HC Deb 23 July 1924 vol 176 cc1419-20

I beg to move, in page 1, line 15, at the end, to insert (2) In this Act the expression earnings ' moans money or money's worth which a person receives or acquires as a result of work presently performed by him. This Amendment would insert in the Bill a definition of earnings. During the discussions in the Committee stage of the Bill it was stated that in the existing Old Age Pensions Act there was no definition of "earnings." Hitherto it has been left to the various bodies which are responsible for the administration of the Old Age Pensions Act to define what is meant by "earnings." There were two suggestions made during the Debate in the Committee stage. The hon. and gallant Member for Leith (Captain W. Benn) suggested that we might issue a statement of the rules and regulations which have been framed by the authorities responsible for the administration of the Act. A further suggestion was that in this Bill there should be some definition of "earnings." I promised to give consideration to the two proposals. The first proposal, in so far as it was not practicable, was not desirable. I am, therefore, proposing to adopt the second suggestion and to include in the present Bill a definition of "earnings." It was stated in our discussion that a High Court Judge had recently said that it was almost impossible to get a precise and actual definition of "earnings," that for some purposes a very generous interpretation was placed upon the word "earnings," as, for instance, in the case of the Workmen's Compensation Act, and that in other eases there was a different interpretation. I submit that the Amendment will he generous towards the applicant for an old age pension. It will not permit income which is not earnings within the definition which I propose to be included—

It being Quarter-past Eight of the Clock, and there being Private Business set down by direction of the Chairman of Ways and Means under Standing Order No. 8, further Proceeding was postponed without Question put.