§ (a) Employment in the naval or military service of the Crown, including service in Officers' Training Corps, but excluding service in the Naval Reserves, the Army Reserve, and the Territorial Force except when called out on actual service or on permanent service or on embodiment.
§ (b) Employment under the Crown or any local or other public authority where the Insurance Commissioners certify that the terms of the employment are such as to secure provision in respect of sickness and disablement on the whole not less favourable than the corresponding benefits conferred by Part I. of this Act.
§ (c) Employment as a teacher to whom the Elementary School Teachers Superannuation Act, 1898, or a scheme under Section fourteen of the Education (Scotland) Act, 1908, or the National School Teachers (Ireland) Act, 1878, applies.
§ (d) Employment as an agent not ordinarily engaged in any other regular employment paid by commission or fees or a share in the profits, or partly in one and partly in another such ways, and not being ordinarily employed by one employer only.
§ (e) Employment in respect of which no wages or other money payment is made where the employer is the occupier of an agricultural holding the annual value of which as assessed for the purposes of Schedule A of the Income Tax Acts is less than twenty pounds or where the employer is the parent of, or person liable 1032 to maintain, the person employed and that person is under the age of sixteen.
§ (f) Employment otherwise than by way of manual labour and at a regular salary or other fixed rate of remuneration exceeding one hundred and sixty pounds a year.
§ (g) Employment of a casual nature otherwise than for the purposes of the employer's trade or business, and otherwise than for the purposes of any game or recreation where the persons employed are engaged or paid through a club, and in such case the club shall be deemed to be the employer.
Amendment proposed [20th November] to add at the end of Part II. the words,
(h) Employment of any class which may be specified in a special order as being of such a nature that it is ordinarily adopted as subsidiary employment only and not as the principal means of livelihood."—[Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.]
§ Question again proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ Sir RANDOLF BAKER
I was informed that an Amendment which I put down was in the wrong place, and that I should have an opportunity of raising the question of the outworkers in the southern counties, in whom I am more particularly interested. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has put down this and another Amendment dealing with the question of outworkers, and I wish, if I may, to explain to the Committee how this claim has arisen. Last July some of the manufacturers of Yeovil sent a deputation to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was unable to receive it, and the Chancellor of the Duchy received it on his behalf with great courtesy. Although I put down an Amendment at the time, nothing more was heard of the matter of the outworkers until quite recently, and during the course of a certain election, when we heard a great deal about it. We had a further deputation, which the Chancellor of the Exchequer described as from Taunton, though some of the manufacturers present were from Yeovil. The case brought forward was that of the glove-makers, who are to be found in Taunton and in various parts of Dorset, in Somerset, and in some of the divisions of Oxfordshire and Berkshire. The glove manufacturers have a system under which a large part of the work is done at home by women in their spare time. Most of the women have purchased sewing machines, and for many 1033 years past it has been the custom to give them outwork, though that does not constitute their sole means of livelihood. In very many of the homes mother and daughter, by this outwork, earn about five shillings a week each, which is a substantial addition where the income of the wage earner is a low one. The work is sent round to the women's homes, or they get it from the manufacturer.
In the case of these outworkers, the manufacturers have to pay 5d. in respect of each person employed as an outworker. These women do not employ their whole time upon this outwork, and it is regarded as a means of additional subsistence. The first Amendment put down by the Chancellor of the Exchequer insists on a special order in every case where you exempt these people who have subsidiary employment. This special order will involve a most complicated procedure, which is contained in the Tenth Schedule which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has put down, It is distinctly an elaborate procedure, including the holding of inquiries and other things. It is perfectly obvious that a great many employments besides glove-making, partaking of the nature of outwork, are distinctly subsidiary, and the Insurance Commissioners would need to hold an inquiry in reference to the making of a special order. I think it much more advisable that the manufacturers, where it is thought necessary, should insure these workers, rather than that there should be this complicated machinery for making special orders. The second Amendment is to exempt married women only. That, to my mind, is not nearly sufficient, and real hardship might result from the proposal. This outwork is done by spinsters as well as married women, and is there to be an inquiry in every case where outwork is given as to whether the person is a married woman or not? It may be that the married woman employs her daughters or some other women in her house. I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer can see the complication and confusion this state of affairs will lead to. There is again the case of a widower with one or two daughters who take in this glove work or any other forms of piecework and earn a considerable amount. Are those girls to be forced to go into factories, or, as an alternative, to give up their work? Glove manufacturers say that they will be unable to continue to give out this work to people who are not married women. It will be almost 1034 impossible to find out who are the married women. They want total exemption for their trade, and I may say there is a strong case for exemption of the glove trade, because, in the Factories Act of 1901, three trades were specially exempted—glovemaking, lace-making, and straw-packing trades.
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd George)
On a point of Order. This first Amendment does not really turn on the question of the outworker. Personally, I have no objection to have the whole question of outworkers discussed, but I can quite see from the speech of the hon. Member that it is difficult to present it in parts. If it were generally understood it would be better perhaps for the hon. Gentleman to be allowed to proceed and discuss the whole problem which arises on three Amendments.
§ Mr. W. R. PEEL
I understand that the suggestion is that the first (h) may be considered to overlap the second (h). I hope we shall be able to get a specific discussion on the second (h), the question of the outworkers, and that I shall not be prevented from having a discussion on my Amendment which is to bring other women into the exclusion besides married women, as moved by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I saw that the speech of the hon. Member was perhaps more relevant to the second Amendment than to the first, but I did not find myself able to rule it out because it is obvious that the two cases run so closely together that I think it would be for the convenience of the Committee that I should allow the discussion to cover both of them. Of course, I will not prevent the hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. Peel) from moving his subsequent Amendment.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
If we debate the general position of the outworkers on all these Amendments I hope we will not have a prolonged Debate upon the merits of the other Amendments afterwards.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
Would it not be some aid to our judgment if the Chancellor of the Exchequer explained what his first Amendment is intended to do?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The first Amendment has really nothing to do with the outworkers. It is to deal with a class 1035 of person who is an employed person part of his time but for the rest of the time is on his own, account. Take the case of an organist who is an employed person to the extent of £20 or £30 per year and for the rest is a musical teacher on his own account. There are several cases of that kind. For instance, an official of a friendly society may be a carpenter or a mason. The outworker Amendment is the next one. I should think it would be better to pass this Amendment, because it has no reference to the outworker, and then discuss the case of the outworker.
§ Sir R. BAKER
It struck me that the words "as subsidiary employment" might be very well read to mean the case of a woman whose occupation in life is looking after house and family, and who might take in some small subsidiary employment. Would it be more convenient if I would now withdraw my Amendment, because I attach no importance to the Chancellor's Amendment if it does not refer to the outworker, and then we could discuss the position of the outworker on either the Amendment of the hon. Member for Taunton or on mine?
§ Mr. CASSEL
Will we not be allowed to discuss the Chancellor's Amendment on its own merits? I think it requires a little discussion.
§ Amendment to proposed Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. CASSEL
On the main Amendment I should like to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for an explanation. As it stands it seems to me to have a defect which was not intended. I suggest that if the Insurance Commissioners provide by special order that a certain class of employment which they came to the conclusion was a subsidiary employment should not be employment within the meaning of the Act, that the result would be that they would be altogether excluding from the Act, irrespective of whether the employment of particular persons in that occupation were subsidiary or not. Take the case of the organist, and suppose the Commissioners came to the conclusion that employment of that particular class is 1036 ordinarily subsidiary employment and not the principal means of livelihood, the result would be that not only the subsidiary organist, but the organist whose principal means of livelihood was to be an organist would be altogether excluded from the Bill. Personally, I do not oppose anyone being excluded from the Bill who wishes. I would much rather have seen it on a voluntary basis—I say that quite frankly—but as it is on a compulsory basis and the provision is framed in this way, it seems to me not to carry out the intention of the Government. Take the case of an employment which is very ordinarily a subsidiary employment, that of company director. For a great many people it is their means of livelihood. The same applies to being secretary to a company. For a great many people it is their whole livelihood, and brings them in less than £160 a year. On the other hand, for some people it may be a subsidiary employment. If the Insurance Commissioners specify that an employment of this class is excluded from the Act, they may exclude individuals who have no other employment. I feel the greatest objection to giving these enormous legislative powers to the Insurance Commissioners. You are giving them tremendous powers really of making Acts of Parliament, of including some classes of people and excluding others at their own sweet will, the result of such inclusion or exclusion being to impose, or not impose, liabilities in respect of which large bodies of people may be criminally proceeded against. I should like to ask whether this Clause really carries out the intention of the Government?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
It certainly carries out the intention of the Government. As the hon. Member has explained, the order must apply to a particular class, although it may affect exceptional persons in that class. Organists, as a class, may be persons in regard to whom the payment for their work as organists, even though it is an annual fee, is only a subsidiary part of their income. On the other hand, there may occasionally be people earning less than £160 a year to whom that payment forms the bulk of their income. We have to judge the class as a whole. The same thing applies to medical men. There are medical men who are paid £100 a year for a particular job, say for attending the employés of a certain firm. Or take a company director. You may have a man who earns only £100 a year as a company director, but who in another business on his own account is earning 1037 thousands a year. There are many cases of that kind, and it is quite impossible to foresee them. The best thing to do is to have a general provision of this kind, enabling the Insurance Commissioners to deal with the cases when they arise. The hon. Member complains that the Insurance Commissioners are being given powers of legislation. But the power is subject to the consent of Parliament. The special order has to lie on the Table of the House, and if the House of Commons object, either to the order as a whole or to any part of it, they can disallow it.
§ Mr. FORSTER
It seems to me that the argument of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not consistent. The right hon. Gentleman rather quarrelled with my hon. Friend for suggesting that this was a matter of individuals. On his own argument I do not see how it can be anything else.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The order must be made in respect of a class. The Commissioners cannot make orders in respect of individual members of a class. The orders must affect each particular class as a whole.
§ Mr. FORSTER
That brings us up against the difficulty pointed out by my hon. Friend. There may be organists or company directors earning a good deal more than £160 a year, and a general order would include them unless they are ruled out. That is not the intention of the Government, and it would not be the intention of the order, but it might be the effect.
§ Mr. FORSTER
To exclude all organists or all company directors. There may and probably will be individual cases where an order will not have the effect that we intend it to have. I should have thought it was desirable that there should be some machinery by which individual cases might be dealt with.
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer in carrying out this Amendment will get himself into very considerable difficulties. I quite appreciate the point made by hon. Members opposite, and should like to associate myself with them. It is practically impossible to say that a class of employment shall be exempt by a general order of the Insurance Commissioners. Not only the individual, but the locality 1038 must be taken into account. In villages, for instance, where the differentiation of labour is not carried on to the same extent as in large towns, you find that such occupations as hairdressing are not differentiated enough to be regarded as a class which would be insured. A man who labours in the field during the day may on Friday and Saturday evenings become the village hairdresser. There is a good deal of boot and shoe mending carried on in the same way. Evidently these men as hairdressers or boot and shoe menders, ought not to be subject to this Bill. But the way to secure that is not by exempting them as a class. I suggest that the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to take a narrower field than a class of employment. He can do one of two things. He can take the individual problem, and a very difficult one it is to solve. He might meet us half way and so amend his proposal as to give it a local character. After all, it is really a local problem. The organist in many places does not belong to a subsidiary employment at all; he is an organist and nothing else. The boot and shoe operative in some places is a boot and shoe operative and nothing else, and ought to be insured as such. I suggest that words should be inserted enabling these exemptions to apply locally, and that the matter ought to be put under the control of the local insurance committees, who, after all, have the main say in the matter. Another condition ought to be that the person should otherwise be insured. If you are going to exempt the hairdresser or the boot and shoe operative because he is making this work merely subsidiary to some other employment, great care ought to be taken that he is insured in respect of his main employment. That cannot, I would very respectfully suggest, be done in the way the right hon. Gentleman proposes. The man will get classified by the Insurance Commissioners in a number of employments and in that way a very large number of people who ought to be insured will not be insured at all. By this means the right hon. Gentleman will get himself into the difficulties which have been pointed out from time to time by the hon. Gentleman opposite, the Member for Colchester. You have got your people moving from the villages into the towns. They immediately become insurable under the Act. They come in on high premiums and they have not got reserve values, and the whole of your scheme gets dislocated. This problem is very much more difficult, 1039 and far more complicated, than is evident in the Amendment which is now before the House.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
However complicated my Amendment may be, the proposal of my hon. Friend is one of the most dangerous things I have ever heard of in Committee. He proposes to give some general right of exemption to the local health committee.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
For the subsidiary employment, provided that the employed person is otherwise insured.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I know. The hon. Member proposes that there should be exemption in favour of persons already insured. They do not want exemption. Take the two cases which the hon. Member has given. They have really nothing to do with the case. The first, that of a hairdresser, may be a man who is a carpenter during the week or an agricultural labourer, and in respect of Saturday afternoons, he spends his time in cutting the hair of the inhabitants. For this he gets a penny or twopence each, or he gives them their weekly shave in readiness for the Sunday. He is not an employed person. He is a man who has undertaken a contract. He is a contractor. He may have about a hundred contracts. He is not a workman. He is not an employed person at all.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
If the man has done nothing during the whole of the week, and the first job he has got is the haircutting one on the Saturday, it is perfectly right that somebody ought to pay for him. Very often an employed person who does something else during the week, on the Saturday starts cobbling. He then either cobbles as an employed person or on job. Somebody pays him for mending his boots or shoes. He is not an employed person under the Act unless he works for somebody. If someone says to him, "I will give you 2s. 6d. if you help me to cobble," and if that is the first half-crown he has earned that week, there is no reason why he should be exempt. If he is already insured, exemption is not needed. My hon. Friend really does not quite appreciate the point raised. These two cases are not at all applicable; they will not arise. The hon. Gentleman asks that the local health committee should have power 1040 to give exemption orders in their district. I cannot imagine anything that would lead, to greater confusion or greater favouritism. It is about the most perilous thing you could do in a system of national insurance. There would be constant claims, for exemption.
I have been pressed in this matter by the employers. Let us assume that there are purely local cases similar to what the hon. Gentleman referred to. If there is a special industry of the kind mentioned which can claim exemption—I cannot imagine one at the present moment—why should not the Insurance Commissioners exempt it under this rule? First of all, they have to consider the class of employment, that it must be of such a nature that it is ordinarily adopted as a subsidiary employment. It does not matter whether it is confined to the locality or whether it is general to the Kingdom. I agree that jurisdiction ought not to be vested in the local committees. Whatever the decision, it must be a decision which will apply to workers at the same time in all parts of the Kingdom. Otherwise you will find one local committee having one rule of exemption and another local committee, being more sympathetic or more indulgent, having another, and endless confusion will ensue. Under the suggestion of the hon. Gentleman our cobbling and hairdressing friends might possibly be exempted in one district and not in an adjacent one. On the whole, I think these are the best words that could be devised to meet cases which are quite exceptional, and which are really totally different cases to those mentioned by my hon. Friend.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I think the hon. Gentleman the Member for Leicester (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald) made a suggestion which will not hold water. The Chancellor of the Exchequer enjoyed being in the position of being able to give a perfect answer, and accordingly dealt with it at some length. But I think it led the right hon. Gentleman on to somewhat rather dangerous ground. He said that the hon. Member's suggestion to leave this discretion to the local committee would leave the way open to great opportunities for favouritism. In what respect? Of what would the favouritism consist?
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
Favouritism to the employer? Is it favouritism to extend the exemption from this beneficent Bill?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I said "to the employer." I anticipated that answer. I saw it would come, so I instantly said "to the employer."
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
The right hon. Gentleman guarded himself. But whilst the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave him full latitude in replying to the hon. Member, he did not deal at all with the criticism which has really been made upon his own proposal. It is that he cannot deal with the facts of the situation by classes. What you have to deal with are individual cases, and they cannot be covered by classes. If you attempt to make a class you will exclude men from insurance who ought to be included and you will include men who ought not to be included. You will double the difference you do not want. We have had from the Chancellor of the Exchequer the instance of auditors, and what he said was true of the instance that he gave. But there are a certain number of classes of which it is not true. Anything that deals with them as a class may not do justice to all concerned. Take another illustration, that of the auxiliary postmen in the country districts, I happened many years ago to know such a man in one of the country districts of Shropshire. He was a shoemaker by trade. He had to begin that work because he had lost a leg. He took up postal work—to deliver letters—as he found that his sedentary habits were leading to other illnesses and the postal work gave him regular exercise. That employment was subsidiary to his main employment. There is an infinite variety amongst auxiliary postmen in this matter as to the exact place in their annual income of the money paid for Post Office attendance. If one goes to the Post Office for his main remuneration, the other occupations would be subsidiary. In another case the other occupation would be the main one, and the Post Office occupation would be a subsidiary one. It would puzzle the wisdom of the Commissioners—who need to be very clever men to deal with all the problems referred to them under this Act, because we are shifting upon them a great deal of the responsibility we really ought to face ourselves—it would puzzle even the cleverest of the Commissioners to put these men in classes so as to carry out the intentions of this House. I do not believe you can do it by classes. You must allow them to specify a class when they come to deal with individuals on the merits of the case, or else 1042 you will include a great many who ought to be excluded and exclude a great many who ought to be included.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I think it is impossible to segregate employed persons in classes without any reference to locality. May I give the Chancellor of the Exchequer two instances in respect of which I am inclined to think the Insurance Commissioners will find it very difficult to make up their minds as to whether this particular paragraph should or should not apply. The one relates to the occupation of hedgers and thatchers, and the other to that of mole-catchers. That of the hedgers, I think, is a very strong case. In some parts of England, in the district in which I myself live, the hedgers are not employed on a farm as part of the farm staff, but are employed by all the farmers. That is to say one hedger is employed by all the farmers in their particular district. In other parts of England that practice is not to be found at all.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
Sometimes in the one way and sometimes in the other. As a rule the hedger is paid by the job in the case where he is separately employed by the farmers. There may be two or three capable district hedgers, and, of course, the most capable man will get the larger price for his work. In many parts of England the hedger is employed by the farmer as one of his farm staff, and he turns his hand to other kinds of work. Let me take now the case of the mole-catcher. On many estates he is employed as such, and, in addition, to carry out the duties mentioned by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Stoke, that of getting rid of the rats and other kind of vermin. In the South-West of England—I think in the Chancellor's own district—the mole-catcher is a person who roams over a large district, and is employed by all those who want to get rid of, or prevent, molehills on land in their occupation. The thatcher is the same. In certain districts where there is a good deal of thatching done, both as regards ricks and also cottages, the thatcher may be employed on a farm as an ordinary farm servant. In my own district, where there is very little thatching and where most of the cottages are covered either with tiles or slates, such persons are employed in the district by those who desire this particular class of work. How is it possible to have persons like that segregated in two groups or classes, 1043 and for the Commissioners to say whether or not any particular locality comes within the provisions of the Section? If you segregate you will have to segregate with regard to locality, because local customs differ in all these respects.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I shall deal with the cases mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman and by the two hon. Gentlemen opposite who have spoken. As to the case of the thatcher, I am afraid I do not know anything about it, because in our pant of the country we generally roof our houses with slate. Bat take the hedger. In our part of the country he generally takes his job and is paid by the yard. He is not an employed person in the ordinary sense of the term. If he took six months to complete a job he would only get the same pay as if he did it in six weeks. I am very doubtful upon the subject, and do not like to express an opinion as to whether he would be an employed person. He is a contractor who takes to rebuilding walls, and so on very often, and hon. Gentlemen opposite say such men are often agricultural labourers employed upon a farm. You will very often get a man upon a farm and the hedging is left to him. But occasionally you employ persons from outside. My recollection is such a person is not paid by the day, but takes such work as a contract, and may have half a dozen men on it at the same time. My view is that such a man will not be an insured person, but I scarcely wish to express an opinion.
Coming to the mole-catcher. I think the payment there is payment per head, or rather perhaps, per tail. He takes practically the whole countryside, and he may walk ten or a dozen farms in the course of a very short time. He is not an employed person; he has taken over a contract and may walk over two or three farms or a half-dozen in the course of a single day. I doubt much whether these two classes of people would come in. This is not a case where the job is subsidiary to something else. He is not a hedger and sometimes a casual labourer. Once a hedger, always a hedger.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
It is quite impossible to lay hedges at all times in the year. It is a seasonal task, as in other cases. The labour is confined to a particular time of the year.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I agree it is during certain seasons he finds most work, but then he turns his hand to building.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Yes, he may combine both. I have seen men do it. I now come to the case of the postmen put by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Austen Chamberlain). I really would not like to express an opinion upon that case. I agree it may have great difficulty for the Insurance Commissioners, and I am glad to think they will have to decide it. These cases will have to be decided in classes and not as individuals. I think it would be intolerable to give exemption to one particular man and refuse exemption to another. You must decide upon a general principle whether they ought to be included or excluded, and I think such questions are to be decided upon the facts with regard to auxiliary postmen generally, but it must be by a special order for classes and not for individuals. I think it would be very dangerous to give the Insurance Commissioners powers of exemption in individual cases. I think the less you do of that sort of thing the better.
§ Sir R. BAKER
I think this is the most extraordinary contribution to this Insurance Bill that I have come across yet. Here we are on the last day of the Committee stage told that a man who goes on piecework is no longer an employed contributor. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] The Chancellor of the Exchequer said a man who is hedging has taken a contract. Let me take the case of hoeing. Hoeing is done by piecework.
§ The CHAIRMAN
If the hon. Gentleman will look at the last words of the Amendment he will see they are "adopted as subsidiary employment only, and not as the principal means of livelihood."
§ Sir R. BAKER
A man may be in regular farm employment for nine or ten months of the year and then may be employed at other work, for example, in the woods, for a month or two. That work in the woods, it is true, is not their chief means of subsistence, but they go and work at this subsidiary employment. Do we understand that while they are so engaged they are no longer employed contributors? I have always in my woods three or four men for two or three months. For the rest of the time they are engaged at an entirely different occupation. Am I to understand that when these men go to their work in the woods, and when they 1045 are no longer employed by the week but are paid by piece, they are to be deprived of the employer's contribution? This is the most extraordinary part of the whole Bill. Is every man that goes off on piecework or subsidiary employment, such as thatching, for example, to pay 7d. during the weeks of the year in which he is engaged at thatching, and is he no longer to be regarded as an employed contributor, but as a contractor on his own? There is an enormous amount of piecework done by people engaged in agricultural and horticultural pursuits, and now all of a sudden we find a change made in the system under this Bill by which every time a man takes a particular class of job he ceases to be an employed contributor, and must pay practically the whole of the contribution himself. We have heard talk about 9d. for 4d., but I think in this case a man will be paying 7d. for a doubtful 9d.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The hon. Gentleman has tried to allure me into an argument on this Clause which I would prefer to leave to my right hon. Friend the Attorney-General. It is all a question of fact, but it does not arise here. It is a question that could be discussed not merely in the House of Commons, but in the Law Courts. Under the Employers Liability Act it is constantly a subject of discussion whether a man is a contractor or employed simply at piecework.
§ Sir R. BAKER
It is all the same to a man when he takes up a job at piecework; his weekly wages, instead of being 14s. or 15s. per week, rise, if he works hard, to 25s. a week.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
There is no difference between us except that the hon. Gentleman puts it very much better than I do. It is a question whether he is an employed person in the eyes of the law. Cases of this kind are decided every day. It is the same question that arises when many employers believe that such persons are contractors. The employed person says, "No, I am paid by the piece." It is all a question of fact whether the man is a contractor or merely a pieceworker. I cannot lay down any law with regard to it, but it is laid down very frequently in the Courts with regard to the Employers' Liability Act, and you will also have the Courts in the case of this Bill.
§ Mr. MOLTENO
I should like to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer does this Amendment cover the case of a big potato 1046 farm where the occupation of many of the hands is not regular, and where it may be said they are not agricultural labourers at all? I should like to know whether casual labourers of that kind will be included or excluded?
§ Mr. MOLTENO
Then it would not touch the case of the casual labourer at all, as this class of work is not his principal means of livelihood. I should like to know whether or not the case of fruit-pickers who go to work for a few weeks at that occupation is excluded. There are other cases, for instance, the case of yachtsmen at Southampton; and I should like to know whether they are excluded.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I think the explanation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to my two hon. Friends put the case very clearly when he said that the rule laid down for the Workmen's Compensation Act and the Employers' Liability Act would really be the rules that would govern this Bill in this respect, but he went on to say the rules of the Court in that case would be the rules of the Court in this case. Will it go to the Courts at all? It may be that the Commissioners in the exercise of their discretion would adopt the rules laid down by the Courts, but there is nothing in the Bill to say that they shall, and there is no power to take a decision which varied the Compensation Act before the Courts to get it revised in the light of a possible judicial decision. I think the cases raised by the hon. Member who has just spoken are very important and need consideration in respect of this Amendment. Take for example the hop-pickers, the fruit gatherers, and so on. They are people to whom as a class hop-picking is subsidiary to some other employment, but in their case it is subsidiary to their whole employment for a season, and it plays no part in their life during the other season of the year. At any rate, it is not subsidiary during that part of the year. I think you will see that in the words of the Amendment it is employment "ordinarily adopted as subsidiary employment only." They could not exist by it, and it is not the main source of their support, but for a few weeks in the year it is the whole source of their support during those weeks. They will be insured persons, and it is very important that their insurance should extend to those weeks of subsidiary 1047 occupation, and it would be most unfortunate if the Commissioners were to decide, for instance, that hop-picking was subsidiary to nail-making, so far as it affects my own Constituents. They would then be excluded from insurance during the weeks they were hop-picking, but when they went back to their nail-making they would have to make good their arrears, and I do not think they could do it. It is quite evident that this point requires much more consideration in the light of what has been said. I do not think I can do more than emphasise the fact that the Amendment as drawn will not justly meet the classes we have to deal with, and I think the right hon. Gentleman had better take it back and reconsider the matter.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I do not think this Amendment could possibly extend to cases like those referred to, and that is not intended. That is casual labour, and the sort of persons employed under those conditions is a casual labourer. It is seasonal work, and as a rule that work is done by casual labourers. [AN HON. MEMBER: "Not in hop-picking."]
§ Mr. WHELER
You can hardly call it casual labour in that sense, because these people are often empolyed fruit-picking in the early part of the summer, and it is quite different to casual labour.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
At any rate this is not intended to apply to cases of that kind. I do not say that those cases ought not to be dealt with, but this is not the way in which they should be dealt with. This Amendment deals with a totally different class, but I am quite willing to consider the case which has been raised. With regard to the point about a contract the chief difficulty is to ascertain whether the person obtaining compensation is an independent contractor or a workman. This is a question of fact, and it is a question for the arbitrator to decide if there is any reasonable evidence to support it. Here is a long list of cases where the workman himself is a contractor. I only want to show that it is very difficult to deal in this way with such cases. A man may undertake to do the whole of the hedges of a farm for £50.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I do not see how we can do anything more in this case than the Amendment we have put down.
§ Mr. FORSTER
The speech which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made shows that this is a matter in which you have to deal with each case individually and not as a class. To declare, as regards this and the other class, that they make such an order as suggested to secure the end in view in every case to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has referred cannot be done without making reference to individual cases.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
But those cases do not come under the Amendment at all, and they have nothing whatever to do with it.
§ Mr. FORSTER
The Chancellor of the Exchequer will agree that everything will depend upon a question of fact, and if you are going to arrive at a question of fact I do not know how you can do so without reference to each individual case. The criticisms which have been made are not hostile, and we are all trying to make an improvement. I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be well advised to take this matter into his further consideration in order to see whether he cannot find some way out of the difficulty.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
If between this and the Report stage any suggestion comes to me which will meet the difficulties of the case better than the Amendment I have proposed I shall be prepared to consider it, but I must put these words in now, otherwise I could not amend it on the Report stage.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I think I must have failed to make my point clear, and I am sure it is due to want of lucidity on my own part. My point was not dealt with by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. My point had reference to the wording of this Amendment under which the Commissioners could not exempt any class of employment without exempting everybody in it, whether they followed it as a subsidiary or a principal employment. I do not know whether the Attorney-General agrees with my interpretation. My point is that if the Insurance Commissioners exempted a class at all they would exempt everybody whether they followed this as a subsidiary or a principal employment. I do not think you want to exempt in cases where they are following their employment as a principal employment. What is to become of a person who goes into another employment where he has to get the sum to enable him to go on the fourpenny rate? 1049 I should like to know from the Attorney-General or from the Solicitor-General-whether they agree with my interpretation.
§ Mr. CASSEL
This proposal does not carry out what the House intends, for the object is not to apply to occasions where it is followed as the principal employment. One of the chief cases is that of musicians, and I have a great many of them in my Constituency, and we are a very harmonious district. I have had a great many letters about this matter, and I know some of my friends have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and have been referred to the words of the Act. The important point is whether you are going generally to exclude a class of employment irrespective of whether it is subsidiary or not. I think you might state that it should apply only in a case where it is in fact followed as a subsidiary employment. I think under these words it would be left to the employer to say whether it was subsidiary or not, and this would give rise to much difficulty. This is only an indication of many difficulties that will arise. There will be great difficulties in regard to administration, because many people are following occupations which are not really considered employment under the Act.
I should like to ask how this proposal will affect the small crofter in Scotland who may undertake odd jobs on neighbouring farms, which would be subsidiary to the ordinary work he does.
This Clause seems to be a most extraordinary one. We have now discussed it for some considerable time, and I do not propose to continue the discussion very long. We have been told that we are dealing with organists, postmen, hedgers, pole-cutters, cobblers, musicians, hop-pickers, stonecutters, and hairdressers, and all sorts of occupations.
At any rate, the right hon. Gentleman says that the organists were in it and auxiliary postmen.
At any rate, other Members of the Committee thought so, and when the Chancellor of the Exchequer was trying to explain who would be in it and who would not he referred to a law book and quoted the case of a stone-breaker. What an extraordinary muddle we are getting into if in discussing a Clause of this sort we cannot tell who it is intended to cover even at the moment before we divide. We do not now know who are included and who are not. I certainly thought the right hon. Gentleman admitted that all those in the list I mentioned were included.
That only shows the confusion in my mind as to the effect of this Clause. It must be remembered that any dispute as to who comes within, or who does not come within, this Clause, is to be referred to the Insurance Commissioners. They apparently have no right to delegate their powers at all, and will themselves have to decide some hundreds of thousands of cases which will arise under this and similar exempting Clauses. You are, as the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald) said, going to have a real, grave difficulty, because during the time people are employed in these subsidiary industries no one will be paying their contributions. You will be creating a mass of people who will be in arrear. The Chancellor of the Exchequer asked for suggestions, and I am going to make one. I suggest he should consider whether it would not be possible, in cases where the Insurance Commissioners define an industry as being a subsidiary industry, that a certain deduction per 1s. or per £1 should be made from the wages of persons insured in other occupations during the time they are employed in that subsidiary industry, and that these deductions should be carried to their credit at their societies, so that during the time they are engaged in the subsidiary industry payments will be accumulating for their benefit, and so that they will not be forced into arrear. If something of that sort is not done, you will have gaps, great or small, in the contributions made by many, many people who are forced into this scheme, with the result that they will be perpetually in arrear. There are many families in villages in Kent and Surrey who, year after year, spend two or three weeks hop-picking. During that time, unless some such provision as I suggest is made, they will have no employer who can 1051 pay the contributions. They will very rapidly, and with absolute certainty, year after year, get into arrear, and, instead of having the minimum benefit, they will have a much reduced benefit under the Bill. This is important, because it affects quite a large number of people, and it is one of the exceptions to the national insurance scheme which, if created in large numbers, will make the whole scheme inoperative, or at least give rise to so much dissatisfaction that it will not be possible to work the scheme without an enormous amount of friction.
§ Mr. FALCONER
There are in Scotland a very large number of people connected with agriculture who throughout the year are not employed persons but who at different times, at spring time or at harvest time, work for two or three weeks. This Amendment, as I understand it, covers these people, because that employment is ordinarily regarded as merely subsidiary employment. It is not regarded as regular employment. Unless I am entirely under a misapprehension as to the meaning of the word "subsidiary," it would certainly apply to that particular employment. It is important these people should know when the Bill passes whether it applies to them or whether they are exempted under this Amendment. It is important to the persons engaged in the subsidiary occupation, but it is also very important to the farmer who employs them. There is one great difficulty in connection with this Bill as it affects agriculture. Take the case of a farmer who engages for a brief period large numbers of people from a neighbouring town whose names and addresses he does not know. It is certainly desirable the farmer should know what duty is put upon him with regard to such people. I do not desire to magnify the difficulty, but it is a real and a widespread one. There is also the case of a small farmer who, during the greater part of the year, is not occupied in any other employment, but who at odd times does a little work on a neighbouring farm. The work he does at that neighbouring farm is subsidiary work. Take the man who performs the operation of a dyker or a ditcher, or the man who builds fences. That would be subsidiary employment, because his principal occupation is on his own farm. I know several who do that kind of work, and they are undoubtedly engaged in what, to them, is subsidairy employment. That is the word I should 1052 myself use if I were describing their occupation. I should like this Clause to be made clear, if words can make it more clear, as to whether it is intended to exclude from the operation of the Act the persons I have described.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I have already stated, twice, this Amendment has absolutely nothing to do with that case, and the very word used by my hon. Friend shows it has nothing to do with it. The question is not whether it is subsidiary in his individual case, but whether the nature of the employment is subsidiary. The case referred to by my hon. Friend has been dealt with already by an Amendment which has been incorporated in the Bill inserting special provisions as to seasonal trades. It was specially put in to meet the case of the hop-pickers and fruit-pickers. It was put in after a series, of deputations had waited upon me urging provisions to meet their case, among others. It may or may not have met it adequately, but that is a question of criticism upon that, and, if it does not meet it adequately, I shall be very happy to consider any suggestion my hon. Friend makes in order to improve it. This has nothing whatever to do with the case. The question here is whether the nature of the employment is such, and not whether the particular individual treats the business as a subsidiary one. The question is whether from the very nature of the employment it is a subsidiary employment only and not a principal means of livelihood. In the case referred to by my hon. Friend, it is the principal means of livelihood during the time they are engaged upon it.
That is really the question, and that is why I took the case of the organist, which is a very good case. The organist gets. £10 a year for playing the organ at the village or parish church, and that is a class of work which is necessarily subsidiary. His principal means of livelihood must be outside that. That is not the case of the hop-picker, the hedger, or the ditcher, whose principal means of livelihood during that time is entirely that particular work they are then doing. They are jobbing labourers. At one time of the year they hedge or ditch, and at some other time of the year they get some other kind of agricultural employment. It is purely a variation of the same kind of agricultural work. It is not employment which in its nature is employment belonging to a class of a subsidiary 1053 character as a means of earning a livelihood. If my hon. Friend can suggest any form of words which would make that still clearer, I should be only too glad to consider it, but up to the present I have had no suggestion of that kind, and I have promised to take into account all the suggestions and criticism made in the course of the discussion. If it is necessary to strengthen these words and make them clearer, I shall certainly do so with the resources at the disposal of the Treasury.
§ Sir FORTESCUE FLANNERY
It is not easy for anyone to understand this Bill in all its ramifications, and there is here something which has caused a great deal of uneasiness to certain people in my Constituency. I want to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for some further consideration. The fruit-picking industry in carried on to a very great degree in Essex, and in the case of one district, which I remember particularly, it distributes the sum of £10,000 in the course of the fruit-picking season among casual labourers. They come and go, the season is a very short one, and there is almost no identification of them. That large sum is distributed in wages, and it will involve a very large contribution from the employers. The employers will be responsible for it, because they have no means of identifying those who are concerned. That is a very serious tax upon the industry. It must be added in some way or other to the expenses, and the complaints I have received are very extensive and very considerable. I want to assure the right hon. Gentleman, and those associated with him, that this will place a set of honest traders who would seek only to carry out the law, whatever it may ultimately be, in a very grave difficulty, and I want to ask him to take that matter more fully into consideration, with a view of giving either such means of identification or such relief as the circumstances which underlie this Amendment would justify. I sincerely hope that to all the complications of the Bill this will not be added, but that the matter will have the attention of the Government.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. MUNRO-FERGUSON
The point raised by my hon. Friend does excite great interest in agricultural circles. The real difficulty arises with regard to what are virtually seasonal trades, such as fruit-picking and potato-gathering, which are largely carried out by workers from the towns. I hope the regulations affecting seasonal trades will be looked over, having 1054 due regard to the conditions of those employed in them. I understand that, in the opinion of those more competent to interpret the words of an Act of Parliament than I am, that satisfactory provision has been made. There is another side to the question, as I have frequently reminded my friends on the Scottish Chamber for Agriculture. If the opening for contracting out of the Act is made too large, it wilt be a direct premium upon the employment of casual labour. That, to my mind, is a bad thing. There is a growing tendency in agriculture to take in casual labour. But there is no description of agriculture conducted with greater advantage to the labouring community than that description which is carried on by permanent labour housed upon the farm. I have a considerable misgiving as to the present tendency to employ casual rather than permanent labour, and I should be very sorry to see anything introduced into the Act calculated to promote that.
§ Mr. HARRY LAWSON
I want to ask the Attorney-General to give an undertaking with regard to the musical profession. The value of their case rests on the effect on the class as well as the effect regarding the individual. Under this Subsection it is proposed that these men shall be dealt with as a class. They will be exempted as a class, and, consequently, I take it no individual member of that class can be included. There are musicians to whom this employment is the main part of their living. There are others to whom it is merely a subsidiary part. The wording of this Sub-section is highly unsatisfactory, and it has been pointed out to be so in many parts of the House. It requires a good deal of consideration, and I hope that the Attorney-General will undertake to deal with the cases on their merits.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
Of course, every case will be considered. I rather think the attention of the Committee has been too much concentrated on a question which the Insurance Commissioners would have to put to themselves.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
And it is intended that they shall be dealt with as a class and not as individuals. I do not know whether the House contemplates that application, may be made to the Insurance Commissioners by enormous numbers of workers to be excluded from the operation of the 1055 Act. I am afraid it has not been brought home to the minds of hon. Members what is to be the real test. The Commissioners will have to be satisfied first of all that there is a particular class of employment, and then that there is a class of employment of a nature which is not ordinarily adopted but which is a subsidiary employment to the principal employment. They will also have to ask themselves whether, as regards a particular individual it is ordinarily subsidiary or not. But these matters are dealt with in another Clause. Of course there is difficulty in applying the test, and it is for that reason that you must leave the matter in the hands of the Insurance Commissioners. It is impossible to foresee what difficulties may arise. The hon. Member for Leith urges that casual labour in agriculture should be discouraged. I quite agree with him, and our desire in the Bill is, as far as we possibly can, to discourage it. The last thing we want to do is to encourage it either in this direction or in any other.
§ Mr. FALCONER
I am still unable to see the distinction between what I regard as subsidiary employment and what the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Attorney - General regard it. The employment to which I would refer is ordinarily subsidiary to a man's employment; at any rate in connection with agriculture in Scotland. I am not going back on that point however. It was suggested by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that provision had been made for a class of employment in connection with season trades, but I venture to point out that the Clause does not really touch that case. The labour to which I refer—the seasonal trade labour—deals with a kind of trade which is busy at one time of the year and slack at another. The ordinary employer employs labour at full time during the busy season and at reduced hours during slack periods, and there is provision in such cases made for adjusting the contribution with due regard to the variation of the time of employment. But that does not touch the person who is not employed during the greater part of the year—who is only casually or occasionally employed on what I may call a subsidiary trade. While everyone will agree that, as far as possible, regular labour should be employed for working the farm, it is absolutely impossible to do that throughout the year. When the season comes for 1056 digging potatoes, perhaps a hundred hands are required and the work cannot be done by the half-dozen regularly working on the farm. I hope this question will be settled in a clear and specific manner, so that both employers and employed may know whether or not they come under the Bill. I am in favour of everybody being brought into the Bill who can usefully be introduced, but there are a large number who can derive no practical benefit from inclusion, seeing that they are employed for a period of only three or four weeks, and their inclusion would, undoubtedly, cause a considerable amount of disturbance in the working arrangements. I hope that on the Report stage some form of words will be introduced which will make perfectly clear and distinct what is the position of these people.
§ Question, "That those words be there added," put, and agreed to.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I beg to move, to insert the following paragraph at the end of Schedule 1,
(h) Employment as an outworker where the person so employed is the wife of an insured person and is not wholly or mainly dependent for her livelihood on her earnings in such employment.
§ Mr. PEEL
I am rather surprised that we have had no explanation given us of this Amendment. It has aroused a great deal of interest in various parts of the country, and it requires a good deal of defending. The Chancellor of the Exchequer the other day fell across me in reference to this very point when I suggested that its appearance at so late a stage was rather suspicious. The right hon. Gentleman indignantly rejected the suggestion that it had anything to do with an election in Somersetshire or anywhere else. As a matter of fact, a deputation on this very subject came up to him from Yeovil some months ago, and it was received on his behalf by one of his chief colleagues. No attention, however, was paid to its representations and the deputation went out very much disgusted. There was no election pending at that moment. But now, a few months afterwards, when there is an election on, another deputation comes up, consisting chiefly of glovers from Yeovil, and the result is that this Amendment appears on the Paper.
§ Mr. BOOTH
On a point of Order. May I ask whether we are to have a general 1057 discussion on the Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and at the same time the hon. Member is to be allowed to move his own Amendment which refers to "nine shillings per week." Is the general discussion to be repeated when the hon. Member moves that Amendment?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not know whether the hon Member is going to wind up by moving his Amendment or not. That is in his own hands, and he is entitled to take whichever course he pleases.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Of course, if the Amendment is moved, the Debate will be confined to the subject of that Amendment, and, after that has been disposed of, the main question will still remain open to a discussion. I will deal with that point when it arises. The hon. Member has not exceeded his rights up to the present.
§ Mr. PEEL
I am much obliged to you for your protection against a very unfair statement. I am entirely in your hands. I am perfectly prepared to make a general speech now on the Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and if necessary to move my own Amendment at a later stage in a very few words.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think that that would be the more convenient course. The general arguments can be used now and the Amendment moved in a few sentences later on.
§ Mr. PEEL
I will certainly follow your suggestion. I am very grateful that this Amendment has been put down. My chief objection to it is that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not gone far enough on the path of righteousness and that he has 1058 not made this Amendment more general, so as to include every class of woman, the unmarried woman, and the widow. There is a particular class of outworkers employed in small towns and agricultural districts undertaking a class of outwork which is really subsidiary to their main occupation, but which gives them real assistance, and, in some cases, indeed, forms their main support. If you look at it from the economic side, you have this position, the employer in many cases might pay a man 20s. or 25s. a week, and he would then be doing the equivalent of the work done by three women acting as outworkers. These three women will be paid exactly at the same rate as the person working inside the factory, but if the Bill is not altered, in the case of these three women it is quite clear that the employer would have to pay something like 5d., whereas he has only to pay 3d. in the case of one woman employed in the factory. Naturally, from an economic point of view, it would be absurd for him to go on employing outworkers, and he would try to concentrate the work in his factory. I do not think it right that the work should be taken away from these people. It is not going to be taken away from the wives of agricultural labourers. Why should it be taken away from their sisters, daughters and widows? That is what you are doing.
§ Mr. PEEL
Will the hon. Member kindly Wait; he has interrupted me more than once. You are going by this Amendment to put an absolute premium on married women. You are going to give them a special advantage which is not allowed to their unmarried sisters or to widows, and you are, in fact, going to take away this work from these women and put it into the hands of married women or concentrate it in a factory. Think how difficult the situation is made for the employer, and correspondingly for those he employs. When he is going to send out work to these villages within fifteen miles radius of a small town he will have to make all sorts of inquiries as to whether the women are married or not. There will be, in fact, a kind of detective to find out the relations of these different women. That is putting a very unpleasant duty on those who are conducting the business. There is no distinction in principle at all between one class of women and the other. Let us see how the Amendment works. The exemption is only going to be allowed where they are not wholly or mainly 1059 dependent upon their earnings in such employment. While the married woman's husband is earning money, the married woman would be exempted, but if the husband falls ill and the woman is no longer wholly or mainly supported by her husband, and if she depends on what she is making herself, the provision in that case will no longer apply, and she will be thrown out of work at the very moment she requires the work. That is a very great hardship on her. The same consideration applies to the other women of whom I have spoken.
When this point was raised the other day the Chancellor of the Exchequer attacked me because I attempted to exempt some of these women from the advantages of the Bill. Now he is going to do exactly the same thing himself. He is going to exempt at least one class from the operation of the Bill, and in that case there can be no great iniquity in my attempting to get exemption for another class of women. I moved an Amendment to exempt all outworkers on two grounds. First, to make it perfectly clear what were the class of outworkers to be brought in under the Bill; and, secondly, in order to find out what outworkers were to be exempted under the Bill. I thought it would have been best to have had a general discussion on that, but at the suggestion of the hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Mr. Forster) it was decided that a general discussion should not take place, but that the exemptions should be dealt with on specific Amendments, to be moved at a later stage. After the Attorney-General had agreed to allow the entire Amendment to be withdrawn, with a promise to substitute other words, I then withdrew my Amendment. I do complain very much of the action of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on this point, because, after all a man in the position of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was present in the House at the time, would naturally wish to be exceedingly careful, especially when feeling is excited, that he should make accurate statements on these points. After having been present in that Debate, what was my astonishment to find that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, not in this House, but outside the House, not by letter addressed to me, but by means of a telegram, had attacked my position in this matter. He sends out, not to me, but on the eve of the poll to South Somerset, the following 1060 telegram, when it is too late for anybody to contradict it:—This evening, Amendment moved by Mr. Peel to exclude outworkers altogether from the benefits of the Bill, not supported by single Member on his own side.Everybody knows the election there is being fought on the exclusion of the outworkers. Every Gentleman from our side has been working for their exclusion, and now the Chancellor of the Exchequer suggests in this telegram that, when I moved the Amendment, not one single person on this side is going to support it, in order to suggest that our Friends are doing one thing down in South Somerset and another thing in this House. Everybody in this House knows the reason that that Amendment was not pressed by me and supported by my hon. Friends was the decision in the Committee that these exemptions should be dealt with later on specific Amendments. What is the suggestion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer? It is this, of course, that we in this House have taken no trouble to work ourselves on behalf of the outworkers, but that he himself is the saviour of the piece; that he himself is the man who has sympathy for the outworkers—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear"]—and the only man who is in sympathy with the outworkers—I do not include hon. Members opposite at all—and that his Amendment to exclude married women from the scope of the Bill was one which the Unionist party would have voted against and would not have supported in this House.
Everybody knows what these people in South Somerset are thinking. They are thinking that the total exclusion of outworkers means that all these women outworkers in South Somerset should be excluded, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer must, or ought to have known, when he was sending the telegram, that a totally false impression would be produced in the minds of those workers down there by his telegram and misrepresentation. Two persons can send telegrams. I sent a telegram to-day. My telegram was this, that his representation as to the action of the Unionist party on my Amendment about outworkers was a shameless travesty of the true facts. I submit that my telegram is true, and that in using his position in this way to misrepresent the situation to the electors of South Somerset the right hon. Gentleman is hitting below the belt. Although I know he is getting into difficulties over some portions of this Bill, although it may be unpopular with many of his side, and although his own 1061 reputation is entirely involved in it, even then he ought not to have descended so low, and he ought not to have made himself, by such a telegram, an outlaw to the honourable traditions of party warfare.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The hon. Gentleman has made himself quite hoarse with fury at some telegram I sent down last night. I want the Committee really to understand what is the offence for which a sentence of outlawry has been uttered against me from such very high and responsible and impartial quarters. What is my offence? My Bill has been attacked, misrepresented, travestied in every possible way, and I have been attacked for introducing it as if I were a malefactor.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
And because I defend myself I am an outlaw. Does the hon. Gentleman really suggest that the attitude of the party to which he belongs outside the House corresponds with their attitude inside the House? He emphasised the fact that I, outside the House, had done something which I dared not do face to face with such a potent personage as himself here.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I am just beginning to do it now. Whenever I am attacked in this House I am always prepared to defend myself.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I do not know that that is relevant, besides, I may remind the hon. Member that I did not interrupt him through the whole of that violent piece of invective which he delivered against me, and which conduced to so much laughter on both sides of the Committee. Let us see what it is the hon. Gentleman complains of. Outside the House the Bill has undoubtedly been attacked, and attacked very violently. The suggestion made in South Somerset is that for 4d. the friendly societies can do more than can be done for 4d. by this Bill. They placarded the whole constituency about it, whereas anybody knows that if there is a friendly society that can do more for 4d. it can do twice as much with the money under the Bill. When there is gross misrepresentation—there is a shorter word one could use and which 1062 would be more accurate—forsooth, I am not to defend myself! I did not do it inside this House, because no one would dare to repeat it in here, where there is an opportunity of replying. It is made outside the House, and therefore I have to reply to it outside. If I were to reply to it here, anybody could get up and say, "Who said so?" It is made outside, and it is outside that I have to answer it.
What is the complaint of the hon. Member? He admits that the election in South Somerset has turned on the question of the exclusion of the outworkers. There was only one opportunity to exclude the outworkers. There is an opportunity of reducing the numbers, and of saying which of them should be in, and under what conditions they should be in, but there was only one opportunity of excluding them altogether. That was yesterday. There were two Amendments on the Paper to exclude them. Not one of the hon. Gentlemen who put the Amendments down thought it worth while to come here and move the Amendment on which the whole contest in South Somerset turns. The hon. Member moved the exclusion of the outworkers. Not a single Member in the whole course of the Debate supported the exclusion of the outworkers. I said so in a telegram, and because I said something which is absolutely true I ought to be outlawed. Really, after the way in which the Insurance Bill is misrepresented, if that is the test of sound politics, I say that the man who tells the truth ought to be outlawed from politics. But what is the hon. Gentleman's complaint? He said, "I did not move that in order to exclude them; I moved it purely in order to call attention to some modifications later on." That is the only thing that is wrong in the telegram. Not even the hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment himself was in favour of it. Of all the extraordinary exhibitions, worked up with a good deal of physical effort, that I ever heard in this House, the hon. Gentleman's is the most extraordinary. He cannot deny a single statement which I put in that telegram. I ask him now if he can deny a single statement that I put there? The election turning on the exclusion of outworkers, the whole of the Conservative attack was in favour of the exclusion of outworkers. In this House not a single member of the Unionist party supported it, except the hon. Gentleman who moved the exclusion, and he explains now that although he moved it he did not believe in it.
§ Sir R. BAKER
As I was one of the Members who put down the Amendment originally I may say I was unable to get up earlier than eight o'clock last night. Would not this Amendment, which the Chairman would not allow to be moved last night, as he said it was out of place, have the effect of taking the outworkers out, as far as it refers to the glovers in that district, because I showed the Amendment to some representatives of the glovers, and they said they were satisfied in the matter? I endeavoured to move it, and was told I was not in order, but I must put it down again as an extra Sub-section, It would have the effect largely of excluding them.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I do not complain of the interruption of the hon. Gentleman. He is invariably quite courteous and very much to the point. But as a matter of fact this does not carry it very much further than the Amendment which I put down. It does not exclude all the outworkers. I am only now going to challenge the very narrow point raised by the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Peel), which the hon. Gentleman (Sir Randolf Baker) is not implicated in, and, if I might advise him, it would be not to be mixed up in it, because it will do him no credit. The point is whether the statement which I made in a telegram last night is true or not, the statement being that there was no Member on the Unionist side who was prepared to move the exclusion of the outworkers. It is true the hon. Gentleman limits it; so do I. He goes beyond me, I agree—that is what I expect—but he does not propose the exclusion of the outworkers. What I said in that statement is absolutely correct, and because my statement is correct and because it is more accurate than even I thought last night, because the hon. Member (Mr. Peel), who I thought was in favour of his own Amendment says now that he was not, therefore not merely is there no member of the Unionist party prepared to support the hon. Member, but he himself is not in favour of it, and because I said so last night he gets up here and suggests that I should be impeached because I departed so very much from what is unfortunately the Unionist practice at by-elections and have really told the truth about the Insurance Bill.
§ Mr. FORSTER
The right hon. Gentleman was asked whether or not the statement he made in his telegram was or was not true, and he went on to point the finger of scorn at my hon. Friend (Mr. Peel) and 1064 suggested that the hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Baker) should not mix himself up in this affair, as if there was something discreditable in it. Is there no other question that ought to be asked? Ought not the Chancellor of the Exchequer to be asked whether or not the telegram that he sent to the people in the country fairly represented the action of my hon. Friend? Did he, when he sent this telegram, think that the Amendment was dropped because it was suggested from the Chair that the discussion would be taken better at a later stage? Did he in that telegram say that the object that my hon. Friend had in bringing the matter forward was to raise a discussion on the whole question of the outworkers?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The suggestion from the Chair was that the discussion upon the limiting of the outworkers Clause would come better later on. That is all. If it had been a question of dropping the outworkers altogether, the Chair never suggested that that was not the time to move it. It was the only time they could have done it.
§ Mr. FORSTER
Did the right hon. Gentleman convey that in his telegram? Our complaint of the message that the Chancellor of the Exchequer sent to these people who had no opportunity of knowing the truth was that it did not present to them a fair statement of the case, and that it was disingenuous and wholly misleading.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I really cannot understand this assumed fury on the part of the Opposition. It has been my duty to travel about a good deal and I have been to several by-elections. If hon. Gentlemen opposite only knew the statements which are being made by their canvassers in the elections they would be heartily ashamed of them.
§ Mr. HUGH LAW
I know the House loves nothing better than a personal discussion of this sort, but perhaps after the pleasant half-hour we have spent we may get back to business. I only rise in order to ask the Attorney-General to give me some information as to the meaning of the Chancellor's Amendment. How is it going to be determined whether she is dependent on her earnings? I suppose it will be determined by the Insurance Commissioners, but we ought to have a clear statement from the Government as to the method on which the Commissioners will 1065 proceed, because obviously until we know that it is exceedingly difficult for us to form any clear notion as to what class of people will or will not in all probability be found to be included in practice within the scope of the Bill. I think it will be recognised that this is a matter of some importance. There is another point I should like some information on. It having been determined in the case of any particular class or individual that she is within the scope of the Bill, I should like to be told how the rate of insurance in each case will be determined by the Insurance Commissioners. Yon are not here dealing with ordinary weekly wages. When you are dealing with outworkers you are dealing wholly with piecework. Therefore you have not got there what you had in the greater part of the Bill—a regular weekly wage upon which the rate of payment by the worker and by her employer can easily be determined. If you take two workers, both, we will assume, within the scope of the Bill, their earnings will vary enormously. For instance, one woman who is sickly or who has much house work to do, will earn comparatively little in the course of the week, and another who is able to devote most of her time is able to earn twice or three times as much. Most of these people may very well be mainly dependent upon the earnings of such employer, and many of them come within the Bill. I should like the Attorney-General to tell us the manner in which the Insurance Commissioners are to arrive at a determination of the rate to be paid by the employer and the employé. If you take again even the same workers on piecework, particularly homework, they will not earn the same amount each week. A worker may very well, owing to the circumstances which govern home-work, earn 6s. one week, 12s. the next, and only 1s. 6d. the week after. I have not been able to understand so far, from anything I can discover in the Bill or from anything that has taken place in the Debate, how it is possible to arrive at the amount to be paid either by the worker or by the employer in such cases.
§ Sir R. BAKER
I hope the Attorney-General will explain the effect of the two Amendments of the Chancellor of the Exchequer taken together. If the outworker problem is not satisfactorily solved in the case of the glove trade, it appears to me that the only alternative they will have—and I asked a leading glover 1066 whether this would be the case, and he said, in all probability—will be to have an entirely different system in future of doing this work. Instead of, as now, sending out the gloves and paying so much definitely for the work done when the gloves are returned completed, they will have to sell the gloves unmade up, that is, just cut out, to the women who make them up, and then buy them back, the difference between the selling price and the purchase price being the return for the labour which they give. In that way I think the outworkers will not come in possibly as employed persons under this Act. I think that that would be a very unsatisfactory solution of the difficulty. It would unquestionably lay itself open to very great abuse indeed. The manufacturers might purchase gloves and resell them at a certain price to the outworkers, and if they had no market for them, they might leave them on the hands of the unfortunate people for weeks. Therefore it is very essential that we should not put this hardship on this particular trade if in any way we can avoid doing so. The Chancellor of the Exchequer's Amendment does not go far enough, because it does not deal with the case of married women—the wives of insured workers. Surely if it is right to leave out married women, it would be equally good to leave out unmarried people and widows. I ask the House to look at the position of a girl who has learned the gloving trade. When she marries, at the end of a certain number of years, she will have put so much into the fund, and you give back so much, but she is no longer allowed to be an insured person. As soon as she marries, she will lose the money she has put in up to the time of her marriage, because she is compulsorily taken out by the Amendment the Chancellor of the Exchequer has moved. If it is wise to take out married women, it is equally wise to take out the remainder of the outworkers, as this will involve too heavy a charge on the glove trade.
In the country districts it is entirely a different matter where they have the advantage of doing work in their own homes, and also of helping to do the housework where this form of employment is merely of a subsidiary character. It is a different matter when you bring these people to work in factories in the towns. Though in the big towns you may get far greater advantages by women working in factories, yet in the country districts you do not get proportionate advantages, 1067 because in the country the workers have the benefit of living with their own parents and helping to do the work in their own houses. We think that this is what they desire, because they are not exposed to the dangers which are necessarily incidental to the conditions under which young girls live when they are taken at an early age from their homes and put into factories. I hope the Attorney-General, on behalf of the Government, will see his way to accept the Amendment I have put down to exclude the wives of insured persons and outworkers who are not wholly or mainly dependent on their earnings in certain employments. This is a problem which affects a large area and a large number of outworkers, and it will be a real hardship indeed if the Government cannot see their way to do justice to them in the manner I propose.
§ Mr. RENDALL
I have some little knowledge of the conditions under which this trade is carried on in Somersetshire, and having had an opportunity of sharing in the excitement of the by-election which is now going on there, I have later information probably in regard to the views of the manufacturers than even the hon. Gentleman opposite. I think the facts in regard to this matter are these. When the Bill was first of all introduced, the manufacturers felt that the proposal, as they supposed, that there would be a payment of 5d. in the case of outworkers, would kill the outworkers trade, but they discovered very soon that they had entirely misapprehended the Bill in regard to the 5d. They discovered that the payment would not be 5d. but 3d.
§ Mr. RENDALL
It will be 3d. because of the pro rata payment. If a worker only earns 5s. per week, it would be earned for two days in the week. I do not wish to go into that matter, but it affects very closely this Amendment. As soon as the manufacturers were satisfied that it would be 3d. per week they said it was too much. They came to London and saw the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to whom they made a very careful statement, in which they went out of their way to say it would be fair if the payment in respect of outworkers was 1d. per head. What has the Chancellor of the Exchequer done? He proposes by the Amendment to exclude married outworkers. During the past fortnight I have seen a complete list of 1068 the women outworkers in three of the very largest factories in Somerset. I have gone through these three listed and I find that in one case more than two-thirds of the outworkers are married, that in the second case almost exactly two-thirds are married, and that in the third case the number of married outworkers are just under two-thirds. Therefore, the Amendment would work out like this. Supposing a manufacturer employed 300 outworkers he would under the original proposal have to pay 3d. a week on each one, but supposing this Amendment was passed he would not have to pay 3d. on the 200 married outworkers. It is easy to see that by paying 3d. per head on the hundred unmarried outworkers the result would be the same as paying 1d. per head over the whole number. The manufacturers want to pay 1d. per head, and that is exactly what the Amendment will provide if it is passed. Therefore, when the hon. Gentleman opposite says that this will ruin the trade and drive women from the villages into town factories, I would point out that that is not the view of the manufacturers. They have freely stated that the payment of 1d. per head will not kill the trade, and will not exclude these people. If this Bill had gone through as proposed we should have been in this position: If a manufacturer paid 15s. a week to a woman in his factory, he would have had to pay 3d., but if he employed three women outside he would have had to pay 9d. He would rather pay 3d. in respect of the three outworkers. It has been said that this insurance scheme will probably have the effect of decreasing the number of outworkers, but looking to the terms of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Amendment I do not think the manufacturer will have any grievance left at all. From the opportunities I have had of gathering the opinions of those interested in this matter I am certain that the manufacturers and also the outworkers are perfectly satisfied. It has been remarked that this would put a premium on married women's work, and that manufacturers would go out searching for married women with a view of employing them. I do not think that argument is of much weight. The manufacturers prefer unmarried women, because they are able to hold their places in the factories for a considerable time. I do not think the hon. Gentleman's objections are well founded. It is very natural that he should desire to help the people in the villages, but I am quite satisfied myself, as are nearly all the 1069 manufacturers, that the people concerned are perfectly satisfied with what is now proposed.
§ Lord HENRY CAVENDISH-BENTINCK
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has not given one word of explanation as to why this Amendment has been proposed. I have not misrepresented this Bill in the House or outside, and I hope I may ask for some explanation as to how the Amendment will affect single women and widows. There are in my Constituency a great many women employed in what is called lace trimming and scalloping. A good many of these are married women, and they eke out a scanty living by doing this work. There are also hundreds of single women who depend on that work entirely for their livelihood. How will these single women and widows be affected. It appears to me that they will be affected most disastrously, because employers will naturally take married women into their employment. I should be very unwilling to see home workers taken out of the Bill altogether, and I really do think the Chancellor of the Exchequer should take the trouble to tell us what will be the effect on the large number of people who are in the somewhat pathetic position which I have indicated.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
I would like to say a word or two on this subject, because this Amendment has to do with the South Somerset election which is now going on. I have in my possession a leaflet circulated in Yeovil on this very proposal, and I will quote from it in order to justify the assertion I am making. I want to enter first of all a protest against this Amendment altogether. I am extremely doubtful whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he put down this Amendment, took into consideration all the interests affected. I have been in the locality, and there is unfortunately very little organisation among these people. At a place called Stokenham, I addressed a meeting on Saturday night, and the only organisation representing the workpeople in the district sent a deputation to me to protest against the very Amendment that the hon. Gentleman on behalf of the industry is supporting in this House, and to say it was a positive injury to the whole business so far as all ordinary workmen were concerned, that any exclusion or subsidising of home workers should be allowed. I am only speaking of what I heard at this particular place. In addition to that, a 1070 minister who had also a long conversation with me on the subject, drew attention to some things he sees on the occasions of his visits to the homes of these outworkers. He told me, for instance, that it was nothing exceptional for him when called to the house of a person in extremis with disease, sometimes terrible disease, to see strewn all over the house, and very often in the very room where the person was, the very gloves that they had to attend to; and that these were sent back to the factory and sold in shops, and I suppose eventually would disseminate disease in that way. I heard these stories from people who lived in the locality, and therefore I am very much afraid that what has happened on this occasion is that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has heard the view of the employers in the locality and has not heard the view of the workpeople upon the subject.
I have no doubt that if one were to go to some of these outworkers—because I had conversations with them—he would find that they are certainly in favour of the system of outwork. Some of the women, the married women who eke out the husband's wages, are very concerned about this Bill, because they are told the moment the Bill becomes law, the outworker will be destroyed, and not only that, but that the glove-making industry will be destroyed. For instance, here is the quotation on this very subject of glove-making which my hon. Friend opposite introduced:—The Insurance Bill will cripple the gloving trade On the admission of Liberal employers, Tariff Reform will save it. It will increase the trade, and give the British work to British workers. Defend the gloving trade by voting for Herbert.You cannot eat your cake and have it. If the Insurance Bill will kill the gloving trade, there is an end to the gloving trade, because it is a moral certainty that the Insurance Bill will become law in spite of your opposition in the constituencies. But that is not the point to which I wish to address myself. I wish to ask our Friends on this side of the House whether, in putting forward this Amendment, they are really protecting the best interest of the people in this particular trade? I am bound to say the few men I saw connected with it—they were not perhaps speaking for the married women, who were not organised; I do not suppose that there is any kind of society among them—they told me that there was no chance of an improvement in this trade so far as working conditions were concerned, and so far as 1071 wages were concerned., as long as the out work system was maintained to the enormous extent to which it is at the pre sent time. Of course everybody knows that that must be the case. The hon. Member for Dorset (Sir R. Baker) said you cannot apply factory legislation to things of that description, nor codes of law such as you can apply to other trades in country districts. Does not the hon. Member know that up to ten or twelve years ago nearly the whole of the boot-making industry in Northampton and Leicestershire was carried on almost entirely on the outwork principle, just as you see at present in Somersetshire with regard to the glove-making industry? Men and women were working in the boot-making industry just as they do in the glove-making industry, and the societies at last insisted that on a certain day, so many years hence, allowing for erection of factories and alterations in the working conditions, the boot-makers without any authority from this House, knowing that it meant degradation to the men to continue this system of outwork and that it meant lower wages—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not think we could allow a discussion on the merits of the outwork system on this Amendment.
§ Mr. J. WARD
If I have misinterpreted your ruling I will sit down, but I understand from the observations of the hon. Member opposite that the intention of the Chair was that we might discuss the broad question of outworkers now and that then we could very briefly deal with certain details of the subject after the general discussion was done.
§ The CHAIRMAN
No, the hon. Member must have misunderstood. What was agreed to was that the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Amendment as a whole, which only deals with them as regards the Insurance Bill, and only with regard to the wives of insured persons, should be discussed, and that after that we should take the two Amendments proposed to that Amendment.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
Was not it also understood that we might also discuss the Chancellor's Amendment which is down at the bottom of page 31?
§ Mr. J. WARD
The proposition is that the Insurance Bill, if it goes forward, will destroy outworkers. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Let us quote from another Bill issued to-day—
§ Mr. J. WARD
I beg pardon for transgressing your ruling, but I want to know when the subject of outworkers may be discussed?
I do not propose to follow the hon. Member for Stoke except to say that he questioned the bona fides of the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, and suggested that it had something to do with the Somersetshire election. This is not the case, because the Amendment was put on the Paper on 26th July, and at that date we had not any idea that things were going to be what they are, and that this vacancy was going to occur in South Somersetshire. But the more interesting speech, if I may say so, of the hon. Member for Thornbury (Mr. Rendall) does seem to require some attention, because, if his argument is good, the Amendment now proposed by the Chancellor is quite sufficient for all those interested in the gloving industry, both as employers and employed, and there is no grievance left and no further Amendment is required. That is, I think, a fair and short way of putting the hon. Gentleman's contention. He stayed down in that part of the world fourteen days, and proceeded to tell the House that he had informed those with whom he came in contact that it was only 3d. that this Bill required.
§ Mr. RENDALL
I told the Committee that I was told that they believed originally, when the Bill was introduced, it would be 5d. per head. They then came to London and saw the Chancellor, and were assured by him that they were mistaken, and that the amount would be 3d. Their statement to me was that they were misinformed, and that they were satisfied it would be 3d. It was on that basis that I made my speech.
I was not suggesting that the hon. Gentleman did anything but repeat the information 1073 which he had got on the authority of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but when the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave that information to the hon. Gentleman he was speaking, of course, with knowledge of what he might be going to do and what Amendments he hoped, with the majority behind him, to put into the Bill. But that was not in the Bill as introduced into the House, and, of course, we on this side of the House have not got the same opportunity of knowing what the Chancellor is going to do, and naturally, when we discuss the Bill, we have had to say, and I think quite accurately, that there would be 5d. paid for each outworker and not 3d. I have no doubt that the learned Attorney-General is not going to deny that. I will put the case to him. If a person is employed, whether an outworker or an inworker, who earns, say, 15s., then there would be employer's contribution of 3d.; but if there were three outworkers employed to do exactly the same amount of work, each of whom earns 5s.—that is, that the whole earnings would be the same amount as in the former case—then there would be three contributions of 5d. each, not three contributions of 3d. each, payable in respect of those three outworkers, so that there would be 3d. in respect of the person who earns 15s. and 1s. 3d. in respect of three people who only earn the same amount, namely, 5s. each. That is the Bill as drawn.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Rufus Isaacs)
Three outworkers who are doing this work and earning 5s. get the same amount as the others.
§ Mr. RENDALL
The understanding is in the Yeovil gloving trade that people earn at the same rate. That was the whole of the manufacturers' case. They earn at the same rate outside; therefore, if they earn 5s. in a week as an outworker it is for two days' work at the rate of 2s. 6d. a day.
That would be a very excellent principle to embody in the Bill, but my point is that it is not in the Bill, and I am asking the learned Attorney-General to tell me now whether I am right or wrong?
I believe that in the Bill as drawn I am right 1074 and the hon. Member is wrong. The Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on page 31 is put down for the very purpose of altering what we say is the effect of the Bill, and carrying out what hon. Gentlemen over there think the effect of the Bill ought to be. It would not be necessary for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to put that Amendment down if, in fact, the Bill as it at present stands did carry out what the hon. Gentleman on the high authority of the Chancellor of the Exchequer tells the voters at the by-elections. Let me now also deal with the other point made by the hon. Member, that the workers in that industry are perfectly content so long as only 1d. per head is paid for each outworker.
§ Mr. RENDALL
The hon. Gentleman will understand that I was quoting, and that I was not giving my opinion. I was quoting from a statement presented to the Government as to what a 1d. would do.
I am not making a personal attack upon the hon. Member; I am trying to deal with the argument he put forward, and I say, frankly, that his argument was a good one, and that the Committee might give way to it. The hon. Gentleman said his information was that the employers would be willing to pay 1d. for each outworker, and the calculation he made was that if there were 200 married outworkers for 100 single outworkers, and that if the married outworkers were free from contribution, as proposed in the Chancellor's Amendment, the effect would be that 3d. would be paid for each single outworker, and the average would be 1d. for the whole 300. That was the argument which the hon. Gentleman put before the Committee, and that is the point with which I want now to deal. He went on to say that this is a trade which must be learned young; that you cannot get any large number of married women to do the work, and that, therefore, there would be no selection against the single women and in favour of the married women, because you have not got the number of workers. May I point out the result of that? This trade has to be learned young, and while they are single; that is the hon. Gentleman's contention. During the time they are single the contribution of 3d. has to be paid, and during that time they will have what benefits there are under the Insurance Bill. But the moment they marry they can no longer continue to be insured persons, and 1075 they immediately come within the exemption of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and whatever contributions they have paid, or have been paid on their behalf, are forfeited, and they get no benefit whatever. I do not think the hon. Gentleman realised that this was the result of his argument.
If the hon. Gentleman tells the Committee that the single women who are engaged in that industry are content with that position, content to be taxed while single, and to be deprived of benefits when they marry, they are much more easily satisfied than are women engaged in other industries.
That is exactly what they would not do, unless I am quite wrong. I am very glad the hon. Gentleman interrupted on that point, which certainly ought to be cleared up. Under the Chancellor's Amendment there are certain persons exempted from the Bill, and one of those persons exempted from the operation of the Bill is the married woman engaged in the glove industry. She is exempted; she is not allowed to be an insured person under the Bill. Having been engaged in the industry in her single state she would have contributed, but the moment she marries she automatically comes within the exclusion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer as put before the Committee. Clause 34 only applies to insured persons, but where you have got distinct exclusion from the Bill, certainly you cannot bring the person within Clause 34. If that is so, I should be very glad to hear what the Attorney-General is going to say on this. But certainly, at the best, there are two things—there is one Clause which says "you may come in," and another Clause which says "you can go out." That is the best thing that can be said for the Government's present Amendment. This has been dealt with largely on the ground that it is a question which affects the glove and collar industry; but it affects a great many more industries besides that.
Around the district which I have the honour to represent there are some clothing factories, and the practice is to send carts into the surrounding villages with 1076 work, and they pull up at some convenient place—not licensed premises—and women from the neighbourhood come and take their parcels of work and go away to their homes to do that work. That is an exceedingly important industry, especially for a large number of men and women resident in that district, because a considerable number of the men are yachtsmen or seamen. The yachts are laid up in September or thereabouts, and the wives of the men do this class of work in the winter, and at a time when the men of the family can no longer follow their ordinary occupation. The work which is thus provided affords a very considerable addition to the family income, and it is something which it would be a great pity if anything we did here should risk. Personally, I think the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset is a great improvement upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Amendment, because it avoids that peculiarly stupid state of circumstances which would make a single woman who is employed contribute and then cause her to lose the benefit of her contribution when she marries. When my hon. Friend comes to move his Amendment—I shall not speak again—I shall have pleasure in supporting it if he goes to a Division.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
The question of outworkers under this Bill is undoubtedly a very difficult one, but I think one of the most objectionable ways of approaching it is to divide married and unmarried women. The problem of the outworker is very much better dealt with in the Amendment which appears at the bottom of page 31 of the Amendment Paper in the name of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The outworker problem is a mixed one. You get the worker in the factory doing a certain amount of work at the same piece rate as the outworker. But upon that piece rate, under the factory conditions, considerably more profit is produced to the employer than is obtained from the home worker, because of the small amount which the home-worker can turn out in comparison. In order to impose equitably the burden of insurance which is placed on the employer, and in order to apply the whole scheme to the outworkers, we have to take into account not merely the time per week or per day, but also take into account the wages and profits earned by the individual worker who is insured. Therefore, in order to be equitable, we have got to 1077 devise some sort of scheme by which some sort of unit can be adopted, say, 9s. per week, for there must be some unit on which any contribution is to be paid to the worker personally. We must devise some sort of scheme in which income units as well as time units are contained. That, of course, is one of a very considerable number of difficulties which are met with, and which become more complex when we remember that the outworker very often is not employed by one employer or one middleman, but by two or three.
As I understand it, that is a difficulty which the Chancellor has tried to meet in the Amendment which appears on page 31. With that Amendment I am wholly in agreement. The Amendment which we are discussing at the moment more particularly differentiates a little bit further, and it says that if a woman is married she is excluded altogether, but if she is a single woman or a widow, then upon her the burdens of the Bill are to be imposed. I do think that is a mistake, a very great mistake. I am not going to take the point made by the hon. Member opposite with reference to Clause 34. If I might venture to express my opinion as opposed to that of the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Worthington-Evans), who is much more of an expert than I am in these matters, I think the woman does come under Clause 34. I say so with great deference, but if she does not, she ought to come under Clause 34, and I think the Attorney-General might in any event, whatever he is going to say on the point, state that it is the intention of the Government that she shall come under Clause 34, if she does not do so already. That is not my objection so much, because I think it can be easily remedied. My objection is a purely industrial objection. This Committee must not assume that the glove-making industry is the only industry that will be affected. There are industries in my own Constituency, and in other quarters which are affected. We have them in South London Constituencies, East London Constituencies, North-East London Constituencies of different forms and kinds, and in fact almost wherever we have got those outworking industries low wages are paid to the men. In Somersetshire you have got this trouble of the married home workers, and low wages for the men. One of the first effects of this Amendment, if it is carried, will be to establish this unfortunate condition of low wages paid to men. 1078 I think the Government will do a very bad evening's piece of work if it puts anything into its Insurance Bill which would tend to stereotype this unfortunate position. There is not the least doubt of it that if we were going to abolish home work in Somersetshire the effect would be—of course nobody could ever do all these things at once; they cannot be done by jumps—if you are going to pass specifically a Bill abolishing home work in Somersetshire within the next six months the certain effect would be to raise the wages of the Somersetshire workmen.
That is my first objection to the Amendment with which we are dealing. My second objection is this. My hon. Friend near me covered the same ground, but, if I may say so, I do not think he covered it very successfully. His argument was that two-thirds of the women employed in this particular industry of glove-making are married, and that 3d. is going to be the ultimate figure. I think the hon. Member for Colchester is quite right in his contention that it is not the figure which is contained in the Bill. But assuming that the Bill as the Government intends to amend it is going to be passed with the figure of 3d., then the effect of charging unmarried women 3d. means, the hon. Member says, that the employers will employ two-thirds married women and one-third unmarried women, for all of whom he will have to pay 1d. per head. That is a very nice little scheme, if you could impose on each employer the responsibility of employing one unmarried woman for every two married women whom he takes into his service. That would be very nice, and if my hon. Friend moves an Amendment to that effect—I am afraid it would be a very impracticable Amendment—for the sake of principle I should support it. If that is not done, his little scheme would not work out at all. Let me assume for a moment that I am employer in Somersetshire. What would I do? I would see that there were other people who were paying 3d. for unmarried women, and I would say that if I could get a bigger proportion than my fair proportion of married women, then I could cut them out of the market. As a matter of fact, by taking advantage of this exception the unfair employer puts himself in the position of economic advantage. I cannot help feeling that my right hon. and learned Friend is equally unwilling to impose a new form of competition which puts a premuim upon the very worst kind of employer and which practically 1079 offers special privileges, flourishing trade and good industrial conditions, to the man who does not employ his one-third of insured persons. Individual employers look after their own interests, as they are bound to do, and every individual employer, if this Amendment is carried, will have the inducement placed before him to shirk his responsibility in training the young unmarried woman because he has got to pay upon her which he will not have to do if he employs married women. I do not think that that is a desirable state of things to establish, and I believe the Government would be perfectly safe to trust to the single Amendment on page 31 of the Order Paper, because if a married woman is working in competition with an unmarried woman, then every burden that the unmarried woman has to bear ought to be borne by the married woman, because, as a matter of sound economic legislation, if you are going to differentiate between the married woman who is working and the unmarried woman who is working the advantages ought to go to the unmarried woman. There is not the least doubt that that is the position, and that an economic handicap intended to be imposed deliberately by legislation upon married women or unmarried women should be placed on the shoulders of the married woman so as to discourage her, rather than upon the shoulders of the single woman or the widow. This Amendment is going upon a wrong principle altogether. It is burdening the person who ought to be relieved and relieving the person who ought to be burdened. If, however, the Committee would get into its mind what the real effect of the Amendment on page 31 is, I think it would come to the conclusion that everything that is necessary to protect the home worker and to protect the giver-out of home work, the employer, the contractor, the middleman, is done in that Amendment. I would very strongly urge upon the Government not to insist upon the Amendment which is now immediately before us.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS (who was indistinctly heard)
In the very interesting speech which my hon. Friend has just made he devoted a considerable part of his argument against the inclusion of the outworker. The view put by him was that if you excluded outworkers, or, in other words, if you were to abolish outworkers altogether, the consequence of it would be that you would raise within six 1080 months the wages of the men to a considerable degree, and upon that he based, if I may say so, an admirable argument against outworkers. If I remember aright, his argument yesterday went rather in the direction of extending the definition of outworkers we had in the Bill, and not against curtailing our limiting that in any way.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
The right hon. Gentleman has altogether misunderstood my point. The point I made about the Somerset outworker being deprived of his work was against the idea of excluding the Somerset outworker from this Bill. My argument was that I wanted to put all the burdens of the Bill upon the shoulders of the giver of the work and on the outworker, but that if you are going to differentiate at all you should not ease the burden on the married women, but rather upon the unmarried women. That is my point. But I want every outworker in, and therefore I support the Amendment on page 31.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I quite follow that. What I was pointing out was that the hon. Gentleman was contending at one time in favour of not excluding outworkers from the Bill. His point was that the tendency of this Amendment would be to lower the wages or to continue the lowering of the wages of the men, and he said that if, either done by the Government or in some other way, the outworkers were abolished, the result would be that within six months of its abolition you would have a considerable rise in the wages of the men. What I was explaining was that that view rather conflicted with the view which was put forward by him yesterday. I do not think I misunderstood anything he said, and I asked him a question at the time as to whether he was in favour of excluding outworkers from the Bill, and he said if there are outworkers you should bring them all in, and not a certain portion. That is his argument as, I followed it. I want to call attention to what has been stated by the hon. Member for the Thornbury Division (Mr. Rendall) who gave us a very interesting account of what had taken place at a by-election, and had told us something of the statements that were being made there. He said that there was this repetition of the statement made both before and since in the House that under circumstances which he described the payment would only be 3d. I am anxious to deal with this point, as a considerable amount of importance was attached to it in 1081 Committee. The attention of the Government and certainly the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as stated before, has always been this: that in your calculation of the contribution that will have to be made by employers for work of this character, that he would not have to make the payment for one or two hours, as it might be per day, but that what would happen would be that he would be expected to pay upon the rate of pay that class of person would ordinarily earn doing average work in a full day. I quite agree with what my hon. Friend the Member for Thornbury explained, and what is at any rate the intention of the Bill.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
There is not a word in the Bill contrary to that, and you will find that it is certainly carried out by the Amendment which is down now. The intention of the Government has always been that it should be so and that that is the way outwork should be dealt with. In order to carry it out and to remove any misapprehension there it is now in black and white in the Amendment, so that everybody will be able to follow it. It is right as explained by my hon. Friend. The argument which has been used in the main against the Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as I follow it, is that by excluding married women and limiting it to married women you are doing an injustice to unmarried women. That is the substance of the argument which has been used. May I point out that you have to remember first of all that the unmarried women will become married women in the ordinary course of time. [AN HON. MEMBER: "Widows."] Nor does it follow that the widow does not marry also. The hon. Member for Durham, if he remembers his Dickens, will not repeat that statement. What you are dealing with here, and what the Chancellor of the Exchequer has attempted to do, is to meet a very difficult situation in the way of a compromise. It does not profess to be anything else but that it is a way out which will meet the views, both of the workpeople there and of the employers. You have to bear in mind also that the married women who are at work there, represent something like two-thirds of the total, and I imagine the proportion must be more than half in any place where you have outworkers. What is it the Amendment says. It says, where you have a case of a husband being an insured person who has a wife who is 1082 taking outwork, but is not wholly or mainly dependent for her livelihood on outwork, or, in other words, is being maintained by her husband, and is only getting some small amount for the outwork, then we may leave her out altogether. It must not be forgotten that the girl or the widow is really earning her livelihood by it, and she would not come under that class, she would be wholly dependent on it for her livelihood. In the ordinary case she would be, because she is not in the position of being maintained by any other person.
§ Sir R. BAKER
All the girls whose fathers are widowers and live with them are maintained by their fathers and kept by them. That is practically always the case with these outworkers, and surely there is no harm in accepting my Amendment.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
If the hon. Member's concern is for the unmarried girl living at home with her parents, there is no hardship in that case at all. She remains at home, she gets her work, the employer will have to pay the contribution in respect to her, and she is treated as an employed contributor under the Bill. I do not think that any case of hardship has been made out. I have been asked whether or not she will come within Clause 34. That Clause begins by saying, "Where a woman who, having before marriage been an insured person, marries, and is supported by her husband, she shall, unless she continues to be employed within the meaning of this Part of this Act, be suspended from receiving any benefits.…" But in this case, if a girl living at home marries, it is true that under Clause 34 her benefits are suspended, but she gets the benefit of that Clause, because the condition precedent to its operation has taken effect, and there is no difficulty about it. She would be one of the married women who would come under the Clause. The hon. Member for West Donegal (Mr. Law) is concerned about the effect of this Clause, more especially having regard to paragraph 5 of Clause 59. The operation of the Clause must always depend on the evidence of facts which justify the exemption. In the vast majority of cases there will be no dispute as to whether or not a married woman is wholly or mainly dependent for her livelihood upon the earnings of this employment.
§ Mr. H. LAW
The kind of case I had in mind was this. The right hon. Gentleman knows what difficulties have arisen 1083 under the Old Age Pensions Act in determining the question of means. It is a very common case in my own Constituency for outwork of various kinds—knitting lacework, and shirt-making—to be carried on by the daughters of small farmers. They are living at home, and probably bring most of the actual hard cash that comes into the house. On the other hand, they are sharing in the common pot; they share with the family in the general revenue brought in by the produce of the farm, by the fishing of a brother, and so forth. Where you have a large family of that sort on a small farm it will be appallingly difficult for the Insurance Commissioners to determine whether in the case of the girl herself she is or is not principally dependent on her earnings. Doubtless there are similar cases in England.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The question which the hon. Member has in mind concerns the operation, not of this Clause, but of a somewhat similar Clause relating to Ireland, where the words are wider. The observations I was making would apply equally to that. First of all, you have to determine the question of fact whether or not a person is wholly or mainly dependent upon the earnings of the outwork. In the ordinary course there would be no difficulty in determining a question of that kind, but I agree that there would be cases in which dispute might arise, and there is a provision in the Bill for the settlement of all such disputes.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The authorities always have power to make a local inquiry. There would be no difficulty about that. I can hardly conceive its being done in any other way. My submission to the Committee is that the Amendment refered to by the hon. Baronet is one which ought not to be accepted. The Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, taken in conjunction with a subsequent Amendment, will make perfectly clear what is the intention of the Bill, and remove all doubt as to the way in which the earnings will be calculated. I hope, therefore, the Committee will see its way to accept this Amendment.
§ Mr. FORSTER
I do not think that the speech of the Attorney-General has met the arguments which have been put forward. I object to treating married women 1084 differently from unmarried women in connection with this matter. In my view we ought to treat all outworkers in the same way—either bring them in or take them out. I do not believe it is a good or right thing to take out married women and leave in unmarried women. I can only suggest that the right hon. Gentleman should withdraw this Amendment and confine himself to the subsequent Amendment, which will really deal with all that matters.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE (who was very indistinctly heard)
We propose to stand by the pledges we have given. The difference between the hon. Gentleman and ourselves is a very substantial one. He suggests that we should confine ourselves to our subsequent Amendment. That is not the proposal of the hon. Member for Leicester. This is one of the most difficult problems that has to be considered. It is full of perplexities, much fuller than critics of the Bill are willing to acknowledge—perplexities not created by the Government, but inherent in the nature of the case, because of the infinite variety, character, nature, conditions, and local difficulties of the employment. We had to endeavour to meet all these perplexities, and no Government which attempted to deal with insurance could do anything but meet these cases as best they could and set up the best experiment in their power, hoping that in the course of years better methods might be discovered. In Germany they started by keeping outworkers out altogether. Now they are bringing them in, but only very experimentally. I think we have taken the right course. There is a sound reason for discriminating between married women and single women or widows. The married woman is a person who works more or less in the intervals of attending to her household duties. She does it for the purpose of increasing the household income, but makes no effort to earn anything in the nature of a weekly wage. There have been brought to my notice a number of cases where they earn 3s. or 4s. or even 2s. 6d. Very rarely do they earn 10s.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I was also shown the pay-sheets of the indoor workers, where the amounts went up to 25s. and 30s. That showed that the married women were working more or less at 1085 their leisure. The married woman is insured, and is protected by that insurance. It is a very different thing when you come to the single woman or the widow. The single woman, unless she is insured, may have to come in later on in life. This is her sole means of earning a living. She may have to come in later on at a rate appropriate to her age, which may be a very considerable increase on the 4d. Another reason is that unless she is insured while young she does not get the benefit of the married woman's provision, which is an undoubted advantage to those who are already insured. She does not, equally important, get the benefit of the provision for the widowhood of insured persons. The same applies to the widow. If she has been in insurance before marriage on widowhood she can take up the insurance at the death of her husband just at the point where she broke it off on marriage. It is a great advantage to her to be able to get not only her own 3d. but the employer's contribution in order to keep the insurance going at the date of her widowhood. There is a real distinction between these. The married woman has not the same pressing need for insurance. The married woman has not the same actual necessity, first of all for earning a living wage, as has the widow and the single woman. She has not the same pressing need for insurance. For that reason, therefore, we have decided that inasmuch as these industries have to cut their profits very fine, and that it is desirable, so far as it is possible for us to do it, to encourage them, and seeing that there is not the same pressing need, we decided that there was a real case to be met as we suggest.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I suggest to the Committee now that we might take the Amendment to the proposed Amendment, seeing that we have had nearly two hours of general discussion.
§ Mr. PEEL
I beg to move, in the proposed Amendment, to leave out the words "person so employed is the wife of an insured person and is not wholly or mainly dependent for her livelihood on her earnings in such employment," and to insert instead thereof, the words "wages of the person so employed do not exceed nine shillings a week."
I move this Amendment formally, and in one word will say why I do not wish to press it further. I am sorry I cannot 1086 express myself except in a limited way. [The HON. MEMBER was suffering from a cold.] But I am bound to tell the Chancellor of the Exchequer that, although he sneered at me for being hoarse, I never sneered at the right hon. Gentleman when he was ill.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I am very sorry if the hon. Gentleman is offended, and I offer him my apologies. Really I thought when I came in and found him what I call raging, hoarse with raging, it was at me. If he tells me now that that was not the case, I really apologise.
§ Mr. PEEL
I am much obliged. May I explain that when I am in a rage I become more clear as a rule. Now let me put briefly two points. I thought that one of the best ways to exclude unmarried women and widows was to say "under 9s. a week." If they only get up to 9s. a week or less I am afraid the employer will not be able to employ them at all. Much of my objection has been removed by the later Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. That has been clearly explained by the Attorney-General, and I need not go into it further. But I am still of the opinion that the unmarried woman and widow ought to follow the fate of the married woman. I am bound to say I was not entirely convinced by the argument of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because he said, and said no doubt truly, that the unmarried women ought to be insured early in life, in order that when married they might go on their proper insurance. That is so, no doubt, but I am afraid a great many of outworking unmarried women will not be able to insure in friendly societies because they are so very irregularly employed. They can only insure as Post Office contributors. Therefore the question of acquiring insurance early in life does not apply to the same extent. Though the Chancellor of the Exchequer suggests that the married women has really got the better claim, and got a distinct case against the unmarried woman and the widow, yet I think he really ought to consider, even although that might be so, the latter will get a preference as against that of the married woman. I think that case is more precisely met by the Amendment of the hon. Baronet, and I withdraw my Amendment, and will take the issue on the Amendment of my hon. Friend.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.1087
§ Sir R. BAKER
I beg to move, in the proposed Amendment, to leave out the words "the wife of an insured person, and is."
In spite of the fact that the Attorney-General has thrown over my Amendment, I beg to move it. There are two arguments only which I wish to deal with. First of all the Attorney-General said that these women, if they married, would come in under Clause 34. I want to ask him what is the effect, therefore, in point of law of the first Clause in the Act, together with this Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer? Clause 1, Sub-section (1), says,Subject to the provisions of this Act all persons.… shall be entitled …. to the benefits …. conferred by this Part I. of this Act.Sub-section (2) says,The persons employed within the meaning of this Part of the Act .… shall include all persons of either sex .… not being employments specified in Part II. of that Schedule.You have now specified the outworkers in Part II. of the Schedule. If you put in these unmarried women, who will still go on with their trade, mainly outworkers, they will be obliged to lose all the benefits of insurance because they are not allowed to take any benefits under Clause 1 when they come in under Part II. of the First Schedule. Therefore the only way they can get the benefits is by becoming voluntary contributors and taking either a less benefit or paying a larger contribution. Therefore you are discrediting the industries of these women who continue their trade—learnt while they are young—and continued by them, because it is a specialised trade, after they are married. The second reason which makes me move this Amendment is that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Attorney-General said that they can see a real difference between the married and the unmarried women. I wish to point out that this Amendment says distinctly—even if my Amendment were accepted it would still leave the Chancellor's Amendment—"employment as an outworker where the person so employed is not wholly or mainly dependent for her livelihood on her earnings in such employment." So that you are not going to let these people come in who are earning all their living, and you are not going to exempt them. You are only going to exempt that section of women who are not wholly or mainly 1088 dependent upon their own earnings. They are not then to be exempt if they are not wholly or mainly dependent. They become exempt if they are married. I ask that they should become exempt in any case, whether married or unmarried.
Let me give a definite illustration to the Attorney-General. Take the case of a widower with, say, half-a-dozen children, the eldest of whom are two girls. These two girls, or perhaps one of them, manages the house and looks after the children. Supposing she takes in a certain amount of glove work. It is the same position as the married woman would be in. She is obliged to be insured by the Chancellor's Amendment. If you accept my Amendment she would not have to be insured. What happens? The employer gives advantage to the woman whom he has not to pay for over the girl or girls who live with their widowed father, and the girls have to compete with 3d. against them in their competition with the married woman; else they will have to go to the factory and work, or lose their employment. For these reasons I propose to press my Amendment.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I think it will be a very unfortunate case for those girls if they were cut out. I cannot imagine anybody thinking that it would be a real advantage for those young women living with their father. It would simply mean a very large class of married women congregating in one district who would be deprived of the benefits of insurance, and the assistance of the State, whereas in other parts of the country you would have the married women who would be benefiting by it. I do not think that the hon. Member is acting in the best interests of his own constituents by trying to cut them out.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think it was understood on the specific Amendment that we would come to a decision.
I asked a question before which was not answered. I was only going to rise for that.
§ Mr. O'SHEE
I heard the hon. Gentleman the Member for Leicester earlier in the evening, and I was rather inclined to take his view that it was unreasonable to deal with single women in a different way 1089 to married women. I must say that I am entirely convinced by the reasons which were given a few minutes ago by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. There is, I gather, in England a good and sufficient reason for this distinction between single women and married women. In England these women belong, and always belong during the whole course of their lives, to the industrial classes. There is a distinction made in the case which has already been passed by the Committee in regard to Ireland. The reason of that distinction is implied in the explanation that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has just given as to why these single women in England should not come within the exception which is allowed in the case of married women. The reason I have received is this—and I was rather startled by the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman the Attorney-General gave as to the methods in which the determination was to be arrived at in the case of these outworkers; as to whether they are or are not mainly dependent upon their earnings upon out work. I think the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman raises a very serious question—
§ Mr. O'SHEE
This refers to Ireland as well as England, and you must deal with these individuals as a class according to the trade in which they work and according to the locality in which they are employed.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The only subject before the Committee is the Amendment to the proposed Amendment. The hon. Member is now dealing with the question as a whole.
§ Mr. O'SHEE
By leaving out the words proposed to be left out by the Amendment of the hon. Member (Sir R. Baker) you would bring in this wider class of persons, and I am dealing with the manner of determining whether the individual in that wider class shall or shall not be deemed to be wholly dependent.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That deals with the Amendment as a whole and not specifically with the Amendment to the Amendment.
§ Mr. PEEL
The Chancellor of the Exchequer says he is only anxious to bring the unmarried women into insurance in order that when married they may take 1090 advantage of the insurance. My point is that merely by his system the right hon. Gentleman will not make them employed contributors because they will lose their job.
May I ask a question? These single women when they marry will cease to be entitled to benefits because they will come under the exception in part (2) of the First Schedule. My question is, Can they or can they not continue as voluntary contributors? If they can continue, can they continue if they have only been four years employed as single women, and have only paid four years' contributions? Suppose they are married after four years, can they come in or not?
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
Certainly. I see no difficulty. I appreciate the point in the hon. Gentleman's mind, but it is only by giving a narrow construction to the words "employed contributor" in part (2) in reference to this particular work, that you can say that they are excluded. This work, which in individual cases would be excluded, does not stand in the same category.
I said four years. I know that after five years an employed contributor can become a voluntary contributor. The right hon. Gentleman has answered me upon the actual question, but that is not my reading of the Bill, and I asked the Government if they find that I am right and they are wrong, will they consider it again and put the matter right on Report stage? I am satisfied they will find the alteration is wanted.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I know exactly what the hon. Gentleman is saying, but I do not think that there is any real difficulty. These married women would be in exactly the same position as other married women who cease to be employed contributors under the Act—that is to say, they could get on to the fund—but if there is any difficulty I will put it right.
§ Question, "That the words, 'wife of an insured person and is,' proposed to be left out, stand part of the proposed Amendment."1091
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 236; Noes, 89.1093
|Division No. 398.]||AYES.||[7.20 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Hancock, John George||O'Grady, James|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||O'Shee, James John|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Adamson, William||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Anderson, Andrew Macbeth||Harwood, George||Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Armitage, Robert||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Astor, Waldorf||Haworth, Sir Arthur A.||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Helme, Norval Watson||Pointer, Joseph|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Barnes, George N.||Henry, Sir Charles S.||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick)||Higham, John Sharp||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Barton, William||Hill, Sir Clement L.||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Hills, John Waller||Radford, G. H.|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Hinds, John||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George)||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Reddy, M.|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Holt, Richard Durning||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Bethell, Sir John Henry||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)|
|Boland, John Plus||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Bowerman, C. W.||John, Edward Thomas||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Brace, William||Johnson, William||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Bryce, John Annan||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Rowlands, James|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Jowett, Frederick William||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Joyce, Michael (Limerick)||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Kellaway, Frederick George||Sheehy, David|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Kemp, Sir George||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Clough, William||Kilbride, Denis||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)|
|Clynes, John R.||King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Snowden, Philip|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Lamb, Ernest Henry||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton)||Sutton, John E.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lansbury, George||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'r'id, Cockerm'th)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Levy, Sir Maurice||Tennant, Harold John|
|Cotton, William Francis||Logan, John William||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Crumley, Patrick||Lundon, Thomas||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Lyell, Charles Henry||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Lynch, A. A.||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Dawes, J. A.||M'Callum, John M.||Wardle, G. J.|
|De Forest, Baron||M'Curdy, Charles Albert||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||M'Kean, John||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Webb, H.|
|Doris, W.||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Doughty, Sir George||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine)||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Masterman, C. F. G.||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir T. P.|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Meagher, Michael||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Essex, Richard Walter||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's County)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Menzies, Sir Walter||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Falconer, J.||Middlebrook, William||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Furness, Stephen||Millar, James Duncan||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Gelder, Sir William Alfred||Molteno, Percy Alport||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Morgan, George Hay||Winfrey, Richard|
|Gibson, Sir James Puckering||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Winterton, Earl|
|Gill, Alfred Henry||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C.||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Goldstone, Frank||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Nolan, Joseph||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Greig, Col. J. W.||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Hackett, John||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Fell, Arthur||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Fletcher, John Samuel||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Foster, Philip Staveley||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Ashley, W. W.||Gardner, Ernest||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Goldman, Charles Sydney||Royds, Edmund|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Gretton, John||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Bigland, Alfred||Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Bird, Alfred||Harris, Henry Percy||Stanier, Beville|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Stewart, Gershom|
|Boyton, James||Houston, Robert Paterson||Swift, Rigby|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Kerry, Earl of||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Bull, Sir William James||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Kyffin-Taylor, G.||Thynne, Lord A.|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Touche, George Alexander|
|Cassel, Felix||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Edgbaston)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Cator, John||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (St. Geo., Han. S.)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Cave, George||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh-||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Macmaster, Donald||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Malcolm, Ian||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Yate, Col C. E.|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Croft, Henry Page||Parkes, Ebenezer||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Peel, Captain R. F. (Woodbridge)||R. Baker and Mr. Peel.|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Perkins, Walter Frank|
§ Question, "That the words '(h) Employment as an outworker where the person so employed is the wife of an insured person and is not wholly or mainly dependent for her livelihood on her earnings in such employment,' be there inserted," put, and agreed to.
Amendment proposed: At the end of paragraph (g) to add,
(h) Employment as a member of the crew of a fishing vessel where the members of such crew are remunerated by shares in the profits or the gross earnings of the working of such vessel in accordance with any custom or practice prevailing at any port if such custom or practice is a custom, or practice specified in a special order made for the purpose by the Insurance Commissioners.—[Mr. Lloyd George.]
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
This Amendment is introduced to meet the point raised yesterday. I may say I am not quite satisfied with it as it stands and I do not think it goes quite far enough. The difficulty arises in reference to the words "custom or practice is a custom or practice specified." Notice has been given to me of an Amendment to this Amendment, which will be moved by the hon. Member for Lowestoft (Sir E. Beauchamp). I have seen the hon. Baronet's Amendment and I think it much more closely corresponds to what is required, and we accept it. The effect of the Amendment, as amended, will be that 1094 it will allow the Insurance Commissioners to exclude fishermen in any particular place if they can prove that there is a particular custom or practice prevailing, for then they may make an order excluding them from the operation of this Bill. The fact that there is an exception Clause makes it plain that otherwise the fishermen are included. It is quite clear that other fishermen under the ordinary contract of service would become employed contributors. I think this will also meet the view of hon. Gentlemen opposite. It might be convenient if I made one further point clear. It is that by the Amendment an order can be made by the Commissioners so long as they are satisfied with regard to the custom or practice prevailing, but it is with reference to the custom prevailing at a particular port. They can make the order so as to give full scope to what I suggested was the view of the Government that there should be an opportunity of dealing with each particular locality upon the merits of the custom or practice prevailing in that locality.
§ Sir EDWARD BEAUCHAMP
The object of this Amendment is to give effect to the view which has been expressed upon this subject in a former Debate, that it is intended to give fishermen the advantage of this Bill if they choose to come in. The difficulties with regard to fishermen are very great, and it has been very difficult to frame any Clause applicable to all the varying conditions of the fishing industry. 1095 I thank the Government for having done what they could to solve this difficult question. It seems to me that in reading this Amendment some of the share fishermen might be excluded altogether even if they wished to come under the Bill. The Insurance Commissioners might be obliged to specify the custom or practice, and make a special order excluding fishermen from the benefits of this Bill. The Amendments which I understand the Government are prepared to accept and of which I have given notice will get over that difficulty.
§ Amendments made in the proposed Amendment: Leave out the words "such custom or practice is a custom or practice specified in."
§ After the word "order" ["a special order made for the purpose"], insert the word "is."
§ After the word "Commissioners," at the end, add the words "and the particular custom or practice prevailing at the port is one to which the order applies."—[Sir E. Beauchamp.]
§ Question proposed, "That the proposed Amendment, as amended, be there inserted."
§ Sir G. DOUGHTY
I am glad the Attorney-General has made this point more clear. It is plain now that under the Amendment now proposed all share fishermen were in the Bill itself, and that the Amendments which have now been accepted will make it possible, under certain circumstances in certain ports where special conditions obtain, that Insurance Commissioners may exempt those men from the operation of the Bill. When I spoke yesterday I pointed out that there were many classes of share fishermen, some of whom were unable to meet the required conditions of this Bill; and I stated it was essential that there should be more latitude and opportunity given for their cases to be dealt with at the different ports. I entirely accept the Amendment in its amended form because it gives freedom to the Insurance Commissioners in certain cases where share fishermen can make out a case to deal with the matter as they may think wise. Perhaps the Chancellor of the Exchequer will allow me to refer to a telegram he sent last night. I wish to do so because he mentioned my name, and the matter relates to this very fishing question. The right hon. Gentleman charged me—and I do not feel 1096 offended or hurt by anything he put in his telegram—with having proposed an Amendment to include all share fishermen. That is quite true, but the reason the Amendment was moved in that form was because I desired to state what there was to say against share fishermen being included. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] I learned that method of dealing with Amendments from the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself when he used to sit on this side of the House. As everybody in this House knows, it is not possible to raise the point directly in many cases, and you must put it down in a certain form of words if you intend to have a discussion upon it. The right hon. Gentleman did not quite represent accurately what I did, but I know his little ways, and probably if I held his distinguished and honourable position I should do the same thing. I wish to make this point perfectly clear, and to indicate to the right hon. Gentleman that he was not quite accurate in his representation of my action in regard to this matter. I would like this Clause to go further. In respect to other classes of fishermen, I think the Board of Trade ought to have power to prepare a scheme on the same lines as the Seamen's Insurance Fund in the Foreign Service Section, which might be submitted for approval to the Insurance Commissioners. That is an Amendment I would like to have moved if the Chairman would have allowed me to do so. It is impossible within the limited time that this Bill will be before the House for the National Sea Fisheries' Protection Association to prepare the information which the right hon. Gentleman has asked for. The Chancellor of the Exchequer asked me for actuarial facts and figures as to the position of fishermen in relation to the Merchant Shipping Act, but I have not been able to prepare it. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer could accept the suggestion I have made as to the Board of Trade being allowed to submit a scheme to the Insurance Commissioners, he would do a service to fishermen. So far as the Amendment in its present shape goes, it meets with my approval, and I believe it will meet with the general approval of share fishermen.
§ Major ANSTRUTHER-GRAY
As I represent a large fishing community I should not like to be silent on this question. As far as we have got I think this Amendment will meet our case, and it will take away the hardship with regard to share fishermen. I should like to say a 1097 word in support of the suggestion made by the hon. Member for Grimsby, and I hope the Government will take his suggestion into consideration and act upon it.
I represent a certain number of share fishermen, and I think we owe a great debt of gratitude to the Attorney-General for the manner in which he has dealt with this matter. The suggestion made by the hon. Member for Grimsby is an excellent one if it is possible to adopt it.
§ Sir C. CORY
I had an Amendment down on the Paper in favour of excluding share fishermen, but I think the Amendment as it has been amended meets my case. If the Attorney-General assures me that that is the case I shall be willing to accept this Amendment, and I am very grateful to the Government for proposing it.
§ Mr. ANNAN BRYCE
I suppose if it happened there were two customs at one port, it would be possible for the Insurance Commissioners to make more than one order?
§ Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I beg to move, at the end of the Schedule, to insert the words "(h) Employment in the service of the husband of the employed person."
I beg to move, in the proposed Amendment, after the word "husband," to insert the words "or wife."
I can understand the reason of the Government Amendment. A man is not to say his wife is in his employment because she looks after his house, but, for the sake of completeness—what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander—it seems to me you want the words "or wife" to follow "husband."
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The only point is to prevent elusive agreements being made. I do not think there is very much fear of elusive agreements of that sort being made in the other direction, but I do not see any reason why the suggestion of the hon. Member should not be considered.
§ Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD
I would urge the Attorney-General to give a little more than desultory consideration to this matter, because a large number of businesses are nowadays carried on by married women.
§ Amendment to the proposed Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Question, "That the words of the original Amendment be there inserted," put, and agreed to.
I beg to move, after the words last inserted, to add the words,(i) Employment by a charitable institution which is wholly or in part dependent for its income on voluntary subscriptions or donations if and so long as such employment is by way of charitable relief.I do not want to exclude from insurance the paid servants of a charitable institution who after one or two years may move into other employment. If they were excluded, they would be for ever shut out of insurance, or at any rate they would be for ever shut out of the flat rate. The Amendment, therefore, is limited to those people who are employed by way of charity, and the people I have in mind are such as those in institutions for the feebleminded.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
On a point of Order. We have passed a new Clause containing special provisions for the inmates of charitable homes, and the only way this can be distinguished from the discussion on that Clause is because of the insertion of the words at the end, "if and so long as such employment is by way of charitable relief." Apart from that, I should have thought this was clearly not arguable, the matter having already been discussed upon the Clause. The question I wished to submit to you, Sir, is whether the introduction of words of that character operate so as to enable the hon. Gentleman to introduce his Amendment. The same point will arise with regard to one or two other Clauses. I have no doubt you have considered it, but I desire to get your ruling with regard to it.
Of course, I rely on those words to which the Attorney-General has called attention, but I do not rely on them only. The two things are totally different. The new Clause provides that certain payments shall be made by managers of institutions 1099 in respect of their inmates when they go out into the world again. That may or may not be right—personally, I think it wrong—but we have not had an opportunity of discussing it. My proposal is something totally different. It is that in the definition of who is employed there should not be included people who are employed by way of charity only.
§ Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD
The Amendment seeks to deal with the distinct case of persons who are not exactly employed in the sense of doing work for an employer. They are employed in order to do them good, but they are not paid wages in respect of the work they actually perform; they are paid a certain sum in order to enable them to leave home with some little money in their pockets. A very large number of charitable institutions, such as homes for the rescue of women, do carry on work in this way, and they consider they are not at all covered or dealt with by the new Clause which has been passed without any discussion. The object of this Amendment is to make it clear that it is not to be considered employment within the sense of the Bill.
§ Mr. CASSEL
The new Clause deals only with those who are inmates of a home, whereas this Amendment deals generally with employment by way of charitable relief, possibly not inmates of a home at all.
§ The CHAIRMAN
It certainly was my opinion before hearing the present arguments that this proposal was inconsistent with the new Clause that already stands in the Bill, but reference was made to this particular Amendment by the Chancellor of the Exchequer yesterday as one that would come on to-day, and for that reason I have allowed it to be moved.
There are a large number of cases to which I should like to direct attention. There are homes for the feeble-minded in which girls are frequently employed in domestic service in the home. Technically, it is not employment for a wage at all, but it is better they should have some work to do than that they should do nothing at all, and in exchange they are, at any rate, given board and lodging and some instruction. It would be obviously unwise to handicap such a charitable institution by requiring contributions in respect of those inmates. If the Government rely on the 1100 new Clause for every inmate of such institutions as the Institute for the Feeble Minded, those institutions would have to accumulate a transfer value, and if the girls were discharged, not because they could go and do employed work elsewhere, but because for some reason or other they went to another home or went back to live with their parents, they would have to place to the credit of the inmates anything between £2 and £7. It is highly undesirable that such a state of things should exist, and I hope the Government will have no difficulty in accepting a reasonable Amendment.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
There would be no difficulty at all in meeting the case put by the hon. Gentleman, but these words would undoubtedly include laundries, which compete with commercial undertakings. If he can devise words to confine it to the case in respect of which he has made an argument I cannot answer—the case where, as in institutions for the feeble-minded, the services of girls are simply utilised very largely by way of training, and cannot in any sense be regarded as employment—and he does not extend it to institutions that compete with commercial undertakings, I shall be very glad to accept any Amendment of that sort, but the words he suggests are much too wide.
§ Mr. CASSEL
It was not my intention when I put the Amendment down, and it is not my intention now, to include the case of people working in competition with ordinary traders, and I do not think the words include such a case.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I am not quite sure the right hon. Gentleman has given sufficient weight to the words "not working for profit" and also the words "by way of charitable relief." However that may be, I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be able to give an undertaking that he will introduce an Amendment on the Report stage to meet this deserving case. There are more cases than the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Worthington-Evans) mentioned. There are penitentiaries, the work done by the Church Army and the Salvation Army—
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE indicated dissent.
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I do put it to the right hon. Gentleman there are cases of people who would otherwise get no employment 1101 at all and who would be absolutely unemployed. If they have the opportunity of getting employment by way of charitable relief, the Legislature ought not to stand in their way, and, so far as this Bill is concerned, they ought to be treated as if they were unemployed. Extremely good work has been done by these institutions, and I do think the right hon. Gentleman ought to accept the words in the form in which they stand. If he thinks they are too wide and he will accept an Amendment which will narrow them down simply to the case of penitentiaries and homes for the feeble-minded, of course we are bound as a minority to accept whatever he gives us; but I do put it to the right hon. Gentleman, as a matter of justice, that these institutions are as much entitled to be exempt as the employés of the Crown. The one employer the right hon. Gentleman is not making liable is the Crown. I hear the Attorney-General mention Clause 37. I am quite aware of that Clause. In connection with Clause 37 we have also to look at the Schedule. Under the Schedule the Crown is exempted if it gives provision with regard to sickness and disablement merely during the period of employment. But every charitable institution in the country, which is relieving those who would have been unemployed, is put in a worse provision than the Crown. Why should not the right hon. Gentleman put the Crown in a same position as charitable institutions? Why should the Crown be put in a better position? Take the inmates of penitentiaries or of homes for the feeble-minded. The effect of the Clause is that these institutions must pay transfer value for these people when they leave. Why do you not say so with regard to the Crown? Yet all your Schedule provides is that during the time they are employed by the Crown provision is to be made for them as regards sickness and disablement. Sanatorium treatment is left out altogether as far as the Crown is concerned. I claim that these charitable institutions are entitled to be put in as good a position as the Crown. I think the right hon. Gentleman will be unable to show that the Crown is placed under the same obligations as other bodies. For instance, it is not called upon to provide maternity benefits or sanatorium benefit. It does not provide medical benefits. It only provides sickness and disablement benefits during the period that the persons employed by the Crown are actually in that employment. I put it to the right hon. Gentleman, as a matter 1102 of justice, that he should place charitable institutions which give employment by way of charity alone on an equal footing with the Crown. I claim that as a matter of justice. Why should not the Church Army, which has done good work, be put on an equality with the Crown? I say that at least they are entitled to claim that they shall not be placed in a, worse position than the Crown.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I should like to draw attention to another class of cases—the inmates of blind asylums and cripples homes. These institutions take in afflicted persons and teach them a trade, and thereby they are doing a doubly good work. They are giving them an interest in their lives and enabling them to maintain themselves. I think it is very hard that they should be treated in the way that they will be under this proposal of the Government, and I hope that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will give their case consideration.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I think the right hon. Gentleman has overlooked the Clause dealing with this class of case, which was carried on Thursday.
§ Mr. CASSEL
As the right hon. Gentleman makes that assertion, I am entitled to intervene. That Clause provides that when an inmate leaves a home, the full value of the contribution must be paid, and it makes that a personal liability on the management.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The hon. and learned Gentleman said that he had to pay 7d. all the time. I state that that is not true.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I made that statement with regard to the Church Army, which does not come under the Clause.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
If the hon. and learned Gentleman confines his argument to the case of the Church Army, I will accept it, and I may say at once that appreciation of the work done by that body is not confined to the other side of the House or to any one denomination. It is shared fully as strongly by hon. Members on this side. I would not have it thought for one moment that we, in the slightest way, disparage the noble work done by 1103 the Church Army, but I do say that that case is covered by the Clause. If it is not, I will inquire into it from the point of view put forward by the hon. Member.
Can the right hon. Gentleman see his way to accept the Amendment I have moved, and, if necessary, cutting it down on Report?
As I understand, the right hon. Gentleman will bring in an Amendment on Report which will cover this class of cases and the classes referred to by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire I shall be willing to withdraw my Amendment, if the hon. Member for St. Pancras sees no objection to that course.
§ Mr. CAVE
I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not confine the exemption to the case of the blind and crippled. I know of more than one home where girls are taken in simply for the purposes of training. They are young girls, and the idea is to give them a chance of starting in life. This proposal of the Government would place a very heavy burden on the charitable people who keep up these homes, and I think their case is certainly worthy of consideration.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
All they have to do, in order to bring themselves within the limits, is to unite with other societies and they can do that under the Act.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will make his proposal wide enough to cover almost any of the cases which have been brought before him. Take the cases of persons employed in inebriate homes—persons who are given work for the sole purpose of keeping them in employment.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
I agree, but what I want to point out is that this is a very severe burden on institutions which are carried on by means of charitable contributions, and I want to safeguard their interests. I want to avoid putting a very severe burden upon charities which are working under great difficulties, but 1104 which, at the same time, are doing most useful work, and I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to avoid putting this burden upon them.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I hope the Committee will not press me to go too far. I submit, with very great respect, that these people are not going to be in inebriate homes for the greater part of their lives, and I want them, when they emerge, to find that they have some share in the national scheme, and to realise that the moment they come out they will be entitled to the same benefit and exactly the same protection as any other person. I do not want the workman to drop his insurance while he is in the home, and I fear that, unless our proposal is carried, the effect will be to accumulate a number of uninsured and unprovided-for people. I am sure hon. Members would not desire that.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
I do not desire to press it unduly. I quite agree as to the importance of what the right hon. Gentleman has said. But this is one of the cases in which I should have liked to have seen some sort of latitude given to the Insurance Commissioners. I should like them to have a discretion.
§ Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD
I think we understand the position now. We are to be bound by the new Clause. So far as these homes are concerned, the Government has decided that they must be dealt with by another Clause later on. Our case is with regard to such institutions as the Liverpool Workshops for the Outdoor Blind, where a number of outdoor blind persons come to be taught something useful to help them to make a living. We have to contribute to keep the thing going. What they make is sold, and therefore they are to some extent in competition with other mat and basket makers. I understand that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is going to take this question into his special consideration, and for that we should be grateful, for out of their very limited funds they cannot make these contributions.
I wish my hon. Friend (Mr. Cassel) to understand that I am not limiting my suggestion to those who are not inmates of institutions. I do not want that to go on record as the limit of the request I made to the Government. As there now can be no misunderstanding as to the position, I wish to withdraw.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.1105
§ Mr. HAMERSLEY
I beg to move, at the end of Part II., to add a new paragraph, (h) Employment as domestic servants residing with their employers at the option of such servants."
There is a very large class of people, numbering approximately 2,000,000, in the country of domestic servants. Up to the very end of their employment, in a very large number of cases, they are taken care of by their employers in time of sickness. With contract or without they have been taken care of and kept in the home and looked after, without any need of calling upon an insurance fund. Out of this large number I think that we may say that three-quarters are probably in that position. If we do not pass the Amendment, this Bill will compel all these people, whether they like it or not, to come under the provisions of the Bill, and make their contributions together with their employers, making a total payment of 7d. a week to be paid by the master or mistress and the domestic servant. That 7d. a week, stretched over a period of years, will amount to a considerable sum, and from that payment the servants in three-quarters of the cases will derive no benefit whatever, if, as in nearly all these cases, the master or mistress takes care of them and looks after them in the time of sickness. That would throw a very great hardship on them. Not only does it occasion a very heavy financial loss, but it introduces into the household a source of irritation and trouble, and possibly sets apart the servants and mistresses.
Take the situation as we have it to-day. How many homes are there in England today where servants have been there for many years past, and have been kept and cared for by their employers when they have been sick or ill? When this Bill comes into operation everyone of these servants and mistresses will be forcibly brought under the Bill. That must in many cases cause an amount of irritation and unpleasantness which should be avoided if possible, especially when there is no financial benefit or advantage to be obtained from it by the servants. There is another large class of householders who only employ one servant, and who pay them very small wages because they cannot afford to keep more than one. In their case the additional 7d. will prevent them from employing that one servant, and it will force a number of people out of employment or prevent them from getting employment. I do not wish to say that the whole of these 1106 domestic servants should be excluded from the operation of this Bill. My Amendment provides that it shall be left to the option of the servants whether or not they wish to come under the operation of the Bill. In the case of the servants who have been for many years in the employment of a particular mistress, or in one employment, they are likely to go on as they are. There is no reason why they should not go on to the end of their time, when they will probably be kept on pension. Why should they not have the right of saying, "The relationship I have had hitherto shall continue, and I do not wish to come under this Bill. I am satisfied with my condition; I am satisfied that you have taken care of me in the past, and that you will do so in the future. In these circumstances I do not wish to have my portion taken from me, or to have to pay the amount from which I shall never reap any benefit." Will that injure the servant? Will it injure the mistress if the Amendment is adopted? Will it injure any class of the community, or the Insurance Bill, or the finance of it? I cannot see how it could possibly affect, the provisions of the Bill. Therefore it is only fair and just that those who have been in this relationship for years and years, and wish to continue in it, should be allowed to do so at their own option.
§ Mr. CROFT
In supporting this Amendment I desire to say that from the very start, when this Bill was first introduced, it seemed to me that this was the most unjust part of what, in many respects at that time everybody would admit was a most unjust Bill, although I frankly admit it has been immeasurably improved since. The inclusion of domestic servants is the stain left on the Bill, and I want to see this grave injustice against a defenceless class prevented. The only doubt I have in regard to this Amendment, is whether it will not be better to entirely exclude domestic servants from the Bill altogether. If there was any real benefit from their inclusion, if they were really going to benefit by the proposal I do not believe there would be any difficulty whatever in regard to the fixing of stamps or anything of that kind, but there is no real benefit to domestic servants as far as I can see, and all the vexation and all the trouble and worry is introduced in order to force these people to come into this scheme of reform, which I do not believe one girl in a thousand employed in domestic service desires. I do not know what the actuarial position may be, but I 1107 cannot help thinking that these servants are being included in this scheme in order to bolster up the men who are included throughout the length and breadth of the country.
§ Mr. CROFT
By having these contributions and by taking into the scheme the women who are employed in other industries. Naturally the Chancellor would want to see such a fruitful source of revenue coming into his scheme where the benefits will undoubtedly be very small because, even if the Clause still remains, there are very few of these maid servants who really ever will have the advantage of the scheme. It is most probable that very large numbers of them will remain in the houses, and will still have the medical attendance which the family are accustomed to have, and probably we shall find the same practice will exist in the future as in the past, and the masters and mistresses will be only too ready to help the servants in every case. But worse than this, we all hate the tax collector, and it seems to me we are fastening the odium of a tax collector upon the employer in a private house, and I think there is a great deal in what the hon. Member (Mr. Hamersley) said with regard to possible trouble in the future. Directly the Bill is passed it stands to reason that there must be a wrangle over this question as to who is going to pay these contributions. The margin of the maidservant is a very small one at present. She suddenly discovers that she has to pay this contribution week by week. In many cases she will obviously give notice if she finds this increased imposition is put upon her, and the consequence is that either the servant will go or else the master or mistress will have to raise her wages, because they cannot afford to pay it under present conditions.
Will the Solicitor-General deny the fact that very many thousands of people in the lower middle classes with the very greatest difficulty can afford to pay their servants at present. Supposing a servant comes along to be engaged. In the past, I believe, it has been the custom to say, "I want so much a year and beer money." In future it will be so much a year and beer money, and in addition, tax money. It seems to be perfectly obvious that that must be so, and it is a very great imposition on a very large number of house-holders 1108 who will have to pay the double contribution. By this means we are increasing the amount which the employed person will have to pay—13s. a year—or, if the whole amount is borne by the employer, £1 6s. That is an enormous rise in the cost of labour of this description. I believe there are a good many young girls who go into service to receive something like £10 or £12 a year. They go to learn their work. Can these girls afford an extra 13s. a year? I do not believe they can, neither do I believe their employers, in many cases, can afford to pay it. I believe by this proposal you are opening the door to mischief and trouble between employer and employed which the Chancellor has never reckoned with.
There is another point. Possibly a large majority of domestic servants help to keep their families at home. They send contributions home week by week. I know a case of a servant who every week sends home 1s., and her three sisters do the same, and that, with a very small sum of money which they have invested—something like 10s. a week—helps their parents to get along. By this means you are depriving these parents indirectly of one-fourth of what they receive from these maid servants. If we consider this we shall see that probably a large majority of fathers and mothers of maid servants are being deprived of part of the competence which they receive week by week from their children in service. We have heard of people receiving 9d. for 4d., we need not discuss it now, because people are getting a very accurate idea on the subject. There never was such an absurd idea put before anybody. In this case, very frequently at any rate, the servant would have been getting nothing for 3d., and it is wrong, cruel, and unjust to force her to come into this scheme.
When we come to consider how many people there are in this country who with the very greatest difficulty can find the money to have servants at all, and that they will have to pay an extra £1 6s. a year, we must see that this is a big tax. What is the danger? The danger must be that these people who desire, perhaps not a highly skilled servant, but a girl to do work in the house, will more and more employ young children to do the job, and you will have in consequence more and more of this vicious child labour at the very time the children should not be employed in that kind of work. You are putting a premium upon child slavery of that 1109 description. With regard to medical attendance, I do not think it will be denied that probably something like ninety out of every 100 masters and mistresses call in a medical attendant directly their servant is ill and give his services free. When we realise that, it must be admitted that there is no real advantage to any domestic servant coming under the Bill. Then, supposing the girl—a servant or a nurse—is out of employment, what a hardship it will be to her to have to pay 6d. a week—the double contribution. If a servant decides to marry after five, ten, fifteen, or twenty years' service, all the money which she has been compelled to put on one side is to be confiscated. That is a very great hardship. If this question is going to be pressed, when it is perfectly obvious that there is a very large majority who do not want this measure to apply to servants, there is some excuse—though I am an ardent anti-suffragist and always have been—for women adopting the view that if we have so little concern for their affairs they will resist this measure and go on strike.
I hope the Government are not going to do anything so foolish and reactionary as to exclude domestic servants from the Bill. I have listened to the arguments put forward during the discussions on this Bill in Committee, and on other stages, and I do not remember having listened to any argument so full of misstatement of the actual position as that of the hon. Gentleman. I can quite understand that he may really think he outlined the position as it affects domestic servants generally, and I am quite willing to admit that there may be some domestic servants to whom all he has said may apply, but I am sure that by far the great majority of domestic servants are not in the happy position he has described so well. I would ask the hon. Member to cast his mind back and to remember that he will have seen in the newspapers a vigorous correspondence carried on as to the difficulty of getting hold of domestic servants. We have been told that you could not get hold of decent servants, and therefore you have to pay more than otherwise you have to pay under normal circumstances. If that is so, why this exaggerated fear when these people are called upon to pay 3d. a week, and the mistress 3d. a week, that all the money is to be paid by the servant? Are these people now in an easier position in regard to getting servants?
I think the hon. Gentleman gave us a pathetic picture of a certain young lady of his acquaintance who sent home a shilling a week to her parents, and who therefore would not be able to do that in future. Why did he make that statement if the mistress is going to pay the whole 6d.? She would still have the shilling left to send to her mother. I think the hon. Member's argument was that all the sixpence was coming from the servant, and that therefore she would have only sixpence to send home instead of a shilling. In regard to that particular point, if he insists upon it, he destroys all the rest of his argument, because all through he assumed that it is going to be a hardship to those girls who are going to be penalised by having to pay more than they used to pay. I want the hon. Member and the Committee just to recognise that all domestic servants are not working in county families and in establishments where a number of servants are kept, so that when one servant falls sick she does not throw all the household out of gear. The vast majority are working in small households where only one servant is kept. They are employed, in many cases, by the artisan class, where there is a "large little family," as is sometimes said. The mother fails in health in some cases, and it seems to me that it will be a real boon to a girl to have this insurance if she becomes ill, because in present circumstances she is not kept during the period of illness in such households. She is dismissed, because these people have difficulty in paying the servant at all. Consequently the employer will look upon it as much better to pay 3d. a week and distribute the payments over a long period, so that the charge will not fall heavily at any time, rather than keep the girl a week or a fortnight without any work being rendered, in order to obviate the necessity of calling in outside help to do the work of the servant whose place unfortunately has become vacant. I cannot help marvelling at some of the arguments put forward by hon. Gentlemen opposite, because they all seem to assume that there is more generosity than anything else in the contact between mistress and servant. They seem to assume that these girls are being paid much more than they need be paid. I am not suggesting that they begrudge the money the girl gets, but rather that the mistress seems to think that she is 1111 over-generous, and that therefore she can say to the servant, "I am not going to pay. You will have to pay."
I do not say you said it, but that was the inference to be drawn from your argument. The implication to be drawn from the hon. Member's argument was: "There is no doubt about it, these girls are to be in a worse position, because a wicked Chancellor of the Exchequer and a wicked Government have offered them this sick insurance." I cannot understand that, because I believe in most cases the girls have not been getting more than they have been able to compel the mistresses to give them. They will be able to compel the mistresses just as before. As to the particular point of this Amendment, which I take it is the halfway house hon. Gentlemen opposite really want to be in, I would point out that the hon. Member (Mr. Croft) said frankly that he wanted the servants to have something. He supported this Amendment because it was in the nature of half a loaf when he was denied the whole loaf. I do not agree with the hon. Member, for the simple reason that I believe many of the girls would look upon it as intimidation if they were put in the position when engaging of having the mistress saying, "Will you or will you not insist upon coming under the insurance scheme of the Government? If you forego the benefits of it, I will give you a situation." They would not be free agents at all if a girl had to reply, "If you employ me, I will submit to your conditions." I do not think it is fair to put that obligation on domestic servants. They either all ought to be in or out of the scheme, and I think this is the very best thing we can do for those servants. I believe that 80 per cent. of them will receive direct benefit from the Clause that covers that particular point, while 20 per cent. may be a little worse off by the operation of the Clause. I believe we ought to look at the circumstances of the 80 per cent. rather than the 20 per cent.
The hon. Member opposite (Mr. Pointer) said the servants might be intimidated if the option of contracting out of the Clause were allowed. Surely if he reads his daily newspaper he will have seen that there is great difficulty in many parts of the country in getting domestic servants. Therefore his argument surely falls to the ground, because 1112 the servant is master of the situation, and they would not allow themselves to be intimidated if it were proposed that they should contract out, I should like to read part of a letter which I received from a lady in my division. It is only one of a good many letters I have received from ladies who live in small households. This is the letter, and the Members of the Committee will be able to judge of what she says:—In our small household we have two servants: one for years was very delicate, but we willingly paid all doctor's bills as well as for extra help when she was unable to work, and have been more than repaid by her gratitude and faithful service. She feels it very hard that she should have to pay in the future for what has been given her free in the past, and I quite agree with her. The other maid is a young healthy girl who has not required medical attendance since she came here, and her feeling is—why should she and we pay for what she does not require? I give these instances as typical of the way delicate and strong girls alike regard this measure.The fact is we all know that in this country there are good and bad employers, good and bad masters and mistresses, and good and bad servants. I cannot conceive myself those who conduct any decent establishment not saying that if a servant got ill she would be properly looked after by doctors and treated in the best manner possible. I cannot conceive such a thing. But what this Bill is trying to do is to put a most unnecessary tax in a great many instances both on the employers and the employed. I have taken the trouble to speak to a good many servants on this subject, and I find that in all decent establishments one and all object very much to paying this tax. Therefore, I think that even at this eleventh hour—although we know that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Government, who are at present masters of the situation, utterly repudiate public opinion as regards this Bill—they should accept this Amendment which will allow servants, if they wish, and only if they wish, to contract out of the proposition which is made under this Bill.
§ Mr. HUNT
I think that most of the domestic servants in this country, who number about two millions, are being compelled to come under this Bill against their will. The Bill has been so much altered that it is difficult to be quite sure of it, but, as I understand, these servants will have to pay the employer's contribution as well as their own, if they are out of work for more than three weeks. It cannot be right to compel a large number of people to insure themselves in a certain way when they do not want to be insured, and when the money that is collected from them and 1113 their employers could bring them really considerable benefit if it were used in other ways. Even under the Amendments in the Bill it does not seem to me that they are going to get much for what they pay themselves. Moreover, in a great many cases they will very likely lose their employment altogether. Both employers and servants are going to have a poll tax put on them, because that is what it comes to, which they will be extremely unwilling to pay. The great majority of domestic servants are well looked after by their employer, and the doctors' bills are paid, at all events during short illnesses. In the case of long illnesses, of course, they go to some hospital, which is really the best place they can go to, because they get skilled medical attendance, and they are generally more or less looked after by their employers when in hospital. The Bill is so rotten—I do not mean the principle of the Bill—that really the Chancellor of the Exchequer cannot do without the pennies of the poor servant girl. The result in the poorer households I think will be distinctly serious. You will get, I suppose, in what you would call the middle classes, people whose income is about 30s. or 40s. a week, and perhaps the wife is not strong enough to do all the work herself and manages to keep one servant.
§ Mr. HUNT
I said from 30s. or 40s. If the wife is not strong enough to do the work, they must keep a servant. The result is that these people will not be able to keep a servant, and the consequence will be they will keep a girl under sixteen, as there is no tax on her. She would probably have to do work beyond her strength and it will be bad for her physically, and directly she becomes old enough to be compelled to come under this poll tax she will be got rid of; and so the same process will begin all over again. It will reduce to a very considerable extent, at all events by a great many thousands, the number of women domestics in this country, and it will drive them into the already overcrowded factories, and a result, to which I would call the attention of Labour Members, is that this would tend to reduce wages in the factories. In a good many cases servants send a good deal of their wages home to help their parents or their younger brothers or sisters. Another thing that the right hon. Gentleman ought to remember is that it is not at all unusual for a servant to go home to nurse her father or mother, or whoever may be 1114 ill at home. As I understand, if she goes home for a month or two or three, she will not be employed, yet she will have to pay the employer's contribution as well as her own. This Bill has been very highly praised by the Liberal party. The women of this country have been thoroughly aroused: They are very likely to adopt the plans of the Liberal party—The plan of passive resistance. I think the Liberal party will not be able to say much if they do. I think the Government will find that they will not be compelled to be the tax collectors of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. That is what it comes to, and I think I am right in saying that there is a great amount of opposition to this proposal in the country. I have heard myself a good many ladies and servants say that, whatever happens, even if they have to go to prison, sent there by the Liberal Government, at all events they are not going to pay this poll tax which it is proposed to put on them.
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
I hope the Solicitor-General will give us some information upon this matter. It cannot be denied that throughout the country a great deal of anxiety is felt about the result of including domestic servants in the Bill, and I do not think that the anxiety is unreasonable, because it is fair to consider what the Bill will give them. If I follow it rightly, and I am sure the Solicitor-General will correct me if I am wrong, in return for the 3d. per week they would be entitled to the benefits which the Bill as drawn gives them at present. That is to say, they will get sickness and medical benefit, and I suppose they would be entitled to sanatorium benefit. We may exclude for this purpose the maternity benefit. As to the three benefits given by the Bill, the servants do not need them, and probably will not in many cases want the machinery of the Bill in order to obtain them, because at the present moment they get medical benefit in a great number of cases provided for them, and they get sickness benefit also provided for them. In the case even of sanatorium benefit, the class of domestic servants, more than any other class of servants employed in the country, get what is equivalent to sanatorium benefit provided for them. It is just the servant class who do receive facilities which are equivalent to sanatorium treatment from their employers.
What the servant really does need, and does not get under the Bill, is insurance against invalidity, and what may be called 1115 a superannuation fund, benefits which are put in the additional benefits provided in the Schedule at the present moment. Contrast the position of the female servant with the position of the employed male person. At the present moment, in the case of a man, he gets the benefits that the Bill gives him. If he is already a member of a friendly society he can get additional benefits from his society. He can call upon his society under the powers of Clause 55 to pay his contribution to the State by taking it out of his insurance value as it stands at present between him and the friendly society. As I understand the position of the domestic servant under the Bill, she can only get such benefits as are offered and provided (for her. She cannot get any alternative more satisfactory and more useful to her. As I said, by this particular Clause they are already provided with medical benefit and sickness benefit—I leave out maternity benefit—and we do not find that they are getting an adequate return for the 3d. per week. I think that fairly represents, taking it on broad lines, the reason and cause of so much of the anxiety throughout the country.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
Of course the hon. Member for Pontefract, to whose interruptions we are accustomed, assumes that he is the protector of the Government; but I am perfectly certain that, whether he says "Yes" or "No." hon. Members will prefer the explanation which, I am sure, will be given by the Solicitor-General. Whether that is the case or not, let me, at all events, state the ground on which considerable anxiety has arisen in the country. It may be that the anxiety displayed is not properly founded. If that be so, it will be very easy to clear it away. I should like to know what is the actuarial position of domestic servants, how do they contribute to the general scheme? Are their threepences a week going to be so real as an asset for this particular part of the scheme, and are they going to get the full benefits which their 3d. per week should provide for them? I think I have indicated several grounds on which information is desirable. It is really much to the credit of the employer and also of the servants that this anxiety has arisen, because from the insurer's point of view, in a great number of houses, they feel that this is an unnecessary and perhaps an unreasonable 1116 intervention, where they are perfectly ready to look after their servants both in regard to sickness and medical benefit. From the servant's point of view, she replies, "If I am to pay this sum, what am I going to get for it. I am very well placed at the present time, I do not need this scheme, and I do not see how it will be of any profit to me." On these grounds anxiety has arisen, and I hope some figures will be given, or some statement will be made, by the Solicitor-General which will allay that anxiety, and which will give an opportunity to the domestic servants to get some alternative benefits which are of real value to them, and if they do not get them, then I think it is only fair to vote for this Amendment to the Bill.
§ Mr. ESSEX
I could not help thinking, in listening to remarks and criticisms made on the other side of the House in favour of this Amendment that a number of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen, while agreeing with the principle of the Bill, have determined to object to every one of its details. In regard to this particular Amendment I have cast about and asked myself why and how it is these small Amendments should be moved by a party who say that they would so much like that generous treatment should be accorded to the working classes; and we can only ascribe their attitude to the fact that there is a small lot of by-elections going on. [An HON. MEMBER: "They are over now."] I understand there is one going on in Hertfordshire. [An HON. MEMBER: "Do not bother about that."] It may be that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite think that they have a lesser interest in the Hertfordshire election. Be that as it may, I would point out that the hon. and learned Member for Leamington (Mr. Pollock) did not take quite the same line as his predecessors, whose complaint was that the Bill interfered too much with the liberty of servants. The hon. and learned Gentleman seemed in doubt whether we were going far enough. I think he is absolutely wrong, and he will forgive me if I differ from him. There are many opportunities, I think, for servants joining a friendly society. There are numerous agencies, girls' friendly societies, and associations, and similar institutions for young servants, and by means of these some society could be rapidly provided which would give these added benefits, which some of us expect in the future will be a very real and substantial contribution to this scheme. I was rather sorry to hear the hon Member 1117 for Ludlow (Mr. Hunt) suggest that this Clause would work for the introduction into our homes of a larger amount of immature child labour. We always listen to the hon. Member, and we never find ungenerous or unkindly talk coming from him. But surely this was one. Does he really think that the women folk and the mothers of England are going to turn aside from the maids they now employ to employ children to save 3d. per week.
§ Mr. ESSEX
What will happen to the family, the means of which are so straightened that they cannot afford to pay 3d., if the disaster comes across that family of the breakdown of the health of the little maid. What will they do then? I think in their interest to pick a hole in this that hon. Members opposite have carried the matter to an ungenerous extent. We had the same argument to meet when another Bill was before us, the compensation for injuries. We were told that the whole of industry would come to a standstill. I have found that Bill, as an employer of labour, of great benefit, and whenever the workman in my employment, and I have no doubt other employers of labour will bear me out, meet with an accident, we are only too ready to call his attention to the fact that a merciful legislature has protected him to that extent, and that he is now entitled to avail himself of the benefits so provided. In the case of the servants, we shall be providing that those little workers to whom the homes of England owe so much, will at any rate be treated with a minimum of kindness; and if there are those big-hearted generous folk who want to go beyond the mere provisions of the law and to give that protection and medical attendance from the higher qualified members of the medical profession, they will still be able to do so, and still be able to gratify their kindly generous feeling to the full. But for those homes where either on account of the burden of poverty, or on account of meanness and hard-heartedness, and there are such homes, in those homes we shall know that these little toilers are protected by this Bill. I do not for a moment believe that the Government will listen for a passing second to the temptation to delete this Clause from the purview of the Bill.
1118 The hon. Member for Christchurch (Mr. Croft) reiterated again and again that the maids were getting nothing out of this Bill for the payments they made. I think that statement has been answered again and again on previous occasions. Is it nothing to have the knowledge behind them that should they be ill their sickness will be met by proper attention? Is it nothing to know that if they break down through consumption, which does not spare their calling or their class more than any other, that they will have the opportunity of getting relief in the sanatoria, which will be springing up and down the health spots of our country? Is it nothing that they will also enter into the share of those deferred benefits which will undoubtedly accrue and accumulate in the years to come? I am reminded that I ought to have pointed out that one of those unimportant nothings that will hereafter come to the contributor will be provision against invalidity amongst others. While on this point, I think I may introduce this consideration that objection is felt to this in a considerable number of homes. Here in my pocket I have an objection from a Liberal voter in my own Constituency to this, and that is what is partly making me stand up to speak against what is a wholly mistaken view. If it is felt to be a hardship in any home those homes do not understand what modern times demand in our homes. There is a steady amelioration and widening of liberties in those homes and that process has to go on. The competition of the factory has largely depleted the labour market of its domestic servants. Until you go along the lines on which the Government are in a measure desiring to proceed upon in ameliorating still further the lot of the domestic you will have an increasing difficulty in supplying your homes with servants.
This much is true, as hon. Gentlemen opposite will grant, that wherever there are good masters and mistresses there are good servants, and the two are invariably found together. It is because I think a more generous and more humane treatment of the servant class will have to come about and steadily grow and develop in our country that I desire to support this Clause in this Bill. We have to look upon this scheme even in so far as it affects servants as part of a great co-operative protective principle, which will have to be more and more applied up and down the country in all ranks of labour. Here is a comparatively 1119 small contribution, and at present you can see men from the friendly societies with their books at the doors of the houses where servants are kept getting their penny or twopence or threepence per week. You will give these servants the opportunity of making their contribution with the knowledge that they are giving to societies which, in a measure, are under a Government guarantee for their stability. [HON. MEMBEBB: "No, no."] Yes, before you can have any of those friendly societies under the approval of the Government they will have to be of a certain status and quality. That will be a great and additional gain. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite have failed to look upon this with that kindliness which I am sure they would be ready individually to apply, but which somehow collectively they seem to-night to be determined somewhat ungenerously to withhold.
§ Mr. HILLS
The speaker who spoke last seems to think that nobody can oppose any Clause of this Bill without ulterior and personal motives. His whole speech was founded on that. May I ask him to look a little further and not always to assume that a person who happens to be his opponent is thereby dishonest and corrupt. The real objection we have to this Clause is not so much that a charge is imposed upon employer and employed, but it is really that you do not give the correct amount of benefits the servant class want. The speech of the hon. Member was wholly divorced from the facts. It is no use flaunting in our face the various benefits of the Bill. The hon. Member has got to show, first, that those benefits are the ones the servants want; and, secondly, that the servants will get them. He indulged in vague personalities, but he did not address his mind to that point. Assume that servants are included—and I wish to say at once that I cannot support the Amendment. Like many of my hon. Friends, I do not like these exclusions. I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer has gone too far already, and I very much regret that certain exclusions have been made. But, assuming that you include servants, you must include them on terms suitable to them. There are, roughly speaking, two classes of employment. In one class, be it large or small, the servant gets her doctoring free, and wages during sickness. In the other class, owing either to smallness of 1120 means or smallness of house, or both, there are no spare funds to pay for the servant's doctoring, and there is no spare room in which to keep the servant. Assuming that she falls sick and cannot work, the work has to be done, the servant's room is required, and therefore the servant has to go to the hospital. Assuming there are those two distinct classes, and I believe there are, can we not meet the two problems that those classes raise? In the first case, it is perfectly clear that the servant does not want free medical attendance or sick pay. In the second case, I think she wants both. In both cases servants want sanatorium benefit, and, very badly, invalidity benefit. We all know that the servant's life is a strenuous one. The young are preferred to the old, and after a certain time many of them breakdown, and invalidity benefit would be very valuable. Why should we not leave the rate of contribution at the full rate for both employer and employed? The Clause which we passed the other day professes to reduce the rate for employers and employed and to give certain reduced benefits. I do not believe that a single employer in the Kingdom will avail himself of the Clause. After all, you are asking the employer to take on a very distinct liability for a very uncertain benefit. He has got to contract to pay six weeks' full wages, and, as I understand, to give six weeks' board as well. That makes a very large increase on his present legal obligation, and all he gets for it is a halfpenny a week. I do not think the provision will be availed of at all. But supposing we left the full rate for both employer and servant. Schedule 5, Sub-section (7), mentions certain additional benefits, and amongst them is the earlier payment of old age pensions. Why not charge the full rate against employer and employed, and give the servant the option either of taking her sick pay and free medical attendance, or of not taking these benefits, but devoting the whole contribution to invalidity benefit and earlier old age pension? I believe that a pension at sixty or sixty-five would be a very great boon. With all respect to the last speaker, it is no good saying that in certain cases sick pay is a great benefit. It may be in certain cases: certainly it is not in all cases. Let the servant choose which she would like, and you will have gone a long way to meet the difficulty. I quite believe that in some respects the servant class is the class that needs insurance most; but it needs a special sort of 1121 insurance, and that sort is not given by the Bill as it stands.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on his courage in refusing to take part in about the meanest agitation that has disfigured the annals of the Press, but which, I am very glad, has been almost confined to the columns of the Press, and has found no real echo within the walls of the House of Commons nor on any political platform, as far as I have been able to discover. I will deal with the hon. Gentleman's suggestions later on. I will simply say now that they are not the Amendment. I may say at once that there is a good deal in what the hon. Member has said, and I think I shall be able to prove to him that what he suggests can be done with the Bill as it stands. I will go beyond that and say that, if it cannot be done, the suggestion is such a valuable one that I think it ought to be possible to do it. But I must deal with the Amendment first of all. What is the Amendment? It declares that a domestic servant at her option shall be able to take advantage of the Bill. That sounds very fair: if she really wants it she can get it. But it is a perfectly worthless option. It strikes at the very root of the Bill. It strikes at the very principle which is undoubtedly accepted by both parties, namely, that no system of insurance is possible in this country on a national scale unless it is compulsory; and that for a very simple reason. Unless you make it compulsory the young, who are naturally more-thoughtless than those who are older and have responsibilities, feeling themselves healthy and strong, will not incur liabilities in regard to which they see no prospect of doing anything but pay for some years, and from which the benefits may not come for some time. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that you should have a national system. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] I thought that was accepted. At any rate, it is accepted by the great bulk of Members. Why should the exception be made? What does it mean? Who is to exercise the option? It is the servant! Supposing she first of all exercised it in favour of becoming a member of an approved society? Her first mistress does not perhaps object to that at all. She tries to find other employment, and finds it difficult to get employment, except with a mistress who objects to this system altogether, and who may very well put the question to the girl: "Are you a member 1122 of an approved society; are you in favour of me paying 3d. a week; my servants have never been members of any society, and I have never paid 3d. for them. I look after them, and I do not propose to pay 3d." Could there be a stronger case to show how dangerous is the option?
If there are really so many, not merely hundreds, but hundreds of thousands of mistresses in this country who say they will never allow their servants to join; if there is the case of a lady who goes so far as to say that she and her sister will quit the realm if this Bill becomes law [An HON. MEMBER: "Capital going abroad"] rather than pay, what I suppose, seeing she has two servants, will be 25s. or 26s. a year; if it be true that there are so many hundreds of thousands of mistresses who take that view, and regard the scheme as a reflection upon themselves and an insult to them, that means that those mistresses will exercise every influence they possess to induce those who seek employment with them not to come on the fund. They are bound to do it, because they regard the scheme as an insult. Very well, you give one servant leave to exercise the option. Because of her mistress the option cannot be exercised, or the employment has to cease. What happens? There is a sort of in-and-out process, and no insurance company can possibly take the girl upon those terms. There is no friendly society in the kingdom who will take a girl under those conditions. It is far more straightforward to say, "Keep them out altogether," than to say, "Exercise an option," that is really no option at all, because it does not give a security for some sort of continuity of payment which is essential to all successful insurance in this country.
Depend upon it, once you introduce an option there is no servants' insurance in this country, until the demand comes, as I have not the faintest doubt it will come—as it came in Germany in an overwhelming demand—because the servant girls are drawn from the very class which will be insured, and will realise the benefits of insurance. They will then insist upon coming in. Until then they are absolutely unprotected. Then when they do come in you will have to begin again the old process of insuring, of equalising ages, and so on, instead of bringing them in now into a great system of national insurance, where it will be possible to make these arrangements at one and the same time in connection with all employment in the 1123 country. That, I am perfectly certain, every reasonable man in this House will realise. There may be some people who are in favour of exclusion altogether; but I cannot understand any man who knows anything about insurance for a moment contending that an option is a practical proposition. The only real question is whether we are going to exclude them altogether.
Let me remind the Committee what happened in regard to Workmen's Compensation. You had the same agitation then, worked up in the same sort of way, purely a Press agitation, with shoals of anonymous letters—written in the most perfect literary style—by domestic servants! I am not saying that that sort of agitation is not an outward and visible manifestaton of the great success of the scheme. You had exactly the same thing in connection with the Workmen's Compensation Act. By the way, that kind of correspondence is not merely produced in regard to domestic servants; there have been other eases. What happened? The House of Commons unanimously decided not to take the slightest notice of it. I do not believe anybody here voted against the exclusion of domestic servants from that Act. As a matter of fact it was pressed upon the Government by the unanimous vote, first of all of the Committee, and afterwards of the House of Commons.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
At any rate there was no protest, so far as I can recollect from any quarter of the House, against their being included for the purposes of compensation.
§ Sir H. CARLILE
Might I interrupt the right hon. Gentleman. There was a vigorous protest two hours before it was carried from the then Home Secretary (Mr. Herbert—now Lord—Gladstone), and two hours afterwards Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman gave his subaltern away.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I am very much obliged to the hon. Member for supporting my case. I am not putting the case as between one party and another, or one Government and another.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The only point I am making is that it was the action of 1124 the House. If the Amendment was carried against the Government it shows how very strong the feeling of the House was. Unless I am mistaken, the Amendment came from the other side of the House. It found universal support in every quarter, and whatever course commended itself to the Minister in charge of the Bill, the feeling in favour of the Amendment was overwhelming, the opposition was swept on one side, and the Amendment passed. I appeal to my hon. Friend if we had left out domestic servants from the Bill instead of inserting them there would have been exactly the same sort of Amendment, complaining that we had left them out, and it would have been carried, I am perfectly certain, with unanimity. An artificial agitation has been created by methods with which we are becoming quite acquainted. It does not represent really any feeling except the natural feeling of people for not parting with 3d. I am now going to deal with what is the real case—why you ought to include or exclude domestic servants from the Bill. Let us see first of all what the advantage is. An hon. Member, speaking from below the Gangway before dinner, said the domestic servants were to pay this sum and get nothing in return. That is a very serious criticism, and, if it is true, I think the case is absolutely irresistible. What does it mean? The State will contribute, roughly, £800,000 a year towards the benefits to domestic servants. The employers will contribute £1,200,000—not £3,000,000, as has been stated. The percentage of truth in that statement is considerably higher than the average—therefore I do not complain. The aggregate is £2,000,000, which is paid by the employer and by the State towards the benefits for domestic servants. It is very serious if all this money is paid towards domestic servants and they get nothing, and it is equally serious if this £2,000,000 is included in the Bill for the purpose of benefiting domestic servants and they are deprived of it by a series of false statements that withhold the truth from them and never tell them the facts; that introduce them to the Bill and get them against it upon the assumption that they are getting nothing, and that nobody is contributing towards it. When we talk about option it is rather interesting to see how the employers put the option. Here is an employer, a schoolmaster, head of a boarding school, who puts this question to thirty or forty of his servants. This is the sort of way in which these servants would be called upon 1125 to exercise an option. This is the note Mr. Grenfell gave out to his employés for their verdict on the tax:—I shall be glad to know from all persons employed by me at wages at less than £160 per annum, whether or no they approve of the new 'Insurance Bill,' which will compel me to deduct from their wages 3d. a week for females and 4d. a week for males.That is the only question put. Note the wording, 3d. deducted from females! For every 3d. they pay he would have to pay another. Not a word about the State contribution. I do not want to enter into any controversy whether the State contribution would be 2d. or 1½d., but there is not a word about the contribution from the State, not a word about the purpose for which the deduction is made. And this schoolmaster thinks it a fair proposition to put before his servants and thinks it a fair way to state the case; and he flaunts the verdict of forty of his servants against it, all except one, a little Welsh girl, who, with the intelligence of her race, instinctively knew perfectly well that was not the whole proposition, and she gave him an answer which was not an inaccurate one. That is the way this option will be exercised. Let me deal with the benefit. Two millions of money not subscribed by the servants, but paid towards them, and not, as was said by an hon. Member opposite, towards the males. When he said that, he suddenly saw he made a mistake, because the women have the opportunity, if they like, of keeping a separate fund. They can have it now if they want it, and like it. You can form a domestic servants' friendly society, and every penny contributed by them and by the employer and by the State will go into that fund for their benefit. You need not mix it up with the men's fund, or with the women employés or male hands of the industrial population. They can put it into their own fund, and they can even use it in the way the hon. Member suggested. That is very important.
What are the benefits under the Bill. What is this "nothing"? Seven and sixpence per week during the time of their ilness if it lasts six months. Is it suggested seriously that employers—I will not say will—but could keep their servants on their premises and attend to them and nurse them, and pay doctors for them for six months. [HON. MEMBERS: "They do."] I have not the faintest doubt there are many who would do it, not merely for six months, but for six years for a faithful girl servant in their house-hold, 1126 and I know in fact there are many who do it for the whole term of their natural life, in order to see that these girls get fair play, but remember the fact that there are one million and a-half of these girls serving in houses of that kind. After all, when you ask for legislation, you do not ask for it for these exceptional cases where people have the sunshine of Providence upon them; you want legislation to protect the weak and the helpless, to protect the unfortunate, and that is all I am pleading for here. Let us make that case. Does the hon. Gentleman opposite mean to say that in every household in this country that they can afford to keep servant girls even for six months upon the premises when sick, and pay for medical attendance. Does he really think that that is the practice. I should like an answer to that question. I do not want to introduce any sort of bitterness. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I certainly would rather not.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I want the case to be examined fairly. I do not believe there is a very high percentage of cases where the families could afford to do what I have said. It is no use pretending there is. I am casting no reflection upon the heads of houses. This is purely a question with regard to the vast majority of those who employ servants, especially those who employ one or two servants. They have not the accommodation and they cannot afford to dispense with the services of a servant girl. They must get another, and then the accommodation is gone. Besides, I could quote evidence showing that a very considerable portion of these girls find their way into the infirmaries of the workhouses. The facts show that a higher percentage of servant girls find their way into the workhouse infirmaries than any other class of women workers in this country.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I will give a few facts. I can only give the range. I cannot give exact dates. Here are cases I have from the Local Government Board. Take Camberwell Infirmary. Out of 201 female patients in Camberwell Infirmary, thirty-six are domestic servants. These are supposed to be doctored by their mistresses looking after them. In Hampstead 1127 Infirmary there are fifteen domestic servants out of a total of thirty-three female patients. Hampstead is a fairly wealthy suburb. In Fulham there are twenty-six domestic servants out of a total of 165 female patients; the percentage there is lower. In Whitechapel Infirmary there are forty-seven domestic servants, alleged to be direct from service out of a total of 165 patients. These are cases which I have just got to-day from the Local Government Board in respect to infirmaries.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
No, these are the only figures I have. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about West End figures?"] I have given the figures for Hampstead, which is a very wealthy part. It seems to me that it is necessary for me to repeat that point. The West End is really not the criterion. That is exactly the case I am making, because rich people in the West End can afford to look after their servants. They pay them very high wages, and generally they have been with them for years. But simply because they can afford to do that, why should all the servants of the country be excluded from benefits which they stand more sadly in need of than any women workers in this country? If there are any relatives at all, with medical attendance and 7s. 6d. per week, surely those relatives would think it worth their while. The hon. Member does not seem to realise what a difference 7s. 6d. per week would make in houses of this kind. I am sure it will make an enormous difference, and if the hon. Member lived in one of them he would know the difference. Let me put this case. I wonder whether hon. Members who criticise what they call the servants' tax have ever taken the trouble—I will not say hon. Members, because this agitation has not emanated at all from hon. Members—I wonder whether those who so recklessly and indifferently, and I think so callously, have undertaken the responsibility of getting up an agitation to deprive servant girls of these benefits, have ever taken the trouble to read for half an hour what is said in the Report of the Royal Commission, In the Majority Report of the Royal Commission the hon. Member for East Birmingham (Mr. Steel-Maitland) said:—It was said to us that an increasing use is made of the workhouse and infirmary for servants employed in West End flats.1128 That was written two or three years before this Bill was introduced, and I could quote several other cases of the same kind. The hon. Member gives cases the chief of them coming from general servants in small households, because of failure of health, unpalatable food, and heavy work. Here is another passage from his Report:—Several cases were noted by us of single women now in the workhouse, who, when in service, had invested considerable sums out of their small wages in the Post Office Savings Bank, and who, by drawing upon these savings, had kept themselves a little longer out of the workhouse.He further stated that amongst the old men in the workhouse some had been grooms and coachmen in good situations. Then he goes on to say:—There is no reason why in domestic service pauperism should result, because they are earning good wages. That, however, is not the case with the poor servant class, and especially the general servant. Here the case is different, because they are not getting good wages. A breakdown is not surprising, while the low wages paid make it unlikely that the resulting illness would be treated elsewhere than in the infirmary.The Report is full of passages of that kind, but I do not wish to detain the Committee with them. Here Mr. Steel-Maitland and others have looked into the matter, and they have come to the conclusion that domestic servants too often found their way into the workhouse and the workhouse infirmary, and that even with men servants that was also the case. Look at the Majority Report of the Royal Commission, because it is very remarkable. It says:—In the main domestic indoor servants are single women who have never possessed a home of their own and who, when no longer able to maintain themselves, are obliged to seek indoor relief. This is probably the principal cause of the large proportion of indoor pauperism of this class. The proportion of able-bodied women other than wives among female indoor paupers generally was 29 per cent.: amongst domestic indoor servants 44.8 per cent; and the proportion in ill-health and temporary disablement taken separately is also higher in the servants' class. It is clear from these figures that when overtaken by sickness domestic servants are often driven to apply for relief, the employers being cither unwilling or unable to make provision for them.That is practically what I said a few days ago, and it confirms absolutely everything I said the other day. Sometimes the employer is unwilling, but often employers cannot afford to do it. Here you have these facts staring us in the face, and I ask hon. Members to turn their minds away from the West End, because that is essential for the consideration of this problem. Here you have this problem staring us in the face upon the basis of reports made by Gentlemen like Mr. Steel-Maitland, by those who signed the Majority Report of the Royal Commission, 1129 showing that the case is probably one of the most serious of any class of female workers. Under these circumstances to say you are well looked after, your master looks after you, however long you are ill, until you are cured, is not true. Anybody who knows anything about the problem knows that. The master will look after them as long as he can afford it, but to say that if a servant girl is ill for six weeks or even for six months, she is kept upon the premises is absolutely contrary to the facts. [An HON. MEMBER: "She never is in London lodging-houses."] This is one of the saddest cases of all, because there there is no accommodation for them at all. Those who run lodging-houses have little to spend, and have to run them on a very narrow margin, and they cannot afford to do it. It is a very cruel thing on the past experience of a few mistresses who undoubtedly treat their servants very well to generalise and say that all the servants are well provided for and assert that it is monstrous to make us pay 3d. per week. Is not that equally true with regard to the men? Take some of the best firms in the country which provide for their men servants and for their girl servants now. They have all sorts of funds, superannuation funds, sick funds, open air funds, and holiday funds. They have every kind of provision made for them. Are you going to say, because you have got a number of excellent employers of that kind who look after their servants; that there is no need for any kind of provision for sickness, unemployment, and the rest? I do entreat the Committee here to show they are not going to be bullied by any Press agitation. Do right and fear not. [A laugh.] Why should that provoke a laugh? I can assure hon. Members, if I was simply on the look out for a sort of popular measure I would not start by calling upon the employés to contribute 4d. and 3d. per week. There is no possible motive in a measure of this kind except to try and solve a very great problem. There would have been other methods of getting a popular measure, and it would not have been a contributory one. I can assure hon. Gentlemen the resources of civilisation are by no means exhausted. I do not want, however, to be drawn into that. Let mo say this in conclusion. The hon. Gentleman made a very valuable contribution to the Debate, and I am only sorry there was not a larger attendance of Members at the time, because it was a very upright and straightforward speech. He said: "Are you quite sure these are the 1130 best benefits? Charge the amount, but utilise the money for other benefits. What servant girls want is not so much provision during temporary sickness as provision against the days, not exactly of incapacity because without physical breakdown they are unable when they attain a certain age to obtain employment. Why don't you do something to provide them with some sort of superannuation allowance." That is one of the advantages of the Bill as drafted. If the hon. Member looks at Clause 9, Sub-section (2), of the Bill as originally drafted—there is a slight 'error in the Bill as amended; I cannot say how it happened—he will find exactly what is the intention of the Government. I do not want to have any argument about the terms of it. If it does not really meet the view which I am putting forward now, I shall accept any Amendment which makes it perfectly clear. It would therefore be rather a waste of time to argue the mere terms of it. Let us agree about the substance. Under that Clause it is possible for servants to join their own society and determine the benefits that suit their own case best.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
No. Clause 9, Sub-section (2). I will explain it in a minute. They can start their own society. They can start two or three or a dozen societies, because there are a million and a-half of them, and they can vary their benefits as much as they like. Under this Subjection they can reduce the benefits for sickness. If they say, "We do not want sickness benefit, or, at least, if we get an extra 2s. or 3s., it will do for us," or "We will take it at the end of six or seven weeks," they can then convert the balance, if they like, into a superannuation allowance for themselves. Let us clearly understand before we cut out the domestic servants from the benefits of the Bill what we are really depriving them of. You may be able to persuade the majority of them they do not need sickness benefit. You can certainly persuade those who are in good houses they do not need it for the time being, but if you say to them all they have to do is to join the society where the benetfis will be varied and where, if they like to give up their sickness benefit on the ground that they do not need it, they can convert it into a superannuation allowance for themselves when they need it, I 1131 wonder how many of them will refuse to join. I wonder how many of the forty servants in this household would have signed that document if that had been explained to them. I wonder how many of these letters are genuine. I wonder how many of these letters would ever have been written by servants under these conditions. I do not want any argument about the terms of it, but that is our interpretation of Clause 9, Sub-section (2), and that was our intention with regard to it. Surely where there is an intention of that sort there ought, if the House of Commons as a whole approves of it, to be no difficulty in putting it into full operation.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I agree that in the amended Bill, somehow or other, a slight error has been made. I do not know how it happened. It was probably done in a hurry. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Well, it was not done under the closure. That cheer was slightly premature; it was done at a time when we were giving very full and extended discussion to the Clauses. It was one of those things that happens, especially when it is agreed. There is an interchange of views between the two sides of the House, and it is very difficult to know what has been accepted and what has been cut out. At any rate, we were under the impression the words were there, but evidently something happened. There is no difficulty about it; it can easily be put right. I do not know that it is necessary to detain the House any longer. I had meant to have quoted some of the letters which appeared, in which there were some of the grossest mistakes, evidently written under a complete misconception of what the Bill is.
§ Mr. HAMERSLEY
On a point of Order. I beg to ask you, Sir, what appeared in the papers has to do with the Amendment I have had the honour of proposing.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I do not think it is necessary for me to take any notice of that interruption. The whole agitation, as a matter of fact, has been a paper one. Here is just the sort of elementary misconception which is behind this Amendment. I do not say the hon. Gentleman is responsible for it. I am sure he is not. I am certain he is quite incapable. It is a misconception. Take a case of this sort. Letters have been written which show that both servant girls and their mistresses are under the impression that the money they pay is going to be used for old age pensions. I do not say that the hon. Gentleman suggested that. My own opinion is that if they realised what this fund can do for them, the agitation will subside. In any event, I appeal to the House of Commons to judge for itself, to judge of the facts, and, on its own responsibility, to decide, on the merits, whether or not this great act of justice and mercy does not provide its own vindication.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
In what I am going to say I speak for myself. I do not wish to treat this as a party question between the two sides of the House. I do not desire to commit anyone on these benches who does not agree with me. But I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer devoted a little too much of his speech to what is going on outside. He might very well, without weakening his argument or spoiling his case, have confined himself more to what was going on within the House of Commons. He is quite right in saying that amongst servants, as among many other classes, you find very different conditions prevailing in different places. But I believe that the number of servants who will get the advantages which the Chancellor of the Exchequer believes the Bill will confer on them, already enjoy those advantages without any legal obligation on the part of their employers. I think, in fact, the right hon. Gentleman overrates the extent to which servants will benefit under the Bill. It is quite true there are houses where the servants can be kept for six months and be boarded, lodged, and looked after while they are entirely incapacitated. But, after all, the number of houses where that can occur is very few. When you are insuring against sickness the proportion of your premiums required for illnesses which last six months is very small. The great majority of cases are for short illnesses, and in 1133 those cases the servant is nearly always provided for, even in humble homes where it is at all possible.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
It may be a week or a fortnight. There are a great number of householders where such a strain could not be met. I do not believe that between myself and the Chancellor of the Exchequer there is much difference. There may be some difference as to where the breaking point comes in, but much depends on the relation of the servant with the employer and the affection which has sprung up between them. Much also depends on the circumstances of the household. I believe in very moderate households, even where it involves a real sacrifice, they do not like to turn a servant away for a short illness. The greater part of the expenditure under this Bill will be for short illnesses, so that the servants will not really get the advantage. The question is not the hardship of putting stamps on one side or the other. The effect in the case of very small employers will be that the burden to them will be serious, and hardly less serious than it is for the servant who has to pay 3d. a week out of her very small wage. These small employers may themselves be insured persons, who are obliged to pay their own premiums week by week, and, in addition to that, they will be called upon to pay the employers' premium for the one servant. That will undoubtedly be a serious burden, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer should not brush it aside as if it were not a real hardship.
I do not want to occupy much of the time that is left. I therefore confine myself to one point. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer's reading of Clause 9, Sub-section (2) is right, I will take it as being right. He says that if it is not abundantly clear he will make it so. In that I think he has gone a long way to relieve the anxiety of hon. Members, and he has given an opportunity to domestic servants, who do not want the particular class of benefit provided as ordinary benefits under this Insurance Bill, to devote their payments to other purposes. I would ask him for some little classification on this point. Take the case of domestic servants in workhouse infirmaries. Of course, they get medical treatment, and they get what in a number of cases people outside would have to go to a hospital to obtain, and 1134 those people, of course, will find that the 7s. 6d. will not save them. But the hardest case of all is that of the servant who, having exhausted her hard-earned savings, breaks down altogether, perhaps, because her activity wears out before she has had an opportunity to lay by sufficient for old age. If the hon. Gentleman will make it clear that they may have their choice of ante-dating their old age pensions and getting it at an earlier age, I think he would have met a great deal of the difficulty. In that case and on that under-standing I shall not divide against this proposal.
§ Sir THOMAS WHITTAKER
Hon. Members who have criticised this proposal cannot have it both ways. They cannot claim that the employer provides efficiently for the maid-servant on the one hand, and on the other that he cannot do so. I am disposed to think that a very large number of employers of servants are not in a position financially, or by reason of the extent of the accommodation in their households, to give this assistance to their maids. It seems to me that a good many of the arguments which have been levelled against the inclusion of domestic servants in the scheme are really arguments against the whole scheme of the Bill. It is talked of as a poll tax. It is no more a poll tax here than it is on every class of person that is coming in.
The other point I wish to mention is that there seems to be an impression that, when women enter domestic service, they remain in it practically throughout their lives. They do nothing of the kind. Domestic servants—I am speaking of women—are young girls in the main. Two-thirds of the domestic servants of this country are under thirty-five years of age. A very small proportion of them are forty-five, fifty, or fifty-five years of age. Many of them cease to be domestic servants at twenty-five or thirty. Many of them get married; many of them cease to be domestic servants for other reasons. If you look at the statistics of the 1901 Census, you will see that the large majority of the older domestic servants are either married or widows. They are not persons who have remained in domestic service throughout their lives. They have become domestic servants afterwards as widows or as married persons. If you are going to take these people out of this insurance you will have this fact to face, that a good many of them, when they get to thirty or thirty-five years of age, are 1135 drifting into other occupations and will be uninsured. That will be a serious blot on the insurance scheme. If you take them out and keep them out, you will have this other difficulty, that at the other end of the scale you have these old persons, married women or widows, working for their living, and out of this insurance scheme. That would also be a great blot on the scheme.
I do not consider the Chancellor of the Exchequer was ungenerous to the Member for Woodstock (Mr. Hamersley), but I think he made one slight error, which no doubt he would desire to correct. This Amendment was put down by the hon. Member on 20th July, and had nothing to do with any recent manifestation.
I was sure that the right hon. Gentleman would feel sorry. The Amendment was not due to any recent manifestation of interest, it was due to the views the hon. Member (Mr. Hamersley) had himself formed on the subject. The hon. Member for the Spen Valley Division (Sir T. Whittaker) said truly that the domestic servant is not a class by itself. It is a class which has to be considered in connection with the general scheme of national insurance. If it were a fact that the domestic servant, once a domestic servant always a domestic servant, then you could treat them separately and not treat them as part of the community at large. If there is to be a National Insurance scheme it does not seem to me to be possible to treat them separately from the rest of the community. They cannot well be treated as a class by themselves, but if they are to be compulsorily forced into insurance their separate needs must be separately considered. I quite agree it would be a great act of injustice if they were violently excluded from insurance, but at the same time it would be a great act of injustice if they were forced to subscribe for benefits which they do not need, and therefore they ought not to be compelled to pay for them. Their contribution is the sum of 3d. a week for medical treatment and sickness benefit, and if you add to that the proportion of administration expenses they are paying in my view, they are being forced to pay, 1136 3½d. for something which they do not, at least, in a large number of households, require to have provided for them. I am perfectly aware that there are some households which are unable to provide these benefits, however willing they may be, and for those I entirely agree some form of insurance is necessary. But there are others attached to households in which they have habitually received sickness benefit and medical benefit, and in those households it is a clumsy thing, a thing not worthy of this House, if we cannot devise some scheme which will give them a proper benefit for their contribution.
That brings me to what, in my view, is the proper method of treatment of the servant question. Give them the right to choose the benefit that they shall receive for the contribution that you force them to make. I know perfectly well the additional benefit to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred, but that, to my mind, is not nearly sufficient. That is an additional benefit which may or may not be given, according to the society which the individual may happen to have joined. You are forcing the individual to pay, and you are forcing him to rely not upon his individual volition, but upon the decision of the majority of members of his society. Go one step further and give the alternative to the individual, and not merely to his society. I know the Chancellor thinks he has got over the difficulty by saying special societies can be formed for domestic servants. I agree that domestic servants are not a class by themselves, but part of the ordinary community. He or she may be a domestic servant to-day and in some other occupation to-morrow or the year after. You cannot segregate them, either for the purpose of excluding them from insurance nor can you segregate them into a society by themselves. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir T. Whittaker) said we on this side of the House cannot have both sides of the argument. Neither can the Chancellor of the Exchequer, clever man that he is, have both sides of the argument. He must have either one side or the other. Either the servants are a class by themselves or they are not. If they are not, as I believe they are not, it is much easier and much fairer to give them the individual alternative of taking either the sickness or medical benefit if they want it in those families to which they are attached. When they are attached to those families which cannot provide for them let them take it, but when they are attached, as they frequently are, 1137 to families which always have looked, and will look, after them, let them then have the alternative of an age pension or a better infirmity pension, because the real trouble in domestic service is that you find they lose their employment through being permanently incapacitated at some time or other in their lives. I would suggest that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should give them some real infirmity benefit, which would enable them at least to obtain what might be called an ante-dated old age pension, at a time when they are unable to continue to earn their wages as domestic servants. You can do that in exchange for the contribution you are now forcing them to pay. I believe that is the proper solution of the problem which has aroused so much interest in the last few days. May I ask one thing? I understand that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when I was not present, said that there would be an opportunity for servants forming a separate fund. Was that a separate fund in separate societies, or is there to be a separate central fund for all the domestic servants of the country? I see infinite difficulty in that. I would like very much that there should be a central fund, but seeing that domestic servants are not a class by themselves, it seems to me that it would be extremely difficult to carry out that in practice.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
In answer to that, let me say that there are different classes of domestic servants, and one class has not the same needs as another, and therefore they would probably form separate societies, or, what is much more likely, separate sections will be formed in other societies. That is why they are bound to act in societies. You cannot give individual options except in the Post Office. These options must be exercised through societies, and if the hon. Member thinks that there is such a real demand on the part of domestic servants for superannuation as against sick pay or invalidity
§ insurance, then is it conceivable that the societies competing for custom will not make provision for that? That is exactly what will happen. They will compete for members among domestic servants, and offer additional benefits.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
I do not quite understand how the two-ninths which is to be paid by the State is going to be paid to the servants if they are going to take their benefit, not in the form of sickness benefit, but in the form of old age pension. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer could tell us how the two-ninths would come in under these circumstances it would be very satisfactory; but it seems to me that the proposition which the Chancellor of the Exchequer now explains for the first time certainly does remove some of the difficulties of the situation. The only thing is that the servant class will be deprived of the State contribution altogether.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
Then it comes to this, that no part of the State benefit is paid, say, until the pension becomes due ultimately, so that it will be postponed thirty or forty years.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
That is not so. They are taken on at all ages. Some of them will come on very quickly.
And, it being Half-past Ten of the clock, the Chairman proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of 25th October, successively to put forthwith the Question on the Amendment already proposed from the Chair.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 95; Noes, 241.1141
|Division No. 399.]||AYES.||[10.31 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Bigland, Alfred||Courthope, George Loyd|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Bird, A.||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Craik, Sir Henry|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Fell, Arthur|
|Balcarres, Lord||Boyton, James||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Bridgeman, William Clive||Foster, Philip Staveley|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Burn, Colonel C. R.||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Campion, W. R.||Gilmour, Capt. John|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Castlereagh, Viscount||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)|
|Beckett, Han. Gervase||Cator, John||Goulding, E. A.|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymough)||Cave, George||Gretton, John|
|Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Macmaster, Donald||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Malcolm, Ian||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Stanier, Beville|
|Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Newdegate, F. A.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Harris, Henry Percy||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Swift, Rigby|
|Helmsley, Viscount||Paget, Almeric Hugh||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Hickman, Col. Thomas E.||Parkes, Ebenezer||Terrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Hill, Sir Clement L.||Peel, Captain R. F. (Woodbridge)||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Hill-Wood, Samuel||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)||Touche, George Alexander|
|Hoare, S. J. G.||Perkins, Walter F.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Peto, Basil Edward||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Hunt, Rowland||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath)||Ratcliff, R. F.||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Ingleby, Holcombe||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Winterton, Earl|
|Kerry, Earl of||Ronaldshay, Earl of||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Kyffin-Taylor, G.||Royds, Edmund||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Salter, Arthur Clavell||and Mr. Hamersley Croft.|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (Hanover Sq.)||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Jowett, Frederick William|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Joyce, Michael|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Kellaway, Frederick George|
|Adamson, William||Elverston, Sir Harold||Kennedy, Vincent Paul|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Kilbride, Denis|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Essex, Richard Walter||King, J. (Somerset, N.)|
|Alden, Percy||Esslemont, George Birnie||Lamb, Ernest Henry|
|Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Falconer, James||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)|
|Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud)||Ferens, Thomas Robinson||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)|
|Anderson, Andrew Macbeth||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Armitage, Robert||Furness, Stephen||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Gelder, Sir William Alfred||Logan, John William|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)|
|Barnes, George N.||Gibson, Sir James P.||Lundon, Thomas|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick B.)||Gill, Alfred Henry||Lyell, Charles Henry|
|Barton, William||Gladstone, W. G. C.||Lynch, A. A.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Glanville, Harold James||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.|
|Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts, St. George)||Goldstone, Frank||M'Callum, John M.|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Griffith, Ellis J.||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Guest, Hon. Major C. H. C. (Pembroke)||M'Micking, Major Gilbert|
|Boland, John Pius||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Marks, Sir George Croydon|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Martin, Joseph|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Hackett, John||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Brace, William||Hancock, John George||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's County)|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Menzies, Sir Walter|
|Brunner, J. F. L.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Middlebrook, William|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Millar, James Duncan|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Mond, Sir Alfred M.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Morgan, George Hay|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Harwood, George||Morrell, Philip|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C.|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Haworth, Sir Arthur A.||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Hayward, Evan||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Helme, Norval Watson||Nolan, Joseph|
|Clough, Willian||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Clynes, John R.||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Henry, Sir Charles||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., South)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Higham, John Sharp||O'Shee, James John|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Hinds, John||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Cotton, William Francis||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Cowan, W. H.||Holt, Richard Durning||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Hunter, W. (Govan)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||John, Edward Thomas||Pointer, Joseph|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Johnson, William||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Dawes, J. A.||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|De Forest, Baron||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcilffe)||Radford, G. H.|
|Doris, William||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.|
|Reddy, Michael||Seely, Colonel Rt. Hon. J. E. B.||Webb, H.|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Sherwell, Arthur James||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Rendall, Athelstan||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Richards, Thomas||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||Snowden, Philip||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Spicer, Sir Albert||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)||Summers, James Woolley||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Sutton, John E.||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Robinson, Sidney||Tennant, Harold John||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Toulmin, Sir George||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Roche, John (Galway, E.)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Rose, Sir Charles Day||Verney, Sir Harry||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Rowlands, James||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Rowntree, Arnold||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Wardle, G. J.|
|Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Waring, Walter||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)||Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)||Wason, J. Cathcart (Orkney)|
Question, "That this Schedule, as amended, be the first Schedule of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ The Chairman then proceeded successively to put forthwith the Questions on any Amendments moved by the Government, of which notice had been given, and on any Government new Schedule.