HC Deb 04 August 1913 vol 56 cc1180-5

  1. (1) In the division of a bankrupt's estate under the provisions of this Act the following shall be paid in priority to all other debts:—
    1. (a) All poor or other local rates due by the bankrupt at the date hereinafter mentioned, and having become due and payable within twelve months next before that date, and all assessed taxes, Land Tax, Property or Income Tax assessed on the bankrupt up to the fifth day of April next before the said date, and not exceeding in the whole one year's assessment;
    2. (b) All wages or salary of any clerk or servant in respect of service rendered to the bankrupt during four 1181 months before the said date not exceeding fifty pounds to any one clerk or servant;
    3. (c) All wages of any workman or labourer not exceeding twenty-five pounds to any one workman or labourer, whether payable for time or for piece work, in respect of services render to the bankrupt during two months before the said date. Provided that where any labourer in husbandry has entered into a contract for the payment to him of a portion of his wages in a lump sum the priority under this Section shall extend to the whole of such sum or a part thereof as the Court may decide to be due under the contract proportionate to the time of service up to the said date;
    4. (d) All sums (not exceeding in any individual case one hundred pounds) due in respect of compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1906, the liability wherefor accrued before the said date, subject nevertheless to the provisions of Section five of that Act; and
    5. (e) All contributions payable under the National Insurance Act, 1911, by the bankrupt in respect of employed contributors or workmen in an insured trade during the four months before the said date.
  2. (2) The foregoing debts shall rank equally among themselves and shall be paid in full, unless the assets are insufficient to meet them, in which case they shall abate in equal proportions.
  3. (3) The trustee may, with the consent of the Commissioners, dispense with the necessity for lodging oaths relative the foregoing debts, and with the like consent may pay such debts before the period for payment of the first dividend.
  4. (4) The date hereinbefore referred to in this Section is the date of the award of sequestration, and in the case of the sequestration of the estates of a deceased debtor, the date of his death, and where sequestration has not been awarded, the date of the concourse or diligence for distribution of the estate of a party being notour bank-rupt.
  5. (5) Nothing in this Section shall affect the provisions of the Friendly Societies Act, 1896, or the preference attaching at common law to death-bed and funeral expenses.
  6. 1182
  7. (6) The Preferential Payments in Bankruptcy Act, 1888, shall not apply to Scotland, and references to the said Act, or to Section 3 of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act, 1875, in any Act of Parliament, whether passed before or after the date of this Act, shall be read and construed as references to this Section.


I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out paragraph (a).

I move this Amendment in order to ask whether this Clause does not, in fact, alter the present position in Scotland with regard to preferential claims. At present parish councils have a preferential claim on a bankrupt's estate in respect of the poor rate, but this Clause brings in private creditors and gives them equal preferential rights. I have read many protests from parish councils and other bodies against this change. They say that it is an application of the English Act in a matter where it ought not to apply at all. The case of Scotland is very different from that of England. Perhaps the Lord Advocate will kindly explain why this change is made.


I do not think that it does effect any change, but it is designed to remove a certain amount of uncertainty and to assimilate the law of Scotland to the law of England, and further to assimilate the law in relation to private estates to the law in relation to joint stock companies in Scotland. It makes the system uniform throughout both Kingdoms.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), paragraph (b), after the word "any" ["All wages or salary of any clerk"], to insert the word "traveller."

I should not have ventured to have put down Amendments to a Scottish Bill, but I was on the Committee, and called attention to the fact that those who have to accept a composition in bankruptcy, include clerks and servants. I seek by this Amendment to have the word "traveller" included, and the reason is that for many years there has been a great agitation among travellers in Scotland on this subject. Many of them are employed on these terms: so much salary and so much commission. They have the salary sent weekly by cheque, but usually the commission is paid half-yearly, and in cases of bankruptcy they have had at times to sacrifice the amount of commission due. They maintain it is as much part of their salary as the amount received by cheque. In Committee it was urged by the Lord Advocate that they come under the heading of servants, but that is a matter entirely for the Official Receiver, and if he refuses it, there is nothing but to lose the money. I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman how he accounts for the fact that clerks come under the heading of servants. If they are servants, surely the commercial traveller is equally a servant. I assume there can be no objection to this Amendment, seeing that it will merely secure to the traveller that which he has earned and is fully entitled to.


I second the Amendment. The question was fully discussed upstairs, and it was pointed out that many clerks draw higher salaries than travellers, and therefore it is unfair to include the clerk and exclude the traveller. The traveller in the case of bankruptcy ought to have his salary and commission in full. I understood the Lord Advocate to promise to consider this point before Report, and it was on that understanding we allowed the discussion on it to terminate. I must express my surprise he has done nothing in the matter.


I regret I cannot accept the Amendment. I do not think it is necessary, as it has already been decided that "servant" includes "traveler." We do not want to introduce a serious difference between the law of Scotland and that of England. I do not think, however, there, can be any doubt on the point.


I do not think the answer of the Lord Advocate is sufficient.

He tells us a traveller is generally regarded as a servant, and that it has so been held in law, but the difficulty is that it rests on the judgment of the Official Receiver as to whether the traveller shall be regarded as a servant. The only remedy in the case of an appeal is to go to Court. If it is true, as we believe it is, that a traveller does come properly under the description of servant, it is surely well to avoid misunderstanding and prevent an action ever going to Court. As to the difference between English law and Scottish law, I would point out to the Lord Advocate that this will not be the only case in which there is a difference between the two. That difficulty can be remedied easily by an Amendment being accepted upon the English Bill making it similar to this Bill. Upon every point put forward by the Lord Advocate an answer can easily be provided. To meet his views an Amendment will be put down to the English Bill which will make the two cases perfectly harmonious.


I hope the Lord Advocate will give way on this point. It is probably due to the fact that he moves largely in legal circles that he is not in touch with the feeling that exists upon this matter in commercial circles. He ought to meet the point. If it is impossible to vary the Scottish Bill from the English Bill, why not withdraw the whole of the Scottish Bill, and pass the English Bill, adding a tag at the end saying "This Act shall apply to Scotland"?

Question put, "That the word 'traveller' be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 94; Noes, 178.

Division No. 255.] AYES. [11.6 p.m.
Addison, Dr. C. Craik, Sir Henry Hunt, Rowland
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Dalrymple, Viscount Jowett, Frederick William
Baird, John Lawrence Dawes, J. A. Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)
Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Duke, Henry Edward Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)
Banbury, Sir Frederick Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M. Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)
Barlow, Montague (Salford, South) Fell, Arthur Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)
Barnes, George N. Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A. Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee
Barnston, Harry France, Gerald Ashburner Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)
Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich) Gibbs, George Abraham Mackinder, Halford J.
Bird, Alfred Gill, A. H. Macpherson, James Ian
Booth, Frederick Handel Goldstone, Frank M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)
Brace, William Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds) Malcolm, Ian
Bridgeman, William Clive Hall, Frederick (Yorks, Normanton) Newdegate, F. A.
Bryce, J. Annan Hamersley, Alfred St. George O'Grady, James
Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.) Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon) O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)
Cassel, Felix Henderson, Sir A. (St. Geo., Han. Sq.) Parker, James (Halifax)
Cautley, H. S. Hills, John Waller Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Hill-Wood, Samuel Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin) Hinds, John Perkins, Walter Frank
Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W. Hodge, John Pointer, Joseph
Clynes, John R. Hogge, James Myles Pollock, Ernest Murray
Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham Hudson, Walter Pringle, William M. R.
Pryce-Jones, Colonel Edward Talbot, Lord Edmund Wheler, Granville C. H
Randles, Sir John S. Taylor, John W. (Durham) White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven) Terrell, Henry (Gloucester) Whyte, A. F.
Roberts, George H. (Norwich) Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North) Williams, John (Glamorgan)
Sanders, Robert Arthur Thynne, Lord Alexander Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton) Tobin, Alfred Aspinall Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe) Tullibardine, Marquess of Younger, Sir George
Smith, Harold (Warrington) Wadsworth, John
Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston) Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Wing and Mr. C. E. Price.
Steel-Maitland, A. D. Waring, Walter
Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour) Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire) O'Donnell, Thomas
Acland, Francis Dyke Hayden, John Patrick O'Dowd, John
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Hazleton, Richard O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)
Ainsworth, John Stirling Henry, Sir Charles O'Malley, William
Arnold, Sydney Higham, John Sharp O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Baker, H. T. (Accrington) Holmes, Daniel Turner O'Shee, James John
Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark) Holt, Richard Durning O'Sullivan, Timothy
Beale, Sir William Phipson Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Phillips, John (Longford, S.)
Beck, Arthur Cecil Hughes, Spencer Leigh Pollard, Sir George H.
Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George) Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Bentham, G. J. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)
Boland, John Pius Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East) Primrose, Hon. Neil James
Bowerman, Charles W. Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Radford, G. H.
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North) Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts., Stepney) Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)
Brady. Patrick Joseph Joyce, Michael Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Brocklehurst, W. B. Keating, Matthew Reddy, Michael
Brunner, John F. L. Kellaway, Frederick George Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar) Kelly, Edward Redmond, William (Clare, E.)
Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs., Heywood) Kennedy, Vincent Paul Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)
Chancellor, Henry George Kilbride, Denis Richardson, Albion (Peckham)
Chapple, Dr. William Allen King, Joseph Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Clancy, John Joseph Lardner, James C. R. Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)
Clough, William Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West) Roberston, John M. (Tyneside)
Collins, G. P. (Greenock) Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rid, Cockerm'th) Roche, Augustine (Louth)
Condon, Thomas Joseph Leach, Charles Roe, Sir Thomas
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Levy, Sir Maurice Rowlands, James
Cotton, William Francis Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Crumley, Patrick Lundon, Thomas Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Cullinan, John Lyell, Charles Henry Scanlan, Thomas
Davies, David (Montgomery Co.) Lynch, Arthur Alfred Seely, Rt. Hon. Colonel J. E. B.
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) McGhee, Richard Sheehy, David
Delany, William Maclean, Donald Shortt, Edward
Devlin, Joseph Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Simon, Rt. Hon Sir John Allsebrook
Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South) Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Dillon, John MacVeagh, Jeremiah Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)
Doris, William M'Callum, Sir John M. Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
Duffy, William J. M'Curdy, C. A. Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Tennant, Harold John
Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.) Manfield, Harry Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid) Marks, Sir George Croydon Toulmin, Sir George
Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.) Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G. Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Meagher, Michael Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Falconer, James Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Verney, Sir Harry
Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix) Walters, Sir John Tudor
Ffrench, Peter Millar, James Duncan Webb, H.
Field, William Molloy, Michael White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Fitzgibbon, John Molteno, Percy Alpert White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Flavin, Michael Joseph Money, L. G. Chlozza Whitehouse, John Howard
George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd Mooney, John J. Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Gladstone, W. G. C. Morgan, George Hay Williams, Liewelyn (Carmarthen)
Glanville, H. J. Muldoon, John Williamson, Sir Archibald
Greig, Colonel James William Munro, Robert Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)
Griffith, Ellis Jones Murray, Captain Hon, Arthur C. Wood, Rt Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)
Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke) Neilson, Francis Young, William (Perthshire, East)
Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.) Nolan, Joseph Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway) Nugent, Sir Walter Richard
Hackett, John O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale) O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.
Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds) O'Doherty, Philip

Bill read the third time, and passed.

Amendment made: In Sub-section (6), leave out the words "whether passed before or after the date of this Act," and insert instead thereof the words, "as regards Scotland."