HC Deb 02 July 1920 vol 131 cc915-33

Postponed Proceeding resumed on Amendment proposed on consideration of Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee).

Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

Dr. MACNAMARA (resuming)

I should like to make a correction of my previous statement. The actual figure for the employer is 1s. ld. and for the State 2d. My argument is that under a non-contributory scheme the employer would have to pay 1s. ld., and not 1s. 2d. That would happen if my hon. Friend had his way. Compared with the old Act of 1911 the State is contributing under this Act £3,750,000, an addition of £2,500,000. That is not an unhandsome contribution having regard to the state of the national Exchequer to-day. I cannot ask for any more. Look at the matter from the point of view of the Bill as we now propose it. Take a man who has 15s. a week, with a waiting period of three days. In that case the benefit would cost 10d. a week, the State paying 2d. and the employer 8d. Is that a reasonable proposition? What right in the co-operation and administration of this scheme would the workpeople have if they did not con tribute anything to it? It is very important that they should have some voice in the administration, but if you cut them out the administration would be left to the employers on the one hand and the State on the other. I do not think that would be entirely satisfactory.

If we pass this Bill we shall increase the number of employed persons covered by insurance from about 4,000,000 to about 12,000,000. That alone is a great and beneficent reform. The hon. Member for St. Helens did make a point of substance. He pleaded for the casual. As the Bill originally stood, with a waiting period of six days, the casual might have got no benefit at all, but my hon. Friend has overlooked the fact that we are proposing to make the waiting period three days which will certainly cover some of the people for whom he pleaded.


Even the three days will not cover the point, because they could not qualify.


Instead of the three days, could not the right hon. Gentleman make provision so that they would have an amount to live on during that time?


The hon. Member wants to have no waiting period at all. That I cannot concede. The three days is better from the point of view of the casual than the six days as it originally stood, but that is not all In Clause 18 when we were in Committee, we definitely put in this provision in Sub-section (2) Provision may be made by a special scheme for insuring the persons to whom the scheme applies, against partial unemployment as well as against employment. Those for whom my hon. Friend (Mr. Sexton) eloquently pleads can be met by a special scheme, if they be not already covered, by bringing the waiting period forward to three days. If this Bill pass, £14,000,000 a year will be dispensed in benefit, towards which the workpeople will pay £5,800,000. They ought to be prepared to bear that share. It is not an unfair proportion. I am bound to ask the House to reject this Amendment.

1.0 P.M.


I thought the right hon. Gentleman would have put to the House a much more formidable case than he has done in resisting the Amendment. I agree that if this Amendment be carried, the whole Bill would have to be recast. Viewed from the standpoint of those who submit this Measure, it would completely ruin the Bill. It is not such ruin that we seek. The substance of the Amendment is a rather old labour doctrine, and we ask the House seriously to consider it, not because altogether of the very strong plea put forward on the ground of finance, but on the ground of its being a right thing for the State to do. This Bill proposes to carry the doctrine of State responsibility a step further. Our Amendment asks the State to carry that doctrine still a step further, and take the opportunity which this Bill offers to us of getting a complete review of the whole question of insurance against employment. Our view is that when men are in work they maintain the industry and that when they are out of work through no fault of their own the industry should maintain them. Industry now bears very many heavy obligations and responsibilities. Industry must maintain men when they are suffering unemployment through accident and physical disability. The State does not require workmen to pay contributions for that state of unemployment. Men are out of work even for years from physical disability, loss of limb or sight and the State acknowledges its responsibility toward them by compelling that industry to provide compensation which workmen must receive for long spells of unemployment. When a workman is out of work through no fault of his own, through economic causes of unforeseen circumstances against which no man and no State can provide, that man should have a right to turn to the industry and expect some reasonable degree of maintenance from it because of his readiness in turn to maintain the industry when it is fit to employ him.

We put the view because it is competent for the industry to do it. The profits of industry, the general future possibilities as we believe of trade expansion, would enable the industry to bear the additional burden, as it is said, of some few million pounds annually instead of requiring the workman to pay it. Most of the money that will be paid as unemployment benefit will go, it is certain, to the lower paid workmen. In the nature of things they suffer the condition of unemployment more than the higher paid workmen. The higher paid the work, the greater the security of employment. The industries in which you have the greatest degree of unemployment are the industries in which the lower paid labourers and the less skilled and unskilled workers are found, so that the burden does fall in the main upon men who, because of their low wages and irregular employment, are not able to bear these exactions.

This is a doctrine which is not new. The history of all this legislation is the history of the gradual acceptance by the State of its obligation towards its industrial population. A manager or a highly-paid captain of industry usefully and necessarily employed in the higher branches of trade organisation and development is not asked to pay a weekly contribution for what he may receive when he is no longer able to follow his line of service. He has very often ample retirement and pension provisions. Large sums of money are in that way taken out of great industries to maintain in a condition of comfort and dignity those who serve the industry in its higher branches of service. Why not apply the same doctrine to the poor man, the less paid, the less skilled workman? The trade then is able to bear the charge. It is no new doctrine or novel principle. Already it has been accepted by the State with regard to unemployment due to accidents and injuries, and it is the practice in trades and businesses in respect to the higher paid services. I ask, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman should reconsider this position and submit to his Government that this is a great opportunity of making a complete job of the whole scheme of unemployment insurance.

There was one argument which he addressed to the House, and which, I rather thought from the terms in which he put it, he considered to be unanswerable, but I think that there is a very obvious reply. The right hon. Gentleman asks, what power will the workman have in the administration of this scheme of unemployment benefit if they pay nothing for it? The first part of my answer is that they would be paying. They pay in their labour. It is their labour which maintains the industry and provides the profits. I do not mean all the profits, I mean a very large part. It is the main contribution to the prosperity and profits derived from the trades and businesses. The other part of the answer is that they would have just as much participation in the administration, say under an unemployment benefit scheme, as they now have through the State and through this House in regard to the sums which are paid to them as compensation in connection with the laws of the land, and workmen would be well content to secure a share of the administration through exactly the same means. Let the State and the industry accept the financial obligation of meeting the needs of workmen when out of work, and workmen would be content to leave to the State and industry all the general questions of administration, subject to such rights of participation in it as they may now have in connection, say, with the ordinary compensation law. I think, therefore, on the grounds of justice and the ability of the trades to bear this burden that we are entitled to press this Amendment.


I would like to offer opposition to this contributory scheme, speaking largely from the point of view of an individual industry. The industry to which I belong on one or two occasions met the Minister who was in charge of this Bill when it was first introduced, who has gone now to another Department, and we have protested against this part of the scheme. If there is an industry which invalidates the argument which has been used by the right hon. Gentleman it is the industry to which I belong. The right hon. Gentleman is making out that if this Amendment is carried a contribution other than a contribution by the State will be borne entirely by the employers. Nothing of the kind will take place. I will remind the right hon. Gentleman that for four years now the mining community have been receiving a benefit of 18s. a week in cases of unemployment, starting the first day, and that the whole of that has been charged on the industry itself. Not a penny of that has ever been paid by the employer himself. If a man to-day is sent back again in a mining community because there is no work for him, he is paid the war wage of 3s. a day, and that is charged on the industry itself. Therefore the argument of the right hon. Gentleman that this would be a contribution by the employer has no foundation in fact. That has been pointed out clearly by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Clynes). In those circumstances, if this goes to a division it will have the support at least of the section belonging to the mining community. We are going to be worse off under the provisions of this Bill than we are at present. We are making provision ourselves for unemployment. A man gets 15s. from our own funds, and other allowances may bring it up to 18s. If this Bill is passed as proposed, he will be called upon to make a contribution, and he will only get 15s. instead of 18s. I am speaking on behalf of my Executive, and I hope that this view of the Amendment will get full consideration.

Captain COOTE

I think there was a curious inconsistency in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes). He argued, as far as I could understand him, that the State should pay the whole of the contribution. At any rate, that would be the logical result of his argument. I understood him also to say that that was not his object but that a contribution should be paid by the industry. According to his view, the industry should pay practically the whole contribution. I admit as a general principle that that should be so, but I define industry as a partnership between labour and capital. They are both partners and therefore should both contribute to such a scheme if there is a levy upon the industry. But it does not make much difference, in fact, whether the employer or workman pays the contribution. In the present industrial conditions, if the workman has to pay it he gets a rise of wages, and if the employer pays it he increases his prices. It comes to the same thing in the end. For my own part, I accept the declaration of the right hon. Gentleman that the industry should be responsible for paying these contributions towards the insurance fund. Where I differ from him is that in defining the industry, I say it consists of both partners, whereas he defines it as consisting of only one.


I was rather sorry that the Member for St. Helens (Mr. Sexton) did not make a more detailed reference to the position of the members of his trade union in Ireland. I do not see anything in the Bill which covers the workers in Ireland, except that it covers those who are insured against unemployment under the existing law. I do not see that any observations were made with regard to the position of Irish workers under the Bill.


I am not responsible for the drafting of the Bill. I was discussing its principle and its application.


That is just the point. What is to be its application to Ireland? I see great differences with regard to its application to the workers in Ireland, and I do not see why the hon. Member did not raise this question in the Committee.


I did raise it.


Then that difference in regard to members in Ireland should have been provided for. I have had resolutions from different trade unions, including the union for which he speaks. It would require a great deal of re-organisation of the Irish trade unions. They would have to have different contribution cards and have to make other changes. Why did he not raise the whole question of the inclusion of Ireland in the Bill?


I am not altogether out of sympathy with the views put forward by the Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes) upon this Amendment. I think there is a good deal more to be said in favour of a non-contributory scheme than most hon. Members on this side of the House imagine. I do not think that in these advanced days it is unreasonable to say that the industry should bear the whole of this burden. Certain burdens have already been placed on industries, but in the case of unemployment we have at present part of the contribution paid by the labour element. The higher class of those engaged in the industry, those who are placed in authority over the workers, are usually paid their salaries at a time when the workmen are thrown out of employment. The poorer-paid workman finds that his wages cease as soon as his employment ceases. The industry is not responsible for paying him wages while he is out of work, with the result that he must come upon a scheme of this kind. It seems to me reasonable to say that the burden of unemployment in an industry should be covered by insurance, and should be borne by that industry. I think we have come to that position that we have to recognise that those who very largely help towards the success of an industry are the workers engaged in that industry. A good deal is done as the result of skill and capital, plant and machinery, but the industry could not possibly earn what it does but for the assistance of labour. The labour which is engaged in the industry and adding to the prosperity of that industry and of the country maps out for itself a right to something more than the mere wages which it is paid. It is not unreasonable to claim that an industry which has been built up so largely by the workers engaged in it should not disown its responsibility to the workers in times of depressed trade. Therefore, I say there is a great deal more to be said in favour of a noncontributory scheme than is usually imagined. I think that if adopted it would promote a better relationship between employers and employed. If the worker engaged in the industry realised that it was to his interest that the industry should be successful, and, beyond that, that he had a claim upon it when out of work, he would be more eager to make it a success. That would destroy, I think, any tendency towards a "ca" canny" policy. He would be sure not only of the payment of his wages, but when out of work of a contribution from the industry itself. That would give him a greater interest in the progress and prospects of the industry.

One of the most lamentable features of the present situation is the attitude of hostility on the part of the workers to the employer, and of the employer towards the employed. The workmen are under certain obligations to the employers; the employer, no less, is under certain obligations to the workmen. No humane employer can look with complacency on the prospect, in a time of depression, of men who have been with him for many years, and have worked honestly and well, being turned on to the streets, with no possibility, except a meagre allowance, of providing suitably for themselves, their wives, and their families. If we could come to a situation where the employers and the State would recognise that the worker has a real claim, whether employed or not employed, it would promote better relationship between employer and employed, and would tend to a better upbuilding of industry. Even supposing the industry were saddled with the cost of suitable maintenance of the employés, I am sure that it would not mean the ruin of any industry in the country. As has been said by another hon. Member, the consumer in the long run has to bear the cost, and no business could be carried on unless it paid. The employer has to insure against many risks. I think, with proper adjustment, this burden could also be borne. I ask the House not to dismiss too summarily the proposition put forward by the right hon. Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes). I do not suppose that the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill will give way, for, as has been stated, it would destroy the Bill entirely; but I think the discussion may prove helpful, and that ultimately we shall have to come to the position of passing legislation for a noncontributory scheme for unemployment.


All of us on the Labour Benches were disappointed with the statement made by the Minister in charge of the Bill, in answer to the case submitted in favour of a non-contributory scheme. His main argument seemed to be centred round the cost that might fall either upon the employers or upon the State. I would submit to him that if the employers or the industry were saddled with the burden he suggested, he could not reasonably argue that it was a burden which the industry could not carry. Right hon. Gentlemen speaking from the Government Benches vary their tone when they are speaking on public expenditure. Sometimes a few millions are most important. At other times they do not seem to have the same significant importance. But they always have increased significance when what is proposed is something that will contribute to the solving of a social problem. I will make a comparison: These millions here are spoken of in very serious terms. The same tone was not adopted when the House was asked to sanction the expenditure of millions for scarlet uniforms. Compare the object in view in the two cases. One is a proposal to establish a scheme of social reform that is going to help those who suffer from the inequalities of our social and industrial system. The other had for its object the glorification of an idea which we thought was going to be destroyed by the sacrifices of the past few years. The serious tone adopted by Ministers in regard to a few millions to be applied to a scheme like this, loses any importance it might have had, when we realise that in regard to other matters the same seriousness is not displayed. Is the expenditure which has been mentioned the net expenditure? Are there no economies possible? Will it not mean some economy in administration? If we can effect some economy in that direction, surely it is a sound line of procedure, because if we can reduce the amount of labour of a non-productive character, we are really helping society. There is undoubtedly in this Bill an endeavour to make the problem of unemployment, and the method of dealing with it, a national responsibility. It is a national question. But the hon. Gentlemen who are promoting this legislation have recognised, by the limitations that they themselves have established in their Bill, that they cannot carry out this scheme in a complete national sense. Why? Why is it that you have excepted trades? Why is it that you are excluding from the operation of the Bill certain industries? It is not because those who are unemployed in those industries do not need assistance when they are unemployed. Those of us who have experienced unemployment, can speak very feelingly on the question. We know what it means in the home-life of the worker. The reason you have excluded them is the difficulty of applying this principle of a contributory scheme. Why is agriculture excepted?


Why is Ireland excepted?


Perhaps it is not in order for me to answer that question but I was under the impression that the Bill was extended to Ireland. The Government are prevented from making this a national scheme because of the fact that it rests upon a contributory basis and I should be interested to know why these limitations and exemptions. That was one of the reasons indicated by the Minister. The case for a non-contributory scheme in connection with this problem has not been met by the statement made by the Minister, and in my opinion that is the only sound basis upon which we can proceed. I urge, even though it might mean a recasting of the whole Bill, that the case for a noncontributory scheme is so strong that it would warrant such action.


We are now embarking on what is really a Second Reading Debate. It is obvious that if this Amendment were carried, the whole Bill would be killed. That is not a reason for ruling it out of order, but we are really wasting time on this Amendment. I think it is my duty to warn the House that if a great deal of time be spent on what is a purely academic discussion, when we reach the really serious and useful Amendments, it may be my unfortunate position to have to pass over some Amendments. The House will bear in mind that the power is placed in the Chair of not calling on Amendments. I have to judge in these matters according to the use which is made of the time at our disposal. If academic questions instead of practical questions be discussed at great length, my powers are likely to be called into operation.


This aspect of the question is of supreme importance to those who sit on this side, and we look on it as of something more than academic importance. It affects the whole structure of the Bill, and we are strongly of opinion that this particular point ought to be debated as effectively as possible. There could be no stronger indictment against the commercial and industrial system of this country than the fact that a measure of this sort is considered to be necessary. It is a sad reflection upon our pronouncements in favour of social reconstruction that, instead of moving in that direction, we are making provision for unemploy- ment. We cannot accept it as a virtue that £14,000,000 are likely to be dispensed in benefit through this Bill in the ensuing twelve months. We look on employment as having a social purpose, and whilst people who command confidence have to seek employment then our commercial system has broken down in its operation. We are quite aware that in our industrial conditions a margin of an employment is looked upon as being essential to its safety, as it can be called upon in times of stress and trade disputes to be used as a competitive weapon against those people who happen to be employed in other directions. The Minister told us yesterday, in reply to a question, that there were large numbers of unemployed in the boot trade owing to the fact that the demand was falling off. The demand for boots is as great to-day as ever it was. There may not be what economists call an effective demand, but the real demand as expressed in the requirements of the community is as great. When the people require boots, and when some engaged in the boot trade are unemployed, there is disorganisation which ought to be remedied. It is the duty of Parliament and of the industry not to provide unemployment benefits, but to get those unemployed people in the boot trade to work and provide boots.

Employment is looked upon as a penalty. Some Members of this House believe that it is a time of great rejoicing for the average worker when he is out of employment—going to a Labour Exchange and drawing what has been called his dole. That is a delusion. The average worker looks with a certain amount of terror on the prospect of unemployment, and he does not want unemployed benefit either in a contributory or non-contributory form. He requires employment, and it is the function of industry and of the State to provide him with employment. It is to the best interests of the State that the workman when he is sick should be restored to health and get back to work. If he is unwilling to work, penalties should be applied. Where a person is willing and able to work, and where that work is not provided, it is the function of Parliament not to seek a medium whereby it can keep him out of work by making a contribution which is to keep the wolf from the door. Unemployment is in itself a penalty, and we ought not to add to it by calling on the worker to make a contribution himself in order to relieve in a minor degree that penalty when it comes upon him.


I do not want to give a silent vote on this question. My reason for proposing to vote against this Amendment is that, speaking as a trade union official of 25 years' standing, I regard this idea as the most demoralising that can possibly be conceived, as far as the workers are concerned. The idea of constantly giving the workers something for nothing is not good for the worker. I want the workers to have backbone, and I desire to detain this provision so that they can feel that they are bearing a fair share of the responsibility like everybody else.


There was a statement made in the course of this Debate which I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to clear up. It was said that if this Bill be passed with the contribution from the workmen in it, the effect on the mining industry would be that the workmen would get a 15s. benefit in return for their contribution, whereas they now get an 18s. benefit to which they contribute nothing. If that be so, it is a very serious change, and one on which I think we ought to have some light thrown.


I would not have intervened were it not for the fact that a Labour Member, being interrogated from this quarter with regard to whether the Bill applies to Ireland or not, said he thought it did, and I noticed that the Minister in charge nodded assent. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to point out to us in what respect Ireland stands related to this Bill.


An Amendment was made in Standing Committee.


Are the textile industries included, because that is what the Bill represents to us? We are a textile community in Belfast, and over 100,000 workers will be included or excluded according as this Bill applies or does not apply to Ireland. If the Minister cannot give us an assurance on this matter, I would like to know why he cannot. I was a Member of the Standing Committee on the Bill, and I tried to raise the question, but was ruled out of order on the ground that I was premature, but we are still anxious to know how we stand related to the Bill.


As the Bill originally stood, the old Act of 1911 would have been continued, but, in so far as this Act covered new ground, it did not apply to Ireland. My predecessor on the Second reading, on the 25th February, said: With regard to Ireland, the trades which are already insured will come under the new provision, but the main trade of Ireland is agriculture, which is not being legislated for in Great Britain under this Bill….. There is also machinery to include other trades which may wish to be included." —[OFFTCIAL REPORT, 25th February, 1920; col. 1749; Vol. 125.] In Standing Committee the Bill was altered to apply to Ireland just as it applies to other parts of the United Kingdom, and as agriculture—


I am not particularly interested in agriculture, but in textile industries.


The Bill as amended in Committee will apply to Ireland just as it will apply to every other part of the United Kingdom. May I ask now that we may come to a Division. The Bill was passed on the Second Reading without a Division, on the basis of

a contributory scheme, and as we have many very practical Amendments to consider I think we might come now to a Division.


Can the right hon. Gentleman answer my point about the coal industry?

Lieut.-Colonel ALLEN

The question with regard to Ireland has arisen to-day because of the memorandum which is attached to the Bill, and I think the error is in having that attached after it has been amended.


That question cannot possibly arise till we get to Clause 46, when, if anybody wishes to exclude Ireland, as an Amendment to Clause 46, they can move that the Bill should not apply to Ireland. Until that be carried, the Bill does apply, but for goodness sake do not let us discuss Clause 46 when we are still on Clause 5.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 168; Noes, 46.

Division No. 177.] AYES. [1.50 p.m.
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. C. Courthope, Major George L. James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert
Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D. Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.) Jephcott, A. R.
Baird, John Lawrence Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Jesson, C.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Davies, Sir Joseph (Chester, Crewe) Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvll)
Barnett, Major R. W. Davies, Thomas (Cirencester) Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)
Barnston, Major Harry Dawes, Commander Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)
Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes) Dewhurst, Lieut.-Commander Harry Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Dockrell, Sir Maurice Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)
Bennett, Thomas Jewell Edge, Captain William Lister, Sir R. Ashton
Betterton, Henry B. Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark) Lloyd-Greame, Major Sir P.
Billing, Noel Pemberton- Eyres-Monsell, Commander B. M. Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Farquharson, Major A. C. Lorden, John William
Blair, Reginald Fell, Sir Arthur Macdonald, Rt. Hon. John Murray
Blake, Sir Francis Douglas Fildes, Henry Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)
Borwick, Major G. O. Flannery, Sir James Fortescue M'Micking, Major Gilbert
Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith- Ford, Patrick Johnston Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.
Bowles, Colonel H. F. Foreman, Henry Magnus, Sir Philip
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Forestier-Walker, L. Mallalieu, F. W.
Bramsdon, Sir Thomas Forrest, Walter Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)
Brassey, Major H. L. C. Fraser, Major Sir Keith Mitchell, William Lane
Breese, Major Charles E. Gardiner, James Molson, Major John Elsdale
Bridgeman, William Clive Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred M.
Brown, Captain D. C. Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel John Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.
Bruton, Sir James Goff, Sir R. Park Moreing, Captain Algernon H.
Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A. Green, Albert (Derby) Morison, Rt. Hon. Thomas Brash
Burdon, Colonel Rowland Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.) Morrison, Hugh
Butcher, Sir John George Greenwood, William (Stockport) Mount, William Arthur
Campbell, J. D. G. Greig, Colonel James William Murchison, C. K.
Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R. Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Murray, C. D. (Edinburgh)
Casey, T. W. Harris, Sir Henry Percy Murray, John (Leeds, West)
Cautley, Henry S. Henderson Major V. L. (Tradeston) Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm., Aston) Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, Yeovil) Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Chadwick, Sir Robert Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm., W.) Hickman, Brig.-General Thomas E. Nield, Sir Herbert
Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood) Hope, James F. (Sheffield, Central) Norris Colonel Sir Henry G.
Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John
Coats, Sir Stuart Howard, Major S. G. Palmer, Charles Frederick (Wrekin)
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster) Palmer, Major Godfrey Mark
Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K. Hurd, Percy A. Parker, James
Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B. Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry
Coote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely) Inskip, Thomas Walker H. Perring, William George
Philipps, Sir Owen C. (Chester, City) Stanier, Captain Sir Beville Watson, Captain John Bertrand
Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. G. F. Wheler, Lieut.-Colonel C. H.
Pratt, John William Steel, Major S. Strang White, Lieut.-Col. G. D. (Southport)
Randles, Sir John S. Stevens, Marshall Wild, Sir Ernest Edward
Rees, Capt. J. Tudor (Barnstaple) Sturrock, J. Leng Williams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavistock)
Renwick, George Sugden, W. H. Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud
Richardson, Alexander (Gravesend) Surtees, Brigadier-General H. C. Wills, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Gilbert
Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor) Sutherland, Sir William Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir M. (Bethnal Gn.)
Roundell, Colonel R. F. Sykes, Sir Charles (Huddersfield) Winterton, Major Earl
Royden, Sir Thomas Taylor, J. Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Terrell, George (Wilts, Chippenham) Wood, Sir J. (Stalybridge & Hyde)
Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Norwood) Thomas, Sir Robert J. (Wrexham) Young, Lieut.-Com. E. H. (Norwich)
Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert A. Thomas-Stanford, Charles Younger, Sir George
Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Seddon, J. A. Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.) Warren, Lieut.-Col. Sir Alfred H. Lord E. Talbot and Mr. Dudley Ward.
Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William James Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth) Rose, Frank H.
Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.) Hallas, Eldred Royce, William Stapleton
Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk) Hayday, Arthur Sexton, James
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Hirst, G. H. Shaw, Thomas (Preston)
Brace, Rt. Hon. William Irving, Dan Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Briant, Frank Johnstone, Joseph Sitch, Charles H.
Bromfield, William Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M. Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)
Burn, T. H. (Belfast, St. Anne's) Kenyon, Barnet Spencer, George A.
Cape, Thomas Lawson, John J. Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)
Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield) Lunn, William Wedgwood, Colonel J. C.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R. M'Guffin, Samuel Wignall, James
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Morgan, Major D. Watts Wilkie, Alexander
Donald, Thompson Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Myers, Thomas TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Finney, Samuel O'Grady, Captain James Mr. Tyson-Wilson and Mr. T. Griffiths.
Galbraith, Samuel Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Grundy, T. W. Robertson, John

I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), after the word "in" ["in the Third Schedule"] to insert the words "Part I. of."

The Third Schedule at present contains the rates of contributions for employed persons and employers. We propose to put in another Part relating to the State contributions, and to make provision for that by the insertion of these words.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In Subsection (3) leave out the words "A contribution shall be made in each year," and insert instead thereof the words "There shall, subject to the provisions of this Section, be paid."

Leave out the words "equal to one-third of the total contributions received from employers and employed persons during that year," and insert instead thereof the words in respect of each weekly contribution paid by an employer in respect of a man, woman, or boy or girl, a contribution at the ordinary rate specified in Part I. of the Third Schedule to this Act as regards men, women, and boys and girls, respectively." —[Dr. Macnamara.]


I beg to move in Sub-section (3) to leave out the words so long as the Regulations under this Act provide for the payment of contribu- tion by means of stamps, the sums received in any year on account of insurance stamps, after deducting the sums, if any, refunded on account of insurance stamps or on account of contributions paid in respect of a person believed to be but not being an employed person, shall be deemed to be contributions received from employers and employed persons in that year.

and to insert instead thereof the words While and in so far as contributions are paid by means of insurance stamps the number of contributions paid in respect of men, women, and boys and girls, respectively, in any year shall be deemed to be represented by the number of stamps appropriate to contributions by men, women, and boys and girls, respectively, sold in that year, after deducting— (a) the number (calculated in the prescribed manner) of stamps of each class which have been used for the purpose of paying contributions otherwise than under the general provisions of this Act; and (b) the number of stamps of each class in respect of which a refund has been made; and (c) such contributions as have been returned in respect of persons believed to be but not being employed persons.

2.0. P.M.

This Amendment is consequential on the preceding Amendment specifying the rates of State contributions. Instead of providing a general rate of State contribution of one-third of the total contributions paid by employers and employed persons, in view of the fact that the State contributions will be a varying proportion of the contributions paid by employer and employée, it is provided that each kind of stamp sold shall be taken as the contribution paid during the year for the purpose of ascertaining the State contribution.

Amendment agreed to

Further Amendment made: In Subsection (7) leave out the word "employed" ["though employed within"], and insert instead thereof the words "an employed person."—[Dr. Macnamara.]


I beg to move, in Sub-section (7), to leave out the words "provide that in the event of that person subsequently becoming so insured every two contributions paid in respect of him under this Sub-section shall be treated as if they had been one full contribution paid in respect of him as as employed person under the other provisions of this Act " and to insert instead thereof the words "prescribe the benefit to which that person shall be entitled."

This Amendment has reference to the contributions paid by an employer of labour in respect to persons who are not insured persons. My proposal is to strike out certain words, and to replace them by certain other words, which will ensure that a man who is employed by an employer, who has to pay the contributions for him, although the man himself is not insured, shall have certain benefits in respect of his employer's contributions. Under the Bill as it stands, such a man does not get any benefits at all, unless he happens in the future to come under insurance and fall out of employment. It seems very wrong that an employer should have to pay these contributions week by week in respect of a man whom he employs, and that those contributions should not be used to benefit that man if he requires it. The right. hon. Gentleman who leads the Labour party said just now that this was an Insurance Bill. But this has absolutely nothing whatever to do with insurance. We are here dealing with contributions paid in respect to men who are not insured at all. These contributions should not be diverted to a pool, and used for the benefit of people who are insured; they should be used in respect of the men on whose behalf they are paid. The only possible contingency in which these men will ever be able to get benefits is, if they happen to come back into insurance, become insured persons, and then fall out of work. Such persons are a very small proportion indeed. The vast proportion of these people, who are not insured at all, and in respect of whom the employers have to pay contributions, will never come back into insurance. Therefore, they will never get any benefit from this weekly contribution of 3d. If a contribution of 6d. will provide 15s. per week benefit, 3d. per week ought to provide 7s. 6d. Where are these contributions going to? We have not heard a word about that; how are these threepences per week going to be used? My Amendment does not say that you have to pay a particular benefit in respect of these, or that the 3d. per week must yield 7s. 6d. benefit. It merely gives the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill, and his successors, a discretion to provide the benefits which may be given to these people under this Section. If a man falls out of work, he is just as much in need as anybody else. He is then minus his weekly wage. If his employer has been paying for him, he is just as much entitled to benefit as anyone else. It is, to my mind, a reasonable thing to say that some benefit should be given.


I beg to second the Amendment.


I cannot accept this Amendment. My hon. Friend asks me to prescribe what benefits these people shall be paid. Unemployment benefit is the only one that comes under this Bill—not a variety of benefits. I cannot give some other benefit. As the Bill now stands, the only form of benefit is, presumably, an unemployment benefit.


I do not propose to put the House to the trouble of a Division, but the right hon. Gentleman talked about insurance. These people are not insured.

Amendment negatived.

Further Amendment made: At the end of Sub-section (7) add the words The contributions to be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament in respect of contributions paid under this Sub-section in respect of exempt persons shall be at the rates specified in Part II. of the Third Schedule to this Act in reference to such persons."—[Dr. Macnamara.]

  1. CLAUSE 7.—(Statutory conditions for receipt of unemployment benefit.) 6,820 words
  2. cc950-2
  3. CLAUSE 11.—(Determination of claims.) 1,078 words
  4. cc952-3
  5. CLAUSE 12.—(Appointment of umpire, deputy-umpires, insurance officers, inspectors, etc.) 294 words
  6. cc953-4
  7. CLAUSE 13.—(Courts of Referees, etc.) 396 words
  8. cc954-6
  9. CLAUSE 15.—(Provision for securing solvency of unemployment fund.) 549 words
  10. cc956-7
  11. CLAUSE 16.—(Periodical revision of rates of contribution.) 343 words
  12. cc957-78
  13. CLAUSE 17.—(Arrangements with associations of employed persons which make payments to members while unemployed.) 8,634 words