HC Deb 21 October 1915 vol 74 cc2113-6

(1) Any lord mayor or mayor, lord provost or provost, who is as such a member of the Corporation may, if he is unable or unwilling to act as a member thereof, appoint some other person in his place to be a member of the Corporation; and any person so appointed shall hold office so long as the person by whom he is appointed holds his office as lord mayor, mayor, lord provost or provost.

(2) In addition to the persons whom the general council of the Corporation may co-opt under the Patriotic Fund (Reorganisation) Act, 1903, the council may co-opt as members thereof any number (not exceeding thirteen) of persons having special experience in work of the character to be performed by the Corporation; but in exercising this power of co-option the council shall include some women as well as men amongst the members so co-opted.

(3) Every member of the Statutory Committee appointed under this Act shall, by virtue of his office as member of that Committee, be a member of the Corporation; but shall not as such be entitled to act or vote in respect of any question arising before the Corporation as regards matters dealt with by the Corporation independently of this Act.

(4) The purposes of this Act shall be included amongst the purposes for which the Corporation may solicit and receive contributions from the public and donations of property.

(5) Save as otherwise expressly provided, nothing in this Act shall affect the constitution or powers and duties of the Corporation.

Lords Amendment:

Leave out Clause 5, and insert instead thereof Clauses A and B—

A. Power to Delegate Functions to Existing Organisations.—Notwithstanding anything in this Act contained, if in any area functions similar to those entrusted to a local committee are at the time of the passing of this Act being performed by the Soldiers' and Sailors' Families Association or other organisation, such association or other organisation may, if the local committee so desire, and so far as the local committee may direct, discharge with in such area the functions of the local committee during the continuance of the present War, provided such association or other organisation shall so long continue to perform within such area such functions to the satisfaction of the local committee.

B. Summary Penalty for False Declaration.—If any person, with a view to obtaining any such pension or grant or allowance as aforesaid, makes or uses, or has before the passing of this Act made or used, any declaration, application, or other written statement knowing the same to be false, he shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be liable on conviction under the Summary Jurisdiction Acts to a fine not exceeding five pounds, and for the purpose of proceedings in respect of any such offence the offence shall be deemed to have been committed either at the place where it was actually committed or at the place where the offender may happen to be, and any declaration on an appropriate official form bearing a stamp purporting to be the office stamp of the Admiralty or Army Council, or any sub-department thereof, with a date subsequent to that on which the declaration purports to have been signed, shall be evidence that the declaration has been used with such view as aforesaid unless the contrary is proved.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the Amendment to leave out Clause 5."

9.0 P.M.


My right hon. Friend, in his speech a week ago on the consideration of the Lords Amendments, gave almost a definite promise to hon. Members sitting behind him that he would move to disagree with the insertion of Clause A. Personally, I have rather a liking for the new Clause. I think, on the whole, it will be an improvement to the Bill. Yet seeing my right hon. Friend did make a statement that he would move to disagree with the Lords, and seeing that I am more or less acting for him, and in charge of this Bill for him, I feel that there is no chance for me but to move to disagree with the Lords. I beg to move to this effect.

Lords Amendment to leave out Clause 5 disagreed with.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the Amendment to insert Clause A."


My right hon. Friend very rightly carries so much weight in his utterances, that I really cannot quibble with him when, in moving to disagree, he really indicated that he leaned towards the Lords Amendment. Many of us who are sympathetic to the Lords Amendments have to undergo strategical movements of our consciences to-night in entirely agreeing with the Government. We do disagree very much with this, and for this reason; while we thoroughly agree that he Soldiers' and Sailors' Families Association should be represented on the local committees, and agree with that Amendment of the Lords, which has already been accepted here, and which provides that they shall have adequate representation, we all feel that if you hand over to them, or any organisation, the complete discharge of these duties in any locality you are thereby arousing the great opposition of other sections of the community who are not represented on these, and cannot be. I have it represented to me both in Lancashire and North- amptonshire how much objection there is to altogether handing over, in any locality even to so admirable an association as this the executive powers which have been given under this Bill to a local committee. Therefore, I hope it will be thoroughly understood that the Government do oppose this, not because they do not wish to give to this admirable association more representation, or as much representation on the district committee as the House of Lords suggested—for with that I am sure we are all thoroughly agreed—but because it would not be practicable for them to be allowed to be the exclusive carriers out of this policy in many parts of England where, through no fault of theirs, but owing to the circumstances of the case, they cannot express the views of various sections of the community in the way in which the ordinary local committees can.

Lords Amendment disagreed with.