- (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:—
- (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;
- (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;
- (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;
- (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
- (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) 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) 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) 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) 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) 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.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
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.
§ Mr. URE
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.
§ Mr. WING
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 1183 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.
§ Mr. URE
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.
§ 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.
§ Mr. JAMES HOGGE
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, 178.1185
|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."