§ As amended (in Committee of the Whole House and in the Standing Committee), further considered.—[Third Allotted Day.]
§ Transfer of an Insured Person to a Superannuation Fund Established by Act of Parliament.
§ If a person ceases to be insured under this Part of this Act by reason of entering such employment as is mentioned in paragraphs (b), (c), or (d) of part 2 of the First Schedule to this Act, the transfer value of 600 such person or, in the case of a deposit contributor, the amount standing to his credit in the Post Office fund shall be paid to the superannuation fund established by Act of Parliament in connection with that employment, and shall be applied for the benefit of such person.
§ Owing to some small alterations made in the Bill since I put this Clause down it would probably have been better that some slight Amendments should be made in the new Clause, but I propose to move it as it stands, and if the Government can see their way to accept it, these small Amendments can be put in afterwards. I would remind the House that that transfer value is provided under Clause 30 for all members of societies who move from one society to another, and that under Clause 31 there is a provision for giving transfer value to those members of societies who become emigrants. It is a very poor and bad provision, but so far as it goes it does give some rights to the members of friendly societies who become emigrants. In Clause 40 there are provisions to give transfer value to members of societies who become deposit contributors, and also to deposit contributors who become members of friendly societies. The object of my new Clause is to give similar transfer value to members of friendly societies who become attached to superannuation funds under the circumstances mentioned in paragraphs (b), (c), and (d) of the second part of the First Schedule. I would remind the House that the circumstances of paragraph (b) are that an insured person may obtain employment under the Crown and so become exempt from compulsory insurance under the Act. From that moment, if a member of a friendly society, he would already have acquired transfer value, and unless this Clause, or some such Clause, is inserted the amount of the transfer value he has acquired by his previous contributions will be forfeited, and he will not be entitled to any benefit from them.
§ Under paragraph (c) of the same Schedule a clerk or other salaried official in the service of a railway company or a statutory company, if previously a member of a friendly society, would suffer the same loss. While he would have contributed, he would have acquired transfer value which would be lost as soon as he took employment which exempted him from the benefits of the scheme. That would have been the position of teachers in elementary schools, but in view of the alteration made in the Clause proposed by the 601 Government yesterday, it is no longer necessary to make provision for them, because that Clause has made provision for them. Therefore, I think it would be better if my new Clause, instead of saying, "(b), (c) or (d)," should read only "(b) or (c)," leaving out "(d)," which refers to teachers who are already provided for. It would be better also to leave out the words "by Act of Parliament," because they are not now necessary, as the superannuation fund provision has been altered since I put this Clause down. I do not think the House requires any argument in support of the Clause. It is only necessary to call attention to the fact that unless such a Clause is put in a certain number who are compelled to come into the insurance scheme will have the value of their contributions forfeited. If the Clause is put in then that value will go on in the form of insurance in the employment to which they have become attached, and which has been declared to be equivalent, and it will go to their benefit in the new form and give them something more than they would otherwise have—something which they have already paid for.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I beg to second the Motion. The best reason for asking the Government to accept the Clause is the fact that they have already accepted one-third of it. That being so, there is no reason why they should not accept the other two-thirds as well. In the case of the teacher they have recognised that he may have been compulsorily insured and may have been compulsorily put outside the scheme. To meet that obvious hardship they have allowed him to get the benefit of his transfer value. How does that differ from the case of those who come under paragraphs (b) and (c)? You may have the case of a railway employéwho is employed at first as a salaried official, and then comes to be employed under paragraph (c). That is exactly the case of the elementary school teacher. After-wards he comes within the exception. Why should not his case be met in some way as the case of the teacher is met? Take the case of a person previously in some employment in which he is compulsorily insured and then he is employed by a local authority. Why should the contributions he has made be forfeited when he enters employment to which these conditions do not apply?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Rufus Isaacs)
The teacher's case was a special 602 case, and it had to be provided for under the special circumstances in which he is placed. Under the Clause which was passed they have the right of election. The teacher can become a voluntary contributor, and the actuarial value of his contributions would be transferred to the Board of Education, and there dealt with when he became a teacher who was included in the Superannuation Act of 1898. But we are dealing here with two totally different classes. I understand that the hon. Member does not move in respect of paragraph (d), and that he confines the proposed new Clause to paragraphs (b) and (c). With respect to (b), you are dealing with employment under the Crown or local authorities, and the condition is that the sickness and disablement benefits shall be equivalent to those in the Bill before there shall be exemption. Apply this Clause to a case of that character, and I do not see how the hon. Member proposes to work it out. Suppose there was no superannuation fund.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
Under the Clause there must be, because it says it must be carried to the superannuation fund.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I am dealing with (b), which says that the sickness and disablement benefit must be equivalent to those provided in the Bill before there shall be exemption, but I do not understand how that would work under this Clause. It would not apply at all. There is no superannuation fund to which it could be carried. This provides for a transfer to the superannuation fund to be applied to the benefit of these persons. If you are going to deal with it in that way you must go further. You are dealing in those circumstances with the case of a man who may be in and out of such employment. Suppose that, having been an employed contributor a certain number of years not in the Crown service, he is then transferred to the Crown and is exempt under (b), the conditions of exemption apply, and therefore he is not under the Bill. Under the scheme of the hon. Member for Colchester he would then take the transfer value if there was a superannuation fund to which it could be transferred, and the whole of the transfer value would be applied to his credit. Suppose he was a Crown servant only for a short time—a year or two—and he then 603 enters some other employment, is he to take with him the transfer value which was transferred to the superannuation fund under the Clause of the hon. Gentleman? If not, he is in this difficulty: if he wishes to re-enter the insurance fund a question may arise with regard to the reserve value. I do not follow how the hon. Gentleman thinks that this Clause will work, or what will happen if there is a transfer from Crown service. That would apply equally to local authorities, the whole condition being that the terms of the employment are such as will secure in respect of sickness and disablement benefits not on the whole less favourable than the corresponding benefits. It is quite clear that he would never be under a superannuation fund at all for that purpose. There must be some scheme which would give him some sickness and disablement benefit which would be equivalent in value to the scheme under the Bill. That would apply to local authorities. When you come to deal with the railway companies we make provision with regard to them. There are provisions with respect to the superannuation fund. Again the same difficulty arises there. How are you to provide, as the Clause does not provide, for what is to happen when a man has been a servant of a company which has a superannuation fund and then leaves it? It is a question which will have to be dealt with I quite appreciate, but what the hon. Gentleman wishes to do is in some way to bring this scheme into harmony with what has to be done with regard to teachers. It seems to me that the cases are quite distinct, because you have got the provisions with respect to teachers under the Act of 1898. I do not follow how the hon. Gentleman thinks that this scheme will work out if we pass this Amendment.
§ Mr. FORSTER
I confess I am rather alarmed at the tenour of the speech of the Attorney-General. I may have misunderstood the position entirely, but I thought when we were dealing with the question of servants of the Crown that we had specially made provision for these people, and that, having passed from the service of the Crown into ordinary employment, they could go on as members of the Army or Navy fund, or that in case of their joining societies they would receive their transfer value. Does not that situation arise in connection with this Clause?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I think that the hon. Gentleman is dealing with a totally different matter. He is quite accurate when he comes to deal with the question of the Army and Navy fund in the case in which there is no adequate provision or provision equivalent to that under the Bill. But this Amendment of the hon. Gentleman deals with the class coming in under Sub-sections (b) and (c), where it is found that there is ample provision. That is a very different proposition from that about the Army and Navy fund, to which he has referred.
§ Mr. FORSTER
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has confirmed me in my view that this is strictly analogous: (b) and (c) are concerned with persons who are employed by the Crown or by private employers, the terms of whose employment gives them benefits in respect of sickness and disablement which are, at any rate, as good as the benefits given by this Act. Suppose a man leaves the employment in which he is engaged under (b) and (c) and joins the society, he carries no transfer value. Is that so?
§ Mr. FORSTER
Then there is no provision in the Act to have a transfer value. I raised the point in connection with the gas workers, who have their benefit, and are anxious to continue it, because they realised the difficulties that would arise when they passed from their present employment and joined a society if no transfer value were provided. They were willing to increase voluntarily their contributions in order to provide themselves with the transfer value in case they joined a society when they obtain some other employment. I thought when persons under (b) and (c) left their present employment they were taking their transfer value with them. I thought that was provided for under the regulations which would have to be made by the Insurance Commissioners, and that they would have to be satisfied that the transfer value was forthcoming. I am bound to say that the boon conferred on these persons exempt under (b) and (c) is not as large as I was disposed to think it. I am not at all sure whether there is any probability or prospect of their ever leaving the employment in which they are engaged unless the 605 transfer value is provided for them. They will not like to take advantage of the provision under Schedule 1. With regard to the Clause of my hon. Friend, I quite see the difficulty if no transfer values are to be provided in the case of persons under (b) and (c) when they leave (b) and (c) and enter a society, and I am bound to say that there are difficulties when the movement is in a contrary direction.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd George)
I think there is a misapprehension of the position, and that it is best to clear up any doubt which may exist. There are two classes of servants of the Crown. First of all, the persons who get under the terms of their employment a provision made for them by the Crown for sickness and disablement, and that provision must be on the whole not less favourable than the corresponding benefits under this Bill. So when the hon. Gentleman says that they are not as large as he thought they were, they must be as large as the benefits under the Bill, as otherwise there will be no exemption.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The advantages. Everything must be taken into account. Then comes the second class, the class with no provision for sickness and disablement. With the second class, they have to pay their own contributions, and the Crown pays the employers. That means that the society gets the benefit of the contributions of the workmen and the contributions of the Crown during the whole period of service under the Crown. When the man passes on to other work and to other employers there is no difficulty at all in the case. Let us take the case which the hon. Member for Colchester put, that of a man who has got either a pension or who gets an allowance in case of disablement, which is, on the whole, equal to the benefit provided in the Bill. He said, suppose a person leaves the service of the Crown, what about the transfer? My answer is this: If you are going to pay the transfer money, in the meantime the society has received no payment at all in respect of the time of the man's service under the Crown. The man has given the best time of his life, the time when he is free from sickness, to the service of the Crown. He may give up that service at a period of life when his health is not so good. Is the society to 606 be forced to take him on at that time? The man leaves the service of the Crown because he is dismissed, or because he is incapable of discharging the work, or because he finds work elsewhere. If it is because he is incapable on the ground of ill-health, then that would be very unfair to the society. He would be sure to come on the fund, though the society would be compelled to take him after having lost the whole of his contributions during the best time of his life. That is very unfair.
During the whole period of his service under the Crown the Crown has its full liability. It is not a partial liability, and it is not a liability in respect of time. The Crown undertakes the whole prospective liability which would otherwise fall on the friendly society, and the Crown would be paying twice over. I do not care what the particular work is—take any work that is undertaken by any man. A man, first of all, may go on under a private employer and then, at twenty or twenty-one years of age becomes a servant of the Crown. From twenty up to thirty-six, or even forty-six he may be in the service of the-Crown. In that time the society gets nothing of his contributions. At the age of forty-six his health is liable not to be so good, and is it fair or right that the society should take him at that age, having lost the contributions during the best part of his life. I think that would be particularly unfair, both to the society and the Crown, which has undertaken the whole prospective liability during that period. Then the question of insurance comes in here, and the hon. Gentleman asks what about the teacher. That is a totally different case. There you have no insurance by a friendly society or trade union, because the risk is entirely the risk of the municipality. But by this proposal you are forcing the friendly society or trade union to take over a man who may be forty-five or fifty years of age, and who has given the best of his life to the service of the Crown, obtaining compensation for it. The remedy is entirely in the hands of the man himself. If he joins a friendly society he joins, undoubtedly, as one in arrears; and if he chooses to wipe these arrears out in his friendly society he can put himself in exactly the same position as he was in before. It is not fair to give him a sort of double insurance when other people get a single one.
§ Mr. AMERY
I think there is a certain amount of misunderstanding about this, and I would like to urge on the two right 607 hon. Gentlemen the point of view of my hon. Friend and myself. The real point, I think, is that employment under the Crown ought to be treated as if it were entering another approved society offering equivalent benefits, though with an entirely different system as to contributions. All we want to do is to see that a man when he goes into such an employment and out of it again should be treated exactly, neither better nor worse, as if he were leaving an approved society in Devonshire for an approved society in, say, Yorkshire, and then back again to Devonshire. If the Crown receives the transfer value when a man enters its service, then there is no unfairness to the Crown in its paying out the transfer value to him when he leaves the service of the Crown. I would like to add at the end of the Clause proposed by my hon. Friend this further sentence,And if such person leaves such employment under paragraphs (b) and (c), and enters ordinary employment, his transfer value shall be paid to such approved society as he may join, or to the Post Office.There is no question of forcing any society in the least. The only point is, if he does go to a society he should have such transfer value as he would be entitled to if he were leaving one approved society and joining another society. If he left the State service because of indifferent health, he might very possibly, even with the transfer value, not be able to get into any society, but, at any rate, if he goes into the Post Office fund, then in addition to such little benefit as the Post Office fund can offer him, he, at any rate, would have the transfer value.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I cannot quite follow the hon. Member. Supposing a man belongs to the Labourers Union and he becomes a postman, the hon. Member proposes that the Labourers Union should pay the transfer value to the Crown the moment he passes from the Labourers Union and becomes a servant of the Crown.
§ Mr. AMERY
If the same man left the Labourers Union to join the Hearts of Oak the Labourers Union would certainly have to pay the transfer value. All I am asking is that the man should be in the same position as the member of an approved society. The Attorney-General said there would be difficulty in the way, because 608 there may be no superannuation fund at all, and the benefits may be paid out of current revenue. It makes no difference how the accounts of the fund, or whether any accounts are kept, as long as the employer gets the transfer value on the man's entering his employment, and pays it out to him, according to his age, when he leaves. What is asked for under the Clause, with the addition which I think is necessary, only carries out the principle of the Bill that, under whatever employment a man may be, he shall be provided for on transfer from one employment to another, and that he should not be prejudiced.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
It is not for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to object to the payment of the transfer value, because there are many more people passing from private employment into the service of the Crown than there are people who leave the service of the Crown to pass into private employment. Therefore, the friendly societies, the trade unions, and other societies would have to pay the transfer value to the Crown, which would enable us to improve our superannuation for the Crown service at the expense of those societies.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I am glad the Chancellor of the Exchequer has put that point on behalf of the friendly societies, and I think we must accept his view. I cannot see where there is the slightest consideration for friendly societies or trade unions in this proposal if it is looked at for a single moment. The transfers under this proposed Clause would resolve themselves into a stream of money passing from the workmen's societies into the Crown funds. Nobody supposes that that would help the working of the Bill.
It is only by indulgence of the House that I can speak again. Surely the House wants to arrive at absolute and complete fairness in this matter, and make it possible for a man to freely pass from one employment to another, whether it is from society to society, or Government employment to civil employment, or vice versâ; and whether it has the effect of asking the trade union or friendly society to give a transfer in one case or not does not make any difference to the argument I submit to the House. The same transfer value would be given back if my hon. Friend's addition to the Amendment were in order. It is said that they do not want the transfer value back.
609 There are dozens and dozens and hundreds of men who are in the Government or municipal service for short periods of perhaps one or two years, and if they go from those services, or from the service of a railway company or big statutory company, into ordinary civilian employment, what is the position as it stands now? The man who goes into the Government or municipal or railway or statutory company employment may have been a member of a friendly society for perhaps a period of ten years, and then becomes under this Clause exempted from the provisions of the Act. During that ten years he has piled up a transfer value of several pounds, and if he went on in the society he would be entitled to the benefits of the Act. The moment he becomes exempted that transfer value is forfeited. He gets no benefit from it whatever. That is the forfeit I am trying to prevent. What I want is that, whether it is in the case of a Government employé or a municipal employé or a company employé, that they shall have that transfer value while in the particular service. If he goes out of the service I want that transfer value made up to the proper value of his age and given him back again, so that he can join a friendly society or trades union when he has left any of those services. That is absolutely fair to both sides if it can be done. We tried the other half of the Amendment when we were dealing with part 2 of Schedule 1, and the reason why I did not put it in this particular Amendment is because the Government have already refused to accept it in Committee. I willingly and gladly acknowledge my hon. Friend's addendum to my new Clause is an improvement, because it brings in the mutual effect of giving transfer value backwards and forwards. The only sort of defence that the Government made to what is really confiscating the contribution of a large—[HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."]—confiscating the contributions of a large number of men, and the only sort of excuse that they give is that it would be unfair to the society and unfair to the Crown, who have, under the exemption, to look after the man with equivalent benefits, but those equivalent benefits are only benefits equivalent to the disablement and sickness benefit of the Bill.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The hon. Gentleman does not suggest that it is confiscating to the Crown the money that is given to the societies.
I never said confiscated to the Crown, but I said confiscated so far as the individual is concerned. You do confiscate the value of these contributions which are left in the society and he no longer has any benefit from them. Some hon. Member said that that is insurance. That is not insurance, because a specific portion has been put on one side for the very purpose of a transfer value. The rest is insurance, but not that particular sum which I am dealing with now, and which has been accumulated for the purpose of giving a transfer value. What this Bill is doing is confiscating, I do not say to the Government, I do not say to the Treasury——
§ Mr. SPEAKER
If the hon. Member allows another hon. Member leave to speak again he must submit to hear arguments with which he does not agree. He should not give leave only to hear arguments with which he is in agreement.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I think the freedom with which leave for second speech is accorded is much too great. I would like to see the old system retained, but we are discussing this Bill under very great difficulties and there must be a certain amount of latitude.
I was answering comments which were made and that particular observation was in reply to a former observation, and I am not sure that it was not the hon. Member himself who made it. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that this proposal would be unfair to the society and that a difference as between the transfer value from one society to another society was that the man would still be paying contributions to the second society, and that when he was exempted he would not be paying. I submit that when he is exempted he is in fact paying contributions. If he is getting these benefits as part of his employment he is getting that taken into account in his wages, and he is just as surely paying for 611 those benefits in reduced wages as if he has a higher wage with the amount of the contribution exacted from him. Economically he is in exactly the same position as the man who goes on contributing throughout his life, but he is not getting the same benefits as the man who transfers from one society to another. I submit to the House that the Government have made no reply whatever to the justice of this claim. They have made the almost pettifogging reply, and this was from the Attorney-General, that there may not be a superannuation fund. If there is not in that case the transfer value will not be given, but where there is such a fund to which it can be paid it is no answer to say that in some cases there will not be any fund. There has been no answer on the merits, and I trust that the Government even now may see their way to do an act of justice.
§ Mr. BARNES
I desire to add a very few observations from a very practical and it may be from a selfish point of view. I happen to have been secretary for a good many years and am still a member of an organisation which would be directly affected by this Amendment. I belong to the Society of Engineers, many thousands of whom are in the Government service, some non-established and others established. I should say that probably about half of them work for a few years on the unestablished list and pass on to the established list. The Amendment seeks to get for those men transfer values. If it were the fact that the men were constantly passing out of Government employment and then back again, that is to say, if the Government employment or to the local authorities was a sort of sieve through a which the men might pass, then there might be justification for this.
§ Mr. BARNES
Or a statutory or railway company. If any person gets into either one or the other, he knows he has got a soft thing and he will stick to it. I look at the Amendment, with the out-of-world sort of argument, which has been put forward, from the point of view of plain common sense matter-of-fact everyday experience, and my experience is that when a man gets on to the establishment in the Government employment, and, though not to the same extent, but to a large extent, when he gets into the employment of a local authority, or when he gets on to the staff of a railway 612 company, and comes in under any of the schemes enumerated in the exemption, then in every single one of those the man is fixed for life to the extent of about 99 per cent. of the cases. Therefore the Amendment has no justification in actual everyday experience. It is based on considerations which are far removed from everyday life, and for that reason I hope it will not be put to a Division, because that would be a waste of the time of the House. From the point of view of the society of which I was secretary, and of which I am still a member, and the members of whom pass from one grade to the other, we should have to pay in some thousands of cases the transfer value really to the Government and not to the man, while the man has to be placed on a scheme which has to be certified as being as favourable to him as the benefits provided under the Bill.
§ Mr. BARNES
Show me how it would be transferred to the man. Even if it was transferred it would simply mean taking money from the society and transfering it for the benefit of the Government.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
The hon. Members refuse to allow an hon. Member who has already spoken to do so again. They cannot refuse leave to me, and we can certainly refuse leave to hon. Members opposite. It is a singularly discourteous proceeding, against which an immediate protest should be made. The Government will not be allowed leave again——
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
The hon. Member for Blackfriars (Mr. Barnes), speaking with the knowledge that he possesses on these questions, said, "that there was no importance in this matter, because, as a matter of fact, no one ever was transferred whoever got into Government employment or into the employment of a statutory company, including railways. That is a very remarkable statement, because it leads us to the conclusion that employment in those great companies, including railways, is so enviable a lot that anyone who has ever got it will not give it up. How is that consistent with what the 613 hon. Member and his Friends have been saying about the condition of the railways. At any rate, we find that there is a great deal of discontent in the service, and hon. Members——
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I will not pursue the matter, and I only wanted to draw attention to what seems to me an obvious comment on the statement.
§ Mr. G. LOCKER-LAMPSON
I am sorry the hon. Member was not allowed to speak, because he has got an extremely good suggestion, which, perhaps, I may put. The suggestion is if the Government are going to render an insured person's transfer value liable to confiscation on leaving a society would it not be possible to allow the man to keep that transfer value in the society, allowing it to mount up so that if he ever returns to that society he may be enabled to make use of it again.
§ 5.0 P.M.
Judging by the remarks which have been made, it might appear that those who voted against the new Clause would in some way be voting against the interests of the workers in the railway companies, and the Noble Lord thought it rather inconsistent with the policy on these benches. It is important to notice that this refers rather to salaried officials and clerks, and it directly says so in the Clause under consideration. It is only right that we should have a clear idea of what we are dealing with, in order that no votes may be cast under a misapprehension. We are not anxious by rejecting the Clause to do any harm to any of these people who work on the railways at low salaries; but with regard to the clerks and salaried officials, it is quite true that in very few instances do they leave the service of the railway company when once they have entered it.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I hope the Government will give an answer to the suggestion put forward by my hon. Friend. It is only courteous that they should do so. If we were not proceeding under the 614 guillotine we could move the adjournment of the Debate, but that course is not open to us now.
§ Mr. AMERY
May I repeat it? If the Government do not accept this Clause, will they allow a man on leaving a society to enter an exempted employment to have his transfer value retained in his name on the books of the society, getting interest, or even not getting interest, so that if by any chance he should leave the exempted service and want to be again insured, he could enter the society, not at a disadvantage, but with his reserve value?
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I am quite sure that anybody who has been taking part in these Debates will acquit me of any discourtesy. I have never objected to anybody getting up a second time when it has become necessary in the course of the Debate to make another speech. I make that observation because I was very surprised at what fell from the Noble Lord. I do not think he was present when the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Worthington-Evans) made his speech. It was something which the hon. Member then said that led to the question being raised about which Mr. Speaker made an observation to the effect that it would be better if there were fewer of these second speeches on Report. It was only because some of my hon. Friends would not be entitled to reply to a new point put forward by the hon. Member that the question was raised.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I did not for a moment mean to say that there was any discourtesy on the part of the Attorney-General. He has always received every suggestion most courteously. But I do think that if facilities for second speeches are refused by one side, the aggrieved side has only one remedy.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I was sure it was a misunderstanding on the Noble Lord's part. It is hardly open to hon. Members to complain of discourtesy on our part when the only reason we do not rise to reply is, I will not say the threat, but the observation of the Noble Lord that Members of the Government would not be allowed to make any reply. With regard to the suggestion of the hon. Member for South Birmingham (Mr. Amery), I understood him to ask whether, supposing a man leaves an approved society and goes 615 into one of the exempted classes, the Government will allow the transfer value which he has built up with that approved society to be used for his benefit should he wish to return to the approved society and again enter insurance. I do not think there will be any difficulty in regard to that. Provision is made for it to this extent. Under the Bill, supposing he has left the society, and is no longer an insured person, he is then in one of the exempted classes. After a time he returns to his approved society, again enters insurance, and is a contributor once more. Assuming that that takes place, everything must depend on his age. If he is a person of considerable age, and has been out of insurance for some time, the contribution which he makes would not be enough to give him even the minimum benefit of 5s. The point has been made quite clear in the earlier Clauses. Notwithstanding that his contributions would not buy him the minimum benefit, we allow him the minimum benefit under the Bill, whatever his age may be. He never gets less than 5s. a week benefit.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
If the society accepts him, of course. But I am speaking of a man going back to the same society. He will go on contributing for a time, and there may come a time when it suits him to link up the new insurance with the original insurance. There comes a period at which the contributions he has been making bring him below the twenty-five per cent. of arrears on the average. When that happens, and the arrears amount to less than thirteen weeks per annum on the average, it would suit him to get back to the original insurance, because he will then get higher benefits. That we provide for under the Bill. We give the man the option of doing it in Clause 12. If that happens, he gets all the advantages of going back to his society. If he enters a new society, there is already in the approved society a certain fund which has been built up by the transfer values of members. Those values can be used to make up the minimum benefits to which this new entrant or returned entrant is entitled, so that he would get a greater benefit than that to which his contribution would entitle him. I think that what we have done practically meets what the hon. Member suggests.
§ Question, "That the Clause be read a second time," put, and negatived.
§ Any society for the purpose of carrying on business under this Act either alone or together with any purpose mentioned in Section eight, Sub-section (1), of the Friendly Societies Act, 1896, may, after the passing of this Act, be registered as a friendly society under the Friendly Societies Act, 1896, notwithstanding that the contributions under this Act are not voluntary.
§ As I understand the Government intend to accept this Clause, I will only briefly indicate the effect it is intended to produce. The Friendly Societies Act provides that a society registered under that Act must have voluntary contributions, so that in regard to any society registered after the passing of the Act intending to do business under this Act, the question might well be raised as to whether the contributions under this Act were voluntary. There is a very serious doubt whether the compulsory contributions under this Act would be held to be voluntary within the meaning of the Friendly Societies Act. Rather than leave that question as a legal conundrum to be solved hereafter, it would be better to make it plain in the Bill, because it will be a matter of great importance, affecting all societies intending to register after the passing of this Bill. I beg to move.
§ Mr. BARNES
I beg to second the Motion, because I have had some considerable experience in the administration of societies which will come under the Act. There are many activities covered by the 1896 Act, and I should like it to be made perfectly clear that those activities will be covered by this Act also.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
We discussed this question yesterday, when I agreed that there was at least room for doubt as to whether the Friendly Societies Act would apply, and, therefore, I thought it would be better that we should not leave the question to be discussed hereafter, but should make it quite plain by accepting the proposed Clause. We have already had our attention upon this point, and if the hon. Member had not put down a 617 Clause we should have had to put down words to meet it. The proposed new Clause, however, meets the point very well, and I accept it.
Proposed new Clause read a second time, and added to the Bill.
§ Acts of Parliament to apply to Approved Societies and Sections.
§ Except in so far as may be inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, the provisions of any Act of Parliament applicable to any society which becomes an approved society, or establishes a separate section which becomes an approved society, shall also be applicable to such society in so far as it carries on business under this Act and to such section.
§ This Clause also raises a point which came under discussion yesterday, and I gathered that the substance of it would be accepted, although the exact words are not quite suitable. The point with which the Clause intends to deal is that societies which may become approved societies, and do business under this Act, may be societies registered under the Friendly Societies Act, the Trade Union Act, or a number of other Acts. They may also form sections, and here again it is at least open to doubt whether the provisions of these Acts relating to these various societies, would also relate to their operation under this Act, and more particularly whether they would relate to the operations of what are called sections under this Act. It is to resolve that doubt, which would be very embarrassing to those who will have to administer the Act hereafter, that this Clause is put forward. It was really suggested to me by the hon. Member for Bury (Sir G. Toulmin), to whom I am indebted for having put forward the idea. I agree that the words are not so apt as certain other words which the Attorney-General has shown me. I beg to move.
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
If the Attorney-General will turn to Clause 29, he will see that the last few words there have been inserted by the trade unions for the purpose of avoiding the limitation as to who can be members of trade unions under the Trade Union Act, 1871. I am afraid that 618 if the words "Except in so far as may be inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, the provisions of any Act of Parliament applicable to any society which becomes an approved society," etc., remain part of the additional Clause, they will clash with the words in Clause 29. It will be like re-enacting the Trade Union Act with reference to who can be members of a trade union. At any rate, I am anxious that the Attorney-General should see that the Amendment that we have got into the Bill to safeguard our position is not rendered nugatory by the proposal of the hon. Member opposite.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I do not think that the words of the Clause proposed by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Pancras would in the slightest degree affect the provision we have made in the interests of the trade unions at the end of Clause 29. It was, in fact, to safeguard such provision that my hon. and learned Friend introduced the words at the beginning: "Except in so far as may be inconsistent with the provisions of this Act." There is no fear whatever of any difficulty arising in regard to the matter. With reference to the Amendment, I propose to accept the Clause, and subsequently to introduce an Amendment which is really not one of substance, but which is, I think, desirable in order to avoid any possible confusion, and also meet the apprehension in the mind of my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke. Instead of saying that "the provisions of any Act of Parliament applicable to any society," and so forth, shall apply, it would be better to say that the business which any approved society carries on under the provisions of this Bill shall be one of those included in the various Acts applicable to the various classes of societies. That will remove all doubt. That will be the substance of the Amendment I shall propose. I am indebted to my hon. and learned Friend opposite, and also to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bury (Mr. Toulmin), for putting down the Clause, which I think has met a very real need in the Bill.
§ Question, "That the proposed Clause be read a second time," put, and agreed to.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I beg to move to leave out the words,the provisions of this Act, the provisions of any Act of Parliament applicable to any society which becomes an approved society, or establishes a 619 separate section which becomes an approved society, shall also be applicable to such society in so far as it carries on business under this Act and to such section;and to insert instead thereof,Except in so far as may be inconsistent with this Part of this Act any business transacted under this Part of this Act by any approved society shall be treated as part of the ordinary business transacted by societies in the class to which that society belongs, and any enactment applying to any society in relation to the transaction of such ordinary business shall apply accordingly in relation to the business transacted by the society under this part of this Act. This section shall apply to an approved society which is a separate section of another body subject to the necessary adaptation.These words meet the exact point in the hon. Member's mind. They make quite plain the intention of the hon. and learned Gentleman and himself.
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause," put, and negatived.
§ Words proposed, inserted.
§ Proposed Clause, as amended, read a second time.
§ Limit of Rate.
§ Where under the powers of this Act a council of a county or county borough is authorised to sanction expenditure by a local health committee on medical or sanatorium benefit to insured persons or their dependents, no expenditure shall be so sanctioned which will cause the amount available for defraying the expenses of sanatorium or medical benefit to be exceeded by more than the amount which would be produced by a rate of one penny in the pound over the area of the county or county borough, and nothing in this Act shall authorise the council of any county or county borough to contribute out of the county fund or borough fund or borough rate a sum exceeding the amount which would be produced by a rate of one halfpenny in the pound over the area of the county or county borough.620
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I would like to ask the hon. Member whether this limitation of rate applies to only one Clause in the Bill or to more than one?
§ Mr. HAYES FISHER
It applies to Clauses 16, 18, and 25, but it would be almost unintelligible unless it were moved as a new Clause. I beg to put forward my Amendment for the consideration of the House. I raise my voice against any resort to the rates in support of the benefits to be conferred by this Bill. I believe that the author of this Bill himself had no idea when he introduced it that any recourse was to be had to the rates for supplying benefits to those who will benefit by this measure. What was intended by this Insurance Bill was that such benefits, given to the insured, should be within the compass of the contributions made by the employer, by the insured person himself, and of a certain amount of money found directly by the taxpayer. I do not believe that any Member of this House whatever had in mind when he first contemplated this Bill that there would be any resort, as a rule, to the rates, but that the general benefits of this Bill would have to be met out of the three contributions which make up the total—the employer's 4d., the employés 3d., and the 2d. of the State. That was discussed on a former occasion. The House came to the conclusion that there should be, or at all events might be, if the Treasury and the county councils were both willing to make them, extra contributions from the ratepayers. I hope that though the House came to that conclusion that the House will agree with me that there should be some limitation to the amount of money to be found by the ratepayers. Following therefore the analogy of the Feeding of School Children Act and the Public Libraries Act, I propose, in the first place, that there shall be a limitation of the amount of money which the ratepayers should be called upon to contribute. This limitation is to be confined to a halfpenny local rate. The extra money to be found where there is a deficiency in any scheme presented to the local health committee, should, I suggest, if met by a contribution from the Treasury and a contribution from the county council, might amount to a penny in all, of which a halfpenny only shall be found by the ratepayers.
We have examples of this in the legislation of this House on previous occasions, where the House thought that in experimental legislation, such as the Feeding 621 of School Children Act and the Public Libraries Act, there should be the limitation of a halfpenny rate imposed by this House. I think that this is a wise form of legislation for this House to undertake. I have often complained in this House, and shall complain again—and I believe I have a good deal of sympathy in that complaint not only on this side of the House, but on the opposite side of the House—that this House is too ready to impose obligations on the ratepayers without really having the consent of the ratepayers for imposing that obligation upon them. I say that if there is some limitation imposed in this Act of a halfpenny—or even for a penny I should be grateful—then this would ensue, at all events: that the ratepayers in all probability would have some voice in the matter, and those who represent them more or less—often less than more—would have to come to this House before any further expenditure from the rates could be forced upon the ratepayers in support of this national insurance scheme. If we have no limitation upon the amount of money that can be found, and that is to be found by the ratepayers, what will occur will be that these local health committees will frame schemes of an extravagant nature. They will have at their disposal, under Clause 16 for the provision of medical benefit, an amount of money which is handed over to them, by the Insurance Commissioners. If hon. Members will refer to Sub-section (6) of Clause 16 they will see that the local health committees will only have for the provision of medical benefits such sums of money as are handed over to them by the Insurance Commissioners for that purpose.
At present there is no indication of what is to guide the Insurance Commissioners in the amount of money they will hand over to the local health committees for the purpose of medical benefit. If the amount of money is comparatively small it is perfectly obvious that the local health committee, whoso first duty it is to see that those who subscribe their money week in and week out are in the first place to have medical benefit for the money for which they have subscribed, will see that they get it. These local health committees will naturally say, "If we have not got sufficient money from the Insurance Commissioners we are bound to provide the medical benefit; we are bound to see that there are doctors sufficient and drugs sufficient for all the cases of sickness under this Act to be provided for those who contribute for the purpose of obtaining these 622 medical benefits." "Very well," they will say, "we shall present schemes to the Treasury and to the county council"—on which there will be large deficiencies in some cases—"and we shall expect any deficiency to be met by the moneys subscribed by the Treasury and by the county councils."
Recollect that these local health committees will be elected by those who are really most interested in obtaining as great a benefit as they possibly can obtain from the local health committees out of the moneys at the disposal of the committees. The Committees, then, will be composed of those who are very largely interested in the benefit——
§ Mr. HAYES FISHER
The learned Attorney-General says "Partly." He will not deny that the committees will be mainly composed of those interested in getting as much return as they possibly can for the contribution which they have given, and in part they will be composed of the doctors. These, in making their arrangement with these local health committees, will naturally say to these local health committees, "We cannot be expected to doctor these people for 6s. a head. We expect at least 10s." They may say that. Why not? They probably will, and I do not think anybody can say that for doctors visiting cases at great distances in the country, and visiting these cases constantly, that 10s. is too large. At all events, they will present their case, and there will be very few members indeed on each of these local health committees who will naturally be in favour of any economy of administration of the funds at their disposal. Therefore, human nature being what it is, those local health committees will be tempted to resort to the ratepayers and to the Treasury. All the stimulus, all the incitement will be on the side, not of economy, but of expenditure. There will be very few guardians of the public purse on these local health committees.
I say, therefore, if in this Act of Parliament, as it will be, there is an unlimited amount of money placed at the disposal of these local health committees—subject, of course, to the sanction of the county council — [An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear"]—yes, I will deal with that presently—subject to the sanction of the county council and of the Treasury; if this 623 House says we will not, in this Act of Parliament, limit the amount of money which the ratepayers can be called upon to provide, then I say that a tremendous power and impetus will be behind all those upon the committee who desire this form of expenditure. I say that then every motive for economy is gone. Hon. Members know there will be very large claims indeed made upon the ratepayers to supplement the provisions from the various contributors. Let the Attorney-General and the Chancellor of the Exchequer consult those who are most learned and most experienced in friendly society work. What is their anticipation as to deficits under the the Bill by these local health committees? I know what information they have given me! It is that as this Bill has progressed the chances of deficits have been enlarged over and over again. Every day almost we can see there is a growing chance, and more than a chance, almost a certainty, that a great many of these local health committees will find themselves face to face with very serious deficits if they are to give the benefits indicated by this Bill. That, I believe, will be the case. I am certain it will be the case if these local health committees are not to be subject to the sanction of the Treasury and of the county council.
What does that control amount to? There is, first of all, the control of the Treasury. The Treasury would have to find half the deficit. Who is going to control the Treasury? Suppose it was the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, and supposing his Act of Parliament was unpopular because there was a large deficit, and that medical men could not be found to administer the medical benefits, would there be much resistance offered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to find a very considerable amount of money in support of this Act? I am certain that rather than sacrifice the popularity of the Government and his own popularity the Chancellor of the Exchequer would readily find a half a million or a million to furnish the necessary supplies for the medical benefit. What position will the county councils or the borough councils be in, the Treasury having sanctioned this half a million? The Bill says that these councils may find the other half-million of the deficit. I have some experience on the London County Council, and when we find an Act of Parliament with the words "may find the 624 money," we very soon find the word "may" gets translated into "must," and the force of pressure upon the local bodies is such that they lose the whole of the control of their financial expenditure and find themselves bound by the Act of Parliament. Therefore I say it is wise for this House to place some limit upon the amount of money in the first place which can be demanded from the county councils.
Let us see why, in my opinion, the ratepayers should not be called upon to provide any of this money. We always understood there was to be a direct contribution by the employer and a direct contribution by the State, and therefore why should there be in addition an indirect contribution by the employer? Why make us of the rates at all? Already the burdens thrown upon industries in this country are formidable. There are many who think that some of our industries which show small profit are likely to be wiped out so far as profits are concerned by this Act of Parliament. Some of them are naturally very timid when they see Acts of Parliament of this kind, and to force upon them further indirect expenditure out of the rates which are already a very heavy burden, is a serious matter. We ought to be cautious of the ratepayers' money, and all the more so because the bigger ratepayers will have no voice whatever in the election of these local health committees. It is only the smaller ratepayers who would be consulted. After all, we see the rates for the destitute, even under strict supervision, are very high, and in this case we are making use of the rates for people who are not destitute. These people who are to receive medical benefits under this Clause are not destitute, and where there is a deficit for medical benefit the money is to be made up by ratepayers for people who are not destitute, and who in many cases will have as much as £150 a year. Many of these people could very well afford to pay their own doctor's bill, either through their friendly society or as individuals. They have done it up to the present. Why should they send in their doctor's bills and their chemist's bills to the ratepayers? I say they have no necessity whatever to make use of the rates in this matter.
If this were an attempt to obtain some support for the Post Office contributors from the rates there might be something to be said for it, because they are the poorest and most helpless class in England, and far less is done under this Bill 625 for them than any other class. The right hon. Gentleman may say the ratepayers will gain by this whole system of national insurance, and therefore the ratepayers may well be expected to find a part of the money. I do not believe the ratepayers are going to gain in the least by finding rates for this purpose and for this reason. The members of societies for whom medical advantages would have to be provided are persons who, in all probability, would not come upon the rates. They will be mainly people who never would come upon the rates for medical benefits. There may be a certain number who would, but very few, and if hon. Members were to strike a balance, they would find the balance of expenditure very heavy against the local authorities. I have had many battles upon this subject, and I have always found that the local ratepayer gets the worst of any bargain of this kind with the Treasury, and they will certainly get the worst of this bargain. There never ought to have been any recourse to the rates at all under this National Insurance scheme, and the only benefits under it should be benefits that could be obtained by the three contributions made—that is, by the employers, the employed, and the State. I have made my protest before against any resort to the rates, and I now ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to meet my request by putting in some limit if he does not agree with my limit of a half-penny. If he does not do that, I cannot help thinking that he is departing from his original idea when he introduced this Bill. I do not think he was looking to the rates when he introduced the Bill. The benefits which the Bill provides have been very much extended, and the Bill has been improved, but he finds that these contributions from the employer, the employed, and the State are not now sufficient, and he is looking to the ratepayers to further support the scheme. I hope I shall receive support on this occasion, and that the ratepayers will find champions for their cause in this House to see that further burdens shall not be thrown upon the already overburdened ratepayers of this country.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
I rise to second the proposal made by my right hon. Friend. I want to make it clear at the outset, and I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will bear this in mind, that we are in no way dealing with the benefits which the Bill proposes, but with the method or way in which these benefits have to be paid for. 626 I think it is quite clear that, as has already been stated by my right hon. Friend, that the principle, and very important principle, is that if you have a national insurance service, for instance, this National Insurance scheme, you ought to find all the money, so far as it goes, from the State or the National Exchequer. I do not think anyone who ever looked into the question of rates and tried to make an adjustment between local and Imperial taxation can dispute that proposition. The only question that can be raised here is, are there any special conditions connected with national insurance that differentiates it from national service? In my opinion no such differentiation can possibly be made. I know it was suggested by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that one reason for putting a charge upon the rates was that the rates would get a certain corresponding advantage, and that the ratepayers would get some relief, even if a small additional charge was placed upon them. But the answer to that is this. Any relief the ratepayers would get by a national Insurance Bill is a relief which, in principle, they are entitled to at the present time, because it has been pointed out by the Royal Commission, and by all people who have tried to consider the proper allocation between local and Imperial taxation, that a large proportion of what is now called Poor Law expenditure should not be thrown upon the rates, but should be borne by the Exchequer, and the reason is that a large number of charges which in their inception were local have now become general and universal. I do not want to argue that now, but I do not want the Chancellor of the Exchequer to say that we have overlooked the fact that there is a certain amount of corresponding advantage, because the answer to that is, as I have said, that the ratepayer is entitled to have corresponding advantage quite outside the provisions of this Bill altogether. There are three sources from which the funds are obtained under the present Bill: partly from the insured persons, partly from the employer, and partly from the national exchequer. So far as the employer, and, I think, also the workman, is concerned, you are putting on a tax or charge which may very seriously affect home industry.
Rates undoubtedly affect home industries; it may be in a more or less degree, but no one will say that it is not to the disadvantage of home industry in a particular locality to be highly rated. I am not going so far as to say that rates have 627 absolutely abolished industry; they may be carried to that extent. But no man will dispute the proposition that high rates in a particular locality are often a very serious charge upon home industry. If that is so, is it not wrong that you should in a Bill of this kind put additional charges upon the industries of this country, which you undoubtedly do when you raise certain charges to be paid indirectly by employer or employed? It is more obvious in the case of the employer. I believe the whole charges under this Bill, whether intended to be divided or not, will really fall upon the principal industries in which employers and employed are engaged. That being so, it would be only reasonable to adopt the Amendment proposed by my right hon. Friend. If there is to be a charge of this kind it ought to be limited in amount, and that, of course, is the real meaning of the present Amendment. The expenditure under this Bill will be incurred by the local health committee. That committee will consist, as regards the majority of its members, of insured persons. If the health committee had only to do with insurance matters I should not raise any objection; if it had only to divide amongst the insured persons the funds with which they were entrusted I think they would be a very proper body to deal with questions of that kind. But surely it is an entirely different matter when you come to the question of imposing an obligation of this kind upon the rates in addition. Directly you arrive at that point it is clear that the interests of the insured, who have a majority on the health committee, will be different to those of the ratepayers. I am not saying whether the health committee or the ratepayers are right, but they are distinct, and although in Clause 65, Sub-section (4), a provision is introduced providing that where health committees have recourse to the rates the representation of the county council or the borough councils may be increased according to the decision of the Insurance Commissioners, that is no answer to the proposition which I am now putting. It is not intended that the ratepayers in that case may have the controlling influence, and it is only intended that his representation should be increased. Whether it is increased or not does not depend on what is done in this House, but upon the views of the Insurance Commissioners. Let me now deal with the question of what control there is. I admit there is the Treasury control, because without the Treasury 628 assent as regards the half of the expenditure no charge can be put upon the ratepayers.
According to the experience which I have had with rating questions, which has been somewhat long, I do not think the control of the Treasury is any effective safeguard so far as the ratepayer is concerned. There is the other so-called control that the ratepayer cannot be charged with this expenditure without it is assented to by the county and borough councils concerned. But what is the real effect of that? I assume there has been expenditure properly incurred by the local health committee. [An HON. MEMBER: "Estimated."] Very well, I will say properly estimated. I assume the money is wanted for the purpose. Under those circumstances is it really possible for a county borough or a county council, in meeting a charge of that kind, to put a corresponding charge upon the rates. Practically that is impossible. We are putting the county council or the county borough into a position in which nominally they have control, but really they will not have control at all. Although we cannot get rid of the ratepayers' liability altogether, I think it is most important that we should have a limitation such as is proposed by my right hon. Friend.
I hope that when the Chancellor of the Exchequer comes to reply upon this point he will meet our objection that this ought not to be a ratepayers' charge at all, and if it is, the amount ought to be limited, because under the Bill as it stands the ratepayer has no controlling influence on the local health authorities, and he does not come in until after the expenditure has been incurred. Under those circumstances, although he has a form of control, practically it would be almost impossible for him to exercise any effective control. There is nobody more unfairly treated in this House than the ratepayer. The Treasury has its representative in the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but the ratepayer has no representative. We are not elected as ratepayers and we do not represent ratepayers, and therefore I urge upon the House that we ought to be exceedingly careful in putting a charge upon persons we do not represent, and particularly upon the ratepayer, who has already to bear an extremely heavy burden as regards our home industries.
§ Mr. HARRIS
I support this Clause not because I want to prevent a recourse to the rates if necessary for public health 629 purposes, but in order to enforce a principle I always thought was especially dear to the hearts of progressive Gentlemen opposite, that is the principle that money raised by the rates ought to be expended by authorities elected by the ratepayers or by committees under the effective financial control of those authorities. That principal is infringed by this Bill, which creates a bad precedent which I think ought to be limited by some provision in the Bill to secure that, if these large drafts have to be made upon the rates to meet the expenditure in question Parliament should have the opportunity of reconsidering the whole question of the administration of the money. The precedent set is a bad one; first of all, because the municipal authorities will have to find the money for these purposes whether they like it or not. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I know there are some soothing words, some blessed words in the Bill, which practically say to the authorities, "you may have an option," but if ever there was a case of "there is no obligation, but you must," the local authorities will find themselves in that position.
When Parliament enacts that money may be found for a public purpose in a particular way and provides no other way of finding it, Parliament is really applying compulsion. There is another objection. If indirect recourse is had to the rates in the manner proposed by this Bill, you are going to prevent the ratepayers bringing home to the rate-spending authorities any extravagance in their expenditure, because they will reply that the rates have been drawn upon in this particular way for which they had no responsibility. I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will see that there really is some force in the objection which many of us who have been engaged for many years in municipal work feel towards this provision as it stands. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will consent to limit this provision in order that if large sums have to be drawn in this way Parliament will be able to reconsider the position in order to see if it cannot be put upon a more satisfactory footing.
§ Mr. BIGLAND
I shall give my support to this Resolution, because I understood from the first that there was to be no charge in connection with this matter from anybody but the Imperial Exchequer. We are very jealous in the towns as to scrutinising every measure where there happens to be any special or specific charge coming on the rates, and securing 630 that new measures introduced for the nation shall be entirely financed out of the Imperial Exchequer. I must say that I was exceedingly pleased when I heard that this was an Imperial and not a local matter. The moment this local rate was mentioned it occurred to me that there would be an almost impossible position raised if the town council refused the local health committee's minute that a certain amount should be raised. We might have an almost impossible position raised in a county or a borough if the doctors or the medical officials really felt they could not work for less than a certain sum, and the apothecaries took the same view. Under those circumstances the amount of these items might be so severe that a heavy charge would be thrown upon the ratepayers, and odium would be placed upon the town council for refusing the health committee's suggestion. That is an invidious position in which to place town councils and county councils.
Nobody in this House really represents the ratepayers' interests, and I think many of us who represent large boroughs ought to speak more than we do from the ratepayers' point of view. I can assure the House that the ratepayers are getting exceedingly strained in their feelings with regard to any liability put upon them in this indirect and half voluntary manner. I sincerely trust that the limited expenditure which the Resolution now before the House puts upon town councils and county councils will be carried. I hope we shall really bring this matter to an issue, because everyone here has to answer to his constituents, and there is no doubt that the feeling in the constituencies is intensely strong in regard to rating matters sent down from this House which they are forced to put upon the ratepayers without their will or without their option in any way, without being submitted to them at all. I hope my right. hon. Friend will press his Resolution to a Division in order that we may see who will take up the ratepayers' interests and who will not.
§ Mr. J. SAMUEL
I understood from the speech of the hon. Member who moved this Clause that he argued that there would be no possibility of a reduction in the rates when this Bill became law. I also understood him to say that it would have no effect upon the ratepayers. I have supported this Bill throughout on that very principle, and I believe that when it becomes law it will have a very serious effect upon our poor rate at least. 631 I hold that opinion very strongly, as I shall show in a few minutes. I think there is some argument to be used in favour of the limitation of the rate in regard to the expenditure of sanatoria and medical benefits, but especially in regard to sanatoria, because I do not think myself it will be very much needed, for the reason that every insured person in any borough or county will have 1s. 3d. deducted out of the amount he pays under the Insurance Bill, and the amount which will fall upon the rates to make up that deficiency will be very small indeed. If the expenditure in the county in which I live amounts to 1d. in the £ it will raise £16,000 per annum, which is a very high expenditure indeed, and I do not expect that such an expenditure as that would be charged for a very considerable number of years. Even if the counties or the towns spend up to a ½d., that is a very extravagant idea.
The reason why I think there is a possibility of a reduction in the rates following upon this Bill is because the Poor Law Commission reported in the first place that the poverty arising from the sickness was equal to about 30 per cent. of the total poverty of those in receipt of parochial relief. They also report the very striking figures that 97 per cent. of the persons who apply for medical relief under the parish are treated for thirteen weeks or under; 74 per cent. are treated under four weeks, and 54 per cent. are able-bodied men who are in receipt of parish relief and are treated under thirteen weeks. Those acquainted with the class of persons who apply for this medical relief know that the applicants are not friendly society men but persons entirely outside friendly societies, and undoubtedly they are outside trade unions, because trade unionists as such do not make application for assistance to the parish doctor; neither do members of friendly societies. Therefore the bulk of the men in my experience who ask for treatment by the parish doctor, which is rather a serious charge upon the poor rate, are the men who will now for the first time come within a scheme of insurance and have the assistance of a free doctor and of free medicine. They will not in future require to apply to the parish doctor for assistance.
Let me give another striking instance where this Bill will affect the rates. In the town I have the honour to represent 632 our poor rate, owing to the shipbuilding depression a few years ago, went up from 1s. 6d. to 3s. in the £. It was due entirely to the fact that we had a large number of men employed in the stone yards, which is a very degrading system of work. The shipbuilding and engineering trades will now for the first time become insured trades, and I am hoping these men in future will not apply for assistance in our stoneyards or for assistance from the parish, but that they will be assisted under this Bill. It is well known the engineers are a well organised body. They pay into their society for out-of-work benefit, and it is a very remarkable fact that during the whole of the depression in the town in which I live we never had a single engineer apply to the parish for assistance These men are able to get their out-of-work benefit, and therefore they do not become a charge on the rates. It is the man who is not in any society, and who does not make any provision for out-of-work benefit or for sickness who becomes chargeable on the rates. I am, therefore, hoping to see a very large reduction in the number of persons who will apply for parish relief in the future, and as 10,000,000 people who are now outside the scope of any friendly society or trade union will become insured under this compulsory scheme, I believe this Bill will be the means of effecting a very large reduction in our poor rates in the future, just as old age pensions have resulted in a very large reduction in the poor rate in some towns. We have had in some towns a very substantial reduction, and, since the Poor Law disqualification has been removed, that reduction is increasing year by year. Whilst I believe there is something in the argument of the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. Hayes Fisher) that for a year or two at least there might be a limit fixed as to the amount that will fall upon the rates, still I think the tendency of this Bill will be to relieve the rates to a very substantial extent.
§ Mr. HARRY LAWSON
The hon. Member for Stockton (Mr. J. Samuel) is a man of a sanguine, if not credulous, temperament. He thinks the rates are going down permanently in this country on account of this Bill. That is not according to past experience. If the rates go down in one direction they go up in another. If the Legislature sees the rates going down in the whole country they are quick to impose new duties and obligations on the local authorities, which soon bring the 633 rates back to their former level. I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will see his way to accept this Amendment. I believe it is congruous with experiment and congruous with expediency, and to the advantage of the Bill. In nearly all experimental legislation of this sort past precedents are in favour of limiting the rate that can be imposed. My right hon. Friend gave examples. I do not intend to repeat them. There never was a Bill in which uncertainty was so great as this Bill. It is absolutely terra incognita in regard to many of the provisions that it will apply. Therefore, because it is so difficult to prophesy, and because everybody who prophesies is likely to be wrong, there is all the more reason for imposing a limit on the rate which can be raised in aid of the Bill, and all the more chance of making it acceptable, not only to the local authorities, but also to the ratepayers whose interests they look after, and whose affairs they administer. You want the local authorities on the side of it, and therefore I think the right hon. Gentleman will be wise in accepting the Amendment. He must recollect he himself contemplates amending legislation in three years. The deposit contributors are to come up again before 1915, and that will involve an amending Bill dealing with the whole scheme of finance under the Bill. There will be no difficulty in adapting the Clauses which are refered to here to new conditions as they arise under the Bill, and, if the limit is found inconvenient and if the local authorities and the ratepayers wish it to be removed, remove it then.
I want to point out to the right hon. Gentleman the burden that may be imposed by a rate in aid is going to fall on those people who will be most injuriously affected by the Bill. The employers of the country are asked to make a very great sacrifice to pay £12,000,000, or whatever it is, towards the fund required for the administration of the Bill, and yet they are the people whose premises will be most highly rated. It is not the capitalist drawing his income from foreign sources who will contribute under this Bill; it is the manufacturer and the mill owner, whose premises are highly rated at present, or the big trader whose stores are highly assessed. It is therefore just those people who are being asked to contribute in the first place who now run the risk of a burden being placed upon them in the second place. It is a snare and a delusion to say it is only permissive to the local 634 authorities. What is permissive in this sense is obligatory. The local authorities are bound to respond—they cannot help it—or they are held up to obloquy as compared with a generous House of Commons that is willing to give the poorer classes everything, but is met with the obstructive tactics of local authorities.
There is one particular class of contributors which is very soon going to fall upon the local authorities. The average medical benefit under the Bill was, of course, taken as equivalent to 6s. per head per annum throughout life, but I believe that was calculating 4s. per head to the doctors. As you improve the terms of the doctors—and I am not in the least against it—so you make it more likely a rate in aid will be asked from the local authorities. That is a point which the Chancellor of the Exchequer must take into account. He has met the doctors to some extent, and he is going further in their direction every day. That makes it all the more likely the rates of the country will have to contribute. Clause 39, paragraph (d), as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, of course, knows, lays it down that,Such sum as the local Health Committee may, with the consent of the Insurance Commissioners, determine shall in each year be payable in respect of each deposit contributor for the purposes of the cost of medical benefit.The Chancellor of the Exchequer must see, as he has improved the terms for the medical profession, so he has in the case of the deposit contributors made it almost certain that he will have to fall upon the rates, and that the health committee will have to recommend in the first instance and the local authority will have to take from the ratepayers in the second the sums requisite to make up the stipend of the medical practitioner, and, of course, the money for the drugs and so on necessary under the medical benefit. All that makes it the more necessary, it seems to me, to allay the fears of the ratepayers. You want to engage public opinion on the side of the scheme. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is a great fighter, but I do not think he wants to fight everybody who is putting this Bill into operation. He has got a good many interests to force for the first time into discipline and organisation. Surely, as he is going to do so much by way of compulsion, he, at least, need not commence with the local authorities. Let him give the local authorities some ground for confidence. That is all my right hon. 635 Friend the Member for Fulham asks. He says, as in the case of the institution of the school boards, as in the case of the first rate for national education, and as in numerous Acts in the past, so in this case it is expedient in the first place to set a limit to the possible rate in aid. There must be amending legislation, and, if the limit is found inconvenient afterwards, let it be brought up and submitted to the decision of the House. I hope for that reason the right hon. Gentleman will be able to accept in whole or in part the Amendment of my right hon. Friend.
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
I wish to take up the point that this payment is really optional, and that consequently the county councils will be able to protect the ratepayers. If you look at Clause 16, Subsection (7), I think it is quite clear that in practice it will not be optional at all. It is not quite clear from the Sub-section whether the health committee has first to make the expenditure and then come to the county council when the deficiency has arisen, or whether they are to estimate, but, if the health committee are met with an expenditure, either incurred or estimated, for which they have no funds to provide, they are to make application partly to the Treasury and partly to the county council, and, if that expenditure is sanctioned by the Treasury and the county council, then the county council and the Treasury are to bear half each. What will happen in practice? The health committee will come forward and say these people have paid their contributions and are entitled to sickness and disablement benefit under the Bill. We have not sufficient funds. What will the county council do, and what can the Treasury do? In practice they must sanction the expenditure, because if they do not sanction it the person who has paid his contribution does not get that for which he has paid. In fact, and in practice, you leave them no option whatever. If the Treasury or the county council do not sanction this estimated expenditure by the health committee that body is left in an impossible position, because it will be unable to provide that for which the contributors have paid. The argument that the county council can protect the ratepayers by refusing the sanction is not well founded. Supposing a position should arise in which the necessary expenditure of the health committee has exceeded their funds. Who ought to 636 provide the balance? I submit that it should not be the ratepayers. It should come from the Imperial Exchequer or from Parliament, but certainly not from the locality in which the deficiency has occurred. We are all anxious to make this a good working Act, but I think there is much in the argument of my right hon. Friend that if you put the expenditure on the ratepayers in the locality and add to that any expenditure which they may incur in respect of sanatoria, as regards which they have no option, you will not only make the Bill unpopular, but you will excite animosity. If the expenditure is to be incurred by the ratepayers, you certainly ought to limit it.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I want to impress one point on hon. Members who have taken part in this Debate, and that is that there is no obligation on the part of the representatives of the ratepayers to incur any liability. Another point I should like to make is that every charge and everything in this Bill involving expenditure is in relief of charges which are now liable to fall on the rates. Hon. Members opposite dissent. What are the charges imposed by this Bill? They are charges in respect of sickness and the cure of consumption. They are charges in respect of poverty, caused by unemployment, and there is not one of those things that does not constitute a charge at the present time on the ratepayers. There is only one barrier in the way of that, and that is the pride of the worker. When a man's pride breaks down, he goes straight on to the rates. There is a legal liability on the part of the ratepayer in respect of every charge dealt with under this Bill, and not only that, but the charge, for instance, in respect of maternity is already actually paid by the ratepayers, and is a very heavy one.
Wherever there is destitution there is a legal liability on the part of the ratepayers. My hon. Friend the Member for Stockton referred to the Report of the Royal Commission on this matter. That report constantly impressed upon the Committee this one fact, that sickness is responsible for at least one-half of the cost of the Poor Law at the present moment. I will come afterwards to the question of unemployment, which is also a contributory cause. But take the Poor Law rates. Those rates for this country amount, I think, to about fifteen millions sterling, and, according to the Report of the Poor Law Commission, one-half of that is directly attributable to 637 sickness among the classes who eventually come on to the rates. I therefore do not see how, in this respect, this Bill could do otherwise than effect a diminution of the burden which now presses on the ratepayers. The worker does not resort to the Poor Law until he is compelled to do so. He will spend his last penny, he will part with his furniture, he will get the help of friends, he will depend largely on the credit given him by the shop keeper, and, incidentally, I may mention that the small shop keeper in town and in country is very largely the poor man's banker. He will advance him money and goods until he gets back into employment. No doubt the shop keeper incurs a good many bad debts, but he gets his money back by spreading the liability over the customers who pay. That is a system under which the most honest members of the community very often pay for the others, but, after all, when the worker has parted with his last farthing and has exhausted his credit he is bound to resort to the Poor Law.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The hon. Gentleman is absolutely wrong. He assumes it only applies to casual workers in this country. He is perfectly wrong. I think if he will examine, not merely the Report of the Poor Law Commission, but the evidence which was given before it, he will find that an appalling percentage of the people usually in regular employment, and not to be described as casuals, come on to the rates. That is especially the case so far as consumption is concerned. It is a very expensive disease; it costs on the average fifty-eight weeks' sick pay with medical attendance. It is by far the most expensive disease which the Poor Law has to deal with. I want the House to take that into account. Here is a practical charge for sickness taken upon this fund, and for the first time you are having a great fund created for the purpose of combating consumption. The hon. Gentleman has referred to these charges causing a constant increase of the rates. Nothing can prevent the growth of the rates except a proposal of this kind in a matter like the treatment of consumption.
We know local authorities have embarked on considerable expenditure in building public sanatoria and providing expensive treatment for the purpose of curing and extirpating the disease. The 638 right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire quoted the case of Birmingham, where, in order to deal with the disease, they are building sanatoria. Again, at Newport, they are spending a good deal of money. But for the first time a sum of a million and a-half is being found by the Treasury as a permanent fund for building sanatoria, and this is a charge which, in the ordinary course, would fall either on the ratepayers or upon charitable subscriptions. This burden would eventually fall upon the ratepayers unless we neglected the problem altogether, and I do not think that is possible now that public attention has been called to it and the public conscience has been aroused by the agitation which has been going on for the last three or four years. The proposals under this Bill relieve the ratepayers to a very considerable extent of the charges which would inevitably fall on the rates. Take next the question of unemployment. My hon. Friend instanced the case of Stockton, but there are other cases where, during a period of bad trade, there is considerable distress, and, in order that the ratepayers may come to the relief of the poor people, the rates are very considerably burdened for the purposes of relief.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The largest Grant-in-Aid ever given by this House was, I believe, voted by the present Government. It amounted to £300,000, and I would like to ask how does that compare with the Grant-in-Aid under this Bill, which amounts to somewhere about two millions?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
At any rate, between two or three millions, which is partly subscribed by the workman, partly by the employer and partly by the State, towards the relief of unemployment. This is a burden which will fall almost entirely on the ratepayer but for this measure. The hon. Gentleman has talked about the Post Office contributor. He is just the person who would come on to the rates. His contribution would keep him, it may be, for twenty-six weeks, but if he is in a sanatorium it will keep him until he is cured, and, but for this Bill, there would be nothing for him but resorting to the rates. Undoubtedly it is a considerable Grant-in-Aid of those charges which fall 639 ultimately on the shoulders of the ratepayers. Now I come to my second proposition. There is no charge imposed by this Bill on the ratepayer. If he incurs the charge himself it is purely optional, and, although the right hon. Gentleman, and those who followed him, have suggested that the option was tantamount to compulsion, I would reply that, if that is so, it is because of the inherent nature of the case. Suppose you find in a particular district there is no adequate accommodation provided for consumptives. It will be the case that, under this Bill, we shall be providing not only for consumptive insurers and for those out of employment, but we shall also be providing sufficient money to provide sanatoria and keep them going. I quite admit that the ratepayer cannot refuse to find the necessary money to keep it going. Supposing you had no Insurance Bill at all, what would happen? Supposing you had a consumptive district. The whole charge of building the sanatorium and of maintaining it would fall upon the ratepayers. Now you get the Imperial Grants, which probably amount to half the cost of building; you get the share of the million of money in order to maintain it, and even when you come to a deficit, instead of its falling upon the ratepayers entirely, one-half of it is contributed by the Treasury. Is that not infinitely better than the present system? It does not impose legally, it does not impose morally, any obligation which is not now an obligation on the ratepayer which is borne legally and morally by him. It is the business of the ratepayer to see that there is proper accommodation for the cure of consumption. It is a legal obligation cast upon him. If he does not discharge it, he neglects that duty. We create no burden, but we bear half the burden. One hon. Member suggested that the local health committees could incur expenditure, and that the ratepayer could not refuse to honour it. They cannot compel him to do that.
The provisions of the Bill are largely in accord with the views of the County Councils' Association and the Association of Municipal Corporations. They wanted us to say that an estimate shall be prepared by the local health committee; that before they incur any expenditure beyond their means they shall submit an estimate to the county council, and, unless the county council sanctions that increased expenditure, 640 it shall not be incurred. Surely that is a sufficient safeguard for both the ratepayers and the taxpayers. There is one very important point. One of the hon. Gentlemen who took part in the discussion on the other side of the House complained that it was an infringement of the important principle that the rates ought not to be expended except by the representatives of the ratepayers. I accept that principle. I tried to extend it myself to the sphere of education. I do not think the hon. Gentleman who made that speech would accept the principle in that case. I would extend it not merely to the Insurance Bill, but to the Education Act. In this case the expenditure can only be incurred by the ratepayers. Under the Education Act there is no option. You can be mandamused if you do not expend the money, although others can spend it.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The ratepayers expend it, but they ought surely to have an option of saying whether they shall expend it or not. If you have a legal compulsion upon the ratepayer to spend the money, whether he wishes it or not, you can hardly say that it is his expenditure. Of course he finds the money.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
It is really no new duty at all. It is the duty of the ratepayer to see that there is sufficient provision for the cure of consumption and to see that sick persons are properly cured, and therefore, I say, there is really no new obligation at all. All I want to say is this. That if that is the principle the hon. Gentleman applies, I am quite willing to see it applied all round, and that the ratepayers should have an option as to what they will spend. That is the principle of the Bill. If he does not want to spend it you need not spend it, and not only that—perhaps the Noble Lord will accept this— 641 before he makes up his mind to spend it he can come to terms as to representation on the body that administers the fund.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I am glad to hear that from the Noble Lord. I wish I had heard it some years ago. What does this mean? It means that if the London County Council, for instance, be invited to find an extra £2,000 for maintaining a sanatorium within its district, they can say, "we will only do it upon one condition. We have now got one-third of the committee; we must in future have a majority if we are going to undertake this obligation." They can make these terms, and they can refuse to subscribe the money unless these terms are accepted. If that principle were extended all round it would solve many a question. That is the principle we have put in here, and I do not think it is an unfair condition to impose. It is the condition we have got in with regard to the employer. If the friendly societies say, "We are not going to spend a penny-piece more, we have gone so far as we propose going, and any further obligation must be incurred by the taxpayer and ratepayer between them," that means that their interest in economy ceases at that point, and the only interest in economic administration is transferred to the taxpayer and ratepayer. They have a perfect right to say in that case, "The control of the administration must pass into our hands." Those are conditions they can easily make.
§ Mr. HARRY LAWSON
Under Clause 55, Sub-section (4), it is provided,The Insurance Commissioners may, where any part of the cost of medical benefit or sanatorium benefit is defrayed by the council of the county or county borough, increase the representation of the council and make a corresponding diminution in the representation of the insured persons.But under a former Clause it was provided that the insured persons must have a majority of the whole body. I think that contravenes what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said just now.
§ Mr. HARRY LAWSON
The right hon. Gentleman said it was possible for the London County Council, if it contributed towards the purposes of the Bill, to ensure that they have a majority on the 642 health committee. It is provided that they may increase their number, but under the Clause constituting the insurance or health committees the insured persons must have not less than a majority.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
That is perfectly true with regard to the present conditions. But this is a bargain. They have the most absolute right to refuse, and nobody can compel them to agree. They can make any conditions they like in regard to representation. Of course, the local health committee can refuse if they like. It is not contrary to what is in the Bill. They cam make any conditions they like, and of course it is a bargain between them. If there is an option on the part of the county councils of course the option must also apply to the local health committees. The Bill says,The Insurance Commissioners may, where any part of the cost of medical benefit or sanatorium benefit is defrayed by the council of the county or county borough, increase the representation of the council and make a corresponding diminution in the representation of the insured persons.Clause 55, Sub-section (2), simply provides for the committee as originally constituted. You can go to the committee and say, "You must modify the constitution where any part of the cost of the medical benefit or sanatorium benefit is defrayed by the council." The council then may make any conditions they like. I do not think they are unfair conditions. If the burden in future is to be cast upon the ratepayer and the taxpayer, as I have pointed out, there would be no further interest in the economic administration, and the county council or the borough council have a right to make conditions with regard to management. I only say that in order to show that if the ratepayer wants to make any conditions of that kind it is a matter entirely for himself. Even now, although he is not spending a penny upon these institutions, yet he has a very considerable share in the representation. The majority which is given to insured persons is not a very substantial one even now. The ratepayer and the taxpayer between them have very nearly one-half.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
Does the Chancellor of the Exchequer say that in the event of a county council stipulating for increased representation the control will be taken out of the hands of the approved societies and the insured persons?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I say it is a matter of bargain between them, but if you are going to leave the county council free you must leave the local health committee free, and if they like to say to the local health committee, "We will not subscribe unless you give us control," if the local health committee like to do that they can.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Of course, it is subject to the sanction of the Insurance Commissioners. You must have some protection for the approved societies against an extortionate bargain, and you must have someone who represents the Imperial expenditure. They will go there and will no doubt advise the Treasury with regard to representation, and I have no doubt that the Treasury will in the vast majority of cases accept the advice of the Insurance Commissioners. The Insurance Commissioners ought surely to have a voice in the matter, seeing there is a contribution of one-half that comes from the Treasury. That is a very fair arrangement. The option is an option given to the county council and the representation can be arranged by a bargain between the parties.
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
Supposing that the local health committee report that their income is insufficient to meet their estimated expenditure and they ask the county council to sanction the extra expenditure, and they exercise the option which the Chancellor of the Exchequer says they have, and refuse to sanction it, if the estimate of the health committee turns out to be accurate, and the time arrives when they have spent their income, and the county council has refused to sanction any extra expenditure, where is the money to come from?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
There is just the same provision there as there is when they have exceeded their expenditure. Take the representatives of the approved societies. If they exceed the amount of medical benefit, they have to refer to their societies, and the societies have got to deal with the difficulty.
§ Mr. STUART-WORTLEY
The ingenuity, and, indeed, the energy displayed by the right hon. Gentleman in 644 controverting this Clause is evidence of its extreme moderation and reasonableness. I do not know that anybody seriously disputes that this Bill tends to relieve local authorities of a good deal of their present expenditure upon poor relief. It is not necessary to contend that, because ever since the Report of the Royal Commission on Local Taxation was presented, some ten or eleven years ago, no one has attempted to controvert the proposition which they unanimously laid down, that Poor Law expenditure, although it is necessary for practical reasons to subject it to local management, is necessarily an onerous and national kind of expenditure imposed upon local authorities practically by the central Government in the interests of society as a whole.
Therefore the argument is not available to the right hon. Gentleman, that he is here relieving local authorities of Poor Law expenditure, when all he is doing is to relieve one kind of national service by instituting and substituting another kind of national service. Here we are faced by the position that, in respect to what may be called a resulting expenditure, a kind of unascertained excess is going to replace upon the shoulders of local authorities so much of the expenditure which ten or eleven years ago the Royal Commission said local authorities ought to bear no part of at all. Of course this National Insurance Bill is, of all others, the most purely national service which anyone could possibly imagine. The hon. Gentleman (Sir A. Cripps) asked whether there was anything to differentiate this from other national services or anything which justified the proposal to reimpose on the shoulders of local authorities any part of the expenditure. He might have gone further. It is not only that it is impossible to differentiate it, but if you can differentiate it at all you can easily differentiate it against the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his contention, for anyone must see that all the expenditure which you can point out as going to come under this National Insurance Bill is the expenditure which will be the greatest in the local communities which are least able to bear it. It will be where the vitality of the community is low, where the rateable value is low and where, owing to the density of population or the poverty of the population, the rate of sickness, and the other social phenomena which make the expenditure under the Bill likely to be large, will be high, and, in fact, the burden 645 will be greatest exactly where the community are least able to bear it. That is, of course, the national service of all others which ought to be borne most exclusively by the State as a whole.
Such is the moderation and such the reasonableness of the Amendment which the right hon. Gentleman took such special pains to controvert that all that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hayes Fisher) is proposing to do is not to relieve the local authorities of this share of the expenditure which the Bill puts upon them, but only to ask the right hon. Gentleman to adopt in the case of this particular expenditure one of those securities against extravagance which has been found so valuable and effective in other cases. The right hon. Gentleman cited some particular instances of economy successfully secured by these maximum limits upon rating power. He might have gone further and instanced an example larger, more important, and more conspicuous even than those which he cites; I mean the instance of the Metropolitan Police, which for years and years has been subject to a strict limit of 9d. upon the rateable value of the Metropolitan area as a maximum upon the amount which the authority administering the expenditure is allowed to disburse. It is true that the maximum limit has had to be interfered with by Statute and has had to be raised, but that was only when and because the Legislature had interfered to impose new burdens and create pensions and other charges not contemplated when the original maximum limit was imposed. Till that moment, and in respect of all other matters, the effect of that maximum rate—and I speak with some authority as one who took part in the administration of the fund—nothing has operated to produce economy in administration and to seeing that the public got the best possible value for the money which was spent, even when the amount was restricted, as the wholesome terror that one had of the possibility of having to come to Parliament to ask them to raise the maximum limit to the rating power under the Act. That is all that my hon. Friend is asking to do. As you found this rate limit effective for the purpose of economy in other cases so you will find it in this case, and even then you will still have been reimposing in that restricted way upon local authorities this portion of expenditure which the highest authority that ever was asked to express an opinion on the subject, ten or eleven years ago, 646 said was a service so eminently national in its character that it ought to be removed entirely from the shoulders of local authorities.
§ Lord ALEXANDER THYNNE
The Debate, if it has had no other result, has extracted from the Chancellor of the Exchequer the very valuable admission that this legislation, which is permissive in form, is often mandatory in practical effect. That is a hard fact which those engaged in municipal work in this country have learned by bitter experience. The greater part of the right hon. Gentleman's argument was concentrated on proving that this was practically a Bill in relief of existing obligations of municipal authorities, and he expatiated at some length on the moral and legal liabilities which rest at present upon municipal authorities with regard to such matters as sickness, consumption, and unemployment. The right hon. Gentleman pointed out that under this Bill £1,500,000 was being given towards the erection of sanatoria for consumption, and that an additional £1,000,000 was being granted for running these institutions, and he argued that this £2,500,000 was in fact a great grant in relief of the obligation resting upon local authorities. That contention rests on a false basis. The right hon. Gentleman assumes that the whole of the 15,000,000 people who will be insured under this Act are, in respect of sickness and consumption, a liability upon the municipal authorities. I ask the House to draw a distinction—it is a very important distinction—between what is a legal or a moral liability and what is a practical liability. No doubt municipal authorities have got a legal and moral liability with regard to every member of this population. When you come to consider what their practical liability is, it certainly does not, and never will, extend to people having an income of upwards of £160 a year. Our liability in regard to sickness, in regard to consumption, in regard to unemployment is confined to those classes of the population on or near to the destitution line, and we have no practical liability in regard to a very large and very prosperous class, which will be included under this Bill, drawing salaries and incomes up to £160 a year. If there is any liability attaching to any class of institution with regard to this large class it falls not upon the local authorities, but upon the hospitals.
I may further point out that the local health committees, in the administration 647 of these benefits, have no power to differentiate between the destitute, between those who would normally come on local authorities for relief, and those drawing a larger income who would never come within the purview of the same authorities. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer talks about the great diminution in the burden resting upon local authorities, I do not think it requires any very great foresight to prophesy that as a result of this Bill there will not be one infirmary the less in this country. After all, the object of this new Clause is not to relieve the municipalities of liability, but to limit their liability, as it has been limited under several Acts of Parliament in the past. Why does the Chancellor of the Exchequer reject this proposal to limit the liability under this Bill? It can only be for the one reason, that he contemplates that the ½d. or the 1d. rate will be exceeded, so far as municipalities are concerned, in order to meet the charges which will fall upon local authorities under this Act. One hon. Member opposite told us about the district which he represents, where a 1d. rate produces £16,000. Let me quote the City of London, where a 1d. rate amounts to £180,000. We are asking that the liability of the City of London in regard to this Bill, which is essentially a Bill directed towards national and not local services, should be limited to a sum of £90,000 a year. I do not think that that on the part of the ratepayers of London can be regarded as a niggardly or a parsimonious suggestion, but it certainly is very alarming, so far as the ratepayers of London are concerned, to find that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not satisfied with a limit of this sort, but contemplates calling upon London to find, in the near future, for the purposes of this Insurance Bill, a sum exceeding £90,000 a year. I think that gives not only London but other municipalities in the country great cause for apprehension.
Further, the Clause suggested by my right hon. Friend is not final. If it is found that this limit of ½d. is not sufficient, it will always be open to Parliament to reconsider their decision in the matter. The Chancellor of the Exchequer could come and ask the House to review all the circumstances and increase the limit from ½d. to 1d. or more, and I think the opportunity of reviewing a matter of this sort after a few years' experience of the working of the Bill is an 648 opportunity which it would be very likely to welcome. Hon. Members have already dealt with the heavy contingent liability resting upon municipal authorities under this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman says it is purely optional, and that the municipalities and the local authorities will have the power of giving their sanction to any expenditure before they are called upon to contribute towards it. I ask the House to consider whether this power of sanction is not really illusory. After all, we have the power in the first instance. The first people to be consulted, with regard to this demand upon the local authorities, will be not the local authorities themselves but the Treasury, who are parties to the transaction. The application for the grant in the first instance will go to the Treasury, and it will then go to the local authorities. What is the position of the local authority if the Treasury agrees to pay its share? Would it be humanly possible for the local authority, if the Treasury consents, to withhold their quota? In considering a question of this sort, the Treasury stands on a very different footing from the local authority, because what may be a comparatively small charge on the Treasury will be a large charge on the local authority. Supposing the Treasury are asked to find £90,000, that will not affect the framing of a Budget. It will not affect a single Estimate. But supposing the county of London were asked to find £90,000, that is a very serious matter, not only for the people who are charged with the conduct of the finances of the county, but also for the ratepayer who has to bear the additional halfpenny. Although I support this new Clause, I do not think it goes far enough. I think, before we come to a satisfactory solution of this question, it will be necessary to make the local authorities parties certainly to some of the principal agreements entered into by the local health committees. I, furthermore, think that the local health committees should submit a Budget to the local authorities, so that the local authorities may be in a position to foresee what their possible liability will be. Although the liabilities are heavy enough under the Bill as it stands, I venture to think that as we proceed with the administration of the Bill in the country we shall find those liabilities growing at a very rapid rate.
There is no doubt, I think, that every Member of the House will welcome the anticipation that one of the first effects of 649 this Bill will be to bring about a higher standard of medical service in the country. But that is not going to be done for nothing, and as we raise the standard of medical attendance, so undoubtedly we shall have to raise the amount spent under this Bill. There are such questions as the separation of clubs from doctoring, the free choice of doctors, the extension of benefits to dependents, and all the various questions involved in the organisation of the health service on a national basis which must undoubtedly lead to the rapid growth of expenditure under this Bill—a growth of expenditure for the balance of which the local authorities will be liable. There is a third reason why I suggest the placing of a limit on our liability in this matter, and that is in regard to the liability which would accrue from the absolute certainty of the extension of this measure in certain directions. I do not think any Member who has been present at the Debates in the Committee stage of this Bill will deny that in such matters as hospital attendance and institutional attendance this measure cannot be left where it is. I think the very serious and public spirited agitation which is growing up on behalf of the great hospitals of this country must undoubtedly lead to the extension of the benefits of this Bill in the direction of hospital treatment. I know I should not be in order in discussing the question of hospitals at any length on this Clause, but I would like to point out that the contingent liability which attaches with regard to these hospitals and the necessity of hospital treatment is a strong argument in favour of the limitation of the liability proposed in the Clause now before the House.
I venture to call the attention of the House to two facts. The best experts in this country have laid it down that it is not possible to satisfactorily administer this Bill, so far as the hospitals are concerned, without the use of some 30,000 beds in the country. That for London alone will involve an increase of 5,000 beds, of the actual number already provided, and that at a time when as regards the London hospitals about forty-three per cent. of the income is placed in jeopardy owing to certain other provisions in this Bill. I think the governors of the London hospitals have had a sufficiently bitter experience with regard to the neglect to protect their interests in such measures as the Workmen's Compensation Act. They have seen their efforts hampered and their out-door patients' departments overcrowded under 650 the provisions for the medical treatment of children, and I think they have got very good reason indeed for the apprehensions with which they are at present beset. I hope the right hon. Gentleman who has hitherto turned a very deaf ear to the requests and interests of the municipal authorities in this Bill will accept the Clause brought forward by my right hon. Friend.
It is a matter of disappointment that the right hon. Gentleman did not serve an apprenticeship on one of the great local authorities of this country, because if he had done so he would have been better able to understand the great anxieties which beset those who are in charge of municipal finances. It has always struck me as a very remarkable fact in this House that the ratepayers look in vain, or practically in vain, for a champion of their interests on the benches opposite. The right hon. Gentleman and those behind him always seem to regard the ratepayers as being an essentially wealthy class of men. Those who have had some experience of the practical effects of the rating system know perfectly well that rates press with far greater incidence on the shoulders of the poorer classes than Imperial taxation. They press sometimes through rent in an indirect manner, but their burden is heavy and irksome. They are a burden upon industry and commerce. I venture to think that the right hon. Gentleman could not render a greater service to those who are engaged in all classes of industry and commerce, and to those who live in small tenements in overcrowded areas, than by placing the taxation of this country, so far as possible, on the broader basis of the Imperial Exchequer, and relieving pro tanto the narrower and more burdensome aspects of local taxation.
§ Mr. HARMOOD-BANNER
I am sorry the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not accepted this Clause. I do not think he fully considered the proposal before him. The only figure he gave was £2,000 when speaking of a subscription for a sanatorium. It is not a matter of £2,000 we are referring to at the present moment. In the whole of the United Kingdom a 1d. rate will realise £900,000. Let the House consider what this proposal means to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or, rather, to the Treasury. Is the sum of £450,000 not sufficient for his requirements? When discussing Clause 55 we were very much horrified to hear the Chancellor of the Exchequer speak of the heavy rates which 651 this Bill would impose upon various communities. Is the sum of £450,000 not a sufficiently heavy rate? I would like to know, because if he is going to ask for more than that sum it is just as well that we should know it. In Liverpool a 1d. rate produces £17,000. Does he expect us to find £8,500 for medical and sanatorium benefits in that city? We get no answer to these questions, and it is really desirable that we should have them answered. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer would consider the matter, he would find that he would be giving great comfort to the ratepayers if he would limit the rate. He could do it without limiting his resources. His resources would still be sufficient. I am a municipal man, and I know how heavily the rates fall upon shopkeepers and other people in the towns. Rates fall sometimes on those who ought not to bear them, and if they knew that this rate was to be limited to a ½d. it would be some consolation to them. We have to remember that while there is control by the Treasury, we know very well what that control is worth. The control of the municipalities is very small control, because, as a rule, the ratepayer is a "compound" ratepayer. He pays no rates whatever. The expenditure may go up or down, but it does not concern him. He has only to pay his rent, and it does not affect him whether the rates go up or down. But it does affect the large ratepayers in the City who have to pay heavy rates. If the sum of £450,000 is not sufficient for the purpose, let us know it, because if we do not know it we are going about in the dark, and it is well that the community should know to what extent they are going to be committed.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I am one of those who regret profoundly that this Bill has been put upon the rates at all. If any argument were required for not charging the rates with any part of the cost it has been supplied by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He admitted that from the moment the surplus was being found by the ratepayers, they were the people who were interested in economy, and they were the people who ought to have control. [An HON. MEMBER: "They will get control."] It is precisely because I think that that is absolutely impossible that I am opposed to calling on the rates. Is there anyone here who will really say that the control of these health committees is really 652 going to be in the hands of the ratepayers? It is quite impossible, and for that reason, if for no other, this ought not to be put on the rates.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
In a quarter of an hour the axe is going to fall on our proceedings, and I feel bound to call the attention of the House to what has happened. When the fateful hour comes you will put 470 questions from the Chair. Many of my hon. Friends behind me desire, as a protest against the way in which this Bill is being carried through the House, to take a Division on every one of these questions. If they took that course we should be kept here, as nearly as I can calculate, until half-past seven on Saturday night, and I am bound to say that never in any circumstances, so far as my acquaintance of the House of Commons goes, would such a protest be more justified than at the present moment. I am going to express the hope that they will not find it necessary to take that course. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] But I am bound to say that, if I thought that the country did not already realise what is going on, I should myself have been the first to adopt that method of calling attention to it. It is quite evident to every Member of the House that it is quite impossible for me, with my moderate command of strong language, to employ any words which can adequately describe the position in which we find ourselves.
It is perfectly obvious to every Member of the House that the House of Commons has ceased to exist as a legislative assembly. Nothing approaching this has ever happened in the House of Commons, and in my belief nothing coming within a thousand miles of it has ever happened in any legislative assembly in the world. The course which the Government have taken would have been in my opinion an utterly unjustifiable one on any measure, but it seems incredible that any Government should have adopted such a course in regard to a measure which affects directly and personally almost man, woman and child in the United Kingdom. Of these 470 questions, some have never been discussed at any stage. Hardly any of them have been discussed at all at this stage of our proceedings, and the way in which the Government have been pouring Amendments into the House, as if they were coming out of some patent machine, shows that even they themselves from hour to hour do not know in the least what they are doing. We are living under 653 a form of despotic Government which is far more arbitrary than ever has been found in the United Kingdom at any period of its history. I said that there was nothing like it so far as my knowledge goes in any legislative assembly, but it has just occurred to me that something a little like it did happen in France before the Revolution. There was a Parliament there, and when it did not agree with the decision of the Government the King came and held what he called a bed of justice, and his arrival meant that they were to register whatever decrees he announced. We are now holding our bed of justice, or injustice. We have our despot. I quite admit that he is, or tries to be, a benevolent despot. I am perfectly certain that that is his wish. But anyone who is acquainted with history knows that injury is done far more by ill-considered than by wicked action, and of this no better proof could be found than the course which the Government have taken in regard to this Bill. If anything were possible to add to what in my opinion, without using strong language, which I do not command, is an outrage upon us as Members of the House of Commons and an insult to those who send us here to represent them, if anything were needed to add to this, it is the knowledge of every man in this House that this course is taken not by the decision of the Government themselves, but by command of the Gentlemen below the Gangway. That, in other words, the intimate and not political interest, but the personal and direct interest of every member of the population of these islands is sacrificed, in order that there may be no obstacle in the path of Home Rule next year.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Before I had the privilege of becoming a Minister of the Crown I was for fifteen years in opposition, and I have got accustomed to very much worse guillotines than this. [HON. MEMBERS: "When?"] One was on the Education Bill, when the whole finance of the Bill was altered under the guillotine, and the other was on the Licensing Bill, when the whole property in licences which belonged to the public was confiscated in the interests of the supporters of the Government—a gross act of robbery and spoliation. And I also remember perfectly well scenes of this kind, in which we protested against these acts. I have been a very moderate, a very temperate and a very reluctant pupil of the right hon. Gentleman who then sat on this bench. 654 May I also call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman—probably he has not had time to look into these things—to the fast that when he talks of 470 Amendments and Divisions, the majority of the Amendments are promises made in Committee to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. Some of them are purely drafting Amendments.
If the right hon. Gentleman would look at page 52 he will see after "custom" to insert "or practice." I had some anticipation of the suggestions made by the right hon. Gentleman, and I went through the Amendment, and I also made up my mind that these Amendments are almost entirely Amendments asked for by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. There were just fifteen or twenty which we were anxious for, purely because of promises we made to doctors and friendly societies, and we have given hon. Gentlemen opposite the opportunity of voting against them if they choose. As for the rest, most of them are drafting Amendments, such as "leave out 'ship or any ship,' and insert 'ship or ships.'" It is perfectly ridiculous to suggest that these are important Amendments affecting vitally any great interest. [HON. MEMBERS: "Domestic servants."] There is no alteration proposed with regard to the position of domestic servants. There is absolutely no Amendment out of the lot that alters in the slightest degree the present position of either employer or employé, except to the extent of promises which I have given hon. Gentlemen opposite, and if I had declined to put them down what would they have said? They would have said that it was a breach of faith on our part.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The Noble Lord did not object to it when it suited his purpose. He was one of the hottest advocates of the Guillotine then. Here we have spent nearly fifty days in Committee on a Bill which is supposed to be non-contentious, on a Bill which is accepted—[HON. MEMBERS: "No; the principle"]—and after forty or fifty days of discussion of a Bill which is accepted by both parties in principle, and the principle of which is compulsory contribution—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] If that is not accepted then you ought to vote against the Third Reading. [HON. MEMBERS: "Wait and see."] I will. We can all wait and see what will happen.
655 And, it being half-past seven of the clock, Mr. Speaker proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of 25th October, successively to put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.
§ Question put, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 146; Noes, 220.657
|Division No. 414.]||AYES.||[7.30 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Gardner, Ernest||Newman, John R. P.|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Gibbs, G. A.||Nield, Herbert|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Gilmour, Capt. John||O'Grady, James|
|Astor, Waldorf||Goldman Charles Sydney||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Goldstone, Frank||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Grant, J. A.||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Greene, Walter Raymond||Pole-Carew, Sir R.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gretton, John||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Harris, Henry Percy||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc, E.)||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Royds, Edmund|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Helmsley, Viscount||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Henderson, Major H. (Berks., Abingdon)||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hickman, Col. Thomas E.||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Hill, Sir Clement L.||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Hills, John Waller||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Hoare, S. J. G.||Snowden, Philip|
|Bigland, Alfred||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Bird, A.||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Stanier, Beville|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid.)||Horne, W. E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Boyton, James||Horner, Andrew Long||Stewart, Gershom|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Houston, Robert Paterson||Swift, Rigby|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hume-Williams, W. E.||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Butcher, John George||Hunt, Rowland||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Campion, W. R.||Ingleby, Holcombe||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Jessel, Captain H. M.||Terrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Cassel, Felix||Jowett, Frederick William||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Cator, John||Kimber, Sir Henry||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Kyffin-Taylor, G.||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Lansbury, George||Valentia, Viscount|
|Clynes, John R.||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Ward, Arnold S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid.)|
|Croft, H. P.||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S.||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Willoughoy, Major Hon. Claude|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Mackinder, Halford J.||Wood, John (Stalybridge|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Macmaster, Donald||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Eyres-Monsell, B. M.||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Magnus, Sir Philip||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Fell, Arthur||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Younger, Sir George|
|Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Hayes Fisher and Sir A. Cripps.|
|Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Mount, William Arthur|
|Forster, Henry William||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Bryce, J. Annan||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Dawes, J. A.|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Delany, William|
|Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar)||Denman, Hon. R. D.|
|Allen Charles Peter (Stroud)||Byles, Sir William Pollard||Devlin, Joseph|
|Anderson, Andrew Macbeth||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Dillon, John|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Chancellor, Henry George||Doris, William|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Barnes, George N.||Clough, William||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick B.)||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid.)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Elverston, Sir Harold|
|Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts, St. George)||Cotton, William Francis||Essex, Richard Walter|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Cowan, W. H.||Esslemont, George Birnie|
|Bethell, Sir John Henry||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles|
|Boland, John Pius||Crumley, Patrick||Ferens, Thomas Robinson|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd|
|Gill, Alfred Henry||M'Callum, John M.||Roberts, Sir J. H. Denbighs.)|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||M'Curdy, C. A.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Glanville, Harold James||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Masterman, C. F. G.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Guest, Hon. Major C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queens County)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Millar, James Duncan||Rowlands, James|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Molloy, Michael||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Hackett, John||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Hancock, John George||Mooney, John J.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Morgan, George Hay||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)||Worrell Philip||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Sheehy, David|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Muldoon, John||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Munro, Robert||Shortt, Edward|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Neilson, Francis||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Nolan, Joseph||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Norman, Sir Henry||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Higham, John Sharp||Norton, Capt. Cecil W.||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Hinds, John||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Nuttall, Harry||Summers, James Woolley|
|Hodge, John||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Sutton, John E.|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Hudson, Walter||O'Doherty, Philip||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Hunter, W. (Govan)||O'Donnell, Thomas||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|John, Edward Thomas||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leeks)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Wardle, G. J.|
|Joyce, Michael||Pointer, Joseph||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Kellaway, Frederick George||Pollard, Sir George H.||Wason, J. Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Webb, H.|
|Kilbride, Denis||Power, Patrick Joseph||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Lamb, Ernest Henry||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Pringle, William M. R.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Radford, G. H.||William's, John (Glamorgan)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Raffan, Peter Wilson||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Lundon, Thomas||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Reddy, Michael||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Lynch, A. A.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Rendall, Athelstan||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Gulland and Mr. Dudley Ward.|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Macpherson, James Ian||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
§ Mr. SPEAKER
then proceeded successively to put forthwith the Question on any Amendments moved by the Government of which notice had been given, necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at half-past seven of the clock this evening.