§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £409,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Expense of Civil Superannuation. Compensation Allowances, and Gratuities, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1914."
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
I desire to raise a point, not on an item which is included in this Vote, but on the omission from the Vote of gratuities to two officers retired from the Civil Service under the Board of Admiralty, which, if they had been granted, would have been included under this Vote. The two officers in question are Colonel Sir Edward Raban and Colonel Exham. Both served in the Works Department of the Admiralty. Colonel Raban served as Director of Works for twenty-one years and ten months, and I think the Secretary to the Admiralty will agree with me as to the great value of his services. He occupied a very responsible position indeed. He was the land agent for the Admiralty, and their sole adviser in regard to the very large area And immense expenditure on civil engineering work which falls to the Admiralty Department. Recognising that, his salary was fixed, in March, 1903, at £2,000, non-pensionable. Had the matter rested there, when his time for retirement came no question would have been raised, but there was at that time under the Works (Loan) Department an immense expenditure going on outside the ordinary annual expenditure on works, and to carry on that work there was a separate Department under the Civil Engineer-in-Chief, Sir Henry Pilkington, and his salary was also, I think, £2,000 a year. Under the late Government, in 1905, it was decided that it would be possible to amalgamate those two Departments and place the whole of the works under one head. Sir Edward Raban was then asked whether he would be prepared to accept the responsibility of taking the whole charge of the loan works and the Civil Engineer-in-Chief as well as the normal work of the Works Department. He hesitated very much, as he felt the burden would be a heavy one, but finally he decided to undertake it, and for the last six years he has carried on both works, and the Admiralty have thereby saved a salary of £2,000 a year, which was then being paid to Sir Henry Pilkington as Civil Engineer-in-Chief. I can say from my own knowledge that in the Autumn of 1905, 949 when that amalgamation took place, it was intended to recognise the additional work thrown upon Sir Edward Raban by some increase in salary, or by some arrangement for pension or gratuity, but,a change of Government took place at that particular moment, and naturally the change was obscured in other larger issues, and an officer in his position did not like to meet his new chief with a suggestion for an increase of salary, and for six years he has done additional work, saving the Admiralty £2,000 a year, without a farthing of extra pay and without asking for extra pay. When the time has come for his retirement and he has left the Service, he asks that in recognition of that six years additional work which has fallen upon him some gratuity should be given him by the country for the saving which he has effected, and for the extra work which he has done. That is the position as regards Sir Edward Raban, and the case is a perfectly plain one. The ultimate decision in these matters rests with the Treasury and not with the Board of Admiralty, and the Board of Admiralty may represent to the Treasury the meritorious services of an officer, and it rests with the Treasury to assent or to refuse. I feel quite certain that there is no one who has worked with Colonel Raban at the Admiralty and knows the very heavy additional burden which he has carried for six years who will not realise that those six years of work deserve some recognition at the hands of the country.
Then I come to the case of Colonel Exham. He was also an officer of the Royal Engineers, and entered the Admiralty Service in 1895 as civil engineer. He did admirable work at Portsmouth. He was responsible for the construction of a new naval barrack, for the construction of two new docks, and for the great workshop at Portsmouth, which, I believe, is a model for all the engineering shops in the world. In 1902 the question arose of a new naval base for Rosyth, and Colonel Exham was sent there to examine and report upon a suitable site from an engineering point of view. He reported favourably upon the site, and in 1903, when it was decided to construct a naval base, he was sent up to Rosyth and placed in charge of the whole of the constructive work, and he personally prepared a design, entirely out of his own brain, from his own observation, and from borings and calculations made upon the spot. The contract drawings were prepared at the Admiralty, but 950 he was solely responsible for the design, which was accepted as it stood. The country does not know what it owes to Colonel Exham. He had to prepare a design for the whole of a great naval base, not for a dock or a basin or a naval barracks, which are large things in themselves, but a design laying out the whole of the great property then acquired for the Admiralty, and laying it out, not only from the point of view of the works where were to be immediately constructed, but from the point of view of the future to make the very best possible use, both to-day and to-morrow and in the future, of the whole of that great area for naval purposes, so far as human foresight could do it. I believe that design has given the utmost satisfaction.
Not only did he design it, but he was responsible for some of the most difficult and important negotiations with Scottish local authorities, and a Scottish local authority is a body which requires business capacity to deal with it successfully. There were most important and difficult negotiations about the water supply and boundaries, and other matters for the whole of which he acted as adviser to the Admiralty, and which he carried through with the utmost success, and with the greatest advantage to the country. That is the kind of work which is done by our Civil Service, quietly, which no one hears of or knows of, but which ought to be adequately recognised and rewarded. Colonel Exham was entitled, and had earned by war service, a pension of £450 a year, which he would have drawn irrespective of any further services to the country. The Admiralty added the magnificent sum of £650 a year, which is all that he received in respect of his services to them. During the whole of the nine years that he was in charge of the works at Rosyth, it fell to him to entertain every visitor who went to inspect the works, including many of the Lords of the Admiralty themselves, Royal visitors and other visitors of distinction of all kinds. Consequently, he was quite unable to save anything out of his salary during that time. Colonel Exham's one desire and wish was that he should be allowed to complete that, work, and that when his time for retirement came, he should retire with the completed work at Rosyth as a monument to his ability and his exertion. But promotion was required in the Works Department, and the late First Lord of the Admiralty told Colonel Exham, who 951 had then attained the age of sixty, that the Admiralty desired that he should retire at the end of 1911. I need hardly say what a very bitter thing that was. You may imagine an officer who has designed such a great work as Rosyth. It is his child. He had been in sole charge of it, and had seen it grow from a mud bank to what it is to-day. The late First Lord saw Colonel Exham at Rosyth, and told him he was very sorry that he would have to be retired, and promised to do his best to get him a pension, and he mentioned the sum of £200 a year. Colonel Exham did retire at the end of 1911, and he received a rather curt letter of thanks for his services to the Admiralty, but not one single farthing of pension or gratuity has been given to him in respect of those services. I may tell the House now that the great work at Rosyth, which will cost millions of money, has been designed by the man to whom the Admiralty for nine years paid £650 a year, and who entertained persons visiting the dock, and a grateful Government—I believe it is the Treasury and not the Admiralty—has refused to grant him a single farthing of pension or gratuity. I say it is a scandal and a shame. There is not a soul who has been connected with Rosyth, whether railway managers, representatives of Scottish local authorities, the Board of Admiralty, or anybody else, who has had occasion to come into contact with Colonel Exham, who will not bear the highest testimony to the value of his services from every point of view. To say that a man in that position, representing the Board of Admiralty for nine years, and who received £650 a year, a large portion of which he had to spend in entertaining, should have to leave without pension or gratuity, is a scandal. I say that these two cases are not only a scandal, but that they involve a breach of the previous traditions of the Board of Admiralty. It is a great asset to the country that the Board of Admiralty have always been able to obtain the best men in the country for the Navy, and that they have always treated, fairly and liberally, the men who have served the Navy well. This pinching is a new phase. The First Lord of the Admiralty is the one person who can go to the Treasury and say, "I will have this," and get it.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
Oh! yes, he can. The First Lord of the Admiralty is in a very strong position. The Navy must be adequately served, and it is the first requirement, whether in the civil or the naval department, that good service to the country ought to be fairly recognised. I will name three cases where that was done. Sir H. Tanner, Sir William White, and Sir Henry Pilkington, served the Admiralty in a civil capacity, but they gave no greater service than the two gentlemen I have mentioned. On retiring they obtained substantial gratuities or pensions. Why should similar recognition be refused to these two gentlemen, I think my Noble Friend (Lord C. Beresford) has some knowledge of Colonel Exham's services, and he can speak of what that officer has done for the Navy. I think I have made my case fairly clear. I ask the First Lord of the Admiralty to give a sympathetic reply, and to undertake to do his best with the Treasury in order to secure, at any rate, reasonable recognition of the services of these two gentlemen.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The hon. Gentleman has given the House very briefly and concisely an account of the services of these two distinguished officers. The point where I find myself in disagreement with him is where he says that the First Lord of the Admiralty has only to go to the Treasury and say, "This must be," and the consequence is that the Treasury will do as the Admiralty wish. I should certainly wish on the part of the Department to disclaim any such dangerous assumption of authority. Of course, it is true that on technical matters connected with the Naval Service the authority of naval experts must carry very great weight with the civil head of the Department, and with his political colleagues in the Government; but when you come to a question like this raised with respect to the two cases to which the hon. Gentleman referred, namely, the question of the financial treatment of public servants, then that is a matter which, not only in fact, but on the merits, the Treasury should be the judge, and it is a matter on which the Treasury is necessarily the highest expert authority. Every Department owes a debt of gratitude to the public servants who serve it faithfully, and we all feel that with respect to those attached to a Department, civil or military or naval, the successive heads of a Department can only entertain the very highest opinion of them. When the time comes for those officers to retire it is natural that 953 the various Departments should address the Treasury and say all there is to be said-and there is much to be said—on behalf of those public servants. We naturally plead the cases of those who have served us well. Then it is for the Treasury to consider those cases—not each one isolated as we would do in the Admiralty or the War Office—but to consider them having regard to the general range of the public service as a whole.
At the Treasury they have an immense body of rules, precedents, and practice, which has grown up, and which has not differed markedly under one Government or another, but which has developed steadily, for dealing with those public servants. They are in a much better position to measure one case against another and to judge of the rights, or wrongs of a case than the particular head of any spending Department. It would not be of any use for me to go through the details of either of these cases, but I can assure the hon. Gentleman that all the facts on the matters were brought to the attention of the Treasury, and that the cases were most carefully considered by them. After all, it is not a matter which merely affects the interests of the Government. It is a matter of carrying out the rules in a proper spirit. The financial interests which are at stake are insignificant as compared with those of administration. It is only a question of doing what is right, having regard to the general current of cases. In the cases referred to the facts unfolded to us were brought before the Treasury, and the Treasury formed the opinion that on the facts set before them there was no ground for special treatment. So far as Colonel Exham's case was concerned, the whole of that lay in the period before I became responsible in any way for the administration of naval affairs. In Sir Edward Raban's case I have to say that I have looked very carefully into the facts, and there is a new element in the case referred to by the hon. Gentleman which, I confess, was not fully before me when I last remitted the matter to the Treasury for their consideration. There is the question of the extra work which he did outside the regular work of his Department which was not stated in the previous communications with sufficient stress, and I have undertaken to bring that further aspect to the attention of my colleague, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Of course, it is a matter pertinent to that, for the hon. Gentleman opposite, who 954 was in a position of responsibility when the Works Department at the Admiralty was reorganised, to say that he and his colleagues had contemplated that some special recognition would be made of the extra duties which Sir Edward Raban was discharging. Therefore, so far as that case is concerned, I shall bring these further points to the attention of my right hon. Friend. But I must say that in these matters the spending Departments are bound to allow the Treasury, which is responsible for the whole of the public Services, to judge. May I ask the Committee, although it is not strictly relevant to the point, to grant me their indulgence by permitting me to be absent from the Chamber this evening, as I made a public engagement before this Debate was fixed which it would be very difficult not to fulfil. The Vote now before the Committee deals with matters which are fully under the charge of my right hon. Friend, and he is much more competent than I am to deal with them. I venture to hope that the Committee will grant this request.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
I quite understand what the right hon. Gentleman has said about the case of Sir Edward Raban, but I hope he will not confine his representations to that case, and that he will also make representations in regard to Colonel Exham, whose case was quite as strong.
§ Lord C. BERESFORD
I quite appreciate the difficulty the right hon. Gentleman is in with respect to the case of Colonel Exham. The matter was settled by his predecessor, but I am sure he will acknowledge that here was a man who undertook to create one of the greatest mechanical works ever done in this country. He created it out of his own brain, and the question which should be kept in view is, What would he have got for that work if he had been an engineer not in the service of the Admiralty? He would have been paid promptly. It is inconceivable that a man who has served the State in the Army and is receiving a pension of £450, should only be given £650 extra for this enormous work. I am not saying a word against the First Lord of the Admiralty on this occasion, but the right hon. Gentleman is perfectly aware that this House can tell the Treasury that they ought to be fair. There was a case recently in which the Treasury would not 955 give Mrs. Horn £266, but we made the Treasury give it. I think if we had an expression of opinion that this work was very valuable, something would be done. The right hon. Gentleman knows that it was an enormous work. It was conceived and carried out by the brain of this one man, and surely we should treat him properly. Apart from the Army pension of £450, and his salary of £650 while employed by the Admiralty, he has not got a single shilling. I should be perfectly willing to leave it to the First Lord of the Admiralty, but I think that if the House would ponder over this, and if we could get a Division upon it, the House would say that that man was not paid properly and ought to be paid more than £450 a year for executing this enormous work for the, benefit of the State. I beg to move to reduce this Vote by £100, in order to test the sense of the House on this question.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Of course, the Noble Lord is entitled to move a reduction of the Vote, but I should point out that with regard to this Debate we cannot discuss the responsibility of the Treasury, although it is quite right to ask that renewed representations should be made. Of course I will put the Motion if the Noble Lord desires.
§ Lord C. BERESFORD
If the right hon. Gentleman will tell us that he will look into the case himself again I feel confident that when he does look into it this man will get some fair gratuity.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I looked very carefully into the cases of both Colonel Exham and Sir Edward Raban, and I have represented all the facts in both cases to the proper authorities. I have said that I will make further representation about Sir Edward Raban. My difficulty in reopening the case of Colonel Exham—of course I can give no pledge as to the decision—is that I am not aware of any new fact that has not already been laid before the Treasury. Of course I agree that when the arrangement is discussed in the House of Commons that is a matter which Departments are bound to take cognisance of, and any suggestion to the contrary reflects on the influence and value of our Debates. Therefore the fact that it had been discussed in Committee will certainly make it necessary for me to draw the attention of the Treasury to the observations which have been made.
§ Lord C. BERESFORD
After the right hon. Gentleman's candid statement, I am prepared to withdraw my Motion.
§ Mr. HOHLER
I have one or two cases to bring forward, in which the persons concerned are not in quite such a comfortable position in life, but I think that their cases are equally deserving of the attention and consideration of this House. The first is that of a hired messenger who has served the Crown for fifty-five years and is now discharged without a pension. All he has got is a gratuity, I think, of about £70. There is not a word against him and he was an excellent servant. It seems an extraordinary thing that in those circumstances there should be no means by which some small pension could be given to such a man to aid him in his remaining days. I have written to the Financial Secretary about it, and thought that I had found a way by which it could be done, but I regret to say that he did not accent my view. I think that the case of this very humble servant, though of a different character from that of the two distinguished officers to whom reference has been made, is equally deserving of consideration, which I trust will be given to it by whoever has the final word in these matters. It is nothing short of a scandal that after fifty-five years of service he has no pension. There is no private individual who after a service of fifty-five years would turn off a servant at the age of seventy with a small gratuity.
There are two other cases to which I attach equally great importance. The rule in reference to service in the dockyard is that at the age of sixty the workman has to retire. There are exceptions, about which I need not trouble, which may give an extension for a year or two. During the past year there has been a great demand for labour, and there has been great pressure, more particularly in the dockyards, in order to enable the men to get through the work. I have two cases of men who have attained the age of sixty and were entitled to gratuities for their services during the time they had been employed under the Crown. They inquired, and were given to understand that in no case would it affect their claim in any way to the compassionate allowance which they had really earned at the age of sixty, but in deference to an invitation made to them they continued to serve on One of the two cases in which I am 957 interested is now before the Financial Secretary to the Admiralty. The other he will also have, I think, in due course. In these cases the two men unfortunately died within a few months of their attaining the age of sixty. Though they had earned their gratuity at that age, and could have taken it and walked out, yet because they continued to serve at the invitation of the officers of the Admiralty at Chatham their widows have been refused the sums to which their late husbands were entitled. Surely those moneys have been earned, and ought to be paid to these widows. A small sum of about £50 or £60 should be paid in each case by the country, and paid gladly. Both men were of excellent character. They served on in the interests of the country, because you could not get similar men for that class of work outside. I ask that the Admiralty should take care that those three persons and persons in similar positions in other yards should receive what in my judgment is only their just right.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Does the hon. Member suggest that this is a matter that could be done without an alteration of the Superannuation Act?
§ The CHAIRMAN
Of course, if it could be done that would be another matter, but my impression is to the contrary.
§ Mr. HOHLER
I could only have one impression in the matter. My view is that such injustice could not be tolerated, and that it can be done without any alteration in the Superannuation Act. It is within the discretion of the Treasury to say that there is a case for superannuation in the case of the hired messenger, and that in the case of the other men the money has been earned, and should go to their representatives, and ought to have been included in the Votes.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I desire to ask the Government this question: Could this be done without an alteration of the Superannuation Acts?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
The hired man with whom the hon. Member was dealing is not a man who is pensionable. He is eligible to a gratuity of £60 under the Regulations. In the case of the other men 958 instead of retiring and taking their gratuity they go on for two or three years, and then they die, and the hon. and learned Member says, "Why are not you paying the gratuity to their dependents which they had earned, and for which they would have been eligible if they had left at sixty? "As to the equity of that I will not go into it. All I will say is that in my opinion it could not be done without an alteration in the Superannuation Act.
§ Mr. HOHLER
I have said all that I desire to say on that matter. I was passing to another subject which is before the Admiralty—the scheme with regard to workmen's compensation. I raise it because the scheme expires shortly, on the 30th June, and I desire to refer to the defects of that scheme and its administration. The Treasury are the sole judges as to whether or not a man is entitled to compensation. You have to prove that his claim is made to the satisfaction of the Treasury. I only knew a little about the Treasury, but I understood, and I think I am quite right about it, that the Treasury consisted of the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Junior Lords of the Treasury. They are a changing lot, and whether they understand much about justice is open to doubt. The way in which they met the claims with regard to a man named Lund and a man named Scott, I consider nothing short of a scandal. I wrote long letters on the matter, and I know that the Admiralty were with me to this extent, that they told me that the cases had been forwarded to the Treasury for determination. Then I was met by a decision of the present Financial Secretary to the Treasury, and, with great deference to his ability, I am bound to say that in my judgment, unless you have got something which he thinks can command votes, you will have great difficutly in getting anything out of him. That is his class entirely. If it is a question as to the Insurance Act, and he thinks that it is going to command votes, you will get something, but in individual cases of men who are suffering wrong you can get nothing out of him at all.
§ Mr. HOHLER
I am entitled to make my own comment and have my own views. The way in which I have been met by the Financial Secretary In these cases is 959 wholly improper, and when I put a question in this House I thought that when a matter had to be proved to the satisfaction of the Treasury, as the scheme required, that the scheme meant what it said. When I put a question to the Prime Minister on this point I am told that "the satisfaction of the Treasury" is a mere matter of departmental inquiry. I fought the case of a man named Lund for two or three years, and it was not until he was locked up in a lunatic asylum that I got full compensation for him. I could not get anything out of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, and I ultimately had to take the matter to the Registrar of Friendly Societies in order to ventilate the wrong this man had sustained. Eventually I got twenty-four-sixtieths, and that only with reluctance. That case caused me infinite trouble. The administration of this workmen's compensation scheme in the hands of the Treasury is nothing short of a scandal. There is another case in which I have met with a refusal from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, though I sent him the doctor's certificate, and gave him the statement of the position of the workman, who is as honest and truthful a man as ever walked.
Then there is the case of a workman named Stubbs, who was engaged in the yard for a considerable number of years. Stubbs was caught in a machine in October of 1905. He was whirled round, and his arm was broken in six places between the elbow and shoulder; he was bruised about the body. He was three months in the Naval Hospital, and three months an out patient. That brought him to April, 1906, when he resumed work. His fellow workmen can testify that he was a shattered and changed man. I have the certificate dated July, 1912, of Dr. Lane Smith, who certified that Stubbs had been under treatment at various periods for nearly five years, and that he was suffering from nervous shock as the result of an accident some six years ago, when he was crushed in a machine, and his arm fractured in several places. I have another doctor's certificate in regard to that case. I offered to call the workmen who knew him to testify to his altered appearance, and how he was broken down in health. The man has a wife and six children, and he struggled on to keep at work, but he was constantly out of the yard. I had his discharge certificate, 960 Which says that he was discharged "on account of extended illness." That was in 1912. This man, with a wife and family dependent upon him, entirely broke down, and the medical certificate of July, 1912, shows what was his condition. I could not get a halfpenny out of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. I sent the certificate to the right hon. Gentleman, and he wrote a letter expressing surprise that it had not been sent before; as if my word could not have been accepted. Instead of sending me a letter expressing surprise, I should have thought that he would have given me the money. But that is the way in which these men are treated. Stubbs had to go to other hospitals to obtain treatment, and then, not being able to get work, he went to Canada, leaving his wife and children here. My recollection is that this case was brought before the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty, who very kindly undertook to see whether the man could be longer retained here—very kind of him it was, too! But by that time the man had gone to Canada, and it was too late. Still there are the wife and children, who, I submit, are entitled to the money. Who can doubt that a man whose arm has been broken in six places should not have some provision made for him? Yet the result has been that not a halfpenny could be obtained for that man.
Then there is the case of a man named Clark, whose forefinger was broken a year before he was discharged from the yard. He cannot get a halfpenny. I have sent a certificate to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, who writes back to say that Clark was not "appreciably impaired." To sustain an injury at sixty years of age does not leave a man in the condition he was in before. Fortunately, in this instance, the man had a very small Army pension. He had been in the band, and if the joint of his forefinger had not been injured he might have been able to earn something as a musician. But now he cannot. I submit that the scheme, in view of the manner in which it is administered by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, is unsatisfactory. There should be some appeal, and I suggest that it should be to the Registrar of Friendly Societies. Otherwise, broadly speaking, I think the scheme is a good one. The men have advantages under it, but they have also grave disadvantages. They have the advantage of half-pay from the first day of the injury, but apart from that they get 961 no advantage. I think it is desirable, in regard to all these questions, to avoid litigation; people should never go to law unless they are denied justice at every other door. I am very desirous that these Men should have the scheme of compensation properly administered, and what I do want to secure is the establishment of some tribunal of appeal against the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. The workman should be in a position to say that he would not accept the Financial Secretary's decision, and that he would take his case before an independent person on appeal. I suggest the Registrar of Friendly Societies. My experience at the Bar has taught me that it is an excellent tribunal; there are no costs on either side; it is inexpensive and businesslike; and there is a skilled lawyer to hear the ease and to do justice. I do not blame the present Financial Secretary to the Treasury more than others, but I submit that a man should be in a position to get his case reviewed on appeal.
I have the case of a man who, in 1905, was injured, his eyesight being affected and his hearing being permanently lost. He was discharged from the yard two or three months afterwards. What amount do you think was obtained from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury? Two shillings a week. Such administration is ludicrous and incredible. This man has not been able to get work since. A large part of the poverty and distress with which we have to deal in dockyard constituencies really arise from cases of this kind.
There are several cases still before me. In one instance a woman lost the finger of her right hand. She got 2s. a week, which was afterwards commuted to £50. She has been unable to work since as a seamstress. What I desire is that all these cases should be dealt with on some general and proper system. If it is believed that an injustice is being done to a workman or his dependants, there should be a right of appeal to some independent person against the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. I do feel most strongly in regard to the cases of which I have spoken. The scheme, I may also point out, is very defective in another respect. I have already said that I object to it in regard to the Treasury's present finality of decision. The scheme purports that workmen should be entitled to receive free treatment in the hospital, and, if the hospital is not available, should receive free medical attendance In my view the scheme is a contract that the workmen 962 shall receive those benefits. Strictly, you could not sue under the Act at all, but you could sue on the contract for any breach of it. Obviously you cannot sue where the breach is by the Treasury, who say, "We are not satisfied." But in regard to this particular point about medical treatment, a man could sue if he incurred expenses by going to a doctor. That is my view. There is the case of a man named Farrer, who sustained an injury, and I have written to the Treasury about it. This man has had to attend at the Maidstone Hospital to get treatment, and he has also had to attend a doctor. The Admiralty by their contract have undertaken to give him medical attendance, yet they have never done it. I submit, therefore, that they ought to make this man some allowance or some compensation. I only ask for a small amount, but I submit to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty that Farrer's is a perfectly undefended case, and something ought to be done for him. Another aspect in which I complain of the scheme is that it sets up a number of degrees of injury—"slightly impaired, materially impaired, or totally destroyed." What a ridiculous complexity. What is the meaning of "slightly impaired, materially impaired, or totally destroyed"?
§ Mr. HOHLER
I have considered the first six months' "hurt" pay, but it is after the first six months that. I am dealing with. The Act says simply that a man is entitled to receive half his wages or the difference between what he would have earned and what he was earning, not exceeding half his wages. But before that can be ascertained we have to see whether the man is "slightly impaired or materially impaired." The thing is impossible. I make no apologies for having spoken at some length on this subject, for I feel that there should be some proper means of dealing with all these claims. I have referred to this scheme more particularly because the Admiralty scheme is about to expire and a new one is to be made or proposed and submitted to the Registrar of Friendly Societies for certification, so that they can meet and deal with these points and get rid of them. I have pressed two points, and it is exceedingly desirable to have the scheme well administered, as nobody wants to indulge in litigation. I 963 hope the strongest pressure will be used with the Treasury to see that the men get a scheme in which justice may be simply and efficiently done without having to come here and complain of what are, in my judgment, hopeless shortcomings with regard to this class of case.
§ Mr. C. DUNCAN
This is not the first time that this subject has been ventilated. I suppose most of those who know anything about dockyard employés are aware that these cases are constantly recurring, and I suppose, so long as any scheme exists covering dockyard employés so long will these cases come to the House of Commons. The hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Hohler) knows as well as I do that there is a proper system and that this House has passed certain laws to deal with these cases. It amazes me to think that the hon. and learned Gentleman should suggest that these cases would be properly dealt with and settled by the Registrar of Friendly Societies instead of under the Compensation Act.
§ Mr. HOHLER
My point is that I do not want the men to lose the advantage they get. They cannot get paid for the first week until they are two weeks out of employment under the other system, but under this scheme they can get it from the first day. I do not want them to Jose that advantage, and that is the reason.
§ Mr. DUNCAN
I am quite familiar with that, just as I understand that the ripe cherry is always on the outside of the bunch. My position is this, that I do not believe, and I hope I never shall believe, that the men in the dockyard towns should ever have any greater advantages or disadvantages than the people in private life. This House has passed a Compensation Act, and I want the men engaged in the dockyards of this country to be on exactly the same terms before the law as the men engaged in the private shipbuilding yards up and down the country. There are millions of workpeople under the Compensation Act, and there are of course thousands of cases being tried in the Courts of the country. The result is that a vast body of opinion, experience, and judgment is being acquired in the County Courts with regard to compensation cases. All that experience is thrown to the wind when we come to deal with cases under the scheme as it affects Government dockyards. The result is 964 that as soon as any case is slightly abnormal, or as soon as the question arises as to which class of case it comes under in the scheme, the trouble begins. The lead poisoning case is quite within the memory of the House. It was a difficult case, I admit, but still I venture to say that if that case had gone to the County Court there would not have been the slightest hesitation as to that man being entitled to compensation. If the dockyard men are going to have certain privileges and advantages, surely it is obvious that under any scheme you are also going to have disadvantages! So long as those men are under this scheme, and so long as the decision rests in the hands of some official, of whichever side may be in power, you are bound to have difficulties arising in those cases. I think the time of this House should not be wasted in discussing these little twopenny-halfpenny tinpot cases. There is a proper place for them, and that is the County Court. We shall never get any farther so long as Members representing dockyard towns are compelled by force of circumstances to bring those cases up here. I have not a word of blame or reflection for those hon. Members. It is their business to bring those cases to the House of Commons and endeavour to obtain what they think is justice for the people they represent. I wish to give them every credit for the work they do in that direction.
§ Mr. DUNCAN
That is exactly the point I want the men to come under the Compensation Act. The hon. Member, I think, does not understand the position. As I understand the matter, it is entirely within the option of those men as to whether they come within the scheme or not. If they do not come within the scheme, they must naturally fall inside the Compensation Act. Therefore I am arguing here to-day, if those men were able to come under the Compensation Act, we should do away with this special pleading in special cases in the House of Commons, and those Members who desire would be able to raise other and more important questions in connection with what is, after all, a great and important section of the nation, the Navy, and questions which it would be much better the House should be engaged in discussing, than these tinpot cases, which ought to be settled in half an hour in the County Court, with the practice and experience of the County 965 Court judges. I am not speaking, after all, without a very wide knowledge of compensation cases. Taking the whole cases under the scheme in the dockyard towns, I am convinced in my own mind that the men employed in those dockyards would be infinitely better off under the Compensation Act. That would also save Members representing those constituencies from what must be an exceedingly unpleasant duty at times, and all these applications about cases, some of which there can be no doubt are cases which are most excruciatingly hard. If this scheme were done away with, it seems to me that no injustice would be experienced if the men were brought under the scope of the Compensation Act, and the law, as administered by the County Court judges, with their wide experience, would settle any of these trifling, petty differences which might arise. I think that is the way out. So long as we are granting privileges to dockyard men over and above ordinary workmen, so long are you going to have these cases in the House of Commons. The hon. and learned Gentleman suggested a Court of Appeal. He must have forgotten that this is his Court of Appeal. Is the time of the House to be wasted debating these cases year after year, and sometimes the same case, and the time of 670 Members to be wasted in discussing what the County Court judge would settle in fifteen minutes?
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
I am sure we are all very much obliged to the hon. Member for Chatham (Mr. Hohler) and the hon. Member for Barrow (Mr. Duncan) for their interesting speeches, although they appeared to entirely differ. The hon. Member for Barrow appeared to direct the attention of the House to the fact that the scheme of the Government is of no value whatever, and he would like to see that scheme done away with altogether, and all the men brought under the Workmen's Compensation Act. There may be some ground for his suggestion. I admit that my own experience shows me that there are a considerable number of men in the yards who do not altogether value the scheme which has been brought before them by the Admiralty, and to which they have subscribed They say they would rather get out of it. The answer of the Admiralty is that "you can get out of it and you can go back to the Workmen's Compensation Act," but, they declare, that the men do not take advantage of the alternative, that they 966 remain under the scheme when they might come under the Workmen's Compensation Act. If that be the case, it does not prove, at any rate conclusively, that these men would prefer altogether to be brought under the Workmen's Compensation Act. With regard to the speech made by the hon. Member for Chatham, I listened to all his cases with much attention. I do not propose to trouble the House with many cases of a similar kind, not that I could not do so, because in my own experience I have come across many cases of a similar nature where the Treasury have not acted, I will not say quite fairly, but at any rate with sympathy, and in which they have entirely refused to budge one inch from their decisions, which have affected men and their families very hardly.
I brought a case under notice just now in which the right hon. Gentleman (Dr. Macnamara) himself intervened because he has a sympathetic nature. It was because he looked at the matter in a common sense and proper manner that he was able to give a decision, although it was after three years which allowed a woman and her child to have a pension. If the Admiralty, or anyone in the Admiralty, was in the position of being able to look at matters in this light, it would certainly be much better for the people who work in the dockyards. They would know they had some sympathy shown to them from a Government Department, which I am sorry to say is quite unusual with the exception of the Admiralty. I would like, if I may, to cite a case to the House which I brought up just now in mistake, that of a woman, case "B." She is the widow of a man who was a hired skilled labourer in the dockyard. The man died of paralysis; there is no doubt of that. An inquest was held. At the inquest, the doctor who had attended him at the time of his death was present, but was unable to say with absolute accuracy that the primary cause of death was paralysis arising from the accident he met with in the yard, the result being that the Admiralty, and I presume the Treasury, came to the conclusion that although the man might have died of paralysis, his illness did not result from the accident he met with in the yard. If that was so, how came it that the man was attended by three different doctors, all of whom were in a position to say that he died of paralysis, and one of whom, the one who attended him from the first, was in a position to say that he died from paralysis contracted from an accident met 967 with in the yard? What did the Government do? I brought the case to their notice, and they told me that there was no remedy. I have their letter of the 6th May:—In reply to your letter of the 9th ultimo, relative to the question of the award of compensation to the widow of B., formerly a hired skilled labourer in the yard, I am commanded by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to inform you that as no new medical evidence has since been adduced, there are no grounds upon which the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury could be invited to modify their decision, which was only arrived at after consultation with the Government medical referee.I will not discuss the merits of the Government medical referee. I will simply bring to the right hon. Gentleman's notice the words, "as no new medical evidence has been adduced." Ought not the Admiralty to have endeavoured to find such medical evidence as would enable them to say positively that this man had not contracted paralysis from an accident in the yard? If that was not within their province, why did not the medical referee consult the doctor who attended the man immediately after the first accident and also within a month of his? Instead of that, it is left to an outsider to press the case home on the Admiralty. I have had communications with both doctors—the one who attended the inquest and the one who attended the man in the first instance. The doctor who attended the man in the first instance says positively that the paralysis was brought on by the accident in the yard, and that if he had been able to attend the inquest he would have said so then. The other doctor says that after consulting his friend who had the first notes of the case he is of the same opinion. Therefore, I have now in my possession the new medical evidence which I propose to send to the Admiralty, and I have no doubt that in course of time this woman will get the compensation that she deserves. But my point is that she ought not to have had to wait all this time. The case ought to have been gone into by the Admiralty, who themselves ought to have ascertained, as I have ascertained, that this man died of paralysis contracted from an accident met with in the yard.
I wish also to refer to the Admiralty regulations governing pensions to men injured in the yard. The hon. Member for Chatham (Mr. Hohler) referred to the limitations which the Admiralty think proper to place in their scheme. One of those limitations is in reference to a man being "materially impaired." I do not 968 propose to ask, as he asked, why those limitations are placed in the scheme. I know why they are there. It is to enable the Admiralty to give smaller pensions in certain cases, so that a man who is very much hurt will receive more than a man who is hurt in a lesser degree. That may be all very well, but I think the right hon. Gentleman will agree that. Agree limitation may bear rather hardly upon individuals. I have come across a number of cases in which men have been told by the Admiralty doctor, "You are not exactly prevented from earning your living; you are only impaired; therefore your pension will be on a much lower scale." These men come to me over and over again. They can never get any other work. Nobody will employ them because they cannot be insured under the Workmen's Compensation Act. Hence they are obliged to walk about with pensions of 2s., 3s. or 4s. a week, on which they are supposed to keep wife and family. I hope that when we have the new scheme these absurd reservations will not be included, or, if included, that a more liberal construction will be placed upon them. Another matter closely connected with this is the question of work in the yards given to men who are injured or to their widows and orphans. The whole matter originated with the Financial Secretary, and a very worthy idea it was, but it can only be carried out in such a limited manner that it is not of very much use. He decided that a certain number of men who had been injured in the Navy or in the dockyard should be provided with light work in the yard. That is part of their compensation. But directly these places are filled up, the men go on living for a long time; consequently the places are never vacant. Hence you have a large number of people eligible and the Admiralty saying that they will give them light work to do, but there is no such work to be obtained. As to the widows and orphans, the Admiralty says that there is plenty of work for them in the colour loft, the ropery, and so on. I brought forward two cases, widows of men who had worked all their lives in the dockyards, and the Admiralty said, "They shall have work provided for them in the ropery; but it is a local matter, and you must make application locally. "I made application locally, but there was no vacancy in the ropery or in the colour loft, and there is no likelihood of a vacancy unless some- 969 body dies or marries. That is the position in which these poor people are placed. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be able to make a satisfactory statement in reference to these matters.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Sir J. D. REES
The speech of the hon. Member for Barrow (Mr. Duncan) illustrated very clearly, I think, how much more hon. Members on this side are the real friends of the working men than hon. Members who at any rate claim more particularly to represent them. The tone of that speech seemed to be extremely unfair, not only to the hon. Members who brought these cases forward, but to those on whose behalf they spoke. The position as regards the Workmen's Compensation Act is most unsatisfactory, and since the passing of the so-called National Insurance Act it has become more and more complicated and unsatisfactory to everybody concerned. There have been brought forward to-day by the hon. and gallant Member for Chelmsford, the cases of two gallant officers. In the encounter between the hon. and gallant Member and the First Lord, I thought that both were right. The hon. and gallant Member rightly said that these gallant officers had been most insufficiently paid for the great services they had rendered, and the First Lord was equally right in saying that he was not able to go to the Treasury and get the necessary funds for properly compensating them. But why was he unable to go? He ought to have been able to go. The reason he cannot go, and the reason why the defences are starved, and gallant officers are prejudiced, is that the chief inventor and promoter of fantastic and Socialistic legislation in the very Minister who should be in charge of the Treasury, and whose privilege and first duty it ought to be to provide adequate funds for the defence of the country and for the payment of compensation for those gallant officers who carry it on. These hard cases are not the fault of the Secretary to the Admiralty at all. The head of the Treasury himself has opened an account of some £20,000,000 which may next year run up to £50,000,000 or £60,000,000, and at no distant date equal the expenditure on the whole of the Navy; consequently there are not available the funds which I believe the taxpayers of the country would rather see provided than have these fantastic and incalculable schemes of extravagant legislation. I endeavoured to get the Prime Minister to confess that he was responsible for control 970 in this respect. He, however, repudiated the suggestion, saying that, while technically it might be so, as lie was First Lord of the Treasury, the actual control was under the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I think my hon. and gallant Friend erred in bringing any charge against the Secretary to the Admiralty, who, as far as I can judge, carries out his duties in a manner which gives great satisfaction. The fault is entirely that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is not in order on this occasion to make any attack on the Treasury except in the most general terms, but I do think that a distinction should be drawn, and that the indictment made by an hon. Member who preceded me should be laid not against the Secretary to the Admiralty, who I believe is not in the least responsible, but that it should be laid against the Chancellor of the Exchequer, against whom, if I could, I would press it to the utmost degree.
There is a point, a very small point I admit, but one which I think ought to be cleared up—and I acknowledge that the right hon. Gentleman has been most courteous to me—a matter which comes under the same heading—"Appropriations-in-Aid." The sum is £350. It is repeated in identical figures for the current year. It is a sum received from the Government of India, a fixed commuted contribution towards the cost of superannuation allowances to members of the transport department who work in connection with Indian troop services. I consulted the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Melton Division, who, unlike myself, has had the advantage of serving both as a soldier and as a Civil servant, but he could not make out what the charge really was, or I should not have troubled the right hon. Gentleman. It is not at all clear what it relates to. I imagine myself that it refers to payments made to certain members of the Home Service Transport Department who were detailed for duty upon the transport ships which take the British regiments out to India. Still, if that conjecture is right, that leaves me in some doubt, because in the case of regiments which leave this country for duty abroad they are naturally under military orders, and are supposed to be in their own barracks all the time they are on board the troopships. That being so, how is it that a charge like this is to be found in the Naval Estimates? I should have thought it would have more naturally appeared in the Army Estimates.
§ Sir J. D. REES
Is that the reason, then, that this charge is here? If the right hon. Gentleman tells me that it is because the Admiralty undertake the transport arrangements then I readily accept his statement, and will not further trouble the House with it. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not listen at all to what was said by the hon. Member for Barrow in a speech which seemed to me to show very little sympathy with the poor, and that he will take into account what was said by my hon. and learned Friend regarding the Treasury; that he will bring it home, not to the Secretary of the Treasury, but to the Minister who creates all these difficulties by emptying the Treasury, that is to say, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ Mr. FALLE
I would just like to put one question to the right hon. Gentleman before we conclude this Vote: Is the Admiralty going to introduce the new compensation scheme and to allow the men in the dockyards to choose between the new compensation scheme and the Workmen's Compensation Act, or is the right hon. Gentleman only going to allow them a choice between the present compensation scheme and the present Compensation Act?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
I will first deal with the point raised by the hon. Member opposite (Sir J. D. Rees) in relation to the contribution towards the cost of superannuation allowance to the members of the transport department. This is in accordance with the recommendation of the Committee on the, Indian Troop Service.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
We are responsible for the transport of the troops. We have certain officials in our transport department at the Admiralty who some day will be retired on retired pay or half-pay or pension allowances; therefore they are put proportionately upon this particular Vote from the Government of India. The Government of India gives us some return and we take a portion of that upon this Vote. There was the further question as to the scheme under the Workmen's Compensation Act, and the position of the Admiralty and their employés in regard to it. The first Compensation Act was passed in 1897, and came 972 into force on 1st July, 1898. At that time compensation to widows and children in was not new in the Admiralty service, or indeed in other Government services. We already had had provision prior to that Act for hurt pay for men injured and for compensation to widows and children in the case of death. On the whole the privileges of the system which was in vogue before the Workmen's Compensation Act were more favourable than those which were set up by the Workmen's Compensation Act. That being so, at the instance of the Treasury, it was suggested that advantage might be taken, under Section 3 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, so that our men could be contracted out. As a condition of the arrangements made, the Registrar-General of Friendly Societies has to certify that the scheme put forward, and before contracting out is allowed, is not less favourable to the general body of workmen, and their dependents, than the provision of the Workmen's Compensation Act itself. In the first instance, then, steps were taken to ascertain the views of the men, and finally the scheme was submitted for acceptance or rejection. In point of fact it was accepted practically unanimously, only sixteen men voting for rejection out of a total of 31,600 that were then in our employ. The main factor in this undoubtedly was that under the original Workmen's Compensation Act a man could not get hurt pay unless his illness was for more than a fortnight, whereas from the beginning our scheme provided for hurt pay at once. Further, if a man met with an accident, and had had to be compensated subsequently under the Compensation Act, the expense of his time in the hospital and the treatment are put against the compensation afterwards received.
That is not the case in our scheme, and never has been, and these are the reasons I imagine which led the men of their own volition to prefer our scheme. That scheme expired on 30th June, 1905, and it was re-certified by the Registrar as from 1st July of that year. On that occasion we had 39,000 men, and only thirty-one rejected it. Then the Workmen's Compensation Act of 1906 came in, and improved the position in regard to the hurt pay, in that it made the previous fortnight a week. Here again our scheme was better than the modified Workmen's Compensation Act. In the new Act the workman could not get hurt pay if his injury 973 did not extend at least for a week; the existing scheme of ours, which is now expiring on the 30th of this month, and which came into operation in 1908, was better. This scheme was accepted by 38,000 men and rejected by only 17; so that all these three schemes have been accepted with practical unanimity by the men, the only material difference between this scheme and its predecessors was that the withdrawal from the scheme could be made at any time by the workmen. This modification was necessary in consequence of Sub-section (3) of Section 3 of the Act of 1906. Our present scheme expires on 30th June. With regard to the new scheme to replace it a number of representations have been made to us at the annual hearing of the petitions. The Board of Admiralty took occasion last Wednesday to call to London various representative workmen from all the yards. I met them, and we discussed together the various questions involved in relation to the new scheme, I was careful to explain that our jurisdiction is somewhat limited; the functions of the Treasury; the powers and duties of the Registrar-General. Having heard the views, I said that I would communicate with the Treasury at once, and that I had previously made certain communications to the Treasury arising out of the petitions sent to me. I again communicated with the Treasury, following the meeting, with regard to questions arising out of the new scheme.
The Registrar-General is responsible for the submission of the men to the scheme, after he has received it from the Treasury, and after satisfying himself that it conforms to the provisions of the Act regarding schemes. He will decide in what manner the scheme has to be submitted to the men for their approval or rejection. The last time it was submitted was by way of poster in the workshops in a form approved by the Registrar. I think myself that every man ought to have a copy of it, and if it is within my jurisdiction—I am not quite sure whether it is not a matter for the Registrar—I will endeavour to see that every man gets a copy. After a reasonable lapse of time in which the Registrar will receive communications or deputations from the workmen he will either give his certificate or intimate the workmen's wishes with regard to any amendment of the scheme. I should like to be perfectly fair; we cannot, and do not, wish to make it any disadvantage to a man's appointment that he should accept this or the other scheme. He must act for 974 himself. Further, if he is in this scheme, if he accepts it he can substitute the Act for it at any time by signing this form which I hold in my hand, and which allows his withdrawal from the scheme. It states:—I, the undersigned, being a workman at present employed as a—say fitter,in (H.M. Dockyard Department………), who signed a contract on, ……… 190…, that the provisions of the above scheme should be substituted for the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1906, during the continuance of my said employment as a (fitter), or my employment in any other capacity in the said (dockyard) or in any other Government dockyard or Admiralty Establishment, hereby give notice of my desire to withdraw from the said scheme, and henceforth to be dealt with, in case of injury, solely in the manner provided by the aforesaid Act. Signed. ………
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
I think it is only about twenty-four hours. Let me say that is subject to correction, but it is a very short time; it is not a lengthy notice, but sufficient for the purposes of administration. That is actually how the matter stands. With regard to arbitration, undoubtedly the men put forward their claim vigorously that there should be some independent tribunal which should settle the cases in dispute, and they say that the Treasury have no right to be the judge in their on behalf. We are not judges on our own behalf, but if any criticism, or doubt, or conflict arises on the medical testimony, we send the matter to be considered by the Treasury, and the hon. Member for Chatham can send in any cases he has.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
The hon. Member will be happy to know that they will be fully examined on their merits. The Treasury have a referee; it is not a subject for us. He can call any additional medical testimony he likes, and the Treasury's medical referee can also call in any assistance he likes to deal with the matter.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
Oh, certainly! But he is entirely beyond the control of the Director-General of the Admiralty; he has nothing to do with us, and he has the most complete authority to call other testimony. I should like to say this, after an experience of five years, especially as the hon. Member for Chatham has sent in cases, 975 that, if I am to judge by the Treasury's decisions I found the Treasury medical referee went with the greatest care into cases, and I should say his intentions are entirely sympathetic towards the working people whose cases are put into his hands. This scheme is more expensive to the Crown than the Workmen's Compensation Act. There is not a shadow of doubt about that. If the men want the Workmen's Compensation Act, then for goodness sake let them have it. If they do not want our scheme and if they want the Workmen's Compensation Act and the right to go to the County Court, it will mean more delay and expense; but that is their affair. Here is a scheme that is more disadvantageous to the Crown and more costly to the Crown, and I would advise the men, speaking entirely on their behalf, to take this scheme; but they can please themselves. There are points in this scheme upon which I made representations to the Treasury, but they are outside my jurisdiction altogether. All I can say to the Treasury is, "Here are our suggestions, will you consider them?" These regulations are made, and whatever the result may be when the scheme is devised, the Treasury will submit it to the Registrar who will take the proper course to see the men are fully safeguarded, and the men will have the fullest opportunity of saying which course they will adopt. I should like to thank the Treasury for the sympathetic way in which they met any representations I made to them, and they have been many, in connection with this case. I thank them for the sympathetic way in which they met me and also for the sympathetic consideration they have given to the suggestions put forward in connection with the new scheme to take the place of the old scheme.
§ Lord C. BERESFORD
The hon. Member for Barrow complained that dockyard Members brought up these cases which are cases of infinite distress that many of the dockyard men have laboured under, and that many of the wives of these men have laboured under when their husbands lost their lives, under this scheme of contracting out. The hon. Member for Barrow laid down the law that they ought to take the compensation scheme. Surely the men ought to know what is best for them, and by an enormous majority they voted for the contracting out scheme. I think the hon. Member for Barrow was most unfair. He has no right 976 to say in this House that such cases as the Horne case or cases of lead poisoning or cases where men lost their lives in the dockyard are brought up by hon. Members because they want to catch votes. It is our business to bring up these cases. And why have we got to do it? Because under the scheme of the Treasury, the Treasury are judge, jury, and everything else, Nothing could be more apparent than that in the Horne case. The Horne case was brought to the County Court and the County Court gave it in favour of Mrs. Horne, but the Admiralty wanted to appeal and what was the result? That no workman will ever again go to the County Court.
§ Lord C. BERESFORD
He cannot go to the County Court to get that adjudication as to whether he is right or wrong in contracting out.
§ Lord C. BERESFORD
These cases, as they have cropped up, have been brought up by Members of the dockyard constituencies. Therefore something is wrong, and I say you ought to have some other course. It is all very well for the hon. Member for Barrow to say that the men ought to do this. He is talking about what might, could, or should be. We are talking about what is. The men want to contract out, and if they do that they should be perfectly fairly treated, so that cases which my hon. Friends who are Members for dockyard constituencies bring up need never come before this House. If they did not come before this House these people never would get a shilling, and therefore it is wrong to complain that we have brought them before the House. The fact remains that there is something wrong, and I cannot conceive why the right hon. Gentleman cannot see that these cases have happened under this law. They are brought before this House, and we get the cases remedied, which shows that these men are in the right and the Admiralty are in the wrong. Some other scheme ought to be brought forward, so that the men would have the right to appeal and not to be merely adjudicated upon by the Treasury as they are now. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to look up these cases. He knows these things have happened and that they ought not to happen. He should devise some scheme to prevent them happening again. They 977 are not tinpot things; they are things that concern the poorest men working for the State, and in many cases they cause the greatest hardship. I agree these things ought not to have to come before this House, and we ought to have legislation to prevent them, because there are far more important things to be brought before the House, but as long as that scheme holds the field these questions will be brought before the House. I do not want to see them brought before the House, but I want a scheme under which the men can appeal, and which will ensure that unfair cases will not occur again.
§ Question put, and agreed to.