§ Clause brought up, and read the first time.
§ Mr. G. LOCKER-LAMPSON
When I move this Clause, I hope the right hon. Gentlemen will not tell us that about ten pages further on there is another Clause, put down by an hon. Member who generally supports him, in a better form, and that therefore he thinks we ought to take that Amendment instead, because I have a suspicion in my mind that he does not quite approve of the new Clauses which really remove grievances in the present system being moved too frequently by hon. Members opposed to each other in politics. This Clause meets a very real grievance, and I believe it is backed by a large body of the working population. To begin with, this Amendment is supported by the Women's Co-operative Guild, who went in deputation to the right hon. Gentleman the other day, and it is strongly supported by the Hearts of Oak, and, I believe, by the large trade unions. Besides that, a memorandum has been addressed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer during the last few days—I am quoting DOW from. the "Daily Citizen" of the 23rd July—by the following societies: The Women's Co-operative Guild, the National Federation of Women Workers, the Women's Labour League, the Shop Assistants' Union, the National Union of Clerks and the Railway Women's Guild. They insist in this memorandum on the absolute necessity of some payment being made to working people who attend these Insurance Committees, because unless some such payment is made they will be unable to attend consistently in future to all these committees should like to quote one extract from the memorandum. They say:—Much sacrifice is being entailed in being away front home for ten hours a day. Absence from home for eight hours is a common experience with the working woman for attendance at Insurance Committees. It means either extra expense in supplying a substitute or in supplying extra work.Also while absent he either spends from 4d. to 2s. per day on meals, or gets nothing to eat between breakfast and supper. To the wage-earning woman there is a loss of a day's wages, and there is the loss of wear and tear of clothes. In most of the counties railway fare is paid, but the in- 3192 convenience of waiting from three to six months for payment is very serious and prevents regular attendance. This is specially so in the case of wage earners on short time or temporarily out of work. I do feel that it does not require very much argument to show that it is impossible that these working people can attend Insurance committees. These committees have to deal with questions which affect the working classes and unless you do something to remunerate these people for the time lost a great many of them will not be able to afford to give up the proportion of wages that they otherwise would earn. I venture to hope the right hon. Gentleman will not refuse this Amendment merely because it comes from a hon. Member who very often is opposed to him in politics. I therefore beg to move, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ Mr. J. SAMUEL
I do not oppose the principle of this Clause but the hon. Member has said nothing in it about the discrimination. The member must "request such allowance." I think that is very unfair. I think all members ought to be placed upon the same footing, because if not you will have very strong arguments when members undertake to represent certain societies that they are prepared to do so without any cost to the approved society at all. If the money is coming out of the approved society, there would be a fight between the members as to who would be paid and who would not be paid. It is the same now with the payment of Members, if I may use that as an illustration. Some candidates are coming forward prepared to say that they will represent the electors in Parliament without being paid at all, therefore I do not think that this ought to be an optional matter. I think that these words making it optional ought to come out and every member be placed upon the same footing without any discrimination.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
May I just say, Mr. Wilson, before the Debate goes further, that there is a Clause in my name on p. 69 which deals with the same point as that raised by the hon. Member opposite? I think he is not quite entitled to say that in substance his Amendment is the same as mine. My Amendment is also in the name of the hon. Member for Derby. I ant bound 3193 to confess to the Committee right away that have not been able to put down my Amendment in any other than an imperfect form. My intention in putting it down in that way was to raise this particular point, and I was afraid you would rule it out of order. But in its present form the Amendment is in order I think. What I would like to argue is this, that if the Insurance Committees are asked to pay this motley out of their own allowance all sorts of invidious questions would be raised—questions like those which my hon. Friend in front of me, who preceded me, has spoken about. It is far better I think that the Insurance Commissioners themselves should agree with the Insurance Committees to some sort of scale and to a set of rules and regulations under which these payments shall be made, and that the whole thing should be worked pretty much on the Board of Trade Advisory Committee's lines. If the rules and regulations which are now in operation in connection with the Board of Trade Advisory Committees were only taken by the Insurance Commissioners and the Insurance Committees as a basis for their arrangements, I think they would work very satisfactorily. The Board of Trade had to face precisely the problems we are now facing. I have been talking to various members serving on those committees, and their experience has been quite satisfactory. My Amendment is really not merely a variation of the hon. Member's intention, but it is substantially different. I should like to ask the Government if they could not accept my Amendment. It is true it is not sufficiently full, but they might combine it with the Amendment of the hon. Member that we are now discussing. Could not the Government meet us both and put down an Amendment of its own which would meet the points that I have raised? I think if the Government would do that, it would leave the matter in a much more satisfactory position than it is in now.
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
At the outset I want to repudiate, if I may, in courteous terms, the suggestion made by the hon. Member for Salisbury. I have no wish in any degree or in any fashion not to accept Amendments from hon. Gentlemen on the other side. I asked them to join with us in this work, and I shall be only too glad to accept from them as many Amendments as I can which seem to improve the Bill. In fact, the first Amendment moved by the hon. Gentleman I accepted immediately—mean the Maternity Benefit. We accepted 3194 it unanimously, and we gave it a Second Reading unanimously.
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
We could not vote, because it was a unanimous decision. One word also as to the general principle, raised by the hon. Member for Worcester, as to having to take Clauses which are on the Paper and which are not exactly the Clauses which come first. Anyone who has run a Bill in Committee—and I have run several under these conditions—knows that the decisions which are made as to the Government's approval of new Clauses are not made on the spur of the moment by the Minister in charge. He and the Commission and everyone concerned has to consider all the Amendments on the Paper—Pages and pages of them having decided to meet a particular point they then choose the Amendment which seems to them the most suitable to meet that point; that is all I have tried to do in connection with these new Clauses. As to the particular point raised by the hon. Gentleman, and supported by my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, no matter has given us so much trouble during the past six months in the administration of the Insurance Act as this particular point. It is not newly raised by this Committee, I have seen dozens of deputatations from all the approved societies, and from the women's co-operative and other societies, and I have had to watch very carefully the working of our Insurance Committees as they have been able to work without some suggestion as this, and I tell the Committee quite frankly that I think this is a case which must be met in some way or other. The whole desire of the Members on all sides of the House is, I think, to make these Insurance Committees as democratic as possible, and to allow the members of the Insurance Committees who represent the approved societies a real possibility and not S sham one of attending the committees from day to day. In order to do that we arranged travelling expenses to be paid, and travelling expenses are at present paid, but many deputations have assured me that travelling expenses alone do not meet this particular point. Especially is that so in the case of women who sit on the committees. I regret to say that there have been a very considerable number of resignations from those who have not been able to afford to attend under present conditions, and further resignations are threatening if nothing can be done. 3195 Even if resignations do not take place there will be great gaps in committees where these poorer members are not able to attend. The hon. Gentleman suggests giving so much for each day. I do not think that would meet the case. Take for instance the case of some of the small county boroughs. There the committees meet at night and do all their business after the ordinary day's work is over. There is really no case for giving members of these committees half-a-crown for subsistence allowance or compensation for out-of-pocket expenses.
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
I do not quite realise how I can interpret those words "where necessary," unless I have some definite arrangement, such as a scheme drawn up by the Insurance Commissioners or the Treasury. Some of the men who attend these committees do it as part of their ordinary day's work, and I do not see any reason why they should be paid in addition to the salaries they get. I mean I do not think they should be paid anything for loss of time or loss of work when they have not in fact lost any work. I want the cases of the County Committees to be regarded as distinct from the towns. The journey to the County Committee often involves travelling from thirty to forty miles. I am assured it is impossible for many members of those committees to undertake such a journey without having at, least some subsistence allowance. I believe, in fact, that in Scotland, under the Scottish Law, subsistence allowance is given in these cases. The other case is that of Town Committees which do not meet at night, and where members have often to give up, say, a couple of hours' work to attend them. I think in cases of that kind they might be indemnified for their less. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester that the best thing to do is to follow some such precedent as has been set by the Board of Trade already. We agree with Members on all sides of the Committee that we cannot legitimately thrust this expense upon the Insurance Committees or the approved societies, and in agreement with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer we are prepared to pay a certain amount of money towards these expenses out of State funds. I am prepared to put our suggestion either as an Amendment to that of the hon. Member for Salisbury or as a new Clause. 3196 If he desires it, it can be incorporated in his Clause. My suggestion is this (and the words have been carefully thought out with a view to meet this particular point): I would leave out all the words after "in addition to" to the end of the Clause, and insert "any allowance for travelling expenses which may be paid under Section 2 of Section 61 of the principal Act, an Insurance Committee may pay to the members of the committee subsistence allowance and compensation for loss of remunerative time, in accordance with a scheme prepared by the committee and approved by the Insurance Commissioners, and there shall be paid out of the moneys provided by Parliament towards the expenses of an Insurance Committee under such scheme, such sum, if any, as the Insurance Commissioners, with the consent of the Treasury may determine." [An HON. MEMBER: "If any?"] Yes, each borough or county will have to consider for itself. In the case of a very little county borough where the committee met, at night there might be no demand. If the committee would like to know what sort of suggestion we have as to the cost we propose in the first estimate to put down something between £25,000 and £30,000 a year. If the financial experts on the committee desire that to be put in the Bill, we shall be prepared to add the words "So that the aggregate amount so paid shall not exceed £30,000 in any one year." I am prepared either to move that as an Amendment to the hon. Member's proposed new Clause, or to bring it up as a separate Clause.
§ Question, "That the Clause be read a second time," put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
I beg formally to move to leave out the words "third-class railway fares, where necessary each member of an Insurance Committee shall be allowed the sum of 2s. 6d. for each attendance at a meeting of the committee if he so requests, such allowance to be a charge against the administration expenses of the committee," and to insert instead the words "any allowance for travelling expenses which may be paid under Sub-section (2), Section 61 of the principal Act, an insurance committee may pay to the members of the committee subsistence allowance and compensation for loss of remunerative time in accordance with a scheme prepared by the committee and approved by the Insurance Commissioners; and there shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament towards the expenses of an Insurance Committee under such scheme, such sum, if any, as the Insurance Commissioners, 3197 with the consent of the Treasury, may determine."
§ Mr. FORSTER
As far as I am able to judge, I think the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman is satisfactory. It is at any rate satisfactory to me, because I remember when the Bill was in the House two years ago I pointed out the difficulty that members of Insurance Committees would labour under in being called upon to travel long distances and to give up remuneration upon which they depended for their living. But I should like a little further information with regard to the proportion of the cost that the State is going to bear. In the earlier part of his speech the right hon. Gentleman said that the State would bear some proportion of the cost of the subsistence allowance, but in the latter part of the Clause it appeared to me that it was the Insurance Commissioners, with the consent of the Treasury, who would fix not only the total amount of the Grant, but the amount that would be paid to each of the Insurance Committees. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will tell us whether there is to be a general proportion which the State Grant will bear to the other provision of this charge, or whether it is to be a matter for Treasury decision in each individual case?
§ Mr. HARRY LAWSON
I am glad that my hon. Friend has seen his way to accept this as an Amendment to his own Clause, and I very much sympathise with the hon. Member for Leicester that an Amendment of this democratic nature has not been moved from those benches. But that is not the object of my rising. I want to ask the Secretary to the Treasury if this Amendment covers the case of members of committees of county boroughs, who at present do not get their travelling expenses paid, although the members of Insurance Committees for counties do. Many large county boroughs are now approaching almost the size of London, at any rate in its divisions north and south, and it is a question whether we ought not to make provision that in those cases, where necessary, travelling expenses should be paid. I do not know whether my hon. Friend has considered that question.
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
If the hon. Member wishes to raise that point, I think it would come on Section 61, which deals with the travelling expenses of members. If he feels strongly on that point perhaps he will put down an Amendment to the Section to that effect. The Clause as drafted does not 3198 deal with railway expenses; it is confined to subsistance allowance and payment in lieu of wages. As to the point of the hon. Member for Sevenoaks, the design is to treat this, as there is great difficulty in estimating the cost in somewhat similar fashion to the mileage Grant—that is to say, that we should limit the State Grant to some such sum as £30,000; all the schemes would be sent up to us for consideration, and if those schemes could be brought into harmony with the amount of £30,000 there would be no demand for any other expenditure at all. If not, the scheme would probably have to be cut down to the amount which we are prepared to contribute.
As a member of a County Insurance Committee, I most warmly welcome the reception by the right hon. Gentleman of the suggestion of my hon. Friend. I candidly confess that the form of his Clause, bolstered up by a Treasury Grant, is more satisfactory than the form of my hon. Friend's Clause. In the first place, he is prepared to include all travelling expenses, not merely railway expenses. In country districts the travelling expenses are very largely other than railway expenses in addition to that, he is prepared to provide not merely for the loss of possible remunerative employment, but subsistence allowance during the time that a person is engaged upon this important public work. I can testify to the fact that not only has it been extremely difficult to get those who should be representing the interests of the small rural societies to serve upon these committees at all, but that these rural employés are drifting away from the service of these committees simply because they cannot afford, even with the provision of travelling allowances, to attend to this important public duty. It is difficult enough in the case of working-men magistrates, who have been appointed in large numbers recently, to attend to their duties. But this duty is far more important than magisterial duties from their point of view and from the point of view of the public. It involves an enormous amount of self-sacrifice for which they are not adequately remunerated under the existing system. The right hon. Gentleman has used a rather curious expression which I have never heard in Parliamentary language before, namely, "the loss of remunerative time." It may be a right expression; I think I know what he is driving at. Insurance Committees, in counties at any rate, very often meet on Saturday afternoons, and where there is a 3199 half-holiday given—in most cases there is; one wishes it were so in all cases—to employed persons within the area, there is no actual loss of remunerative time if the right hon. Gentleman means to meet the case I am entirely with him, because these persons had not a fair claim for compensation in respect of employment upon which they would otherwise have been engaged. Still I rather question_ whether the expression "loss of remunerative time" is the best. It may be open to ether interpretation; and I hope the right hon. Gentleman, will be prepared, if necessary, to accept an Amendment on report to make it perfectly clear. There is one other expression of which I doubt the advisability. He makes the provision permissive. The Insurance Committees "may" pay. Why not "shall"? It is going to be extremely difficult for the Insurance Committees to differentiate between one person and another, even with the help of those rules and regulations emanating from the learned Commissioners, of which we have heard so much. I think you are going to put a most invidious task upon your Insurance Committee to differentiate between one person and another by saying that one is to receive this allowance and the other is not. The only way, in my opinion, is to make it mandatory, and say that the Insurance Committees shall make these payments in every case where it is demanded, or where presumably the person is one who requires it. If you are going to make this permissive you will only create a number of loopholes.
§ Mr. GWYNNE
I would like to ask the Financial Secretary to the Treasury why he has fixed the sum at £30,000? I imagine that it is based upon some estimate, and as it has been put before us in a hurried way the right hon. Gentleman might tell us roughly how much per head he is allowing under this scheme. I suppose he must have some idea of the amount, and he must know how many members of these committees he is providing for. Does he propose to pay not only members of approved societies, but also representatives of county councils and borough councils as well as members of the medical profession? Does he propose that they should all be paid a flat rate all through the country, and that men in the south should be paid the same as the men in the north, and vice versa? Does he mean that there is to be a hard-and-fast line? Suppose the number of 3200 representatives increases, will the allotted sum then be reduced because there are more members on the committee, or is the 2s. 6d., or whatever it works out to be so much per head, or is it to be a sliding scale, so that if the number of members increases the allowance decreases? Otherwise the right hon. Gentleman will have to make this Grant elastic. I feel sure the right hon. Gentleman has some good reason for fixing £30,000 as the limit, and perhaps he will inform the Committee on this point.
§ Mr. G. LOCKER-LAMPSON
With regard to what I said in my speech I should like to unreservedly withdraw anything which the right hon. Gentleman thought unfair.
§ Mr. J. SAMUEL
I want to amplify one question which has been put by the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. R. Gwynne) with regard to county councillors who represent the county council upon Insurance Committees. A very large number of these men are working-men representatives who represent the county council upon the Insurance Committees. Therefore there should be no restriction upon those men being qualified to receive this remuneration. I should like to point out that a very large number of these men in our large counties attend weekly upon county council business for which they are not paid, and therefore I contend that they should be entitled to receive remuneration just the same as anyone else when they serve upon these committees after having been selected to do this work in addition to their work on the county council. I do not think that this will be such a serious cost because a large number of our county councils have divided the counties into sub-committees and district committees, and therefore the cost of attendance at those places will not be so great as the attendance at county council meetings. For these reasons I think the county councillors who represent the county councils upon the Insurance Committee ought to be paid as well as the others.
§ Mr. NIELD
One point to be remembered is that a great many of these representatives may be persons in receipt of 3201 definite wages. I wish to know will the Commissioners require them to show a loss before they remunerate them? If they do they will be putting them on a different footing. Suppose there is a small shopkeeper who gets an assistant to do his work, while he is away attending the committee. Would that be a ease of remuneration?
The hon. Member for Salisbury (Mr. G. Locker-Lampson) asked a question about the 2s. 6d. fixed as the allowance. We have heard that the total amount is to be £30,000. That to all intents and purposes has been calculated to meet the payment of 240,000 single attendances. I do not know whether £30,000 is the correct amount or not, but it is most important that this point should be cleared up. With all due deference to the hon. Member for Wilton (Mr. C. Bathurst) I do not agree as to the advisability of making this compulsory, and I rather favour the idea of the Government that it should be permissive because there are many people who would be only too happy to give their services without question of any remuneration at all. If the right hon. Gentleman could enlighten us on that point it would be of the greatest assistance to us in coming to a decision.
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
I thank the Committee for haring received this Clause with general agreement. I thought it would meet with approval, especially when hon. Members realised that the money was being provided out of State funds. I will consider the suggestion made by the hon. Member for Wilton about remunerative time, but the idea is that in the schemes which are devised it is to be arranged that the members of the committee who actually lose their wages by coming to the committee shall receive some compensation for that loss. I do not think we want to continue it further, because to pay all the committees would not only involve an enormous amount, but it would form a very substantial precedent which I am not sure that every member of the Committee would accept. Each scheme will come up from the committees. I agree with the hon. Member for Eastbourne that there should be some elasticity, and the mount may vary from year to year. If there is a statutory increase we may have to mike some variation in this particular arrangement. I will tell the hon. Member for Dulwich how far we have got figures and facts. We have tried to estimate the cost of what the hon. Member for Wilton proposes and we have tried various sample committees in different parts of the country 3202 to see how many persons would come under the necessity of receiving remuneration for service on these committees. We found it very difficult because the committees are sitting much more numerously now, and it is difficult to find out how many members would require this allowance under ordinary circumstances. We think, however, that all substantial claims will be met to keep people on the committees who ought to be kept on by some such sum as we propose, and therefore we invite the Committee to accept this general Amendment in order to see what the result is in respect of the schemes sent up to us. The hon. Member for Walworth (Mr. Dawes) asked me a question about the subcommittees and district committees. I may say at once that they would certainly be excluded by my Amendment. It is impossible to begin providing money for district committees now. We are prepared to find this £30,000, but we are not prepared to find more at the present time. I think hon. Members will agree that that is a fair statement in connection with this matter if the district committees are included there must be a greater division.
Another point is that the district committees are only just being set up, and we do not know much about their composition. It may be that in the case of district committees the need may be less than in the case of council committees. At any rate I ask hon. Members to accept this offer in connection with the county committees and not divert this money to the district committees. They can then await the result of this scheme in order to see if it does not meet the case under consideration. I might say, for instance, that we do not anticipate in dealing with remunerative time that a doctor will claim £20. We really want this money for those members of the committee who need it.
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
I have told the hon. Member as much as I can. I have been carefully through this suggestion of 2s. 6d., and I find that it is very difficult to make an estimate even with 2s. 6d. as the basis. Some will not require even 2s. 6d., and some will require more, and therefore, I am unable to give an exact estimate. Nevertheless I got the most I could out of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, realising that it might cover the majority of cases of hardship.
We have not yet seen the actual words of this 3203 Amendment, but I understand it is not intended to make any allowance or compensation for loss of wages to any of the members of district committees. I regret that decision very much indeed because there is no justification to my mind for distinguishing between the work done on the district committees and the county committees. I am not asking the right hon. Gentleman to increase the money, but I do say that it is an invidious distinction to draw between two sets of men doing exactly the same work to say that one man is to be paid his travelling and subsistence expenses and another man doing no less useful work which takes up just as much of his time, should have to do it at his own expense. The right hon. Gentleman must realise that once he has conceded the principle it is logically-impossible to draw the line where he now draws it by excluding the district committees. I hope this matter will be attended to before the Report stage, because it will not be open for us to move this Amendment including these committees, during the Report stage. Therefore we have got to do it now or not at all because it will add a charge, and therefore it would be out of order on the Report stage. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will agree to adjourn the discussion on this question, so that we may take this matter up first thing in the morning after having seen on the Paper the actual words of his Amendment, and after having had an opportunity of putting upon the Paper an Amendment to include district committees.
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
I ask the hon. Member not to press his request for an adjournment of this case. A certain number of members of the Committee are not present, and no doubt the whole thing would well up into a debate of two or three hours unless we decide the matter now. If the hon. Member will make his Amendment in such a form that the amount of money to be provided by the State is not affected that will not add to the charge, and if he thinks this £30,000 should be divided up among the district committees he can move his Amendment on the Report stage, for it will then be in order. District committees are not elected in the same way as big county committees. They are appointed by the county councils instead of being directly elected by the approved societies and therefore, I do not think there is anything like as much necessity to provide for them. I urge that this Amendment shall now be 3204 allowed to be made providing that the money should go to those county committees who really need it.
§ Mr. WING
I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman if he thinks this method of giving a limited sum is better than giving the administration of the 4s. to the societies and allowing them to settle the payment? Will he take that into consideration whether it would mean more money to find what will be necessary to leave the societies the 4s. and to allow them to administer it.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I think in the form in which the Chairman read out the Amendment it did not have the limitation of the £30,000. If it is passed in that form. I am afraid it will be impossible on the Report stage to insert district committees.
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
I rather understood it was the wish of the Committee that the £30,000 should be inserted.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Amendment. reached me without any addition. I understood that the right hon. Gentleman intended to ask leave to introduce the words if they were acceptable to the Committee.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I think it will be difficult to add the limiting words until we have further information as to what the sum required would be. It is difficult to know the proper sum that would be necessary without more information from the right hon. Gentleman. Whilst he agreed to the sub-committees receiving it, do not think there is anything in the words of the Amendment authorising payment to the subcommittees. It is very difficult to follow Amendments which are simply read out and are not before us on the Paper. I think the right hon. Gentleman will have to do something to modify it.
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
I will consider that on the Report stage. The only reason why the Amendment is not on the paper is in order that the hon. Member for Salisbury (Mr. G. Locker-Lampson) should have the credit of having an Amendment. I thought we should take it on a later Amendment but he challenged me that I would not let him have an Amendment to his credit, and I then asked leave to move this, as an Amendment to his Clause.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I was not complaining, I was only pointing out the difficulty of dealing with it without having seen it in print, and especially of deciding whether sub-committees were included or not. As it stands the Insurance Committee may pay members subsistence allowance and compensation for loss of remunerative time in accordance with a scheme prepared by the committee. With regard to the district committees I shall put forward a strong claim on their behalf. They were contemplated by the original Act. Unless you have that, also, you are likely to lessen the importance of the work of the district, committee.
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
I am willing to move it with the addition of the £30,000 limit. That will enable hon. Members to be in order on the Report stage.
§ Question, "That the words 'so however, that the aggregate amount so paid shall not exceed £30,000 in any one year' be added to the proposed Amendment of the new Clause," put, and agreed to.
Question proposed, "That the words 'third class railway fares, where necessary each member of an Insurance Committee shall be allowed the sum of two shillings and six pence for each attendance at a meeting of the committee if he so requests, such allowance to be a charge against the administration expenses of the committee,' be left out," and the following words inserted instead thereof—
any allowances for travelling expenses which may be paid under Sub-section (2) of Section 61 of the principal Act, an Insurance Committee may pay to the members of the committee subsistence allowance and compensation for the loss of remunerative time in accordance with a scheme prepared by the committee and approved by the Insurance Commissioners, and there shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament towards the expenses of an Insurance Committee under such scheme such sum (if any) as the Insurance Commissioners, with the consent of the Treasury, may determine, so, however, that the aggregate amount so paid shall not exceed £30,000 pounds in any one year.
May I ask the meaning of one expression? Is it intended that 3206 the £30,000 shall cover travelling expenses as well as the new expenses.
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Clause," put, and negatived.
§ Question, "That the words 'any allowances for travelling expenses which may be paid under Sub-section (2) of Section (61) of the principal Act, an Insurance Committee may pay to the members of the committee subsistence allowance and compensation for loss of remunerative time in accordance with a scheme prepared by the committee and approved by the Insurance Commissioners, and there shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament towards the expenses of an Insurance Committee under such scheme such sum (if any) as the Insurance Commissioners, with the consent of the Treasury, may determine, so however that the aggregate amount shall not exceed £30,000 in any one year,' be there inserted," put, and agreed to.
§ Proposed Clause, as amended, added to the Bill.
§ Mr. CHIOZZA MONEY
Before the hon. Member moves the new Clause may have a statement from the Chairman with a view to saving time. The new Clause deals with the same subject as a long Amendment which is down on the Paper later on in the name of the Member for Worcester (Mr. Goulding). Cannot we save time by having a general discussion on these groups of Clauses, taking that general discussion on the first one on the Paper. We are now approaching an Amendment dealing with maternity benefit which many Members think would be much better than the one we have added to the Bill. That happened because we were not discussing these new Clauses as a group. I do appeal to the Committee and to you, Mr. Chairman, and I think that if we were to adopt the course I suggest we should save several days of discussion. There are twenty-one pages of new Clauses yet to be discussed, and we have only considered one page to-day, although a great part of the subject we have been discussing this afternoon was already discussed last Friday.
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
We propose to accept with alacrity the adjournment, which 3207 has been asked for, but I should like to say that we are making very slow progress. I do not mean that the discussion has been excessive in connection with the subjects involved. I appealed to the Committee that we may get the Bill this week. I cannot go back from that appeal. I will confer with the hon. Gentlemen who are leading the party opposite and with my hon. Friend who is leading the Labour Party and the Irish Party, but I think that we must suspend the Four o'clock Rule for the Committee at least on Wednesday and Thursday, and see if we cannot really push on arid get the Bill through completely. I can make no announcement now, but if I have an announcement to make I will make it to-morrow morning.
§ Mr. FORSTER
I only desire to make one or two observations: I will remind the right hon. Gentleman that there has been nothing in the nature of obstruction, but I think the Committee must face the fact that where you are dealing in Grand Committee with a Bill like this, and the Government have taken the course, and the proper course as I think, of inviting the unrestricted assistance of Members from all quarters, for the improvement of the further provisions of the Bill it is inevitable that progress should be comparatively small. We know we have only a limited amount of time. I do urge the Committee not to waste a large proportion of their time simply by galloping through Amendments in order to get them cleared off the Paper. It is infinitely more important that we should discuss fully the proposals that are important rather than that we should clear the Order Paper of all the new Clauses before the expiration of the time which is available. If later on the Government come to us and say, "The time has now come for reporting this Bill, and we can give you no further time." I am sure the Committee, though with the greatest possible regret, will meet them in every possible way. I do urge the Committee not to gallop through pages and pages of Amendments without due discussion and so run the risk of incorporating in the Bill proposals which had better be left out. Subject to that I do not know that I can usefully do anything further. I can only say that we will do our 3208 best to get on with the Bill in the time which we fully understand we have.
§ The CHAIRMAN
In reply to the hon. Member and the Member for Northamptonshire (Mr. Chiozza Money) I have to say that it is not possible for the Chairman of this Committee to do anything in the way of grouping, but it is possible where there is no party concerned, and where the Committee is working together, to have a meeting before the Committee sits and to agree to take a particular discussion on a particular Clause. It has been shown by a difficult discussion, one of the most difficult I remember in Grand Committee to-day, that it is impossible for the Chairman to see even that the Amendment which has most support in the room is eventually carried, subject to the restrictions, the necessary Parliamentary restrictions of debate. I venture to think that if the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Masterman) suggests a conference between half-a-dozen leading Members of the Committee he could indicate to them beforehand the Clauses that the Government intend to accept, and the Committee would be able to come to a discussion such as the Member for Sevenoaks (Mr. Forster) has suggested, and would concentrate the time at disposal around these proposals, without discussion of new Clauses which the Government has no power or intention to accept. I think that might be done.
§ Mr. CHIOZZA MONEY
As you have been so kind, will you be so kind as to take the general sense of the Committee when approaching a new Clause, which is evidently affected by several others. Could you take the general sense as to whether or not they should be taken as a group?
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is what I always do when I put the Question, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ Motion made, and Question "That the Committee do now adjourn"—[Mr. Forster]—put, and agreed to.
§ The Committee adjourned at 6.22 p.m., until 11.30 a.m. to-morrow (Tuesday).