§ (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 421 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."—[Mr. J. A. Pease.]
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I beg to move, after the word "school" ["elementary school ceases"], to insert the words "in England or Wales."
This is the first of a series of Amendments I desire to move in order to render somewhat intelligible this peculiarly badly drafted Clause more intelligibe to the layman and more easy to construe for any judicial authority which may have to consider it. In its present form it is extremely wordy and prolix, and quite impossible to interpret judicially. When one comes to consider that not merely the judicial authority, but that the Insurance Commissioners possibly will have to interpret this Clause, and that none of those persons have any legal education or experience, it is most desirable that this Clause should be so expressed as to be apparent even to the layman what the meaning is intended to be. There is nothing on the face of the Clause, as drafted, to show that it is restricted, as apparently it is restricted, to elementary school teachers in England and Wales, or that it is restricted to a certain class only of those teachers—namely, those who have not yet received their certificates. The only means of discovering what geographical area is covered by this Clause is by making considerable research into the provisions of the Elementary School Teachers (Superannuation) Act of 1898. As the Clause is expressed, it is only teachers who come within the provisions of that Act who are affected by the Clause. That Act, possibly the right hon. Gentleman is not aware, is not restricted to teachers employed in England and Wales, but to teachers employed in Great Britain. Specifically it does not relate to Ireland, but it does relate to England and Scotland. Therefore, if the right hon. Gentleman intends to confine his Clause to English and Welsh teachers, as I think he does, the description by reference to the Superannuation Act, 1898, is wholly insufficient 422 to effect his purpose. I should like to draw the attention of the House to the fact that the Act of 1898, in Section 12, sets out certain provisions which have special reference to Scotland, and it is only by turning to a subsequent Act—namely, the Education (Scotland) Act, 1908—that we discover, by reference to Section 14, that an entirely new system of teachers' superannuation is set up by that Sub-section, and that in the Third Schedule to that Act, Sub-section (6) of Section 12 of the former Act, which related to Scotland, is entirely repealed. The result is that in effect this Act of 1898, although it does on the face of it apply to Scotland, is, by the repeal of the Scottish provision, restricted by the provisions of a subsequent Act to England and Wales only. If the right hon. Gentleman intends to restrict this Clause to England and Wales, as I have reason to believe he does, it is best to say so in plain words that can easily be understood by the layman, and that when it comes to be judicially interpreted, either by a Court of Law, or by the semi-judicial tribunal that is set up under the Bill, there shall be no mistake as to its exact meaning. I may, perhaps, mention that when this Clause was under discussion, yesterday evening, two hon. and learned Gentlemen on this side of the House, one of them being himself an eminent draftsman, asked me whether I could explain to them what this Clause meant, as to each of them it was wholly unintelligible. That being so, I hope the House will excuse me proposing a series of quite innocent and well-intentioned Amendments, by which I seek to make this Clause intelligible to both lawyers and laymen.
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. J. A. Pease)
I thought last night when we accepted the Second Reading of this Clause that the House had understood what the provisions of the Clause were. I admitted myself that, as a layman, I thought that the Clause required some little explanation, and I read out some portions of the Clause which really conveyed to the ordinary layman that which the lawyers placed on the Paper in a somewhat longer form. I stated that the real effect of the Clause was limited by the reading of certain words as follows:—There shall be paid to the Board of Education by the approved society of 423 which he is a member, or … out of the amount standing to his credit in the Post Office fund a sum equal to the value … of the contributions paid by or in respect of him … standing to his credit.By reading out these words the ordinary individual can understand that as soon as any of these teachers in the elementary schools become certificated school teachers, they can have placed to their credit the sum which is due to them in respect of their contributions up to that particular date, and which will add to their superannuation allowance when they attain the age of sixty-five. The other provisions in the Clause are merely required from a drafting point of view in order to bring the proposal into uniformity with the conditions contained in Clause 40, Sub-section (2), and paragraph (a) of that Sub-Section. I think the hon. Member really can understand what the object of that Clause is. The series of Amendments he has placed on the Paper, I am told, convey no accurate view to a legal draftsman, and therefore I am totally unable to accept any of his Amendments. With regard to the first Amendment which, on the face of it, appears to be more plausible than the rest, I am again informed by the draftsmen that the Scotch Clause, which makes the Bill applicable to Scotland, prevents the insertion of the words "England and Wales," and for that reason, a purely drafting reason, it is impossible to accept the words "England and Wales" in the place he proposes to insert them.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
By leave of the House I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman is it in his opinion a correct description, if he means to restrict it to England and Wales, to describe these teachers as persons to whom this Act applies, because this Act applies to Scottish teachers?
§ Mr. J. A. PEASE
Having myself seen no objection, as a layman, to those words, I went to the draftsmen of the Bill, and they informed me that, having regard to the words in the Clause which applies this Bill to Scotland, it is impossible to accept these limiting words in this particular Clause. I am bound to accept legal advice in connection with a purely drafting matter of this kind.
§ Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and negatived.424
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I beg to move, in the proposed new Clause to leave out the words "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 to insert instead thereof the words "an employed contributor by virtue of part 2 (d) of the First Schedule to this Act."
This Clause contemplates the case of a young uncertificated teacher in England and Wales, by reason of becoming a certificated teacher, falling within the exception which is mentioned in part 2 (d) of the First Schedule to the Bill. When one refers to part 2 (d) of the First Schedule to this Bill one finds there three Education Acts referred to. One of them is supposed to relate to England. It does relate also to Scotland. The second relates to Scotland, and the third relates to Ireland, but it goes on to say in that paragraph,in the event of any similar enactment being hereafter passed as respects teachers or any class of teachers (other than teachers in public elementary schools) as a teacher to whom such enactment applies.4.0 P.M.
Therefore, I say, it is not sufficient to confine this provision to the Elementary School Teachers (Superannuation) Act, 1898, because the exception which this Clause contemplates takes into account the possibility—which we know is a probability—of at least one other Act being passed dealing with the same matter, extending the system to superannuation, and, if that is done, it is desirable, as contemplated in the paragraph I have just read in the Schedule, to make this provision apply to the exception which will result from the passing of any such enactment. So far as this unfortunate legislation by reference is concerned, not only would I rather see, if you are going to have reference at all, reference to the particular Bill itself, which is what I propose, than reference to an outside Statute altogether; but let it be an accurate and sufficient and comprehensive reference, so as to include, not merely this Act, but, as the Schedule contemplates, any other Act which may be passed having a similar effect hereafter.
But I take exception also to the use of the words "employed within the meaning of this part of this Act." This affects a teacher who ceases to be employed within this part of this Act. What does that mean? There is no definition in the Act 425 of the person who is employed within its meaning. On the other hand, there is a technical expression used in the Act, the expression "employed contributor," which is defined as including just this class of person whom this Clause is intended to comprise. All persons under the Act are ticketed either as employed contributors in Sub-section (2) of Clause 1, or as voluntary contributors in a later Sub-section of the same Clause. The right hon. Gentleman adopted the one ticket, that of "voluntary contributor," two lines down, but has not adopted the other ticket of "employed contributor," which also has a technical meaning. This expression "employed within the meaning of this part of this Act" has no technical meaning whatever, and it is very difficult to say when a person is employed within the meaning of this part of this Act. I am not at all sure whether the expression "employed," used by itself or in connection with other words, is accurate, because such a teacher as this does not cease to be employed. He continues to be employed, and, as a rule, on the same premises. The only difference is that, instead of being an uncertificated teacher, having obtained his or her certificate, he is thereafter described as a certificated teacher. To sum up, the teacher does not cease to be employed; he has never been employed within the meaning of the Act; he has been an employed contributor, and, therefore, what he or she ceases to be is an employed contributor within the meaning of the Act; and, in the third place, he does not become excepted from the provisions of the Act simply by reason of the existence of the School Teachers (Superannuation) Act of 1893, but it may be, as contemplated in the Schedule itself, in consequence of some other enactment which is now contemplated or which may hereafter be passed. Therefore I desire, not merely in order to secure literal accuracy, but in order to enable this Cause to conform, as it is apparently intended to conform, to the provisions set out in paragraph (d) of the second part of the First Schedule, to move this particular Amendment. I suggest that this is only one of many samples of the undigested output of the weary brains of Departmental officials. It is only one of the many evidences of the effect upon the legislation of this country of trying to work at high pressure in this House during an Autumn Session.
§ Mr. HILLS
I rise to second the Amendment for slightly different reasons from 426 those which the Mover has outlined. It seems to me that this new Clause does not provide for a case which must occur in practice. Take the case of a teacher who is on the fund for some time and then marries and leaves the profession of teaching. If you insert these words you make the teacher who is within paragraph (d) of part 2 of the First Schedule an employed person, and in that case you transfer to the Insurance Commissioners the transfer value of that person. Unless you have some provision of this sort you will have teachers who are in their special fund losing all the benefit on marriage. It will happen in this way. The teacher cannot be insured under Clause 41 of the Bill because it only applies to persons whom this Act insures on marriage, and she is not insured under this Act on marriage. Therefore, she cannot be a voluntary contributor. She is not employed and cannot be an employed contributor, and, further, she cannot take advantage of the reduced voluntary scheme under Sub-section (2) of Clause 41. Assume that she has paid eight or nine years' contributions; she then gets no benefit from the fund, because ten years is a minimum. She will lose this and she cannot be insured at all for the rest of her life. I am sure that cannot be intended, but as far as I can see unless these words are inserted it will and must be the effect of this Clause.
§ Mr. PEASE
I am sorry I have really nothing to add to that which I have already said on the previous Amendment. The object which the Government have at heart is carried out, so I am informed, in the best possible way by the words which appear in this Clause and the words of the hon. Member in no way improve the wording or carry out intentions of the Government, and therefore I am quite unable to accept his suggestion. I somewhat regret, that he has reflected on some of the officers advising the Government in the way that he has done. To refer to their work as the undigested output of weary brains is certainly not complimentary, and I am quite sure it is not deserved. These words are very carefully considered, and they carry out fully the intentions of the Government. In reply to the hon. Member (Mr. Hills) I can only again repeat what I said last night, that these teachers are not going to be put in a worse position by the acceptance of this Clause, but in a better position. They have the opportunity now to come under the operation of the Bill. They can still remain under the 427 operation of the Bill, and they can become Post Office contributors and remain as Post Office contributors even although they come under the Superannuation Act of 1898. In that event anything they have contributed can be carried forward exactly as if they came within the four corners of the Insurance Bill. In the event of their becoming certificated teachers, they have the chance of having these amounts placed to their credit and added to their superannuation when they attain the age of sixty-five.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I think the right hon. Gentleman did not in the least meet the point raised by my hon. Friend. It is quite true that perhaps the right hon. Gentleman was asked to deal with what was a legal point of construction. I think what my hon. Friend intended to say did not cast any reflection at all upon the officials who were concerned with drafting the Bill, but what I think he did reflect upon was the manner in which the Government were hurrying and pressing forward the Bill so as not to give those officials adequate time and opportunity really to consider the Clauses of the Bill. The point which my hon. Friend made was that the words "the Elementary School Teachers Superannuation Act, 1898," were too narrow and did not cover the whole case of the exception in the second part of the First Schedule, paragraph (d). The words there are very much wider, and this narrows it down to that particular Act. We have already had it stated that it is within the contemplation of the Government to repeal that particular Act and substitute another Act for it. Under those circumstances, what my hon. Friend asks was, that wider words should be substituted which would cover that eventuality which the Government themselves say they contemplate. It seems to me to have been a perfectly reasonable point on which to ask for an explanation, but the right hon. Gentleman only replied on his ipse dixit that the Clause was perfectly right. Under these circumstances we are entitled to call upon the Attorney-General for an answer.
§ Lord ALEXANDER THYNNE
I should like to call attention to the point raised by the hon. Member (Mr. Hills), which was not met by the Minister for Education. The point was that a married woman cannot become insured unless, previous to marriage, she was insured under the Bill. The teacher who contributes to the 428 teachers' funds is not, technically, insured under the Bill. She does not stand in the same position as an employed contributor, therefore the teacher who subscribes to the teachers' fund, not being insured under the Bill when she marries, will not be entitled to become a voluntary contributor.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Rufus Isaacs)
The question put by the hon. Members who have spoken is, I understand, that in the exemption Schedule in part 2 of the First Schedule, paragraph (d), you have not only exempted teachers to whom the Elementary School Teachers (Superannuation) Act, 1898, applies, but you also say, that in the event of any similar enactment being hereafter passed these also shall be exempted. The criticism directed by the hon. Member who moved the Amendment was to the effect that these words were not sufficiently wide to cover the extension which has now been introduced by the Amendment made in Committee. That is the point.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The answer to that is that it is not necessary to introduce the words proposed by the hon. Member, because the eventuality he contemplates can only happen if a similar enactment is passed, and it is obvious that when you come to pass a similar enactment the matter would have to be dealt with in the new enactment. It is quite clear that you would have to introduce in the new enactment something which would give effect to the provision now being made in the new Clause under discussion. It is certainly quite unnecessary to introduce the words of the Amendment here.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
Why is it necessary to introduce a reference to future legislation in the Schedule and not in the Clause? Why is it necessary in the one case and not in the other?
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
It is necessary in order to give effect to the desire of the Committee. I could understand the hon. Gentleman's argument if the effect of what we are doing was to say that the Clause 5 by itself, and under any subsequent Act which might be passed, would not be sufficient unless you had these words introduced into the particular Clause now under discussion. He will see that would not be necessary, because the moment you get; to the new enactment the enactment will do what is required. I think I put the 429 proposition quite fairly, if I say that what the hon. Member desires would have exactly the same effect as what we propose to do, and therefore, we say, it is not really necessary to introduce these words. My right hon. Friend said he did not wish to accept the Amendment because he was advised by those responsible that it was not necessary. The other question raised was as to the person insured. What this Clause does is to give the alternative either to become a voluntary contributor or to elect to have the transfer value carried to the superannuation account. That is what is intended by the Board of Education, and any person who wishes to take advantage of the Clause has to select which of the two alternatives he will adopt. If a person wishes to become a voluntary contributor, he can do so, and there is an opportunity given to him to consider whether it is better to take the right of becoming a voluntary contributor, or whether it is better to be transferred to the Board of Education and to take the transfer value. He must take the risk, as everyone must do who comes under the Act of 1898.
The hon. and learned Gentleman did not say whether a woman could become a voluntary contributor or not. If she can, I think that is all my hon. Friend wanted. But the Attorney-General's argument, I must say, struck me as a complete argument that she was not an employed contributor by the definition at all, and unless she does come within the definition, she cannot afterwards become a voluntary contributor, because the old Clause 24 would not apply to her unless she had already been an employed contributor. The hon. and learned Gentleman appears to assume that she would necessarily be able to become a voluntary contributor. I think, as the Clause stands, she is not in that position. She is exempted.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
That depends. She is not exempted under the Superannuation Act except under certain circumstances. The case put to me by my hon. Friend can never arise, if I follow the argument. I was not in the House when the hon. Gentleman spoke, but I understand that the position is this: If a woman is employed, and does not come within the definition, then she can become an employed contributor under the Act until some other event supervene. We know what happens under the Clause. There 430 are two alternatives. If, on the one hand, she is exempted under the Superannuation Act, then she never becomes an employed contributor under the Bill, and consequently the alternative never comes to pass. If, on the other hand, she is an employed contributor, the alternative does arise. I have explained already it means that during the period before the exemption takes effect she has been an employed contributor. Under those circumstances she has become a voluntary contributor, or has been transferred to the Board of Education.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I beg to move, to leave out the word "or" ["the contributions paid by or in respect of him"], and to insert instead thereof the word "and."
As the Clause is drafted the transfer value of the teacher will represent either the contributions paid by him or her, or those paid in respect of him or her by the local education authority. It cannot be intended that the teacher should not get the benefit of all the contributions paid on his behalf, and therefore it is perfectly clear that the word "and" should be substituted for "or," so that the teacher may be able to get the benefit of all the contributions paid by the local authority.
§ Mr. GOLDSTONE
I beg to second the Amendment. If the intention be to transfer the combined value of the contributions of the teacher and the local authority, then by accepting the Amendment we shall have, I think, what the Government really intend. The Amendment seems to me to make that more clear.
§ Mr. J. A. PEASE
The words in the Clause carry out the intention of the Government. It is intended that this Clause should be uniform with the principle contained in Clause 40, Sub-section (2), paragraph (a), which reads as follows:—
Provided that—(a) if that amount exceeds the value of the contributions paid by or in respect of him estimated on the assumption that he had been a member of an approved society since his entry into insurance, the excess shall not be transferred to the society but shall be carried to the credit of the Post Office fund.Perhaps I may explain that under any ordinary insurance policy the surrender value is usually less than the accumulation of any single person's contributions, 431 but in this particular case, not only are the person's individual contributions to be accumulated, but the employer's contributions are also to be accumulated. I presume then that the particular alternative would never occur, but the Treasury desire to insert these words in order to provide against the possibility of the surrender value being lower than that which the person is actually credited with. The Treasury think these words should be included in order that the Clause may be absolutely in conformity with the principle of Clause 40.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman if that is his interpretation, whether it really means that it is proposed that the sum which will represent the surrender value in such cases as these shall be either the accumulated contributions of the employed contributor or the accumulated contributions of the local education authority. If so, a gross injustice will be done to everyone covered by this Clause.
§ Mr. FORSTER
I think we really ought to know a little more clearly what the intentions of the Government are, because I am bound to say that the whole Clause is Greek to me. I have not been able to understand it. It is extraordinarily technical, and I do not think that the President of the Board of Education, though equal to the task of fully explaining things connected with his own Department, can be expected to be equal to explaining all the ramifications and difficulties of this Bill. It is not surprising, therefore, that the explanations he gives do not always carry conviction to our minds. What we are anxious to secure is that these people shall get the full value of the contributions, not only the contributions they pay themselves, but the full value of the contributions paid in respect of them. We want to secure that the amount in the eventuality contemplated shall be the full amount in respect both of their own and their employer's contributions. All we have to go upon at the present moment is the declaration of the President of the Board of Education that that is the intention of the Government. The question is, Do those words really carry out that intention or not? If the House is assured on the authority of the Government that the words really cover the case, which has been so well developed by my hon. Friend the Member for Wilton (Mr. C. Bathurst), 432 I think that my hon. Friend will probably be satisfied. Unless we have a very clear assurance on that point, I think that my hon. Friend will do well to press the matter further.
I think that the right hon. Gentleman could tell us whether this very complicated financial calculation does give the member his full transfer value in exactly the same way as he would be entitled if he moved from one approved society to another. Clause 40 deals with the case where he transfers from an approved society to deposit insurance, and vice versâ, but is not a method of transfer from one approved society to another. It is not the same thing. If a man leaves an approved society and goes to the Post Office, he does not necessarily get his full transfer value. There is something—we have never been able to discover what—that is forfeited in the case of an unfortunate deposit contributor. Is the Government applying to the teacher the same ungenerous treatment that it applies to the deposit contributor, or is it applying the same treatment that it applies when one member of an approved society is transferred to another approved society?
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I understand that the words here are introduced purposely, because you have the two cases: in one case the contributions are paid by the voluntary contributor, and in the other case the contributions are paid in respect of the contributor. You have, therefore, the two cases, paid by or in respect of. This draws the distinction between contributions paid by him as a voluntary contributor and contributions paid in respect of him out of his own money, or out of moneys contributed by his employer.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
It is perfectly clear that this does not apply to any contributions paid as a voluntary contributor. It specifically says that where he does not become a voluntary contributor it contemplates payments made as an employed contributor, and also payments made on his behalf.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
It is really using the necessary words for the purpose of providing what the transfer value is so long as he is employed as a teacher. When he is transferred to the Board of Education he gets his transfer value. It is entirely an actuarial calculation as to what 433 the value is, taking into account the number of years he had made the contributions. I do not see any distinction made between this Clause and any other as regards the calculation of transfer value, and I do not see any grounds for suggesting any.
§ Mr. COURTHOPE
The right hon. Gentleman has not answered the question which has been asked repeatedly: Is the unfortunate employed contributor to get his full transfer value or is he not?
§ Mr. COURTHOPE
Then why not accept the Amendment? And if he is not to get it, why not be honest and say so? One can only imagine that the right hon. Gentleman would like us to believe that he is to get it, while as a matter of fact he is not. Otherwise there can be no possible argument against accepting the Amendment. This is not the way the House should be treated. The Government should make perfectly clear what their intention or what the intention of the Bill really is.
§ Mr. HILLS
Clause 40 covers both employed and voluntary contributors. Therefore in Clause 40 the use of the word "or" is right. The new Clause only covers employed contributors. Therefore the use of the word "or" must be wrong, because it raises the presumption that they do not get the benefit of the employer's contribution. I think, with all respect, it must mean that. The changing of "or" into "and" cannot do any harm anyhow, and I submit that it expresses the intention of the Bill much more clearly.
§ Mr. GOLDSTONE
May I put the question to the Government whether "or" really implies what the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Education regards as surrender value on insurance company lines, or whether the "or" really does mean a full transfer value composed of the two portions of the teacher's contribution and the contribution of the local education authority? If we could have a definite assurance on that, and we have not had it yet, I think the House would be prepared to come to a decision forthwith.
§ Sir PHILIP MAGNUS
The only reason given against adopting the Amendment of my hon. Friend is that the phraseology of the new Clause is identical with the phraseology of Clause 40. In the new Clause it is quite certain that what the Government intend is that the teacher shall have the benefit of the contribution both of himself and of his employer, and therefore the two contributions are to be taken together. That is not the case, as far as I understand, in Clause 40. If this matter has escaped the attention, as it seems to have done, of those who have drafted the Clause, surely it is better for the Attorney-General at once to admit it and allow the alteration to be made in order that the Clause may be quite clear.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I think the whole trouble arises from its being assumed throughout, as it has been assumed, that the person employed was always an employed contributor. That is not so. The person may have been an employed contributor at first and then may have been out of employment for a portion of the time. If the person never was a voluntary contributor, then you might strike out "by" and simply have "in respect of." But you have "by" because you want to meet the case of a man who made contributions part of the time as a voluntary contributor, but who at the time of the transfer is not a voluntary contributor. I should have thought that there was no great difficulty in understanding this. He may be for some months a voluntary contributor. Then he becomes an employed contributor, and he continues an employed contributor until the time arrives for the transfer value to be calculated. Then he is an employed contributor who has the option either of being transferred to the Board of Education with his transfer value or continuing under the Bill as a voluntary contributor. But in order to determine the amount of his transfer value you must not only take into account the contributions paid in respect of him, which are the contributions of the employed contributor, but you must also take into account anything he may have paid as a voluntary contributor. That is why we bring in the same phraseology.
§ Question put, "That the word 'or' stand part of the Clause."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 171; Noes, 129.437
|Division No. 411.]||AYES.||[4.42 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Alden, Percy||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud)||Hayden, John Patrick||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Anderson, Andrew Macbeth||Hayward, Evan||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Higham, John Sharp||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Reddy, Michael|
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick)||Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)|
|Barton, William||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Jardine, Sir John (Roxburgh)||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||John, Edward Thomas||Robinson, Sidney|
|Bentham, G. J.||Johnson, William||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Boland, John Pius||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Roche, John (Galway)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Joyce, Michael||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Kilbride, Denis||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. S.|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Sheehy, David|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Levy, Sir Maurice||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Lewis, John Herbert||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Lyell, C. H.||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Clough, William||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Summers, James Woolley|
|Cowen, W. H.||Macpherson, James Ian||Tennant, Harold John|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||M'Callum, John M.||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Crooks, William||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Crumley, Patrick||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Masterman, C. F. G.||Walters, John Tudor|
|Davies, E. William (Eifion)||Meehan, Patrick (Queen's Co.)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Menzies, Sir Walter||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Millar, James Duncan||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Mond, Sir Alfred M.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Doris, William||Morgan, George Hay||Webb, H.|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Muldoon, John||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary)||Munro, Robert||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Ferens, Thomas Robinson||Needham, Christopher T.||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Gelder, Sir William Alfred||Neilson, Francis||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Nolan, Joseph||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Winfrey, Richard|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Greig, Colonel James William||O'Donnell, Thomas||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Guest, Hon. Major C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Adamson, William||Butcher, John George||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Campion, W. R.||Forster, Henry William|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Gardner, Ernest|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Cassel, Felix||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Cator, John||Gibbs, George Abraham|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cave, George||Gill, Alfred Henry|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Goldman, Charles Sydney|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Goldstone, Frank|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Clyde, James Avon||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Courthope, George Loyd||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Craik, Sir Henry||Grant, J. A.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Greene, W. R.|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Hamersley, Alfred St. George|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid.)||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Hancock, John George|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Falle, Bertram Godfray||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Fell, Arthur||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Helmsley, Viscount|
|Burn, Col. C. R.||Fleming, Valentine||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Hickman, Col. Thomas E.||Malcolm, Ian||Stewart, Gershom|
|Hill, Sir Clement L. (Shrewsbury)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Sutherland, John E.|
|Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Sutton, John E.|
|Hedge, John||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Hope, Harry (Bute)||Nield, Herbert||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Horner, Andrew Long||O'Grady, James||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Hume-Williams, Wm. Ellis||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Hunt, Rowland||Paget, Almeric Hugh||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)|
|Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Jowett, Frederick William||Parkes, Ebenezer||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Joynson-Hicks, William||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Pointer, Joseph||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Lansbury, George||Pole-Carew, Sir R.||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Remnant, James Farquharson||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Ronaldshay, Earl of||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton))|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt..-Col. A. R.||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo., Han. S.)||Snowden, Philip||Younger, Sir George|
|Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|M'Mordie, Robert||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. C. Bathurst and Mr. Hills.|
|Magnus, Sir Philip||Starkey, John Ralph|
Question, "That the proposed Clause, as amended, be added to the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I beg to move, after the word "with" ["with rules made under"], to insert the word "the."
I have a further Amendment to leave out "made under that Act," and to insert instead thereof "for the time being applicable thereto." That portion of the Clause, thus amended, would thus read: "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 the rules for the time being applicable thereto." As the Clause stands at present, the rules relating to the deferred annuity fund are clearly rules formed immediately after the passing of the Elementary School Teachers (Superannuation) Act, 1898. It does not contemplate any rules that may be made hereafter under that Act, and it does not contemplate what is in the mind of the Board of Education at the present time, the passing of another Act dealing with the subject of superannuation, and the rules made under any such Act with regard to superannuation questions. It is perfectly clear that if this provision is to have the elastic effect which the right hon. Gentleman, I believe, means it to have, it cannot be intended to be restricted to rules framed under the Act of 1898, but must be intended to apply to all rules that may hereafter be framed under any Act—"for the time being" relating to superannuation—and intended to deal with the superannuation fund of teachers. It is for that reason I desire to leave out the words to the effect which I have stated, in order to make the Clause as elastic as possible, and in order to make any rules that may hereafter be framed relating to superanuation, apply under this Clause.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
It is intended that the Clause shall apply in the way stated by the hon. Gentleman, and I accept the Amendment.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendment made: Leave out the words "made under that Act," and insert instead thereof the words "for the time being applicable thereto."—[Mr. C. Bathurst.]
§ Method of Meeting Anticipated Deficiency.
§ If by reason of the continuance of an excessive sickness experience actuarialy reported among members being insured persons an approved society has reasonable grounds for anticipating a deficiency upon the next ensuing valuation the society may, with the consent of the Insurance Commissioners, increase the period which is required by this Part of this Act to elapse between two periods of disease or disablement to prevent the second being treated as a continuation of the first.
§ The object of the Clause is to enable an approved society to increase the period between the two periods of disease or disablement, and to prevent the second being treated as a continuation of the first. Hon. Members will recollect that under Clause 36 of the amended Bill a friendly society which has actually suffered a deficiency through excessive sickness, may reduce benefits by the very methods proposed in the new Clause I have suggested in order 439 to extinguish that deficiency. I submit that the provision of itself is quite inadequate, because unless the society can prevent excessive sickness continuing in the future, it will be very likely that a deficiency will be shown on the ensuing valuation, whenever the valuation is taken. What really seems to me to be required is that the society should have power to control sickness claims, if, from the nature of the occupation of its members, or from any other permanent cause, they have reason to believe that excessive periods of sickness will continue in the future, in order that they may be able really to check the expenditure and have a reasonable prospect of being free from deficiencies on future valuations. What really is lacking in the Bill is the power of forestalling future deficiencies. As I have already said, there is a provision in the Bill for meeting existing deficiencies, but it is quite alien to the existing practice of friendly societies. Friendly societies in the present day do not make use of the method under the Bill for meeting existing deficiencies, for the very good reason that it is not really the proper method of making good a deficiency that already exists. All the friendly societies employed this method of prolonging the period between illnesses in order to forestall future deficiencies. In fact it is a method which friendly societies have found extremely valuable in the past. It used to be the practice for friendly societies to have a six months period between in order to prevent the second period of sickness from being regarded as a continuation of the first, and that intervening period has been increased to twelve months, and a great many societies now make the period eighteen months. Some make it as long as two years, and some even longer than that. The acceptance of this new Clause will not really introduce any new principle at all; it is simply a continuance of the existing practice, and I really believe that it will be extremely useful in administering the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
One of the objects which the hon. Member has in view is to enable a valuation to be made at an earlier date than the three-year period provided for, but he limits it to the continuance of excessive sickness. I do not want to criticise for one 440 moment the drafting of the Clause, but, taking its substance, and following out what the hon. Gentleman has said as to his intentions, it seems to me that his aim is already substantially provided for under the Bill. There is no definite rigid limit laid down for the valuation. What is stated in the Bill is that a valuation shall take place at periods of three years, "or at such other times as the Insurance Commissioners appoint." It is purposely done in that way so that should circumstances intervene to make it necessary to have an earlier or later valuation, there should be power in the Insurance Commissioners to order one. That is already provided for under Clause 34.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I am speaking about Clause 34. That Clause prescribes for the valuation of approved societies. It lays it down that a valuer, to be appointed by the Treasury, shall, at the expiration of every three years, "or at such other times as the Insurance Commissioners appoint," make a valuation. That is the Clause to which I was referring when I said there was power already in the Bill to make a valuation at any time the Insurance Commissioners may think right.
§ Mr. G. LOCKER-LAMPSON
But that has nothing to do with prospective deficiencies. It merely deals with the condition of the society at the time of the valuation.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The hon. Gentleman has not followed what I was putting to him. I said this new Clause was not necessary. If it is desired to have a valuation before the end of the three years application can be made to the Insurance Commissioners and they may make an order for a valuation at some other time. It might indeed be necessary to have one a few months after the Bill has passed into law. Suppose that a society has reason to anticipate that, in consequence of excessive sickness—to which the hon. Gentleman's Amendment is limited—or for some other reason there will be a deficiency if they allow the administration to continue giving the benefits then current until the expiration of three years; there will be no difficulty in their applying at once to the Insurance Commissioners who will then, on the grounds placed before them, say whether or not a valuation shall be taken. I will, for argument's sake, say 441 that, at the end of two years after the Bill has come into operation, a society may be apprehensive that, as a result of administering the benefits, it may find itself at the end of three years with a serious deficiency. The Clause I have quoted was really drafted to meet such a case, and it does not limit its operation to excessive sickness. We have provided much more generally than the hon. Member suggests in his proposed new Clause, and I think, if he will bear in mind the wide interpretation that is to be put on these words, "or at such other times as the Insurance Commissioners appoint" he will agree it is not necessary to move this new Clause.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
I should like to put one point to the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I think we all want to arrive at the same result, but the right hon. Gentleman does not seem to have met the Amendment of my hon. Friend. I quite agree that you may have this valuation, not only at the end of three years, but at intermediate times. That is clear from the Clause to which he has referred. But when you have this valuation, can you make the alteration suggested in this Amendment in respect of an anticipated deficiency? If you can, I agree that my hon. Friend's point has been met. But I do not believe you can deal with the valuation in that way. You can have a valuation at any time with regard to past deficiencies, but you cannot bring in a revision of this sort. Still, if the Bill really deals with anticipated deficiencies I should not think it necessary to press the Clause.
§ Mr. HARRY LAWSON
It seems to me that there is here a very definite point, although not a very large one. My hon. Friend does not think it necessary that in each case the society should be called upon to pay the expenses of an official valuation as provided for under the Clause which the Attorney-General has quoted. He holds it might be desirable for an approved society to have its own valuation carried out in a cheaper, but perhaps not less effective way. It that were done, surely there could be no objection to their taking steps in the way common to friendly societies, a practice approved by many, of meeting a deficiency in advance. I think the most the new Clause would do would be to enlarge the powers of approved societies to set themselves right, and I therefore cannot see on what ground this Clause is objected to.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
There is very considerable power given in Clause 36 under which a scheme may be submitted for a reduction of benefits in case of deficiency. There is nothing to prevent a society doing what the hon. Member wishes, and as soon as the Bill is passed, or at the end of the year, if it has reason to fear that the administration of the benefits will result in a deficiency, it can have a valuation at once. But it must be a valuation by the Commissioners.
§ Lord ALEXANDER THYNNE
I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman has missed the point. The taking of valuations would be a new departure in the practice of many approved societies. At the present moment their practice is so to adjust their benefits as to anticipate any prospective deficiency without going to the trouble and expense of a valuation. So far from this Amendment being a restrictive Amendment, I rather think it tends to promote elasticity and, as such, it will be welcomed by the friendly societies.
§ Question, "That the proposed Clause be read a second time," put, and negatived.
§ Reinsurance for the Purposes of Maternity Benefit.
§ For the purpose of the administration of maternity benefit the Insurance Commissioners shall establish a central fund for the reinsurance of expenditure to be incurred upon maternity benefit, and the Insurance Commissioners may recover from every approved society and local health committee the due proportion of the cost of such reinsurance.
§ The object of this Clause is to enable reinsurance of the maternity benefit. The administration of this benefit is provided for in the amended Bill in a way which will probably inflict hardships on societies which are, or may become in the future, approved societies. As the hon. Member will realise, the maternity benefit under the Bill is going to be taken in sections: each branch is to provide its own maternity benefit. It is quite true it may reinsure with the society, but the society may possibly be quite a small one restricted to a particular locality. The Government actuaries have based their calculations on a general average birth rate throughout the country. They have taken a common rate of premium applicable to 443 the whole country. But, as everybody knows, the birth rate varies enormously all over the country, in counties and even in districts. In Durham, for instance, the birth rate is 33 per 1,000 of population. In Sussex it is only 19 per 1,000. It is quite clear, therefore, that approved societies and their branches in districts with high birth rates will be penalised very heavily indeed. Those in a district with a low birth rate will be able to accumulate a substantial surplus in respect of the maternity contribution;. I rather think the hon. Member for Pontrefact (Mr. Booth) is in agreement with me on this point. Unless this Clause can be accepted by the Government and the surplus in respect of the maternity benefit in certain localities handed over in order to fill up deficiencies in other localities, there will be a continual accumulation of funds in some parts of the country and in some societies, and a corresponding deficit in other parts of the country in other societies.
§ A deficiency is supposed to be a result of maladministration, and it is penalised in the Bill accordingly. Here you have this extraordinary position: the deficiency will be due to a fact which makes for the national well-being, and the surplus will arise from circumstances that have given good cause for great concern as to the welfare of the country at large. A high birth rate will be penalised and a low birth rate will be rewarded. This Clause provides that the maternity benefit shall be treated on the basis of a central fund. It is in full accordance with the calculations of the Government actuaries. In fact, the maternity liability, by grouping the population in societies, is a complete departure from the actuarial conditions in the Bill and the conditions set out in the Government actuaries' report. The actuaries have necessarily assumed that the surplus in some districts will pass over, in theory, to less fortunate districts, in order to enable those districts to sustain their position under the pressure of an abnormal maternity liability. Although the actuaries have assumed this in their own report, there is nothing at all about it in the Bill itself, and, this being so, I hope that the Government, will remedy what will undoubtedly be a great and serious grievance in the case of many localities in the country. Friendly societies are very well acquainted with the sickness and disablement benefits, and I am sure they will have no hesitation in administering those par- 444 ticular benefits. But it is quite different with regard to the maternity benefit. With the exception of the Hearts of Oak and one or two quite small societies the maternity benefit is an entirely new thing to them, and it is very doubtful indeed whether a great many of the societies will afford a sufficient basis for spreading the financial risks of this particular burden.
§ The Clause which I venture to put down, and which I recommend to the Committee—there is nothing controversial about it—is simply intended to facilitate the spreading of this risk of the maternity benefit if it is accepted. I should like, if I may, to adumbrate the possible machinery for working the Clause. The entire cost of the maternity benefit in any year could be pooled by the Insurance Commissioners, and they could pay to the approved societies the amount expended on that particular benefit. They could obtain the money for the purpose by charging each society with its due proportion of the liability, according to the ages of its members and according to its own expected number of maternity claims for the year. If an approved society happens to pay out more than the number expected, the Commissioners could easily send a cheque for the balance. If, on the other hand, it pays out less than was expected, it would be in debt to the Commissioners for the balance, and that balance could be deducted from any moneys which the society might be liable to pay over to the Insurance Commissioners. In fact, it would be merely a matter of account which every friendly society man or woman could perfectly well understand.
§ The Clause does not introduce a new principle. There is already a system of district funeral funds in the affiliated orders under which the death claims in a given year are pooled. Each branch pays its own claims in the first instance, but the district calculates the expected cost in the case of each branch and draws, from the branch the amount required to run off the account. One of the strongest arguments in favour of this Clause is that the maternity benefit does not require any supervision. In that respect it is quite different from the other benefits under the Bill. Sickness and disablement benefits must be left with the approved societies, because the liability in connection with them is, and must be, a matter of very close supervision. But it is quite otherwise in the case of maternity benefits. As far as I can see, the liability could be pooled without 445 any financial disadvantage whatsoever. If the Attorney-General can accept the new Clause it will impart a great deal of stability to the maternity benefit, and give a legal sense of security to those societies who are going to administer it for the first time. I think it is quite certain that it will not involve a farthing of additional cost to the State, except perhaps in respect of the small item of accounting. Therefore, I beg to move.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I rise to second the proposed new Clause, although I do not desire to commit myself quite as far as the Mover. If he can see his way to substitute the word "may" for "shall," I think it will accomplish his object. If the Insurance Commissioners could hit upon a plan to carry out the suggested idea it would be to the advantage of everyone. I think this is the one benefit under the Bill which will be very unequal. It will be heavy in some districts and light in others, without being under the control of those administering the societies at all. If the Commissioners were able, when the Bill gets into operation, to devise a scheme to equalise the benefits under this head, it would be a very excellent thing, and from the standpoint of insurance give greater stability and security. I think the hon. Member's arguments were perfectly sound, and if he will leave it to the Insurance Commissioners when they can see their way to do it, perhaps the Government will accept the proposal.
§ Mr. HARRY LAWSON
I wish to support the proposed new Clause, which has been moved with great force and wealth of argument by my hon. Friend, because it particularly affects the county of London. There is no doubt that within the county of London the birth rate is low, and the West End is a much greater sinner than the East End in that respect. The Irish and Jewish population in the East End breed much more freely than the people of the West End. I urge the Clause upon the Attorney-General particularly from the point of view of London, and after the concurrence of the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Booth) I hope the Government will see their way to accept it. It is in accordance with an established principle of friendly societies' finance, and where a lesson of this sort can be learnt from the friendly societies I think the Government are almost bound, by the methods they have pursued hitherto, to accept the Clause. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has said time after time 446 that where he can learn from the experience of the affiliated orders he does so. Here he has the experience of the affiliated orders. In the statistics prepared in Paper 5681 in reference to this matter the actuaries had to go to New Zealand for comparative figures, but I take it that throughout they were assuming that the benefit would be equally allotted over the whole country. As the actuaries have taken that as their basis, and as the necessities of the case are quite clear in respect to some parts of the country, I hope the Government will be able to meet my hon. Friend, and, if they cannot accept the words proposed, to provide words which may be inserted elsewhere to carry out the principle.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
There is undoubtedly much to be said for the principle involved, but it would be impossible for the Government to accept the proposed new Clause. It goes a great deal further than would be justifiable. In the first place, it makes it compulsory on the Insurance Commissioners to do what is suggested; and, secondly, it involves recovery from the deposit contributors. I do not think that that would be desirable. The whole point in reference to the deposit contributor is that he stands in quite a different category from the other contributors. As has been said again and again, in his case it is not strictly insurance at all, and it is for that reason that the provision is limited to the 1st January, 1915. There would be very great difficulty in imposing this requirement upon the deposit contributor. His money is deposited, and he draws upon it as long as it lasts; so that the extent of the benefit which he can draw must be quite individual to the depositor himself. It is not like an approved society, where you have a totally different scheme and you have real insurance. First of all, then, you would have to limit it to the approved societies.
We have already introduced an Amendment in Clause 38 (2), which gives the societies the power. That is in accordance with the view expressed earlier in Committee stage. If you want to extend it to the Commissioners, it will be necessary to insert enabling words. Is is rather a big scheme to introduce at this moment. Our view in the matter is that a question of this kind would have to be carefully watched. It might be necessary to get power to do what is suggested, but experience will teach whether it is necessary or not to have this pooling of the maternity 447 benefit over the whole country. I quite agree with what the hon. Member has said with great force, that the maternity benefit stands in a different category from all the other benefits for this purpose. There is some ground for distinguishing it from the others and saying that, in regard to this particular benefit, you should have a central fund and pooling. But it cannot be done in the way proposed by this Clause. I am not particularly concerned to criticise the exact phraseology, but in any case it goes too far. We are quite willing, however, if it meets the view of the House, that there should be an enabling Clause introduced giving the Insurance Commissioners power to establish a central fund and to make regulations as might be necessary for carrying out the object if they decided to do so.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I do not suggest that the House would not do it, but it may be found that it is not necessary at all. What I think the House desires is that, should it be found necessary, the Insurance Commissioners should be armed with power to make a central fund and to collect the money. But if the House said that it must be done, the Insurance Commissioners would be bound at once to set up a central fund. There is much that might be said which makes one think it might become necessary. Maternity is distributed so unequally throughout the country that some societies operating in one locality may have a great deal to pay and others very little in this respect. I quite appreciate that if that happens, if it falls upon small societies and puts them in difficulties, it might be necessary to have a, central fund in order to pool the money, and, in insurance language, spread your risk over the whole country. That is a matter which should be left to the Insurance Commissioners. If, on the other hand, you have large societies, so that through their large membership the pooling is sufficiently done, it will not be necessary to have a central fund, and all the machinery that a central fund would require. But, as I say, I should not object to having enabling words, so that the Insurance Commissioners might, as soon as it was found desirable, establish the machinery necessary for the purpose.
§ Mr. J. SAMUEL
Before the Government decide on this point I think it 448 requires further consideration. The intention is that there should be a central fund for the maternity benefit. The birth rate varies in different parts of the country. The average is 23 or 24 per 1,000, but in some counties it rises as high as 50 or even 55 per 1,000. A pooling arrangement may be very unfair in some parts unless you pool the sickness benefit as well. Where you have a heavy birth rate you may have a light sickness benefit, and you will have an average in the same approved society. Where you have a light birth rate there is a possibility of having a high sickness rate, and the consequence would be that the light maternity benefit would average with the heavy sickness benefit in the same approved society. If all the insured persons were in one society I can quite understand that the hon. Member's idea would be a very good one. But each society will be responsible for its own management and risks, and there is very great danger indeed that if the maternity benefit alone is pooled the scheme would work very unequally. I certainly think if anything is done in the matter that the whole thing ought to be left to the Insurance Commissioners. They should take the whole situation in before they decide upon it. To make it compulsory that you are to pool the maternity benefits—I mean every approved society to pay the same due proportion—is, in my opinion, and according to my experience, putting a very serious charge upon some of these societies which will have heavy sickness and light maternity benefits.
§ Lord A. THYNNE
Let me deal first with the point raised by the hon. Gentleman opposite: that is, that if we pool the maternity benefit we should also pool the sickness benefit. I think the hon. Member himself would be the first to recognise that these two benefits stand on an absolutely different footing. After all, the whole essence of the administration of sickness benefit is supervision by the approved societies. You cannot get proper administration of sickness benefit except with very strict supervision. I think the hon. Member will agree that in the administration of maternity benefit practically no supervision at all is required. Therefore, I submit that while it is quite sound, reasonable, and possible to pool the maternity benefit, the course recommended by the hon. Member to pool the sickness benefit would be a very unwise one for the House to adopt.
§ Lord A. THYNNE
The second point the hon. Member made was that he suggested that we should very likely find where there was a high birth rate that there would be a low sickness rate.
§ Lord A. THYNNE
I accept the correction of the hon. Member that "there may be the possibility of a low sickness rate where there is a high birth rate." I do not think that recent statistics and recent investigations at all bear that supposition out. But I do not want to follow what, after all, is a side issue in this matter. I think, however, to take one example only, that the House will admit that there is no such high birth rate as among people suffering from consumption, and that it is very common indeed to find a high sickness rate concurrently with a high birth rate in the same class of persons and the same district.
I should like to deal next with the point raised by the learned Attorney-General. I feel that we are continuing discussion at the present time under a certain amount of difficulty. In the first place, we have got a Motion before us which is being moved as mandatory, and it has been seconded by an hon. Member opposite as a permissive Motion. We have also been informed by the Front Bench that they are prepared to accept some sort of provision of the nature suggested by my hon. Friend. But we have not before us for discussion and consideration the precise form of words which the Attorney-General is prepared to accept. Personally, I should regret to see this provision made a permissive one. I quite admit the difficulty put forward by the learned Attorney-General in regard to Post Office contributors. I think that that is another example, and a very significant example, of the inconvenience of the method adopted throughout this Bill by the Government: to divide the population of this country into two classes, one class of which is to be insured and can be dealt with under such provision as the one brought forward by my hon. Friend, and the other class of which—as the right hon. Gentleman himself admits—not insured in any sense of the word, and which, therefore, cannot be dealt with under terms of this sort.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
What I said in regard to the latter was that, "in strictness it cannot be called insurance."
§ Lord A. THYNNE
I accept the learned Attorney-General's correction that this second class cannot in strictness be considered as insured. The fact remains that the Attorney-General does not consider that this class, although included in the Bill, and which in strictness cannot be termed insured, can be brought under the provision which is suggested by my hon. Friend. I dislike the suggestion of the hon. Member opposite that this should be a permissive provision. I think we are at the present moment entrusting powers—I do not say too wide powers, but powers sufficiently wide—to the Insurance Commissioners. We are giving them unlimited discretion in almost every detail of this measure. I think that this House will be wise, taking the Bill generally, certainly on this Clause, to see that the general discretion of the Insurance Commissioners shall be limited as much as possible, consistently with preserving the elasticity of the measure. The hon. Member has already referred to the fact, and I think the House is prepared to accept it without the support of statistics, of the varied incidence of the birth rate in the various parts of England. My hon. Friend behind me referred to the birth rate in London. What is the effect of the measure as it stands without the Amendment proposed by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Salisbury (Mr. G. Locker-Lampson)? The effect is, in the first place, to penalise the districts that have a high birth rate. I am sure it is the wish of every Member of this House to penalise, if districts have to be penalised, those districts where the birth rate is low. In the second place, so far as London is concerned, emphasis has been laid upon the point that you have the highest birthrate in the poorest district, and that if you do not accept the provision now under consideration you will be penalising the poorer districts of London as against the more prosperous districts which have got a lower birth rate.
I pass to one further argument on this point, and that is that the districts in which, taking the country as a whole, the counties and towns in which the birth rate is highest are districts in which the municipalities have shown the greatest zeal for reform in such matters as sanitation and housing. If the Bill is left as it stands without the Amendment before the House 451 you will be penalising the progress and zeal of those forward municipalities, and you will, by the same hand, be passively rewarding those municipalities which have not shown the same enterprise or zeal for reform. On these grounds, if on these grounds alone, I think we have made out a very good case indeed for the Government to accept this Amendment, and I hope the Front Bench opposite will be prepared now to submit to the House the precise terms in which they are prepared to meet my hon. Friend.
§ Mr. LANE-FOX
Why is it not possible that this Amendment, seeing that I understand it the Government are willing for Amendment, should not be amended at their instance at the present moment? We do not know what precisely the Government have in mind. I do not know whether the Attorney-General is referring to "another place," and the possibility of putting in another Clause in another place.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
What I said was that if no other hon. Member prepared an Amendment I would see that one was drafted and introduced. I am ready now to receive one, but I cannot propose an Amendment at this moment. That is the difficulty. But I have an Amendment which I am quite prepared to put forward.
§ Mr. LANE-FOX
In that case, then, I do not wish to stand any longer in the way. I only want it to be made clear what the intention is: Whether the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to accept the Second Reading of this Clause without Amendment, and amend it in the direction required——
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
If I accepted the Clause as it at present stands, I am afraid I should have to recast the whole of it. If I am not out of order, I can give the House the words that I propose:—
"The Insurance Commissioners may if they think fit by special order provide for the reinsurance with them of all the liabilities of all approved societies in respect of maternity benefit, and the order may provide for the method of calculating the premiums to be charged against the several societies in respect of such reinsurance and may contain such incidental, consequential, and supplementary provisions as may appear necessary for the purpose."
452 All those powers are absolutely necessary in order to carry out the intentions of the House that the Insurance Commissioners should have this power.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
One question in reference to the proposal which has been read out to the House. I think, speaking on my own behalf, that it appears to be satisfactory, and to meet the difficulties—which I quite appreciate. I must say I very much object to a provision of this kind being left to the discretion of the Insurance Commissioners. I notice in the form of words read out that it leaves the whole question as to whether or not you are to have reinsurance under these conditions in the absolute discretion of the Insurance Commissioners. [An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear."] Why should it be left in the absolute discretion of the Insurance Commissioners? If the principle is right it ought to be accepted as a principle in this House. The means of carrying it out is, I admit, necessarily not a matter for this House at the present time, but for regulations by the Insurance Commissioners. I think everyone who has practical knowledge of the difficulty of drafting a question of this kind will admit that. The principle as to whether there is to be reinsurance or not surely ought to be determined by this House itself. If we think, as certainly I do, that as regards maternity benefit reinsurance is a right principle—and I think it has been very generally accepted—why not say in the House itself that that principle shall be accepted, and leave the method of working it out to the Insurance Commissioners? That is really the right way. We do not really legislate by leaving to the Insurance Commissioners the discretion regarding the principle as well as the method of working the principle out! Therefore I ask the Attorney-General whether he will not insert the word "shall." Certainly, so far as I am concerned, his proposal seems to carry out what is right, and what I understand to be the general opinion of the House.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I wish to point out to the House that all the arguments that have been put forward regarding the poorer localities, especially of London, in respect to maternity benefit, can be put 453 forward with tenfold force with regard to the sickness benefit and medical benefits. The latest report of the Local Government Board, just issued, gives the rate of sickness in the East End. Take Tower Hamlets, and compare it with Hampstead. There is no comparison between the two figures in the two cases. Further, if there is to be a central fund for maternity benefit, I want to ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether it would be in order for me to move to add to the maternity benefit medical and sickness benefit? It seems to me that it is very much more necessary to have sickness benefit than maternity benefit. As the Bill now stands the poorer parts of London and the poorer parts of every great city will, so far as I understand the Bill, be penalised because of the fact that the people who can live under better conditions always remove away where better conditions prevail, and the poor become more and more congested in particular areas. It is true I believe of every industrial town throughout the country, and it is certainly true of this Metropolis, and therefore if this argument is to prevail about maternity benefit I shall ask leave to include a central fund in connection with the other two funds also.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I do not propose to follow the hon. Member in the large alterations he proposes to make in the Bill. It may be quite right to have a central fund for sickness, or it may not. I only point out that the hon. Gentleman would enlarge the financial Clauses of the Bill. The concession advanced by the Attorney-General in the very charming way he always makes concessions is no concession at all. There is a Clause in the Bill for the removal of difficulties, and by that Clause the Commissioners can do what they please. They can not only do what they think fit, but they can alter the whole Act of Parliament, and therefore, when the Attorney-General says, "I will leave out the word "shall" and insert "may" he leaves the position exactly as it was before. Therefore I suggest to my hon. Friend (Mr. G. Locker-Lampson) that if he is in earnest about this Clause he should stick to the word "shall." The Attorney-General said the principle of the Amendment was good. If that is so, why does he object to its being compulsory. If that proposal came from a reactionary Tory perhaps I might understand it. But that it should come from the Attorney-General is a great revelation to me. I ask my hon. Friend not to 454 be misled as to the effect of the concession granted by the Attorney-General. I am rather surprised to find hon. Gentlemen apparently under the impression that a low birth rate is a wicked thing. I am not at all sure that that is so. I certainly do not want to penalise municipalities. I think my hon. Friend had better not accept the Amendment of the Attorney-General, and if he goes to a Division against that Amendment I shall certainly support him.
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
I should like to address a word or two to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The right hon. Gentleman did not hear the speech made by my hon. Friend (Mr. G. Locker-Lampson), which put the whole point very clearly with regard to these maternity benefits, and I appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to make it compulsory, because, from the very nature of the question, this permission could not be taken advantage of. It is perfectly obvious that in a district where the birth rate is low the approved societies would not be likely to want to pool their maternity benefits. The proposal of the Attorney-General is that, first, the Insurance Commissioners should, if they please, make provision to allow the friendly societies to pool; and, secondly, that the friendly societies may, if they please, pool the maternity benefits. It is by no means certain that the Insurance Commissioners would make this arrangement, and it is certain in districts where there is a low birth rate the friendly societies will not apply to pool. I support the Clause of my hon. Friend on the broad basis that maternity benefit is totally distinct from sickness benefit. Maternity benefit implies that something has happened which is to benefit the nation, I do not at all agree with my hon. Friend (Sir F. Banbury) in his views upon the birth rate.
I am strongly in favour of a high birth rate from the national point of view. I always assumed that the Chancellor of the Exchequer's reason for bringing in this maternity benefit was that it should incline to a high rather than to a low birth rate. Surely all humanitarians and all who have to do with the interests of the nation are agreed that it is desirable to increase rather than reduce the birth rate. Proposals for dealing with it tend as far as they go to that which is beneficial to the nation, and proposals to make this Clause permissive must tend, so far as anything of that kind can, rather to a reduction 455 of the birth rate. My right hon. Friend's proposal to make it compulsory is in favour of a high birth rate, whereas the Attorney-General's proposal to make it permissive is in favour of a low birth rate, and on these grounds I hope my hon. Friend will stick to the words of his Amendment.
I hope my hon. Friend will accept the modification proposed by the Attorney-General. Although I agree with the argument that maternity benefit is on a different footing to sickness benefit, I think it is a matter that the friendly societies and the Insurance Commissioners between them will really settle it better than this House can settle it. I regret very much there have been further powers given to the Insurance Commissioners; they have far too many powers; and if it had been possible to discuss this at greater length at an earlier stage of the Bill we might, in the House or in Committee, have knocked up a scheme for them ourselves. But as we have not been able to do that I think my hon. Friend would be wise to accept the suggestion of the Government and take the half-loaf, which is better than no bread.
§ Mr. G. LOCKER-LAMPSON
May I ask, if I withdraw this Clause, will it be in order to put in an alternative Clause now?
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
What I should be prepared to do is this. If the House accepts the view indicated in the Amendment I have read, subject, of course, to Mr. Speaker's assent, I should be prepared to read the hon. Member's Clause a second time, and then to move to leave out all the words after "Commissioners" and to insert instead thereof the words which I read to the Committee, and the Clause would then read, "for the purposes of the administration of maternity benefit the Insurance Commissioners may, if they think fit, by special order provide," and so on. If Mr. Speaker thinks that can be done, I propose to do it in that way.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
There is no doubt the matter can be done in that way by turning a compulsory Clause into a permissive one and making other adjustments required.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I beg to move to leave out the words after "Commissioners" ["the Insurance Commis- 456 sioners"], "shall establish a central fund for the reinsurance of expenditure to be incurred upon maternity benefit, and the Insurance Commissioners may recover from every approved society and local health committee the due proportion of the cost of such reinsurance," and to insert instead thereof the words "may, if they think fit, by special order provide for the reinsurance with them of all liabilities of all approved societies in respect of maternity benefits, and the order may provide the method of calculating the premiums to be charged against the several societies in respect of such reinsurance, and may contain such other incidental, consequential, and supplementary provisions as may be necessary for the purpose."
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The same question occurred to me when I read it through a second time. I think they should be left in because there are cases in which the use of the word "may" is interpreted as mandatory. All lawyers think it is desirable to put in the words "if they think fit" in order to make the meaning clear.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Old Age Pensions.
§ In calculating the means of a person for the purpose of the Old Age Pensions Act, 1908, or any Act amending the same, the pension authorities shall not take into consideration any additional benefit under this Act or any benefit under any scheme confirmed in accordance with this Act received or recoverable by such person.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd George)
I think this is a convenient opportunity to raise a question of order in regard to this Clause. Undoubtedly the effect would be, if this Clause were carried, to increase the charge for old age pensions, because there are limitations in the Old Age Pensions Act which have the effect of excluding certain persons, and if this Clause is carried quite a number of those persons 457 would be able to claim pensions which would add to the charge upon the public fund—to the extent of about £150,000 at least.
May I point out this Bill is giving a new set of benefits, and what I am asking for by my Clause is that the new benefit given by this Bill should not disentitle those otherwise entitled to old age pensions from getting them. That which disentitles them is in this Bill, and I am putting in a proviso to the effect that nothing in this Bill giving benefits should affect the right of persons to old age pensions. I am not increasing the charge, but I want not to allow the charge to be reduced by something which is done in this Bill.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The Chancellor of the Exchequer having informed me that this does increase the charge, I cannot allow it. I did not understand it in that way, but I am bound to accept the view of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Mr. ELLIS DAVIES
I beg to move, the new Clause standing in my name for the establishment of county societies in Wales and Monmouthshire.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
May I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to look at Sub-section (4) of this new Clause, which runs as follows:—
"(4) the giving of security by means of a charge upon the general purposes rate or otherwise."
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
Is it not out of order to introduce an Amendment which would place a charge upon the rates?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
That is so. I think the effect of this Clause would be to impose a charge upon the rates, and that cannot be done upon the Report stage. I am afraid I must rule the hon. Member's proposal out of order.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I understand that you rule, Mr. Speaker, that my new Clause providing for a Referendum is not in order. I submit that although it may not be in order at this stage, Clause 109 does contemplate other provisions. It says,
"This Act may be cited as the National Insurance Act, 1911, and shall, save as otherwise expressly provided by this Act, come into operation on the first day of May, nineteen hundred and twelve."
There is in Clause 109 that reference to other provisions for postponing the operation of this Bill. There are parts of the Bill which will not come into operation on the appointed day. I submit that it would not be out of order, therefore, to move it as a new Clause, and, as a matter of drafting, I think it is much more convenient to move it as a new Clause. As Clause 109 will probably come under the guillotine, I shall not have an opportunity of moving my Amendment.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
My recollection is that the question referred to by the Noble Lord was discussed, and was reached about one hour before the guillotine fell. We had a discussion upon the date the Act should come into operation, which lasted some time.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
The right hon. Gentleman does not apprehend my Amendment. I was pointing out that it could not possibly be reached under the Guillotine Resolution. At the time the right hon. Gentleman alludes to, public opinion had not so fully developed itself, and that was the reason it was not raised. It has, therefore, become important to move it at this stage of the Bill.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I can only express the same opinion which I expressed in private to the Noble Lord, that the proper place to deal with the date at which a Bill should come into operation is in the Clause which deals with the Short Title and commencement of the Act. It is true that there are the words here "save as otherwise expressly provided by this Act," and those words make certain Sections of the Bill come into force on certain dates. I will not express an opinion as to whether 459 this new Clause is in order or not, but it is rather of a vague character, and, at any rate, it ought to come at the conclusion of the Bill.
§ Special Provisions with Respect to Curates in the Church of England.
- (1) The Ecclesiastical Commissioners shall for the purposes of this Part of this Act be deemed to be the employer of a curate licensed to officiate in the Church of England.
- (2) The contributions of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners so required to be paid by them shall be payable out of their common fund in such manner and at such times as the Insurance Commissioners may prescribe, and the Insurance Commissioners may make any consequential modifications of the provisions of this Act relating to the payment of any contributions which in their opinion are desirable, and any such modifications shall have effect as though contained in this Act.
§ Mr. STUART-WORTLEY
On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. I submit that this Clause deals with a question which is outside the subject matter of this Bill.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The Clause which the hon. Member has moved declares that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners are the persons who are to be responsible for paying contributions in respect of any curate whose salary is less than £160. I think he is entitled to move that. As to the merits of the question, I do not express any opinion, but I think it is perfectly open to an hon. Member to say that the individual whom we generally consider as the employer of a person shall not for the purpose of this Bill be considered an employer, and that the charge shall be imposed upon somebody else. I think that it is open to the hon. Member to move a proposal of that kind, and I gather that that is the effect of this Clause.
I venture now to address the House for the first time upon the subject of this Bill. To me it is almost like making a maiden speech, after having listened so long trying to fathom the complexity of this Bill, to plunge and address the House upon it. I do so, however, with some confidence, because I am espousing the cause of a most deserving class who have hitherto received this Bill without any 460 protest, and without having agitated or troubled Members of Parliament, or even without having sent a deputation to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. A class which has those characteristics deserves, I think, a few moments' consideration. This Clause is conceived in the interests of the curates of the Church of England, and by that I mean England and Wales. They number roughly about 12,000 persons, and it is estimated that of those 12,000 probably not more than 8,000 or 10,000 would be employed persons within the meaning of this Bill. Some of them—I am afraid only a very few—receive more than £160 a year. Some of them combine their duties with other work, which brings them in an increased income, and some have private means. The proposal that this Clause embodies is that the charge which will be laid upon the curates who have to insure under this Bill shall be borne, not by themselves, but by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. I am rather surprised that the right hon. Gentleman on the Front Opposition Bench, who represents the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and with whom I have had pleasant relations in the past, does not wish this Clause discussed. He may differ from me, and he may have good reasons for opposing it, but I think it is only right that this proposal should be fairly discussed by the House.
This Clause would enact that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners should pay out of their common fund the sum which would be chargeable under this Bill. There are something like 10,000 curates who would be liable to come in as employed persons under this Bill, and the amount of payment required would be about £9,000 a year, which is an absolute flea-bite to the funds of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who have an income of £2,300,000, a sum which makes the mouth of the Chancellor of the Exchequer water. My proposal would benefit the most deserving class of the workers in the Church of England. In view of the fact that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners get an income of £2,300,000 a year, which is an increasing sum, and carry over each year a balance of about £300,000, I think they may very well afford a beggarly £9,000 in order to place the curates of this country in a better position. This proposal gains a great deal of force by the fact that we passed yesterday a new Clause enabling curates to get a really substantial benefit out of this Bill. They might form a society, or they might join a society which would give similar benefits with the of object of obtaining superannuation 461 or other benefits of a similar character, which would be of the very greatest value to men in that position. Many of the curates who work for years and years for a very small sum who have no prospect of ever receiving a large income, and to whom the opportunity of being insured with the prospect of superannuation allowance or a pension at a later period would be of inestimable value. I venture, therefore, to appeal to all those who value the work of the clergy in the Church of England, and the self-denying and ill-paid labour of its most arduous working sons to support this Clause. Curates are men who for many years have been coming forward less and less. There have been fewer men from the universities entering into this walk of life, and the difficulty of procuring an adequate supply of men to serve the Church and the State in this capacity is admitted. I hope the House will recognise in some small way the value of the work these men do, and I confidently appeal to it to give a second reading to this Clause so as to bring them under the purview of the Bill.
§ Mr. STUART-WORTLEY
Of course, the distinction between order and merits in the case of this Amendment is a fine one, but it is right the House should thoroughly understand what it is asked to do. Of course nobody would attempt to disagree with the hon. Gentleman that he is moving his Clause in the interests of perhaps one of the most deserving classes in the whole of the community, men who by the necessities of the case are in the very front of spiritual battle. Their very existence, and the fact that they are employed for the purpose for which they exist, is a sign that the spiritual organisation of particular parishes probably falls short in consequence of the density of population of the demands that are made upon it. Therefore, great sympathy is due to these curates, and goodness knows they do not get by any means too much. This Clause gives nothing to curates. It is a Grant-in-Aid of certain incumbents and not always in aid of necessitous incumbents. Of course, it is very easy, placing before the House the spectacle of very large figures which represent the resources of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, to make a sort of case for a Clause like this, by saying, "Here is a deserving class of persons on the one side, and here on the other side is a lot of money. Why not take some of this money and give it to these deserving persons?"
462 The funds of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners are impressed with a trust for which they are by no means sufficient. It is expressed in the Act of Parliament, and the policy of it has not been questioned for seventy years. It is impressed with a trust in favour of increased spiritual provision in necessitous parishes. The operation of this Clause would be quite indiscriminate and would practically mean a pecuniary Grant-in-Aid to a great many parishes that may not be necessitous. By the nature of the case it is impossible the Ecclesiastical Commissioners should have very accurate statistics, but, as far as we can tell, there are about 8,000 curates serving in parishes in England and Wales and probably 2,000—it is largely conjectural—receive £160 a year or over. That means this Clause would apply to about 6,000 curates, which would amount to a charge of £3,900 per annum. It is necessary to mention these figures so that the House should know approximately what it is asked to do. That is really the reason I hope the House will not pass the Clause. Not in the least because the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have not and do not daily show their sympathy for curates, but because it would be a diversion of their funds from the purpose to which Parliament in the past has devoted those funds—a purpose which is the highest of all possible purposes—and give them quite indiscriminately, not to curates, but to those who by no means fall under the definition of necessitous cases.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir John Simon)
The object and the effect of this Amendment really is only to substitute one authority for another as the person liable to pay the employer's contribution. It does appear to us there is probably not sufficient justification for making the substitution, for the reasons which the right hon. Gentleman has just indicated. True it is, no doubt, that the class which my hon. Friend desires in this Amendment especially to benefit is a most deserving class, but it is not obvious to us their deserts are any the better recognised because you make the Ecclesiastical Commissioners pay the employer's contribution than if the incumbents who engaged them paid it, and we suggest to the House it is not, perhaps, a very desirable change to make. I need not assure the House it is our desire on such a subject to be entirely candid, and I take the opportunity of pointing out another question which perhaps arises here. It is most undesirable 463 we should discuss this sort of subject without seeing any possible difficulty which may arise in another aspect, and I suggest to the House that, as this topic is now raised, it is desirable they should consider whether they desire to make it quite certain that in all circumstances curates should be within the Bill. I think that is a matter worthy of consideration, for this reason. It was pointed out by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in an earlier Debate that the question whether you are within or not within the Bill turns on whether your employment is properly to be regarded as being employment under a contract of service.
§ Sir J. SIMON
Yes, or apprenticeship; but that does not arise here. This ambiguity, if there be any ambiguity, is not to be laid at the charge of the Government, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or the draftsman. It is an ambiguity, which arises in the nature of the case. For instance, a very similar difficulty arises under the Workmen's Compensation Act, where, again, the test is whether your engagement is under a contract of service. The House must bear in mind it by no means follows, because you have a contract, and because you have a contract with another person for a fixed payment, that the relationship between you and that other person is properly to be described as a contract of service. The sort of distinction which is commonly made, and which solves a great number of cases, is this. If the contract is of such a nature that the principal is able to control, not only the ultimate object aimed at, but the details of the way in which it is carried out, then no doubt it is a contract of service; but, on the other hand, if the engagement is one which leaves the person engaged free to pursue his own methods to produce a given result, then equally certainly it is not a contract of service. The House will see the sort of question which this Amendment raises is undoubtedly a question very near the line, and certainly I do not wish to claim any special judgment, or authority in deciding it.
I therefore submit to the House this is an opportunity which it would be well for us to take of collecting information as to whether it is desired to include in the scope of the Bill the whole class of ministers of religion, whether they are 464 ministers of the Church of England or of any other denomination. That can quite easily be done under the Schedule, but it is not, I think, desirable we should discuss this Amendment as though all of us assumed every curate is within the Bill as a matter of course, when I am confident it will be found that is a matter of some doubt and difficulty. I suggest it would be possible, without unduly prolonging the discussion, for the House to say what the general desire is on this important topic. We should then be able to avoid a possible ground of ambiguity, which I am sure everybody would wish not to enter upon. So far as the Amendment is concerned, we shall feel obliged to resist it, but I have taken the opportunity, which I hope will not be regarded as a gross breach of the Rules of Order, of calling attention to a difficulty which does arise.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
I am very much obliged, speaking as a Churchman, for what the Solicitor-General has said. It is quite clear under this Bill, as under the Workmen's Compensation Act, that the curate was not included at all. There may be difficulties, but the matter has been very much considered by people interested in church matters, and I think it is the view of all lawyers who have been consulted that contract of service does not include the position of curates, either under the Workmen's Compensation Act or under this Bill.
On a point of Order, is the hon. Gentleman discussing my Amendment at all? Is it really in order to raise a discussion such as was started by the Solicitor-General on the point whether curates are to come in? My Amendment does not raise that point at all. I respectfully submit this discussion is out of order.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member's Amendment assumes that curates are included. That appears to be rather a doubtful assumption, but I do not think this is quite the right opportunity to discuss that question. The only point of the hon. Member's Clause was a different one. He assumes that curates are within the four corners of the Bill, and then he proceeds to select the body which shall pay the employer's contributions in respect of them. I rather deprecate discussing the question which the Solicitor-General has started. If we enter upon it, I do not know when we shall finish.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
On a point of Order. Surely you cannot discuss whether a 465 charge of this kind is to be placed upon principals such as the Ecclesiastical Commissioners without inquiring into the question whether any charge of this kind is imposed by the Bill or not. If there is no charge imposed at all, I submit it would be a clear answer to the hon. Member's Amendment to show these curates were not in the Bill at all. It is very difficult to discuss the question who is to bear the charge without we know whether the charge is imposed or not.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I really could not undertake to say whether curates are included in the Bill or not. It is not my duty to say. All we are asked by this Clause to discuss is this: On the assumption that curates are within the four corners of the Bill, is it right that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, instead of the incumbents, should pay? That is the only question now before the House, and I think we ought to confine ourselves to it.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
Of course it is rather difficult to argue a matter of this kind on what I imagine is a false assumption; but, taking it upon that assumption, surely there can be no reason whatever why a charge of this kind should be placed upon the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, the whole of whoso funds are now distributed under strict trust conditions laid down in other Acts of Parliament altogether. If the curate is to come in, and, of course, every one sympathises with the position of the curate, it is quite clear that the charge ought not to be put on the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, more particularly as I believe that, at any rate, all churchmen desire that the charge should not be put either on the incumbents or the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. To that extent, I think, I am in order in expressing what I know their views to be. Therefore, it seems to me on no ground can they be admissible in the present Bill.
§ Mr. C. DUNCAN
Supposing this Clause were carried, would it not imply that the curate was included?
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
The opening words of the Clause seem to imply that the curate is in, and I should have thought it would bring him in.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I imagine that this Bill is to be construed, and will have to be examined as a whole to see what kind of persons are included. If it was found that in the Bill there were Clauses which dealt with persons who were not usually 466 regarded as under contract of service that would have to be taken into account. To that extent, I think, the Noble Lord is quite right.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I largely sympathise with the object of the hon. Member who moved this Clause, but, taking the two statements of the Solicitor-General it seems to me that this Clause is out of order, because if the curate was not in the Bill, this Clause puts him in the Bill. That puts the House in rather a peculiar positon. We do not know what the Bill provides without this new Clause, and we have to consider that Clause without first deciding what the Bill would mean. If the Bill does not apply to the curates, the new Clause is out of order, as it imposes for the first time a new charge. Therefore, it does seem to me difficult to decide this question, unless we first decide whether the curate is in the Bill now or not. This is a matter which it would have been very convenient to have left to be decided in another place, but there, again, the financial difficulty arises. The bishops who have expressed opinion on topics which we think they do not very well understand might have had the opportunity of expressing opinions on a subject which they do very well understand, and they would be able probably to give the Government great assistance. I do not know whether it will be possible to leave the matter to be so decided and to waive the question of privilege when the Bill returns. That would be for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to say. In the meantime, I am rather inclined to welcome the Clause, if it could be altered so as to limit it to necessitous incumbents. The funds of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners now go to constitute new parishes, which are only endowed with small sums of money. Therefore, it is hard to take your funds away from one good object to give them to another good object. If this were limited to incumbents below a certain income it would carry out the purpose for which the funds are intended. It would not be really altering the trust, and would tend to relieve rather hard cases. That, I suppose, could easily be done by an Amendment if the Clause were read a second time.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The position is rather a complicated one. The question whether a minister comes in under the Employers' Liability Act has never been taken to the courts, and it is doubtful. Although it is doubtful at present, and 467 although my hon. and learned Friends cannot guarantee the view the courts would take, the doubt would be solved by these words, because the courts would say, "Whatever our opinion might be as to a contract of service, if it stood alone, we have got to interpret the intention of Parliament, and we have got to read the contract of service in the light of this Clause, which certainly contemplates the inclusion of curates." That is the position at the present moment.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The Chancellor of the Exchequer seems rather to appeal to me. I think that this is an argument on the merits. The Chancellor will see that it is impossible for me to decide whether a curate is or is not included in the Bill.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
It seems to me that we are getting rather into a tangle. I want to know on what ground it could be suggested that we are going to have curates as employed persons under the Bill. First of all, it cannot be said that they are employed persons. They are licensed by the bishop, and they cannot be dismissed by their rector or vicar. The only person who can get rid of or discharge them is the bishop. The curate is a holder of an office to which he is licensed by the bishop, and if the rector or vicar wishes to get rid of him, he must appeal to the bishop, and cannot send him away on his own account. Therefore, if underlying this Clause there is an idea that the curate in a parish is employed by the rector or vicar, then that is based on an entire fallacy, because the rector or victor has no power over the curate in the sense of being able to dismiss him. I do not know whether the Solicitor-General had this in mind when he was addressing the House, because, as I gather, this Clause is intended to relieve the curate of a difficulty that the curate would have if he were in the position of having to pay, and possibly also his employer who is not in very good circumstances, or the person who is supposed to be his employer, his incumbent, who may have all too little to live upon. If that is the idea, and that you should then bring in some rich body to make those contributions, then, surely, the Clause is based on an entire fallacy.
The real position of the curate is that he is the holder of an office, and I think it would be very unfortunate if we adopted by this Clause anything which would give colour to the idea that the curate is not 468 the holder of an office directly under the bishop, and give colour to the belief that he is employed, and therefore entitled, to receive notice to terminate his office from the person whom undoubtedly he assists, namely, the rector or the vicar, but who has no control over the period during which his office should last. That view being kept in mind it seems to me that the suggestion that the curate is an employed person under contract of service seems to fade away. We ought, I think, to hold that the curate is the holder of a high and important office. With regard to Nonconformist churches, one does not know what happens, but I should have thought there was great difficulty in saying they were employed persons, and I should have thought they held high office in that church, and that to put those persons into the category of a contract of service was to place them in a position that was unfortunate and to which their high duties ought not to give any colour.
§ Mr. C. DUNCAN
I take it that if this Clause is passed it will bring within the scope of this Bill curates with under £160 per year. My position is this. I believe that the Bill will be productive of a great deal of good. I know curates have illnesses the same as other people, and curates sometimes have very large families. I do not see why they should not have maternity benefit. Then, again, curates may suffer from tuberculosis, and I fail to see any reason whatever why they should not have exactly the same excellent treatment that all those people who are brought within the scope of this Act will get in the various establishments that are to be put up to deal with the problem. It seems to me that the case stands thus. There are many curates in this country who have very small salaries and in some cases exceedingly small. However slight their funds may be curates have liabilities to meet just the same as ordinary workmen. If their remuneration is low it is obvious that they must necessarily come short of many things, and possibly this may be one of those things of which they might have to go short. Therefore, I take this as a splendid opportunity of casting my vote to bring in one of the most deserving classes of people in this country within the Bill. It seems to me that if this Clause is not carried that that will decide that the curate will not come within the scope of the Bill. I am anxious that they should, and if this proposal is put to a vote I shall cast mine in favour of it.
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
I heard with great attention the speech of the hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment, and I am not ashamed to say that I felt considerable difficulty in taking it seriously. I suppose it is always open to us to provide that payments which the Bill specifies should be made by A shall in fact be borne by B. I think that out of the pages of "Alice in Wonderland" no such proposition would be brought forth. The proposer of this new Clause, with great eloquence, laid before the House the condition of the curates, and made an appeal which I am sure met with all our sympathy for the curates, whose means are often small and who can ill afford to pay anything. But the new Clause does not relieve the curates; it has nothing to do with them, and does not touch them at all. All it provides is that the contribution payable by the employer is to be taken from their shoulders and to be put on the shoulders of someone else. You might as well move an Amendment to say that the employer's contribution as between themselves and the domestic servants should be borne by the county council. I venture to suggest that the various interesting points which have been raised as to whether or not curates should come within the purview of the Bill are not touched by the Amendment at all. It contains the simple proposition that the employer's contribution shall be borne by somebody else. The question whether the curates should come within the Bill or not is a matter of the deepest importance. I have no doubt that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has considered it, and has gathered through the ordinary sources what the opinion is on that subject, and if he thinks that this is a fitting occasion to give us some help as to what line he is going to take as to the inclusion or exclusion of curates, the House will gratefully receive that information. It does not rest upon the Amendment as it stands, and I shall certainly oppose it.
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
As to the contention that the proposal is merely to transfer the burden from one employer to another, or from the employer to someone else who is not the employer, I remember having heard it said at times when I have been going about the country and have got into conversation with men who understand the subject, that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners very often, after negotiations with vicars as to the extension of their parish, decide that a curate shall be employed and allow a certain sum from the revenue of 470 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners towards the payment of that curate's salary. I believe that in the majority of cases where curates are employed they are really employed by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The very fact that some two millions of the revenue of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners is devoted to assisting in the necessary labour connected with the extension of different parishes, which is more often carried out by the appointment of curates than the establishment of new churches, shows that the greater part of the money is paid to curates. Consequently the curate, though not directly, yet certainly indirectly, is largely employed by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who pay a certain proportion of the salary necessary to maintain him. In these circumstances it is not a question of taking the burden of the real employer and placing it indiscriminately upon some other person who has nothing to do with the employer, it is merely transferring it from one set of employers to another set of employers of the same man. Very often it would be an unjust burden if placed upon the vicar, who sometimes is as poor as the curate himself. If the curate is to be included, or if we assume that he is included, I also assume that a Nonconformist minister and his assistants will also be included. If one has a contract of service under the Bill, the other would be in the same position. The contention that we are taking the burden from one employer and placing it indiscriminately on somebody who has nothing to do with the matter does not hold good in this case.
It would be a most unfortunate thing if curates were not included. I have worked on this Bill on the assumption that it included every person who works for wages. I do not know whether you call a curate who is getting £60 a year a man who is working for wages; but I should think it was very hard work and very short wages myself. I was rather struck by the legal argument that these gentlemen were not included within the purview of this Bill. Everybody who receives such a miserable wage as that, and from the very fact that they receive such a low wage, cannot provide themselves with the things the Bill provides. Whatever station they are in, whatever they are doing, and so long as they are doing some honest kind of labour, I have supposed that they are included within the purview of this Bill. If there were the slightest doubt about that I should say that every Member of the House ought to support the Clause in order to 471 make it perfectly clear that it is our intention that every poor man who receives a salary for work done—in the case of some curates £56 or £60 a year—should be included. How can that salary enable him to provide medical attendance and all the necessities for maintaning a family. I have heard stories as to curates in the district where I live and in the constituency I represent which would be a disgrace. If when we are talking about national insurance we should purposely by a vote exclude these poor folks from the Bill, it would be a discrimination unworthy of the House and almost cast a slight on those people, as if Parliament thought they were doing something it was not fit people should do. Therefore I shall support the Clause, and nobody will get the thanks of the poor curates of £50 or £60 a year who opposes them coming within the provision of the measure.
§ Mr. FORSTER
I think the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. J. Ward) may tranquilise his mind by the comforting thought that it does not matter whether we vote for or against this proposed new Clause. This is not going to bring the curates within this Bill if they are not included in the scope of the Bill already. [HON. MEMBERS: "We are told they will be."] I speak with some difficulty, because I had to be away from the House. The Solicitor-General tells me very courteously that what he said was meant to show that it would be used as an argument in favour of the contention that they were included. Do not we know whether they are included or not? [HON. MEMBERS: "Nobody knows."] Are we legislating for these people absolutely in the dark? I do not think that ought to be the case. We ought not to be dealing with a large and important section of persons who may or may not be brought under the scope of this Bill without some further enlightenment. I am told by hon. and learned Friends of mine that they are quite clear upon the point that curates are not included under the Bill, and I understand the Solicitor-General gives it as his opinion that curates are not included. I understand that the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not commit himself to so decided an opinion. Then it is the clear opinion of the Government that curates are not included under this Bill.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I do not want the right hon. Gentleman to misunderstand me, more particularly as I think I am right 472 in saying that he was not here when I spoke. I did not wish to say, and I have not said, that this is a matter on which I have formed a clear opinion, but I certainly agree with the hon. Gentleman opposite who said, that if such a Clause as this were not inserted the better view is that a curate would not be included in the Bill. I do not want it put upon me that there is a clear opinion expressed.
§ Mr. FORSTER
Then it is very nearly time that we had a clear opinion expressed. From what I can gather Members of the House desire to know whether it is the intention that curates are to be included. That is a very important question. I do not think the Government have treated the House very fairly in this matter.
§ Mr. FORSTER
I did not intend my observations to refer to the Solicitor-General. It was intended to refer to the general attitude of the Government in preventing free and full opportunities for discussion of all these points. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] It is all very well for hon. Members to say "Oh!" they cannot get away from the fact that we were met time after time with great and difficult questions, and when we were unable to find out what the Government really intended we were entitled to point to the fact that we had been denied full opportunities for discussion. I think the Government, before we come to a decision, might tell us whether or not these people are to be included in the Bill. If the effect of passing this Clause is to bring them within the Bill, I, for one, should vote against it, because the only communication I have had from the persons the Clause will affect is an expression of the hope that they will be excluded. They do not wish to be included.
§ Mr. FORSTER
I cannot speak from the experience of any other Member of the House; I can only speak from my own experience. All the communications I have received, and I have had several, from men who look at this matter with very anxious eyes, show that their opinion is that they would rather be excluded from the Bill.
§ Mr. FORSTER
If the Clause means that curates are included, I shall vote against the Second Reading of the Clause.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
The position in which we find ourselves is a very difficult one. We are asked to decide, according to the speeches made by hon. Members below the Gangway opposite, two questions by a single vote. Unless we hold the same opinion as they do about this question it is very difficult to accurately express our opinion in the Lobby. I am inclined to agree with those hon. Members about the inclusion of curates. I have had no representations on this subject from any curate, although I should be sorry to contradict the opinion of my right hon. Friend (Mr. Forster) who has expressed the contrary view. It has, perhaps, escaped the observation of hon. Members that even if curates were excluded there is a provision, in Clause 3, paragraph (a), which will enable any curate who is in receipt of any pension or income of the annual value of £26 or upwards not dependent upon his personal exertions, to exempt himself, if he so elects, from the operation of the Bill, because, if he had been in receipt of any pension or income of the annual value of £26 or upwards not dependent on his personal exertions he could claim exemption. If we are considering the case of those curates who have not any personal means, I say it would be just as well that they should be included in the Bill. But it seems to me a most inopportune moment for raising the question, because if we go into the Lobby against this Clause, as suggested by the hon. Member, we lay ourselves open to the suggestion that we are opposing the inclusion of curates in the Bill, whereas if we go into the Lobby in support of the Clause we naturally assent to the Clause as a whole and approve of this liability being removed from the shoulders of the incumbent on to the shoulders of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. Seeing that we have heard from right hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House that this proposal is not one which can with justice be carried out by the fund of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, I am not prepared to support the proposal, and, therefore, if I go into the Lobby on the Clause, I shall go into it on the Clause as it stands. My vote will not be in any way held, in spite of what hon. Members opposite have said, to be against including curates in the Bill. I suggest that if we desire to include curates in the Bill the proper way to do it 474 would be, when we come to the Schedule or Definite Clause, to extend the term "contract of service" to include certain classes, such as curates, which it is desired to bring within the term of the Section.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
I should like to ask what would be the effect of this Clause on the positions of the clergy other than those belonging to the Church of England. I understood the Solicitor-General to say the better opinion was that the curates of the Church of England were not under contract of service and were not under the Workmen's Compensation Act and would not naturally come under this Act, but if the Clause were passed I gathered that they would come under the Act. Does that break down the former idea of their not being under contract of service, and if so, would that interpretation apply not only to curates of the Church of England, but to clergy belonging to the other bodies? For example, if a bishop of the Catholic Church put a priest into a parish at a salary of £120 a year, having a right to recall him at any time, would that priest thereby come under the provisions of this Bill as an employed person?
§ Sir J. SIMON
The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Forster) told us he had not been here through the whole Debate. I feel certain if he had been he would certainly have acquitted the Government of any desire to avoid meeting criticism on the spot. When I first spoke I called attention to this matter at the express request of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but it was not our wish that we should Debate this particular Amendment on the common assumption that curates would fall within it when it was a matter of considerable doubt. Certainly the view which has been confidently expressed by some hon. Gentlemen opposite is the view which those who advise the Government are inclined to take that, as the Bill stands at the moment, curates would not be within it. It is in the nature of things a difficult point. The hon. Member (Mr. James Hope) asks, supposing the Amendment were put in, what would be the effect upon other ministers of religion in a roughly analogous position who are not, in terms, mentioned by the new Clause. I agree that would raise a further difficulty, but I can quite see that if you introduce into the Bill a provision which obviously treats curates as though they were within the Bill, that would be used, not only as an argument for saying that curates were really within the Bill, but other persons in 475 roughly similar positions are within the Bill too. That is common sense, and no doubt it is the view which will be taken. We find ourselves in a rather awkward position.
I will tell the House the view which the Government take, and ask the House to take. Realising, as we do, that this is not an absolutely plain point we are extremely anxious not to bring within the Bill, as it were by a side wind, a body of persons who, it may be, desire as a body to be kept outside it. I understand from some hon. Gentlemen opposite, who speak with authority on the subject, that they feel pretty confident that the curates as a class do wish to be kept out of it. I do not know how that may be, but I am confident that this afternoon's Debate will involve this, that a good many Members of the House will Know the view of the curates, and it is surely desirable that we should not prejudge this, which is a most difficult matter, until we shall have an opportunity of getting better acquainted with the view of those concerned in the course of a very few days. I am authorised by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to say that if there was a clear view that curates should be included, sooner than that the matter should be left in doubt, or sooner than that a better opinion should be that they were out, he would ask leave to recommit the Bill in order to be sure that this particular class would be included. That would be the proper way to deal with it.
What is true of the curate may very well be true, roughly speaking, of the ministers of religion in various Nonconformists bodies, some of whom I dare say have thought they were within the Bill and some of whom have thought they were outside it. If curates desire to come in it is desirable, at the same time that we deal with the matter, to deal with other classes. I merely give that indication now for the convenience of the House. That being so, what we shall ask the House to do is not to accept this Amendment. To accept the Amendment would be to prejudge the matter, because it is quite clear that if you put into the Bill a Clause which deals with curates as if they were within the Bill, anyone construing the Act of Parliament hereafter will say they are within the Bill, and that will be deciding the very point which many of us desire earnestly to have more information about before we commit ourselves to a conclusion. In these circumstances I associate 476 myself with what the Noble Lord (Viscount Helmsley) has said, that in resisting the Amendment we are not deciding that curates ought not to come in, but I suggest that we are hardly in a position now to say they ought, and I do not think there are strong enough grounds to justify the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in being called upon in all cases to pay the contribution.
I wish to call attention to two considerations in connection with the question whether curates are really included in the Bill as it stands. The first reply I make on the point is that it will surely often depend on the terms of their engagement. As I understand it, curates are often engaged under quite various and different circumstances, and it may very largely be a question decided by the terms of their engagement, which would include the curate in one case and exclude him in another. The second point I would urge is this. Unless I am very much mistaken, the hon. Member (Mr. Leach) has asked questions of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hobhouse) on this point, whether curates and Nonconformist ministers would be included in the Act. The answer he got certainly led the House to suppose that they would be included. This Clause which I have moved was on the Order Paper for months as a new Clause to be introduced when the House was in Committee, and it was one of the few good things which were guillotined. There is really a moral. It is that this Clause has been, I believe, in the Church papers for a long time, and has been referred to constantly in conversation by me with friends and Members of the House for many months, and I have not yet received a single protest against it. I think that is a very good answer to the contention that curates would resent being excluded from the Act. I believe they would be glad to be included. In reference to the contention that this would really relieve incumbents and not curates, that is a matter that I am indifferent to. I am just as anxious to help incumbents as curates, and in any way I can, consistently with my views, the good work of the Church of England, and I believe by carrying this Amendment, which I really intend to put to a Division, I shall be accomplishing that end.
§ Sir E. CARSON
We are certainly in a very peculiar position, because it is now admitted that at this stage of the Bill the Government wants further time to get 477 information. That seems to be what has happened daily on this Bill on every subject that arises. Although we are told the Bill has been fully considered and everybody knows what it means, we do not know at the present moment whether curates of the Church of England or curates of the Roman Catholic Church or curates of the Nonconformist bodies are within the Bill at all, nor do we know even what is their view as regards whether they ought to be in the Bill. Now at the eleventh hour the Government propose that we should postpone the whole question until some future day in order to ascertain their wishes. That is, of course, a very extraordinary position, but not more extraordinary than the position of many other people who do not know whether they are within the Bill or not. But one peculiarity of the case is that the more we go on discussing it the more doubts arise and the more difficulties are apparent. The proposal now made by the Solicitor-General is that we should negative this Amendment and that the Government should consider whether they would make it clear whether curates ought to be in the Bill or not. It is not at all certain as to whether they are in or not now. If the Solicitor-General and the Government take that course, we shall not have an opportunity of voting as regards this particular Amendment at all. In other words, they merely declare that the curate is either in or out of the Bill according as they think most convenient in the country; but this is a specific Amendment which has only for its object the inclusion of the curates, or rather assumes that curates are within the Bill, but provides in a specific way for meeting the contribution. Shall we have an opportunity of deciding that question upon some future occasion, because, for my own part, I think these gentlemen get such very small remuneration for having to do a great deal of work. I should be very glad, so far as the Church of England is concerned, to see the contributions put upon the funds of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners rather than upon the rector, or whoever else may be the employer. I think, therefore, we do not get rid of the question before the House at all by the proposal made by the Solicitor-General, and for my own part, if the Amendment goes to a Division, I will support it.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I only desire to add a word as one who comes from a county which contains a large number of 478 very poor curates. I have reason to believe that the majority of really poor curates would welcome some such provision being inserted in this Bill. It is perfectly true that the machinery by which this Bill is going to be carried out may depend to some extent on the amour propre, of gentlemen in their position, but I am inclined to think that as time goes on far less consideration will be given to the machinery of the Bill when those who come into the scheme realise what the benefits really are. In my opinion, one of the great merits of this proposal is that the curate will not be regarded as in any way the servant of the vicar or the incumbent who may be responsible for his salary or stipend. As I understand it, a minister of religion, whether a Churchman or a Nonconformist, is not the servant of his principal or of any incumbent, but the minister of the flock for whom he caters in matters of religion. I think there is no poor curate but would welcome such a Clause as this. As regards the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, it has been suggested by one of their representatives in the House that it might be in some sense a breach of trust if curates were included in this Clause. The trust which they administer is rather different from a private trust, because it is constituted by Act of Parliament, and if it is so constituted it surely can be varied by Statute. I am not in favour of tearing up trust deeds, but this is a case where the trust has been constituted by Statute, and therefore there is no reason why it should not be varied by Act of Parliament.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
I understood the Solicitor-General to say that the Government wish to ascertain the feeling of the House on the question whether ministers of religion should be included in the Bill or not. Later on I understood him to say that he would give an opportunity to the House to decide that question. He did not answer the question asked by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University (Sir E. Carson). Will time be given to the House to express an opinion on the question whether curates and ministers of Nonconformist bodies should be included or not? Will the House have an opportunity of voting on that? What we are going to vote on is a different matter. Will time be given to the House, without reference to the guillotine, to express its opinion "Yes" or "No" on this question? I think the feeling of the House is practically unanimous—there are 479 a few exceptions—that curates and Non-conformist ministers should be brought within the provisions of the Bill.
§ Sir ROBERT FINLAY
Will the Solicitor-General answer another question? Were we right in supposing that the Government, before the House parts with the Bill, will introduce words to make it clear whether curates are or are not within the Bill? Are we right in supposing that he intended to say the Government pledged itself, before the passing of the Bill, to give an opportunity for clearing up that important matter?
§ Sir J. SIMON
What I said was that our view was that as the Bill stood curates would not be in it. That is not the view expressed by some hon. Members opposite. I also said it is desirable that we should ascertain whether there really is a very strong desire that curates should
§ come within the Bill. I did not mean by that that it could be ascertained in the Debate on this Amendment. I further said that if it was found to be the general desire that curates should come into the Bill, then the Chancellor of the Exchequer would, if need be, recommit so much of the Bill as would be necessary to put curates and ministers of Nonconformist bodies within the Bill. That is the pledge I have given.
§ Sir R. FINLAY
I understood the hon. and learned Gentleman to say that he regarded it as a matter of some doubt whether they were in the Bill already, and unless the Government undertake to deal with the question in one way or another, that doubt will remain.
§ Question put, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 86; Noes, 214.481
|Division No. 412.]||AYES.||[7.25 p.m.|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Gill, Alfred Henry||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Goldman, Charles Sydney||Mackinder, Halford J.|
|Armitage, Robert||Goldstone, Frank||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil|
|Astor, Waldorf||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Balcarres, Lord||Goulding, E. A.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Greene, Walter Raymond||Nield, Herbert|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Gretton, John||O'Grady, James|
|Barnes, George N.||Hancock, John George||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pointer, Joseph|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Radford, G. H.|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (Liverp'l, Walton)|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Snowden, Philip|
|Boyton, James||Hodge, John||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Burn, Col. C. R.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Butcher, John George||Horner, Andrew Long||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Jessel, Captain Herbert M.||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||John, Edward Thomas||Thynne, Lord A.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Johnson, W.||Touche, George Alexander|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Clyde, James Avon||Kyffin-Taylor, G.||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S.||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Edgbaston)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. King and Mr. C. Bathurst.|
|Fletcher, John Samuel||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)|
|Gibbs, George Abraham||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)|
|Adamson, William||Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George)||Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Bentham, George Jackson||Chapple, Dr. William Allen|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Bethell, Sir John Henry||Clough, William|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Boland, John Pius||Clynes, John R.|
|Anderson, Andrew Macbeth||Booth, Frederick Handel||Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Brunner, John F. L.||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Bryce, John Annan||Cotton, William Francis|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Cowan, William Henry|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Crooks, William|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Byles, Sir William Pollard||Crumley, Patrick|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick B.)||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)|
|Barton, William||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton)||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Dawes, J. A.||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|De Forest, Baron||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumbrl'd, Cockerm'th||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Levy, Sir Maurice||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lewis, John Herbert||Robinson, Sidney|
|Dillon, John||Lundon, T.||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lyell, Charles Henry||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Doris, W.||Lynch, A. A.||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Doughty, Sir George||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Rowlands, James|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||M'Callum, John M.||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||M'Curdy, Charles Albert||Royds, Edmund|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (ILncs., Spalding)||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Fell, Arthur||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Masterman, C. F. G.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Ferens, Thomas Rominson||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Field, William||Menzies, Sir Walter||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Millar, James Duncan||Sheehy, David|
|Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Mond, Sir Alfred M.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Shortt, Edward|
|France, G. A.||Mooney, J. J.||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Gelder, Sir William Alfred||Morrell, Philip||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Gilmour, Captain John||Muldoon, John||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Munro, Robert||Stewart, Gersham|
|Glanville, Harold James||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Summers, James Woolley|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C.||Sutherland, John E.|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Sutton, John E.|
|Greig, Col. J. W.||Neilson, Francis||Swift, Rigby|
|Griffith, Ellis Jones (Anglesey)||Newdegate, F. A.||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Hackett, John||Nolan, Joseph||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Nuttall, Harry||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Ward, Arnold S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid.)|
|Helme, Norval Watson||O'Malley, William||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Helmsley, Viscount||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Watt, Henry A.|
|Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Webb, H.|
|Higham, John Sharp||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir T. P.|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)||Pollard, Sir George H.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Pollock, Ernest Murray||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Jowett, Frederick William||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Joyce, Michael (Limerick)||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Reddy, M.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Kilbride, Denis||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Lamb, Ernest Henry||Rendall, Athelstan|
Question, "That the Clause be read a second time," put, and agreed to.
§ First Appointments under Act of Insurance Commissioners and Officers to be paid out of Moneys provided by Parliament.
§ "The first appointment of every Insurance Commissioner, Scottish Insurance Commissioner, Irish Insurance Commissioner, Welsh Insurance Commissioner, and of every officer, inspector, referee, and servant authorised by this Act to be appointed by the respective Insurance Commissioners, or whose salary or remuneration is to be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament, shall be made by a committee which shall consist of five persons, one to be nominated by the Treasury, one 482 by the Secretary of State for the Home Department, one by the Board of Trade, and two by the Local Government Board: Provided that no Member of either House of Parliament shall be so nominated, and in making the nominations regard shall be had to securing an independent and impartial committee."
§ It is obvious as it stands that the Clause could not be accepted in the form in which I have written it, having regard to the announcement made last night by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that Commissioners under the Act had already been selected. Therefore, it would be necessary that the first words in the new Clause, that the first appointment of every Commissioner should be made in the manner indicated in the later part of the Amendment, 483 should be corrected, as obviously it would not be attributable to the state of things which has existed since the announcement was made last night. I have no desire to comment on the personnel of the Commissioners, whose names have been stated to the House. The difficulty and complication of their duties are obvious to everybody, and I have no wish to add to them by any observations which I may make. The effect of this Clause is to secure that the very extensive patronage which would be involved if the Bill becomes law should be removed from the control of the Government of the day, and I am not without hope that this proposal, whether the particular suggestion I have made is accepted by the House or not, will find support from very different parts of the House. The proposal is that the appointments shall be made by a committee which shall consist of five persons, one nominated respectively by the Treasury, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, and the Board of Trade, and two by the Local Government Board. I am not wedded particularly to this committee, and I am sure that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will see that there is some serious purpose underlying this Amendment, and will not meet this by pointing out the inconvenience and the difficulties involved in the constitution of the Committee which I have suggested. I am quite certain that I and those who agree with my general point of view will be perfectly prepared to accept any reasonable security which the Chancellor of the Exchequer suggests, any preferable security which would secure that the very extensive patronage created by the Bill was exercised by an impartial body. What the particular constitution of the body is is wholly immaterial. What is extremely material is that it should be constituted impartially.
§ As showing how great is the danger with which the Amendment is intended to deal, I may remind the House of the remarkable facts stated in a paper laid in the House not very long ago showing the number of additional posts, established and temporary, created in consequence of legislation passed since 1906, and which are still in existence. Of these established posts this very remarkable document shows the number of offices which have been created since 1906 with the salaries, and indicates in very convenient form the number of such offices created without any competition at all, but as the result of 484 Ministerial nomination. It will be sufficient if I give the House some of the totals. A broad distinction is drawn between such of the offices as I have described as established and those described as merely temporary, but it is proper to point out that many of the offices named as temporary have been in existence now for a very considerable period, and show no immediate prospect of coming to a conclusion. If one takes the number of posts not exceeding £500 a year, in the first place, since 1906, there have been 2,700 new offices created. Of those 447 are described as permanent additions and 2,377 are temporary. But of the temporary offices many have now been in existence for some years. If you take those exceeding £500 a year there have been 108 which are described as permanent and seventeen which are described as temporary. The House will naturally ask the question whether all these new posts have been created without competition, or whether the ordinary avenue of competition has been adopted. The paper supplies the information on this point. Without competition there have been created, since 1906, 321 permanent offices and 2,860 offices which are described as temporary.
§ These figures naturally suggest the question what ought to be the basis upon which our Civil and public services are recruited. The method which has been adopted in the past, with few exceptions, has been that of competition, and the ordinary competition has naturally followed the test of examination. I am certainly not replying to the many objections which may be stated to the examination test as the only test of admission to public service. I must not be solemnly quoted as arguing that in exceptional cases a Minister, who in exceptional circumstances forms a judgment as to the capacity of an applicant for an office, should not be in a position to use his exceptional knowledge in promoting subordinates of whom he has such special means of forming a judgment. But that is wholly different from arguing against the proposition that the experience of the last few generations is that the test by examination, with all the exceptions that may be made, is infinitely superior to any other test that can be imposed. With all the faults of the examination system, this can be said for it: it prevents not merely all jobbery—a word which I do not desire to employ offensively in this connection, and therefore I do not say that jobbery was used in the cases to which I have referred, nor do I predict that it will exist under 485 this Bill—but it avoids what is just as important, the suspicion of jobbery. As illustrating the extreme personal difficulty in which every Member of this House is placed when patronage which has not been the subject of competition is known to be impending under a new Act of Parliament, I may state that I myself, in the course of the last few weeks, have received at least nine letters from Constituents of mine asking me to use a supposed influence, of which they have really exaggerated ideas, with the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lloyd George) in order that the writers may receive various lucrative posts ranging from that of a Commissioner at £1,500 a year to the humblest clerkship at £70 a year. I have not been able to assist these gentlemen. I do not know whether any other Members of the different parties in this House have been more fortunate, but I believe it will be generally admitted that no more unfortunate change could take place in our public life than for Members of the House of Commons, and particularly supporters of the Government, to be exposed to the difficulty of saying to those who write to them, "I am not going to make any effort on your behalf"; or, on the other hand, of inundating and embarrassing Ministers of the day with requests addressed by party supporters that some special consideration should be given to their applications. I cannot help thinking that many Members receiving such requests from their constituents might be extremely embarrassed by them. In any case it is obvious that this state of things is inevitable as soon as it is known that there is a great quantity of patronage open to the Ministry of the day in order to carry out new official machinery.
If that is so, is there any method by which Members of Parliament can be armed with the answer, the only answer I venture to say consistent with their own self-respect and dignity, as Members of this House, that a Member of Parliament approached in this undesirable manner may be able to say, "There is no good in my approaching the Ministry or in my attempting to do anything on your behalf. You must make your application in the ordinary course, and it will be dealt with by an impartial Committee, which is not open to importunity from them or anyone else." The result will be readily obtained if the right hon. Gentleman either adopts the suggestion contained in this Clause, or if he puts forward himself some alternative proposals which he considers more
likely to secure the result that I have indicated. There certainly never was a time in my experience when it was more important that the extraordinary powers which are being committed by the House of Commons, in ever-growing prevalence, to officials should be safeguarded by the maximum of security that the persons who are going to discharge the new and responsible functions shall be appointed in circumstances which make them likely to discharge those functions with complete impartiality. Only the other day a learned judge, in the Court of Appeal, who certainly has never been accused of sympathy with any political party, made a very striking comment. He said:—
It has been the practice, which I hope will never be discontinued, of the Law Officers of the Crown to throw no difficulties in the way of proceedings for the purpose of bringing matters before a Court of Justice when real difficulties occur. If Ministerial responsibility were more than the mere shadow of their names in these matters, the matter would be less important, but under existing conditions, and with the multiplication of offices, the Law Courts are the only defence of the liberty of the subject against Departmental aggression.
I could quote at least half a dozen decisions of the High Court in recent years in which decisions of Commissioners and arguments of Law Officers have been overruled by the High Courts; even to give a selection of such cases during the past six years would detain the House a longer period than I should be justified in doing. It is not necessary to do so.
§ The point I desire to make is this. You can, if you choose, either adopt the method which I suggest or some other which may commend itself to the House. You can devise a means by which it will be possible for the Minister in charge of the Bill, or any future Government which may introduce legislation involving patronage, to call into existence machinery which will make it possible for every Member of Parliament to make it clear that these offices are not given in any way in regard to party considerations. In reference to one particular provision of the new Clause, "that no Member of either House of Parliament shall be nominated," I confess I am prepared to admit that it is open to very obvious criticism, and I feel the force of that criticism very clearly indeed. It may be said that among the posts created by Parliament there are Members of the House of Commons who are peculiarly fitted to fill them. I am not in the least desirous of being thought to take the view that there are not many posts in which Members of the House of Commons would not be likely to discharge I the duties with great efficiency. But I 487 venture to suggest the obvious conclusion that it is not desirable—and here again I do not speak of jobbery, or even the suspicion of it—that for party considerations lucrative appointments should be given to supporters of the Government, or that a convenient vacancy should be made in the country in respect of some office to be given to a member of the party supporting the Government. I hold that it will be much better that these appointments should be made by an impartial body, and where patronage is to be exercised under measures of this kind, that we should not appoint Members of the House. I remember the criticisms which were made in the case of a recent appointment, where a Member of the Government was promoted to a certain position.
§ Mr. J. SAMUEL
Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman include legal appointments in his proposal?
§ Mr. J. SAMUEL
I mean legal appointments outside the particular appointments under this Bill. Do you propose to extend the principle of the Clause outside the Bill?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I fully recognise that the right hon. and learned Gentleman, in moving the second reading of this Clause, has done so with great moderation as well as great force. With the general object which the right hon. and learned Gentleman has in view I am in full sympathy. When new positions are created under a Bill of this character, I think it is very important that there should be no suspicion of anything in the nature of jobbery. But I would point out that the Clause which the right hon. and learned Gentleman proposes is not the most effective way of carrying out his purpose. On the contrary, I think the Government has taken the best method of securing that the appointments which are referred to by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, shall 488 avoid a political character, and shall not be dominated even by the Government of the day. He suggests that in order to ensure that the appointments shall be impartial, there should be a Committee of five appointed by members of the Cabinet. One is to be nominated by the Treasury, which means the Prime Minister or myself, the Prime Minister being First Lord of the Treasury; one by the Secretary of State for the Home Department, who is my right hon. Friend (Mr. McKenna), and the other by the Board of Trade, and two by the Local Government Board. The Committee therefore would be appointed by the political heads of these Departments, and those five gentlemen appointed by the political heads of those Departments would have this enormous backing at their disposal. This Committee of five would appoint every officer, from the officer receiving £1,500 down to the smallest official receiving £80 a year.
It is true that we have appointed the Commissioners, as we must do, on responsibility of the Government. I think that is right. The House invited me to give the names of the Commissioners before passing the Bill, and whatever there may be to say about those Commissioners, this would not be the proper occasion to discuss their merits. But at any rate I do not think that anyone can suggest that there is political jobbery in the appointments. What will happen? Officials in future will be appointed, not by the Government, but by the Commissioners, and on their responsibility. They will be their officials, and as far as we are concerned we have no further patronage in the matter. I want the House to realise that. The right hon. and learned Gentleman says he has received many letters in regard to these appointments; I really could not count the letters which I have had. I should like to inform the House, or whoever it may concern, that neither the Government nor Members of Parliament have anything to do with these appointments that are to be made under the Insurance Bill. Everything is to go through Mr. Braithwaite and Sir Robert Morant, and we shall be just in the same position as anyone else in the matter of these appointments. Even in the case of a clerk, the responsibility will be with the Commissioners themselves; and I suggest that it is a far better method than appointing a committee of five, to be nominated by Members of the Government, for the purpose of choosing those officials. Under the right hon. and learned Gentleman's 489 method what would happen would be this. We should be pestered, not merely as Members of the Government, but as individual Members of Parliament, to bring pressure to bear upon this Committee to recommend our particular friends in the constituencies, and that naturally would not cease until the Committee had completed the appointments. I think that would be a very bad way of dealing with the matter. I suggest that it is a far better way to appoint the Commissioners, and leave to them the responsibility of appointing their own officials.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
No. We had a discussion upon that point in the Committee stage, and I think on the whole the general feeling was that we should not confine the choice to Civil servants, for the reason that it is necessary to get officials of experience—an experience which Civil servants do not always possess. I should regard it as a misfortune if men acquainted with friendly society work were excluded. Such men, with experience of friendly society work, would be invaluable in some of these offices. These men have not got a Civil Service training. But in addition to that, you want medical experts, who have not passed a Civil Service examination, but who would render valuable service in connection with the administration of the Act. I think the Commissioners ought to be free to choose their own officials and see that they obtain men with actuarial and other qualifications for the offices to be filled. I do not think it would be desirable at the present moment to confine the appointments to those who have passed the Civil Service test. That we should adapt a special test in future for these positions is another matter. I am quite willing to consider any suggestion for the establishment of a special examination for admission in It-he future into the service of the Commissioners, but it should be a special examination. At the present moment qualified men are needed for the purposes of the Bill. The Commissioners have to get their officials within the next six weeks at any rate. They have to fill up the offices, they have to get their clerks and their experts, and there is no time to set up a special examination for that purpose in the course of the first few weeks. The first officials must be appointed from among men who understand 490 the work and have experience in these matters. In the future, I think, it will be very desirable that there should be a special examination of any person who desires admission into the service of the Commissioners. That is my answer to the question of competition. I think in the future it may be desirable that there should be competition for some of these offices.
But there are some offices which you never can fill by competition. For instance, your medical expert could not be got by such an examination. You must have men with medical training, and the Commissioners must judge of them by their experience and qualifications. That is the case now. [An HON. MEMBER: "The Army and Navy?"] The Army and Navy are different. There you have medical practitioners. But for the work under this Bill you must have men of great experience and authority. In the Local Government Board there is no examination for certain officials of that Department. I think that is quite right. You want men of position in the medical world—men of the highest authority, who have to sit in judgment upon their own brother practitioners. You could not choose such men by examination. Men chosen by examination would not have the same authority as these men of experience and authority. The Local Government Board take those officers without examination, and I hope that will be done in this instance. The right hon. and learned Gentleman recognises that, as far as the first part of his Clause is concerned, it is out of date. The appointment of the Commissioners must be the responsibility of the Government, and they will have to answer for it to the House of Commons. The same observation applies with regard to the clerks and subordinate officials in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales as have been made with regard to the Commissioners. These appointments will have to be made by the Commissioners themselves. I am very glad that the patronage does not depend on this Government, or on any individual Member of Parliament. The appointments will have to be made by the Commissioners. I am not going to follow the right hon. and learned Gentleman into the observations he made about the recent additions to the Civil Service and about recent political appointments. This is not the occasion to deal with them, but when the occasion does arise I am perfectly prepared to say this: I have had something 491 to do with carrying two Acts of Parliament which have added a certain number to the permanent officials of this country. I am perfectly prepared to challenge anyone to show that I have ever appointed a man for any political reason to administer either of those two Acts of Parliament. In regard to the Old Age Pensions Act, I appointed no man to administer it because he held the same political opinions as myself; and in connection with the Finance Act, from what I hear, a vast majority of the appointments made were of persons who hold totally different opinions to my own.
The machinery which we are setting up here is much better machinery for the purpose of securing an impartial choice than the machinery which is suggested in this Clause. I cordially agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman that it is very desirable appointments of this character should be free from political jobbery, and that the House of Commons should take every step to render it impossible to make any appointment under this or any other Act a mere reward for political services. Men should be chosen purely on their merits, and for that reason we have left it entirely to the Insurance Commissioners to satisfy themselves as to the suitability of the men appointed.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
It happens that the very point my right hon. Friend raises here was raised by me on the Unemployment part of the Insurance Bill in Committee upstairs. I am glad to say that on the matter of principle we are all agreed. I do not in the least accuse the right hon. Gentleman of having used political motives in making the appointments he announced to the House the other day, or in making any appointments under Bills which he has passed through this House. That is not quite what we are guarding against. We are guarding against the tendency of legislation under the present Government—and perhaps longer still—to create more and more of these officials; and I think it is absolutely necessary that the House of Commons should, on every possible occasion, take such steps as are adequate to secure not only that jobbery does not take place now, and that there is no suspicion of jobbery, but that there never can grow up a "spoil" system, which shall be the reward of services rendered to one party or another. I agree with all the right hon. Gentlemen said as to the desirability of getting the best men for the job, but I do not altogether agree 492 with him when he says that by putting the names before the House, he takes the best method of getting the best men. We know that that does not happen. If the names are put forward by the Government here and any of us attack them, then every Member on the Government Bench is prepared to defend them, and it at once becomes a party question.
The right hon. Gentleman says it is right in the case of the Commissioners that they should be appointed by the Government. I am not at all sure of that. I think these big appointments are particularly the ones in regard to which pressure of one kind or another is apt to be used. It would be an immense advantage if there could be some means found by which these men could be chosen by somebody other than the Government of the day. As regards what the right hon. Gentleman said respecting pressure being put upon himself and on Members of the House of Commons if this proposal were carried, I think the same remarks would apply to the Commissioners. Members of Parliament will have just as much influence over the Commissioners as they would have had over these officials. That is the objection to this form of appointment. Is it not possible that some scheme should be framed by the Commissioners, and laid before Parliament, which will show the methods by which these and other appointments are going to be made? Is it not possible to lay down some general principles on which the appointments will be made, and to place that before the House? It would satisfy all of us that these posts are really going to the best men, and that no political influence of any kind is to be used.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
May I, by leave of the House, answer the question put by the right hon. Gentleman. He quite realises, of course, that the Commissioners will have to get to work at once when the Bill passes, and, therefore, there must be no unnecessary delay. I understand he suggests that in the course of the next fortnight or three weeks some scheme should be prepared by the Commissioners and laid before the House. I am afraid it is too late to do it in the case of the Scotch and Irish Commissioners. But I understand what the right hon. Gentleman wants to be laid on the Table of the House is some Paper showing the general principles on which the Commissioners intend to choose their subordinates. I think that is a very reasonable request. I will 493 communicate with Sir Robert Morant, who, I believe, is within the precincts of the House, and, perhaps, before the Debate is over I may be able to say something on the subject. The Government have nothing to do with these appointments, and I wish to repeat that fact, not merely for the information of the House, but for that of people outside.
§ Mr. FORSTER
I think my right hon. and learned Friend may congratulate himself on the reception given to the Clause he has proposed. Of course, we cannot expect many of our new Clauses to be accepted by the Government, but the sympathy which the Chancellor of the Exchequer displayed towards this Clause will, I am sure, go far to mitigate any disappointment which my right hon. Friend may feel because it is not added to the Bill as it stands. I am glad of the answer given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the suggestion of my right hon. Friend the Member for Bootle (Mr. Bonar Law), I ventured to suggest when we were in Committee that these appointments should be made subject to the Civil Service Commissioners, and I was then told by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that it was quite impossible to subject all the members of the staff of the insurance offices, the inspectors, and others, to the ordeal of a Civil Service test. He promised, however, he would see whether or not some arrangement could be made by which, at any rate, the clerical staff of the insurance office should be made subject to that Civil Service test. I hope the Insurance Commissioners will consider whether or not it may be possible in framing the regulations to make all their permanent staff subject to that test. When we speak of a Civil Service test, the House should bear in mind what the nature of that test really is. Some people seem to imagine that, in order to pass a test for any Civil Service appointment, you have to go through a stiff written examination. That is not so at all.
Under the Order in Council of January, 1930, in special cases such as this, the Civil Service Commissioners have power, after consulting the heads of departments, to lay down any form of examination that they think will really best test the capacity of the men they have to examine. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer tells us that such a test as I have suggested might prevent the employment of men well versed in friendly society administration, I can only say that that is entirely a matter for 494 the Civil Service Commissioners, and for the heads of the insurance office. They by agreement could frame regulations which would secure the service at the insurance office of the very best men engaged in friendly society work at the present time. I do not want to labour this point. The Chancellor of the Exchequer promised to keep an open mind with reference to the clerical staff, and I hope he will represent to the Insurance Commissioners that it is the desire of the House that some steps should be taken to include in any regulations they may be able to frame, the whole of the permanent staff at their office.
§ Sir JOHN JARDINE
I am extremely pleased that this discussion has produced such warm expressions of opinion as to the desirability of maintaining all the safeguards the nation has for the proper selection of civil servants and for the exclusion of jobbery, though that is not even suggested to exist nowadays. I am glad also that it is desired that the regulations under this Act and under any other great Bill of this kind, should provide for the general capacity as well as the special ability of the men appointed for the work they will be required to do. Under the head of "general capacity" I will include those powers of perseverance and common sense which are usually the result of the education afforded in different parts of this kingdom. That principle was, however, long ago fought out. We have had it for half a century in the Indian Civil Service. We have had it for a long time in the Home Civil Service. It obtains in the Royal Engineers, and in the Royal Artillery.
I entirely concur in the view expressed that these appointments should be left to a non-political and non-jobbing body. It will be, for the Civil Service Commissioners, so to modify the regulations as to deal with the particular abilities required when this Insurance Bill has become the law of the land. Under a good many other Acts this has been done. Under mining legislation there are regulations for special examinations, and these are as technical as anything can be, but at the same time the need for practical ability acquired in the mines is realised and is provided for in the scheme. I am extremely pleased that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is going to ask the Insurance Commissioners to be careful in their mode of selection, and to proceed on some defined method of which the House may be cognisant. I agree with hon. Members 495 who have suggested that in the case of future appointments we ought to have regulations placing the matter as much as possible in the hands of the Civil Service Commissioners. One advantage of that would be that it would stimulate the education of the country. It would also do away with a sense of unfairness felt by anyone who might be disappointed in not getting an office, because he found that someone has been selected without any of those special abilities which he has proved by the certificates he holds, that he possesses. The sense of fairness that the whole nation will feel will be very valuable.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
There is, I think, unanimous agreement that, in making appointments under this scheme, everything in the nature of political patronage and jobbery should be avoided. As a general principle, I think open competition is the best means of filling Civil Service appointments; but I quite recognise that there are occasions and circumstances when it is necessary to depart from that principle. There are offices for which the best mien would not be selected by an open competitory examination. I do not agree with the Leader of the Opposition that the appointment of the Commissioners might have been made by some method other than that adopted by the Government. I entirely agree with the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the responsibility of making such important appointments as those must rest with the Government. But I feel rather alarmed at the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if I understood it aright, that this immense patronage, down even to the office boys, is to be placed in the hands of the Insurance Commissioners. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that there will be a number of technical appointments to be made, and that these might be made by the Commissioners; but there must be a very large number of subordinate offices where no special qualifications will be necessary, where, for instance, the work will be of a purely mechanical kind.
As far as I understand the Chancellor of the Exchequer, even these appointments will have to be made by Insurance Commissioners. If that be so, it is most unfortunate that there should be placed in the hands of the heads of the Department the patronage of all the minor appointments. That system was adopted in connection with the Labour Exchanges, and 496 the experience has been most unfortunate. There have been a great many appointments in connection with the Labour Exchanges, where the work is of a purely mechanical character, made by patronage, and I think the general experience has been that the men elected for these posts have not the qualifications which an ordinary Civil Service clerk appointed by open competition possesses. Therefore, I would make a very earnest appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that for the clerical appointments which do not require technical or specialised skill, the ordinary Civil Service method of appointment should be adopted. I may say that the names announced yesterday proved, to my mind at any rate, that whatever amount of pressure may have been brought to bear on the Government to appoint certain persons, they have not been influenced by it, because, on the whole, the Insurance Commissioners are a most admirable selection, and I do not think it would have been possible for the Government to have made a better one.
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
I should like to express my gratitude to the right hon. Gentleman who has brought forward this Motion. It deals with a very important matter and one on which there has been a certain amount of uneasiness in all parts of the country. It is natural that in connection with a great measure involving a large number of appointments there should be a certain amount of discussion in the country as to the filling up of those appointments, but there was no need for the disclaimer in the closing portion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's speech. None of us in this House, at all events, thought that he had any unfair motive in filling up the appointments. But there has not unnaturally been a suspicion in all parts of the country that these posts might be filled up to a great extent from party motives. The Motion which my right hon. Friend has brought forward touches the whole system of jobbery. He brought it forward in a very moderate speech, and the right hon. Gentleman replied also in a conciliatory manner. A great part of the Debate has been monopolised by the Front Benches. We always look upon both Front Benches as composed of individuals who should not talk very much on the question of jobs.
Jobs are perpetrated by all parties. It is necessary, and I do not think that anybody objects to what I might call sporadic 497 jobbery. But the question brought forward by my right hon. Friend deals with wholesale jobbery. That is what he desires to avert. But I do not think his scheme is a very good one. It still maintains the suspicion that the Government are controlling all these offices. The right hon. Gentleman has another system which I believe is equally unsatisfactory. The satisfactory solution of the question would be the test of competition. But, as the right hon. Gentleman has said, we must realise that all these posts cannot be filled by the competitive system. The right hon. Gentleman has done nothing to relieve us of the difficult position in which we are placed. My right hon. Friend has told us that he has received a certain number of letters, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer says that he has received I do not know how many. I have received a letter, which I will read as a specimen. It comes from a place in North Wales, of the name of which I can pronounce only one word. The writer is a medical gentleman, and he says:—May I ask you to be good enough to give me your valuable help in procuring an appointment under the new Insurance Bill. It is clear that there will be Medical Commissioners appointed under the scheme, and it is one of these appointments I should very much like to obtain. Would it be asking too great a favour that you should approach Mr. Lloyd George on my behalf? I know that a few words from you would carry great weight with him.I responded, I hope suitably, acknowledging the letter, but saying that in my opinion the last sentence was certainly not justified by the facts of the case. But this individual, who is a very respectable medical man—I will give the right hon. Gentleman his name—wishes that I should perpetrate a job by using my strong influence with the right hon. Gentleman to obtain for him a post under the Bill. I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to assist us in this matter. This is one of the great many letters that we are going to receive. This is sporadic, not wholesale jobbery. The system preferred by the Government is a dangerous one from any aspect of the case.
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
We do not know what legislation will be brought forward in the future. There may be an 498 increased number of these posts which have to be filled with the best qualified persons. I say that no Government whatsoever, I do not care to which party it belongs, can escape from the suspicion of placing their own political supporters in these important offices, which carry with them very valuable emoluments. I do really hope that the House will endeavour to unravel this question, and establish some system which will make it clear that these posts are going to be filled by the best persons, and so relieve the Government from the unenviable position of being suspected in the country of filling them up from their own supporters.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE (whose remarks were indistinctly heard)
The most practical suggestion has fallen from the hon. Gentleman the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden), that, in so far as the clerical appointments are concerned, we should draw upon the candidates who have sat for Civil Service examinations. I quite agree with him that these, at any rate, are qualified to do the clerical work. The necessity to go outside to seek experts would not apply to those merely engaged in clerical duties. As far as the Government is concerned, we shall bring pressure to bear upon the Commissioners to see that those engaged in merely clerical work shall be taken from those available—and there are thousands of them—who cannot get into any Department, and who have taken the trouble to qualify themselves for the Service. I trust that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will feel that the object he had in view has been secured very largely by the Debate, and, if I may say so, by the undertaking that the Government has given in this matter. I think, however, in regard to the appointment of the Commissioners themselves that I must stand by the position I originally took up. I do not know the political views of any except one gentleman, and that is Mr. Shackleton. In regard to Sir Robert Morant, I fought him when he was at the head of the Education Department, and I found him a very tough proposition.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I may assure my hon. and learned Friend that the suggestion he mentions never entered my mind. On the contrary, the very qualities Sir Robert, who is an extremely able 499 man, exhibited, showed me what manner of man he was. As hon. Members know, the best way to test a man is by fighting him. You are very often a much better judge of your opponent than of your colleagues. Sir Robert had one of the most difficult tasks that any man ever could have in putting through the Act of 1902 in the face of very powerful and bitter opposition. I was part of that opposition, and I tested his qualities. I say, without hesitation, that I have the greatest admiration for his administrative capacity. On that occasion, by bringing into operation that Act amid the greatest difficulties, he accomplished a difficult task, and there followed as much success as was, in my judgment, attainable. That is why I urged his appointment. The others are men of the greatest experience. Mr. Stead is one of the oldest friendly society men, and I think everyone who is in the friendly society world will admit that he is one of the ablest. The President of the General Conference of Friendly Societies has sent word congratulating the Government on his appointment. That shows that the friendly societies regard it as an admirable one. Mr. Shakleton is one of the best that could be got to advise upon trade union matters.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves the subject, will he say a word now about the Irish Commissioners?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
All I can say is what I have already said—that is that I shall do my very best to secure men there without any regard to other considerations than their qualifications for the post. We do not come in contact with Irish officials, with even prominent Irish business men, in the same way as we do with business men in this country. I am considering these appointments. I give this undertaking—I have given it before—that when the appointments are made they will be made, at any rate so far as I am concerned, without the slightest regard to the political views which those concerned may hold. I shall be very glad to receive other suggestions from any quarter. All suggestions will be thankfully received and very carefully weighed.
§ Lord A. THYNNE
I am sorry to raise a discordant note in the general chorus of approval to which the right hon. Gentleman's proposal has been treated. No doubt it may meet the case of those who 500 are interested in the appointments concerned, but it does not meet the case, equally large and equally important, of a section of the community which are interested in the educational system of this country. What has been the case during the last few years in London? We have spent an enormous sum of money in training people, young men and young women very largely, for the clerical profession. Since the right hon. Gentleman came into office, as he has truly said, he has practically created three new Departments necessitating the appointment of very large clerical staffs—old age pensions, Labour Exchanges, and also certain appointments under the Finance Bill.
It has undoubtedly been a very great discouragement to some of those trained in our elementary schools that they have felt they have not had a fair run for those appointments as they would have had if they were under the control of the Civil Service Commissioners. The right hon. Gentleman cannot meet the case of those of us interested in the educational system unless he has the Department of the Insurance Commissioners included in the Schedule of the Order in Council of 1870. I should like to point out that if this Department was included in that Schedule it by no means follows that the sole method of appointment would be by competitive examination, because there is a special section which enables the Civil Service Commissioners to give their certificate without applying any test or enforcing any examination. What we feel is that if this Department is so scheduled all the appointments that can be filled by competitive examination will be so filled and those other appointments which require technical or professional qualifications will be filled, regard having been had to those qualifications only. I hope, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman will consider this matter.
§ Mr. F. E. SMITH
Can the right hon. Gentleman inform me roughly what the proportion of the clerical appointments is going to be under the Bill?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I think there has been a little exaggeration in regard to the numbers. I am sure the hon. Gentleman the Member for Blackburn exaggerated them. There will not be so many officials as people imagine. Most of the work will be done by the societies themselves, and of course we do not control the appointment of their officials. I 501 am inclined from recollection to put the full cost at about £200,000 for administration in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, and when you take the cost of the Commissioners out of that, and their salaries will be substantial, and legal and other experts and the actuarial members, there is not so much left for clerical work.
§ Mr. SMITH
This Debate, I think, has not been without effect. I moved this Clause in order to have a discussion, and as the Chancellor of the Exchequer has met the points I raised by saying—if I may put it in my own language and not at all quoting him explicitly—the area in which competition is possible shall be enlarged so far as reasonably practical, and the Government will use their influence in that direction, I ask the leave of the House to withdraw the Clause.
Proposed new Clause, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Sections thirty-three and fifty-three of the Friendly Societies Act, 1896, shall apply to an approved society, or branch of an approved society, in like manner as if it had been a registered society or branch under that Act, and as if the expression "this Act" in the said Section had included, not only the Friendly Societies Act, 1896, but also the National Insurance Act, 1911.
§ This Clause and other Clauses on the Paper in my name raise points of a somewhat technical character, but I think of considerable importance, because they raise the whole question as to how far the Friendly Societies Act should apply to the operations of approved societies under this Act. The Friendly Societies Act of 1896 is not directly incorporated in this Bill, nor in any sense repealed by this Bill, except in so far as there are provisions in it inconsistent with the terms of the Friendly Societies Act, and it may be hereafter extremely difficult to say how far the provisions of the Friendly Societies Act or Trades Union Act apply to the operation either of the friendly societies or the trade unions, so far as this Act is concerned.502
§ Mr. CASSEL
The hon. Gentleman is rather anticipating what I was going to say. I think it right to make a general statement before coming to the particular Sections. The particular Sections give exemption from Stamp Duty and special facilities for vacating mortgages. These two Sections of exemption apply to the Friendly Societies Act of 1896, and I think there is at least some doubt, and very serious doubt, as to whether they would apply to operations of friendly societies in this Act. The Sections themselves are limited to cases coming under the Friendly Societies Act, 1896, in this way. Section 33, for instance, provides,
"Stamp Duty shall not be chargeable upon any of the following documents: Draft or order or receipt given by, or to the registered society, or branch, in respect to money payable by virtue of its rules or this Act."
That is the Friendly Societies Act of 1896. I want the same series of exemptions to apply to friendly societies when carrying out operations, not of the Friendly Societies Act of 1896, but of the National Insurance Bill of this year, and it is in order to make that clear that I move this new Clause. I should like to call the attention of the Attorney-General to the fact that the new Clause goes a little further, for it proposes to apply this Section of the Act of 1896, not only to a society that is already a, friendly society under the Friendly Societies Act, but to other approved societies. Of course, if the Government will only accept it in the limited form, I must be satisfied; but this would apply to trade unions, and would put them in as good a position as friendly societies. I propose to narrow a technical point, and it is better to have the matter definitely decided by the House now than to leave it hereafter to be discussed as a legal conundrum.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I think there is some doubt as to whether the Friendly Societies Act would apply to societies formed under this Bill, having regard to the conditions of the Friendly Societies Act that contributions must be voluntary. I think there is some ground to say that Act would apply in spite of that provision, but still, I think, there is legitimate ground for argument and legitimate ground for saying that it is not quite plain that the Friendly Societies Act would apply. I propose to take the Amendment of my 503 hon. and learned Friend, and meet it by accepting a later Amendment standing in his name under which he proposes to move a new Clause providing that there shall be power given to societies carrying on business under this Act to register under the Friendly Societies Act, 1896, notwithstanding the fact that the contributions under this Act are not voluntary. I think that would remove any possible doubt.
§ Mr. CASSEL
But that Clause would not give me what I want in the first Clause which I have moved. That provision would only thereafter enable a society to register under the Friendly Societies Act, but it would not apply to societies registered previously.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
It would give power to a society to register under the Friendly Societies Act, 1896, notwithstanding the fact that the contributions were not voluntary. I propose to meet the view of the hon. and learned Member by accepting the Clause I have referred to, which would enable a society to come in under the Friendly Societies Act and get the benefit of the two Clauses referred to, as well as the subsequent Clause. If a society is registered, it would get the benefit of that provision, but no society now would get the benefit unless it is registered under the Friendly Societies Act. That is one of the conditions of registration which is thought to be of some value, but, notwithstanding that, it has not always been an inducement to registration. The point of my hon. and learned Friend is that notwithstanding the contributions which have to be made under this Bill, you ought to allow a society to get the benefit of the Friendly Societies Act if it wishes to do so by registering under that Act, and thus get the advantage of the three Clauses he has referred to. I agree to that, and I meet it by accepting the hon. and learned Member's Clause I have alluded to, and I think that meets the point he has put before the House. I have no objection to any of these societies being registered subject to the conditions of the Friendly Societies Act, and by accepting the Clause which appears later on the Paper in the name of the hon. and learned Member we should be removing the difficulties in the way. If that meets the point, and if the hon. and learned Member accepts it, I will take his later Clause and incorporate it in the Bill.
§ Mr. BARNES
I have had a letter from Glasgow dealing with this very point. They have a notion down there that the rights and privileges attached to friendly societies under the 1896 Act does not apply to Scotland. I should like to be assured before we pass away from this point that the 1896 Act does apply to Scotland as well as to England, and I also wish to have the Attorney-General's assurance that anything under these Sections will also apply to a trade union as well as to a friendly society.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I see it is stated in Clause 53 the provision does not extend to Scotland, and therefore the information given to my hon. Friend the Member for the Blackfriars Division is right. It is a Section which relates to the discharge of mortgages.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I think the Section with regard to stamps does apply. I do not want to make a positive statement on the point, but I will look into it. The reason that enables me to say that I think it does apply is that I find in Clause 53 a special Sub-section which says that the Sub-section does not apply to Scotland; and from that I deduce that the rest of the Clause does apply to Scotland. I will, however, look into the matter. I do not know whether my hon. and learned Friend opposite accepts what I have offered, which I think substantially meets what he has asked for.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I think it is a substantial meeting of my point, but this is not a controversial matter, and we only want to get the provision in a right form. May I point out that if the Attorney-General does concede that Clause which deals with registration, it does not quite meet my point. My view of this Act is, that after it has passed into law it will be impossible without the Clause I have moved for any society intending to do business under this Act to register itself as a friendly society. It is in order to make it quite clear that that is not the case that I moved the insertion of this Clause, because it is an extremely serious matter. The Section affecting the matter provides:—
"Stamp Duty shall not be chargeable upon draft or order or receipt given by or to a registered society or branch in respect of money payable by its rules or by this Act."
505 That means the Friendly Societies Act of 1896. The very important concession which the Attorney-General has made to me, which naturally I appreciate and am glad to have, does not really meet the point.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I do not want to raise that point, because I thought we might arrive at a decision without going into the more controversial matter. My hon. and learned Friend is practically asking for an exemption from the Stamp Duty.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I am asking that the exemption under that Act should extend to the operations under this Act.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. J. H. Whitley)
I was asked a point of Order. I presume the point was: Was that fact fatal to the Clause? I do not think that is so.
§ Mr. GRETTON
I do not think the Attorney-General quite realises what his refusal to accept this Clause really means. He proposes to deprive friendly societies of an exemption which they have had and which the law has hitherto given them.
§ Mr. GRETTON
The Government is going to impose upon them certain obligations and certain duties, and it seems very unfair these friendly societies should not be allowed to register and get the full benefits of the Friendly Societies Act because this Bill comes in and deprives them of those advantages. I do not think the Attorney-General wishes to put the friendly societies in a worse position than they would be in under the present law. All my hon. Friend asks is that the present regulations of the Friendly Societies Act shall continue to apply to those societies. The point is not a very large one, but it is just one of those grievances which will be severely felt. It will create two classes of friendly societies: one which has the full advantages of the Friendly Societies Act, and another which is brought in under this Bill, and which will be deprived of those advantages. I venture to urge upon the Attorney-General to accept the Amendment. It does not affect any great principle in the Bill, but it would make it work more smoothly and more advantageously to those societies.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I am anxious to meet the point as far as I can. Let me see 506 if I understand what the hon. and learned Gentleman says. I have already stated my view with regard to registering, and we are at one upon that. The society should be registered, and, when the society is registered, it follows that it gets the benefits of the provisions of the Friendly Societies Act. My object in accepting the Clause is so that they can register and get the benefit of these very Sections. That meets every point raised except in respect of the branch which is not registered. That is my difficulty. If it is a society which is registered under the Act, it gets the benefit of the sections of the Act. That is quite plain, and that is what I am proposing to do by the acceptance of the subsequent Amendment. If the hon. and learned Member wants to extend the operation of the exemption to societies which are not registered, that of course, would be travelling very much further, and that I could not accept.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
Then what is the line between the two the hon. and learned Member wants me to accept?
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Mr. CASSEL
The point which I had in my mind was this. It is an extension of the exemption which the friendly societies at present enjoy in the sense that it extends the exemption to their operations under this Act. If the learned Attorney-General will look at Section 33 of the Friendly Societies Act, I think the point will become clear:—Stamp Duty shall not be chargeable upon any of the following documents:—Draft, or order, or receipt given by or to a registered society or branch in respect of money payable by its rules or by this Act.That means by virtue of the Friendly Societies Act, 1896. I want to read that not only by virtue of the Friendly Societies Act, but also money payable by virtue of the National Insurance Act, 1911.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I am quite ready to accept that view, but I am not at all satisfied this Clause does not go too far. If the hon. and learned Gentleman would be satisfied by extending it in the direction I indicated, and add words to a subsequent Clause, that would carry out everything for which he has been insisting, and which I would accept. The effect will be that when a society does register as a friendly society, it shall have all the advantages and privileges under the Friendly Societies Act applied to this particular Bill. The Amendment goes a little further, 507 and that is why I could not accept it. If the hon. and learned Gentleman will withdraw, I think we could meet him on the other Clause.
Proposed new Clause, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Provisions as to Minors who are Members of Approved Societies.
§ Any member of an approved society who is a minor may execute all instruments and give all acquittances necessary to be executed or given under the rules of such society, but shall not be a member of the committee, or a trustee, manager, or treasurer of such society or any branch thereof.
§ This Amendment is covered, so far as friendly societies are concerned, by what the learned Attorney-General has said, but it also applies to trade unions. Trade unions will be doing this business, and this Clause is worded exactly the same as Section 9 of the Trade Union Act, 1875.
§ Proposed Clause added to the Bill.
§ Power to obtain Declaration in the High Court of Justice.
§ In the event of the Insurance Commissioners making any regulation or requiring any return or information which, under this Act, they have no power to make or require, the High Court of Justice shall have power in an action brought by any approved society, local health committee, or other party aggrieved for that purpose to make a declaration that such regulation or request is unauthorsied, and to order the Insurance Commissioners to pay the costs of such action.
§ This proposal raises quite a simple point. The Insurance Commissioners have very wide and extensive powers. They have 508 power to exempt people from the operation of the Bill, to introduce people into the Bill, to ask for returns and information on the various matters. It may be that those gentlemen, even with the best intentions, may mistake their powers, and it is a vital matter that people should have the earliest opportunity of obtaining a specific decision as to whether the Insurance Commissioners have kept within their powers or not. We have had an example of that recently in a case to which I can only refer by way of illustration. It was a case relating to Form IV. In that case eleven millions of forms were issued and people were placed in a position of great difficulty. It is true that the Court of Appeal has held that the action was maintainable, but the parties to the action were not able to obtain their costs.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
If my hon. and learned Friend is going into that question it makes it necessary that we should point out how that action arose and discuss it. I am sure he will not want to do it, particularly as I have it under consideration. I do not object to it as a matter of administration, but I submit to you, Sir, that the hon. Member ought not to go into further details, and that question is quite outside this one.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I am not sure whether that is a point of Order, but I am certain that the hon. and learned Gentleman will not in any way continue on those lines.
§ Mr. CASSEL
Nothing was further from my mind. I was referring to it only as an illustration of the difficulty of people obtaining the decisions of the Courts on questions on which it is vital for them to get such decisions at once, instead of waiting to see what the result of some decisions may be hereafter. Supposing that the Commissioners made a regulation that a certain set of persons are to do a certain thing or to come within the Bill, and that the regulation is outside their powers, then there would be perhaps hundreds of thousands of people who will feel themselves compelled to act on that regulation, although it may be wholly unauthorised by the provisions of the Act. If the right hon. Gentleman will tell me that in his opinion it is clear the Insurance Commissioners can be sued, and that no objection would be taken on the part of the Crown to any action brought against them for a declaration that would satisfy me.
509 I venture, however, to think that the matter is one of some doubt, and if it is not clear I submit it ought to be made clear. There is the further point that anyone who successfully brings such an action against the Commissioners ought to be able to get his costs. At present, unfortunately, that is not the case even where a successful litigant embarks in litigation against the Crown. It is a matter of hardship that someone who has undertaken in the public interest to obtain a decision should not get the expense of doing so. Very frequently things which are ultra vires are done through some carelessness or negligence on the part of an official. Forms, with a certain date, may be served on a later date, and the result may be that hundreds of thousands of people are not given the time intended to be given by Parliament. It is essential that there should be the opportunity of obtaining a declaration, and anyone who is successful should be reimbursed the expenses which he has incurred.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I beg to second the Motion. I should like to hear from the Attorney-General to what extent the proviso in Clause 62 affects the provision of the suggested Clause. That proviso is to the effect that if any person feels aggrieved by the decision of the Commissioners on any question arising under paragraph (a) he may appeal to the County Court, with the further right of appeal on any question of law to such judge of the High Court as may be selected by the Lord Chancellor. I think it is quite conceivable that the Attorney-General may suggest that the sort of case which is anticipated under this Clause will necessarily be a question of law, and if that is so the complainant will have the right of appeal to a judge of the High Court selected by the Lord Chancellor. Personally, I do not read it in that way.
Bearing in mind that the Insurance Commissioners have no judicial experience, and, so far as we know, there is nothing to necessitate the appointment of persons with judicial experience, to exercise these far-reaching powers, it is most essential that an aggrieved society or a member of a society should have the power of moving in a matter to the High Court of Justice. We have already in existence an instance of the hardship that may occur to the subject in consequence of the inability to charge costs as against a Government Department or against any body of persons like the Commissioners, acting 510 under a Government Department. In the case of the Housing and Town Planning Act, to which I refer by way of illustration, although the finding of the ultimate tribunal may be against the person who conducts the inquiry under the Local Government Board, yet the costs may be charged to the person who appeals against the decision of that inquiry. That has caused no end of objection and indignation in some cases, and it affords a good example of the undesirability of repeating such legislation. It is not provided in Clause 62 that in the event of the appellant being successful in his appeal that he should not have to pay the costs involved in his proceeding from one Court to another in order to get a legitimate grievance remedied by an action at law.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The question which is raised by the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Cassel) is not as to the right to sue the Insurance Commissioners, but it is as to the right to sue for a particular declaration. The hon. Member asks whether the Commissioners can sue or be sued. I do not think there is any room for doubt about that, because I think there is an Amendment on the Paper which says that the Commissioners can sue or be sued.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I think I am right in saying that it is on the Paper. I have no doubt that the Insurance Commissioners can be sued and can sue. That only answers one part of the point raised. With reference to the declaration, I think it must be remembered that there are certain rights given under this Bill to the judge in the High Court which are of a limited character. There is no general right of appeal. That was never intended to be given under this Bill, and should not be given in matters which are in the main administrative. This House has again and again expressed its view in regard to that, that when it is an administrative question it is not intended that there should be an appeal from any act that is purely administrative. There may be questions raised as to whether there is power to make an order or do certain acts. There is nothing in the Bill to take away that right. There is a right to go to a Court of Law, as there always is, when it is said that either the Commissioners or the officials have acted beyond the powers given to them. We have seen instances during recent years for 511 which there are many precedents in the books. No difficulty arises in regard to that. I do object to giving the declaration which the hon. and learned Gentleman asks for. It is not yet definitely decided whether a declaration can be applied for. The Court of Appeal says that in certain cases a declaration may be obtained under certain conditions, assuming that you get the condition which justifies the making of the declaration. I do not want to give any further rights than the Courts already have. What the hon. and learned Gentleman is asking for is that we should give the Courts a further right of interference in these matters than is already granted under the general law or under the special Clauses in this Bill. I do not desire to do that, more particularly because it will prejudice a decision which is still under consideration as to whether in certain circumstances a declaration ought to be made.
The foundation of the hon. and learned Gentleman's argument was not so much the question of the right to sue, because he knows how the law stands in regard to that. I cannot help thinking that what is at the back of his mind is that solatium to many having recourse to litigation, that is, the costs. His desire is that there shall be a power given under the Bill to grant costs, and he instanced a case recently raised in the Courts. I would remind him that that was of a different character. That was not quite the same thing as suing officials; that was an action brought against the Attorney-General. Costs are not given in such cases, but of course it does lie with Parliament to deal with a matter of that character if it is thought there is a case in which costs ought to be allowed by the Treasury. If a Department is not willing to pay costs it still always lies within the power of Parliament to say that those costs shall be paid. We had a recent instance of that. The House will remember the discussion on the Osborne cadet case, and as a result of that, although costs could not be given, very full costs were paid. The other case the hon. and learned Member had in mind is still under consideration. What is aimed at here, and what the hon. and learned Gentleman wishes by this Clause, is to give a further right than already exists under the common law or under the Statutes as they at present exist, giving jurisdiction to the Courts. I do not desire that we should extend those rights; they 512 are certainly wide enough for all purposes, as the Courts have recently shown, and the very instance to which the hon and learned Member refers shows that the Courts have the power without the necessity of incorporating this Clause in the Bill. I would suggest to him that it might well be left there.
There will be one very great disadvantage which must be borne in mind when you are considering the giving of a power under an Act of Parliament to award costs which are not usually given, and which are certainly not given as a matter of right. Take, for example, the Forms to which reference has been made. Any person who had a form served upon him, whether there was any fear of being sued for a penalty or not, could choose to lodge an action with the certainty of getting costs at the Courts. Surely that is not desirable. I can appreciate the argument that it would be desirable in the public interest that a test case should be taken to see whether the Form was within the law or not, and that the costs should be allowed in that case, but I would ask my hon. and learned Friends, who are familiar with what might happen under the circumstances, to think what number of actions might be brought for a declaration that would carry costs. Surely that is not what is desired. If it is, it would lead to an enormous increase of costs in litigation against the Crown, and in the case of any slip being made by some official, for example, serving a form a day too late or having forgotten to fill up some particular item, any number of persons could bring totally unnecessary actions which would have the effect of carrying costs with them, and in that way, no doubt, though it might be of some benefit to the lawyers entrusted with the conduct of the proceedings, or with issuing documents with which the action commenced, it would really not be desirable that there should be a general power in that way in all such cases to award costs against the Crown. If it is to be done it ought not to be done in this way, but when the matter has been considered very generally. This is a very wide and a very serious question, and I can quite understand that Parliament might desire to discuss it before expressing its views. I hope the House will not do it by this side wind when there is no reason that there should be any special distinction drawn between this Bill and any other Act of Parliament.
§ Question put, and negatived.513
§ Application to Ireland.
§ This Act shall not apply to Ireland.
§ I wish to avail myself of the only opportunity that is open to us of again pressing upon the Government the unsuitability to Ireland of this Bill as it actually stands. This is the only form in which we could have the discussion.
§ Sir EDWIN CORNWALL
May I ask whether it is in Order to move this Clause, and if it is, whether it will be in order to move that the Bill should not apply to Scotland or to England, and whether that would not negative the whole proceedings of the Committee?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
That would be the case if a proposed new Clause enacted that the Bill should not apply to England, but on the other point I am not so sure. I took the opportunity of consulting Mr. Speaker on the point, and he was of opinion that this Clause was in order.
§ Mr. W. O'BRIEN
We have not interfered in English disputes in the course of these Debates and I think the hon. Gentleman would have given us some better test of the sincerity of his Homo Rule views if he had allowed Irishmen to manage their own business in the very few hours that the gag and the guillotine gives us. Our objections are, firstly, that the Bill dumps down upon Ireland a scheme which was made in England, or rather it was made in Germany, to suit the special purposes of the population in England, which is almost purely urban and industrial, while the measure was constructed, unquestionably, by men who never cast a thought upon Ireland until, at the half-past eleventh hour, they found it necessary to buy off Ireland's opposition. Secondly, we say that insurance against sickness is only one, and by no means the most fruitful, of the blessings which would be secured for the working classes in Ireland by means of the £500,000 a year which is Ireland's proportional grant of the Treasury contribution, and by means of the at least, £1,500,000 which this Bill will levy on the working men of Ireland.
Thirdly, while we object to this Bill in its present state being applied at all to Ireland, we object still more strongly because the Amendments which were agreed to between the Chancellor of the 514 Exchequer and the party behind me deprive Ireland entirely of the medical benefit, which is the very breath of life of the first part of the Bill, and which the Chancellor of the Exchequer last night announced that he intended to fight for as the compulsory minimum for England, while, as to the second portion of the Bill, the unemployment Clauses will not operate in the least as to the mass of the working classes in Ireland. Finally, it is a pity that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was not able to give us to-night the names of the Irish Insurance Commissioners considering the great mass of patronage which will be absolutely at their disposal, but after what has happened here within the last hour or two, I, of course, accept willingly the Chancellor's pretty strong declaration of his determination not to make the appointment of these Irish Insurance Commissioners a partisan matter, and I have considerable hope that the declaration that he made will do something, at all events, to mitigate the apprehension which was undoubtedly felt that this Bill might be worked as an engine of partisan oppression in Ireland.
I entirely agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. John Redmond) that, so far as Irish Nationalists must differ in matters of very deep national importance, we ought to differ as far as possible with good humour and with as much respect for one another as it would be healthy for us to differ in an Irish Parliament. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was indignant with us the other night for proposing even the postponement of the application of the Bill to Ireland for further reflection, but before twenty-four hours were over he gave the most conclusive proof of the necessity for further reflection, because he made a speech in which he professed himself ready to abandon entirely the most important Amendment that he had accepted from the party behind us, if Irish public opinion would only help them to make up his mind. It is instructive to watch how the Chancellor—or rather I do not believe it was the Chancellor, but his Irish advisers—vacillated and hesitated from day to day about that important Amendment in reference to the inclusion of medical benefit. We grounded our proposal for postponement upon the fact, among others, that the Chancellor had entirely abandoned the Irish Clause of this Bill as it originally stood, and had really cut the heart out of it, and while he was making an appearance of liberality by 515 reducing the Irish contributory rate by 1½d., all that he really did was to cut the medical benefit out altogether and to give us a perfectly farcical Insurance Bill against sickness from which both the doctors and the medicine were dropped out altogether.
In the course of the Debate upon the Irish Amendments, neither the Chancellor nor a single one of the Gentlemen who spoke on behalf of the party behind us gave the smallest hint of any notion of restoring the medical benefits, nor was in the least ashamed of the position he had taken up in changing a great national insurance scheme into a system of pauper relief, but within twenty-four hours there began to be trouble about the state of feeling in Ireland, and the hon. Member (Mr. Dillon) so far tore himself away from his labours in Persia and Morocco as to tell us that he, personally, was sorry that the medical benefits had not been left untouched as they stood in the Bill. Not only when the declaration was made, but after hearing the searchlight observations of my learned Friend, signals of distress were hung out from the Treasury Bench. The Chancellor of the Exchequer himself said "he regretted to leave out medical benefit, but that was done purely in deference to the wishes of Irish Members and their constituents. If there was now a strong desire that the subject should be reconsidered, if there was a feeling that medical benefit for Ireland should be incorporated, the Government would not insist." From this it appears that the Minister in charge of the Bill was not acting upon his own judgment at all, and that he had given the key of his conscience over to the party behind me, and he laid all the blame upon the ignis fatuus that is leading him this dance through Irish bogs and quagmires. After that speech, Irish opinion began to grow even stronger in favour of the retention of medical benefit. There was an interval of some days, and of fresh hesitation, and, as I take it, renewed secret negotiations. After a decent interval of three or four days I asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he had yet made up his mind as to the restoration of medical benefit to Ireland, and even then his mind, or the mind of his Irish advisers, was still in a state of fluidity, because I was informed that it would be only on the following day that an answer would be given. On the 516 following day this rather curious answer was given to my question by the Secretary to the Treasury:—As my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, stated during the discussion on Clause 59 in Committee, his only reason for proposing the omission of medical benefit in Ireland was that he found that Irish opinion as a whole desired this alteration. He has received no sufficient evidence that Irish opinion has undergone a change in this respect, and he does not therefore, as at present advised, propose to ask for the recommittal of the Bill for the object indicated by the hon. Member."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st November, 1911, cols. 1022 and 1023.]Then I asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Secretary to the Treasury, if that curious phrase "as at present advised" meant that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had still an open mind, and that it is according to the extent of the pressure from Ireland he will determine whether or not he will restore the medical benefit. Then a rather remarkable circumstance happened. Before I could get a reply the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond), who was plainly growing alarmed at the feeling in Ireland on the subject, and evidently determined to take a plunge and squelch any further expression of public opinion in Ireland on the subject, and ignoring pointedly the declaration made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his speech as to his deferring to the opinion not merely of the Irish representatives, but of their constituents, got up and said:—Before the right hon. Gentleman answers that, may I ask is he aware that nothing has occurred which has changed the opinion of the majority of Irish representatives in this House that medical benefits should be excluded from the Bill in existing circumstances, or to induce him to desire that the matter should be reopened?" —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st November, col. 1023.]That was a very plain announcement that the hon. Gentlemen for whom he spoke had made up their minds to hear no more about the matter, the implication being that any further attempt to discuss the question in Ireland would be put down as factionism and treason to Home Rule. That seems to me a rather humiliating or ignominious history of temporising, and of watching how the cat was going to jump without knowing how the cat would really jump. I think it is clear from the narrative I have given that if Ireland is to lose medical benefit under this Bill, she will lose it not because the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not know the case we are representing——
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I would remind the hon. Member that his Motion is to leave out Ireland altogether.
§ Mr. W. O'BRIEN
Certainly, and one of the reasons why the Bill as it at present stands is totally inapplicable to Ireland is that it has been so completely changed for the worse by the decision of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in reference to the omission of medical benefit for Ireland. I have my doubts even whether this change has been made in obedience to the wishes of all the members of the party who sit behind me. I do not attempt for a moment to meddle in their domestic affairs. They have a perfect right to do and say what they please in this matter, but unless rumour is to an incredible extent astray, and unless the leading columns of their official organ, the "Freeman's Journal," are exceedingly misleading, I think we are entitled to remark as to the somewhat significant number in which the party have come to the House on this occasion. At all events, whatever may be true as to the feeling of the majority of the greater number of the Members of the party behind me, my own strong belief is that when the hon. and learned Member for Waterford attempted to speak for the majority of the Irish representatives what he really did was to speak for a narrow majority of the majority which is not a majority of the entire representation of Ireland. But whatever their opinion may be, no one in Ireland will deny what a different feeling there is springing up and spreading at an extraordinary rate from, one end of Ireland to another in reference to this question. If it were not that I do not wish to occupy the time of the House I could quote resolutions passed in every part of Ireland—Belfast, Dublin, Wexford, Roscommon, and Kerry—and especially by every Labour body from one end of Ireland to another, protesting against this change in the Bill. I have not myself received, nor have I seen in any newspaper, a single resolution of any kind in the opposite sense.
The result of these extraordinary negotiations with the Treasury Front Bench is that Ireland is deprived entirely of the medical benefit which the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced last night should be the essential and irreducible minimum for this country, and it loses it wholly and solely through the determination of a section of the party behind me to closure any further discussion of the subject by public opinion in Ireland, in the very same way in which it prevented any discussion of the whole subject by keeping the Irish people in the dark month after month as to what the Chancellor of the Exchequer 518 intended to do. I have not a shadow of doubt that the extraordinary change of front from the speech of the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) in Committee to the attitude of the Member for Water-ford (Mr. J. Redmond) a few days afterwards arose from the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was not willing to restore the medical benefit to Ireland unless the Irish contributory rate was to be increased, and they apparently preferred to face the odium of killing the medical benefit to the odium of asking the Irish labourers to contribute another 1½d. per week, because the moment they did it it would have been a complete exposure and collapse of their whole strategy, because the whole point of their Amendments was to seduce the poorest of the labouring population in Ireland to accept this Bill by persuading them that they were getting off with some exceptionally small contributions or with no contribution at all. The result was that the moment there came to be any question of restoring the medical benefit to Ireland all this prospect of riches held out to the labourers of Ireland turned out to be a complete sham and delusion. The Chancellor of the Exchequer clearly would not hear of the restoration of the medical benefit unless the Irish contributors agreed to pay an addition of 1½d., in addition to being left to support the expense of a second and separate system of medical relief in Ireland.
Some people in this House will do a great deal to confuse and misrepresent our attitude in reference to this Bill, but they cannot do it in Ireland. The facts are too strong for them. Our position is we do not want this Bill in its present shape at all. It is wholly unsuited to the country. The two millions a year it will cost can be put to infinitely better use for the happiness of the working classes of Ireland. But our position also is that if you are going to force this Bill upon Ireland you are not, so far at all events as our protest is concerned, going to put Ireland in a position of inferiority, and you are not going to give us an absurd system of national insurance against disease from which medical benefit is entirely excluded. Our position is that the enormous burdens that this Bill will impose upon the taxpayers, the workmen and the employers in Ireland, are of very much the same character as your inflated estimates for your colossal naval and military armaments. Our position is that these things may be, and no doubt are, a necessity for England. England can afford 519 them, Ireland cannot. And if we are forced into so expensive a partnership, we say that you ought to pay for it out of your own pocket. I am sorry the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not here, though one makes allowance for the strain which there is on him at the present time, but he taunted us with proposing nothing constructive, knowing very well that we should be out of Order if we did. If there was time I think it would be easy enough to show that we have done more to build up permanent constructive work for Ireland during the past eight years than the English Government have done in as many centuries; that we have done it with the unanimous approval of the party that has now run away from it; and that we have done it in spite of the efforts, I am sorry to say, of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his colleagues, who went far to wreck that work—at all events so far as the great agrarian settlement of 1903 was concerned.
The Chancellor rather scornfully asked us what would we do with the money if we had the £500,000 a year, if we got it. He has undertaken the Government of Ireland, and we have not. But if the proposal which we put on the Paper, and which, unfortunately was out of order, had been carried out, and if the £500,000, which is the Chancellor's own estimate of Ireland's proportion of the Treasury subsidy were allowed to accumulate for a few years, and if an Irish Parliament had a fund of £1,500,000 at its disposal exclusively for the benefit of the working classes of Ireland, I do not think that there are any men who know Ireland who will deny that an Irish Parliament would put that great fund to infinitely better use than it can be put to under this Act, when it will be merely used as a sort of speculation as to diseases that I am glad to say are very rare visitants among our country population.
It would be easy to give instances of the larger uses to which that money could be put. One of them would be to provide the poorest of the labouring population living in the slums of the cities and towns with healthy cottages at 1s. a week, as the agricultural labourers have got already, I am glad to say. Another of them would be to provide the children with a substantial meal at school, as I believe is done in London at the present moment. Another would be to establish dispensaries for the free distribution of 520 milk for infants, such as those that have worked such wonders in Paris, and I believe also in many districts of England and Scotland. Still another purpose would be to adopt the French plan of taking the pawn offices under public control, and making advances of money on moderate terms to tradesmen or those who were in temporary distress. These are only a few of the splendid uses to which this money could be put for the benefit and happiness of the Irish working class, instead of having it wasted, and wasting also the £1,500,000 additional of the Irish workers and their employers upon this gigantic bureaucrtic systems, which is based upon the hypothesis that we in Ireland know to be monstrously exaggerated, the hypothesis that the illness of the head of the family is the principal trouble in the life of the Irish working class.
In all this matter I confess I have a great deal of sympathy with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as well as no end of personal admiration. No doubt he undertook a noble and courageous task, but he undertook it, I am afraid, without thinking out fully the developments that his scheme was likely to bring about. I do not blame him; I do not at all find fault with him—with the strain upon him, and in a state of fever and excitement—that he is certainly ready to lash out like another Owen Glendower; but he made an attack upon me and my hon. Friends which was something not very far removed from ferocity, under the delusion that I found fault with him for obeying the mandate of the majority of the representatives of Ireland. I did nothing of the kind. I quite agree that his constitutional duty is to obey the majority rather than the minority of the representatives of Ireland, although, no doubt, that rigid majority rule might be rather awkward in its application to England at the present moment, considering the state of the representation of England in this House. What I do find fault with is that in this matter, as well as in the case of the Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer is primarily concerned, not with the interests of Ireland, but with the interests of its own Bill, and that he expects the representatives of Ireland to consider, not the merits of his Bill, but the prospect of Home Rule next year. I think it is an unfair way to take advantage of the anxiety of Irish Members with reference to the Debate on Home Rule. Therefore, it is that I cannot altogether condole with him in the fact that his dealings with Gentlemen behind me have apparently 521 landed him and them in a fix not very unlike the famous negotiations about the Irish Councils Bill. At all events, we have stood to our word, through good report and through ill report, towards the Liberal party, and to Home Rule. We are quite willing that our countrymen should judge between us and the Gentlemen behind us when we say that this bill, as it stands, will be a misfortune and an injustice to Ireland, and will end in disappointment, in failure, and in financial breakdown.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Mr. HAYDEN
The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down opened his remarks by suggesting that the matter might be left to the representatives of Ireland, and if his appeal were responded to by the House of Commons I think the decision would take a short time to make. His remarks show how completely out of touch he is with the majority of the representatives of Ireland, for all through his speech there was running a tone of attack upon those representatives to whom he desires the decision of this Bill should be left. It should be remembered that, speaking in the Committee stage, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said it would be a great relief to him if Ireland were omitted from the Bill. Who are they that keep Ireland in this Bill? The majority of the representatives of Ireland. There is no doubt whatever that if the majority of the representatives asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer not to apply this Bill to Ireland he would invite the House of Commons to accept the Amendment of the hon. Member proposing the adoption of that course. But the majority of the representatives of Ireland, who belong to this party with which I am associated, are unanimous in their decision, from the beginning up to the present day, before Amendment and after Amendment, in asking the House of Commons not to deprive the workers of Ireland of the advantages conferred upon them by this Bill. The hon. Member grounds his appeal for the omission of Ireland from this Bill apparently because medical benefit will not exist under the scheme which is set up in our country. But because one benefit is taken away from the insured person he would deprive them of every other possible benefit in the Bill. It is not a logical course, and it is not one which commends itself to the people of Ireland or to their representatives. The hon. Member draws a 522 distinction of an extraordinary and unconstitutional character between the representatives of this country and their constituents. He ought to know that considerable evidence have been given on the subject during the past two years. If we were out of touch with the feeling in the country we would not now be sitting in the House of Commons. In the last two years we have been twice before our constituents, and we have been returned in spite of the fiercest opposition and the grossest misrepresentation. We still continued to be the majority of the representatives of Ireland, notwithstanding the prophecies, upon which the Tory party in this House built up great hopes, that the Member for Cork would drive at least half the Irish Members for ever out of public life.
§ Mr. HAYDEN
You said it! I listened attentively to hear one single piece of evidence from the Member for Cork in the speech which he made that Ireland desires to be omitted from the Bill. He did not produce one single expression of opinion from any portion of Ireland—north or south, rural or urban—that Ireland wanted to be omitted from the Bill. He did refer to resolutions passed in certain parts of the country in favour of the restoration of the medical benefit to Ireland, but he did not quote one single fact, one single resolution, one single expression of opinion that Ireland desired that this Bill should not be applied to her. Yet that is his Amendment. His Amendment is not on the medical benefit; its object is to deprive the whole country of the benefits of the Bill. He has said we had to make a choice between the medical benefit and an increase in the contribution. That is a correct statement of the case. If the hon. Member can produce to us a plan by which the medical benefit can be got without paying for it we shall be very glad to have it. And the reason that we have not approved of the class of medical benefit which was proposed in the Bill, and which exists for England, and which, we think, is not applicable to Ireland, is that we would not get value for the money we should have to pay for it. We would be delighted if the hon. Member can give us a plan which will secure that, and every man on these benches will support him in any plan by which the medical benefit will be conferred on the insured, or any other persons 523 in the country, without those persons or the country having to pay for it. I listened in vain for a single suggestion of that sort. It is because we believe we would have to pay out of all proportion to the benefit which will be conferred that we have pressed to the elimination of the medical benefit.
There has been no change of opinion in regard to this matter. The decision of the Irish party in restricting the medical benefit and in regard to the other Amendments which were proposed a couple of weeks ago, was taken almost five months since, and published in every newspaper in Ireland. That decision was taken, not because of any particular opinion we held as individuals, but because of our opinions as representatives of the almost unanimous view of Ireland, because of the class of medical benefit which was proposed in the country, and because of the class of medical service which at present exists in Ireland. We heard a good deal during the Debate in Committee in reference to the proposals made by the bishops of Ireland. There are certain gentlemen who pose as the great friends, advocates, supporters, and followers of the bishops. Why do they not follow the bishops in this matter? In the suggestions made by the bishops there was one which was exactly that which we propose in connection with medical benefits. It was largely because of the nature of the medical service—lauded to the skies by many people in Ireland—that we took up the attitude that until some change could be made in it and some reform effected, we would not create another block in the way of Poor Law reforms by setting up and paying for two services.
The hon. Member said, "We had to represent to the poorest classes of the workers in Ireland that if the medical benefit were to exist under this Bill, a larger contribution would have to be paid. We never had to represent anything of the kind. The poorest class of the working men in the country will pay no contribution under this Bill, whether the medical benefit exists or not, and if the hon. Member only took the trouble to consider the details of the Bill he would realise that fact. We have effected a reduction of 1½d. per week in the joint contribution of employer and worker, but in regard to the poorest class of worker in Ireland, I repeat he will pay no contribution, and the saving of 1½d. per week which we have effected will entirely go in this case to the 524 employer who, as a ratepayer, contributes considerably to the cost of the present medical service which would be in no way interfered with under this Bill, and which would have to continue to be maintained while the Bill was in operation.
The hon. Member suffers from an extraordinary delusion as to a change of feeling and alarm that took place in the course of twenty-four hours. Probably he was referring to the twenty-four hours between the first and second day's Debate in Committee. I was under the impression that we did not condescend to consider the business details of the Bill on the first day. I thought the attention of the House was entirely absorbed by more important considerations as to whether one particular organisation would have anything to say to the working of this Bill. Those of us who were listening to the Debate were under that impression. It was only on the second day that any Debate on the details took place, and, as I am upon this subject, I may refer to the hon. Member's complaint about being gagged. In Committee we got two days for the consideration of the Irish portion of the Bill. One of those days was entirely taken up with the ventilation of the grievances of the hon. Member who last spoke against the Ancient Order of Hibernians. The second day proved to be a great deal more than sufficient for the consideration of the details of the Bill, and when we came to the end of the Irish Clauses we had four hours to spare, and were content to hand over those hours of Irish time for the consideration of the English portion of the Bill. Yet the hon. Member complains of being gagged! In this matter he does not represent any portion of Ireland, and he is not able to show a single expression of opinion from his own Constituency or from any other portion of the country in favour of omitting Ireland from the Bill. It would be well for the constituency of Cork to take notice of the fact that the hon. Member is anxious to deprive them of large benefits because he cannot get them one benefit more. Upon this matter we have taken no hard and fast line. We have endeavoured by every possible means from the day of the introduction of the Bill to ascertain fully the opinions of our people upon this matter. We have from the beginning shown the utmost sympathy with the principles of the Bill, but, unlike others who profess sympathy with them, we have endeavoured to put those principles into effect by making them as applicable as possible to our own country. We 525 have received expressions of opinion from all sorts of people in all parts of the country Numerous deputations have been received by our party. Everyone was fully and freely heard. Those who came to us were not confined to our own political supporters, but amongst them were people who are violently opposed to us in politics and who would if they could prevent our country obtaining self-government. But in this matter they were prepared to come to us because they thought that we were willing and anxious to shape this Bill in accordance with the ideas and opinions of the people of Ireland as a whole. We have done our best so to shape it as to suit the circumstances of the country, and to be fair to employer and employ^ alike. We believe that within the limits of this measure, and so far as it is possible for an Irish party in a British Parliament to do it, we have so shaped the Bill as to make it a boon and a blessing for our country.
This is the unanimous opinion of the Irish party. It is not the opinion of a majority. It is not a matter upon which there is any division whatever amongst us. The hon. Member for Cork may pry as much as he likes into our domestic affairs. In this matter our action has been as an open book. Our decisions were published in the light of public opinion in Ireland five months ago. Down to about three weeks ago there was no expression of opinion in the country whatever differing from us upon the medical benefit, and down to the present day there has not been any expression of opinion from any public body, corporation, or representative person in the country asking that Ireland should be omitted from the Bill. Upon the medical benefit there is difference of opinion, but as matters now stand the difference does not exist and never did exist in the Irish party. There are districts in Ireland that benefit very considerably by the existing medical service, and there are districts that are not satisfied with it. But I would ask the hon. Member for Cork, how is a matter like this, upon which public opinion in Ireland differs, to be decided? Is it not to be decided in Ireland, as it must be in every constitutionally governed country, by the voices of the majority of the people? How are the opinions of a majority of the people better to be ascertained than by ascertaining the opinions of their representative in Parliament? English Members may be interested in knowing the class of medical service that exists in Ireland. We do not say it is perfect—far 526 from it. We desire to see it changed. We have been asking to see the whole of the Poor Law system changed for many years.
In a few years, despite the many difficulties and obstacles—some of them of a domestic character—when we obtain control of our own affairs, every earnest lover of reform will desire that one of the first objects to which the Irish Parliament will devote itself will be adequately to reform the Poor Law system in Ireland. But it ought to be understood what kind of system it is. The system is one which is supported partly by public grants and partly by the local poor rate. To both of the funds from which the Poor Law medical service in Ireland is supported both employers and employed contribute as ratepayers, and the feeling has grown in Ireland that no longer does a man suffer any humiliation or degradation because he is poor and has to avail himself of the service to which he contributes. The service that exists in Ireland differs very materially from that which exists in this country, inasmuch as it exists in England only for destitute people, while in Ireland it is available for poor persons. There is a very considerable distinction between poor persons and destitute persons. They first feel it is their own service, maintained by themselves, and for themselves. It has grown to be recognised as a sort of State service, and in the large bulk of rural areas in Ireland there is but one doctor, the dispensary doctor, in the district.
Supposing that the medical benefit for which the hon. Member for Cork clamours—since we decided against it—was restored in this Bill, it would not confer upon the insured persons in by far the greatest portion of Ireland any choice of doctor. The insured person would still have to go to the same doctor to whom now he has a right to go without paying anything whatever. The doctor who now is paid, and would continue to be paid a salary, would have to be paid under this Bill. Will the hon. Member mind telling us what the doctors would have to be paid? We have been in consultation with the doctors upon the question, and we find very considerable difficulty, in fact absolute impossibility, in getting the doctors to come to close quarters with us on the question of terms. The nearest that we can get, the closest proposition that we can get, from the doctors, is that they desire to be treated as the English doctors are treated.
527 We do not know how the English doctors are to be treated. They seemed to be content to leave the matter entirely in the hands of the local health authorities and the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave them their way; and, as far as we can glean from medical public opinion in this country, the English doctors are now threatening to strike against the proposal which the Chancellor of the Exchequer considers he was pleasing them by putting into the Bill. The Irish doctors asked us to get them treated in the Bill as the English doctors were treated—in other words, to give them an opportunity of going on strike in Ireland. We claimed, in this matter, to know exactly where we were with the Irish doctors before we launched upon a scheme which would compel a large amount of money to be paid out of funds dedicated to the use of the poorest workers in the country, and to be handed over to them. If the hon. Member for Cork City can produce a scheme by which not only the insured persons, but their families, will get medical benefits upon the terms which apparently were running through his mind, that is for nothing, he will find there will be no difference of opinion among Irish Members, whether they sit above or below the Gangway or on the upper or lower benches below the Gangway. There will be perfect unanimity. We had to make our choice between large contributions from employer and employed and medical benefits which were illusory and between something which professed to give medical benefit, but which in no way took the place of the Poor Law medical service that now exists. We had to make our choice between the present system and such a medical scheme as would confer a certain amount of benefit upon one member of a family, and leave the pauper taint upon every other member of the family. We have made our choice in favour of the lower contribution, and we have made that choice with the full belief and knowledge that in doing so we fully and adequately represent the true sentiment of the overwhelming bulk of the Irish people. It is as their representatives that we ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to-night to reject the Amendment which the hon. Member for Cork City proposed in a, speech dealing with quite a different subject from the Amendment before the House.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. McKenna)
If I understood the speech of the hon. 528 Member for Cork City rightly, I gather that he did not expect the Government to accept his Amendment. In almost his opening words he put forward the claim that Ireland must be allowed to manage her own business. Almost his concluding words was a statement that it was the duty of the Government to recognise the wishes of the majority rather than the minority. He went on to say that he and his Friends were undoubtedly a minority, and I suppose the conclusion is obvious that it is the duty of the Government in this case not to recognise the wishes of the hon. Member for Cork City and his Friends. Naturally we do not complain of that conclusion. I do not think, however, that the hon. Member was quite fair in his charges against the Chancellor of the Exchequer. What was his argument? He said my right hon. Friend had not considered the interests of Ireland, but the interests of his own Bill. He said that in framing this measure and pushing it through with all the ability which the hon. Member so frankly recognised, my right hon. Friend had not considered the interests of Ireland. What did the hon. Member say in the very same speech? He complained of this Bill, if Ireland was to have it at all, ought to be the whole Bill and not a mutilated Bill, and he said it ought to be the Bill which England has, and not a special measure for Ireland. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has again and again in this House and in the country laid it down that one of the main objects he has in view in introducing the measure is to secure medical benefit, but in deference to the wishes of the Irish majority he has left that provision out of the Bill as applied to Ireland. And yet the hon. Member for Cork City says the Chancellor of the Exchequer has considered his Bill and not the interests of Ireland.
§ Mr. W. O'BRIEN
I said the Chancellor of the Exchequer exercised unfair pressure upon the representatives of Ireland by forcing them to think of the prospects of Home Rule rather than this Bill.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I think on this occasion the argument of the hon. Member is too far fetched. He complained also that my right hon. Friend had hesitated and vacillated and had been unable to make up his own mind. He has never hesitated or vacillated, his own mind has been made up from the first on this subject, and he has declared from the first that he would include or exclude Ireland according to the 529 wishes of the majority. Those wishes have been expressed in no uncertain language, and the majority in this matter, speaking on behalf of Ireland, is to be found in other quarters besides those sitting below the Gangway. I am justified in saying that a very great majority of the Irish representatives from every part of Ireland, except one corner, have almost without exception on both sides supported this Bill. It will be within the memory of the House that one of the very ablest and most powerful and eloquent speeches made in defence of this Bill came from the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Devlin), and he spoke with the full support of the great majority of the Irish Members. When my right hon. Friend has declared, as he has consistently declared, throughout the course of this Bill, that he will accept the wishes of the Irish representatives he is acting directly in accordance with the policy laid down by no one more strongly than the hon. Member for Cork City himself. I do not propose to deal with the points which have been put so very clearly and so lucidly explained by the hon. Member for South Roscommon (Mr. Hayden). He has given us a very sound reason why at the present time the medical benefit should not be extended to Ireland. It must be understood it will in time be open to the Irish people, if the circumstances alter, to ask that these provisions should be extended to Ireland. Consequently, if the House divides upon this matter, it must be recognised that in the attitude which the Government are now taking up they are acting strictly in accordance with Irish wishes.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
The right hon. Gentleman has laid down a very important proposition, of which I hope note will be taken, especially in the Cabinet, namely, that in relation to the procedure on any matter affecting Ireland it is the opinion of the Irish Members, the majority of the Irish Members, that will prevail with the Government. I hope that will apply to the procedure respecting Home Rule, because I have noticed of late a strange coolness, perhaps a lovers' quarrel, between the sweethearts. Of course, I may be over-suspicious, and I am quite satisfied the absence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to-night and the deputing of the Home Secretary to represent him are not due to the fact that this coolness has in any way become aggravated since his speech at Bath the other day. It is strange, however, to notice that the first 530 place in which the fissure was detected and diagnosed was in a Welsh newspaper, and a weekly newspaper most closely in touch with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. And I have read in organs which are supposed to be in touch both with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and with hon. Gentlemen behind him, that the way in which… the native hue of resolutionIs sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,was due to some unfortunate eruption or difference of opinion between himself and the Irish Members on a question upon which it is now laid down as axiomatic, that, whatever the majority of the Irish Members desire—I do not suppose the smaller fry are in the secret—whatever the Irish Members as a body desire, especially in regard to the great and important question of Home Rule, that procedure, as desired by the Irish Members, will be strictly and docilely followed, by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. But when I read that, whereas the greatest Bill ever introduced for the extension of the Franchise under Mr. Gladstone only included one million of persons, the Chancellor of the Exchequer next year proposes to dump down twelve millions of persons, and to pass that Bill through the House, I really do not know how Irish opinion is going to be met as to the passing of Home Rule. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order.] You do not like it? This is more interesting than the Insurance Bill.
I took special note of the important declaration laid down by the Home Secretary, and I am sure he was specially promoted from the Admiralty to his present office to enable him to make it. I took special note of the fact that the Irish Members now know they have it in their power with regard to all questions of procedure that the Government are pledged, not to be guided by the miserable minority but by the far seeing, and I might almost say omniscient, intelligence of hon. Gentlemen behind me. I really think it is worth having this Debate in order to have that matter cleared up. I therefore expect that when next one of what the Chief Secretary calls his foolish colleagues, speaks in the country, and that is the way he speaks of his fellow Cabinet Ministers, that he will lay down that this notion of dumping down twelve millions of new voters in front of the project of Home Rule is merely a sort of Bath cure which the Chancellor of the Exchequer suddenly took 531 owing to his exertions in connection with this Bill. There is a matter which I would like to refer to. Of course you, Sir, were not in the Chair, but the hon. Gentleman opposite on the very few occasions that we endeavoured to address the House on this Bill tried to Closure even the very small amount of Debate in which we have indulged. Everybody will recognise that this is a Bill of considerable importance, and I am only going to take note of the fact that the solatium handed out to us by the Home Secretary was this, that, whereas in Ireland we have been told that next year we are going to have Home Rule, and in the following year it is to be introduced a second time, and in the third year it is to be passed under the Parliament Bill, without any appeal to the country whatever, the Home Secretary tells us that any time we want this Bill amended we have only to come to the generous Imperial Parliament and at once our desires will be granted. I think that seemed also to throw some doubt upon those promises that have been held out to us from the hill tops. Now we know that when this Bill is to be amended by hon. Gentlemen behind me that it is to this House with which they are so familiar, and to which, I have no doubt, their £400 so closely attaches them, it is to this House that they must once more have recourse.
With regard to the proposal of omitting Ireland from this measure, the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary took a point which I think was beneath his great capacity, and especially to have copied it from the hon. Member for South Roscommon (Mr. Hayden). I do not think the right hon. Gentleman stands in need of tutoring or coaching in bad points from this side of the House. If he wants bad points he can make them himself. To copy another man's bad points is the most insincere form of flattery. He has stated that my hon. Friend the Member for Cork City has proposed the omission of Ireland from this Bill because he cannot get medical benefit. What my hon. Friend contends is this—we desire to have this known—that in the state of Closure which prevails he has taken the only means of raising a discussion in regard to Ireland. If we had not selected this plan of raising the question of the omission of the medical benefits, we should never reach Clause 75—which is now shoved on about twenty or so in order to 532 give us an extra opportunity—and we should never have any opportunity for discussion. With regard to the splendid point that we have nothing to suggest except to move the omission of Ireland from this Bill, we have put down another Clause which represents our opinions, and which represents the opinion of a body for which the hon. Member behind me (Mr. Hayden) professed the most sincere admiration. We have such feeble assistance as we can manage to obtain. We have put down our ideas in respect of a Clause which, of course, as a new Clause it was well known we should not be allowed to debate in the form of a new Clause. We put it down for the sake of saying that is our opinion, and if we were allowed to debate the matter it is upon that Clause we should like to take our Division, and not upon the Clause now before the House. It is no fault of ours if by the Rules of Order or the Rules of Closure—which the hon. Gentlemen behind me have now adopted in supporting the Government—or by the policy of garotte you are unable to Debate matters in the manner we should like to do it. We must take the next suitable opportunity and Debate them in such a manner as the rules of the garotte and the guillotine enable us to do.
There is a point to which, Sir, I do not think your attention could have been called. It does occur to me that the Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer carried in Committee is much more out of order and much more against the title of this Bill than any Amendment of ours. I do not quarrel with your ruling for one moment- in saying it was out of order, but from the point of view of order the Amendment which the Irish party have succeeded in carrying is dead in the teeth of the title of this Bill. What is the title of the Bill—and this title must, I suggest, rule the entire Bill—and it is the main title to the Bill. The title is,
"A Bill to provide for Insurance against Loss of Health and for the Prevention and Cure of Sickness."
Then it goes on to what remains for Ireland—
"and for Insurance against Unemployment, and for purposes incidental thereto."
What have you done by your Amendment? You have wiped out half the purposes comprised in the title to your own Bill. Compare the title of the Bill with the 533 Clause you have carried. Sub-section (10) says,
"An insured person in Ireland shall not be entitled to medical benefit under this Part of the Act and the provisions in respect of medical benefit shall not apply."
Are we not even entitled to the provisions of the title of the Bill, so that with regard to one of the three Kingdoms the very title of your Bill does not apply? You are declaring that you are passing an Act to provide for insurance against loss of health and for the prevention and cure of sickness, and then, when you come to one part of the country, the whole of the purposes for which you pretend your enactment is intended are declared to be entirely omitted, and, forsooth, the complaint against us is that you are passing this Bill as regards our country under false pretences, and you are doing that without even amending your title. If it is in order to do this as regards one of the three Kingdoms, it will be in order next to omit your medical benefits for England, and then for Scotland, and still leave your title standing. I take it from the point of view of Order and Parliamentary procedure if you are entitled as regards one kingdom to change your whole title you are entitled as regards the other two kingdoms. If this is a good scheme for Ireland, why do not the English Members omit it for themselves? We are told the reason is that the medical charities do not exist in England. The hon. Member (Mr. Hayden) has laid down the view, which I am quite sure no Irish doctor who is appealed to will subscribe to, that the artisan class of the country do not desire the medical benefit. Those who represent the artisans of the country in Ireland are entitled to be heard on this point, and I challenge any man, I care not who he be, to produce to me a single resolution from any trades' council or any body of artisans or any trade union except a resolution of protest against the omission of medical benefits. This is a matter upon which a challenge can be replied to. We are only some seven or eight, and hon. Gentlemen behind us represent all the intellect of seventy. This is a statistical matter. We say that from one end of the country to the other, so far as the artisan and trade-union class is concerned, we are voicing their opinion, and we challenge for them the production of a single resolution by any trade union or by any body representing the working classes of the country except 534 a resolution of protest against the omission of this proposal. I quite agree with the statement of the hon. Gentleman behind me. He said, I suppose with some accuracy, that they had all along intended to omit medical benefits from this Bill. But unfortunately their purposes were never made clear.
§ 11.0 P.M.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
I say their purposes were never made clear, because what we wanted to know was not what the hon. Member for Roscommon was thinking, but what the Chancellor of the Exchequer was thinking. It never entered my mind that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who fought this question with a gallantry to which my hon. Friend has paid a honest tribute, was going to proceed by a process of decapitation in Ireland in regard to what he said was for England the main purpose of the Bill, and as to which he made so many tabernacles re-echo. I never thought for a moment that when he came to unfortunate Ireland this was the very purpose he would immediately throw upon the scrap-heap "Oh," he says, "I have done it in deference to Irish opinion." How was that Irish opinion fabricated? I will tell you. There was a violent agitation against the 4d. tax, and our poor, cudgelled friends said, "Get 1d. off somewhere. How can we get it off?" They took up the axe and said, "We will cutoff medical benefit." The Chancellor of the Exchequer, therefore, who was so attentive to the wants of the poor in his own country, and whose heart no doubt has been filled with compassion and sympathy as to the medical necessities which England requires, said, as regards Ireland, "Oh, well, they have had a bad time over the Budget, and we will let them have an easy year." Then, when we wish to propose Amendments dealing with the matter from the point of view of considered opinion, we never reach the Amendments in this Report stage. We will never reach, the position when we can move an Amendment to restore medical benefit, and my hon. Friend is attacked because he takes the only opportunity open to him as a sort of pis aller to move to omit Ireland altogether. We do say that the whole Bill, as regards our country, is misconceived. We say if it be true that the contribution from the Treasury and the contributions from Ireland amount to £2,000,000—it is a startling figure. [An HON. MEMBER: "£1,500,000."] I do not know on what the 535 estimate is founded, but if it be £2,000,000 I say it is most unfortunate that a scheme for applying that amount of money to Ireland is not allowed more than one or two or three nights in Debate to ascertain whether it might be best spent" in sanatorium benefit, maternity benefit, or in other methods dealt with in the Bill. All I say is that I have never had any opportunity as an humble individual of exercising any option on this matter. Suppose we were in our own country directly debating the question of the employment of two millions of money, why the matter would be agitated on every platform in every village and every chapel yard for twelve months in advance. You threw this Bill in our faces with I do not know how many Clauses, over a hundred, and Schedules in addition, which Clauses I may say are of the most india-rubber kind, as if the right hon. Gentleman had said, "There are my principles, but if you do not like them, I will have a deputation in and I will change them." And I must congratulate my right hon. Friend upon his dexterity—I have never known a Minister show so much of what I may call handiness—a dexterity which I hope I may take credit for that he largely learned below the Gangway. That being so, I respectfully say we have not had any adequate opportunity of debating the whole question. The hon. Gentleman behind me said that there were four hours which we did not occupy. I wonder do they think we ought to have occupied the four hours? Is that the view, that my Friends and myself, having put our views fairly before the House, ought to have occupied those four hours? I quite agree that Gentlemen behind me, who seem to think in platoons, could not occupy four hours, because their opinions have already been penny-in-the-slotted for them by the Member for Waterford (Mr. J. Redmond). All I say is this: that being the position, and we having no other method of taking an issue, we have put down this Amendment. We should prefer a considered and a better proposal if we had the opportunity of working it. But we have had no opportunity. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary (Mr. McKenna) says be hopes that there will be no Division. All I can say is that, as we have had no opportunity, and as a means of protesting against this system of legislation and this refusal to allow us adequate opportunity on these great matters so vitally affecting 536 us, I certainly will be in favour of going to a Division on this Resolution.
§ Mr. DILLON
The hon. Member for North-East Cork has delivered a very characteristic speech. He has been grossly offensive; he has been amusing and he has discoursed on many topics including female suffrage. But he has never said one word from beginning to end in favour of the Amendment of his colleague the hon. Member for Cork City (Mr. W. O'Brien). The hon. Member for North-East Cork is an old parliamentary hand, and he is not in the least likely to fall into the trap of supporting this Amendment. His fireworks were let off -with great effect in the hope of diverting the attention of the House altogether from the character of this Amendment. This is not an Amendment to restore medical benefit, it is an Amendment to deprive Ireland of the Bill altogether. The hon. Member complained bitterly and repeatedly of the way in which he was gagged—it is not very easy to gag the hon. Member—and how he was deprived of all opportunity of placing his views before the House. Two days were given for discussion of the Irish Clause. The first day was entirely occupied by what I must describe as an absurd and farcical discussion on the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
And on the second night, when we came to the question of the details of the Bill, the hon. Members for North-East Cork and Cork City exhausted their eloquence so rapidly that four hours before the Closure fell we went on with the English portion of the Bill, so that the Irish portion of the Bill never came under the Closure at all. And what now is the complaint of the hon. Member for North-East Cork? One of his characteristics is that you can never satisfy him under any circumstances. He says that the opinions of the hon. Members behind him are penny-in-the-slotted, forgetting that the hon. Member for Conk City had made a passionate outburst about the terrible quarrels going on in the Irish party. Let us turn to the question of the medical benefit. The hon. Member for North-East Cork—I do not know whether he will consider the phrase offensive; I will withdraw it if he considers it offensive—is about the best variety artist now living. Members of this House have listened to his speech on medical benefit—Ireland is ruined and destroyed for want of medical benefit. On the 15th of July 537 last he addressed a meeting in the City of Cork, and here is what he said about medical benefits then. At that time he was not quite sure what attitude we were going to take, and he thought the question of medical benefits would be a good platform to attack us upon. He said:—What scruples had Mr. Redmond now of putting another £2,000,000 upon them under the guise of this Insurance Act, when he did not point out in the House of Commons that Ireland at present enjoyed under the Medical Charities Act, and under its own rates, a system of medical relief, for which Mr. Lloyd George was going to tar England and Ireland to supply the English workman?That was the opinion of the hon. Member for North-East Cork when it was thought they were going to lead a campaign against us for taxing Irish workmen for a system of medical benefit. As a matter of fact you could hardly believe certain things that go on in Ireland. The hon. Members who are now so wrung with anguish at the danger of depriving their countrymen of medical benefit, were then carrying on a campaign against insurance when first introduced and when they thought we were going to be parties to the great scheme of "Mr. Lloyd George, the robber," as they afterwards called him in Ireland. When they are face to face with him they describe the right hon. Gentleman as that "distinguished and brave man," but when they are carrying on their campaign in Ireland, and when they speak from Irish platforms, then he is termed as "Lloyd George, the Robber."
§ Mr. WILLIAM O'BRIEN
That is a statement of exactly the same character as the six charges against me which a jury pronounced to be a false, defamatory, and malicious libel.
§ Mr. DILLON
We were charged at the commencement of the campaign with being "the accomplices of a robber" in seeking to put on Ireland a double tax under the dishonest pretext of supplying medical benefits to that country which already possessed an ample and full system of such benefits. In those days I was strongly in favour of the medical benefit, but I said it was quite wrong to tax the Irish people for what they already enjoyed. That is an example of the campaign we have had to face in Ireland. What has been the course adopted by the Irish party? That party announced its intention, on the 538 Second Reading of the Bill to consult the people of Ireland, and to ascertain as far as possible what were their wishes in reference to the Bill. I myself was very doubtful, such was the fury of the campaign against the Insurance Bill, whether the Irish people would be in favour of in-eluding Ireland at all. But I was perfectly determined to be guided in this matter by the feeling of the people. We made all the inquiry we could, and we satisfied ourselves that the majority of our people were in favour of the Bill.
Then we endeavoured to ascertain what Amendments the Irish people desired. It has been said we sprung a surprise and gave no notice of our intentions. What was the course we adopted? In the month of July last the Press of the Irish party published a full list of the Irish party's proposed Amendments, including the exclusion of Ireland from the medical benefit, and that list has been before the public of Ireland ever since. It is only within the last few weeks that any protest has come from any quarter against any one of these Amendments and especially against this question of excluding the medical benefit. Therefore the statement that the public in Ireland were taken by surprise is absolutely without an atom of foundation. They were informed three or four months ago of the intentions of the Irish party.
The hon. Member for North-East Cork based his hopes on the suggestion that the "brave" Chancellor of the Exchequer was not going to surrender his principles to the majority of the Irish party. That is a curiously new doctrine to be put forward from these Irish Benches. I remember for twenty-five years we have consistently denounced Englishmen and English Ministers from these Benches because they would not do that, and I for one am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for having now announced and adopted the principle. This is an Amendment to exclude Ireland from the benefits of the Act, I should like to know how many people are going to support that, because it is the issue upon which we are to be called upon to divide. I want to direct the attention of the House to one very remarkable fact. When this Bill was first introduced a most furious campaign was organised against it in Ireland, led on by some of the Unionist newspapers as well as by the hon. Member for North-East Cork.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
I never referred to the Bill in Ireland except on the occasion when I was returned for Cork. The persons who have been conducting a furious campaign in Ireland are Mr. Sexton and the "Freeman's Journal."
§ Mr. DILLON
I ask the attention of the House to the fact that to-night the majority in favour of the Bill is not confined to the followers of the hon. Member for Waterford. I expect that very few of of the Unionist Members for Ulster will be found in the Lobby against it, Belfast is solidly for it. A vast and overwhelming majority of the industrial community of the North of Ireland are for the Bill. It is perfectly true that there is a difference of opinion about the medical benefits. Large communities such as Belfast and Dublin are warmly in favour of them. The hon. Member for Cork City said that the question could not be discussed in Ireland because we would Closure it as being prejudicial to the Nationalist cause. It is not prejudicial to the Nationalist cause. Even if it were, that is the reverse of what I should desire to see done. The people of Ireland will discuss this question with perfect freedom all over the country and decide what they like best.
According to our information, the great majority of the people are not at present prepared to accept medical benefits on the condition of increased contribution. The hon. Member for Cork seemed to think that medical benefits are offered to Ireland without payment. Who is going to pay for them? No doubt if the people of England were willing to give them for nothing it would alter the opinion of the people of Ireland. Our people will have to consider in future whether they want medical benefits and whether they are prepared to pay for them. It may be they will decide to postpone having them until they can be taken in connection with a total reform of the Poor Law system with the consequent relief of local rates. At
§ the present moment there is not and there never was the smallest division of opinion on the question in the Irish party. As the Home Secretary pointed out and as I have often said in Ireland, it will always be open to the Irish people to have medical benefits when they choose to pay for them. A one-clause non-contentious Bill will give them medical benefits at any date——
§ Mr. DILLON
At Westminster or in Dublin. The Irish people will have to pay for them whenever they come. There is no difficulty about their having them. Therefore the reason I dwell upon this point is that I wish to expose the dishonest and absurd contention that because medical benefits in accordance with the demand of the majority of the Irish people are left out of the present Bill that the only way to remedy that is to destroy the Bill altogether and deprive Ireland of its benefits. Ireland will, in spite of the hon. Member for Cork and his Amendment, obtain the benefits of the Insurance Bill. It will be open to Ireland at any day, or month, or year, in the future, whenever it so decides, to ask for and get the medical benefits on condition the people show they are prepared to pay for them. Therefore I am anxious to show the hollowness and dishonesty of the pretext that Ireland loses anything by omitting the medical benefits from this Bill. She loses nothing. She can have medical benefits whenever she chooses to have them. That is the present situation. The Irish party is absolutely united upon the matter. We speak not only for seventy-two Members who constitute the Irish party, but for the great majority of Unionists who sit above the Gangway. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has this satisfaction, that having given Ireland a free choice—as he most generously and properly did—we shall take this Bill, seeing that the verdict of Ireland, by a sweeping, overwhelming, and non-party majority, is in favour of this great measure.
§ Question put, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 38; Noes, 216.541
|Division No. 413.]||AYES.||[11.20 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Boyton, James||Eyres-Monsell, B. M.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Fell, Arthur|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Cassel, Felix||Gibbs, George Abraham|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Castlereagh, Viscount||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)|
|Gretton, John||Hunt, Rowland||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Guiney, Patrick||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Thompson, Robert (Belfast North)|
|Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Thynne, Lord A.|
|Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Walsh, J. (Cork, South)|
|Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Malcolm, Ian||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, N. E.)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Helmsley, Viscount||O'Brien, William (Cork)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Crean and Mr. Gilhooly.|
|Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Horner, Andrew Long||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Gill, Alfred Henry||Nuttall, Harry|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Gladstone, W. G. C.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Glanville, Harold James||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Goldstone, Frank||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Alden, Percy||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||O'Malley, William|
|Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Greig, Col. J. W.||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Griffith, Ellis J.||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Anderson, Andrew Macbeth||Guest, Hon. Major C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Armitage, Robert||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Hackett, John||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Hancock, John George||Pointer, Poseph|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Barnes, George N.||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Barton, William||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George)||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Hayden, John Patrick||Reddy, M.|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Helme, Norval Watson||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Boland, John Plus||Henry, Sir Charles S.||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Higham, John Sharp||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Bryce, John Annan||Hodge, John||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Roche, Augustine (Loth)|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Johnson, William||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Rowlands, James|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Clough, William||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Clynes, John R.||Jowett, Frederick William||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Joyce, Michael (Limerick)||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Kilbride, Denis||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Cotton, William Francis||Kyffin-Taylor, G.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Cowan, William Henry||Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton)||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Lewis, John Herbert||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Crooks, William||Lundon, Thomas||Summers, James Woolley|
|Crumley, Patrick||Lynch, A. A.||Sutherland, John E.|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Sutton, John E.|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Swift, Rigby|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Macpherson, James Ian||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Dawes, J. A.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Tennant, Harold John|
|De Forest, Baron||M'Callum, John M.||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs, Ince)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Dillon, John||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Wardie, G. J.|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Master man, C. F. G.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Doris, W.||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's County)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Millar, James Duncan||White, J. Dundas (Glas. Tradeston)|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Mond, Sir Alfred M.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Mooney, John J.||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Morgan, George Hay||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Morrell, Philip||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Muldoon, John||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Munro, Robert||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Ferens, Thomas Robinson||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|France, G. A.||Neilson, Francis|
|Gelder, Sir William Alfred||Nolan, Joseph||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Debate adjourned; Bill to be further considered to-morrow (Thursday).
§ Whereupon Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the Order of the House of 24th October, proposed the Question, "That this House do now adjourn."
§ Adjourned accordingly at Twenty-nine minutes before Twelve o'clock.