first point it should have done so. It is trying to make a flat rate cover unequal risks. I believe hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House realise that mistake. A good deal has been said as to the burden that this Bill will put upon industry. I do not want to labour that aspect of the question, beyond pointing out that in many cases it is going to be such a burden, because you are not asking employers of labour in the country to pay in proportion to their ability to pay. You have, roughly speaking, three classes to deal with; you have people not far from this building, who probably do not employ more than half a dozen clerks, and yet make a profit of £10,000 a year. They are generally merchants dealing in foreign goods. Secondly you have to deal with a certain class of business, and I could put forward a very powerful illustration of that class in the case of a big firm in my own Constituency employing 3,000 people, mostly women. That business has not paid a dividend for two years, and I know there is a great anxiety as to what is going to happen in the future to that business, as, under this Bill, they will be called upon to pay over £2,000 per annum I think it is not an unfair suggestion to make that it only wants a burden of this nature in a business of this kind, which, after the most careful investigation, can be shown to be unable to bear such a burden, to indicate at any rate some of the disadvantages that are going to arise when this Bill becomes law.
I would ask the House what benefit are you going to give in this particular case to the working people in my own Constituency. It is quite conceivable that, as a 1432 result of the passing of this measure, 3,000 people may be sent from one factory alone on to the unemployed labour market. Of the third class of people affected the City of Sheffield probably furnishes one of the best illustrations. There you have a large number of little shops producing, it may be, metal ware for saddlery or locks and chains. They are owned mostly by men who have risen from the working classes, and who employ perhaps six, eight, or ten workpeople, and, in some cases, the best paid of the workpeople have a bigger income than the owner of the little business himself. There are indeed many of these little businesses employing from five to twenty people, the owners of which do not get a clear income of £80 a year. I take it that a larger number of cases of this nature may be found in most of our industrial towns throughout the country, amongst people who do not pay Income Tax. I submit that the method by which the finances of this Bill are raised from the employers will fall very hardly on many of them, and will, in fact, wipe some of them absolutely out of existence. It has been suggested by the Member for Blackburn, and indeed in speeches outside this House that employers of labour can meet this burden by putting up their prices. If any hon. Member can tell me how I can. put up the prices of the goods I am selling I will pay him well for it.
§ Mr. COOPER
And the hon. Member for Blackburn has made the same remark tonight. I do not think there can be much difference between us. Employers of labour, however, are not such fools as has been suggested, as if it is possible to put up prices they surely would have done it years ago. The next point I wish to deal with is the effect on the working classes themselves. One of the great sores of the working people in this country is to be found in the tremendous number who are earning a low rate of wage which is insufficient to provide the absolute necessaries of life. The hon. Member for East Northamptonshire (Mr. Chiozza Money) will not perhaps have forgotten a very interesting article he wrote for the "Daily News" last March, which showed that the cost of living to the people of this country had increased 15 per cent. since the year 1899, and an increase of wages was required to bring the working classes up to the posi- 1433 tion in which they were ten years ago. The hon. Member for Blackburn, in September, 1909, in a discussion on the Budget, pointed out that the working classes would have to pay a sum of £7 12s. 6d. per family, and I would remind the House that, as he then stated, there are 2,000,000 families in this country, representing 10,000,000 souls, whose income is under £l per week, whereas, according to the hon. Member for East Northamptonshire, 25s. 6d. per week is required for the provision of the bare necessaries of life. Bearing in mind the extraordinary speeches which emanated from the benches opposite yesterday, and which went to show that the Bill was something very much worse than was at first supposed, and bearing in mind, too, the fact that the people of the country do not understand the Bill and that the Labour Members themselves have not yet got hold of it—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I think I have been very lenient to the hon. Member, but he seems to get wider and wider afield. After all, the question before the Committee is whether or not the State shall contribute two-ninths.
§ Mr. COOPER
I am very much obliged to you, Sir. I will only say this, in conclusion, with regard to the financial aspect of this Bill: I take a very serious view of the proposals of the Government and of the provision they have made to meet their liabilities under the measure. I disapprove of those proposals. I disapprove altogether of the financial aspect of the scheme, and, should this Motion be taken to a Division, I intend personally to give my vote against the Bill.
§ Mr. LEWIS HASLAM
I sympathise, to a large extent, with the views of the hon. Member (Mr. Snowden) on social matters, Taut I cannot say I fully understand the economic position he takes up with regard to the financial provisions of this Bill. I understand his view is that in a scheme of this sort the State should bear the whole cost. I am quite sure his last desire would be to turn the working people of this country into State paupers. That is really what is the meaning of having a scheme of this sort contributed entirely by the State. I think the working classes of this country, like every other class, desire to be independent, and wish to pay a fair share for what they receive. I speak for a constituency which has a large proportion of the working classes. I have spoken to them many times on this ques- 1434 tion of insurance, and I have advocated the idea that they should pay some portion of the cost of the scheme, and I have not heard one word of dissent.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Last week the trades council in the constituency represented by the hon. Member unanimously passed a resolution condemning the contributory part of this scheme.
§ Mr. L. HASLAM
I made no allusion whatever to what the trades council said. I said I myself had addressed audiences of working men in that constituency, and they themselves raised no objection, but indeed were gratified at the view that they should take a part in this great measure. I have had to do with working people all my life, and I believe they are only too anxious to pay what is their fair share towards any expense of this kind in every way. And if we start by saying that the cost is to be paid entirely out of the public purse, where are you going to stop? The next thing you will say is that the whole of the housing of the working classes should come out of the public purse. It is a dangerous principle, and I do not think the hon. Member really saw the effect of his views if carried to a logical conclusion. Then he left out of his speech one of the most important features, which the Chancellor of the Exchequer alluded to, and that is that this Bill makes for efficiency. It makes for the efficiency of the workman. Therefore, it is a Bill which, if carried into law, will benefit both employer, employed and the State. The whole body politic will be better off after the measure is passed. With regard to increasing the financial responsibilities, let us look at Germany. In Germany the State pays nothing at all towards temporary sickness. We propose to pay a very large amount. In Germany they pay one-third of the expenses towards permanent invalidity. In this Bill we pay a large proportion to sick benefit. The last speaker alluded to some poor employers in Sheffield who employ ten workpeople, who are going to be very badly off on account of this measure. These employers of ten workpeople, as I understand the Bill, would have to pay half a crown a week towards their insurance. It is beyond reason to believe that such an amount would ruin any employer. I have looked forward to a measure of this sort practically all my life since I have taken any interest in politics. Although at first I felt that the proper way of approaching this was by the 1435 German method of insuring only under the State against permanent invalidity, I have come to the conclusion that the scheme advocated and promoted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, by which the friendly societies will be able to voluntarily take in those members as they have done in the past.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I rise to a point of Order. I was under the impression that we were discussing the Financial Resolution, whereas the speech of the hon. Member has been directed entirely as to whether or not the Bill was a good or a bad one.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
If the hon. Baronet had not been more pleasantly occupied he would have heard the Debate develop on to the question of whether the State should contribute the whole or not, a question which I cannot say is out of order on the Financial Resolution, and I understood the hon. Member's speech to be in order as replying to certain arguments put forward, when the hon. Baronet was not in the House, in favour of a non-contributory system, and therefore of the elimination of the friendly societies.
§ Mr. L. HASLAM
The friendly societies will in the future have the advantage of State aid. Then there is a provision which I have not looked forward to, that as the Post Office scheme, by which a workman who pays 4d. into his account will, if he becomes sick, receive about ninepenny-worth of benefit. It is, therefore, compulsory Providence, but it is compulsory Providence by which a man gets over 100 per cent. per annum for his money, and therefore it is helping the weak—those who are better off will help those who are worse off, so that they may have some advantage, at any rate, so long as the funds last, which will be of great benefit in case of sickness. It is quite possible that some Amendment will be proposed with regard to that which will improve the position of these people. I believe very strongly that it is highly important that we as a nation should try to make the people of this country independent, each one doing his own duty and paying his share of the expense which is necessary to maintain the country's welfare.
I want to call attention to the words of the Resolution, which seem to me to be unnecessarily restricted in their effect. The authority we are asked to give is "to 1436 authorise the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament of sums not exceeding two-ninths of the benefits." It is quite true that the specific amount that is to be voted is not put in the Resolution, but whenever we come to consider the scheme in the later part of the Bill we shall be brought face to face with the financial Resolution, and we shall be pulled up at every turn for exceeding it the moment we begin to propose any additional benefit for the deposit contributors class, which the last speaker seemed to think was beneficial to the poor unfortunates who were driven into it. I have on the Paper a scheme which will provide a real insurance for those who would otherwise be deposit contributors. It is quite true that the benefits will be low, and it might have been necessary to ask the State to make a slightly larger grant. But even if I got the scheme worked out as to benefits, so that I was not, in fact, asking the State to give any more to that class than they are willing to give to the members of approved societies, yet the particular form of this Resolution will prevent me from proceeding with that scheme. Although for the reduced benefits it would be necessary for my purpose to increase the grant or the subsidy from two-ninths to possibly one-third, yet the money charged on the State might not be increased, because if the benefits were lower the cost might not be greater than the two-ninths proposed for members of friendly societies. The form, therefore, of this Resolution will prevent a large number of alterations on the Bill. Acting bonâ fide in answer to the invitation of the Government to endeavour to make this Bill into a complete scheme, we have taken an immense amount of trouble to prepare Amendments which we think will improve the scheme, and then the Government come down and propose a resolution which they know must shut out a large number of the Amendments.
We have references from time to time to Germany. It should be observed that in Germany there are no deposit contributors. That is a blot on this Bill which will exist so long as deposit contributors remain. I am afraid it will be impossible to remove that blot unless this Resolution is altered in shape. If the Government would make good the statement they are constantly making, we would have money to make good the deficiency of this scheme. We have this afternoon heard hon. Members, led by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, talking about the 2d. con- 1437 tribution of the State. They said over and over again that the State is giving a contribution of 2d. a week to the benefits. I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer is directly responsible for the statement. I do not mind him in this House using 2d. as the equivalent for two-ninths, but in the country the statement is not understood. In a book called "The People's Insurance," explained by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, page 138 I think, it is actually stated in so many words that the State is giving 2d. per week to the male and female workers earning over 2s. 6d. If they really were giving 2d. there would be plenty of money for the scheme. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is followed in this matter by the Liberal Publication Department. In leaflet 2,381 it is stated that the contribution by the State is 2d. The actual facts are far from showing that the contribution will be 2d. In 1912–13 it will be about 0¾d., a total of under £2,000,000. If it were 2d. it would be necessary for the State to find £5,500,000. In 1917–18 the contribution, instead of being 2d. is l½d., and the total of that about £4,500,000, whereas at 2d. it would be £6,000,000. These are the estimates of the actuaries. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in answer to questions put to him yesterday, said it starts with 0¾d. and up to 1927 the so-called 2d. does not amount to more than 1½d. My hon. Friend the Member for Salisbury showed what the future effect of this would be to any Government that succeeds this Government. I want the Chancellor of the Exchequer to make good his statement. He says he is giving 2d. from the State, and I want him to make that statement good in the Bill, or at least to correct the statement. If 2d. were given, deposit contributors might have what a second leaflet says they are to have, the "dawn of hope." The Chancellor of the Exchequer is pictured sitting at the bedside, holding the hand of a sick man. That picture has been repeated at Hull. It has grown from the "dawn of hope" to "sunshine for the worker." The electors are told in the Hull leaflet that the Tory party tried to gull the electors with all sorts of promises.
I will not pursue it. I was tempted out. of the strict course of financial rectitude, but I wanted the right hon. Gentleman to at least correct a statement which will be 1438 misunderstood by the public unless it is corrected, or else to make good his words so that we could co-operate with him in making the Bill what we wish it to be—a good and complete system of insurance. I called attention to the leaflets, because I think we should not be asked across the floor of the House to co-operate with those who are usually our opponents while they make use of such leaflets against us in elections.
Mr. J. W. WILSON
I agree with the hon. Member (Mr. Worthington-Evans), and I hope that hon. Members on neither side are going to make political capital out of this legislation. We were all united on the Second Reading of the Bill, and I want to thank the Government for framing this Financial Resolution in what appears at first sight to be fairly and strictly in accordance with what they propose in. their Bill. In all social reform legislation it is for the Government of the day, to whatever party they belong, to form their financial decisions as to how much they feel justified in asking the House and the country to grant. It is no part either of the official Opposition or of free lances to try, by proposing to extend the benefits, to put the rank and file of the supporters of the Government in the wrong path, so to speak, through having to vote against extended forms of relief which they would like to support, but which would defeat the object, having regard to the design of the Bill and the hope they have of getting a practical measure adopted.
We have seen something of it in past years. I am not speaking from a party point of view, because Amendments are proposed on the Government side as well as the Opposition side to compel the rank and file, the supporters of the Government in a measure of this sort, to vote against extensions such as the removal of the pauper disqualification, thereby exposing themselves in their Constituencies to charges of having voted against benefits-which they would like to see added had they considered them to be practicable. I consider that these financial Resolutions are so framed as to confine the limits of this Debate in Committee largely on the principle that the House has adopted in the past by its rule which prevents private Members from proposing taxation and which limits large proposals of this sort to Ministers of the day. I wish to thank the Government for having thus limited the financial provisions in this way. I am sorry if the hon. Member who has last 1439 spoken feels that many of his pet schemes are cut out by the Resolution, but at the same time, in the interests of what he has urged, the absence of party capital or individual capital being made out of these Debates, he must recognise that on the whole a strictly financial Resolution like this is beneficial. It is quite easy for hon. Members on either side of the House to propose an Amendment getting the credit with their Constituents for having fought it.
My complaint was not that we were not able to ask for bigger benefits, but that the tight form of the Resolution would prevent any alteration of the allocations of the benefits, even though it did not create any greater charge on the Exchequer.
Mr. J. W. WILSON
I did not quite grasp the hon. Member's meaning, but I think my argument equally applies in a measure of this sort, a well-thought-out measure, as we believe it to be. The Government have undertaken the responsibility of producing this measure and limiting the discussion on the lines of the Resolution, and it is in the interests of fair play all round that these Resolutions have been framed as they have been framed.
§ Mr. FORSTER
I do not at all sympathise with the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. I have resolved as far as I possibly could to keep silence on this Bill. My object is not to waste time in making speeches but if possible to suggest improvements and to see as far as I can that improvements are effected. But I do feel impelled to make some few observations to-night, not with reference to the whole scheme of finance so much as to the particular form in which the Financial Resolution finds shape. If my hon. Friend opposite is glad that the Resolution takes this shape I am sorry for the same reason that he is glad. He professes to be glad that the Resolution is drawn thus strictly in order to avoid any of those occasions of party controversy and party strife.
§ 10.0 P.M.
Mr. J. W. WILSON
I conceive it possible that Amendments might come from individual Members on both sides of the House which would cause a body of supporters as a whole to vote against it.
§ Mr. FORSTER
That it would prevent party controversy, that is what I said. I say that the Resolution being drawn in 1440 this particular way makes it difficult for us to prevent the opposition from considering the financial scheme from any but a party point of view. If I wanted anything else to impel a hot partisan like myself to take a party point of view I should find it in the absence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer from a debate at which I should have thought he would make a point of being present. I am not going to say anything on the finances of the scheme as a whole. I hope that in spite of the language in which the Resolution is cast we shall have some opportunity at any rate of making suggestions for financial amendment and proposals in future. But I do protest most emphatically that the effect of the strictness with which this Resolution is framed acts as a most effective gag upon Amendments which we desire to move. We were told before we approached the Committee stage of this Bill that we were going to be called upon to undertake it under the strict application of the guillotine Resolution. I am glad to think that the Government thought twice about that proposal, and finally abandoned it. But I believe that the strictness with which they have drawn this Resolution has acted as an even more potent instrument in the curtailment of debate than any Resolution which they could put on the Paper. This Resolution will shut out. a great many Amendments which Members on this side of the House, and I quite believe Members on the other side desire to suggest, Amendments moved not with the object of wrecking the Bill, but solely with the object of improving it.
I might refer to the Amendment referred to by the hon. Member for Blackburn in his most interesting speech on this Motion, the Amendment suggested by the interesting speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Salisbury (Mr. Locker-Lamp-son) and other Members of this House. We desire some sort of freedom to suggest possibly a slight increase in the Government grant, the State contribution, and certainly a redistribution of it in the case of low wage earners, and in the case of agricultural labourers. By your Resolution as drawn, those Amendments will be shut out. We desire to suggest an alteration of the distribution of the financial burden in certain parts of the Bill, but those Amendments would be shut out. We find ourselves confronted with an indirect method of limiting discussion, such as this Resolution fairly amounts to, and there is inflicted upon us treatment which 1441 we have not deserved in limiting us to reservations and limitations which we have not fairly earned. I approached the consideration of this Bill, ever since I heard the introductory speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in a spirit of unfeigned friendship. I disagree in a considerable number of details, but my one anxiety has been to improve any defects that I find in it, while adhering to the general method it seeks to carry out.
I know that some of my hon. Friends who sit behind me think that I have approached the consideration of this measure in an unduly friendly spirit. I do not think so myself. I can say honestly that such measure of friendship I have felt for it from the first has not been the outcome of emotional enthusiasm, but the result of some study of the problem and a genuine desire to effect some improvement in the lives of my fellow countrymen. I say it is at any rate trying to the patience, if not to the temper, to find one's opportunities limited and hampered and one's hands tied and one's mouth shut by the indirect method of closure which the Government seem fit to adopt. I have only to say this, in conclusion, that unless we are allowed some freedom of discussion, some opportunity for suggesting real improvements in the financial burdens imposed in the distribution of the money, unless we are given in the future opportunities in the Committee stage of making these suggested improvements and amendments, then we decline to be any party whatever to the finance upon which your proposals are based, and we throw upon the Government opposite the whole responsibility for it.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
I am bound to confess that I must associate myself with at any rate a great deal of what the hon. Member opposite has said. I think it is a great pity indeed that this Financial Resolution has been drafted in this form. This Bill is not exactly what one would call a non-contentious Bill, but I think we may say quite fairly that it is one which has been approached from all sides of the House with a desire to improve it. We have our differences of opinion and our differences of point of view, but we all recognise that the Bill is an honest, promising contribution to an extremely important pressing social problem. Surely the Government ought to have met us fairly and in the frame of mind which we approached the Bill. The Government ought not to tie our hands 1442 and apply the closure in an indirect way, as the hon. Gentleman opposite very truly said, as it is doing by the form of this Financial Resolution. I am in favour of a contributory scheme. I was not converted after this Bill was introduced. I was only the other day somewhat concerned for my own Constituency, and looked up an article I wrote fifteen years ago on this very subject, in which I discussed the problem of a contributory versus non-contributory scheme, and I was delighted to find that I was of the same-opinion then as I am now—that a contributory scheme is the soundest scheme and the best scheme from the economic point of view, and those of us who are consistent Socialists are bound to support it as opposed to a non-contributory scheme. That, however, is neither here nor there. Approaching the Bill with more agreement than some of my hon. Friends around me, I am still full of regret that the Government have by this Resolution made it difficult for us to readjust the proportions of the contributions from the three factors. I hope that the Government will reconsider the situation even after it has got this Resolution. It is not at all impossible for them to do so. As the Government saw fit to change its mind about the guillotine and benefited very much yesterday as a result of that change, I hope it will see fit to open its mind again in regard to the financial basis of this Bill, and to decline to hold the Committee bound by any ceremony of red tape, so that it can release the Committee from the red tape-whenever it has a mind to do so.
I have said I am in favour of a contributory scheme. That means I am in favour of insurance, for to talk about State Insurance without contribution is simply to talk nonsense. The very word "insurance" implies a contribution, not a gift not a grant, nor a dole, but a contribution proportionate to the risk which is covered by the insurance. We talk about the causes of poverty, but we must also consider the cures of poverty. There are certain ways of approaching the problem which makes it worse while we appear to-be curing it. Therefore we must have a clear idea in our mind not only why these people are poor and why we can speak of their ills, their grievances and their shortcomings, but how this House as a rational legislative body can lift them out of their poverty and enable them to live by the organisation of the State independent individual lives. Talking as I do for the Labour party, in supporting a contributory 1443 scheme I am bound to refer to a very remarkable conference which met in the Coronation week, representative of one of the largest gatherings of Trade Unionism that has ever been held in this country. That body by a very large majority decided to support the fundamental principles of this Bill. There are minorities. There are minorities in the party opposite. Every healthy party has got its minority. I hope that will always be. I hope the Labour Party will never be a party without a very vigorous, intelligent and active minority. So far as the majority voted for a contributory scheme it becomes the party decision and nobody in the Committee need have the least doubt but that the Labour Party stands for a contributory scheme so far as this Bill is concerned. Moreover, we are in favour of a contributory scheme with reference to sickness, whilst we were in favour of a non-contributory scheme in reference to old age pensions. I am surprised to find some publications criticising us in that because we were in favour of non-contributory old age pensions therefore we must be in favour of non-contributory sickness benefits. Of course there is no logic in that. That sort of logic does not exist except in some abstract world far remote from the earth we are in. Each one of the cases has to be adjudged on its merits, and the reason why we were in favour of old age pensions was because the contingency of the old age of seventy was so very remote that nobody who held our views could have suggested for a moment that it was an intelligent proposition to suggest that a man should insure himself against such a contingency. The fact of insurance must be determined by the nearness or possibility of the risk which is theoretical becoming a risk which is actual. The same is true with education and so on, not on the same ground, but on totally different grounds, so that the logic of the case, as a matter of fact, does not exist at all. But when we agree to the contributory basis, then the question arises, is the distribution fair. So far as I am concerned I do not think this contribution is fair. The distribution of two-ninths from the State and seven-ninths from the employers and workpeople, I think, is a very unfair distribution. I do not think that the distribution means that the State is going to do its duty under the circumstances. Why? Let me remind the Government of this point. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his Bill, proposes to 1444 give very substantial benefits to those who are to become beneficiaries under the Bill. It is perfectly true that so far as those benefits are concerned the working class contributor is getting full value for his money. But then the difficulty in which the working class contributor is placed is this. If he was in a position to pay 4d. for sickness insurance, and having paid the 4d., to deal with the same fulness with all his other responsibilities that have to be placed upon his income, then it would be all right. But the Chancellor of the Exchequer comes and says to him, "I can only give you a certain scheme of benefits if you give me 4d." That scheme of benefits may be a necessary scheme, but it is out of proportion in its provisions to the way in which the man or the woman can clothe, feed, and house himself or herself, can look after the children, and can enjoy the little luxuries of life. See what the Chancellor is doing. He is abstracting one responsibility and one duty from the individual, and saying to the individual, "Whilst your income is wholly inadequate, I am going to adequately meet the one contingency in your experience." If a man's income was sufficiently large to enable him to meet all his contingencies, then the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be perfectly right, but until his income is sufficiently large, to expect him to meet all those contingencies as fully as the one contingency, then the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought not to impose upon him such a large percentage as 4d. He is running a grave risk, and I am sure he must recognise it, by making a person insure himself against sickness at the cost of his standard of life.
When a man is sick and receiving his benefit, then undoubtedly he is far better off under this Bill than he would be if there were no Bill at all. Whilst a man is not sick, and whilst a man is struggling and striving to make ends meet week in and week out, the proportion of 4d. taken from him compulsorily is too large a proportion in a great many instances to enable him to fulfil his other responsibilities with anything of the same adequacy which the Chancellor of the Exchequer compels him to fulfil with regard to his individual sickness. I saw a criticism the other day which was exaggerated and therefore I did not agree with it, but which, nevertheless, did indicate in some dramatic way the real weakness of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's finance. The criticism was passed upon the ground that the Bill compelled poor people to 1445 Substitute drugs for food. That is very exceptional. Nevertheless, it does indicate that the mere question of drugs, the mere question of medical attendance, the mere question of sickness provision, have been abstracted from the general round of responsibility, and taken out of its true proportion, and to that extent is an injustice, and to that extent the State ought to have given far greater assistance than it proposes to give. But that is not all. I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to have approached this question from a different point of view from that which he has adopted. He ought, first of all, I think, to have catalogued what he proposes to do under this Bill, and then, having done that, he ought to have classified all the things he wanted to do with those which are personal and those which are social. If he does that now he will find that two-ninths for what he proposes to do is far too small a proportion for the social work that is going to be done under his Bill. Let me illustrate. He is going to start a system, which I hope will be efficient and well equipped, of experimental medicine. To charge the cost of a system and experimental medicine upon personal income is altogether wrong, because any system of experimental medicine which is going to be carried on on a proper scale must be a State system. You might just as well tell us that he should impose a personal charge upon us for London University or for Ox-ford or Cambridge. Experimental medicine must be organised by the State, must be staffed by the State, must be kept going by the State, and to impose one single brass farthing of the cost of the system upon individual insurance is a very wrong and a very unjust system. All that ought to have come from the State.
Then take the question of the Public Health Committee. If any hon. Member takes the Clauses of the Bill which refer to the responsibilities and duties of the Public Health Committee he will find again that they are nearly all social. Looking after the administration of the factory laws is one point dealt with, seeing that the general sickness of the locality does not go beyond a certain figure, seeing that the housing accommodation is sanitary, seeing that employers of labour are not working their labour under conditions which produce more than the average amount of sickness. The costs of such a committee and of such a service ought not to come out of an insurance fund at all. Those are State costs, just as much as the factory 1446 inspector at the present moment is a State charge, and ought always to remain a State charge. The whole cost of the administration of public health should be a communal charge, and not imposed upon individuals, or any class or any section of individuals. Take the question of sanatoria. Tuberculosis sanatoria is again exactly that kind of thing for which the community as a community should make itself responsible. It is no good to the individual man and individual woman, particularly if his or her wages are inadequate, saying to him we are going to compel you to insure yourself against consumption, we are going to compel you to pay out of your pocket the cost of running sanatoria, or at any rate part of the cost, because, as a matter of fact, just in precisely the same way as the cost of eliminating a severe infectious disease like small-pox has been regarded by every enlightened public-spirited citizen as being a public charge, necessarily a public charge, so the cost of eliminating consumption ought to be considered a public charge and in no sense a private one expressive of private responsibility. Or take the class that appear to be very personal, or which, to a very large extent, are personal, and which, because they are personal, give me more ground for supporting the insurance aspect and insurance Section of this Bill—simple sickness, which is very largely a social disease.
If you allow slums to exist in your midst and the vitality of your people to be low it is unfair to ask those people to insure themselves against that part of the sickness which ought to be a public charge and ought to be a communal charge, and the State ought to bear the expense of it. I do not say altogether. I admit, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has done some of it, but it is not my case at all that he has not done anything. My case is that if he classifies all the activities which he contemplates in his Bill, and for which he is making financial provision, more than two-ninths of them are social in their origin, social in their character, and therefore ought to be social in the source from which they ought to be paid. They ought to come under social finance, to which they are extending these two matters, for which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has provided. So much for the sickness part. To say that this Part I is full of matters which are of a distributive responsibility, of which four-ninths is personal, three-ninths is capitalistic or employers' responsibility, and two-ninths 1447 belongs to the State is unfair. It is not true. The State has the larger responsibility. The State ought to bear a very much larger share than two-ninths, if it is going to give fair play to those whom it compels to come into the scheme of the Bill. If you take Part II., unemployment, the case is far worse. As a matter of fact a very good case can be made out under Part II. for no contribution from the workmen at all. Well, if we can get a satisfactory scheme against unemployment I am not concerned with sticking to stilted economies and stilted logic. If a small contribution from the workman is going to lubricate the matter, so that the State will do its duty and give us an opportunity of starting a very important experiment, I am not going to quarrel with the Chancellor of the Exchequer for asking for a small contribution. But what has happened? The actuarial return shows that to the income of the unemployment fund the workman will contribute 9s. 2d., whilst the employer contributes 7s. 6d., and the State contributes 5s. 6d. and two-thirds of a penny. That is not fair. There is no use in anybody imagining that that is a fair proportion. Unemployment is mainly a social disease. You have said that over and over again in this House, and we shall have to say so often again. It is caused very largely by inefficient industrial organisation for which the employer is responsible. If there is any cause at all which calls for a contribution from the workman it is a cause very slightly indeed due to the workman by anything he has done or can do in our very complicated industrial organisation. Therefore I am not going to stand on stilted logic or stilted economics. But surely if from one factor you are to get a contribution of 9s. 2d., whilst from another you get 5s. 6d. and two-thirds of a penny, the factor which should contribute the 9s. 2d. is the State and not the workman, and the factor which is going to contribute the most ought to be asked to contribute least, and that is undoubtedly the workman. The graduation ought to be the State first and the employer next, and these two together ought to contribute practically all. If you insist upon the workman contributing something, it should be a minimum, the very minimum, just enough to be a contribution at all.
Now what I should have liked to have done was to have moved an Amendment to this Resolution which would give effect to our opinions. It is not the Chancellor 1448 of the Exchequer's fault, and it is not the Government's fault, that we cannot do that. It is part and parcel of the very ancient Rules of this House. We must work in the very limited space that is afforded to us. I am not going to vote against this Resolution, because to vote against this Resolution is to vote against the whole of the Bill. We cannot shut our eyes to that. I wish it were otherwise, but in many instances in this House we have to vote for the least of two evils and not for the greater of two goods. I say candidly I am going to vote for the least of two evils, because if I vote against the Resolution I vote against the Bill.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
Anybody who knows the Rules of the House knows that a private Member cannot bring in a Finance Resolution. That is a matter for the Government. Unfortunately I am not the Government, but if my hon. Friends around me were sitting on the Front Bench it. would not be a difficult matter to arrange. We could substitute some satisfactory Resolution, but to defeat the Resolution is to defeat the Bill.
I am not going to help to do that. But what I do wish to do before sitting down—and this is my last sentence or two—is to appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who has come in since I started to address the Committee, not to go and rule this in a red tape way. He may find as he goes along in his Clauses that we can make out a case that will be overwhelming in the strength of its arguments, and in the wealth of fact that we can bring to bear in support of it. If he does find that some of these exceptions—I will not put it any higher, but I appeal to him on the grounds that I have named—that he encouraged us to hope during the debate yesterday he would accept to mean that in respect of them the State contribution must be over two-ninths, then I do appeal to him not to turn round and simply say that because of this Resolution passed to-night that he is unable to meet us or to do anything. It is quite possible—because primarily the matter rests with the Chancellor—that he cannot. But as we know, the Government can quite easily put the whole thing right, and put down other Resolutions on the Paper. I think I am quite right in saying that the Government can make this perfectly right by setting up Committee of Ways and Means again; by putting down other Reso- 1449 lutions upon the Paper. It is on consideration that I believe my right hon. Friend is willing to do what I have suggested if we do make out our case, that I am going to support in a general and platonic way the Resolution before us now.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I do not wish to prolong this discussion, which can be resumed upon the Report stage of this Resolution. But there is something we cannot do on the Report stage—that not even the Government can do—that is, introduce any Amendment which in any way might enlarge the cost to the Exchequer. I find myself, as I do not very often, in the same position as the hon. Gentleman the Member for Leicester. I am unwilling to vote against the Resolution without which consideration of the Bill cannot proceed. I am certain that if I did kind friends on the opposite side of the House or in the country would represent it in the most unflattering and uncharitable light in the constituencies. But neither can I, nor will I, vote for a Resolution deliberately framed in order to withdraw from the consideration of the House a great number of questions which the House ought to have the opportunity of considering. I regret that during a most interesting two hours of this Debate to-night, during which it developed on new lines, the Chancellor's other engagements prevent his being present. I rise to ask him to deal with a small part of the matter raised by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Leicester. He put to the Chancellor two cases in which it was suggested that the contribution of the employé was too large in certain cases. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Blackburn and other hon. Members on both sides of the House have suggested that in certain cases the contribution of the employer is too large. What the Chancellor of the Exchequer, no doubt, meant to make himself responsible for is a total sum of money that he will be a party to spending. Having decided that, why should he draw his Resolution in such a way that he cannot spend that money as perhaps he should desire to do? Suppose the hon. Gentleman the hon. Member for Blackburn moves to reduce the contribution of the men? Automatically, under the Resolution of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the contribution of the State would be diminished. Suppose another hon. Member moved to reduce the contribution of the employer then automatically the contribution of the State would be 1450 diminished. Why should we be limited in that way? Why should we not consider these two contributions on their merits without having our hands so tied that if we made any reduction in either of them we reduce the State contribution. I put another question raised by the hon. Member for Colchester on his Amendment. It might easily be raised on other Amendments as well. The hon. Member, like every Member of the House, is greatly concerned about the position of the Post Office contributors—the deposit contributors—who although included under the Insurance Bill are not insured. He has devised a scheme by which they should be insured in practice. Now the Chancellor says that would increase the expenditure of the State; that only shows how very important it is. It would not be at the expense of the State, at any rate there would be no material addition to the expenditure of the State, and if there be only a fractional additional that could be met.
What would the hon. Member's scheme cost? By paying a smaller benefit you could turn what is now a deposit account up which the depositor can only draw up to that limit into an insurance with a lesser sum it is true. Again, that is prohibited under the Resolution because if you reduce his benefit you automatically reduce the State contribution and the scheme of my hon. Friend is based upon the supposition that you have so much money to give and that you would better employ it by giving some insurance with smaller benefit than by giving no insurance at all with larger benefit. I have been obliged to explain what the nature and principle of the scheme is because otherwise of course the obvious answer might be: "You cannot do a thing of that kind without increasing the total expenditure of the State, and that the total expenditure of the State would be materially increased," but I do say the Committee ought to have the fullest power for dealing with the money which the Chancellor is prepared to provide in any way they think fit. I do not believe the Chancellor intended to cut out Amendments of that kind; I do not believe any Member of this House thinks it is desirable they should be cut out, and I appeal to the Chancellor, whilst there is yet time, to so alter his Resolution that we shall proceed with the discussion of this very important matter in Committee, unhampered by restrictions not needed for the safety of the Treasury or the defence of the taxpayer.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I regret I did not hear that portion of the very interesting discussion which the right hon. Gentleman alludes to, but I need hardly assure the Committee that there is a good deal of work outside a Bill of this kind, and that it is very difficult to find time for it. I thought the discussion was coming to an end when I left the House, or else I should have arranged to be notified if there was anything that required my presence in the Committee. There are two or three questions of very considerable importance raised, and I had the advantage, at any rate, of hearing the latter part of the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester. From both the hon. Member and the right hon. Gentleman I have heard practically the same suggestion, except that I think the form in which it was put by the hon. Member for Leicester is on the whole a better way of meeting the case. The mere fact that nobody has been able to frame an Amendment which will enable us to do the things the right hon. Gentleman suggests shows the difficulty of doing it. There is only one way of doing it, and it is by saying that the State shall find £4,000,000 or £5,000,000 and then allowing Amendments to be moved within that limit. That obviously is inconvenient for the simple reason that you cannot quite say at a given moment what the Bill will cost in that way. The only way in which you can have an empowering Resolution is by saying you shall have two-ninths, one-fourth, or one-third of the benefit. We could not think of any other way of framing the Resolution.
There is no desire on my part or on the part of the Government to reduce the total amount of the contribution which we are prepared to find for this insurance scheme, and I can assure the right hon. Gentleman opposite that it was framed with the intention of ruling out Amendments which would increase the charge. That is a responsibility which the Government must take. If the House of Commons takes a different view there is only one way in which it can enforce a Resolution of that kind. I think this method has operated as a useful check. It has never prevented the House of Commons really increasing the amount when it wanted to do so. The one way of increasing the charge on public funds is by means of moving a reduction. The object of moving a reduction is not really to reduce the amount available, but in nine cases out of ten it is moved in order to increase it. There is nothing to 1452 prevent the Committee making its will manifest, by discussion as to the way in. which it prefers money to be spent. There is nothing in this Resolution which will prevent that being done. It is perfectly clear that if it is the general opinion of the House that hon. Members would like to take a certain proportion of the amount which is available out of one particular benefit and put it into another I do not think it would be difficult. It would then be the duty of the Government to introduce an amending Resolution to put the matter right.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
You could not raise it in the form of an Amendment, any more than you can raise it in Committee of Supply. The modifications which I indicated yesterday the Government were prepared to make have been referred to. There is nothing in the Resolution which prevents those being made. I come now to the change which the right hon. Gentleman indicated as having emanated from the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Worthington-Evans). I take it from the right hon. Gentleman that the proposal of the hon. Member would not increase the aggregate charge, but the hon. Member admitted it would.
I really did not admit that. My answer to the right hon. Gentleman was "Very little, if at all." It is not possible to say in any actuarial calculations within a very little whether it does or does not. The right hon. Gentleman himself has found the same difficulties as we have found in getting information.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I have some acquaintance with the information, and I understood it did involve an increased charge on the Exchequer. This is the only safeguard the Government has with regard to public finance, but, if I thought there was any other way which would protect the Exchequer I certainly would not rule it out of consideration.
I have put down an Amendment dealing with the point; but it has been ruled out of order. It was a manuscript Amendment.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The hon. Gentleman says he sent in a manuscript Amendment. I could not possibly consider it now, because I have not seen it. 1453 If it were possible to do it without letting in all sorts of other Amendments which might involve an increase in the public charge, then I should be prepared to consider it; but I still say the much better way is to assent to this as it stands. I do not wish to rule out anything which the House really wants in the form of an Amendment of the Bill, of course excepting the proposal of the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden). That, of course, would be impossible. I understand the hon. Gentleman the Member for Seven-oaks (Mr. Forster) made a similar criticism on the Resolution in my absence. I do not think he will find the questions in which he is interested would be ruled out at all under this Resolution, and for that reason I do trust it will be possible now to get this Resolution. I do not think I have shown any real rigidity so far in the discussion of the Committee. I have accepted several Amendments from both sides of the House. I have been willing to listen to all kinds of suggestions in the matter, and there are several other suggestions I will still consider. There is the suggestion which came from the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. If I find it is impossible to carry out the wish of the House owing to this Resolution, the right hon. Gentleman and his associates may depend upon it they will find no difficulty with the Government in amending the Resolution or in bringing in a fresh Resolution.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
May I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether an Amendment to make the State contribution 3d., the employer's contribution 3d., and the workman's contribution 3d., would be in order if the Resolution is passed?
§ Sir HENRY CRAIK
I wish to call attention to another question, but one which is of equal, if not of more, practical importance, and I think I shall be able to claim some sympathy from the hon. Members for Merthyr Tydvil and Bow and Bromley. I wish to call the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the restriction with regard to the payment of the medical benefit; I think it lies at the very kernel and basis of the Bill. No one can say that this Bill does not hang chiefly on what can be done for the health of the people. Is not this the real thing that divides the lot of the people more 1454 than anything else. It is not money or position or society: it is the security you can give them for the preservation of health, and I believe that so far as this Bill will add to the security and benefit you can give to the great mass of the population with regard to health it will operate all the more beneficially in other directions. Let us see how the Chancellor of the Exchequer restricts this expenditure. He places the real responsibility for what is the most important part of the Bill, and which is the very crux of the Bill upon the locality, and if they wish to save money they can do so. He holds out, as it were, an object to economise on this particular point on which usually they are most anxious to economise, and we think it is most unfair that he should place that economy upon them. Will the right hon. Gentleman consider an analogy—and that is, what has been the case with regard to medical inspection in the sphere of education?
§ Sir HENRY CRAIK
I wish to point out that the right hon. Gentleman instead of bringing the help of the State to what I consider the most important part of his scheme, he has put the burden mainly on the local rates, and I think our previous experience has shown that the consequence of so doing will be to severely restrict its benevolent operation. That is why I object to the financial Resolution of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is only in order in objecting to the proportion. The State only claims to pay one-half of the additional medical benefit.
§ Sir HENRY CRAIK
I object to the restriction of the State subvention and we know from experience that such a restriction will operate very evilly in regard to this scheme. That is precisely the argument I have to put forward. I am surprised that hon. Members opposite should think proper to pay no attention to the urgency of this important part of the Bill and for an extended measure of generosity. What is the real difficulty with regard to 1455 this matter of medical inspection? What will be the likely course to be pursued by heavily burdened localities? They vary infinitely in circumstances. Some have scattered populations to attend to, where medical relief can only be given at the cost of enormous expenditure of labour and an unproportionate expenditure of money. That I contend is not a burden which ought to be placed upon the poorer localities of England or upon the slum districts in great towns. It is a burden which belongs to the State. It is a public service, and I think the right hon. Gentleman would have ensured the success of his Bill very much more if he had enlarged the purse strings and left less to the tender mercies and exigencies of particular localities. He would have done better if he had followed the analogy which he adopted in the immediately succeeding Section. Why in regard to sanatoria does he give a penny per head? Why does he not. say he will pay a certain amount per head of the population or that he will take into account certain difficulties of particular localities? Surely he is tying his own hands and the hands of the Committee afterwards in regard to enlarging the benefits of the Bill. I have listened to all these Debates, and I have heard talk of the absolute necessity of stopping malingering and restricting expenditure here, there and everywhere—
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is discussing the general question of medical relief. That does not arise now. The only point, so far as I can see, that arises in regard to medical relief is the provision in Sub-section (1) of (a).
§ Sir HENRY CRAIK
With all respect I have to say that I am talking about the excess of expenditure—the expenditure in excess of the minimum. That burden ought to be borne in larger proportion by the State, and not thrown upon the rates. I was trying to show—and I think I was within the bounds of order—that in order to make this Bill operate in regard to medical relief in a proper way you must have an excess of expenditure, which will fall heavily upon certain localities, and not upon those whose object must be to curtail expenditure. You ought to make generous provision for medical relief—provision which will not be restricted absolutely to the minimum necessities of the case, but which will place the people on the foundation they desire. If the right hon. Gentleman has restricted his expen- 1456 diture in this direction, he has restricted his own hands, and I ask him why he does not follow the analogy in regard to sanatoria, and say that he is perpared to pay a certain amount of the debt? You have not placed half of the expenditure of the sanatoria on the locality. Why place on the locality the very unequal amount of burden they will have to pay in this excess?
§ 11.0 P.M.
§ Mr. GOLDMAN
On a point of Order. May I ask whether in view of the fact that the contribution of 2d. by the State is the equivalent of the two-ninths benefit contribution, would it be possible, if this Resolution is passed, to move an Amendment to substitute 2d.?
§ The CHAIRMAN
Twopence is not the equivalent as I am informed. Twopence would be a great deal more than two-ninths during the earlier years of the Bill. Such an Amendment would increase the charge, and therefore it would be out of order.
§ Dr. ADDISON
I think we should receive an assurance from the Chancellor of the Exchequer that this matter of medical relief will receive free discussion on the later stages of the Bill. I am not concerned at present with where the money to meet the charge is to come from. It is of the first importance in the interest of the insurer as well as the fund that we should know whether the wives of insured persons will receive the benefits with a free hand hereafter. It will be quite useless to undertake this campaign against tuberculosis if we are by this Resolution to prevent ourselves from extending the benefits to the wives of insured persons.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
On a point of Order. Is not the hon. Member going considerably further than I did when I was interrupted? He is discussing the whole question whether sanatorium relief should be given to the wives and children as well as the consumptives.
§ The CHAIRMAN
When I interrupted the hon. Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities he seemed to me to be dealing with the treatment of doctors in the Bill as a whole.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member seems to think he was dealing only with the excess charge. I did not think so. In 1457 this case the hon. Member now in possession of the House, or who ought to be, is confining himself to one of the paragraphs in this Resolution which would restrict sanatorium benefits to insured persons. He is asking for some relaxation of that. That is quite in order.
§ Dr. ADDISON
I was pointing out that our efforts for reducing not only sickness, but the ultimate charge upon the fund, would, owing to mothers and children remaining in the infected house, be handicapped by the spread of infection. For the protection of the fund as well as the promotion of public health, we should have a free hand, if it were possible, to extend the sanatorium benefits to mother and children.
§ Mr. LESLIE SCOTT
The Chancellor of the Exchequer asked just now whether in this Resolution there is any particular condition which will prevent a single one of the provisions of the Bill from being discussed, which is a matter of public importance. In (a) it says:—
"(i.)As respects medical benefit, one-half of any excess expenditure on medical treatment and attendance (including the provision of medicines) for insured persons which may be sanctioned by the Treasury."
That is a resolution which is regarded as the foundation of the sub-clauses in Clause 14, the clause which relates to the administration of medical benefit. As the right hon. Gentleman has told the public already in answer to a deputation from the Association of County Councils, probably more than one-half the total medical benefits will, as the Bill is now framed, be administered by local health committees. It may be that if the further change which the right hon. Gentleman has indicated he himself advocates is made the proportion of the administration of medical benefits within the purview of local health committees will be more still. Section 14 provides that if and when there is any deficit in the administration of medical relief by a local health committee then the committee may through the commissioners transmit to the Treasury and to the county council or the council of the borough an account showing the total expenditure. Under Sub-section (4) the Treasury and the council of the county or the county borough shall, if satisfied that the amount 1458 so payable and the proposed expenditure are reasonable and proper in the circumstances, sanction the expenditure, and then Sub-section (5) provides that if the expenditure is so sanctioned the Treasury is to pay one-half and the local authority also one-half. On that Clause a very serious public controversy has arisen, as the right hon. Gentleman is aware, on the large question of public health, as to whether or not it is desirable to constitute a new public health authority in the form of these local health committees, upon which the whole of the county councils, the borough councils, and also the port sanitary authorities have taken up a very strong line. The line they have taken up broadly is: "We ought not to be called upon to pay money unless we are given control of the public health expenditure."
As far as this Resolution is concerned that is the main question that has arisen. Upon that the vital question arises for solution by this House; ought they or ought they not to be made to pay or asked to pay if they are not given control? That involves the whole relationship between this Bill and the public health administration of the country. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is fully alive to it for he has already received several deputations upon it, and I am quite sure he will agree with me when I say that the question is one of great importance whatever solution is adopted. I agree that many points of view may be taken, and that many considerations have to be taken into account. Whatever the result, the question is of great importance. I do not want to discuss the question of the incidence of the payment of this excess expenditure here and now.
What I do ask is that when we come to discuss on Clause 14 whether or not it is right that the county councils should be called upon to make a contribution so great as 50 per cent. towards this excess expenditure unless they are given control—in other words, that on Amendments like that standing in the name of the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. Hayes Fisher) we shall be able to solve the question. Will the Chancellor of the Exchequer say that on the discussion of Clause 14, and the relevant clauses, namely, 43, 44, 45, and 46, he will not say, "You cannot ask the Government to put upon the Exchequer a larger share than 50 per cent." That is a 1459 specific question. Will he give the Committee the assurance that when we come to discuss that very important public question, it will be open to the council to deal with it and decide it on its merits, not only the total expenditure that is to be defrayed by the Exchequer on Local Taxation Account, but also the apportionment? That is all we want. Otherwise I say this is an instance where the form of his Resolution will prevent the free discussion by this House of a question of great public importance.
§ Mr. F. GOLDSMITH
I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman the definite question whether under this Resolution it will be possible to move an Amendment to reduce the period by making the sickness benefit to begin on the first day, instead of the fourth day?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite wanted to know whether it will be possible to increase the half of the excess that could be charged upon the Treasury or the county council. No, it would not be possible if this Resolution is carried. He is under the impression that the county council can be compelled to pay half. That is the impression his speech gives. I want to point out that they need not pay half if they do not like. They will be in a position even to say, "Unless we get control we will not give half." And the Treasury is in that position.
§ Mr. LESLIE SCOTT
I do not agree that it would be open, under the Bill as it is now framed, to the county council, to say, "We will not give half unless we get control." The measure of control existing under the provisions of Clause 43 is totally inadequate, and does not in the least justify the broad proportion that they can get control if they ask for it.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The hon. and learned Gentleman is absolutely wrong. The county council has an absolute right to refuse—that is my view of the position—and the Exchequer is in a position to say that they will not give half unless better
§ representation is obtained. Therefore, both are in the same position. As to the point raised by the hon. Member opposite (Mr. F. Goldsmith), it would cause an enormous increase of the charge. If it were possible to remove these restrictions it might involve an increase of millions in the next two or three years. I come next to the point raised by the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Booth). I had it in mind, and I think it is a very important consideration. I shall point out later on, when the question arises, that it will be a charge on the fund, and to that extent it will diminish the amount which will be available in regard to insured persons. Therefore that is a consideration which must be taken into account, but it will not be a Treasury objection. Sub-section (a) would cover the case, and if it were found necessary afterwards, the Treasury would be able to increase the amount, as I think it will have to be increased eventually. It would be possible under Sub-section (a) for an Amendment as to the amount to be moved.
§ Mr. HAMERSLEY
May I ask whether the Amendments on the Paper that propose to reduce the contribution of the agricultural labourer will be in order if this Resolution is passed?
§ The CHAIRMAN
That really has nothing to do with this Resolution. Any Amendment to reduce what is moved today is in Order. The hon. Member can take that for granted.
§ Mr. HAMERSLEY
I have an Amendment on the Paper about domestic servants, reducing and taking them out of the category of the Bill. Will that be in Order if this Resolution is passed?
§ The CHAIRMAN
We discussed that this afternoon. The hon. Member can propose to have them taken out at the end of the Bill. I dare say it is not in order where the hon. Member has put it down, but he can do it if he does it in the right place.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 220; Noes, 9.1461
|Division No. 260.]||AYES.||[11.25 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Armitage, Robert||Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick)|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.)|
|Allen, A. A. (Dumbartonshire)||Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Barton, William|
|Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud)||Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Beale, W. P.|
|Anderson, Andrew Macbeth||Barnes, George N.||Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.)||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Boland, John Pius||Haworth, Sir Arthur A.||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Hayden, John Patrick||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Hayward, Evan||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Higham, John Sharp||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Brunner, John F. L||Hinds, John||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Hodge, John||Ponsonby, Arhtur A. W. H.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Holt, Richard Durning||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh Central)|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)||Home, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Howard, Hon Geoffrey||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Cameron, Robert||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Radford, George Heynes|
|Carlile, sir Edward Hildred||Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Isaacs, Sir Rufus||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Johnson, W.||Reddy, Michael|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Jones, Engar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Joyce, Michael||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Clough, William||Keating, Matthew||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Kelly, Edward||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||King, Joseph (Somerset, North)||Robinson, Sydney|
|Cowan, W. H.||Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton)||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Crooks, William||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Crumley, Patrick||Leach, Charles||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Dairymple, Viscount||Levy, Sir Maurice||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Lewis, John Herbert||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Lundon, Thomas||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth)||Lyell, Charles Henry||Sheehy, David|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Dawes, J. A.||McGhee, Richard||Smith, Albert (Lanes., Clitheroe)|
|Delany, William||Maclean, Donald||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Macnamara, Dr. T. J.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Doris, William||Macpherson, James Ian||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Duffy, William J.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Summers, James Woolley|
|Duke, Henry Edward||M'Curdy, Charles Albert||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Tennant, Harold John|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||M'Laren, Walter S. B (Ches., Crewe)||Thomas, J. H. (Derby)|
|Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Meagher, Michael||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Millar, James Duncan||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Molteno, Percy Alport||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Esmonde. Dr John (Tipperary, N.)||Mond, Sir Alfred||Wadsworth, J.|
|Essex, Richard Walter||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Walters, John Tudor|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Falconer, James||Mooney, John J.||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Morgan, George Hay||Wardie, George J.|
|Gill, A. H.||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Munro, Robert||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Goldstone, Frank||Murray, Capt. Hon. Arthur C.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Needham, Christopher T.||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Neilson, Francis||Wiles, Thomas|
|Guest, Hon. Major C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Nolan, Joseph||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E (Dorset, E)||Norman, Sir Henry||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Hackett, John||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Wilson, J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Nuttall, Harry||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Hamersley, Alfred St. George||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Winfrey, Richard|
|Hancock, J. G.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||O'Doherty, Philip||Wood, T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||O'Dowd, John|
|Harwood, George||O'Malley, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr, Illingworth and Mr. Gulland|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||O'Shee, James John|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Pointer, Joseph||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Snowden, Philip|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Touche, George Alexander||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr Lansbury and Mr. Jowett.|
|Ogden, Fred||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Resolution to be reported to-morrow (Friday).|
Question put, and agreed to.