§ 37. Mr. THEODORE TAYLOR
asked the President of the Board of Trade which his attention has been called to case of Howarth v. Knowles, decided by the judge of the Salford County Court on 9th April last, in which it was proved that a scheme officially certified by the Registrar of Friendly Societies as not less favourable to the general body of workmen and their dependents than the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act was in fact so much less favourable that the plaintiff and other workmen who had 2105 accepted and were dependent on the scheme are left without compensation or remedy for the rest of their lives; and whether it is proposed to take any, and, if so, what, steps to amend Section 3 of the Act so as to ensure that a scheme certified by the Registrar of Friendly Societies, and on the faith of which contracting out is permitted, can be relied on by those dependent on it as a trustworthy substitute for the provisions of the Act of Parliament?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. McKenna)
My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question. I have seen a newspaper report of the case referred to. The case raises a point of law on the Workmen's Compensation Act which is quite new, and is undoubtedly important, and I understand that there is likely to be an appeal from the learned judge's decision. So far as regards future cases, the Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies informs me that practically all the existing schemes under the Act expire on 30th June next, and that in considering the grant of certificates of renewal he will take steps to ensure, as far as practicable, that provision is made in the schemes for meeting the point raised in the case referred to.
§ Mr. T. TAYLOR
Does the right hon. Gentleman mean to do nothing in case other schemes fall short as this one has done? Can he not possibly do anything?
§ Mr. McKENNA
My hon. Friend will see that all these schemes expire in June next, and the Registrar-General proposes to take steps to meet future cases. Therefore the difficulty will be met.
§ Mr. W. THORNE
In the event of the Court of Appeal deciding against the workmen will the Registrar-General be in a position to make an alteration to meet the case?