§ (1) There shall be transferred to the Minister of Pensions—
- (a) The powers and duties of the Admiralty with respect to pensions and grants to persons who have served as officers or men, and to their widows, children, and other dependants, and to persons who have been employed in the nursing service of any of His Majesty's Naval Forces, other than Service pensions, so far as such pensions and grants are payable out of moneys provided by Parliament for naval services;
- (b) the powers and duties of the Commissioners of the Royal Hospital for Soldiers at Chelsea with respect to the grant and administration of disability pensions, other than in-pensions;
- (c) the powers and duties of the Army Council and. the Secretary of State for the War Department with respect to pensions and grants to persons who have served as officers or soldiers, and to their widows, children, and other dependants, and to persons who have been employed in the nursing service of any of His Majesty's Military Forces, other than Service pensions;
§ (2) The Minister of Pensions shall in each year prepare and lay before Parliament a Report of the proceedings of the Ministry.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), paragraph (a), after the word "Admiralty," to insert the words "including its powers relating to Greenwich Hospital."
The Committee will be aware that when the Amendment of my hon. Friend opposite was proposed the other day the Government were not prepared to amend the Bill to include the powers of Greenwich Hospital. I am not going to press this Amendment in any way. There are, no doubt, reasons why the Greenwich Hospital powers have been omitted from the Bill, but I should like to point out this fact, that there has been in the past very great disappointment among many men in the Royal Navy with regard to the emoluments they think they ought to derive from the Greenwich Hospital Fund. In the first place, those funds were subscribed to by the men of the Navy, and it was expected that they would receive, upon reaching the age of fifty-five, 5d. a day, and upon reaching the age of sixty, 7d. a day. In many instances it has not been found possible to give those emoluments and the men are very much disappointed. There are other matters relating to Greenwich Hospital which require some explanation at this stage. The funds are also available for the widows of men in the Navy who lose their lives not during a time of war. They are also available for certain petty officers, and certain officers, in fact, there is a great number of cases which come under Greenwich Hospital Fund. In these circumstances the Committee would like to know whether or not the omission of Greenwich Hospital from the Bill was a mistake or error on the part of the Admiralty, or whether it was intentional. If it was intentional, we should like to know why the omission has been made. This Amendment will give the Parliamentary Secretary-to the Admiralty an opportunity of making a statement upon the subject and I feel certain the Committee will be very pleased to hear that statement.
§ Sir CHARLES HENRY
When I saw the amended Bill, I was very much surprised to find that Greenwich Hospital was omitted. What the hon. Member for Devonport (Sir C. Kinloch-Cooke) has said 583 is quite correct. When the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) moved his provisional Amendment on Tuesday last, he specially mentioned Greenwich Hospital as one of the departments that should come under this Bill, and I believe that when the Paymaster-General summed up the situation he also included it. The first words of the amended Bill are—In order to unify.If you are going to leave Greenwich Hospital out of the Bill, how in the world can you have a unified scheme? What constitutes the main function of Greenwich Hospital? My right hon. Friend will correct me if I am wrong, but I believe it is mainly concerned with the payment of pensions. If you leave Greenwich Hospital out of the Bill, but bring the Admiralty into it, are you not liable to a certain amount of overlapping? How will you keep touch between the Pensions Minister and the individuals who receive pensions from Greenwich Hospital? Greenwich Hospital is not a small item, because, on referring to the last Estimates presented to Parliament, those for 1914–15, I find that the expenditure of Greenwich Hospital was just on £200,000. That expenditure is met entirely from incomes. The cost of the administration of Greenwich Hospital is £4,400.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the ADMIRALTY (Dr. Macnamara)
§ Sir C. HENRY
It would be more economical and sound if the administrative charges incurred in connection with Greenwich Hospital were merged into the general administration charges of the Pensions Ministry. I have said that the expenditure of the hospital was £200,000. How is that amont distributed? I want to show the Committee, from the way in which the money is spent that there is no reason why Greenwich Hospital should not come under the Bill. The expenditure on pensions to officers is £7,700, and on the education of the children of officers £l,500. Under the Bill the Pensions Ministry will have power to look after the education of the children of officers and of all soldiers and sailors. Pensions to seamen under the Greenwich Hospital scheme represent £130,000, the pensions to widows £6,000, and the pensions to sons and daughters of deceased or disabled seamen £5,400. Every one of those items could and ought to be administered by the 584 Minister of Pensions. My right hon. Friend will certainly have to convince the Committee that Greenwich Hospital should not be included. The only reason I can imagine why it has been left out is that the Board of Admiralty was greatly disappointed that they had to come into this scheme at all.
§ Sir C. HENRY
If they accept the situation, why are they so persistent, and why did my right hon. Friend make such art admirable speech on the Second Reading of the Bill, with all his force and vigour, in order to persuade the House; that the Admiralty should be left out? There is no doubt that the Admiralty is a great deal disappointed with this loss. I fully appieciate the disappointment, but there is no reason why they should assuage their disappointment by leaving Greenwich Hospital out of the Bill. There is another reason why Greenwich Hospital should be-brought into the Bill. Clause 8 says:There shall be transferred and attached to the Ministry of Pensions such of the persons employed under the: Admiralty" who have the duty of dealing with pensions. There is no better body of men in the country or any who have had more practice in dealing with pensions than the; officials of Greenwich Hospital.
§ Sir C. HENRY
I am glad my right hon. Friend agrees to that. That is all the more reason why they should be placed at the disposal of the Minister of Pensions. Greenwich Hospital is essentially an organisation of a pension character, and if my right hon. Friend does not dispute that, I hope he will support the Amendment and bring Greenwich Hospital into the Bill.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
I quite admit that: when the proposal for a Board of Pensions was first made we did ask that we should be allowed to stand outside. We still think it is a pity to break an ancient tradition, particularly—I hope the hon. and gallant Gentleman (General Ivor Philipps). will take note of this—as no serious criticism has yet been passed on our administration of pensions and awards.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
Nevertheless the sense of the House was so manifest in favour of a Minister whose authority in these matters should be supreme and whose control should be complete, save as regards long service pensions, which by common consent, or practically so, are still left with the Army Council on the one hand and the Board of Admiralty on the other, properly and rightly, that we felt bound at once to withdraw our request. I must say, particularly after one or two sentences which have fallen from my hon. Friend (Sir C. Henry), that our ground for asking for exclusion has been the subject, to say the least of it, of some slight misapprehension. I cannot believe that anybody seriously imagines that I should stand here and ask for exclusion if I thought it, would prejudice the interests of a bluejacket or his dependants. Of course, I should be utterly unworthy of my office if I had that in my mind, or contemplated that that was involved in exclusion. I do not for a moment believe it is thought, therefore it is not necessary to deny it. Prompt and adequate administration to their needs is the first consideration, and to that everything else must be subordinated. I would remind the Committee that I took part with the then Secretary to the Treasury and the then Financial Secretary to the War Office in framing the original White Paper which to this day remains the basis of most of these awards to the Army and Navy. It was discussed by the Select Committee, examined there closely, and modified by discussion in this House, and it ultimately led up to the Naval and Military War Pensions Act, 1915. I am quite within the mark in saying that from the very beginning there has not been a day upon which some phase or other of this problem has not had to pass through my hands. I rejoice that with the assistance of most loyal, devoted, and tireless friends, the officials who have been in charge at the Admiralty—I must pay them that tribute—I have been privileged in lending a hand in carrying on this work. We were very fortunate in having in existence when war broke out a piece of machinery tested by long experience, and we were fortunate in that. War subjected that machinery to no very serious strain. Neither has the War seriously affected the basis of our existence. We, of course, accept without reservation, and wish godspeed to the full authority and control of the new Minister under this Bill. We are quite prepared to leave ourselves unre- 586 servedly in his hands, fully assured that he will pursue his work of unification without sacrificing whatever administrative efficiency may already have been gained by practical day-to-day experience.
As regards Greenwich Hospital, which is the subject of this Amendment, I can assure the hon. Baronet the Member for Wellington (Sir C. Henry) that we are really not assuaging our disappointment at having to come in. I am sure he believes that, and that we are not trying to do so by saving Greenwich Hospital from the wreck. Greenwich Hospital, when one accepts fully and completely the spirit of the House, as, of course, I do, really presents considerable difficulties. It is, as probably the Committee knows, a very ancient foundation. It was established by Royal Charter of William and Mary in 1691, and the sources from which the funds employed in the building and maintenance of the Hospital were derived are of a very varied and interesting character. I think it will be found upon examination of the Statute—although I speak subject to correction—that some of its funds are absolutely inalienable, without further legislation, from the purposes of the Navy. I see that King William III. was among the earliest of its benefactors, and I see that Queen Anne gave the effects of Captain Kidd, the pirate, towards the funds of Greenwich Hospital. I also see that from time to time the forfeited and unclaimed shares of prize and bounty money were given to the fund which is now known as Greenwich Hospital Fund. Surely that is inalienable from the Navy. It must be administered in such a way as to avoid waste or overlapping, but that part of the funds, at any rate, I do not think you can divert from strictly Navy purposes.
There are many other sources. There is the Chatham Chest, which was a fund collected, as the name indicates, originally at Chatham and then subsequently at Greenwich. Perhaps the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Holder) can tell us about that. At any rate, all the moneys in that chest at that time were transferred to this fund. Its income is therefore derived from a great variety of sources, and bequeathed, as regards some of them, for naval purposes. The hospital took in disabled sea-men as in-pensioners from the seventeenth century down to 1869, and then there was an alteration in the system, under which a certain number of pensions supplemental 587 to naval life pensions, age pensions of 5d. a day, and advanced age pensions of 9d. a day were paid out of the fund, as against the old in-pension system which was stopped in 1869. During the current year we shall provide about 4,200 of the Greenwich age pensions at 5d. The provision is in the Estimates and cannot be affected by this. We shall pay about 5,500 advanced age pensions of 9d. They go to the oldest naval life pensioners and the poorest, and the men with the smallest naval life pensions. As regards expenditure, the Estimate for 1916–17 is £204,382. It has increased slightly since the Estimate my hon. Friend quoted. We shall spend, roughly, half of that on these age pensions and advanced age pensions to the oldest and poorest—that is to say, to the men with the lowest grade of naval life pension. Then we have a system of Greenwich Hospital special pensions, which fall into another category, and we shall spend £22,400 on that this year. They vary from 6d. to 1s. 6d. a day, and, in special eases, 2s. 6d., and are granted either to augment small existing pensions or to men who have been invalided without necessarily getting a life pension. We give pensions, in certain cases, to widows of deceased seamen and marines, and give assistance to the education of their children. We reckon to spend this year £12,000 on that. Then we give Greenwich Hospital pensions, in certain cases, to officers and contributions towards the education of their children. On that we reckon to spend £9,320 this year. Then there is the Greenwich Hospital School. It is a very fine school and a very ancient foundation, with accommodation for about a thousand boys. They stay there from eleven to fifteen and a half. Last year over 80 per cent. of them joined the public services after having left school, and of those who joined the Navy I think 10 per cent. reach the rank of warrant officer, which is a tribute to the self-respect, good training, and devotion to duty on the part of the boys. Paragraph (a) of this Clause deliberately uses the words,so far as such pensions and grants are payable out of moneys provided by Parliament for naval services.These words were put in for the purpose, for the moment, of saving the case of Greenwich Hospital, because the bulk of these funds are not derived from the 588 Government, but Parliament makes a Grant in the Estimates, which is, for 1916–17, £21,250. I do not know whether we can arrange that that Vote can be transferred, with the services it renders to the men, to the Ministry—that is a matter which must be gone into—but I accept fully the spirit of the Bill, and certainly will lend myself to making any adjustment which may be possible. It will be necessary to examine ancient Statutes before coming to a decision in this matter. Since Monday, up to which time we were out of it altogether, and therefore I had not looked into it, time has failed us to do that, but we will look into it. There are a great many different services which cannot be alienated from the Navy, it is quite clear from the form of the original benefaction, unless Parliament wished to do so. The point made by my hon. Friend (Sir C. Henry) had already occurred to me. Inasmuch as we are out for unification and avoidance of overlapping and waste, it occurred to me that some of the work which has been done by Greenwich Hospital, and particularly the special pensions, might possibly overlap. The assistance given to the widows of both officers and men might overlap some of the work which will now be undertaken by the Minister. It is quite necessary that the Minister should be informed, and any authority which is recommending supplementation should be informed, whether Statutory Committee or local committee, of precisely what is being done with these funds from Greenwich if they cannot be alienated, because then everyone who has recommended supplementation will be informed of exactly what is being done, and by that means overlapping and waste will be avoided. I hope the Committee will leave the matter where it is. I do not know whether it will be necessary in another place to make an Amendment, but we accept quite fully the spirit of the House. We recognise that there must be unification, but you are dealing here with a very ancient foundation, and you want to look very closely before you alienate funds which are so admirably applied by this foundation. I do not know whether I can ask my hon. Friend not to press his Amendment, but to accept the assurance I have given that we will avoid overlapping and waste, and we fully recognise the full authority over all these matters and the necessity for unification on the-part of the new Ministry.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
My object was to obtain a statement on the subject from the right hon. Gentleman, and after the explanation he has given I think I may withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. HOHLER
I beg to move to leave out the words "so far as such pensions and grants are payable out of moneys provided by Parliament for naval services."
I do not raise this in any hostile spirit. I only want to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether his words are quite wide enough. Under a bargain made with the Royal Fleet Reserve, these men were entitled to come on Greenwich age pensions at fifty. That was a very great disadvantage against the body of men in the Navy who were not members of the Royal Fleet Reserve, because they could only come on at fifty-five under the Statutes which deal with that subject. The result was that these men of the Royal Fleet Reserve were always coming in first, and the other seamen were losing their money. To remedy that injustice I think the sum of about £20,000 is granted by Parliament annually to pay the 5d. payable to the men of the Royal Fleet Reserve. I want to draw the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to the language of that exception, and to suggest that I doubt whether it is quite wide enough, because that £20,000 would be a fund provided by Parliament, and I rather think under the words of the paragraph it would go over to the Pensions Minister. That ought to be guarded against. I only raise the point in order that it may be carefully looked at to see that nothing to which Greenwich is entitled goes to the Pensions Minister.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
I have stated why the words were put in, for the sake of saving the other funds for Greenwich Hospital. The hon. and learned Gentleman calls attention to the fact that a certain sum, £22,000, from naval funds, goes to certain people in the Navy. If that money has to be handed over to the new Minister he will have to look after them. That is all. I will take particular care that he looks after it as well as it is looked after now. If any money which now goes to Greenwich arising from Parliamentary funds, because of the narrowness of this Clause, has to be transferred to the Ministry, surely the services will have to be rendered by the Ministry in respect of that fund. I very much appreciate the hon. and learned Gentleman's solicitude 590 for this particular aspect of the matter, but I do not think he need have any apprehension.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Amendment made: Leave out the words "for naval services" ["moneys provided by Parliament for naval services."]—[Mr. Henderson.]
§ Colonel YATE
I beg to move, in paragraph (b), after the word "pensions" ["administration of disability pensions"], to insert the words "including pensions to men invalided from India and the Colonies."
I move this in order to find out exactly what are the duties of the Commissioners of Chelsea Hospital, and whether disability pensions include invalid pensions for men from India, China, and the Colonies, or whether this goes to them now, or how the work is to be arranged. There are various things which are not named. I take the invalided soldiers who are sent home from abroad—India, China, etc. Who is to settle the payment of the Victoria Cross, the Distinguished Conduct Medal, and others, all of which carry pensions? Are they to continue to be paid by the Chelsea Commissioners? And how many of the Chelsea Commissioners are to be continued, or what is to become of them? As the right hon. Gentlemen knows, a great part of the twenty-four Commissioners is a myth. There are nineteen purely honorary men. The whole work is carried on by the secretary of the hospital and four assistant secretaries, each of whom has a special warrant from the King appointing him a Commissioner, with plenary powers. I think these assistants get something like £300 a year each. Are these men to be continued in their present office and to continue paying and assessing these pensions, or are they to be scrapped. I notice further on in the Bill that the right hon. Gentleman is taking powers to appoint any number of secretaries and assistants. We do not want to see brought into this pensions work a lot of new clerks and assistants who know nothing about the work, and are mere place-hunters and job-seekers. We want to see the old experienced men kept. I should like the right hon. Gentleman to tell us how many of these Chelsea Commissioners are to be retained, what are their powers, and whether they will continue to carry on the work that they are doing 591 now. Can we have an assurance that that body of men will remain and not be cast adrift?
In answer to the Hon Member (Mr. Loyd), I think I am right in saying that in the Royal Warrant for a considerable time the word "disability" has been used, and I think it would be better, for the purpose of securing uniformity, to retain the word. In regard to the various points raised by the hon. and gallant Member (Colonel Yate), I want to make it quite clear that we do not interfere with the body of the Commissioners so far as giving assistance with regard to service pensions on behalf of the War Office is concerned. They will retain all their warrants. Any powers they have for dealing with the Indian soldiers or with soldiers in China, or in any part of the world belonging to this country, the Commissioners will still continue to use. All that we do is to take over their powers for assessing the disability pensions, especially the disability pensions arising out of the present War. I have noticed all through the Debate that the hon. and gallant Member is very solicitous about the personnel of the Commissioners, especially the paid Commissioners. As Chairman of the Board I have had opportunity of seeing the work they have done, and I have marvelled at their devotion, because many of them have not only worked six days a week, long hours, but they have worked seven days. They have been compelled to do so because we are dependent upon other Departments for sending the cases. For instance, at the present time when the question of transfer to the reserve is under consideration, the flow of cases is, to some extent, steady, but immediately that question is settled we may be overwhelmed with the cases being sent from the Record Office. We cannot increase our Commissioners for that work, and the result is they have to work extra hours. Where possible, they have to work Sundays and at nights. Unfortunately, the work has been so strenuous that some of them have broken down under it. Knowing the value of these men as I do, it is only common sense that I should make every endeavour to use 592 them. I cannot use them as Commissioners, but I can use them in the new organisation as awarding officers, and my hon. and gallant Friend may depend upon it that any knowledge and ability they have manifested will not be lost of. In fact, I have already arranged, not for all of them, but for some of them, immediately the Bill becomes law, to be transferred, to continue their useful work in the new Department. I hope after that explanation the hon. and gallant Gentleman will see that we are going to make the very best use of the existing staff at Chelsea.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Major NEWMAN
I had an Amendment down to Clause 2 about saliors, and another about soldiers, so as to make it secure that anybody who has served in the Navy or Army would not be left out of the pensions scheme. I understood that you ruled me out, Mr. Whitley, so far as the Navy went, and asked me to put my Amendment down to apply to the Army.
§ Major NEWMAN
I beg to move, in paragraph (c), after the word "soldiers" ["officers or soldiers"] to insert the words "and have served with the Forces of the Crown."
The Committee are aware that when the Blue Bill was drafted the draftsman, or whoever was responsible, forgot the existence of women, and the question of that omission would have arisen, but the error was seen, and in the White Bill provision is made for nurses. Nurses are mentioned in the Royal Warrant. Queen Alexandra's nurses are mentioned in the Royal Warrant, and it would be absurd to leave them out. I should like to know whether all the nurses are covered by the provision in the White Bill. Are the V. A. D. nurses covered? The other day, in my own Division, a young lady who is in the V. A. D. contracted blood-poisoning and died. I do not know whether she would be covered' by this Clause, or whether her people would be covered. Nurses are mentioned, but nurses are not the only women who are serving with the Forces. I may mention as an instance of what women are doing in the way of aiding the Forces fighting at the present moment, that there is a corps of women 593 carpenters now getting ready to go out to France to build huts and mend huts. Supposing something happens to these women, supposing they are erecting or mending a hut ten miles behind the firing line and an aeroplane drops a bomb on them and they are killed, do their people get any pension or do they not? If one of these women has her leg blown off, does she come in for a pension or not?
Take the question of men who may be serving in our Forces but are not actually part of our Forces. Supposing a man is serving in our Forces but he is not a British subject, and cannot be taken over as an officer or private. I refer particularly to the question of a member of a foreign legion. We have 20,000 aliens of Russian nationality in London alone. There is a project on foot, I understand from a question that was put yesterday, to form these men into some sort of foreign legion. These men, if they are formed into a foreign legion, will go out to fight alongside our troops, or at any rate, they will fight as part of our Forces. Supposing anything happens to these men, what about their wives or other dependants? If these men are wounded and they come back, what happens to them? Are they part of the Forces of the Crown? Are they to be regarded as officers and men of His Majesty's Forces or are they not? That is a question which has to be considered, and I do not think this Bill covers it. Therefore, I move my Amendment, and if it is accepted the result would be that if a man or a woman had served with His Majesty's Forces he or she would be eligible for a pension, and if they were killed their dependants would get something.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member wants to make certain persons pensionable who are not pensionable now. This Bill is only dealing with the administration of such pensions as are now provided. I am afraid we cannot add this Amendment to the Bill.
§ Major NEWMAN
I beg to move to leave out the words"and His Majesty may by Order in Council make such adaptations in the enactments relating to such powers and duties as aforesaid as may be necessary to make exercisable by the Minister and his officers the powers and duties of the several authorities above-mentioned and their officers, and may fix the time or times as from which the 594 several powers and duties are to be transferred to the Minister."
My desire is to omit that part of the Clause which gives the Cabinet or the Minister of the Department power to make adaptations in the enactments relating to various powers and duties. I do not think much of the drafting of this part of the Bill. It is very difficult to follow. I protest against legislation by Order in Council. I remember very well that before the War we on this side of the House used to protest against legislation by reference. I maintain that legislation by Order in Council is dangerous, and that after the War is over and we come to normal times, one of the first things that the private Member will have to do will be to deal with the question of legislation by Order in Council. We saw an effect of legislation by Order in Council the other day in reference to the Order for the early closing of shops. That was done by Order in Council, and behind our backs. Protest was raised against it. and if the matter had not been raised on the Motion for the Adjournment it could not have been discussed at all. In this particular Clause we have enormous, definite and vague powers given to the right hon. Gentleman who will be the Minister of Pensions to do what he likes, when he likes, and how he likes. This is a House of Commons Bill which appeals to Back Bench Members, and I think we ought to keep a tight control over the Bill as far as we possibly can. In saying that Orders in Council are dangerous things, hon. Members may think that, as I am not a constitutional lawyer, I am speaking of something about which I know very little. However, there was a friend of mine, and a friend of many other hon. Members, the late Sir William Anson, who was perhaps the greatest constitutional authority we had, and in that great standard book of his "The Law and Custom of the Constitution" on more than one occasion he deals with this very question of legislation by Order in Council and its great danger to the private Member and the life of Parliament generally.
And in one passage which I have taken the trouble to copy out he saysanother point to note is the immense importance of the business which may be transacted in the Council—that is the Privy Council,without discussion, and with no opportunity of question in Parliament at the instance of the Cabinet or a Department. Some of these matters might attract 595 attention in Parliament, though not till their effects could no longer be cancelled or undone.That is exactly what happened in reference to the early closing of shops which was raised on the Adjournment a few weeks ago. We ought not to have these Clauses if they mean putting through the Act by means of Order in Council. It is very sloppy. It looks as if the draftsman who was drafting the Bill came to that point at half-past one and suddenly remembered that he had to go to lunch, and so wrote down "Order in Council," and went away. We ought to know exactly the powers which the Minister seeks, and how and when they are to be exercised. I have taken the trouble to read a great many of the War Emergency Acts, and there is only one Act which is perfect in respect of Orders in Council and is quite free from them. That is the Act which we are now scrapping, the Naval and War Pensions Act, 1915. It is a long, comprehensive Act, which is very carefully drafted, and yet it does not contain the words "Order in Council" even once; while in this Bill, which is a more important Bill giving even greater powers to Ministers, we have the words "Order in Council" at the beginning of the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Pensions ought to give us some outline of what powers he is going to take under this Order in Council, how he is going to use them, and when he is going to use them, and if he cannot give us that explanation the Committee should take some notice of the fact.
The Mover of the Amendment has made a very good point in urging that the House of Commons should keep control of many of the matters dealt with by Order in Council, and he has cited the case that was raised on the Debate on the Adjournment a few weeks ago on the Early Closing Order. But surely he must recognise that there is a vast difference between such Orders in Council as those which deal with early closing and the Order in Council which is referred to in this Clause. This is the ordinary Clause which is absolutely essential. Where we are not beginning from the very bottom, but are taking over certain work belonging to other Departments, you cannot allow it to come under the new Department the very moment the Bill becomes law. It would be upsetting the very thing that nearly every speaker has pleaded for, all the arrangements that 596 are really necessary to prevent any break in the continuity of the work, and it would all go to the injury of the disabled soldier and sailor. If the hon. Member reads the words he will see that all we are doing is not taking unlimited powers, but taking the powers that are necessary to enable us to do the work which the Committee, and also the country, have said that we must undertake and perform. The latter part of the Clause is that we shall have to fix the time or times when the several powers and duties shall be transferred to the Minister. Unless we followed this course we should have not one Clause, but scores of Clauses setting out everything that the new Department ought to undertake. I hope that that is sufficient justification for appealing to my hon. Friend to waive his objection on this occasion.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. J. SAMUEL
I desire to ask a question with reference to various payments made now with regard to separation allowance and supplementary grants. Is the right hon. Gentleman taking power to act in conjunction with the War Office and with the Admiralty with regard to the payment of the different moneys that are now paid to wives, dependants, and widows? What I want to know is whether it is the intention of the Ministry of Pensions to work in conjunction with the other Departments. so that when they make a decision to pay a supplementary grant, which is now paid in the form of rent, it comes under Clause (3), in which they take over powers from the Statutory Committee, and I will put it on Clause (3) if it is out of order now?
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member wants to ask an administrative question. We are now dealing with legislation.
§ Question put, and agreed to.