§ As amended (in Committee of the Whole House and in the Standing Committee), considered.—[First Allotted Day.]
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
May I ask your ruling, Mr. Speaker, on a point of Order? The Insurance Bill is, by title, a Bill toprovide for insurance against loss of health, and for the prevention and cure of sickness, and for insurance against unemployment, and for purposes incidental thereto.The order of the House to bring in a Bill was upon those lines. By Clause 64 of the present Bill, a new Clause was introduced in Committee, without any discussion. It embodies provisions which I submit to you have nothing to do with insurance against loss of health, or for prevention and cure of sickness, or for insurance against unemployment, but which materially alter the existing law of distress and execution. It would be out of order to comment upon whether that Clause is desirable or undesirable, but I submit it introduces into the Bill something which was not, and is not, the subject matter of an Insurance Bill. The whole position was treated in Sir Erskine May's book, page 465. It is laid down there that,In preparing Bills, care must be taken that they do not contain provisions which are not authorised by the Order of Leave; that the prefatory paragraph prefixed to a Bill which defines the object thereof, known as the title of the Bill, corresponds with the Order of Leave, and that the Bill itself is prepared pursuant to the Order of Leave.
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
Certainly.Such objections, however, should be taken before the Second Reading, for it is not the practice to order Bills to be withdrawn after they are committed on account of any irregularity which can be cured while the Bill is in Committee or on recommitment.I think I may, with due deference, submit that it was impossible for me to raise the point with regard to Clause 64 on the Second Reading, because that Clause was not then in the Bill. It is true that a similar Clause was in it. I quite admit it would have been possible for me to have raised the point in regard to Clause 51 when it came on in Committee, but that Clause has been taken clean out of the Bill by the Government without any Debate, and this new Clause 64 was put in after the Second Reading. I am submitting to you that this must be taken by the House to be a completely new Clause: it was not an Amendment to an existing Clause, but one Clause disappeared and a new Clause was put in place of it. We must treat this, therefore, as if it were an entirely new Clause. I have one or two precedents on this matter. There have been clear cases where this House has decided that Bills containing Clauses which are not within the scope of the Bill cannot go on. In the Journals of the House, Volume 90, will be found the Election Expenses Bill, which was ordered to be withdrawn. Incidentally, may I say, I am not asking that this Bill be withdrawn; I am only asking that the Clause be altered. In the case of the Election Expenses Bill, there was a Clause inserted dealing with registration, and that was held to be outside the scope of the Bill. Again, the Shrewsbury Poor Bill contained a Clause altering Poor Law settlement, and, in consequence, it was ordered to be withdrawn. There was another public Bill in the time of the late Mr. Gladstone—the Income Tax Bill—and when that was introduced it was found to contain a Clause dealing with the Inhabited House Duty. But rather than have that Clause struck out the Government of the day, by consent, withdrew the Bill and reintroduced it without the offending Clause.
I submit that this Clause now under consideration is a clear alteration of the law upon another subject, and that it would have been just as reasonable to introduce a Clause or Amendment into this Bill providing, for instance, that no insured person should during a period of sickness be called upon to pay the Inhabited House Duty. That would clearly 217 be outside the scope of the Bill. You are introducing into this Bill a Clause providing that, under certain circumstances, the existing law of the land with regard to distraint and execution shall be altered. If it is to be altered, it should be done by Act of Parliament altering the Law of Distress or the title of this Bill should have gone on to say, "Also to alter the Law of Distress and Execution." The final test I would put to you, Mr. Speaker, is this: Would you, on Report, have allowed an Amendment of such a character as this? Assuming this Clause had not been in the Bill, and I or any other hon. Member had put down an Amendment altering the Law of Distress as regards insured persons, I feel you would promptly have ruled it out of order as not being within the scope of the title of the Bill. I venture, therefore, to ask your ruling on the point I have raised.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I do not think it is necessary for me to go into the question which the hon. Member has raised. I am afraid I must take the objection against him which was contained in the paragraph I asked him to read, namely, that his objection is taken too late; the objection should have been taken before the Second Reading. The hon. Member may ask the reason why? I have no power to strike a Clause out of a Bill which has been inserted by a Committee of the House. I should like to have autocratic powers, but I have not got them, and I cannot do this sort of thing. When I am asked, on the other hand, to put from the Chair the question that the Bill be read a second lime, then I have a veto. I can say I will not put that question from the Chair unless the Bill complies with the proper Orders and Rules of the House. That is why objection must be taken before the Second Reading. Then the hon. Member said that this Clause 64 was not in the Bill when it was read a second time. That is true, but a Clause somewhat similar, and, indeed, rather stronger in terms, was in the Bill at the time. I am bound, therefore, to assume that the House, by reading the Bill a second time, approved of the fact that that Clause should be in it, and, for these reasons, I am afraid I have no power, even had I the will, to interfere in the matter.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
May I ask whether it would have been in order to raise this point when the Clause was put down in Committee, or would there have been any opportunity to raise it?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Yes, before the Second Reading, and even after that in Committee, and although the Clause might have been considered under the Closure Rule, I think the hon. Member would have been entitled to raise a point of Order in regard to it.
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I desire to ask the ruling of the Chair on the question whether this Amendment is within the scope of the Bill. I do not think I am too late in asking your ruling upon a new Amendment or practically a new Clause. It is necessary, in the first place to consider what this Clause really does. It proposes to give to all approved societies the power altogether of dropping from the Bill the three principal benefits under the Bill, namely, sickness, disablement, and maternity, and to substitute for those any of the additional benefits mentioned in the second part of the Fourth Schedule to the Bill. The second part of the Fourth Schedule mentions, eighthly, "The payments of pensions or superannuation allowances," and, ninthly, "Payments to members who are in want or distress." Therefore, under this Amendment, every approved society, without limitation, could altogether drop the three principal benefits given by the Bill and adopt something which has no relation to health whatever. That is to say, the payment of pensions or superannuation allowances or payments in case of poverty or distress would be made whether the person was in good health or in bad health. The payment in case of poverty or distress will be made altogether irrespective of whether the person is or not in good health. The title of the Bill is, "To provide for insurance against loss of health and for the prevention and cure of sickness, and for insurance against unemployment and for purposes incidental thereto." I submit it clearly does not come within the words "loss of health or the prevention and cure of sickness or incidental thereto," which must mean incidental to the loss of health or the prevention and cure of sickness, and these particular benefits under this Clause are made, not incidental benefits, but main benefits under the Bill. Therefore, the main benefits under the Bill, if this Clause is carried, will be pension payments and payment in cases of want or distress. Under these circumstances, I submit that by no straining of language can these payments be held to be merely incidental thereto. While it was simply an application of the 219 surplus, the words "incidental thereto" might perhaps apply; but when it comes to be the main object for which persons insure, then I submit they cannot apply. It is contrary to the whole scheme of the Bill, the principle of which is that an employer shall be made liable to provide for the health of his workmen. This Clause leaves the question of health altogether outside. I do not go into the question whether this Clause, if introduced, would make the Bill a better Bill or a worse Bill; probably it would be a much better Bill, but it would be an entirely new Bill. What I object to is that at the eleventh hour we should have an entirely new matter sprung upon us which is outside the whole scope of the Bill as originally introduced, and does not come within the words of the title of the Bill.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
A good deal of what has fallen from the hon. Member really relates to the merits, rather than to a point of Order. In regard to the point of Order, practically the decision I gave in the last case is the same in this—that is to say, that part 2 of the Fourth Schedule was in the Bill when the House read the Bill a second time. I believe that, as a matter of fact, the wording of paragraph (8) has been slightly altered, but still part 2 of the Fourth Schedule was there in the Bill when the House approved of it on the Second Reading, and the House, by approving of it on the Second Beading, gave its imprimatur to the proposition that there should be additional benefits which in certain circumstances should be available. I cannot take upon myself to strike out what the House approved of as being in the Bill on the Second Reading.
§ Sir FREDERICK BANBURY
Part 2 of Schedule IV., which was approved of in the Committee stage, is headed, "Additional Benefits." I gather that the objection of my hon. Friend is not to the new Clause because it deals with additional benefits, but that it is out of order because it does not deal with additional benefits, but substitutes for the sickness benefit the benefits which are in this new Clause. The Schedule which the Committee sanctioned provided that a person should have 5s. a week for sickness, and that if there was the money they could have additional benefits. The new Clause the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposes to introduce does away with that altogether, and says 220 that no money need be paid for sickness benefit, but instead of that what is called an additional benefit may be given as the whole benefit. That seems to me to change entirely what the Committee decided. If in the Committee it had been understood that additional benefits were to mean whole benefits, we might have opposed it.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
That, again, is a question of merits. There are these additional benefits already in the Bill. How they are to be made applicable is not a matter over which I have any control. The House contemplated these additional benefits in the Schedule, and it has contemplated, therefore, that in certain circumstances they shall be made applicable to the people who will come within the scope of the Bill.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
If the House chooses to turn what are called additional benefits into direct benefits or substituted benefits, it is for the House to decide.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd George)
I beg to move, that the following new Clause be read a second time:
§ Power to Vary Benefits in Certain Cases.
§ (1) Any approved society may submit to the Insurance Commissioners a scheme for substituting any of the additional benefits mentioned in part 2 of the Fourth Schedule to this Act for sickness benefit and disablement benefit and maternity benefit, or any of those benefits or any part thereof, and the scheme may provide as respects the members of the society to whom the scheme applies that any such benefits shall be abolished or the rate thereof reduced or, in the case of sickness benefit, the commencement thereof postponed; and the scheme may contain such incidental and consequential provisions as appear necessary for adapting the other provisions of this Part of this Act to the members to whom the scheme applies.
§ (2) The scheme shall apply either to all members of the society or to any specified class thereof or to any members of the society who may elect to come under the scheme, according as may be provided by the scheme.221
§ (3) A scheme made under this Section shall not have any effect unless and until confirmed by the Insurance Commissioners, and the Insurance Commissioners shall not confirm any such scheme unless satisfied that the value of the additional benefits conferred by the scheme is equivalent to the value of the benefits for which they are substituted.
§ (4) Nothing in this Section or in any scheme made thereunder shall affect the amount of any reserve value to be credited to a society in respect of a member, and such reserve values shall be calculated as if the scheme had not been made.
§ The circumstances in which I gave the promise to introduce a Clause of this description will be well within the memory of the House. There was a discussion on the question of the agricultural labourers, and upon the question of the shop assistants, which was raised by the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald), and also upon the question of domestic servants. A good many hon. Members felt that, perhaps, each of these three classes might prefer their benefit in some other form, and that the 7s. 6d. a week during sickness and the 5s. a week during disablement did not quite meet their case, or, at any rate, did not suit them as well as perhaps superannuation allowance or some other allowance of the same kind later on in life. When the Government redeem a promise they gave under that head I take note of the fact that two hon. Members sitting on the other side of the House actually endeavour to prevent the House from even discussing it. I hope those who are agitating in this respect will also take note of that fact. A provision for this purpose was in my judgment included in the old Bill in Clause 9, Sub-section (2), which is now Clause 11, Sub-section (2). There there was a power to reduce benefits, and, where a society thought fit, subject to the approval of the Insurance Commissioners, to substitute other benefits. Certain hon. Members, including the hon. Member for Durham (Mr. Hills), thought the words of the old Clause 9 did not quite adequately carry out that purpose. I then gave a pledge to the hon. Gentleman and to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain), who also pressed me on this point, that if that was the case I would see that words were introduced on the Report stage to make it perfectly clear that, where the members of societies preferred some alternative benefit to the kind which is in the 222 Schedule to the Bill, they might have it. I have redeemed that pledge by putting these words down on the Paper.
§ Let us see what the Clause means. It means this: that if, say in the case of domestic servants, they would prefer something in the nature of a pension or superannuation later on in life to an immediate benefit, they can then go to their society and say, we prefer that our money should be given to us in that form. I then indicated that it would be possible for a society to have four or five alternative benefits under the Clause. The society can say to its members, you can elect any one or other of these benefits which suits your conditions. The great friendly societies, the benefit societies and probably the trade unions, because they have a good many superannuation schemes, and the industrial insurance companies, will probably have schemes for superannuation by way of alternative to the present scheme of benefits in the Bill. That we contemplated in the original draft of the measure. We want to make it still more clear that that is the object of the Bill.
§ The House will observe that we do not propose that medical benefits should be dropped out. In this Clause we also leave alternative benefits in. I shall have a word to say about those, because I do not think they stand on the same footing. I will now take medical benefits. I do not propose that there shall be any power to substitute anything for the medical benefits. By the terms of this Clause I make medical benefit a compulsory minimum. One reason for that is, I do not think it would be fair to the mistresses to give them up, because this is the equivalent they get for their contributions. Another reason is that I think that it is of the first importance that the servants should get proper medical attention, not merely during the time they are in service, but after they have left. The prevention and cure of disease are, in my judgment, the first and most important objects of this measure, and it is therefore essential that medical benefit should be a compulsory minimum benefit. As to the maternity benefit, I agree that that is not quite in the same category. As the Clause is drafted, the maternity benefit is made compulsory as well.
§ There is only one other word I should like to say. I had the privilege of receiving a very interesting deputation today. There was a good deal of discussion among the deputation themselves, and I 223 observed a great deal of enlightenment appearing on the faces of the domestic servants who were present at the deputation, not unmixed with surprise, when I told them accurately what the benefits were. They were not so loud in their protests at the end of the meeting as they were at the beginning. On the contrary, there was a general feeling—and I put it to them as to whether it was the case—that what was needed was not an alteration of the contributions, but that power should be given to the societies to which servants belong to vary the benefits. That was strongly pressed upon me.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
That is no guarantee that some relevant parts of the interview would appear in the papers. There was a general feeling, which was expressed at the beginning of the interview by some who really had a great deal of experience in looking after domestic servants, especially in London, and especially by the society which is known as M.A.B.Y.S.—there was a general feeling expressed by them and by the friendly societies and others that there should be a variety of benefits to suit each particular class of domestic servant. It was felt that the kind of benefit which suited one class of servants did not suit another. They pressed me hard for some latitude and freedom under the Bill to vary the benefits. I was under the impression that it was already in the old Bill. I am certain that the words I am now moving will make it certain. Without any protest they all said that is really what they desire. One point was pressed upon me by one able representative of one of these societies, namely, that there should be some means of securing something for partial disablement in the case of domestic servants. Under the Bill the benefits are only paid when disablement, is complete. They pleaded that there should be an alternative benefit in the case of partial disablement. I consented to that, and that can be done under the scheme of the Bill as interpreted by this new Clause. With regard to the great stamp-licking problem, it will be quite unnecessary for either mistresses or maids to poison themselves with bad gum by putting stamps on once a week. It will be quite possible to arrange to put them on once a quarter. If a lady has half a dozen servants she need only put six stamps on every three months. I do not think that would be 224 fatal. The dose would be a very small one and the interval is very considerable. The Insurance Commissioners will have to be satisfied that the new benefits will be equivalent to those in the Bill. They will not be reduced benefits. They will be decided, of course, in the first instance by the societies themselves; it is the societies which will prepare the schemes. The societies will include labourers, shop assistants, domestic servants, and all classes of workers. They will submit these schemes to the Insurance Commissioners, whose function will be to discover whether they are equivalent to the benefits under the Bill, and in that case the schemes would be adopted so long as they are within the four corners of the Clause. The reserve values, of course, will be taken into account, and that is a very important matter when you come to consider superannuation.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Yes, certainly. This applies to all the fifteen million workers who come under the scheme. If any class of workmen prefer that the additional benefits of the Bill shall become substantive benefits, they can do so subject only to the scheme being actuarialy sound, and also to the fact that the benefits shall be equivalent.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has told the House that he has introduced this Clause to redeem a promise, and he seemed to be surprised that two hon. Members should have asked your ruling whether it was in order. The Chancellor of the Exchequer's education has been rapidly progressing lately. Whether it is due to the outside agitation, which he affects to despise, or whether, as he modestly explained, it is due to his innate intelligence, I cannot say, but on Tuesday last, when we were in Committee, this scheme of substituting some of the additional benefits for those in the Bill was pressed upon him, and it was pressed upon him that he should give an individual option to the insured person, so that he or she might be able to choose the benefits which he or she thought was best fitted to his case. On that occasion, just before the guillotine fell, I addressed the Committee, and made it quite plain that it was an individual option which was wanted, and not an option merely to be exercised by the society which the member might happen to belong to. The 225 Chancellor then said, after giving some reasons:—That is why they are bound to act in societies. You cannot give individual options except in the Post Office."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st November, 1911, col. 1144.]That was on Tuesday; on Friday the Chancellor puts down this Amendment, which does give an individual option to be exercised by the insured person. I congratulate him upon the speed with which he has seen what was wanted.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I do not want the hon. Gentleman to support this Clause under any misunderstanding as to what it means. The scheme would have to be submitted by the society. If he is under the impression that an individual member can go and prepare a scheme and submit it to the Insurance Commissioners he is wrong. I still say what I said then, that it is not an individual option. It is a scheme which would be submitted by the society and, of course, a member of the society can choose what scheme he will take, and I said so in Debate. Not only that: I am in the recollection of the House when I say that I particularly said that societies would probably have four or five alternative schemes of benefit which individuals could choose.
The point I wished to make, and I think I made it, was this. The Chancellor on Tuesday said it would have to be the society's scheme, and that it would bind all the members in that society.
I am not suggesting that those are the Chancellor's words, but when I asked whether an option could not be given to individual members—if there is any doubt about it, I will read exactly what I said. I said:—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 societv."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 21st November, 1911, col. 1143.]I think I put that quite plainly to the Committee, that what I wanted was an individual and not a society's scheme. The Chancellor spoke immediately afterwards, and I will read the whole of what he said:—In answer to that, let me say that there are different classes of domestic servants, and one class has not the 226 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.'Let us see what the Clause that the Chancellor has put down says, and let us see whether he is redeeming a promise or accepting a suggestion. Sub-section (2) says,The scheme shall apply either to all members of the society or to any specified class thereof or to any members of the society who may elect to come under the scheme, according as may be provided by the scheme.All I claim is, and I am glad to welcome it, that the Chancellor between Tuesday, when he denied that it was possible to give an individual option, and Friday, has discovered that it is possible to give an individual option. Really the author of this suggestion is the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Forster) with whom I was associated in suggesting this publicly, and at that time the Press which supports the Chancellor of the Exchequer labelled us, on 29th October, "The wreckers." But the wreckers' scheme for giving alternative benefits has now been adopted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Chancellor said this scheme was really in the original Bill in Clause 9, Sub-section (2). I do not know that it is very useful to argue whether that was or was not so, but that scheme referred merely to the power to give additional benefits, but always required that sickness and disablement benefits should be given. It did not permit of the substitution of a better form of invalidity benefit for the sickness and invalidity benefit mentioned in that Section. It was as different from this scheme as chalk is from cheese. I welcome this because undoubtedly it will remove one great grievance. For instance, hospital nurses are already well provided for in case of sickness, and have at their command the best possible medical advice. For them, if they are compelled to insure, some benefits which may be given under this scheme may be of the greatest value; but I object to the cutting out, as the Chancellor proposes, of the maternity benefit. The maternity benefit is the children's benefit, and it seems to me that if this Bill is to be a national health scheme at all, the maternity benefit ought to be a fixed benefit for which you ought not to be able to substitute anything at all. You ought to insist that the maternity benefit, just as you insist that the sanatorium benefit, 227 should remain in the scheme. After all, what does it cost? For men it is 3–5d. a week, and for women 1–5d. a week. Surely money can be found without cheating the children of the benefit which they are likely to derive from that provision.
But for some curious reason the Chancellor has kept the medical benefit in this Clause. It is wise, in my view, to give an option to leave out medical benefit. For example, nurses do not require it, and large numbers of domestic servants do not require it. The Chancellor the other day said that 60 per cent. of domestic servants were in families which keep only one servant. The very figures that he gave show that he made a mistake between the unit of families and the unit of servants. The real facts are that about 480,000 servants, according to his own figures, are in single servant families, and the whole of the rest, some 1,700,000, are not in single servant families. However, there is a large number of servants who do not require the medical benefit, at any rate, while they are in service, and there is a large number of clerks in insurance companies, banks and other great firms where medical attendance is given as part of the terms of their employment, and there is the great class of nurses who are also similarly provided for. Surely to them, at any rate, you ought to give the option of not paying for the medical benefit under the Bill. Medical benefit under the Bill costs 1½d. a week—at least that is the provision made by the actuaries. If that 1½d. were set free, you could really give a considerable disablement benefit—a much better one than is given by the Bill as it now stands. If the maternity benefit were left in and the medical benefit cut out and sickness and disablement benefit, as in the Bill, were cut out so that some substituted benefit should be given, there would be for men available about 4 2–5d. per week, and for women rather over 4¼d. a week, which could be applied in age pension or in increased disablement benefit. Calculations have been made, although I admit that they are not complete, because the rush with which these new Clauses is thrown at us prevents us being able to make all the calculations we would like to make before speaking on the subject—but such rough calculations as have been made go to show that in substitution for these benefits it would be possible to give 228 a pension of 5s., commencing whenever the insured person was unable to earn one-third of his or her usual rate of wages, and continuing until the age of seventy; or, assuming that health was always good, a 5s. pension between the years of sixty and seventy, thus anti-dating the old age pension if the insured person was in good health up to the age of sixty. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that that was possible under the new Clause as now drawn.
I wish to call attention to that, because the value of the new Clause depends largely on whether or not it is possible to bring in such a scheme. The new Clause does not make it possible to bring in such a scheme. It provides that you may give additional benefits in substitution for some in the Bill, but additional benefits are defined in the Bill, and that which relates to disablement only provides for increased disablement benefit. Disablement is defined by another definition of the Chancellor of the Exchequer as applying to a person incapable of working. In other words, it is the bedridden benefit of the friendly societies. It is no use to offer an increase of such a benefit as that. You do not want that benefit of 5s. increased to 6s. or 7s. You want the 5s. payable under different conditions, not only when the patient is bedridden, but when the insured person is unable to earn one-third of his or her ordinary rate of wages on the German principle, so that if the Chancellor of the Exchequer does intend to carry out what he presented to the House, a further Amendment will be required not merely to enable societies to increase disablement benefit, but to give under different circumstances to those provided in the Schedule of the Bill. Let me try to impress upon the House the real importance of this. The actuaries anticipate that only one woman out of ten at the age of sixty-four will be able to claim, disablement benefit under the Bill, and that only one woman out of five will be able to claim disablement benefit at the age of seventy. Let hon. Members ask themselves how many domestic servants will be able to earn their own living up to sixty-four or seventy years of age. If better disablement benefit is to be given, it ought to take the form of a different definition of disablement rather than a mere increase of the amount.
This Clause has been hastily put together, and it has not been thought out. 229 If it is carried, as I hope it will be, it will require all the powers of the Insurance Commissioners to remove the difficulties which will be created unless the Chancellor of the Exchequer carries out the necessary consequential Amendments. Let me call the attention of the House to one or two consequences of this Clause. Under the Bill the only contribution made by the State is two-ninths of the benefits. Under the main scheme of the Government that is for sickness and disablement benefit. The two-ninths will be paid out year by year in the ratio which is explained in the actuaries' report. I am going to take an impossible case for the purpose of exemplifying my argument. If everybody exercised the option under this new Clause, then for ten or twenty years there would be practically no payment out by the State of the two-ninths, and the figures of the actuaries would not be realised by many millions of pounds; but, on the other hand, while relieving the present demands on the Treasury, you would be piling up an enormous liability, which would have to be met in future years. Under the Clause as it stands the only benefits which the State would be subsidising immediately would be medical and sanatorium benefits. The cost of these is roughly one-third of the whole. In 1912–13 the actuaries anticipate that nearly £2,000,000 will be paid by the State as subsidy in respect of the benefits under the original Bill, but if everyone had elected to come under the new Clause, instead of £2,000,000, only £650,000 would have to be paid. In 1917–18 the actuaries estimate that about £4,500,000 will be paid on account of the State subsidy under the original Bill, whereas if everybody had elected to come in under the new Clause, the amount would be about £1,250,000. What is, therefore, being done, if this Clause operates, is to postpone the State liability from the present to a future date. As to the amount of it the House has at present no guidance whatever from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I do not know whether he has considered what effect this is going to have on the Clauses which provide for surpluses and deficiencies.
The scale of contributions and reserves under this Clause depends entirely upon the Insurance Commissioners. If the Insurance Commissioners take a conservative view and say that large reserves ought to be maintained, I would not complain. But when at the end of three years there is a valuation, the valuer 230 comes in, and he may act on a totally different principle. He may say, "Oh no, these reserves are not required," and automatically half of the surpluses may go to other societies. If you take the question of reserve value, it is provided by Sub-section (4) of this Clause thatNothing in this Section or in any scheme made thereunder shall affect the amount of any reserve value to be credited to a society in respect of a member, and such reserve values shall be calculated as if the scheme had not been made.The Chancellor of the Exchequer is proposing to apply reserves which are adequate and appropriate to a sickness and invalidity scheme to a pension scheme which requires totally different reserves. Let me give the House an instance of how different they are, for this is of the greatest importance when we come to the question of transfer values. What is the Government going to do about the Clauses fixing transfer value? The transfer value of a man who has got sickness and invalidity benefit year by year is relatively small. It is nothing like so great as the reserve value of a man who has been paying in year by year and not drawing present benefits, but who intends to draw his benefits in ten, fifteen, or, it may be, thirty years' time. There is an immense accumulation for the man who is going for postponed benefit, but a comparatively small accumulation for the man who has been taking out benefits year by year. I will state the difference, though I will not vouch for the accuracy of the figures, for I have not been able to check them. At the age of thirty-two, under the Government scheme, it would be approximately £5, but under the pension scheme it would be approximately £14. At the the age of forty-two it would be approximately £8, and under the pension scheme it would be approximately £28. Is the same transfer value to be applied to both classes of people? Those who go in for sickness and invalidity benefit have a totally different transfer value from those who go in for pensions. Where are the provisions to enable them to move freely about from one society to another? Is it intended that once a man has exercised his option to take either a pension or sickness benefit, then for ever after he is to continue in that scheme, or is there power of transfer from the sickness to the pension section? None of these provisions are in the Bill.
231 There are a large number of provisions in the Bill which, if they remain as they are, are absolutely inconsistent with the Clause which the Government has moved to-day. I do not oppose the Clause. I want it put into the Bill, but I want it to be made into a workable scheme. I want the consequential Amendments which are required put into the Bill. I think the House has ground of complaint that though this, was suggested publicly so long ago as October, no further notice should have been taken of it, that the whole position should have been left until one can almost hear the Closure bell ringing, and that the new scheme, which under other circumstances might have been carefully examined and worked out in detail, is thrust upon us as it has been to-day. We were treated then in the Government Press with the description of wreckers. I agree that was not done by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. But the "Daily News" had an article headed "The Wreckers' Rival Scheme to the Bill. Mr. Snowden's Blessing. A Fantastic Production." That is the fantastic production, more or less, which the Government has put before the House this afternoon.
§ Sir THOMAS WHITTAKER
This does seem to me to be possibly one of the most far-reaching Amendments, and I hope that by some means or other the scope of the operation of the new Clause will be very considerably restricted. I do not greet it with the exuberance of the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Worthington-Evans). This is a Bill to provide for aid in sickness. The fundamental principle here is to provide medical attendance and relief, and financial aid to the insured person when sick. I should be very sorry indeed if that principle were seriously departed from. As I understand what the Chancellor of the Exchequer wishes to do is to meet those exceptional cases where sickness benefit will not be so much needed, but I do hope that something will be inserted in the Bill which will limit the operation of this Clause to those special cases. If not, it will render it possible for anybody and everybody in a society to transfer this into an old age pension scheme. I do not think that is what we want. We want protection against sickness and aid during sickness. It is only in the exceptional cases where it can be clearly shown that is provided for that it is desirable the money should be used for some other purpose. I am not sure if you were to offer the larger number of young 232 people their choice between having sickness benefit and old age pensions they would not take the old age pension. But it is not desirable that we should always give people what they like. Practically no young people believe they are going to be ill, but they all know that they are going to grow old. Therefore, unwisely, they might make their choice of the old age pension instead of protection against sickness. As I understand the justification for the great demand for contributions in aid from the employers and the considerable demand that will be made on the taxpayers of the country is that this is going to give protection to the poorer classes of the people in cases of sickness, and I do not think we are justified in allowing those contributions and that money to be diverted wholesale to some other purpose.
That is why I think we are not justified in allowing the people to select themselves exactly what the benefit would be. They are only paying four-ninths; other people are paying five-ninths, and these ought to have some choice. Therefore, I sincerely hope that some definite instructions will be given to the Commissioners that these alternative benefits are only to be sanctioned in those cases where it is perfectly clear that the sickness benefits are not important and are not needed. Unless that be done it almost transforms the scheme or renders it possible for it to be transformed into an old age pension scheme and a scheme for other benefits. I do suggest that that is serious and important for many reasons. One which was specially referred to by the hon. Member for Colchester is that if the measure were seriously transformed in that way and turned largely into an old age pension scheme it is perfectly true that the contribution of the Government now would be extremely small, but the liability of the Government in the future would be extremely large. If that alternative were to be adopted to any large extent I do think in the interests of sound finance that it would be essential to set up a Government contribution towards that year by year as we went along. I have no desire whatever to oppose or criticise severely the Clause, but I do think that it needs limiting or it may altogether transform the Bill, and as the operation of it will depend upon the sanction of the Insurance Commissioners being given to these alternative schemes, I do hope that some definite instructions will be laid down as to the conditions under which the sanction of the Commissioners is to be given.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
I entirely agree with what has been said by the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. It is quite clear if the Clause is accepted in its present form quite apart from all the trouble that has been taken in Committee the whole scheme of the Bill might be changed from top to bottom by the combined action of approved societies and Insurance Commissioners, and every farthing we have voted for specific purposes might be alienated in its operations and used for entirely distinct purposes. I am afraid that I differ somewhat from the hon. Member for Colchester who referred to the description, "fantastic proposal," given in the "Daily News." I think it is really an admirable expression because it means this: that apart altogether from what we provide for in this House, and from what the right hon. Gentleman has said as regards contributions from workmen and employers for the purpose of sickness benefit, the whole of that might be put on one side by the Insurance Commissioners at their own mere will in conjunction with an approved society, and an entirely different scheme for pensions might be established. Every actuarial calculation under the Bill must be modified under this, for every actuarial calculation now made must be quite unsound if the Insurance Commissioners introduce a new scheme quite distinct, from that which we find in the Bill itself. The hon. Member for Colchester pointed out quite clearly that before a new Bill of this kind—for that is what it means—is submitted to the House you ought to have full actuarial calculations and full actuarial information which none of us has at the present time. I think it says a great deal for the hon. Member that he is able to criticise the financial part of this proposal to the extent that he did, but I go much further than that. I say that we are putting the Insurance Commissioners here in the place of Parliament. I think that in a great many of the provisions of this Bill you give quite undue power to these Commissioners. But here you go much further and allow them to turn a Bill intended for insurance against sickness into an old age pension scheme. What is the good of our discussing matters of this kind in Parliament if after all we can be overridden by Insurance Commissioners under conditions of this kind? I do not know whether I misunderstood the Chancellor of the Exchequer. If not, I think he can hardly have represented what appears to me to be the real meaning of this Clause. He talks, for instance, about 234 agricultural labourers. I am very much interested in the agricultural labourer. He spoke as though the agricultural labourer could have the benefit of this Clause. I do not believe that one agricultural labourer in a hundred could possibly have the benefit of this Clause, because the Bill as it stands, I believe, would destroy the small agricultural societies. I do not believe that many agricultural labourers in the future will be members of approved societies at all, and I understand that if they are not in an approved society this Clause would not operate. As far as I read this Clause it only operates where the person insured is a member of an approved society, and does not operate outside. What is the good then of coming down to this House and saying——
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Do I understand the hon. and learned Gentleman's premises to be that only one out of a hundred agricultural labourers in this country is a member of an approved society?
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
That was not my proposition. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has quite misunderstood my question. The question I put was: Is the benefit of this Clause limited only to members of approved societies? I take it that it is. My answer then is this. I believe that in the future, when in my view the small agricultural societies will be destroyed under the operation of this Bill, not one agricultural labourer out of a hundred will then be a member of an approved society. I have managed two or three of these agricultural societies, and I have a considerable knowledge of the views and opinions of agricultural labourers. An agricultural labourer who has got to pay a very heavy compulsory levy will not be able to find any additional sum out of his wages in order to become a member of an approved society under the conditions of this Bill. I am perfectly sure, when you talk about a Clause of this kind meeting the case of the agricultural labourer, that the percentage which I have given, though a very small one, is not too small, and that by far the largest number of agricultural labourers will not come within the purview of this Clause at all, and will be totally unable to get any benefit of any kind out of it. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer was dealing with the agricultural labourer at another stage of this Bill, we had to point out then that the Clause to which he was referring would not affect, as far as we knew, a single 235 agricultural labourer south of Scotland. There was some talk about the custom in Scotland, but that is a different matter. I want to make this quite clear, because this Bill is going to treat the agricultural labourer more harshly. This Clause, as it stands, does not meet his case at all, and in far the largest number of instances he will not and cannot come under its operations. I did not quite follow what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said as regards domestic servants. I see he has tried to persuade domestic servants of the benefits of the Bill. What he said as to details none of us know. Did he point out to the domestic servants that unless they were members of an approved society this Clause would give them no benefit at all? The general societies for girls, domestic servants, are not approved societies at all. [An HON. MEMBER: "There are none."] Take that to be so. Not a single domestic servant of any sort will have the benefit of the Clause in this way.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
I believe that extremely few domestic servants, quite an infinitesimal number, will belong to approved societies. Of course, we may go to domestic servants, and say, "Look at this Clause, which will be of benefit to you." We have reports in the papers that the Chancellor of Exchequer put the advantages of his Bill in a very attractive form. I am not blaming him for that. But I do not know whether he explained with equal fulness the nature of the charge which the domestic servant would have to pay?
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
He said that this Clause meets the difficulty as regards the domestic servant. I deny that it meets it at all in the great majority of cases, because it is limited to approved societies and domestic servants are not members of such societies. There is no answer to that proposition. It is all very well for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to laugh. I listened very carefully to what he said. He said without any limitation of this kind that domestic servants can take advantage of this provision. The answer is that they cannot. They neither are members of approved societies, and in many cases practically cannot become members of an approved society.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
That is the old question. You are putting a very heavy burden of compulsory levy on people who can ill afford to pay it. In addition to that compulsory levy they will then begin also to pay the voluntary contribution, which makes them members of an approved society.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I expected the hon. and learned Gentleman would have known at least something about the elements of the scheme. As a matter of fact they pay no additional levy at all. They can become members of an approved society, though they are not members now without paying an additional penny beyond this compulsory levy.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
I am very much obliged to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the compliment he has paid more than once to Members on this side. I think I know the provisions of this Bill. I do not say I know them as well as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because that would be impossible; but what I am putting is quite true. So far as compulsion is concerned, that would be a compulsory levy merely for the purposes of this Bill. So far as they become members of approved societies outside, if I may call it a compulsory levy, that is a different thing altogether. Of course, you can became a member of an approved society merely by paying the compulsory levy. That is not the question I am arguing for the moment: I am saying that they will not do it. I say they are not members now. Of course, they have only to pay the compulsory limit, but they will not, if they can help it, become members of approved societies, because in the past, as at the present time, it has not been their habit and custom so to do. May I put this to the Chancellor of the Exchequer? I have a very strong view myself that the whole principle of compulsory levy on the domestic servants is wrong from top to bottom. It is a charge that ought not to be put upon them. It is no answer to them to say that by putting a compulsory levy upon them you enable them to become members of approved societies. That is not the question; the question is a different one. You are putting a charge upon people who can ill afford to pay it, and putting it upon them for purposes which they do not want. That is the real view as regards domestic servants. There is one other point to which I 237 wish to call the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He referred to Subsection (2) of Clause 11. Sub-section (2) of Clause 11 has nothing whatever to do that I can see with this new Clause, either one way or the other. It deals with different subject matter altogether, as was pointed out by the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Worthington-Evans). It deals with the matter of the society or committee who come in for different purposes and under different conditions. The present position is simply this, whether under this Bill as introduced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer these advantages are going to be derived by the class to whom he has referred. I say they will not be so derived, and I say it is wrong in principle to put the whole matter at the discretion of the Insurance Commissioners, because whatever these parties may do, they are in the hands of the approved societies or the Insurance Commissioners, and they have no guarantee from the terms laid down in the Act of Parliament. Whether they will get the advantage in future or not is merely a question of chance, according to the view of the approved society or of the Insurance Commissioner. Therefore, I must say this Clause does not meet the difficulty referred to by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ Mr. CHIOZZA MONEY
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Colchester said he hoped this Clause would be added to the Bill. I am bound to say that, taking the Clause as it stands on the Amendment Paper, I should be sorry to see it added to the Bill. On the point, however, as to alternative benefits, I think a very important argument was used by the hon. Member for Colchester. With regard to the rest of the Clause, we are confronted with certain specific cases of difficulty that are bound to arise, and, because of that, we have had drafted and introduced to the House a new Clause, which gives the Insurance Commissioners the power to entirely change the minimum benefits that we desire to set up under the Bill. I do think it is rather deplorable that, after we have set up the minimum of health insurance under the Bill, we should give power to the Insurance Commissioners to upset that scheme, and, in effect, to substitute another scheme. Therefore, I very heartily associate myself with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir T. Whittaker) in that connection. I should like to see put in the Clause words specifying the classes of persons to whom this Clause should be 238 applied. I myself suggest that after the word "substituting" ["substituting any of the additional"], we should put in these words: "In the case of such of its members as are domestic servants, clerks, shop assistants living in, hospital nurses, or any employed persons who are boarded by their employers." I submit to the House with some confidence that this specification covers practically every class of person to whom, we desire this Clause to apply. We do not desire to apply it to other persons. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] If other specific cases can be adduced, it will be better to specify them in this Clause by Amendment than it would be to give powers to the Commissioners to make this measure general in its application to the societies throughout the country, for that is what the Clause amounts to. I shall beg leave to move the insertions of those words in the Amendment, though I do not wish to limit the discussion.
§ Mr. HARRY LAWSON
I think the attention of the House is now aroused to the knowledge that we are not discussing the Second Reading of this Clause, but the Second Reading of a new scheme, and I think it perfectly monstrous to do that without any actuarial calculation submitted to the House such as can guide it in its decision. This Clause allows any benefit under the Schedule to be paid; any benefit which the Insurance Commissioners choose to approve; any benefit but the death benefit. That will make an immense difference. If you were giving the latitude to the approved societies only, personally I should rather welcome it, as giving a liberty which was not in the original Bill; but it really gives the whole power to the Insurance Commissioners, without this House being able to say a word in the matter. The least the Chancellor of the Exchequer could have done would have been to have told us in his opening statement how his facts, or his calculations, are to benefit the employers under the Bill. He argued at great length, I recollect, that the employers would derive substantial benefit from the improved 239 health of their employés, but, if, instead of sick benefit, you are to have old age pensions, then quite clearly the employer does not benefit. It may be a good or it may be a bad thing, but the employer does not get that return for his contribution which the Chancellor of the Exchequer said he would get, and which depended on the sick benefit. What is true of the sick benefit is true of other things, and we do not even know what the Chancellor of the Exchequer has told the deputation of ladies to-day. We have seen a summarised report, from which he seems to have hinted that this Clause might be further amended to a large extent. He was evidently in a very seductive mood, but they seemed fairly well satisfied with his reply.
I think he was a little ungenerous to the Press in saying that only selections from his speeches were given, because I do not know any Member of this House who is reported so fully and so accurately as the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Still, we have not got the Report in our hands, and we do not know what he has said. That is an additional reason for protesting against the Government putting this Clause before us in this way, when it really means a complete conversion of the Bill. I should like to point out to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the only ground upon which we can argue the question of a new form of old age pensions against sickness benefit is the experience of friendly societies. He has studied the experience of friendly societies, and he knows that most of the great friendly societies have been quite unable to draft any satisfactory form of old age pensions scheme. The Oddfellows, I believe, tried an old age pension scheme, and it actually failed to such an extent that I think I am right in saying not 2 or 3 per cent. of the benefits paid by the Oddfellows went to old age pensions. The Hearts of Oak Society were unable to draft a scheme, and I think that is true of other societies. Therefore I do not anticipate myself that there is going to be this great anxiety for old age pensions on the part of approved societies. I think the fears of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley are ill-founded. I do not think that it is easy to induce Members of friendly societies to insure against old age.
They would much sooner insure against sickness. We can take as proof of that 240 the great affiliated societies, which are the only thing we have to go upon. That being so, I do not anticipate that there will be a very great change on the part of the established societies. But the Chancellor of the Exchequer is calling into being a number of societies which have not got the experience nor the tried officers of the old societies to depend upon. They may go in for all sorts of new fangled benefits which I think will vitally change the whole effect of this Bill, and surely we ought to have had some actuarial calculation on which to proceed. The figures given by my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester were very striking in that respect. Does the Chancellor of the Exchequer appreciate that under this Clause friendly societies can pay benefits from the first day of sickness? They can do anything they choose subject to the approval of the Insurance Commissioners. In fact, the whole Bill is changed. I certainly think that it is a great improvement in respect of that class about which we have heard so much—the domestic servant—but I do not know whether the whole of those who come under the scheme ought to have been put in the same category. Hospital nurses possibly benefit under the Clause. They are a particular category, who stand to lose most and benefit least under this Bill. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has made no exception in his Bill in the case of hospital nurses, but he is well aware that not only have they medical and sick benefits, but they also, of course, are invariably under some scheme of pension which covers old age. They are people who will have to contribute without getting very much, but still, as far as it goes, the Clause does make it easier for them, and I think it improves the position of the domestic servants.
It does not meet the real difficulty of the domestic servant, which is how the girl slavey, or whatever you call her, on £8 a year is going to pay at all. That is the difficulty which has to be faced, although no doubt in the single-servant household, of which we have heard so much, there is good ground for giving the servant what benefit we can. Where board and lodging are given, the contribution is undiminished under the Bill. Therefore the contribution is not affected under this Clause; it is only the destination of the money which counts. I shall certainly support this Clause, although I voted against the original Clause in the Bill, because I thought there was no latitude given in the cases which demanded 241 latitude. I think, however, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is now going beyond his brief; he is going far further than he ought to have done. If it is justifiable—I do not say it is not—then the House ought not to change the whole scheme of the Bill without proper calculations submitted to it and justification of them by the Chancellor of the Exchequer at that Table. We do not know what he said to the deputation to-day; we do not know what figures he is going on; we are asked to vote in the dark, and I say it is a very strong order at this stage of the Bill, and at this time of the Session, that such a proposal should be submitted to the House.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I am afraid I cannot quite accept the narrative which has been given as to the history of this Clause. The hon. Member for Colchester said that weeks ago, I am not certain it was not months ago, I was invited to do something of this sort by those who lead the opposition to this Bill, I would point out by way of reminder to those hon. Gentlemen, that all I have done in this respect is to respond to the invitation of the leaders of the opposition to the Bill. May I also point out that the proposal is fn terms Clause 9, Sub-section (2), of the original Bill, now Clause 11. I pointed that out in the Debate which took place last Tuesday in this House. The Clause reads,(2) The rates of sickness and disablement benefits may in any case, and shall in all cases where the rate of sickness or disablement benefit (as the case may be) exceeds two-thirds of the usual rate of wages or other remuneration earned by insured persons, be reduced to such an extent as the society or committee administering the benefit, with the consent of the Insurance Commissioners, determines; but where such reduction is made provision shall be made by the society or committee, with the like consent, for the grant of one or more additional benefits of a value equivalent to such reduction.All that is already in the Bill, and the only difference here is that I am putting this in the form of machinery to carry out that particular proposal. I point out to my hon. Friends that there it was. The hon. Gentleman complained that I gave no actuarial calculations. As a matter of fact, the societies, when they submit their scheme, will have to submit the actuarial 242 calculations on which the scheme is based, and it will then be for the Government actuaries to check those and find out whether they are right or not. It is not for us to do that; we are not submitting an alternative scheme, we are permitting societies in certain cases to submit schemes. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir T. Whittaker), than whom there is no greater authority in these insurance matters, has made another criticism in which I must say there is a good deal. In reply to the hon. Member for Northants (Mr. Chiozza Money) as to whether there ought to be any limiting words so that the Clause would really apply to the exceptional cases we want to cover, that is another matter not for Second Reading, but rather for Amendment, and I have no doubt an Amendment to that effect will be submitted by somebody or other. This proposal is simply intended to cover special and exceptional cases where there is a claim put forward that there is adequate provision for sickness now. Supposing you get a case of that kind, and that is the case which has been pressed on me not only here in the House, but from outside, where they say "we have got abundant provision now for sickness and we do not want it, but what we do really want is some provision for the time when we may break down later on in life." My right hon. Friend says that that is a case which ought to be met, but that you ought not in meeting that case to open the door so wide that the whole of your insurance provision for sickness and disablement will pass away and vanish. That is a perfectly sound criticism, and if an Amendment is moved I shall consider it carefully. I should like to have it as soon as possible and to consider it. But that is not an objection to the principle of the Clause. The principle of the Clause is a principle which has already been accepted by the House without any challenge. Not even the hon. and learned Gentleman, who has practically challenged everything in the Bill, challenged that.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
That was a clerical error. Nobody challenged it, and I looked up the OFFICIAL REPORT very carefully. On the contrary, there was a very general feeling that permission ought to be given in those cases to set up alternative benefits. That was the feeling of the House. I am not sure that it was not the 243 hon. Member for Wiltshire (Mr. C. Bathurst) who was the champion of that particular proposal of allowing alternative benefits in special cases. From the Bill as originally drafted it is clear that the Government had that in their minds. It has been there for the last six months.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Does the hon. Gentleman say that there is no provision in the Bill for alternative benefits?
There are no provisions for substituting alternative benefits. There are provisions for additional benefits, but no provisions under which they could put an end to sickness or disablement benefits.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I do not, of course, accept the hon. Member's view, but, taking his view, you could reduce the benefit to a shilling per week.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I am putting it that even from the point of view of the hon. Gentleman, you could reduce your benefit to a shilling per week. Does he really say that, subject to the approval of the Insurance Commissioners, you could not reduce your benefit to a shilling per week, and then provide a substitute? I shall be amazed if he does.
I do not think it is in the least likely that the Insurance Commissioners will sanction any scheme which will make the original benefits farcical.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
My view is that you could withdraw the benefit altogether and substitute for it. But, at any rate, there is power, subject to the Insurance Commissioners, to reduce it to any point, say, from 10s. to 5s. or 2s. 6d. per week, or any other figure, and substitute superannuation. That is what I call the principle of the Clause. That is in the Bill from the very start, and it is no change on our part. It was our original intention to put it in form in the Bill, and it is now put in the form of machinery. What I suggest is this. I understand that the House generally would like the power to meet this particular case. I do not think anybody challenges, either on this side of the House or the other, that there ought to be power in cases where there is now adequate 244 provision for sickness and disablement to be given the opportunity within the society, subject to the society presenting the scheme, to get other alternative benefits. To what extent it should be limited is a question which could be met by an Amendment which could be moved later on. I would suggest now that we get the Second Reading, and that then we should discuss that particular question of the limiting Amendment. The same thing applies to maternity benefit. I have already said in moving this Clause I am quite open on the question raised by the hon. Member with regard to maternity benefit; I think it is a very reasonable proposition, and I am quite willing to consider what he suggests.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I rise because I have been somewhat severely criticised by the right hon. Gentleman for the fact that I took your ruling upon whether this Clause was within the scope of the Bill. Of course I bow entirely to your ruling, and, if I may say so as a lawyer, I fully recognise and appreciate the force of the reasons which you gave for that ruling. At the same time I venture to say that if I am to be criticised for having taken your ruling at all, that it is only by you I can be so properly criticised. My objection is not to what the Chancellor of the Exchequer now proposes to limit the Clause to, but to the Clause as it stood on the Paper. With regard to the Clause as it stood on the Paper, I venture still to say it is an entire departure from the scheme of the Bill as originally put forward. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has put forward this Bill as a Bill to insure against sickness and against loss of health. This Clause as it stands gives power to depart absolutely and entirely through the whole range of the approved societies from every iota of that principle, and to convert this scheme into a scheme for contributory old age pensions. Personally, I think there is a good deal to be said for a scheme of contributory old age pensions, but if we are to have that, it had better be by a Bill properly introduced and upon proper materials for that purpose, and not left to the discretion of the Insurance Commissioners to say whether this is to be a health scheme or whether it is to be an old age pension scheme.
If this Clause had been passed in the form in which it was originally on the Paper, it would have left it at the absolute discretion of the Insurance Commissioners to say whether it was to be a pension 245 scheme or a health scheme. I do not think the Chancellor of the Exchequer realises even now, or realised when he originally introduced the Bill, if he says the original Bill contains similar words in which I differ from him, or appreciates the effect to which this Clause carries the proposal. One of the things we have always been discussing in Committee is that he should allow the friendly societies to pay sickness benefit from the first day of the sickness. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has firmly and consistently resisted that proposal. I appreciated the grounds on which he based that resistance, although personally I did not agree with him. I should like to point out that under this Clause he is giving the power to pay sickness benefit, at the discretion of the Insurance Commissioners to any society that chooses to adopt it from the first day of the sickness, which is the very thing he has been fighting tooth and nail during the whole time he has conducted these proceedings. The most astonishing thing of all to me is not only that that is the effect of the new Clause, but he says that it was the effect of the Bill as it was introduced originally. When an Amendment was moved in order to enable that to be done, which he says the Bill gave power to be done, he resisted it as strenuously as I ever saw him resist anything in this House. Under those circumstances, I do not think we can be found fault with if we placed an interpretation on the original Bill which was consistent with the attitude which he took on that Amendment.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I quite agree, and that is one of the things which I most of all object to, that the Insurance Commissioners are here set up at their own sweet will to say with regard to fifteen millions of people in this kingdom as to whether they are to adopt one form of benefit or another, and forms of benefits to which the employers are asked to contribute, and with reference to which the employers are given no voice to say.
This new scheme absolutely nullifies from start to finish all the arguments that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has put forward as his reasons for bringing the employers into the Bill at all. He has justified their contributions only on the ground that the payments by them will help to increase the efficiency of the workers while they are employed by that employer. That 246 does not apply when you may substitute altogether old pensions or payments in cases of poverty. At the sweet will of the Insurance Commissioners you may leave out sickness benefit, disablement benefit, and maternity benefit, and, without consulting this House at all, which has employed so many weeks in the discussion of these Clauses, although we have had very little time to discuss the Schedule or later Clauses. Those Clauses are now entirely swept away, and you may substitute merely provision for a rainy day, and payment in cases of poverty by the societies. Those are the words in the Bill. Another reason why I should have liked to have seen this proposal postponed is that we are taking an absolute leap in the dark in this Clause. I put it to the House that the Government themselves have not appreciated the effect of the Clause. I have pointed out that one of the things they have most strenuously opposed throughout the proceedings in Committee is being allowed under this Clause. There are several other matters. The Clause renders the removal of a member from one society to another—a matter to which we all attached great importance in Committee—infinitely more difficult than it was before. He may wish to move from a society in which he was getting a pension to a society in which he will get only sickness benefit. It also places such questions as that of reserve value in a position which I cannot describe as otherwise than chaotic. In these circumstances, although I fully appreciate and agree with the grounds on which Mr. Speaker decided against the point I put, I submit that I was perfectly justified in asking for a ruling on that point.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
The situation in which the House finds itself this afternoon, if it were not so serious, would be rather comic. Here we find ourselves on the Report stage discussing a proposal which is absolutely new in its general application.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
And quite different from the Bill as originally introduced. So absurd is the position that, being on the Report stage, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer wishes to answer a speech on this new proposal he is only able to do so by leave of the House. I think the right hon. Gentleman need not have called in question those of my hon. Friends who raised the point of 247 Order in reference to this Clause. We are entitled, on this side, to point out the methods by which the Bill is being forced through the House as well as its absurd provisions. For my part, I am not in the least alarmed by the Chancellor saying he will note that hon. Members on this side wanted to stop the discussion of this Clause. Let him note anything he pleases; I have no doubt that, whatever he notes, he will go on exactly the same as he has done before, indulging in his inveterate habit of vituperation and inaccuracy upon the platform. I am quite prepared to admit that this Clause, as far as it goes, introduced now for the first time, will make the Bill a preferable Bill, and that the Bill will contain better provisions than it has done up to to-day. In so far as that is the case, I shall certainly support the Clause. But there are one or two considerations which ought to be borne in mind.
The Clause affects not only domestic servants, but also agricultural labourers, and it is from that point of view that I want to examine its effect. It will have the result of enabling agricultural labourers to pay for old age pensions at an earlier date instead of for sickness. That, I think, is certainly more what they want. It will also enable them, as I understand from the promise of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to get disablement benefit when they are only partially disabled. That also will be satisfactory if it can be put in. I should like, however, to know whether one of the additional benefits which they will be able to get, but which is not now in the Schedule, is a reduction of their contribution. That is an additional benefit which rather than anything else ought to be given to agricultural labourers owing to the lowness of their wages. Now that you are altering the whole scheme of benefits, how is there any magic in the 7d. which is to be paid in respect of the agricultural labourer? How is that 7d. arrived at? Presumably it was settled that a certain sickness benefit was to be payable in the cases contemplated under the Bill. Actuaries were then set to work to find out for what contribution that benefit could be given, and they arrived at the contribution of 7d. plus the State contribution. But if you alter the whole benefits at the last stage, what becomes of the 7d.? Why is 7d. a more satisfactory figure than any other amount? When it is shown, as I think it can be conclusively shown, 248 that 7d. is too high in the case of the agricultural labourer in relation to the wages he receives and the profits of the industry, what reason is there why that 7d. should not be altered when you are altering the benefits on which the 7d. was orginally calculated? If the Clause is to be made in any way satisfactory to the agricultural labourer, it will be necessary to add to the list of additional benefits in the Schedule a provision enabling one of those benefits to be the payment of a lower contribution.
The position of the agricultural labourer is one to which the House has not given sufficient attention. Everybody knows that the wages of the agricultural labourer are low. People may differ considerably as to why they are low, but there will not be much dispute amongst those who are best acquainted with the business of agriculture that the reason they are low is the narrow margin of profit which the cultivation of the soil in this country gives. I think it will be found that, in those parts of the country where the soil is poorest and agriculture the least prosperous, wages are lower than in those parts where agriculture is a more profitable undertaking. You have also to bear in mind in considering the insurance of agricultural labourers that in addition to their having very low wages they as a class suffer extraordinarily little from sickness. Therefore, when bringing in a Bill to insure them and to make them pay a very high rate in proportion to their wages as a compulsory contribution, you ought not to insist on their getting only sickness benefits. Therefore, I welcome this Clause as far as it goes. But you want to go further. You want not only to give them other benefits instead of sickness, but to lower the contribution which they have to pay to obtain those benefits. I certainly hope that we shall hear from the Government that they are prepared to adopt some suggestion of that kind, late though it be. Of all the scandals which this House has seen in connection with this Bill and the way in which it has been conducted, the greatest of all has occurred to-day, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced this Clause without saying a single word about the finance of it. It is obvious that it must entirely alter all the actuarial calculations upon which the Bill was based.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
Earlier in the discussion we were told that the benefits 249 were calculated upon the general expectation, of sickness. There are the tables in the report of the actuaries which show that that is so. We were also told that the expectation of sickness, especially amongst agricultural labourers, is a very different thing from the expectation of life. The House will remember that the Chancellor of the Exchequer made a great deal of that point, although I thought he was inaccurate at the time. The expectation of sickness very much increases in the later years with the longer expectation of life. Does the Government say that that fact does not alter the actuarial calculations of the new benefits which are to be given? If you take it over a period of years, the same amount may ultimately be paid in benefits, because it is provided that the benefits shall be equivalent. But they will come at a totally different time, and the effect upon the contribution of the State will be enormous. I was endeavouring to make this point the other day when the guillotine fell, and the answer of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was not to the point at all. I said:—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.The Chancellor of the Exchequer replied:—That is not so. They are taken on at all ages Some of them will come on very quickly.That is really no answer at all to the question of how much of the State contribution will be paid in each particular year. They will come on at all ages it is true; but, at the same time, by this new proposal you will be relieved of any payment whatever during the younger years of the great majority of agricultural labourers, and all the payments of benefits will be postponed. Therefore, the payments by the State will be very much increased in the later years if they are diminished in the earlier years. That is obvious. It is preposterous that this Clause should be debated in this House and on the two occasions when the Chancellor of the Exchequer has spoken he should not put in a single figure to prove either the accuracy or the falsity of the calculation of the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Worthington-Evans) upon that point. When the right hon. Gentleman first spoke he said nothing about finance. When he spoke subsequently, all he did was to deny the general accuracy of my hon. Friend's observations. He gave no argument or reasons of his own 250 whatever. That is not the way to treat the House and the country. Although the Clause is an improvement on the Bill as it stands, yet the way in which it has been thrown at our heads at the last moment, and the fact that even now, although we are on the Report stage, it has not yet assumed its final form, is really a disgrace and a prostitution of Parliament.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I feel certain that the last speaker could have found scores of opportunities for making the speech he has just delivered had he attended the sittings of the Committee on the Bill. I consider that those of us who have patiently sat through all the sittings should not be expected to keep joining in Second Reading Debates.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I accept the Noble Lord's correction as being superior to my own eyesight. On several occasions the hon. Member for the Wilton Division (Mr. C. Bathurst) and I have differed upon this very point of the peculiar position of the agricultural labourer, and I have looked in vain for the Noble Lord to join in the discussion. I challenge him to say that he has ever been present when the hon. Member and I have differed upon this question in the House. The Noble Lord is a great authority on agricultural questions, and I have been disappointed that he has not intervened in these discussions earlier, because his contributions are invariably valuable. At the same time I must again dispute, on all the evidence I can collect, the theory that in some way or another the agricultural labourer is to be treated in some special way because of the smaller amount of sickness from which he suffers. If you take out accidents I claim that even the coal miner himself is quite as good a risk under this Bill as the agricultural labourer.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
As the hon. Member challenged me, may I say that I was present and heard the controversy between him and my hon. Friend on that point?
§ Mr. BOOTH
I accept the Noble Lord's statement; I am only sorry he did not intervene at the time. The whole question has been traversed again and again. This aspect of it has been debated in the House repeatedly. It has been in the print of 251 the Bill from the beginning, and yet hon. Members rise to complain in some way either of the selfishness or of the vituperation or of the double-dealing of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The whole thing is absurd. I defy the hon. Member to support his case, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, either in this House or out of it, has used unseemly language on the insurance question. The hon. Member cannot mention a single instance. I say that that is not the way in which particularly the House is expected to treat a non-party Bill. The Opposition in regard to this particular Clause seems to be divided into three classes. One-third claim the paternity of it, and suggest that some mysterious group of their own invented the scheme. The second third want it ruled out of order. The third section are dead against the Clause. Under thse circumstances the sooner we come to a decision and get to the detailed Amendments the better. I must protest in the interests of debate against Members of this side being called upon repeatedly to reply.
Are hon. Members opposite going to take this Clause or are they not? Where are the three hon. Members that have recently succeeded at the by-elections? They assured the people that they would come in and put this Bill right, and tell the Chancellor of the Exchequer what they thought of it. Where are they? Why are they not here? [An HON. MEMBER: "They have been here most of the afternoon."] They dare not speak upon the Bill. That is my complaint. I say quite frankly that their silence in this House does not at all accord with their very pertinent observations on election platforms. I do ask the Opposition to make up their minds both about this Clause and others. Either they are for or against. They want to make the best of both worlds. They got up to make carping criticisms about this Clause, and we on this side of the House cannot understand whether they want it withdrawn or whether they want it strengthened. When they sit down one is simply puzzled to know if there is a Division on the Clause, whether they will be in the "aye" or "no" lobby. I appeal to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Wilton (Mr. C. Bathurst), who is very clear and decided, to give us some indication as to what is in the minds of the great Tory party; to tell us whether they are for this Clause or against it. I claim that this Clause was in the Bill originally, in Clause 9. I have 252 been consulting experts, and actuaries, and other hon. Members, and the assumption of all our conversations has been that the Clause was in the Bill, and ought to be operative. In regard to this particular Clause I understood it was very largely a concession to the Conservative party. So far as it was not, that it was a concession to the sentiments of those who claimed they voice the position of domestic servants. So far as I am concerned I think that all those who by means of this Clause shall try to detach the domestic servant from the Bill will be doing them the greatest injury possible. Of all classes in the community who need to be brought as much within the scope of the Bill as we can possibly get them are the domestic servants and the agricultural labourers. Hon. Members opposite may have different views. I do not think that this is the time that they can expect me to go at length into them. At any rate, my opinions are very definite. I challenge hon. Members opposite to be just as definite themselves.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I do not consider that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Pontefract (Mr. Booth) has added very much to the substance of this Debate. He has, however, himself inveighed against vituperation by giving expression to a certain amount of it. He, like the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has suggested that the material of which this Clause is composed has already formed part of the Bill in the shape of Sub-section (2), of what was originally Clause 9, and which is now Clause 11. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in commenting upon this fact went on to say that neither I nor any other Member representing the agricultural interest had put down an Amendment to the effect now contained in this new Clause. I do not admit for an instant that Sub-section (2) of Clause 11 is in any way identical with this Clause now before the House. That Clause related to the case where the reduced sickness and disablement benefit exceeded two-thirds of the usual rate of wages or other remuneration, and we were careful to point out, when that Clause was under consideration, that in the case of the agricultural labourer, bearing in mind that a large number of agricultural labourers unfortunately do not receive 15s. a week, that it would impose a very serious injustice upon that particular class. Therefore we did not seek to amend it, because we could not possibly, except by refusing to accept it altogether, do anything for the advantage of the class which 253 we particularly seek to represent in this House. I do not accept this Clause now before the House as in any way a substitute for the differential rate of premium payment which we say the agricultural labourer and his master aught to make to the National Insurance Fund, as it is made in the case of every national insurance scheme in existence throughout Europe to-day.
The agricultural labourer is in such an exceedingly unfortunate position under this Bill that I, for one, am prepared to catch at any straw which may conceivably improve his position. I think that this Clause may in some cases have that effect. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton has suggested certain classes which should be specified as those to whom this Clause shall apply. He left out agricultural labourers. If the list he suggested is a list that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is prepared to take, I shall strongly oppose it unless agricultural labourers are included in it. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for South Bucks suggested that in the case of agricultural labourers' societies—the country village societies—very few will become approved societies. I am afraid that is to some extent correct. I am afraid there will not be anything like the number of village societies that will come to be approved as those which are better known to the public under names familiar to everyone in this House. I very much fear what has not been made clear to this House before, that a much larger proportion of persons than the Chancellor of the Exchequer has hitherto suggested, will, from the country districts, drift into the unfortunate position of being deposit contributors.
In fact, it seems to me, making a rough calculation, that something like one-fourth or one-fifth of the whole persons coming under this National Insurance scheme will prove to be deposit contributors. But as regards the societies in the country districts, under the grouping scheme which the Government have now approved, the scheme by which they are to be included in the county groups, I am inclined to think that not merely will many country societies continue to exist as approved societies, but that this particular Clause will be made use of by some, at any rate, of those societies. When we come to consider the particular benefits that these so-called additional benefits are to replace, I am bound to say that I regret that sickness 254 benefit should be one chosen, and that maternity benefit should be another. The sort of provision that the agricultural labourer requires is provision for a breakdown in later life, or a provision for a pension at an earlier age. Those are benefits which are not included in the list—certainly the pension is included—but a provision for breakdown, owing to rheumatism, say, at the age of sixty, is not one of those benefits which is included within the terms of the Fourth Schedule.
I should like to suggest to the Government that not merely the reduced contribution to which the Noble Lord has referred should, in the interests of the agricultural labourer, be included in that list, but also what I should call the break down benefit—not disablement benefit in the sense in which it is used in the Bill—but breakdown benefit for the agricultural labourer, who, owing to rheumatism or other causes, is apt, while having a healthy life up to a certain age, to suffer from breakdown earlier than the age of seventy. In respect of maternity benefits, I do not want to give the House my own opinion in regard to woman suffrage, but I do think that here is a strong case for protesting against "mere man," through his approved societies, being in a position to deprive women of their maternity benefit. After all, maternity benefit is the benefit which the woman enjoys through her husband's insurance. Put it in an other way. It is a benefit which the woman enjoys as the result of her husband being an employed contributor. I do not suggest that the societies will adopt such a course, but there may be a temptation in the case of societies which are none too well-off to put out (ho maternity benefit in order eventually to save the increase of their own maternity benefit, or to reduce the contributions of their members. I have put down an Amendment which I hope the House will note relating to the question, as to what will be regarded as additional benefits equivalent to the value of the benefits under the Bill. It seems to me that is a very important question. What I am anxious to secure is that the Insurance Commissioners in exercising their discretion shall not merely limit their functions to deciding what is the actuarial equivalent, but shall consider in every case whether the substituted benefit is to the particular class of person concerned the equivalent benefit to that which he is losing as a result of making use of the provisions of this Clause. For instance——
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I only wanted to point out the gist of my criticism, and I propose to leave the question to further consideration. To turn to one other class upon whom sufficient emphasis has not yet been laid. I refer to the hospital nurses. They are not quite in the same case as domestic servants. It may be worth while for domestic servants—I think it will be worth while—to form separate approved societies limited to their particular class. There are enough of them to justify such a society. In the case of hospital nurses I question very much whether they will form an approved society of their own. If so they will not be able to reap any benefit from this particular Clause. Provision ought to be made elsewhere in the Bill to meet their particular case. To sum up, as regards the agricultural labourers I want to make an appeal to the Government, if this Clause passes, to add to the additional benefits and reduced contributions, a benefit in the event of a break-down, say at the age of sixty or sixty-five.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Mr. ARNOLD WARD
This Clause has been criticised as being too wide. I quite agree that limiting words should be inserted specifying certainly the classes to whom the Clause should apply. But there is one particular in which it seems to me to be not wide enough. That is having regard to the fact that it is put down mainly to meet the objections raised by domestic servants. It only meets the objections of those domestic servants who can become members of approved societies. It does nothing for those who will be deposit contributors. I think it is obvious that a great many domestic servants will not join approved societies. There will be a great many who, for some reason or other, cannot be elected. There will be a number who will not want to be elected. There will be practical reasons against their joining an approved society. Approved societies, for one thing, will hold their meetings mostly in the evening, and it will be difficult for many servants to go to these meetings, and therefore a great many will come under the Post Office scheme. This Clause does nothing whatever to meet' my objection when medical benefit and sickness benefit are not required. I should like to ask the Government whether in any other shape they 256 intend to make any other proposals varying the benefits to those domestic servants coming under the Post Office part of the scheme?
§ Captain TRYON
I may be allowed very briefly perhaps to take up the challenge thrown out by the other side. We were asked to state any case where unseemly language had been used by I he Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I think this Clause is one of the subjects which gives an opportunity for answering that challenge. The Chancellor of the Exchequer alluded to the protest of the servants with regard to this Clause, and said that this agitation was a mean agitation. I venture to think that the use of the word "mean" with regard to these servants—[HON. MEMBERS: "No, no, with regard to the mistresses."]—is a most admirable example of the unseemly language of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Rufus Isaacs)
I am quite sure the hon. and gallant Gentleman does not intend to misrepresent the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but the right hon. Gentleman never used any such language with reference to the case of the servants. He referred to the action of a certain portion of the newspaper Press and to some mistresses.
§ Captain TRYON
I am quite prepared to continue the discussion where the subject has been left off. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and other prominent Ministers not only took a line against the servants—[HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."]—Perhaps I may be allowed to finish my sentence. If hon. Gentlemen opposite know-before I finish the sentence what I am about to say, they have a very happy method of ascertaining what is in my mind—what I was going, to say was that it is suggested that these letters in the Press are not genuine letters of servants, but are got up by the newspaper, and are written in the back offices of the newspapers. I can only say myself that I have had from my own Constituency hundreds and hundreds of letters upon this subject. For instance, yesterday afternoon and evening, I had over 560 communications in regard to this matter, and I had over 300 signatures, all of which have come perfectly spontaneously without any effort upon my part. In view of this very earnest desire of the servants for justice, the agitation which is going on on their behalf and in which they are taking a part should not be described as a mean agitation. After 257 all, what are the facts? You are putting a compulsory charge upon these servants which means taxation. You are putting a charge upon hundreds of thousands of servants for benefits which in many cases they already get for nothing and by the full extent to which your charge exceeds anything they are now paying, to that extent you are putting a tax upon them against which they have every right to protest. With regard to this Clause it appears to me to be a new Bill. It looks as if the Government were going to leave the matter to be settled not by Parliament, but by the approved societies co-operating with the Insurance Commissioners. I venture to think that before we allow a Clause to go through which may drop practically the whole of the provisions for sickness in the Bill, we should have proper safeguards and take care that this new scheme should be framed, not by private societies, but by the House of Commons, which is the proper place in which it ought to be framed.
§ Mr. J. S. FLETCHER
I am anxious to say a few words upon this Clause, as my Constituency has been referred to by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as one apparently which did not do its duty by the domestic servants. The right hon. Gentleman stated that there were no less than fifteen servant girls in the workhouse hospital at Hampstead. Perhaps the Chancellor of the Exchequer was not aware that there are 90,000 people in Hampstead at the present time, and the fact that only fifteen domestic servants were found in the infirmary is extremely creditable to the people of Hampstead. It shows the very great interest the people of that district take in their servants and how they nurse them when sick. The only objection of these people to the Bill is that they do their duty by their servants, and therefore they regard it as unfair to inflict special taxation upon them. This is not an agitation to provide servants free beds, which I believe do not exist in hospitals. The position, I am told, at the present moment is this, that while there may be 400,000 people in each year so ill as to need in-patients' beds, this Bill provides no means or money even for one extra bed to put these people into, and certainly they could not be placed in hospitals, which are full already.
My object in rising, however, is to thank the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the new Clause. As far as I can understand it, and I read it two or 258 three times, at any rate it will be an advantage to the domestic servants of Hampstead, and a great advantage as compared with the previous Clauses of the Bill. They do not desire sick pay and medical attendance because their mistresses, in almost every case, find it for them. That is so in Hampstead, where only fifteen girls were to be found in the infirmary, and these girls, in every instance, were not there for any fault of their employers, but because they were out of employment, and for other reasons. As a rule these girls in Hampstead do not want sick pay, but they would be very grateful if, under this new Clause, such a scheme were provided and approved by the Insurance Commissioners as would enable them to get a pension when they reach the age of about sixty, in case they were not able to work. It would be of great; importance if they were able to secure a pension of 5s. a week at the age of sixty, and, so far as I can understand the Clause, and subject to its being amended further, I welcome the change, and I should be very glad to vote for it.
§ Mr. SANDERSON
Here we are almost at the last moment of the Report stage of this Bill presented with an entirely new proposition by the Government. It is obvious to everybody that that proposition is now made owing to very considerable pressure which has been brought to bear upon the Government. I am in hopes that if we could convince the learned Attorney-General that there is a strong body of feeling throughout the country in favour of the proposal that agricultural labourers should get additional benefits by a reduction in the payments they have to make, I am in hopes he might consider it favourably. In certain parts of England we have a system which is well known where the agricultural labourer or farm servant is engaged, is paid so much and becomes practically a member of the family. He remains there it may be six or twelve months. He does not want sickness benefit. That is not the thing he wants. Any farmer will tell you if you make inquiries that the amount of temporary sickness against which he or his servants have to provide is comparatively small. And there is undoubtedly a strong feeling amongst agriculturists and farmers generally that they and their servants are asked to subscribe something far and away too much for the benefits provided for them by the Bill. I quite understand there has been a new Clause put into the 259 Bill to meet the cases in certain localities where certain customs exist. I venture to think that is a Clause which will be very little availed of. After the inquiries I have made I find that farmers and agriculturists are by no means satisfied that that will be any benefit to them. What they want is a reduction of the sum which they are compelled to pay without any conditions whatever. The Second Schedule, which deals with the amounts of the contribution, was passed under the closure. We are not able to debate one single word of it. After all, that Schedule is the gist of the whole Bill. All the rest of the Clauses were machinery carrying out the Schedule, which I think everyone will agree was the real gist of the Bill, and we never discussed it. Now here is an opportunity for raising these points. Here is an opportunity if the Government will but accede to the request of hon. Members upon this side of the House and add under part 2 of the Fourth Schedule those additional benefits by which a scheme may be provided by the Insurance Commissioners in cases where they think it right to allow part of the subscription made by farmers and their agricultural servants to be used for the purpose of reducing the future subscriptions they have to make. I am perfectly certain that would meet with every support in the House.
With regard to this Clause, which applies to domestic servants, I quite agree it goes to some extent at all events to meet their opposition. Of course, everyone knows what the servants want is to provide against the time when they may find it difficult to get situations. The thing they are afraid of is not temporary sickness. They are, in such cases, provided for by their mistresses. What they are really afraid of is that the time may come when they get older when they will not be able to get employment. No doubt if that alternative is put before them it may induce them to give up that opposition, which is very far-reaching at the present moment, against this Bill. It is exceedingly unsatisfactory that after we have had innumerable protests, as I have had, against this Bill on behalf of domestic servants, not engineered by any newspaper, but a bonâ fide, protest from the servants throughout all my Constituency, that we should be asked quite suddenly to say how far this Clause meets the opposition which the Bill aroused.
§ Mr. HAVILAND-BURKE
Upon this question of the insurance of domestic servants I have derived the utmost delight from the speeches which have been made upon this occasion, and from the many letters and leading articles which have appeared in the newspapers to the effect that there are hundreds and thousands of wealthy and titled ladies simply tumbling over one another in their anxiety to maintain their servants during ill-health. Anybody who knows anything at all knows that all these letters from servants appearing in the newspapers, with their faultless grammar and composition, are pitiable impositions which have been concocted, and do not really come from the class of people they are supposed to represent. They are on a par with that delightful letter from the clerk at a hotel in Brompton, said to employ forty-seven servants, a snapshot of which has appeared in a weekly paper, which turns out to be an eating-house kept by one lady who does most of the work herself, with the assistance of a couple of servants. As a matter of fact, all these letters coming from fine ladies about keeping servants for twenty and thirty years, and keeping them for six months when they are ill on full wages, are simply humbug and fraud. There are exceptional women as there are exceptional men, but no man is ignorant of the fact that the ordinary idea of the average woman who employs a servant is that if her servant becomes ill, she gets rid of her before she gets too ill to be moved. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I say that deliberately. Can you find an average woman of the world employing a staff of servants who will keep a weakly and sickly servant in her employ?
§ Mr. HAVILAND-BURKE
The hon. and learned Member is not going to put an old Parliamentary hand like me off in that way. I say again that the average woman employer of labour who employs a staff of female servants, if she sees that a servant is getting weakly or ill, will part with her kindly, and probably give her the best of testimonials, but she will recognise that the woman cannot do her work, and she will get rid of her. I know there are many generous, kindly, and self-sacrificing women who will keep on a servant who is ill. What I am insisting upon is that when a responsible Government, Liberal or Tory, 261 undertakes to grapple with a great question of social reform like this you have not to deal with the exception, but with the plain general rule of life as it is commonly known. On that ground I have always, in spite of every argument I have heard to the contrary, been of the opinion that for every one case in which a domestic servant insured under this Bill will be prejudiced, there will be ten cases in which she will be benefited, and on that ground I heartily and thoroughly support the Clause as it stands.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I think the result of the discussion we have had this afternoon must have shown conclusively that there is a general desire in the House that this Clause should pass, and that it does give effect to what is the general view of the House. It has been suggested that there should be some limitation placed upon the general operation of the Clause as at present worded, and, for myself, speaking for the Government, I say that that will only carry out what has always been the intention of the Government from the first. Let me remind the House how matters stand, bearing in mind some of the criticisms which have been directed against the Chancellor of the Exchequer on this point. What was the position when the Bill was first introduced? There is no more competent student of this Bill in the House than the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Worthington-Evans), and I would like the hon. Member to look at Clause 9, Sub-section (2), as it originally stood. That Clause originally provided that,
(2) The rates of sickness and disablement benefits may in any case, and shall in all cases where the rate of sickness benefit or disablement benefit (as the case may be) exceeds two-thirds of the usual rate of wages or other remuneration earned by insured persons, be reduced to such an extent as the society or committee administering the benefit, with the consent of the Insurance Commissioners determines; but where such reduction is made provision shall be made by the society or committee, with the like consent, for the grant of one or more additional benefits of a value equivalent to such reduction.
There are two matters dealt with in that Sub-section. The hon. Members opposite have been asserting that this is a new Bill because when the Bill was originally introduced it did not contain the Clause we are now proposing. One hon. Member 262 thought it was so much a new Bill that he tried to get a ruling that this Clause was out of order, and that we were introducing something that was quite fresh. I have already called attention to the specific words of the original Clause, and no one who follows those words can contradict me when I say that the Bill as originally introduced provided in Clause 9, Sub-section (2), that in any case you might alter the sickness or disablement benefit, and that the additional benefits might be substituted.
My point is that it is not a substitution because the benefits may be given as additional benefits.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
Let me see whether there is any substance in that point. The hon. and learned Member's point is that the word "substitute" is not used in Clause 9, Sub-section (2), but that there is a grant of additional benefits.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The hon. and learned Member says we are not substituting benefits under Clause 9, Sub-section (2), but what we are in fact doing is saying that the rates of sickness and disablement benefits may be reduced, and that when they are reduced you must give additional benefits equivalent in value, subject to the consent of the Treasury. Is that a substitution of benefits or not? [An HON. MEMBER: "It is a partial substitution."] I agree, it is a partial substitution, and the hon. Member is quite right, but a partial substitution is a substitution. The only reason for dealing with this point is that the hon. Member dealt with it as if it were an answer to the point that this was a new Clause, and one which we had already dealt with. I will make the hon. Member a present of the point that we are only partially substituting benefits.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I have now dealt with one part of the Section which was permissive, and which said the rates may be altered by the society. Now I will deal 263 with the part which is made obligatory. Sub-section (2) provides that,The rates of sickness shall in all cases where the rate of sickness benefit or disablement benefit (as the case may be) exceeds two-thirds of the usual rate of wages or other remuneration earned by insured persons be reduced.My hon. Friend will see that in the one case it is made permissive, and in the other case it was optional. Originally as the Bill was introduced we had the power to do it in any case, and the only point upon which any discussion arose in Committee was that an objection was raised by the Labour party and in other quarters of the House to making it compulsory that in all cases of sickness where the rates exceeded two-thirds there should be this reduction. That was the objection raised, and the House will remember we came to the conclusion to alter "shall" to "may," and we made it permissive to the society to say that it might, if it liked, decide that not more than two-thirds of the benefits should be paid, and if it decided to take that course it should give additional benefits. It was explained by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that what had happend was that in the printed Bill the word "may" had dropped out. I am explaining what actually took place, and any hon. Member can refer to the OFFICIAL REPORT and see what was actually done. There was no objection raised to the permissive part, and that is the point of my observation. It is now said that this is a new Bill. What the Committee objected to was drawing a distinction between the two classes of cases, and saying where there was a question of the two-thirds in the one case that it should be obligatory and in the other case permissive. The view of the Committee was that it should be permissive in every case, and that was what we assented to. A few days ago, when there was a discussion on Clause 11, it was discovered that as it read it meant "may" in all cases where the rate of sickness does not exceed two-thirds. Then it was at once pointed out that must be put right. It is quite immaterial and really irrelevant to our discussion except that hon. Members are saying we are seeking to do something we never dreamt of before, that this is quite fresh, and that it is, in fact, a new Bill. The point of my argument is to show that when the Bill was introduced it had this provision, although it was not spelt out in as plain 264 terms as now. In consequence of many hon. Members saying they did not appreciate that was so when they read it in the first instance, we made it perfectly clear by introducing a new Clause.
Is it not a fact that under the original Bill "the partial substitution," which was the phrase the hon. Gentleman did not object to, could only take place after a valuation three years after the introduction of the Bill.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
Assume for a moment that Clause 29 so far limits Clause 9, then I understand my hon. Friend's point would be it could not be done at first, it could only be done after valuation. I do not agree; I do not think it is so. The words I have read are to my mind perfectly plain, and, if hon. Members will read them, there cannot be any doubt as to what is done by those words in Clause 9. It is really, however, quite immaterial to the point I am arguing. Even if the hon. Gentleman is right and it can only be done after the first valuation, then I still say he is not entitled to claim the Clause we are introducing in a new Bill, because his point is it would only come into operation after the last valuation. Therefore, we had it in already. I do not agree with his construction. It is not so, and it is not intended to be so. Does the hon. Member construe the provision that "the rates of sickness and disablement benefits when exceeding two-thirds should be reduced," as only coming into operation after a valuation?
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
What is the difference? My hon. Friend is a lawyer, and I am quite sure he will not argue it makes any difference to the construction or to the operation of time whether it is permissive or obligatory. Really, we always come back to this; we are only proceeding now to carry out the same principle upon which we started the Bill. I want now to come 265 to the further points raised during the course of the Debate. First of all, it seems to be assumed, for some reason which I am quite unable to fathom, particularly after the experience we have had and the inquiries we have made recently, that no domestic servant will require sickness benefit, but that domestic servants would prefer to give up sickness benefit in order to get some benefits deferred until they are over fifty or fifty-five years of age. I do not know on what ground hon. Gentlemen take that view. I should have thought, if there was one class which must get and must rely upon its sickness benefit, it was the domestic servant. It is all very well for hon. Members to take their own cases or to deal with the servant in a house in the West End, but, without travelling over the ground which has been discussed a good deal now on both sides, I do think I am entitled to bring to the notice of the House, particularly after the deputation the Chancellor of the Exchequer received this morning and what we both saw and heard there, that there are vast numbers of domestic servants throughout the country who have no provision of any sort for sickness unless they get it under this Bill.
I was myself very much struck by a question put by a lady speaking on behalf of domestic servants at the deputation. It brought this out very forcibly. After the Chancellor of the Exchequer had explained the various benefits that were put in the Bill, this lady said, "What we are concerned with, what is a very serious problem, and what we want to know is, what is to happen to a domestic servant who is turned out of the house in which she has been employed, who has no home to go to, who has no money, and who, therefore, has only got the 7s. 6d. per week and medical benefit upon which to rest during the time of her sickness?" No doubt the House has already seen the answer of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but I may venture to repeat it. It was, "Will she not be infinitely better off if she gets 7s. 6d. per week for twenty-six weeks and medical benefit with medical attendance, and also free medicine, than she is at the present moment, when she gets nothing, and may be turned into the streets?" The lady who put this question was one with a vast amount of experience. She came to the deputation, not as a supporter, or, as far as I knew, as a protestor, but for information, having spent her life doing what she could to befriend servants who were in distress or in difficulties.
266 The hon. Member for Hampstead (Mr. Fletcher) referred to this question of the illness of domestic servants, and found fault with the Chancellor of the Exchequer because of figures he gave within the last few days. I noticed with interest that, although he was not in a position to deny or dispute those figures and had to accept them, his only answer in reference to them was to say, "The Chancellor of the Exchequer says there are fifteen domestic servants in the workhouse infirmary of Hampstead. That is all he is able to point to in Hampstead, which is a large, a populous, and, no doubt, a wealthy place. It is a place in which the servants are well cared for and looked after." He entirely missed the point of the observation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It was not with reference to the number of servants in that particular district he quoted the figure; it was with reference to the percentage of persons who were domestic servants out of the occupants of the workhouse infirmary. His answer, when it was said there were no servants who got into these difficulties and found themselves in the workhouse infirmaries, was, "in this particular infirmary," amongst others which he quoted, out of thirty-three, fifteen of them were domestic servants, and he asked, if that was the proportion in the workhouse infirmaries, how it could be said that domestic servants were always taken care of and that we need not trouble ourselves about them. Indeed, if one listened to some of the arguments made, we should be quite justified in asking them to give contributions in order to help persons in other walks of life, because domestic servants are so extraordinarily well off and so extraordinarily well paid.
I do not go into the further arguments raised with reference to the agricultural labourer, because that question was discussed at considerable length in Committee. The hon. Member for the Wilton Division (Mr. C. Bathurst) has no doubt taken a very great interest, not only in the Insurance Bill generally, but more particularly in the case of the agricultural labourer, and he has undoubtedly put forward many valuable suggestions. He has asked us whether we shall be willing to take into account the possibility of a reduction of contributions in his case so as to deal with him in the case of a partial break-down. I will answer the hon. Member in one way which I think will give him satisfaction. We do intend, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer has indicated, to make provision by an Amendment in the 267 Schedule that a partial break-down shall be one of the "additional benefits" to be provided for under the Bill. I think there is justice in the criticism that the Schedule as it stands might not be sufficiently wide to carry a partial break-down, and therefore we will introduce words to make that quite clear, so that there shall be no doubt about it. It will be quite impossible for us to deal with a reduction of contributions. That is not one of the additional benefis, and never has been. The scheme of the Bill is that there shall not be a reduction of contributions, and there has been nothing put forward which will lead us to make any change.
A suggestion was made by the hon. Member for East Northampton (Mr. Chiozza Money) that there should be a list made specifying the class of persons who were to be included. I have an objection to lists. Sometimes you include persons who ought not to be there, and certainly sometimes you exclude persons who ought to be mentioned. It is far wiser to give a discretion to the body which is administering the Bill and which will hear everything that can be said. If you leave it to the Insurance Commissioners, they must take all into account, more especially if we accept an Amendment which may be moved, and which I think will deal with the points of criticism which have been raised on both sides of the House as to the wording of the Clause. There is no question with regard to the intention; we all mean the same thing, and that is that this Clause should only become operative under special circumstances. If there are special circumstances shown to the Commissioners which justify in their opinion the substituting of other benefits for the benefits of sickness or disablement, then the Insurance Commissioners shall allow it, assuming, of course, they are satisfied it is an equivalent benefit. That is our intention, and that is what we think we have done.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
Will the hon. and learned Gentleman say what are the special conditions contemplated?
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I was going to do that. The special circumstances of a particular class, either various classes in a society, or it may be the special circumstances of a whole society. The Amendment provides for that. It says, in the new Clause we are now discussing, "The scheme shall apply either to all members of the society or to any specified class 268 thereof, or to any members of the society who may elect to come under the scheme, according as may be provided by the scheme." I say the object of that is to enable the societies to put forward schemes for particular classes in the society, and it allows the individual to elect whether he will come under one scheme or the other. It is not to allow an individual to make his own scheme; of course, that cannot be done, but it does give him the right to select. In case there should be any difficulty, I have already intimated that we should be quite willing to accept an Amendment which will make it plain that this should only apply in the special circumstances applicable to that Clause.
§ Mr. HARRY LAWSON
May I ask whether the Insurance Commissioners will lay their report on the Table of this House, so that this House may be seized of what they do?
§ Mr. HARRY LAWSON
But only annually, I understand. I want to know if there is to be a special report on the first steps which they take.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
There are provisions made with regard to regulations. This, however, is a matter which will have to be brought before them, and they will have to decide. Once a scheme is prepared by a society it will be submitted to the Insurance Commissioners. Assume that in a society there are a large number of domestic servants who have become members. Assume, again, that those domestic servants prefer not to have sickness benefits, but to take some other benefit, say pension or superannuation. A scheme will have to be prepared and placed before the Insurance Commissioners, who will consider whether an equivalent has been given in the substituted benefit. If they think it has, then they may feel justified in passing the scheme, and in that event the scheme will take effect. But they will have to decide on that point. It is not like a case of making regulations or special orders which have to lie on the Table of the House.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I do not suppose the hon. Member means that every society's scheme placed before the Insurance Commissioners is to be laid on the Table of the House. The Commissioners are not going to divide up into classes the various persons insured. I do not know whether I have made clear my point. The question rather suggests to me that we are rather following out the plan of Germany where there is, no doubt, classification. But that is not the idea at all. This is merely the view of the society, and effect is to be given to it by submitting it to the Insurance Commissioners. I know there are various other matters to be referred to on Amendments to come later on, and I will therefore not deal with those now.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
Can we have something about the finance? Is there anything in the point raised as to the time when the contribution is payable?
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
That is a question the societies will solve for themselves. If you defer the payment for pensions, of course you are not paying benefits at the present time. You will be paying them in the future. I understood it was on the assumption that if everybody chose to take advantage of this scheme, and to say, "we will have no sickness or disablement benefit," it would be, after all, a matter of calculation. No one thinks for a moment that the friendly societies or the trade unions are going to say, "We will have nothing whatever to do with the sickness or disablement benefit, and will only produce a scheme which gives pensions." I do not think that is a practical question. I agree you will have a limited operation of this particular Clause, and in so far as you limit it to pensions, assuming it is limited to pensions, it would be operative, but only assuming that persons get the proper benefit or the actuarial equivalent which is granted under the Bill. The Insurance Commissioners will have to be satisfied as to that.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
Do we understand that the benefit is going to be a real now or only deferred? Is the individual who is to receive the substituted benefit to get a deferred benefit, and is he to get the State's two-ninths benefit, or only the benefit based on the society's contributions. That makes a great difference to the insurers.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I quite appreciate the point. But the Insurance Commissioners have to be satisfied that there is an actuarial equivalent of what is going to be given under the scheme, and that it is not only the contribution of the employer, but also the two-ninths benefit which is to be paid by the State. The Insurance Commissioners have to be satisfied that whatever it is that is given is an actuarial equivalent. It is merely a question of calculating what that equivalent is.
§ Mr. W. E. HORNE
Who is going to decide whether it is a special or an exceptional case? Is it to be the insurers or the approved society?
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
Of course, that will have to be determined by the Insurance Commissioners. They have to be satisfied that there are special circumstances which justify them in accepting such a scheme, and unless they are so satisfied they cannot part with it.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The scheme cannot come into operation until the Insurance Commissioners are satisfied that there are special circumstances to justify it. Then the individual member who is going to become a member may elect whether he or she will go into the scheme or come in under some other scheme.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
What will happen will be this. A society may consist of 100,000 members. There may be one particular class of members in that society to whom the sickness benefit will not be of any considerable value. Assume that you have 5,000 memibers—domestic servants if you like—who hold that opinion. The society says in respect of those persons, "We would like to have a scheme and there are special circumstances which affect these domestic servants." That scheme has to be put before the Insurance Commissioners. They come to the conclusion that there are such special circumstances in regard to this particular class, and they therefore agree to pass a 271 scheme applicable to that class. Then the approved society will have what I may call "Scheme A," and it will also have a general scheme. The domestic servant who is either a member or who subsequently becomes a member will have a right to say either that she will be a member under "Scheme A," or, if she prefers it, she will remain under the general scheme. She will be able to exercise her option in the matter.
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
I totally disagree with the view of the Attorney-General. It seems to me that Clause 9, Sub-section (2), has nothing on earth to do with the scheme now under consideration. Sub-section (2) is reproduced in Clause 11. Both, indeed, deal with the same thing. They deal with the cases in which the advantages to be derived under the Bill exceed two-thirds of the wages. This Clause provides for a limited class. It has no operation at all except in the case where a disabled man would receive more than two-thirds of his wages.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I think if the hon. Member will read Clause 9 as it appeared in the original Bill he will come to the conclusion that the present Clause provides that what should have been done under the former Clause will also have to be done under this Clause.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
I quite agree that both Clauses deal with the same class of cases. But this only applies to a particular class, and it would enable, under specific circumstances, and under those circumstances only, a reduction to be made in the benefits. It does not pretend to do away with the disablement benefit altogether and to substitute something else, but under this Clause you are providing something totally new that is not touched by Clause 9, Sub-section (2). This seems really to vitally touch the question whether it is a good or a bad scheme. The scheme, as it stands, is that any approved society may submit a scheme to the Insurance Commissioners and that scheme will allow the total substitution of pensions for other benefits. If it is a good scheme, why is it to be limited to Members of approved societies? A great number of these domestic servants do not belong to approved societies, and cannot belong to them. If it is a good scheme, why not give to any assured person the option of determining whether he will take the one advantage or the other? 272 If it is good at all, it is good for those who are not in approved societies just as much as for those who are. I suggest to the Government that, if they press the Clause to a logical conclusion, if it is good for one it is good for all. I can see no actuarial reason or any practical working reason why they should not give to every assured person the option of coming under this scheme or not. Let the scheme be framed, if you like, for a district, or for a trade, but having got your scheme approved, if it is a real advantage, why deny it to a person who does not happen to be a member of an approved society? If it is right so to depart from the original proposal of the Bill and to turn it into a scheme which will provide old age pensions or a superannuation fund, it is good for all, and should be open for all, and should not be confined to members of approved societies.
I would make one further suggestion. If the scheme is going to be operative, whether confined to members of approved societies or open to all, do not the Government think they can somewhat enlarge the advantages set out in part 2 of Schedule IV., and, particularly, to include in it what the poor people very much appreciate and what the friendly societies give them at the present time, what this Bill in no way gives them, namely, the money to meet the funeral expenses of those who are dependent upon them? Every friendly society of any importance provides as an equivalent to the subscription of its member a certain sum to meet the funeral expenses of his wife, and generally there is also a certain sum paid to his family when he dies to meet his own funeral expenses. The payment of funeral expenses is a matter in which these people take legitimate pride. They hate to have those near and dear to them buried at the expense of the parish. One of the most appreciated advantages under the friendly societies is, that there should be some payment of that kind. If you are going to substitute for the sickness benefit some choice under this Schedule, I think you should enlarge it in the direction I have indicated.
§ Mr. RUPERT GWYNNE
If even half the time which has been spent by the Government in trying to prove that this Clause was really embodied in the Bill, as originally drafted, had been devoted to giving us information as to the financial aspects of this new Clause, the House would have been in a much more advantageous position. If this Clause really was embodied 273 in the original Bill, why have we had this new Clause put before us? If the provisions of this new Clause were provided for in the original Bill it is certainly clear that hon. Members did not fully realise what the Bill was when it went through Committee. No Member who has spoken, except those from the Government Benches, has shown that he was aware of these provisions. The hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Booth), after he had done with making an unfounded accusation against the Noble Lord (Viscount Helmsley), challenged us on these benches to say what our real views were with regard to this new Clause. It is only fair, before asking us our views, that we should have a certain amount of information from the Government, which they have certainly failed to give us. The Chancellor of the Exchequer apparently goes to a deputation and tries to get over their opposition to this Bill by saying, "I will give you the advantage of alternative benefits." Then he comes back to the House, a few hours afterwards, and says that they need not be alternative benefits at all, because it depends entirely upon what the Insurance Commissioners may determine. It is necessary for us to know what powers the Insurance Commissioners are to be able to exercise under certain conditions, and also if the domestic servants can have the choice of these alternative benefits. At present that has not been made clear to us at all.
If these alternative benefits are to be enforced we should be able to get some information from the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Attorney-General as to what are the views of other persons concerned in this Clause. Take, for instance, the doctors. It is likely that this Clause may bring about a great deal of fresh friction with them, because if insured persons are able to make a choice as to whether they should have sick benefits and medical attendance, or whether they should have a pension, it is quite likely—indeed, it is only natural—that those who enjoy good health and have good lives should go for a pension, while invariably it would be those who have bad lives and who are unhealthy who will wish to have medical benefit and sick pay. The result of that would be that the doctors will be called upon to contract for all unhealthy lives, and they will not get the benefit of the yearly sum for the good lives, and, therefore, the chances are that the sum which they may demand for doctoring those who are left will be considerably higher 274 than at present. That would alter the actuarial calculations in the Bill. Then there is the case of the employer with one servant. The Chancellor of the Exchequer told us that the majority of servants were employed by those who employed only one servant. The Chancellor of the Exchequer admitted that the tax on the very small employer, such as a lodging-house keeper, was a very heavy one, but he said they would get back certain benefits, because they would have improved health. If the choice is given, and certain domestic servants choose that a pension instead of sick benefit, there can possibly be no advantage to the small employer. At any rate, I think we should have some fuller information on that subject, and that it should not be brushed aside without any discussion at all. The whole question is a very large one, and we on this side of the House would welcome any scheme by which some choice is given to those who may be compelled to come under its operation, but before we vote on this very large Amendment we should be given time to consider it, and also have some fuller information. There is also the case of the Post Office depositors. It is admittedly a hard one. We ought to be told why they are not to have any choice in this matter at all. I cannot see why agricultural labourers, who will be forced into the Post Office, should not have a choice as to their benefits. Can the Attorney-General tell us why the Government exclude them from the operation of this Clause? They are the poorest class, and if they are paying into the Post Office they should have an equal choice with others as to the benefits.
§ Mr. AMERY
I do not wish to traverse again the ground covered by my hon. Friend as to how far this new Bill was implied in Sub-section (2) of Clause 9. But even if it were implied, and only wants to be made clear, as the Attorney-General declares, is this the only method and time for making it clear? Could it not have been made clear in all the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman responsible for this Bill? So little was it surmised that actually no questions were asked upon it. I remember that within the last few days I asked a question to elucidate whether partial disablement benefit might be given under the Bill, and the right hon. Gentleman, in his answer, clearly indicated that it ought not to be given. If it is clearly intended to give it now, ought it not to have been submitted to the actuaries for them to base their calculations upon it? Take the case 275 of the administrative expenses. These alternative benefits will add to them. Did the actuaries allow for that? Take the case of the two-ninths' contribution. That two-ninths is in any case a preposterous form of giving the State contribution, and it is only given because of the desire of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to have the credit of paying 2d. when he is not going to pay ¾d. As the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Worthington-Evans) pointed out, if this Clause is taken advantage of to any great extent, then the Chancellor of the Exchequer's contribution is going to be still further reduced—it will be perhaps a ½d. and perhaps even less than that, but the credit of giving 2d. is going to be claimed throughout the country by a Government which is not contracting to give anything corresponding to it.
The Attorney-General says this Clause refers to a limited class, and he points out that the Insurance Commissioners, who will have unlimited powers under this Clause and other Clauses, are to have the discretion of saying whether the society's scheme meets the views of the members of that society. But once the society has that scheme sanctioned, any member of that society may elect to come under it. The scheme may have been consented to by the Insurance Commissioners with regard to agriculturists or servant maids, but there is nothing to prevent any or every class of person coming into that society and taking advantage of it. We have been asked what are our real views on the matter. We say that this is a reluctant and belated acceptance of the principle we have urged from the beginning, namely, of giving a valuable alternative benefit, which was rejected whenever we urged it and treated as preposterous. When we urged that the alternative benefit should be one substantial benefit, the benefit of partial disablement, which in Germany is called invalidity, it was refused. That particular benefit would have been of value to the employers who have to contribute under this Bill. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, unwilling to accept the really useful alternative which we suggested, scouted it as preposterous, but, having discovered the bud from which the fullblown rose comes in Clause 9, he now gives as alternative benefits the various additional benefits in the Schedule. These benefits were not intended for that kind of purpose. They were small supplementaries, 276 for instance the giving of grants to impoverished members, and the giving to a limited extent from the surplus fund the age pension a little earlier than the ordinary age pension, but to transfer these bodily and make them ordinary substantive benefits is entirely to destroy the meaning and purpose of the Bill. This is a Bill under which, barring the unlimited powers of the Insurance Commissioners, a society can constitute itself a poor relief society, or a purely old age pension society. That was not the scheme. Invalidity insurance was promised from the first. When it was not in the Bill, the Chancellor of the Exchequer continually told the people that it was in the Bill, and led us to believe that invalidity benefit was given. Now, under pressure, by a belated Amendment in the Fourth Schedule, it is newly brought in. Several of the additional benefits are, I submit, not desirable as alternative benefits, and it would be far better to limit the alternative benefits and then you can also limit the unlimited powers at present given to the Insurance Commissioners. I have submitted an Amendment which would prevent the Insurance Commissioners rejecting any scheme except on the grounds of financial inadequacy. I think that is the right way of dealing with it, to restrict the powers of the Insurance Commissioners, and at the same time to restrict the alternative benefits to such benefits as will be really useful to largo classes of the community.
One other point in regard to the benefits which are to be exempted. I agree entirely with the hon. Member (Mr. Worthington-Evans) that the maternity benefit is not one which should be exempted. Maternity benefit and sanatorium benefit are the two things in the Bill which make for national health as distinct from the advantage of individuals. Medical benefit is not national. There are large classes of people who do not like contract doctoring—the better class artisan, the smaller clerks, and so on. If they like to have their own doctor, who may perhaps not be on the panel of doctors, why should not they be allowed to be exempted from medical benefit, and pay their own doctor? I believe in some cases people do give doctors a contract fee for themselves and their families, and such a case might very justly be exempted from the contract medical benefit under the Bill. What we have pressed for months and months was rejected, in spite of the offer to consider everything to 277 be brought forward in a friendly spirit, and now at the last moment, in deference to what is contemptuously called a Press campaign, they discover, somewhere tucked away in a Sub-section, something which gives them an excuse for entirely transforming the whole character of the Bill, the whole nature of its provisions, and its whole effect from the point of view of the employer, and from the point of view of the finances of the country.
§ Question, "That the Clause be read a second time," put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. G. LOCKER-LAMPSON
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the word "may" ["any approved society may submit"], and to insert instead thereof the words "shall, on the application of any of its members insured under this part of this Act."
I think under this Clause members of approved societies ought to have some little personal say as to whether they are to get the alternative benefit or not. Suppose you have an approved society with a very insignificant minority of insured persons who want to have an alternative benefit. It is quite possible that the society as a whole would not be willing to take their case into consideration, and in that case those persons ought to be able, if they can show good cause to the Insurance Commissioner, to receive the alternative benefits. No doubt it would lead to a great deal of extra administrative expense, and I think in that case their interests ought to be safeguarded by an Amendment of this sort.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The Government could not possibly accept this. The effect of it would be that one member of the Oddfellows Society, for example, could apply to have such a scheme made. Obviously the society could not be managed; it would be quite impossible to carry on its business if one or two members might present a scheme of this character to the Insurance Commissioners. It is left to the society, and, after all, it is a question for the society to determine for itself according to the views of its managers. There is no difficulty as regards any person who wishes to join a scheme of a particular character, because he can join a society in which there is such a scheme already in existence. If it is one of a very small class in the society it can hardly be suggested that the society could then make a scheme 278 and apply to the Insurance Commissioners. It is not meant to deal with the case of one, two, three, or four members. That would be putting an intolerable burden upon the society. I do not think the House would contemplate any such proceeding.
§ Mr. HARRY LAWSON
The Attorney-General has held up this Amendment to ridicule by the easy method of suggesting an extreme case, but there is another side to it. There is no doubt that, although there is no classification under the new Clause, the Insurance Commissioners will have to act on general principles. They would have to apply a common principle to all societies, and one would like to know what classes would be exempted from this Clause of the Bill, and will be specially selected for special treatment in regard to alternative benefit. But my point is that the minority may suffer very severely if the Government do not insist that on the demand of a certain proportion of the members an approved society shall have to suggest a scheme. Minorities must suffer, perhaps, but I do not know that they should be made to suffer by the legislation of this House in any approved society you might select.
Domestic servants, or hospital nurses, or any other class, would be a small minority of an approved society, and yet there is nothing to prevent the majority overruling them, and preventing a scheme being brought forward. The Attorney-General says they may transfer to another society, but they may lose benefits, not under the Bill for which they have contracted, or at any rate they may be put to serious inconvenience. They may not get, anyhow, the benefits of their choice, which do not come under this Bill. Ought that pressure to be exercised? Ought the Government not to consider the case of minorities, especially when they get away from the mere formulas of the Bill? They know perfectly well there are only certain classes which require the breakdown benefit or superannuation allowance or a real invalidity benefit. Therefore, although this may not be a practicable Amendment, I think the Attorney-General will see that in another place, if not here, some provision ought to be made to secure to minorities of approved societies the right of having a draft scheme submitted to Insurance Commissioners, such as will be found to provide the alternative the Government say ought to be provided in a certain class of cases.
§ Amendment negatived.279
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I beg to move to omit the words "mentioned in part 2 of the Fourth Schedule to this Act."
These words are redundant. As a matter of fact in Clause 10 additional benefits are defined as the further benefits mentioned in part 2 of the Fourth Schedule to this Act.
I think this Amendment may have another point of importance. The additional benefits referred to in the Schedule are, as the other part of the Bill stands, only to be given when a surplus is shown. The surplus can only be shown on valuation and the valuation only takes place in three years' time. By defining the additional benefits in this way, does it mean that this substituted scheme can only come into operation in three years' time or that it can come into immediate operation? I am anxious that it should come into immediate operation. I am not sure that by using the words "additional benefits mentioned in part 2 of the Fourth Schedule" you have not brought into effect the definition Clause, which brings also into effect the valuation Clause.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I think it belongs to the same point. The point of the hon. Member (Mr. C. Bathurst) is that these words are in themselves defined by Clause 10. The point of the hon. Member (Mr. Worthington-Evans) is that Clause 10 defines them in a particular way, and all we are saying in reference to it is that we do not want the addition "in part 2 of the Fourth Schedule," because they are already defined. What it does is to define in the category of benefits what are additional benefits. I do not think any condition is imposed. I do not think there is any difficulty in regard to it. This will apply at once.
§ Amendment agreed to.
I beg to move, after the word "Act" ["fourth Schedule to this Act"], to insert the words "or any other benefits approved by the Insurance Commissioners."
The effect of the Amendment is that in addition to the additional benefits 280 permitted to be substituted there shall be permitted to be substituted any other benefits approved by the Insurance Commissioners. I think it is unwise to limit the substituted benefits. If you are going to give power to the Insurance Commissioners to approve schemes you may as well give them the power to permit all other substituted benefits if in the course of working out the scheme it should be found desirable to go beyond the list of additional benefits in part 2 of the Schedule.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
This is in direct contradiction to the point taken by two hon. Members at the beginning of the sitting today. Under such an Amendment all sorts of benefits might be introduced which are not mentioned in the Bill at all. I am very doubtful about the Amendment. I should like to hear what the Attorney-General has to say about it.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
If I understand this Amendment aright it is to enable any approved society to submit a scheme to substitute for the "additional benefits" mentioned in part 2 of the Fourth Schedule any other benefits approved by the Insurance Commissioners. I do think that raises the question of introducing benefits which have never been mentioned in connection with the Bill at all. After hearing what has been said by the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Worthington-Evans), I think the words as they appear on the Paper would open the door of this Bill very wide indeed, and would enable the Commissioners to introduce benefits which have never been mentioned during our discussions.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
At the commencement of sitting to-day there was a discussion on the "additional benefits" which might be given, because they were already in the Schedule of the Bill. The House, by passing the Second Reading of the Bill containing the Schedule, sanctioned these additional benefits being included. But this Amendment is altogether too vague.
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "and maternity" ["disablement benefit and maternity benefit"], and to insert instead thereof the words "and medical." I can explain this Amendment without repeating the arguments already 281 used on the Second Reading. The Chancellor of the Exchequer's new Clause provides for substituting certain benefits for sickness benefit, disablement benefit, and maternity benefit.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
May I ask the hon. Gentleman to move to leave out the words "and maternity" without moving to insert the words "and medical"?
I have no objection to accept the suggestion, and I move to leave out the word "maternity." Presently I shall wish to move to insert the words "and medical." I can quite understand that there may be a difference of opinion in the Committee on the subject. They might agree to leave out the word "maternity," and not to insert the word "medical." The Committee ought to understand that this is itself an exemption, and the proposal to leave out the word "maternity" is with the object of making "maternity" one of the compulsory benefits. It is not a proposal to leave "maternity" out of the Bill. On the contrary, my desire is that maternity benefit, like sanatorium benefit, ought to be at all hazards kept in the Bill, and that no one should have the opportunity of depriving herself and child of the benefits to be derived from maternity benefit.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The Chancellor of the Exchequer indicated earlier in the Debate that there is much to be said in favour of this Amendment. We have ourselves, when discussing this question, allowed an extended period of arrears for maternity benefit, sickness benefit, and sanatorium benefit. There we extended the arrears which were allowable from thirteen weeks to twenty-six weeks. I do feel, speaking on behalf of the Government, that it is very desirable we should not allow any scheme to be made which would take out of the benefits maternity benefit as one of those for which substitution could be made, and therefore I propose to accept the Amendment.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I admit that in discussing this matter I labour under great disadvantage, not having had the advantage of hearing all that the Attorney-General had to say in the earlier stages. I want to ask a question: If I understand the Bill, maternity benefit is not allowed in the case of a woman and a man if they 282 are both insured persons. That is to say, there is not double maternity benefit paid to both man and wife.
§ Amendment agreed to.
I beg to move to insert the words "and medical" in place of the words "and maternity," which the Committee has agreed to leave out. This I understand is not going to receive the same ready acceptance from the Government as the previous Amendment, and, therefore, I must address the Committee at greater length upon it. As this Clause now stands a man or a woman, through an approved society, can say, "I do not want sickness benefit as provided in the Bill, I do not want disablement benefit as provided in the Bill. I prefer to have benefit in the form of superannuation for real infirmity on the German principle." I want to go further and enable him to say, "I do not want medical benefit, and I want the 1½d. which would otherwise be charged to me weekly in respect of medical benefit to be applied to another benefit I much prefer." The Chancellor of the Exchequer has indicated that this Clause is not to have the wide effect which it would appear to have as it stands on the Paper, namely, to include every person who may come into the scheme. He is going by some Amendment to give power to the Insurance Commissioners to say to whom it shall actually apply. Let me take the case of nurses in hospitals. Is it fair to charge nurses 1½d. a week for medical treatment when they have within their own doors all the medical treatment they want. This Bill is bound to be unpopular if you insist on people paying for what they obviously do not want. That is relatively a small class, but it numbers between 70,000 and 90,000 people, and it is a class worth considering. Domestic servants in large numbers, apart from anything in this Bill, will be provided with medical benefit by their employers. It was said from the Front Bench that this would not be fair to mistresses. Surely that is not an argument which, at any rate, in a large number of cases need concern us very much, because it is in the hands of the mistresses after all either to take or not to take a servant insured in the form I am suggesting. If a mistress wants 283 only a servant who is already insured for cheap medical treatment, there is no difficulty. She can make her own selection. I do not think there is much stress to be put on that point. I do not think it is right that the million of the servant class who already get medical treatment should be made to pay 1£d. a week for what they do not want. In the case of the clerk class, a large number are already provided with medical treatment through the companies or the banks to which they are attached, and to that large class the option ought to be given of not being asked to pay 1½d. a week for benefit which they do not require. In the case of highly paid artisans, it is common knowledge that a large number are entitled through trade unions, friendly societies, or sick clubs, to go to the society or club doctor, but instead of doing so they willingly pay their fees to their own doctors. To that class why should not the option be given of saving 1½d. a week for medical benefit which they do not require in order to apply it to another benefit which they do require? The Government would be wise to accept this. At present this Bill is none too popular with the medical profession. If this Amendment were accepted, a large number of extra people would be left to choose their own doctor, not upon contract terms, but upon terms which they might arrange with the doctor. The great grievance of the medical profession—and it is a very real one—is that the number of people who are coming under contract practice is going to be enormously increased by the Bill. Well, here is a means of giving a chance to between 1,000,000 and 2,000,000 not to come upon contract terms, but to employ their own doctors. I suggest that they should be given the option of saying whether they will for the 1½d. a week have medical treatment, or whether they will have that money applied to benefits which they would choose in preference.
§ Mr. HARRY LAWSON
I beg to second the Amendment. I do not think the Government can reasonably resist this proposal. It necessarily follows from the breaking down of the rigid barriers of the Bill as is done by this Clause. I do not wish to go over again the ground which was admirably covered by my hon. Friend in favour of giving greater freedom of choice to different classes of people. The Government would do away with much of the objection raised on the 284 part of domestic servants if they accepted this Amendment. I would point out as a reason in support of it is that they do not alter the hospital system by the Bill. It is quite certain that a great number of insured persons will go to hospitals for treatment, especially if they have any serious illness, and they must go there if they require an operation. This would allow greater freedom to them in their choice in the matter, and would interfere less with the hospital system than would otherwise be the case. I believe myself that there is at least as good a case to be made out for this as the other exception. I rather wish the Chancellor of the Exchequer was here to decide for himself. I do not know whether the Attorney-General has been instructed on the matter. I think the arguments for the Amendment are overwhelming, and it would really do away to a large extent with the objections which have been raised in respect of domestic servants and other classes who are in protest against this Clause. The scheme might derive great benefit from the elasticity it would give. You are making the Bill elastic as it is, and now that you have set aside all the old lines, surely in this you should make the Clause elastic too. Therefore, I hope, looking at the position of the hospitals in relation to the Bill especially, and having regard to the different classes who are raising objections to the Clause, the Attorney-General will see his way to accept the Amendment.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I think this Amendment is very much in the same position as the one which we have just discussed. As was pointed out when the hon. Member for Colchester moved his Amendment we have had to treat the maternity benefit, the sanatorium benefit, and the medical benefit apart from the others. We extended the time of arrears during which there would be no suspension of benefit in committee for the reason that we were dealing with those three matters as something quite apart from the rest of the Bill. Indeed, what it comes to is that in respect of these three benefits we are dealing with the public health. What we are desirous of doing is, first, that the person should have this benefit for maternity, which the House has agreed should not in any circumstances be abolished or reduced. In the same way we say we want the sanatorium benefit, which is not challenged, because there is no Amendment to introduce sanatorium benefit into this 285 class. With regard to medical benefit we say it is the same as the others. You must take all three together. They represent the provision being made under this Bill for the public health.
The House will bear in mind that over and over again throughout this Bill we have made provision with regard to medical benefit, which we have not made with regard to any other, and we have taken care that medical benefit should not be disturbed, and that whatever penalties may be incurred, medical benefit should not be allowed to lapse. Under those circumstances, when the Committee expressed its view in that way, and that we have decided that medical benefit in all circumstances should continue, we think it would be undersiable in the highest degree that we should introduce any provision here which would enable any scheme to be prepared which would abolish or reduce the medical benefit. During the whole of this discussion with regard to domestic servants, it was pointed out that medical benefit will be given to servants, and that the mistress who pays her contribution will get the advantage of that medical attendance under the Bill. She gets the benefit as well as the servant. The proposal now to alter it would make a completely new scheme with regard to domestic servants. We were twitted with having made our scheme too large and too elastic, but the hon. Member's argument just now is that having already said, as we have, that we would accept words which would limit the operation of this Clause, we should introduce words which will make the scheme much more elastic and much wider in its operations.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
In certain classes, I agree. But what we do not desire is any abolition or reduction of medical benefit. We think that that ought to be retained, and if you introduce any reduction of medical benefit it would very much interfere with the whole scheme of the Bill. I doubt very much whether hon. Members who are supporting this have gone through the Bill and observed how carefully we have, over and over again, safeguarded the medical benefit for persons who may be in arrears or may have even misconducted themselves. We preserved the medical benefit for them so that they may have the advantage at any rate of 286 being attended during ill-health. I hope, therefore, that the House will not accept the Amendment.
§ Colonel BURN
I rise to mention another class who I think would come under the operation of this Amendment. I refer to the employés of convalescent homes. A convalescent home is run almost entirely by private charity, and the employés working indoors and outdoors for that home are paid certain wages. In these wages is included voluntary medical attendance of the medical officers who give their services to the institution. Therefore, if these people have to pay for the medical benefits which they get free at present I think it would be a great hardship on them. We know that those convalescent homes are run with a considerable amount of difficulty, and find it very hard to make both ends meet, and I think I am expressing the views of those who are concerned in the running of these convalescent homes when I say that it is a great hardship if these people are not allowed to have an alternative instead of paying for medical benefit. I hope that the Attorney-General will see his way to meet this case.
§ Sir T. WHITTAKER
I think that there is a great danger in accepting this Amendment, from one point of view, that has not been hitherto mentioned. Unless the medical men who are working under this Act attend very largely, if not entirely, the assured persons, you will lose your check on malingering. Under the Clause as it stands with the Amendment which the hon. Member proposes, it would be quite possible to retain the sickness benefit and abolish the medical benefit. That would be a very great danger indeed. We shall rely very largely upon the medical men to check malingering, but if the assured person can draw the sick benefit and yet not be liable to the reports and supervision of the medical men who are working under the scheme, then the check on malingering practically disappears. Of course, hard cases can be made out. There is an old saying that hard cases make bad law, and, if we are to make continual alterations to meet hard cases here and there, we shall run very great risk of interfering with the working of the measure.
§ Mr. CAVE
I do not think there is very much in the objection that some societies while abolishing medical benefits in certain cases would retain sickness benefit. I do not think, with great respect, that that is 287 likely to occur. The point that has been made with regard to domestic servants and others is that they get treatment in sickness already, and therefore they do not require medical or sickness benefit. If you are going to meet that point you must accept in principle this Amendment, that is, you must let them take something which they do want in lieu of those things which they say with great emphasis they do not want. You do not meet that point unless you accept this Amendment, unless you enable them to say, "We do not need medical benefit; it is very expensive to us; we need something else a great deal more." The main point is, I think, that if you are going to meet the objections to the Bill of certain classes, you must give them what they want more than any benefits under the Bill.
I feel certain that most domestic servants and some other people, want, above all things, a pension on their retirement from work. If you only give power to give a pension in lieu, say, of sickness and disablement benefit, it will be a very
§ small pension;, while if you enable the Commissioners to allow it to be given in lieu of all the three benefits it may be, perhaps, twice as large. So unless you accept this you are getting a very small boon for this class; while if you do accept it, you will give these people, in lieu of the three things they say they do not want, the very thing which they say they do want, and which, I believe, the majority of them do want. I do not say that without having enquired into a vast number of cases. I do think if you ask these people most of them will say, "We do not want your treatment; what we want to look forward to is some pension at some future time when the end of our service comes." If you accept this you give them the assurance of getting a pension of a substantial sum on retirement. If you refuse this they can get nothing but a very small pension.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 95; Noes, 209.289
|Division No. 407.]||AYES.||[7.55 p.m.|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Astor, Waldorf||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Col. J.||Grant, J. A.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Baird, J. L.||Gretton, John||Royds, Edmund|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Hall, C. B. (Isle of Wight)||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Harris, Henry Percy||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Helmsley, Viscount||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Bathurst, Charles Wilton||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Boyton, James||Horne, E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Horner, Andrew Long||Stewart, Gershom|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Swift, Rigby|
|Campion, W. R.||Hunt, Rowland||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Ingleby, Holcombe||Terrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Cassel, Felix||Larmor, Sir J.||Thomson, W. Mitchell (Down, N.)|
|Cator, John||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Cave, George||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Touche, George Alexander|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Croft, Henry Page||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Duke, Henry Edward||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Malcolm, Ian||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Fell, Arthur||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Newdegate, F. A.||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Fleming, Valentine||Nield, Herbert||Younger, Sir George|
|Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Forster, Henry William||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Gardner, Ernest||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Amery and Mr. Hume-Williams.|
|Gilmour, Captain John||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Goldman, C. S.||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Barnes, G. N.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Anderson, Andrew Macbeth||Barran, Sir J. (Hawick)|
|Adamson, William||Armitage, R.||Barton, W.|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts, St. George)|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Bentham, G. J.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Boland, John Pius|
|Allen, A. A. (Dumbartonshire)||Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Booth, Frederick Handel|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Helme, Norval Watson||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Henry, Sir Charles S.||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)||Higham, John Sharp||Pointer, Joseph|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Hinds, John||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Hodge, John||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Cameron, Robert||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Illingworth, Percy H.||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Radford, G. H.|
|Clynes, J. R.||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||John, Edward Thomas||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Johnson, W.||Reddy, Michael|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Cotton, William Francis||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Jowett, F. W.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Davies, E. William (Eifion)||Joyce, Michael||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Keating, M.||Robinson, Sidney|
|Dawes, J. A.||Kellaway, Frederick George||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|De Forest, Baron||Kemp, Sir G.||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Kilbride, Denis||Rowlands, James|
|Doris, W.||King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Lansbury, George||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rid, Cockerm'th)||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Lewis, John Herbert||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Lundon, T.||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Essex, Richard Walter||Lynch, A. A.||Sheeny, David|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Shortt, Edward|
|Ferens, T. R.||Macpherson, James Ian||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Field, William||M'Callum, John M.||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|France, G. A.||M'Curdy, C. A.||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Gelder, Sir W. A.||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Summers, James Woolley|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Gill, A. H.||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Tennant, Harold John|
|Glanville, H. J.||Masterman, C. F. G.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Goldstone, Frank||Menzies, Sir Walter||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Millar, James Duncan||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Mond, Sir Alfred M.||Wardle, George J.|
|Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Webb, H.|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Mooney, J. J.||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Hancock, J. G.||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Munro, R.||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Murray, Captain Hon. A. C.||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Warmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Warcs., N.)|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Needham, Christopher T.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Neilson, Francis||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Nolan, Joseph||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Norman, Sir Henry||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Haworth, Sir Arthur A.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Gulland and Mr. Dudley Ward.|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Grady, James|
|Hayward, Evan||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
§ Mr. GARDNER
I beg to move, in Subsection (3), after "shall," to leave out the words "not have any effect unless and until confirmed by the Insurance Commissioners, and the Insurance Commissioners shall not confirm any such scheme unless satisfied," and insert instead thereof the words "be confirmed by the Insurance Commissioners upon its being shown to their satisfaction." The Clause would then read," A scheme made under this Section shall be confirmed by the Insurance Commissioners upon its being shown that the value of the additional benefits 290 conferred by the scheme is equivalent to the value of the benefits for which they are substituted."
There is nothing in the Sub-section which confers upon the Commissioners the power to say that the additional benefits conferred by the scheme shall be equivalent in value to the other benefits. I think there is no doubt very widespread repugnance among domestic servants to the provisions of this Bill, but the Clause may meet some of their objections, though I think we should make it as clear as possible that their objections are met. I move 291 this Amendment with the object of making as certain as possible that those affected by the Clause shall get what they want, and what I sincerely believe the Government desires to give them. The Subsection provides that the Commissioners shall not do this or that, but there is nothing to say that they should do anything at all, and I think they should be distinctly directed that those who desire what this Sub-section provides should get it, and it should not be left so largely to the Commissioners themselves to say whether the scheme shall be adopted or not.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The Amendment proposed by the hon. Gentleman would have the effect of taking away from the Insurance Commissioners the discretion which it is proposed to give them, and make it obligatory upon them that they should be satisfied of the actuarial value of the benefits to be substituted in each case. That is quite contrary to the scheme which we have under the Bill, and which has been discussed many and many a time. You must leave the matter elastic in connection with the Commissioners, but if we accepted the words which the hon. Gentleman submits, the effect would be that the Commissioners must in every case be satisfied that the actuarial value of the substituted benefits is equivalent to the benefits in the Bill. On the other hand, we say that these matters ought to be dealt with by the Insurance Commissioners, and that they must exercise their discretion. Not only have they to be satisfied as to the actuarialy equivalent value, but they have also to have regard to the particular class in respect of whom they are to exercise their discretion. I would remind the hon. Gentleman and the House that in the earlier discussion of this Clause it was thought we were opening the door too wide. What the hon. Gentleman is proposing to do is to open it still wider. We wish to confine it within these limits, and he says, "No; it should be done in every case; the only test shall be whether we are giving an actuarial equivalent." We cannot accept the Amendment.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I beg to move, in Sub-section (3), after the word "satisfied" ["satisfied that the value of"], to 292 insert the words "after due consideration of the special requirements of the class or classes of an employed person affected thereby, and of the nature and conditions of their employment."
I have two consequential Amendments, later in the Sub-section. The Clause, as altered, would read, "A scheme under this Section shall not have any effect unless and until confirmed by the Insurance Commissioners, and the Insurance Commissioners shall not confirm any such scheme unless satisfied, after due consideration of the special requirements of the class or classes of employed persons affected thereby, and of the nature and conditions of their employment, that the value to such persons of the additional benefits conferred by the scheme is equivalent to the value to them of the benefits for which they are substituted."
The main virtue of the proposal is contained in the words "value to them." The Attorney-General when he last addressed the House spoke of the Insurance Commissioners being satisfied as to the actuarial equivalent of the additional benefits to the benefits provided under the Bill. What I want to point out to the House is that it does not necessarily follow that additional benefits provided for in Schedule IV. are equivalent to the benefits provided under the Bill in the cases of persons affected by this Clause. For instance, in the case of an artisan I would suggest that there would be a different equivalent from what there will be, we will say, as between agricultural labourers, nurses, and domestic servants. That is to say, in every case the Insurance Commissioners should take into account the value of those particular benefits to the particular class of persons affected by the Clause. It is a very reasonable suggestion, and I do not think the Attorney-General will say that it in any way alters the purport of the Clause, but only makes it clear that they shall have regard to the particular class especially affected by the Clause, and which desires to take advantage of it. I have in my mind particularly, of course, the agricultural labourer. As I have already pointed out, the additional benefit the agricultural labourer will mainly desire is one which I described this evening as the breakdown benefit, the sort of benefit he would require at the age of sixty in case he fell a victim to rheumatic troubles, as is often the case with them. 293 Those are not the sort of benefits which the artisan would sooner have in preference to the ordinary sickness or disablement benefit, which would be of far more value to him than to the agricultural labourer.
§ Mr. HARRY LAWSON
I beg to second the Amendment. I do not think the Government can have any reasonable objection to the Amendment, as these words could not do harm and are likely to do good. You are setting above the House of Commons a board of bureaucrats under the name of Insurance Commissioners. They are going to determine great questions of policy, and it is just as well, at any rate, that instructions should be laid down in the Bill which will guide them. The Attorney-General knows very well how this Clause is going to act. You are going to have a circle within a circle in an approved society, and within that circle people of various avocations will be included. They may be as diverse as hospital nurses and agricultural labourers, and it may well be the case that they will be exceptional. Anyhow, they will be people of very different pursuits. Therefore the exact actuarial equivalent is not the true measure of the substituted value. I think that is perfectly plain. It is necessary under those circumstances that the Commissioners should weigh exactly the relative claims of the different classes who are to be segregated in the friendly societies from the general run of people and to have special benefits of their own. Surely the Attorney-General will see that, when we are giving such wide powers to those Commissioners, that a little wise advice on the part of the House of Commons will not be resented by them. Therefore I suggest that the Government might very well and ought to accept the words proposed by my hon. Friend.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I regret that I cannot see my way to accept this Amendment, particularly having regard to the dulcet tones of the proposer and the seconder. The difficulty is, in truth, that it would make it impossible to work. What the Insurance Commissioners have to be satisfied as to is the actuarial equivalent which is not the actuarial equivalent in value to a particular person. If X represents the value of the benefit under the scheme, and if you are proposing to substitute Y, what the Insurance Commissioners have to see is that lactuarialy benefit Y is the equivalent of benefit X. As I understand what is proposed by the hon. Gentleman, 294 the Insurance Commissioners would have to determine what is the actuarial value to the particular individual. Thus take the domestic servant. The Commissioners would have to determine what is the value of a groom, or a housekeeper, or what is called a "tweeny."
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
They would have to do it for every class of servant and every other class. What is meant is that supposing it is a superannuation scheme that that shall be actuarialy equivalent to the sickness benefit payable under the Bill.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I do not want to oust the actuarial calculations but to take these other calculations as well.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The hon. Member wants the actuarial equivalent calculated with regard to each individual.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
I desire to support this Amendment. I do not think the reasons given by the Attorney-General are sufficient to require my hon. Friend to withdraw the Amendment. The Attorney-General says that the test that is to be applied to all these cases is the actuarial test, and that only. I think there would be a great deal in that point if we had closely followed the actuarial basis throughout the Bill. But as time has gone on, the actuarial basis of the Bill has been receding farther and farther away. I doubt very much whether the scheme has been one which could be supported throughout by the actuaries. The Clause we are discussing deals with the power to vary the benefits in certain cases. On what sort of lines shall we vary them. Are we to be told that if this scheme is put before the Commissioners they will not sanction it, because already persons in the particular class are to receive some actuarial value that they are asking for in a different form. If we are to have real option, we want something more than is proposed, and my hon. Friend's Amendment gives us a real option, because it deals with the requirements of particular classes of persons employed. The Attorney-General disassociated the housekeeper from the 295 butler, and told us different considerations applied to the "tweeny." May I remind him that all those persons are domestic servants, and would fall into that category, and would be equally outside the category of the artisan or skilled mechanic. I think it is fair to say that the Amendment means to deal particularly with the classes who are to be dealt with actuarialy under the Bill. The Attorney-General would not suggest that the occupation of domestic servants is what is called a hazardous trade, and the liability actuarialy in respect of them and the agricultural labourer is very different from what it is in certain industrial trades. Where we know there is an actuarial difference
§ let us apply what is a real practical test for the purpose of persons getting that benefit which they desire and ought to have. Is it in order to give them a real option that these words are proposed. We ought to have the value of the option considered not merely from the point of view of the actuaries, but also from the point of view of the benefits that would be of use to the particular class concerned. Inasmuch as the Amendment makes the option a real option, I shall support it.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 75; Noes, 193.297
|Division No. 408.]||AYES.||[8.26 p.m.|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Fleming, Valentine||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Astor, Waldorf||Forster, Henry William||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Col. J.||Gardner, Ernest||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Goldman, C. S.||Royds, Edmund|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwcn)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood||Grant, J. A.||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Gretton, John||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Helmsley, Viscount||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Boyton, James||Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Bridgeman, Wiliam Clive||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Campion, W. R.||Horne, W. E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Horner, Andrew Long||Swift, Rigby|
|Cassel, Felix||Houston, Robert Paterson||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Down, N.)|
|Cave, George||Hunt, Rowland||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Joynson-Hicks, William||Touche, George Alexander|
|Clyde, James Avon||Larmor, Sir J.||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Wheler, Granvilie C. H.|
|Croft, Henry Page||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Doughty, Sir George||Malcolm, Ian||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Nield, Herbert||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Fell, Arthur||Parkes, Ebenezer||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. C. Bathurst and Mr. Harry Lawson.|
|Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Byles, Sir William Pollard||Field, William|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||France, Gerald Ashburner|
|Adamson, William||Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Gelder, Sir W. A.|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Clynes, J. R.||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Gill, A. H.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Gladstone, W. G. C.|
|Allen, A. A. (Dumbartonshire)||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Glanville, H. J.|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford|
|Anderson, Andrew Macbeth||Cotton, William Francis||Goldstone, Frank|
|Armitage, R.||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Griffith, Ellis J.|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Crumley, Patrick||Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Davies, E. William (Eifion)||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Dawes, J. A.||Hancock, J. G.|
|Barnes, G. N.||De Forest, Baron||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)|
|Barran, Sir J. (Hawick)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Barton, W.||Donelan, Captain A.||Hardie, J. Keir|
|Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts, St. George)||Doris, W.||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)|
|Bentham, G. J.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Boland, John Pius||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Elverston, Sir Harold||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Essex, Richard Walter||Haworth, Sir Arthur A.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Esslemont, George Birnie||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Hayward, Evan|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfok, N.)||Ferens, T. R.||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Masterman, C. F. G.||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Henderson, John M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Henry, Sir Charles S.||Menzies, Sir Walter||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor||Millar, James Duncan||Rowlands, James|
|Higham, John Sharp||Mond, Sir Alfred M.||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Hinds, John||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Hodge, John||Mooney, J. J.||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Munro, R.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||Nanneti, Joseph P.||Scanlan, Thomas|
|John, Edward Thomas||Needham, Christopher T.||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.|
|Johnson, W.||Nolan, Joseph||Sheehy, David|
|Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Norman, Sir Henry||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Shortt, Edward|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Joyce, Michael||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Keating, M.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Kellaway, Frederick George||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Kemp, Sir George||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Kilbride, Denis||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Pointer, Joseph||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wardle, George J.|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Webb H.|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Pringle, William M. R.||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow Tradeston)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Radford, G. H.||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Raffan, peter Wilson||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Lundon, T.||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Lynch, A. A.||Reddy, Michael||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Redmond, William (Clare)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worn., N.)|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Rendall, Athelstan||Wilson, W. T. (West Houghton)|
|Macpherson, James Ian||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|M'Callum, John M.||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Young, William (Perth East)|
|M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Marks, Sir George||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Gulland and Mr. Dudley Ward.|
|Marshall, Arthur Harold||Robinson, Sidney|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Sir T. WHITTAKER
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (3) of the proposed new Clause, to insert the words,
"and that, in view of the special circumstances of the members intended to come under the scheme, there is good reason for substituting the additional benefits conferred by that scheme for the benefits for which they are substituted."
The object of this Amendment is to give effect to what was expressed during the discussion on the Second Reading of the Clause, which is intended to provide for special cases where the benefits provided in the Bill are not so suitable as others which the Insurance Commissioners might allow to be provided by the society. It is not intended by the Clause to give the Commissioners the opportunity of starting a fresh insurance scheme altogether on different lines, or of transforming a sickness insurance scheme into an old age pensions scheme. But there may be special cases where it is desirable to give substituted benefits and the object of the Amendment is to provide that the Commissioners shall do so only in such cases when it is shown that the benefits under the scheme will be more advantageous to the members concerned than the benefits under the Bill. After the discussion which took place earlier in the evening I do not think I need say more.
§ Mr. HARRY LAWSON
On a point of Order. May I ask whether the Amendment is not exactly the same as that which the House has just rejected?
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I think these words carry out the intention which the House has expressed. They are introduced by my right hon. Friend in consequence of the expression of opinion, not only from Members from this side of the House, but Members on the opposite side too, who desired that there should be some limiting words upon the general application of this Clause. As indicated during the course of discussion our view was—our intention certainly was—that this Clause should be limited to special circumstances. Consequently, as I intimated a while ago, an Amendment was to be moved, and I think this Amendment carries out our view. I do not know whether hon. Members have followed what the Amendment is. What my right hon. Friend makes perfectly clear is that the Insurance Commissioners must be satisfied that there is good reason for substituting the additional benefits conferred by the scheme for the 299 benefits for which they are substituted. That is quite a different thing, as I think my hon. Friend (Mr. Harry Lawson) will see from the point we were discussing just now on the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Wilton. These words give the Commissioners the opportunity to consider a scheme, and imposes upon them the obligation not to accept it unless they are satisfied that there is good reason in the particular case, having regard to the class of scheme which is put before them. I hope, therefore, that the House will see its way to accept this Amendment, which is an expression of the general sense of the House.
§ Mr. CAVE
I must say that I do not quite agree with what the learned Attorney-General has said. I have not heard the whole of the Debate to-day, but I know that a great many of us do not desire to cut down this Clause in the manner suggested. The effect of this Amendment is to seriously cut down the operation of this Clause, and you are doing it at the very last moment. This Clause stood on the Paper not long, but longer than most of the new Clauses of the Government, and longer than a great many of their Amendments have been before the House. Certainly it has been discussed in the country, and generally outside the House. A good many people understand the effect of this Clause to be that whole classes of people, such as clerks, and so on, "may," if the societies to which they belong support the idea, receive under the Bill additional benefits in lieu of the fixed benefits contained in the body of the Bill. Upon that footing a number of people have expressed themselves more or less satisfied with the concession that was made. Now at the very last moment the right hon. Gentleman, evidently with the sanction, or at all events the goodwill of the Government, gets up and moves a very material restriction in the Clause.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I would like to say, that to say "at the very last moment," is not doing justice to those concerned. The Debate to a large extent this afternoon turned upon this particular point. The hon. and learned Gentleman was not here. It being the view of hon. Members on both sides of the House, it certainly was our intention, that the Clause should be limited in its operation. As it was the wish of the House that there should be words of that kind introduced, my right 300 hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that he meant to accept an Amendment to that effect. It was, I distinctly thought, the general view of the House, after a good deal of discussion, that this Clause was acceptable to both sides, provided there were limiting words introduced, and the Clause was not of too wide operation—for it was pointed out that if the Clause was left of very wide operation the effect would be to enable those who desired to get rid of many of the provisions. As the hon. Member the Member for Colchester pointed out, if you could get everyone to agree, you could have a scheme varying the benefits under the Bill in such a manner as to substitute a pension scheme. We do not want that.
§ Mr. CAVE
Well, I did not hear so much of the Debate, but there are a good many of us who do not at all take the view put forward by the right hon. Gentleman. I think it is right that our view should be expressed. Just see what the effect of this particular Amendment is. It is that the Commissioners cannot sanction such a scheme as suggested unless they are satisfied that, in view of the special circumstances of the members coming under the scheme, there is good reason for the scheme. So the Commissioners must inquire into the special circumstances of the members who may come under the scheme. I should have thought that was the very thing the approved society would do before submitting its scheme. This Amendment means a great deal of inquiry. I am not sure that it does not mean inquiry into the position of each member who might come under the scheme. "Class" is not mentioned; and, even if it means a class, surely the society may be trusted to consider this matter before submitting a scheme at all.
I think it is a mistake to transfer that discretion which in the Clause is to be vested in the society to the Commissioners, a body having jurisdiction over the whole field. I quite agree that the Commissioners may approve or disapprove on broad lines, but surely it is exactly the details suggested which a society of business men should get together. We may assume without any words at all that the Commissioners will take into consideration every relevant circumstance brought to their notice. But why should you add to the Clause a disabling sentence—for that is what it is? It forbids the Commissioners to sanction a scheme, although on principle it appears to them right, until 301 they have inquired and satisfied themselves that the special circumstances of the members who come under it necessitate the scheme being introduced. This Clause brings a little commonsense and elasticity into the system of the Bill, and for that reason I do not want to cut it down. I think you are taking away from its good effects by words such as these in the Amendment. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not press it, as it appears to me to vitally alter and materially cut down the effect of this Clause.
§ Mr. G. THORNE
I must confess to a considerable amount of surprise at hearing what has fallen from the hon. Gentlemen opposite. Their complaint was that we were giving too much power to the Commissioners. This Clause, unamended, would give them absolute power, to all intents and purposes, to alter the whole Bill. We desire by this Amendment to limit, within the objects for which this Clause was originally put down, the powers of the Commissioners. We are bound to take into consideration the circumstances under which this Clause was introduced. It has been put down by reason of the representations made in respect of certain classes and circumstances from the other side, and if there was any doubt about that the marginal note to the Clause distinctly indicates the object of the Clause itself—that is, to vary the benefits in certain circumstances. The Amendment of my right hon. Friend is to limit the effect of this Clause to the particular cases the Government had in view when they put it down. I so understood it, and I entirely approved. We desire to effect a limit because we find there are many cases where the boons already provided by members in other ways were such that it was desirable that there should be some substitute provisions under the terms of the Bill. We want to make sure that every insured person shall have the benefits of sickness insurance and disability, but if by very special privileges, and exceptional conditions, these are already provided, then it is desirable they should have other substituted provisions that would add something in addition to what they already obtain. That is a reasonable and sensible object, and I very warmly support it. But I should be entirely opposed to the suggestion of the hon. and learned Member that the Commissioners, instead of having these limited powers that, we desire to give them should have the unlimited powers he desires to see possessed by 302 them of transforming the Bill into a different measure. I hope, therefore, especially in view of the long discussion we already had on the principle of this Amendment during the afternoon that it will be carried and accepted.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I am sorry I cannot altogether agree with the view just expressed, because, as it seems to me, this Amendment would strike a blow at the autonomy and self-government of the approved societies. In the course of the discussion this afternoon expressions of opinion were put forward to the effect that the scope of the Clause should be limited by the Clause itself. But no suggestion was made that it should be limited by the discretion of the Insurance Commissioners which is in effect suggested by this Amendment. You have already provided that these societies must be approved by the Insurance Commissioners. You say that an approved society shall be one whose constitution provides to the satisfaction of the Commissioners for its affairs being subjected to the absolute control of its members. Surely, having said that you should try to leave an approved society such proper powers which they would only exercise over their members, bearing in mind what is best for each of their members. They are best able to say how the scheme would affect their members and surely this Amendment strikes a severe blow at their own self-government and autonomy, which in another part of the Bill you take pains to give them in taking discretion from them and giving it to the Insurance Commissioners. To my mind this is a retrograde proposal, so far as approved societies are concerned, and I cannot therefore approve of the Amendment.
§ Mr. GRETTON
I wish to say a few words to enforce what has fallen from my colleagues on this side of the House. I am sure the Government are wrong in pressing this Amendment. If we wanted to wreck this Bill and make it unworkable we should only be too delighted to see limiting words put in. The Commissioners have no power to initiate a scheme. It is initiated by the approved societies who have to put forward what their members want and what would be of the greatest benefit to their members. The Commissioners within certain limits are to have the power to approve the scheme. This Amendment is intended to limit the discretion of the Commissioners to pass a scheme put before them for their approval. 303 It is a distinctly limiting Amendment. We agree this Clause is a great improvement to the Bill, and we should be sorry to see these limiting words put in. I hope the Government will not accept this Amendment the effect of which would be to limit the smooth working of this Bill and to cause great disappointment to those outside this House, who see in the Clause itself a great easing of their position, and who see in it day light where they saw nothing but dimness and darkness before. I trust the Government will not accept the Amendment, but will leave the Clause as it stands.
§ Mr. GARDNER
It appears to me this Amendment does not deal fairly with the class under consideration. The limiting powers the House discussed were limited to a certain class to be dealt with under this Amendment. This Amendment is an Amendment to increase the discretion of the Commissioners. Otherwise it is in the power of these Commissioners to take away everything that you ought to give to the class you want to benefit. It is desired to give to agricultural labourers or domestic servants the right to have optional benefits, but these options by this Amendment would in a great degree be taken away.
§ Mr. CAVE
May I make one suggestion which, I think, would bring us nearer to agreement, and it is this? I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, after the word "members," to add the words "or class of members." It will then read, "and that in view of the special circumstances of the members or class of members."
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I do not see any objection to that. It is really the object we have in view which is rather to provide for the case of a class of persons whose case would not be met by the minimum benefits under the Bill. I have always taken that view and I certainly accept this Amendment.
§ Amendment to proposed Amendment agreed to.
§ Question proposed, "That the proposed Clause, as amended, be added to the Bill."304
§ Mr. GOLDMAN
May I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to give us a little more information as to the strict application of this Clause. This is supposed to be a Conciliation Clause with regard to the class largely affected. The point I wish to raise is the case of a woman who, on marriage loses her insurance under Clause 41. That is to say, when a woman marries, one-third of her transfer value is carried to a woman's suspended account, and two-thirds of her benefits are transferred to a fund for benefits specified in Part III. How does this Clause affect this class of woman who is only entitled to suspended benefits. It appears to me that only in cases of distress is she entitled to receive any benefit whatever. This Clause gives power to vary the benefits, and I should like to know how it is going to vary the benefits under Part III. This is an important question, because this objection comes from that class of woman who objects to paying her contribution up to marrying, and, on marriage, her transfer value is suspended and not paid over to her in respect of benefits which are to be transferable. I should be extremely obliged if the Chancellor of the Exchequer would offer some explanation of that point.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Now that the question "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill" has been put, I would like to say that I am very delighted that it is going to be carried unanimously without challenge from any quarter of the House. I hear that there has been a good deal of discussion in my absence as to who shall take the credit for this proposal. I do not mind, if this Clause really meets the situation—for that is all I am concerned about. I take leave to say that the credit belongs to the House as a whole because suggestions have come from all quarters, and the Government are always ready to accept suggestions of a practical character from any quarter of the House. The hon. Member for Falmouth (Mr. Goldman) has asked what the effect would be upon what is known as the "Married Woman's Clause." Before a society can approve of any new scheme they will have to submit a scheme to safeguard the position put forward by the hon. Member, and they must safeguard the benefits provided by Clause 41. They will have to fit it in with their new scheme. The hon. Member appeared to suggest that these women would lose their money, but I do not think he meant that.
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
If a person is neither ill nor in distress, nor has any other call upon the funds, she does not really lose her money, because she always has some guarantee for an evil day, and that is an assurance of very considerable value. There is nothing worse in any household than anxiety as to what will happen if health breaks down. The societies, in submitting ther scheme, must adapt it to that particular condition.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
moved, that the following new Clause (to be inserted after Clause 31) be read a second time:—?
§ Transfer Values of Emigrants who Remain Members of Approved Societies.
§ If a person who has for not less than five years been a member of an approved society for the purposes of this Part of this Act proves that he has ceased permanently to reside in the United Kingdom, and does not join such a society, branch, or institution as is in the last foregoing Section mentioned, and the approved society is willing to permit him to remain a member of the society and to become entitled to benefits independently of this Act, the society may, subject to regulations by the Insurance Commissioners, transfer from the account of the society under this Part of this Act to the account of the society independently of this Act such sum as would have been transferred to the Post Office fund had the member ceased to be a member of the society and become a deposit contributor, and so much of any reserve value which may have been credited to the society in respect of him as would in such a case have been cancelled shall be cancelled.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's new Clause, after the word "proves" ["proves that he has ceased permanently"], to insert the words "to the satisfaction of the Insurance Commissioners."
I have put down these words in order to find out from the Chancellor of the Exchequer to whom such proof has to be made. As drafted the Clause does not show to whom the proof must be made. The word "proves" has no objective, and that is why I am proposing the addition of these words. I am not quite sure whether it would not be fairer that the proof should be made to the approved society.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I think this means proof to the satisfaction of the society. Of course there may be regulations by the Insurance Commissioners, but it is really a matter for the society itself.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I quite agree. Although I put down these words, I am inclined to think the society is the person to whom the proof should be made.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Question, "That those words stand part of the Clause," put, and negatived.
§ Mr. BATHURST
I beg to move, before the word "account" ["the account of the society independently of this Act"], to leave out the word "the" and to insert instead thereof the word "an."
There will not in a large number of cases be a State section. Of course, in the case of industrial societies and in the case of the Holloway societies, there will be a non-State section, and therefore "the" in connection with those societies will be perfectly accurate; but in many cases an account will have to be formed for this purpose, because, in the case of the ordinary friendly societies now existing, the 307 only persons in respect of whom a separate account will be established will be the old persons to whom the provisions of the Bill do not apply. In every other case, and certainly in the case of every new approved society, there will not be a separate account except one brought into existence for this specific purpose. I suggest, therefore, the more appropriate word would be "an," rather than "the."
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir John Simon)
I do not think there is any difference in principle, but I will look at the question to see whether the suggestion of the hon. Member will improve the Clause. I would call his attention, however, to the words "subject to regulations by the Insurance Commissioners." I suggest that is obviously one of the things for which the regulations of the Insurance Commissioners will provide, and we shall only introduce unnecessary vagueness if we substitute "an" for "the."
§ Mr. BATHURST
"The" necessarily presupposes the existence of a fund. I do not say my word is the best word possible, but you ought to draft the Clause so as to apply to societies who have not at present a fund in existence.
§ Question, "That the word 'account' stand part of the Clause," put, and negatived.
§ Word "credit" there inserted.308
§ Power to Separate Men's and Women's Funds.
§ Where an approved society, not being a society with branches, has amongst its members both men and women, the rules of the society may provide that the provisions of this Part of this Act with respect to valuations, surpluses, and deficiencies shall apply to the society as if it were a society consisting of two branches, the one comprising the male members and the other comprising the female members.
§ Mr. GRETTON
I do not understand why this Clause should be limited to a society "not being a society with branches." It means that any society to come under the provisions of this Clause must be a society which either stands separately on its own footing without branches, or a society each one of whose branches must as a separate society approve of this separation. I want to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to give an explanation of those words. They seem to be limiting words which are undesirable.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I would like to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer a question with regard to the words "as if it were a society consisting of two branches." It seems that brings it under the scope of another Clause which directs how those branches shall deal with their funds. Where there is a surplus in one branch it must be devoted, in the first instance, to a deficiency in the other branch. Take a case where the women of the society may be only one-tenth. Probably in most cases where there is a separate account kept for women they will be in a small minority, because there will be separate societies for women only. The surplus derived from the men's fund will almost invariably be sufficient to wipe out any deficiency in the women's fund, but where there is a surplus in the women's fund it will only go a small way to wiping out any possible deficiency in the men's fund. It seems to me that will act unequally, though I do not say unfairly.
I do not know whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be prepared to accept an Amendment to the effect that, instead of deficiencies applying to a society as if it were a society consisting of two branches, it should be treated as two separate societies. I admit the effect of that would be to keep the women's fund entirely on its own, and, in view of the special privileges given to married women, that is rather a matter of some concern. It does seem to me, unless we are very 309 careful, the temptation of the men's society "will be to decline to take women at all. That is one of those things which I have been very desirous of avoiding. I do not think women as a rule have had large experience in running sickness and invalidity insurance concerns, whether mutual or of any other kind, and for a long time, at any rate until some of the women become trained and efficient, they will have to depend for guidance largely on men of experience. It seems to me a desirable thing there should be joint societies in which women will be able to elect a proportion of their members on the management, so that as the yeans go on there will be a number of women with actual experience gained by association with men's societies. At a later period we might see a natural development of societies for women only. I see the difficulty of women forming societies for themselves because of their lack of experience. I prefer to put this point to the right hon. Gentleman in the form of an inquiry rather than moving an Amendment.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
This is an Amendment put on the Paper very largely at the request of the friendly societies themselves. They are very anxious to have power to separate the men's and women's funds in their own societies. The hon. Gentleman has asked me what is the object of the words. One object is we cannot say that a society with two branches should be treated as if it were two branches. Another practical reason is that you cannot impose it upon societies with branches. You may have a society with only four or five women in a branch, and it is perfectly clear you cannot have a separate section for six women. In this case the remedy is entirely in the hands of the society itself. It can insist, if it likes, upon having a separate branch for women, but the difficulty is this: a largely centralised society like the Hearts of Oak cannot have two separate funds. With regard to societies with branches it can easily be done.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The reason is that a society like the Hearts of Oak might prefer to be treated as if it had two sections instead of two branches.
I think the right hon. Gentleman should give us a little more information about this Clause, which is one of the suspended Clauses. He definitely refused to pledge himself in Committee whether there was to be a separate women's fund and a separate men's fund. He informed us he was waiting for some deputation to come before him from a women's friendly society, and that after that he would come to a general conclusion on the question of a division of the funds. This is a question of a division of the funds of a centralised society. It is not a division of the funds of the branches of a society; it is not intended to refer to branches.
I presume it can be done under some other Clause. This Clause says that an approved society, not being a society with branches, shall have this power. Of course, if the Chancellor of the Exchequer says they can do it I shall be very glad, but I would like to know how they can do it. May I emphasise another point. I want it to be laid down that not only in a centralised society, but in an affiliated order, there shall be provision for the self-management of a women's branch. Let me take the case of a centralised society. Are they to be treated for all management and voting purposes as if they were one society, or are the men to vote on the men's fund and on matters connected with its management, and are the women to vote on the women's fund and on matters connected with the management of women's affairs; or are they to vote altogether? That is an important point. Take the case of hospital nurses and domestic servants. You may have a small class of women attached to a particular society who might be prepared to open a section for women's benefits. Surely if the idea is to have complete and absolute self-management of local branches there ought also to be complete self-management for the women's branches, in which women alone should be entitled to vote in connection with the management of their own branch.
I do not see why it should be confined to a centralised society; I think it should also be extended to the affiliated orders. The suggestion that there might only be four or five women in a branch which would be too small a section to have a 311 separate fund has been put forward, and it is perfectly true it might happen, but still it would be within the power of a society to prevent it happening, because no society would be so foolish as to allow four or five women to come in unless they were prepared to be absorbed in the general fund. If, on the other hand, they wanted a separate fund the society would insist on not having the women until there were sufficient in numbers to demand it. That being the case, there is all the more necessity for allowing the affiliated orders as well as the centralised societies to create machinery which will enable them to avoid the particular bogey with which it has been attempted to frighten this Committee on this particular point.
§ Sir EDWIN CORNWALL
I do not see that this touches the structure of the Bill. This Clause arises entirely out of the discussion which took place during the Committee stage, when there was a great desire shown in all parts of the House that if women were brought into the scheme and called upon to make a contribution that contribution should be merged into the main fund. During those discussions the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated that some provision might be made to enable approved societies, where anything of the kind was likely to arise to make arrangements so that the men's and women's funds might be separated. I do not think the point which has been raised in this discussion touches the general structure of the Bill. As far as I can understand the Amendment before the House it is necessary, in order to carry it out, that there should be a sufficient number of members in each approved society to make a separation of the funds possible. I do not see why we should make any alteration in the Clause now before the House, which merely carries out the object which the Committee had when they were discussing the point.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
It may be convenient to the House to say that an Amendment has been handed in to leave out the words "not being a society with branches." That would appear to raise the point now before the House, and perhaps it would be better to read the Clause a second time in order that it might be taken.
§ Mr. FORSTER
Before that is done I want to ask the Chancellor of the 312 Exchequer the same question which was put to him by the hon. Member for Ponte-fract (Mr. Booth), a question which he did not answer. The question is, where you have a centralised society, with male and female members, and treat them as a society with branches, is any deficit on the women's fund to be made good out of the surplus on the men's fund? It is very important we should have an answer to that.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I should like to answer that question at once—it is art important one—and also the question put by the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Worthington-Evans). I will deal with his first because it cuts to the root of the Clause. He wanted to know what the attitude of the Government was in regard to the separation of funds. He is right in saying that I had postponed the announcement of a decision until I had had art opportunity of seeing what the friendly societies view was upon it, and also the view of the deputation of women workers. The conclusion we have come to is that the matter should be left entirely to the societies themselves, and that is why we put this Clause down on the Paper. Some, I believe all, of the women workers were anxious that there should be no separation of funds. On the other hand the friendly societies were very anxious-that they should have the power to separate funds, especially as the societies had self management, if they thought it was; in their interests. I think it is much more necessary that that should be done, because it has been suggested in a good many quarters that the money of the workwomen would be used for the purpose of subsidising men who are rather of the loafing type. We thought in that case it was important to make it clear that either women should form societies of their own if they preferred it—although all the women workers were anxious that their fund should not be separated—and that if the women should think that there might be a danger of their being taxed for the benefit of the men, all they have to do is to form a society of their own, and then they will have the benefit of all the money. The right hon. Gentleman has repeated a question put to me by my hon. Friend (Mr. Booth). He asks what will be the effect if the women's fund is in deficiency. Of course, if it is a separate society, then it has got to stand entirely on its own footing and to make up its own deficiency 313 Let me assume it is the case of the Hearts of Oak, which has men and women members, and that it has passed a resolution to divide into two branches. The position will then be exactly the same as the position of the branches in any society, that is to say, they will have to make up a portion of the deficiency. The friendly societies have pressed very hardly that they should not be compelled to make up the whole deficiency. They want to alter the percentage of the deficiency, unless they choose to make it all up. There is a good deal to be said for that.
The friendly societies' position is that they ought not to be compelled to make up the whole of the deficiency, inasmuch as they are only getting a portion of the surplus. They press that the proportion should be altered, and that instead of 50 per cent. of the surplus being paid to the central fund, it shall only be 30 per cent. That is the representation made to me by the friendly societies and by the general secretary of the Federation of Trade Unions. They also want to have a wider discretion in the matter of making up deficiencies. They want to be able to say that they will only make up so much of a deficiency, and that, with regard to the rest, it shall be entirely in their discretion. Their point is that they do not always want to tell the society you will not make up your deficiency because of your bad management. They do not want to be forced into that position; they want a position which will not give a preference to bad management. The two branches of the central society, the men's and the women's branches, will be in the same position as any other branch of a society. The central fund will be liable to the same extent to make up a deficiency, provided the management is not a bad one.
§ Mr. GRETTON
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed new Clause, to leave out the words "not being a society with branches" and to insert instead thereof the words "or any branch of an approved society."
The words "not being a society with branches" appear to be limiting words, and this Amendment is intended to extend the application of the Clause. I daresay I am wrong, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be able to clear that up. The case I have in mind is that of a small county society which becomes affiliated 314 with the county association. In these county associations a large number of women will be included. The words as they stand are a limitation of the process of adaptation for the purposes of the Bill. I do not believe the Chancellor of the Exchequer wishes to put that limitation upon them. If I am wrong, perhaps he will explain the matter.
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
I think the hon. Gentleman will see on reflection that what he proposes would really lead to an infinite series of sub-divisions. Societies would be cut up into several branches, and the branches sub-divided, and so on ad infinitum. The object of the Clause is something quite different. It is to get over a difficulty which does arise in connection with centralised societies, and does not arise in the case of affiliated societies. A centralised society which, by its constitution, has not got branches, may find it is not able to bring within its membership, let us say married women, because of the special risks to which married women may be said to be subject, and unless we give them, for the purpose of valuation of surpluses and deficiencies, an opportunity of being treated as though they were divided into men's and women's sections, we may do a considerable injury. That is the object of the Clause, and, as far as I know, the only object of the Clause. The effect of the Clause in such a case is not to make a centralised society into a society with branches. To do that would be to break up its whole constitution. It is to allow it to be treated as though it was a society with two branches for this purpose only. Really there is no justification for extending the Clause in the direction the hon. Gentleman suggests, and, indeed, it seems to me it would lead to very impracticable results.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
I quite follow the object with which the Amendment is moved—that is to say, to give a special power to the centralised societies. I fail to find in the Bill an enabling Clause in respect of societies with branches. You have to find somewhere in the Bill that the approved societies have got this power, which you either say is conferred upon them or which you intend to confer upon them. It is quite clear that when you put in this Clause you have given that enabling power to the approved societies which are 315 not societies with branches. When you have included that and got a special Clause which gives that power to societies which are centralised societies, is it not a fair thing for those who want to understand the Act to ask if there is the same power given to the societies which are not centralised societies? The point I am putting is that it would make it much clearer and clear up all possible doubt if you would either adapt this Clause so as to make it read, "in respect of all approved societies, decentralised as well as centralised." If you do not do that, I ask where is the power which is intended to be conferred and which it is said approved societies will be able to exercise under their rules? Such a question as the making of this sort of rule has never yet been placed before the friendly societies.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
Surely the Solicitor-General will answer the question put to him. Do I understand him and the Chancellor of the Exchequer to say that they are of opinion that a society with branches has power to start separate branches to deal with women only under this Act, and, if so, where does any society get that power? The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Pollock) suggested that no such power exists in the Bill or out of it. I should very much like to know whether the power does exist, and, if so, is there any way of guarding it. Otherwise, are we to understand that an approved society which chances to have branches may start branch societies for women only without any sort of precaution? Is an approved society to have absolute power to form a society for women only from whom you can take possibly the surplus, if there is one, but in case there is a deficit the funds of the society are not absolutely liable to make up the whole of it?
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I beg to move, after the word "women" ["both men and women"], to insert the word "and."
This is the first of three Amendments, which would make the Clause read as follows: "Where an approved society, not being a society with branches, has amongst its members both men and women, and the rules of the society so provide, the provision of this Part of this Act, etc." As the Clause is drafted at present, there are no enacting words whatever. It leaves it open to the society to incorporate in its rules a rule to the effect that this Act shall 316 not apply. There is nothing whatever to say that, having done that, this Act shall not apply, and unless the Clause is framed in such a way as I now suggest it will have no statutory effect whatever, although the society may alter its rules in the way suggested. Clause 26 of the Bill provides for the societies making rules which apply only to matters of internal government, settlement of disputes, and so on. Certainly it would not be within the scope of the rules contemplated by that Clause that they should have power to make rules as to valuations and deficiences unless some statutory power was given to them to do so.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendments made: Leave out the word "may," and insert instead thereof the word "so."
§ Leave out the word "that."
§ Mr. G. LOCKER-LAMPSON
I beg to move, to add the following words at the end of the proposed new Clause, "and where it is an approved society with branches, any such branch shall consist wholly of male members or wholly of female members." After the discussion which has taken place I do not think it is necessary to make a speech in support of the Amendment. I think these words will get over the difficulty and meet the arguments of my hon. Friend on this side of the House. The Amendment gives societies with branches power to limit the members, if they see fit, to male or female members, as the case may be.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I have not had an opportunity of studying this Amendment as now proposed. I should have thought that the words proposed to be added are somewhat difficult to understand in connection with this new Clause. The effect of the proposal, if I follow it, would be to impose a new condition on a society with branches before it could be an approved society. That is a matter which is dealt with in Clause 22, which deals with the "conditions for the approval of approved societies." The new Clause proposed by the Government is limited to the case of a society which is not a society with branches. The hon. Gentleman opposite proposes to add words to the new Clause providing that where a society is an approved society with branches, such 317 branches shall consist solely of men or solely of women. That is exactly the same thing as Clause 22.
§ Mr. G. LOCKER-LAMPSON
The Clause says, "the rules of the society may provide that the provisions … shall apply to the society …"
§ Sir J. SIMON
I did not understand that what was moved was to be governed by the word "may." It is not necessary to put in the Act of Parliament that a society with branches may have rules.
§ Mr. FORSTER
The whole thing really depends on the rules of the society. No woman is compelled to join any particular society if she disapproves of its rules, and no society is compelled to take any particular woman if the society does not want to have her in the membership. I do not think the words of the Amendment are really necessary. I think it is very desirable that branches should consist only of male or female members. I think I am right in saying that that is the general practice of friendly societies at the present time. The House has to bear in mind that the rules have to receive the approval of the Insurance Commissioners. I think the case my hon. Friend wishes to meet will be fully met and that societies will be able to protect themselves.
§ Mr. BARNES
I quite agree that branches should make and work under their own rules, but supposing it was made obligatory on them to make rules of this kind, it seems to me that it would add to the expense of working the scheme, and for that reason I think the Amendment is quite unnecessary.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
I am not quite sure that the Amendment proposed by my hon. Friend is the best way out of the difficulty. I think the Attorney-General has not met 318 the point raised by my hon. Friend. I would suggest that if this Clause is passed as it stands it leaves societies with branches in very considerable difficulty. I submit that it will have to be construed on the principle of inclusio unius exclusio alterius. I submit the construction that will be put on the words of the Clause would be that an approved society which had branches could not provide under its rules for what is assumed to have been granted, but that it absolutely puts in a prohibition, indirect it is true, but in substance a prohibition against it. I would suggest that the argument of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Warwick (Mr. Pollock) has not been answered. If the Clause is passed as it stands without some explanatory words, though I do not suggest necessarily the words of my hon. and learned Friend, that would be the-construction, and I trust that the Attorney-General will give some explanation on the point.
§ Mr. G. LOCKER-LAMPSON
I will not press this Amendment. It was not put down on my own responsibility alone, but on the very strong advice of a very well known friendly society actuary. After what has been said I will not press it.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
The point was raised not by myself only, and not for the purpose of making a point, but in order to have a clear expression of what the position is. It really matters very little provided that the Bill is quite clear. That is the point. I think that what my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield (Mr. James Hope) says is really of great weight, and I should like to have some sort of explanation which could be referred to hereafter of what the law officers do mean: under this Bill. If the point is abundantly clear let us drop it at once, but if it is not clear let us have it made plain, and I make this representation because other people want it made clear. For my own part I do not care how the matter is dealt with except that Acts of Parliament should be as plain as they can be.
§ Sir J. SIMON
My hon. and learned Friend will I am sure not think that I am discourteous when I say that I have no doubt at all, and I speak for my colleagues as well as myself, that this Clause as it stands does not affect the least in the world the powers of the societies with branches. That, I think, is the assurance that he desires.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.319
§ Mr. AMERY
I beg to propose, at the end of the Clause, to add the words "and in any such case the rules of the society shall provide for the exclusion of male members from voting on questions in which female members alone are concerned and the exclusion of female members from voting on questions in which male members alone are concerned."
I hope that the Government will see their way to accept this. It is only carrying out what does happen in cases of societies with branches with male and female members. It is not fair that a majority of men should overrule the wishes of the women as to the way in which the surpluses are to be disposed of and deficiencies met. This view was held very strongly by the small committee of ladies with whom some Members of this House have been in continual consultation since the Bill was first introduced. They certainly have urged upon Members of this House with whom they have been in consultation that separation of voting power should accompany separation of funds. With regard to the alternative benefit under the new Clause discussed earlier this evening, a somewhat similar question arises. It would be interesting to have the opinion of the Solicitor-General how far, if this division is introduced with regard to valuations or surpluses and deficiencies, should it also be introduced with regard to considerations of granting alternative benefits which do undoubtedly affect the valuations of the society.
§ Sir J. SIMON
With the object which the hon. and learned Gentleman has in view many of us might have some sympathy, but I do suggest that it is not desirable, and, indeed, not very practicable, that we should put this limitation upon the face of our Bill. After all, it was pointed out that it is for intending members to choose what society they will join just as it is for the society to choose what members it will have; and this Clause is only intended to allow the two departments of a centralised society to act as two branches for the purpose of valuation of surpluses and deficiencies. A certain fraction of the surplus which may arise in one division may be available for paying portion of the deficiency in the other. That very circumstance shows that there are two sides to the shield, as it would be a very hard thing if those people who themselves had produced in their branch a surplus were to have no sort of voice in generally 320 controlling another division which has produced a deficiency. The argument of the hon. Gentleman is an argument which might be employed against him. I do not wish to go that length, but I do suggest to the House that it would be better not to introduce this limitation.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. J. A. Pease)
I beg to move that the following new Clause be read a second time:—
§ Special Provision as to Persons becoming Certificated Teachers.
§ Where a person who has been employed to teach in a public elementary school ceases to be employed within the meaning of this Part of this Act by reason of becoming a teacher to whom The Elementary School Teachers (Superannuation) Act, 1898, applies and does not become a voluntary contributor, there shall be paid to the Board of Education by the approved society of which he is a member or, if he is not a member of an approved society, out of the amount standing to his credit in the Post Office fund, a sum equal to the value calculated in the prescribed manner of the contributions paid by or in respect of him under this Part of this Act since he first began to teach in a public elementary school, or if the amount standing to his credit is less than that sum then the whole amount so standing to his credit; and the sum so paid to the Board of Education shall be placed by them to his credit in the Deferred Annuity Fund in accordance with rules made under that Act.
§ A pledge was given on behalf of my right hon. Friend during the Committee stage of the Bill to try to meet a point which was raised by the hon. Member for Sunderland. The hon. Member pointed out that a large number of uncertificated school teachers or those who taught in the elementary schools of this country at or about the age of sixteen or seventeen would come under the operation of this Bill, and as soon as they became certificated school teachers at about the age of twenty, they would be exempted from the provisions of this Bill under a portion of this Bill, owing to the fact that in the Act of Parliament passed in the year 1898 a superannuation scheme was established which has secured to certificated teachers 321 some benefits analogous to those which are suggested and which are incorporated in the proposals in this Bill. This Amendment is put down on the Paper with a View to carrying out as far as possible the pledge of my right hon. Friend. Perhaps I may be allowed to point out that we are unable to include in the exemption all teachers who are going to become certificated teachers. First of all, we cannot differentiate in advance between those who do and those who do not gain certificates in after life, and on investigation the Board of Education find that many more of those teachers in the elementary schools who are not certificated remain uncertificated than were indicated by the hon. Member for Sunderland when he proposed his Amendment. If I may refer to a few figures I would point out that out of the last figures available, those for July last year, there were then in the elementary schools of this country 171,589 persons who taught in the elementary schools of this country, of which there were only 97,395 certificated teachers. Those uncertificated teachers may be divided into what is technically termed uncertificated teachers, 45,549; those called technically bursars, 3,695; students, 2,465; and pupil-teachers, who are gradually being reduced in numbers, 9,793. There are other supplementary teachers.
It is very obvious, upon these figures which I have given to the House, that a large number of these teachers never become certificated, and we see no rason why those who do not become certificated should be left entirely out of the benefits of this Bill. Many of them will remain comparatively poor men all their lives, and they are just as much liable to sickness and disablement as almost any other members in the community. Therefore, we are proposing this Amendment as the best way in which we can meet the case, and, if I may be allowed, I should just like to read a few words of the Clause, because to the ordinary layman legal drafting does not appear to convey exactly the meaning which is understood by the rank and file in the country. If I may be allowed to extract a certain number of words, I would say that any teacher who subsequently becomes a certificated teacher will secure certain benefits under the provisions of this Clause. The words that I shall read are,
There shall be paid to the Board of Education by the approved society of which he is a member, or out of the
amount which stands to his credit in the Post Office fund, a sum equal to the value of the contributions paid, or, in respect of whom, under this Part of the Act, the whole amount so standing to his credit.
§ In that way, whenever the uncertificated teacher reaches the point of passing his examination and becoming a certificated teacher, he will be able to have placed to his credit, at the time when the superannuation falls due, the amount standing to his credit, which is the amount when he becomes a certificated teacher under the Act, I think in that way we ought to be able to meet in the best possible manner the desire of the Member for Sunderland, who moved the Amendment in the Committee stage of the Bill.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I quite follow what the right hon. Gentleman said in respect to this new Clause, but I want to ask why is it confined to those who have been teachers before? Why should not this provision apply to anybody who becomes a certificated teacher? When the person leaves the employment of the Government as a teacher and joins the ranks of some other profession, say after ten years, what becomes of the money in that case? Does he lose it entirely? [An. HON. MEMBER: "Yes."] Is it a fact, as the right hon. Gentleman's supporters say, that the person who has accumulated savings as a certificated teacher loses those savings after he ceases to become a certificated teacher, or does he get any benefit from what is carried forward to another scheme. The first point is as to the people to whom the provision applies before they become certificated teachers; and secondly, what becomes of these accumulations when the person intended to be benefitted ceases to be a certificated teacher?
§ Mr. GOLDSTONE
It is quite true, as the right hon. Gentleman says that this proposed new Clause is a considerable improvement upon the provision in the Bill as originally drafted, but as I followed the President of the Board of Education it appeared to me as though the transfer value would be retained in hand by the Board of Education, and if any teacher, during the course of his progress through a school, should unfortunately die, he drew nothing of the transfer value to which he has contributed, and which, to a certain extent, is his and his alone. But if he is fortunate enough to live until the age of sixty-five, I suppose his transfer value in 323 the shape of a bonus is added to the first instalment he receives from the Government in connection with the superannuation which they give him. It would appear to me that that is not the correct way to do it. If there is to be the handing over of this transfer value to the teacher, then it would be fair to hand it over the moment the teacher automatically drops out of the operations of the Act entirely. To that extent it seems to me that the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman is not quite clear, and it might be cleared up. I endorse the question put by the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite. I cannot regard this as in any way a complete answer to the pledge which was given last week. The pledge amounted to exclusion; this is absolute inclusion, and to that extent it is not a fulfilment of the pledge given. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, through the right hon. Gentleman, has perhaps done as much as possible under the circumstances. I would, however, like to emphasise the difficulties which will arise in the application of this provision. You will have young teachers inside and outside the Act; you will have adult teachers inside and outside the Act, and the local education authorities will scarcely know where they are. You will have some adult secondary teachers inside and some out. The whole thing seems to bristle with difficulties of administration because of the varieties of classes which will be set up by the terms of this new Clause. Then, again, young teachers are in the main provided for by the local education authorities by way of sick pay during temporary absence. Really, we might very well have met the whole difficulty, and met the case of the secondary school teachers as well, by excluding the teaching profession from the operation of the Act. If we are to include them the Clause, as is suggested, probably goes as far in that direction as is possible. I join in the appeal as to the clearing up of this difficulty as to what is to be done with the transfer value, and when the teacher is to draw his benefit, if he ever does.
§ Mr. EDGAR JONES
I am not sure that the President of the Board of Education was quite correct in one matter, and it is as well to put it right, as otherwise it might mislead some certificated teachers. It does happen occasionally now, under the practice of the Board of Education, that there are certain certificated teachers who 324 do not come under the Superannuation Act of 1898. Therefore, it is not quite correct to say that every young teacher who becomes a certificated teacher will come under this Clause, but only the teacher who becomes a certificated teacher with superannuation as we understand it in the profession. With regard to the question of the eventual disposal of the money, I take it as quite clear that everything is determined by the existing rules of the Superannuation Act, and as all the money, under the existing rules of the Superannuation Act, falls into the hands of the Board of Education on the death of a teacher, I take it therefore that the surplus will be lost to the teacher or the teacher's relatives. I am not going to complain very much of that, for the reason that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has given a very definite promise that he will undertake, in conjunction with the Board of Education very soon, a new Superannuation Act. I think everybody agrees that the present Superannuation Act is a very unsatisfactory one, and so I do not think it matters very much as to this particular point. I think this is a very good arrangement. I am afraid I cannot agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland (Mr. Goldstone) that it would have been better to have left these teachers out. I have had very sad experience for some years on a committee in connection with a teachers' benevolent fund, and I know only too well the cases of very young teachers for whom we have had to collect in order to send them to South Africa. There are several cases every year where we have to club together to send them away because they have been smitten with consumption. To deny to those people the tremendous benefits this Bill will give will be a calamity indeed. I am very glad the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the President of the Board of Education have brought in this new Clause which, I believe, for the present solves the difficulties. The other difficulties are difficulties inherent in the Superannuation Act, and not in this particular Clause. The only way to put those right is to have an improved Superannuation Act.
§ Sir PHILIP MAGNUS
I desire to ask a question in connection with the matters raised by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Rawlinson). He asked what is to become of the contributions made by those 325 elementary school teachers who, after a certain time, cease to be teachers. Would the contributions which they have made to the insurance fund be entirely lost. I want to put the same question in a slightly different form. What becomes of those contributions supposing that the elementary school teacher, after a certain number of years, became an assistant teacher in a secondary school? What we all desire very much indeed is to link up the elementary schools with the secondary schools, so that the teachers in our elementary schools may not form a class altogether apart from the teachers in the secondary schools. Gradually I believe a number of teachers in the elementary schools may be advanced to positions in secondary schools, and it would be very hard indeed if in the case of such teachers the contributions they had made to the insurance fund should be entirely lost. I am sorry to say I cannot agree with the hon. Member opposite. I think, having regard to the suggested preparation of a superannuation scheme for teachers in secondary schools, it would be on the whole far better to exempt secondary teachers and teachers generally from the operation of the compulsory Clauses of the Bill. But that raises another and a larger question, to which I am not desirous of referring at present. I should be very much obliged if the President of the Board of Education would give a distinct answer to the question put by the hon. and learned Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Rawlin-son) and to the question which I have put in a somewhat different form.
§ Mr. AMERY
Under the Clause passed about an hour ago, provision was made for the transfer values of certain emigrants. Not only do a great many teachers go out of the country for reasons of health, but the Education Departments of different Provinces of the Dominions are continually drawing upon this country for teachers. I suggest that in such cases it would be desirable that the transfer value should be again released for the benefit of the teachers who emigrate to other parts of the Empire.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The senior Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. E. Jones) has given a sort of qualified support to the Clause. I understood him to say it would be a good Clause if the Superannuation Act was amended.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
That is what I said. The hon. Member, as a loyal supporter of the Government, is bound to say that the Clause is a good one, but he goes on to say that it would be better if an alteration was made in another Act of Parliament. I call that qualified support. The hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Gold-stone), to meet whose views this Clause has been introduced, says that what he would really like would be to exclude teachers from the Bill altogether. That, again, illustrates my point. This Bill was going to make a new heaven and a new earth, and to meet the demands of everybody; but the moment you get to a particular class of people who are included in the Bill hon. Members opposite get up and say that their sole desire is to be excluded. If I may very humbly venture to agree with the hon. Gentleman opposite, I would say that the best thing for the teachers would be that they should be excluded from the operations of this Bill. I would extend his desire and embrace everybody in the exclusion. I am going to ask the President of the Board of Education a rather important question. I think the Clause is an extremely difficult one to understand. The explanation of the right hon. Gentleman was most clear and lucid. But even with that clear and lucid explanation I am not sure that I gathered quite the exact meaning of the Clause. As I understand it, if the Clause is added to the Bill, and the Bill becomes an Act of Parliament what would result would be that the amount standing to the credit of of the teachers would, under certain circumstances, instead of going to the credit of the general fund as was originally intended in the Bill, go to their credit and be distributed to them when they reached the age of, I think, sixty-five. That may be a good or a bad thing. But what about the financial result?
We have heard a good deal from the Chancellor of the Exchequer and others about the fact that this Bill was founded upon calculations made by the best actuaries that could be obtained. We have, however, continually altered the Bill. We are continually taking certain sums of money which were to have gone to a certain fund when the actuaries gave their approval to the Bill and devoting them to other purposes. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Cork said that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor 327 of the Exchequer was most lavish in his language but very costive in his figures. I want the Chancellor to be a little less costive in his figures, and tell me what effect this is going to have upon the finances of the Bill. After all, that is a most important point. We have been passing all sorbs of Amendments for various reasons, partly, if I may say so, because it will help to render the Bill less unpopular in the constituencies. I cannot but think that the effect on the finances of the Bill will be an extremely bad one. I am quite certain if the Chancellor of the Exchequer makes the explanation I ask he will allay a good deal of apprehension that exists amongst those of us who still think that finance ought to have some attention paid to it.
§ Mr. PEASE
I think it is not quite clear to the House that all these individuals who come under the provisions of this new Clause will have two courses open to them. They will either be allowed to become voluntary contributors under the Act or, if they prefer, they may, at the moment they become certificated teachers, transfer the value standing in their names to the Superannuation Act of 1908 and receive those benefits Hinder the provisions of that Act when they reach the age of sixty-five. The hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury) will realise that it is impossible to ascertain in advance how many of these young men, at the age of sixteen or seventeen, who hope to become certificated teachers about the age of twenty will avail themselves either of the provisions of this Act or would prefer to have their transfer value attached to the Act of 1908, under which they would become entitled to superannuation at the age of sixty-five. I may say that in the event of all those young men who become certificated teachers taking advantage of that Act, as only two or three years will have elapsed in connection with their contributions when they become certificated teachers, the amount will be very small, in fact infinitesimal. Even if they all come in the effect, so far as prejudicing actuarial calculations of the scheme would be quite infinitesimal, whilst, on the other hand, if they allowed the amount to accumulate from the age of twenty up to the age of sixty-five, of course it would be a substantial addition to the amount of the superannuation.
In reply to the questions put by the hon. Member for Cambridge University and 328 the hon. Member for the University of London, I might point out that they also were under the impression that the benefits might be forfeited. It entirely depends whether they come in under the provisions of this insurance or whether they elect to come in under the provisions of the 1908 Act. The provisions of that Act may be good or bad, but as long as that Act stands they cannot, as suggested by the hon. Member for Sunderland, obtain cash payments on reaching the age at which they become certificated teachers. They cannot draw their money out either under the provisions of the one Act or the other. The option is left them to take advantage of the provisions of this Bill or of the Act of 1908.
Question, "That the Clause be read a second time" put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I beg to move to leave out the words "been employed to teach" ["when a person who has been employed to teach"], and to insert instead thereof the words "receive regular employment as a teacher."
As the Clause is drafted now it would be possible for any young person employed as a supply teacher in the event of the illness of another teacher or as a supplementary teacher who is not in the employ of the local authority, and who had no previous teaching employment to come within the four corners of this Clause, and to receive benefits intended for those who are in the strict sense of the word teachers. I am sure that was not intended by the Government, and I ask them to make perfectly clear what is meant. It would be made clear if my Amendment is accepted that the persons referred to then would be those who receive regular employment as a teacher in a public elementary school, so as to be employed in the sense of Schedule 2, to which this Clause clearly refers. I think my Amendment is clear on the face of it. I am quite sure the President of the Board of Education does not mean persons employed for one day or one week who are not properly speaking teachers, but simply supplementary teachers employed because some junior teacher happens to be ill and unable to attend to her duties. This provision is intended, I am sure, to apply to teachers in regular employment, and that is the object of my Amendment.
§ Mr. PEASE
I am informed by the advisers of the Government that the words of the series of Amendments put down by the hon. Member are not legally intelligible, and, moreover, that the very objects he seeks to promote are secured already. The effect of the introduction of these words would be to do the very opposite of what the hon. Member desires, because the insertion of the words "regular employment" would cut out the very class of teachers whom he desires to include. In putting down this new Clause the Government have been very careful to avoid the words "regular employment," in order that the supplementary teachers should be included under the provisions of this Clause. For these reasons I am afraid that I cannot accept the hon. Member's Amendment.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
With all respect to the right hon. Gentleman I submit that the supplementary teacher is just as much in regular employment as any other teacher employed by the local education authority. I am not quite sure that the right hon. Gentleman understands what a supplementary teacher is. When a teacher falls ill and a supplementary teacher is taken on without any experience, it is clear that that person is not intended to be included within this Clause, and I move this Amendment to make it clear that it is only members of the staff of a school to which this provision is intended to apply.
§ Mr. E. JONES
This Amendment would cut out all the student teachers, because they are not in regular employment. The hon. Member for Wilton (Mr. C. Bathurst) is assuming an impossible case, because you cannot take people promiscuously from the village and put them into a school to teach.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I am afraid for the reasons put forward, I am not able to support my hon. Friend's Amendment. Miserable though the assistance given to the teachers is under this Clause, and quite inadequate as it is, I should like it to be as wide as possible, so as to include every class of teacher.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Debate adjourned; Bill to be further considered to-morrow (Wednesday).