36. Major HENDERSON
asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether it has come to the notice of the Insurance Commissioners that Mr. Curtis Bennett admitted on oath the offer he made to the Berkshire Farmers' League to refrain from prosecutions for the first two quarters, provided that benefits equal to those under the Act were paid by the employers; whether this offer was made on the 1st January, in consequence of which on the 13th January members were advised by their committee to work the Act forward from that date; whether the members of the league have been faithful to the agreement contained in the offer; and, if not, what action it is proposed to take in the matter?
Mr. MASTER MAN
No, Sir. The inspector in question made no such admission, nor did he ever make the offer stated in the hon. Member's question. The inspector on no occasion made any suggestion that an employer who paid any benefits that might accrue due in the third quarter would thereby obtain any relief from the obligation to stamp the cards of 2183 the first or second quarters. Whatever misunderstanding may have arisen on other points, the inspector made it clear from the outset that the Commissioners had no power in any circumstances to relieve employers of their liability to stamp the cards, and he made it plain that the Commissioners would feel bound to take legal proceedings in cases where complaints were made to them of refusal to pay contributions. As regards the latter part of the question, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply that I gave him on the 18th June, from which he will see that all possible steps were taken by the inspector to remove misunderstanding before the third quarter's contributions became payable, and also, I am informed, before the committee actually arrived at the decision referred to.