§ Mr. WHEATLEY
I beg to move, in page 6, line 32, to leave out paragraph (a).
This paragraph makes it an obligation that the person claiming a pension should have been continuously insured for a period of not less than five years immediately prior to the date on which he attained the age of 65, or immediately prior to the appointed day. I object on several grounds to the policy laid down in the paragraph. The age of 65 is far too late in life for benefits from a contributory scheme to begin. The Labour party have always stood for pensions at 65, but those were pensions on a non-contributory basis. We are now making a completely new departure in policy. Up to now all old age pensions have been non-contributory, and we never associated contributions with old age pensions. Under the Bill the potential recipient of the pension must have been continuously insured for the preceding five years. There is another bit of legislative juggling taking place here. During recent times we have heard a good deal about the removal of the means disqualification from the path of the old age pensioner. We were led to believe that we were setting out to make it as easy as possible for the aged poor to receive the maintenance that schemes of this kind provide. Here, instead of removing disqualifications, we are setting up another qualification, and one of a very serious nature.
I object to paragraph (a) also, because it links up the old age pension with national health insurance. For the life of me I cannot see where the Minister of Health finds the connection. Is he intending to take any money out of the funds of national health insurance? It would be interesting at this stage to have an 2958 assurance from the right hon. Gentleman that none of the surpluses of approved societies, on which Chancellors of the Exchequer are suspected of casting greedy eyes occasionally, will be touched in order to make good any of the financial deficiencies of this scheme. It would be reassuring to millions of people if they were told by the right hon. Gentleman that in no circumstances and at no time would any of the money of the National Health Insurance Fund be used for that purpose. I do not think an old age pension should be subject to the stringent conditions attached to national health insurance. When a person gets to 65 years of age, and wants to get a little to eke out the rather miserable existence that the majority of the working-class are condemned to, we ought to make the regulations and restrictions as few and as painless as possible; and I think on that ground we have reasons to object to the stringent regulations associated with national health insurance applying in any way to the provision of an old age pension.
§ Mr. LEES-SMITH
We have had some preliminary discussion on the point raised in this Clause and some explanations from the Minister of Health, or, rather, from the Parliamentary Secretary. I have been trying to piece together what those explanations come to, and I should be glad to know whether I understand the situation aright. This Clause practically says that if any man who has been contributing to insurance for years, however many years, should fall out of insurance in the five years before the age of 65, then his right to a pension at 65 would lapse. That appears exceedingly hard. I understand the explanation which the Minister of Health has given— both his original explanation and his correction— is that by the Prolongation of Insurance Act, 1921, it is open to an Approved Society to keep the man in insurance by making certain payments, and arrangements are made for a refund to the Approved Societies for part of this payment. I think broadly that is the nature of the explanation. In order that one may address oneself to real grievances under this Clause and not to grievances which are explained away, I wish to deal with the Clause after having accepted that explanation. Even then this Clause will lead to the harshest injustice in tens of thousands of cases which are not covered 2959 by the statement of facts which have been laid before us. If you look at the Prolongation of Insurance Act you will find that this right to keep a man insured, although no longer contributing, is confined to cases in which that man does not pass away into employment outside the schedule of insured trades.
Evidently the Minister of Health was not aware of that in his first speech, but he became aware of it when questions were raised in this House, and then the Clause was apparently drawn up when the Minister of Health was in the state of mind that he was not aware of this fact. What I wish to point out is that this makes all the difference to the situation, and it is owing to this that thousands of cases of injustice are bound to arise. There are tens of thousands of men after the age of 55 or 60 who will pass out of the group of insured persons into some trade in which contributions are no longer paid. Take the case of a person who at an advanced age sets up in some little business. He is no better off than insured persons but he prefers that life, and he is entitled to make that adventure in his advanced years.
What is his position? Is it not that a man in this category will have contributed from the age of 16 to 55, he will have perfectly legitimately passed into an uninsured occupation, and he will lose in consequence all he has paid during his lifetime without being entitled to a pension at 65. If that is the case, the Minister must see that there will be tens of thousands of cases in which this grave injustice will be perpetrated. On previous occasions when we brought up cases of this kind with regard to single women, the Minister's answer was the quoting of certain figures furnished by his Department explaining that in spite of all these facts the man or woman in question will somehow or other get 9d. for 4d. That answer has frequently been given to us, but I have always noticed in the case of these figures, when the right hon. Gentleman has been asked whether they are based upon the assumption that the person enters into insurance at 16 years of age, which is the normal case, then the explanation has always been that that case has not been taken into account. The right hon. Gentleman has given us the Actuary's 2960 figures, but I do not see how they are going to justify the case of a man who has contributed for 30 years and gets nothing.
I ask the Minister of Health to remember that this Bill is going to be judged not by the Actuary's estimate or by the opinion of insurance experts, but by what the people feel. There is a difference between the departmental view and the House of Commons view. The House of Commons view is that we have some experience as to what the people are likely to feel. Take this case for example. You are going to constitute two classes of persons who contribute during most of their life. One has contributed up to 65 years of age and he gets a pension; another has contributed up to the age of 60 and he sets up a little business, and as a consequence he sees his neighbour getting a pension at 65 and he has to wait until he is 70. I have a suggestion which I want the right hon. Gentleman to consider before we come to Clause 13. I think an alleviation of many of these harshnesses in the Bill can be accomplished and the harshnesses smoothed away in many cases by a simple and easy system of voluntary insurance.
A number of these injustices which we are pointing out arise from the fact that this is a contributory scheme. I am not going to argue the general principle now, but the right hon. Gentleman will surely recognise that a contributory scheme is bound to have one defect, whatever its merits may be, and it is that a large proportion of those who contribute under it will fairly late in life, for one reason or another, lapse out of the scheme and consequently lose their title to benefit. That is bound to be the result. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will take into account that this is one of the essential weaknesses of a contributory scheme, and I think he ought to deal with it. I suggest to him that the easy plan for alleviating a number of these cases is to say to a man in this position, "You have contributed, and we will use your past contributions to furnish a reserve value so that you may continue in insurance with a voluntary contribution, making these payments yourself, and then you will be entitled to the same advantanges as if you had remained working in the mill or the factory as an insured man."
2961 That is the solution and it is an easy system of voluntary insurance. On previous occasions when we put that solution before the Minister of Health he has said "No, we must not do that; we will not allow you to insure for the purposes of this Bill unless you insure for health insurance and pay a total contribution of 1s. 6d. per week." I ask the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider this point in order to let them have the form of insurance they feel that they need. Instead of this the right hon. Gentleman is insisting upon a form of insurance that these people do not want, and by doing this he is cutting thousands of these men out of pension right. I suggest to the Minister that he will be making a great mistake if on account of some administrative difficulties such as the question of an extra column in the letter of the approved societies, he insists upon a feature of this Bill which is going to inflict grave injustice to the men and to single elderly women and thousands of cases which could to some extent be alleviated by the suggestion which I have made.
§ Sir JOHN MARRIOTT
I cannot support the Amendment which has been moved, but I recognise that there is a very great deal of force in what has been said by the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith). I merely rise to say one or two sentences in support of the hon. Member's suggestion that this matter should be reviewed in connection with Clause 13 of the Bill. Let me make it perfectly clear that I cannot accept the full implication of what has been just said by the hon. Member. I am in favour of making an easier avenue to voluntary insurance, but I want it made through health insurance. If this particular Amendment were accepted, it would cut at the whole root of the Bill. It is really an Amendment in a slightly different form for a rejection of the contributory principle. Therefore, on that ground, I feel wholly unable to recommend it or to support it. I do wish, however, to make an appeal to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health that between now and the time when we reach the discussion on Clause 13 he will lend a favourable ear, certainly not to the precise suggestion made by the hon. Member for Keighley, but, if I am not trespassing on the rules of the House by saying so, to 2962 the solution of this difficulty which I have ventured to place as an Amendment on the Paper.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
I think that this paragraph is a mistake, and that it has perhaps been adopted from a too slavish following of precedent. We are dealing here with the revision of a pensions scheme which can only arise at the age of 65, and, as the system continues, it is quite clear that it will apply in the main to persons who will have been paying into insurance over a great period of years from an early age; that is to say, practically from 16 to 65. It is necessary perhaps in a contributory scheme to lay down certain qualifications, but by this Clause those qualifications are put at the end of a long period of insurance. In the case of both unemployment and health insurance, the benefits may arise at any period after entry Sickness benefits may come in a very few years; indeed, almost immediately after entry to insurance. It is the same with unemployment insurance. Perhaps, a Clause of this sort is not out of place where those payments are spread over a great number of years, but, surely, where the possibility of benefit only arises at 65, the qualification should take into account the whole period of contributions and not concentrate, as it were, on the last five years.
There is a very practical point which comes home to me in connection with my own constituents in East London. We have there a large number of men engaged in dock work. Everybody knows that a man engaged in dock work is very soon used up as a person in regular employment. In the first 10 years, or possibly a little longer, he may get fairly regular employment, but the older he gets the less chance he has of obtaining employment, and by the time he reaches the age of 60 it is very unlikely that he can do heavy work at the docks. He may perhaps get a light job, or he may—I have known a good many cases—finding that he has no longer a chance of getting work at the docks, set up some little general shop to keep going, and thus pass out of the category of insured persons. Take the case of a man who has been a worker at the docks, and has had a period of fairly regular employment. He will have piled up a considerable amount of 2963 contributions. Then, as he becomes worn out, he falls out of insurance, and ceases to be an employed person. The whole of those contributions over that long period do him no good, simply because the last five years are taken as the qualifying period.
I do suggest therefore that this paragraph (a) should be removed. I said that it has probably been introduced because the precedent of the other Insurance Acts where the benefits may arise at any time during the period of life has been followed, but it is totally inapplicable to the case of old age pensions, and, whatever conditions are laid down, should take into account the whole period of contributions and should not concentrate on the last five years. You have to consider that the working life of the population is very different in different occupations. In many occupations men are used up at an early age, and I do see a very great danger, particularly in the case of the population in South-East London, who are engaged in casual transport work, of a very large number of people who especially need these old age pensions, being struck out.
I should like to ask the Minister to take into account one thing. One of the objects of these insurance schemes, whether it be unemployment insurance, health insurance, or contributory old age pensions, is to substitute for the Poor Law a more up-to-date scheme of subsistence for people. Anyone who knows anything of the Poor Law knows that the burden is heaviest in poor districts such as West Ham, Poplar, and Stepney. If you are going to make these very strict regulations, it is precisely in those districts where the burden is greatest that you are going to do the least good in relief of the local rates. Therefore, apart from the case of the people whom I have mentioned, I do feel, from the point of view of relieving the burdens on industry—we all agree that heavy rates is one of them —you should not have your scheme fall too heavily on the poorer districts. A contributory scheme has the necessary disadvantage of cutting out some people, but Clause 8 (a) is unwise, and I do ask the Minister seriously to consider whether he could not adopt an alternative based 2964 on total contributions over the whole period of insurance instead of concentrating on the last five years.
§ Mr. SEXTON
I have on the Order Paper an Amendment dealing with the same question, and I wish to take this opportunity of referring to it. It contains the same principle which is already before the Committee. The hon. Member who represents York (Sir J. Marriott) expressed the view that this Amendment would destroy the contributory principle of the Bill. Personally, I wish it did, because I am very sore about it, but unfortunately that is not the case. I was under the impression that this was an old age pensions Bill, and that the contributions of those who were able to pay would help those who were in the more unfortunate position of not being able to pay. If that be not the case, then the term "old age pensions" is an absolute misnomer— it means nothing. There are men to-day in various industries in this country who are not paying contributions at all, who never get an opportunity of paying contributions, because they never get work. These men are severely handicapped now by the legislation that has been framed by this House. They are handicapped by the insurance companies. The insurance companies do not say in so many words that a roan is too old at 40, but they place a high premium on such a man, and, the older he gets, the higher becomes the premium which the employer has to pay, so the result is that the man has no chance of getting employment at all. I trust that the Minister will reconsider this Clause, because I am sure, when he looks into the matter, he will see that there is a very severe injustice to men who are down at the very bottom of the social scale.
§ Mr. GRIFFITHS
I hope the Minister will accept the suggestion that has been made by the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith). We who make provision in the trade unions for superannuation, unemployment, and death benefits, have had great experience in matters of this kind, and, if the suggestion of the hon. Member for Keighley be accepted, I feel confident that the Minister will have no difficulty in putting it into operation. In some of the progressive trade unions provision is made for superannuation benefit. We have it in my own society, but we do not 2965 pay this superannuation at 65. The men are wiser than the Government, and it is paid at 55 years of age. The men make their own rules, and decide what contribution they shall pay towards it. But if we have members of the Society—as suggested by the hon. Member for Keighley, there will be thousands of workman affected—if we have members in our society who are going to leave the trade to take up some other occupation, or go into some business, or if they fail to follow their employment on account of ill-health, they have made! a rule for themselves that, if they want to retain the full benefits of the society, they shall have the opportunity of paying the full contribution. If they do not want to retain the full benefits, then we have another rule under which they pay a retired contribution.
Again, in the different trades of the country, hundreds, if not thousands of people are promoted to be foremen, and, immediately they become foremen, although they may have contributed to this insurance fund since they were 16 years of age until they were 60, these people are deprived of the benefits under the Insurance Act, because they have now-become foremen. Others have taken up little businesses, or have entered various other occupations. If the Government pay the employer's contribution, and allow the workman to pay his own contribution, that will do away with all the hardship and injustice that is otherwise going to be imposed upon the workers. I suggest, therefore, that the Minister should reconsider this matter between now and the Report stage. He can get the leading trade unions of the country to give him first-hand information. The Government are novices in this matter, but we have had 20, 30, 40 years' experience, and shall be able to tell him how this suggestion can be put into operation, and put into operation at a far cheaper rate than is being charged to the workmen to-day. I hope, therefore, that the suggestion will be accepted.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I rise at this stage in order to let the Committee know the feeling of the country regarding this Measure. I have taken no part in the Debate until now; I have sat in my seat and listened patiently and attentively in order to see if it were possible to glean one ray of hope on behalf of the working class whom I represent in this House; and I have to 2966 confess, after all those weary days and nights that I have sat here and listened to men, who have the name of statesmen attached to them, discussing this Measure —and what is the Measure? It is widows' pensions—
§ The CHAIRMAN
We are not now discussing widows' pensions at all; we are discussing a condition for securing an old age pension, the condition being that the person shall have been continuously insured for not less than five years before attaining the age of 65. That is the whole question before the Committee.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I know, Mr. Hope, that we are discussing Clause 8, paragraph (a) which provides that the person shall be continuously insured for a period of not less than five years immediately before. We want the period of five years taken out. That was moved by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Shettleston (Mr. Wheatley), and it is upon that that I am speaking. I considered, however, that it was quite in order that I should have my say here, and give my opinion on what I think has led up to this.
§ The CHAIRMAN
No, I am afraid I cannot take that view. Otherwise, the whole Bill would be discussed on each Amendment. The hon. Member will, no doubt, have an opportunity on the Third Reading, but here, on this Clause, he must confine himself to the question of the five years' continuous contributions.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I heard other Members of the Committee being allowed to discuss, before I rose, the advantages of a contributory scheme as against a non-contributory scheme.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That was allowed because continuous insurance for five years does involve contributions for five years, and, so far, that was in order. But to discuss the whole merits of the Bill and all that has led up to it will not be in order.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I have to bow to your ruling, Sir. It is evidently inevitable; nevertheless, I want to say, on behalf of the working folk of this country, that this Clause, like the Bill in general, has been introduced by the Minister of Health, who comes here with a great reputation as a statesman, the hope of the Tory 2967 party, but has, in my opinion, let them down badly. This is not the first Bill that the right hon. Gentleman has brought before the House. What is the object of the Bill and of the Clause? It is to try to palliate the hellish conditions that prevail in working-class life at the moment. There is no denying that fact. These words may not be statesmanlike, but they are true. It is how the people I represent feel, and it is them that I am speaking for here. The Bill has been introduced in order to try to put a plaster on a terrible sore. All thoughtful men and women in Britain to-day view the situation very seriously. They see the awful condition, particularly of old men who have given their life to work, men and women who have worked for 40 and 50 years in the factories and workshops of this great country, men and women who when they come to 60 years of age dread every morning lest they have not got enough to satisfy the bare necessaries of life, men and women who have given of their very best when they were in the full vigour of manhood—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I must ask the hon. Member to come to the question of the five years' continuous employment, which is the question before the Committee.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I am dealing with these five years. I want to draw attention to what we see going on, and I want to tell the Minister that this little palliative is absolutely no use. They will make nothing of this in the country, because we are telling the folk about the great wealth of the country that we see exhibited and flaunted before our eyes every day.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member should not continue his speech when the Chairman has risen. I fully appreciate his sentiments, but they are not in Order on this Clause. They may be in Order on the Third Reading. The only question is that of five years' continuous contribution and I really must ask him to address himself to that or else I shall have to ask him to resume his seat.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I appreciate the position that you occupy just as much as any man in the House, and I have simply taken advantage of the moment in order 2968 that I might express the sentiments which are in my mind, because I do not think they have been expressed on this Bill and I think they should be expressed. I am putting forward the working-class point of view against any middle-class or upper-class point of view. I am putting forward the point of view of the men and the women in the workshops who are right up against it. I have had my opportunity and I thank you very much.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
I want to add one further argument why the Minister should reconsider the wording of the Clause. It lays down the statutory conditions to be complied with, and paragraph (a) lays it down that the insured person must have been for five years continuously in membership before he goes on to the old age pension. The Committee has listened up to now to arguments dealing, I should imagine, with the normal case of the boy who enters insurance at 16 years of age and leaves it at 60. I desire to put the case of the woman, because it seems to me that the case of the woman in connection with this provision is very much stronger than the case of the man. I will take the case of woman membership of my own society. There are in this country approximately 500,000 women employed in shops and offices. I have never yet seen a woman in a shop either, as a milliner or as a draper or in fact in an office as a clerk, very much beyond 55 years of age. What happens to her is this. A girl who enters this scheme at 16 years of age and remains unmarried—I dare venture to say more than 50 per cent. of them will leave their employment at 55 at latest. They will have paid from 16 until they are 55 when they will drop out of insurance automatically and fall out of this scheme as well. I feel sure the Minister will have already appreciated the hardship to these people. The answer, of course, is—I am not sure that it will be sufficient for our purpose—that when they arrive at 55 or 60 years of age and fall out of compulsory since they can straightaway become voluntary contributors. Of all the hardships that have been enumerated under this scheme, there will be nothing more cruel than to call upon a maiden lady who has been insured from 16 to 60 years of age to pay as a voluntary contributor the full contribution of herself and the employer. I know full well that there is something very alluring in a 2969 distinguishing rate of contribution. That is to say, it has been suggested that we ought to have a variety of contributions in order to settle some of these problems There is no insuperable difficulty in a variety of contributions. That can be dealt with, but I feel positive that I am right in saying that the insured population, the State, the approved societies and the employers, who pay part of these contributions, would not like a variety of contributions for this purpose. If it is at all possible we ought to have a single uniform contribution in respect of the man and a uniform contribution in respect of the woman for the purposes of accountancy, because there are 15 millions contributing every week under the scheme. The suggestion I desire to make is this. As these people who arrive at 55 or 60 years of age will have contributed under the scheme and fall out from the scheme for a variety of reasons—they are too old for employment in some occupations—in my view the State ought to make that contribution which is lost in respect of them, and allow these people to pay their own proportion of the contribution until they qualify for the old age pension at 65 years of age. The arguments in connection with this case are stronger than anything we have made yet in order to secure some of the concessions the Minister has made. I trust he will be able to say he has been induced to reconsider his position, and that something will be done in the way we have indicated.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
I feel a certain measure of sympathy with the Amendment. I am not satisfied that it will do what we want in quite the right way. It does seem to me a case of gross injustice that a person may contribute under this scheme for 20, 30 or 40 years and be entirely deprived of any benefits because, for some reason, he or she finds it impossible to go on as voluntary contributors when they have ceased to be employed persons. If any insurance company ran its business on such lines that it utterly declined to give a paid up policy to a person who could not continue to pay the premiums, we in this House would denounce that company with much greater vehemence even than the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) sometimes denounces other classes of capitalists.
2970 There are very considerable administrative difficulties in attempting to deal with exceptional cases, but here you have a case which, apparently, would give full rates to a person who has contributed from the age of 60 to 65 but nothing at all to the person who may have contributed from the age of 16 to 60. That is inequitable, and I hope that, in some way or other, perhaps not this morning, that may be impossible, but when we come to the Report stage, the Minister will find himself in a position to do something to deal with this question, which affects women more than men. It will affect a large number of spinsters and a smaller number of widows who will find themselves under the obligation of earning a living for themselves. The suggestion that I would make, and which I tried to incorporate in an Amendment which was not selected on Clause 7, is that a pension should be payable which bears some relation to the amount of contributions paid, that there should be some sort of a sliding scale to meet these exceptional cases, and something that would be financially equitable.
§ Sir ALFRED MOND
I am rather surprised that we have had no explanation from the Government in answer to the arguments which have been advanced from all quarters of the Committee. I do not know why this paragraph has been introduced into the Bill, or what is the actuarial reason for it. It seems to me a very arbitrary course. In an insurance scheme we have contributions paid over a period of years, and it does not seem clear to me why the last five years are any more important than other period during which the person is insured from the age of 16. It is obvious that such a provision as is set forth in paragraph (a) would cut out a very large number of people. Between the ages of 60 and 65, a large number of insured persons are likely to fall out of employment, and unless in some way or other, they can pay their contributions voluntarily, the whole of the moneys that they have paid in past years will have no surrender value, and they will have no compensation whatever. That, surely, cannot be the intention of the Government. I am sure that the actuarial calculations cannot have been based on a scheme which seems, on the face of it, so unfair to those who have 2971 subscribed for all these years and then in the last five years go out of benefit. I should like to hear from the Minister why this provision has been introduced. On the face of it, I do not see that it is necessary. The arguments from all quarters of the House have all been in favour of some more equitable arrangement being made.
§ 12 N.
§ The MINISTER of HEALTH (Mr. Neville Chamberlain)
The right hon. Gentleman seems rather aggrieved that I have not intervened earlier. The reason is, that I wanted to listen to the arguments, including the views of the right hon. Gentleman. I must say that I have been a little disappointed that we did not get something a little more illuminating from him. He says that he is unable to understand why we pitch on to the last five years instead of some other five years in the life of the contributing persons, as the test of whether they are genuine insured persons or not. The view originally put forward by the right hon. Member for Shettlestone (Mr. Wheatley) regarding the question of five years was only on the ground that he would have preferred a non-contributory scheme. That is a question which we have already settled, and I need not argue that all over again. There is one argument which although it may not appeal to the right hon. Gentleman will appeal to hon. Members on this side and that is, that if you are going to have a contributory scheme, in which
you tell people that the benefits which they receive are benefits to which they have contributed their due and proper share, to which, therefore, they have a moral right, and that they are not simply accepting something for nothing, you must be careful that you do not shovel out these benefits to other people who have not paid a proper and due contribution. If so, you are going to destroy the whole basis and ground on which you are putting forward your contributory scheme.
What would happen if we had not paragraph (a) in the Bill? I would call the attention of the right hon. Member for Carmarthen (Sir A. Mond) specially to this point, because I am sure he would see the bearing of it. Under Regulations made in connection with the National Health Insurance Act, a man who has 2972 been for two weeks in employment may, if he wishes to qualify for disablement benefit, stamp his own card up to 104 contributions, and thereby establish his claim to disablement benefit. Under this Bill, he could do the same thing. In other words a man of 63 years of age who had never been in insurable employment at all, and who had never made a single contribution, could obtain employment, collusively if you like, for a week or two, stamp his own card up to 104 contributions, and he would then be entitled to his old age pension when he reached the age of 65.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
No. The right hon. Gentleman will see that the last word of paragraph (a) is the word "and." Therefore, paragraph (b) is an additional condition. If this Amendment were carried and paragraph (a) were left out, it would be possible for a man who had never been in insurable employment, and had never made any contributions towards insurance, in his sixty-third year to make payments to the amount of £8 1s. and obtain a pension of £26 a year for the rest of his life. How could you justify that? It is not a reasonable thing.
Now I come to the speech of the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith), which seemed to me to be the most careful and best informed presentation of the case for the Amendment. He drew a picture of a large number of people— I think he said that there were tens of thousands—who, having paid contributions all their lives, fell out of insurance at the age of 65 and were not able to comply with the test of five years' insurance, and thereby lost the whole of the value of the contributions paid. Stated in that way it sounds so bad that I think the Committee must see that there is a catch in it somewhere. Indeed, the hon. Member himself perceived what the catch was. He went on to say that the solution of the difficulty was not the Amendment which he was supporting, but was something different, namely, that we should have an easy system of voluntary contributions so that the person no longer in insurable employment might fulfil the conditions of the necessary insurance by means of voluntary contributions.
2973 That was the hon. Member's suggestion, and that is exactly what we have done. That is the solution which is in Clause 13. That is the answer to those who foresee this terrible hardship to tens of thousands of people—that all they have to do is to become voluntary contributors. I wish to point out something else which may not be in the mind of the Committee. Under the Bill in the second Clause, we have extended the period during which the persons are deemed to be insured, after they have ceased to pay contributions for as long as they are entitled to medical benefit. The effect of that is that they get a year and nine months as the average period during which they are deemed to be insured after the last stamp is put on their cards, so that the person who has succeeded in paying contributions or keeping alive insurance, to the age of 63 years and three months, and then may fall out of insurance, actually will not be out of insurance for the purpose of this Clause for that year and nine months, and that will carry the insurance to the age of 65, when he will be entitled to the pension.
The hon. Member says that these people may have set up a little shop or gone into business and gone out of insurance, and he says, "It is true you have this system of voluntary contributions, but you have spoiled it by making it necessary for these people to insure for health as well as to contribute for the pension." But a matter which I think the Committee should bear in mind is that these are just the very people for whom health insurance is most necessary. The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. R. Davies) put the case of the elderly woman of 55. That is just the age when the medical benefits under health insurance will be of the greatest possible use to her, and the contributions will be returned to her in value many times over. Apart from the benefit to the individual, in the general interests of the nation I would like to see as many people as possible insured for health at about those ages, and I do not think that we should do anything to discourage them from keeping themselves insured for health purposes. The combined health and pensions contribution for the man and the employer are 1s. 6d., and in the case of the women 1s. 1d. What are you going to say if you separate the two? Say half. You are going to 2974 have 9d. a week in the case of a man, and the number of weeks for which he has to pay in any one year will not be more than 45. Forty-five times 9d. is £1 13s. 9d. in a year, and are you to tell me that such a man for the sake of £1 13s. 9d. will forfeit the whole of his benefit?
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
A married woman has her husband to help to support her. I have been trying to meet the main case put by the hon. Member for Keighley, and in view of what I say I think that the hardship vanishes. It would not be possible to say that there will never be a single case of hardship. There must always be some cases of hardship. You cannot provide for everyone. But there can be no class of case, so far as I can see, in which any real hardship can be alleged through the payment by a man of £1 13s. 9d. a year to enable him to get a pension at 65.
§ Mr. LEES-SMITH
May I take a case with which many Members are familiar? Suppose I had a woman in employment as a domestic servant. She leaves for something else at the age of 56 or 57 and falls out of insured employment. In order to obtain her pension she will have to pay 1s. 1d. per week. Would the right hon. Gentleman say that for a woman of that sort to pay 1s. 1d. a week is negligible and that there is no hardship?
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I cannot say that it is a negligible sum, but it is not so large as to be impossible for her to find it. The benefits which she will receive in relation to it are so great that she will make very great efforts to find it, even if she has to borrow from her friends.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
Hon. Members are driving this matter too far. The case as put to me has not been substantiated. If we go into details we have to imagine cases where the small sum that it would be necessary to raise in a year would be difficult to find, and I do not believe that such cases will be more than very few.
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
The right hon. Gentleman has pointed out how certain people may come in under the scheme to 2975 draw benefit, but I do not think he has realised yet the very large number of men who are going to be cut out under this paragraph. This paragraph will make it quite impossible for at least 20,000 members of the trade union to which I belong to qualify for the pension. We have a superannuation scheme similar to that which was mentioned by the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Griffiths). We have the age set at 55 years, and our benefit of 10s. per week has been placed so low because we have had to fix the years for benefit at 55. People who keep shops have been mentioned, and it has been pointed out by the Minister that they would be able to contribute under the Bill as specified in Clause 13. There are large numbers of men who are compelled to give up work at 55, certainly long before they are 65, who do not keep shops and whose sole income is a small superannuation benefit from a trade union such as ours. I believe I am right in saying that very few of the trade unions pay more than the society to which I belong.
I wish to supplement the remark of the hon. Member for Pontypool that large numbers of men cannot go on with work after the age of 53 years. There are men who are working at the coal face, shipyard workers who are members of my society, men who work piece work and have to work piece work because they can get nothing else. It is impossible for them to go on until they are 65 years of age. I am not near 65 years of age, but before I came to this House I was finding severely the strain of my work as a piece worker in the shipyards. What obtained in past years cannot obtain now. In past years it was possible for men who were beyond the stage of piece work to get a job upon time work. The elder men could do that. That is all wiped out now. The speeding-up process has gone on to such an extent that when a man is done with piece work he is done altogether. He then comes on to his society. In my society this paragraph is going to cut out two-thirds of the members of the trade to which I belong. We have 30,000 members, and I am quite within the mark in saying that 20,000 of these 30,000 cannot go on to 65 or even 60. According to our superannuation papers, which I have been studying recently, we have at 2976 least one-third of the members coming on the funds before their 59th year. It is not a question of people keeping shops. I earnestly appeal to the Minister to have this paragraph revised. It is quite impossible for men who draw a superannuation allowance of 10s. a week from their society to contribute 1s. 6d per week under Clause 13 of this Bill. This paragraph should be reviewed in the light of the evidence that has been produced.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MacDONALD
The Minister has left us in an impossible position by what he has said. He knows perfectly well that the form of an Amendment is dictated by Parliamentary exigencies, and that the only way in which it is possible for us to raise this question and to get it discussed is to move the deletion of this paragraph We are perfectly prepared, as has been stated, to consider any amended proposal that the Government might make with regard to it. The right hon. Gentleman has not quite appreciated the difficulties that will arise in the attempt to administer this paragraph. I wish that he would give us one or two industrial figures which would show how big the problem is as a matter of bulk. There are statistics at the Ministry of Labour which show how, between the ages of 50 and 55, there is a large drop out of the industrial market, particularly in the case of unmarried women. They cease to be regularly occupied in shops or domestic service and so on, and from that age onward they become more or less casual and intermittent workpeople. We may assume that numerically they are a very large section. They are to be called upon to pay 1s 1d. a week The right hon. Gentleman calculated, on that, that their annual expenditure would be £l 13s. 9d.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
The £1 13s. 9d. was for the man, and not for a woman. I was pointing out that that was the difference between what was provided under the Bill and what was suggested by an hon. Member opposite.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
That being so, I misunderstood the Minister, who did not really deal with the question at all. As 2977 a matter of fact, that is not what will happen. The unmarried woman who is unemployed or a casual worker will have to pay 1s. 1d. a week in order to make certain that up to the age of 65 years she is in a position to claim benefit. 1s. 1d. a week would mean £2 8s. 9d. for the 45 weeks. Anyone who knows anything about the terrible struggle that that class of woman has to go through will realise the impossibility of her raising such a sum. The class affected is not a negligible class; it is a very large class. It is precisely the class that would be benefited by an old age pension at 65. If the provisions for an old age benefit at 65 are to be really effective, that class must be included. If you leave them out, you are cheating your own benevolence to such a large extent that it becomes very much smaller than I am certain the Minister would like it to be. Therefore he has still to meet his problem. The only way we can show that we do not agree with his conception is to move the paragraph out, and he knows very well that if he were in this position, this is precisely the attitude and the action he would have to take, because the technicalities of the situation permit of nothing else. All I have risen to do is to emphasise the fact that the Minister's speech has not met the situation, or, if it has met the situation at all, has met it quite inadequately, and in such a way as to leave us quite convinced that, so long as this paragraph and the idea of the paragraph is embodied in the Bill, it will defeat very largely the purpose of Clause 7.
§ Major HORE-BELISHA
In following the Minister's lucid explanation of this Clause, I felt that all the arguments which he advanced on behalf of the age of 63 could be advanced with greater cogency on behalf of the age of 60. There is nothing sacred about the age of 63, but there is something very sacred about the age of 60. A particular class of employés, namely, servants of the Crown, are compulsorily retired at the age of 60, and you are virtually depriving them of the benefits of the scheme unless they can pay down £8 or whatever the amount may be. It is very unfair if the Government say to their own employés "Sixty is the age which is the limit of your good service to the State; after that you are of no use 2978 whatever," and then to deprive one of the most useful sections of the community of all the benefits under the Bill.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Is not the hon. and gallant Member dealing with a class of persons who are in an excepted employment?
§ Major HORE-BELISHA
No, Sir, they are not. These men are coming in under this scheme. They are not persons who get widows' pensions or any of the benefits similar to that, and they are awaiting the result with the greatest anxiety. My hon. Friend, the Member for Reading (Mr. H. Williams) thinks he has been very clever when he suggests that I am speaking about my constituents. I do not know what he imagines he was returned to Parliament for, but I was returned to speak on behalf of my constituents, and when my constituents happen to be servants of the Crown, I should have thought they would have had the special sympathy of an hon. Member who belongs to the Conservative party. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to be good enough, with his usual courtesy, to refer to the position of these Government employés. I do not refer only to my constituents, but to Government employés in any kind of employment, whether building ships, or in the Post Office. They do not happen to be in an excepted employment; they are turned out of work at the age of 60, not necessarily with a pension, and sometimes with a very small gratuity, and almost invariably they go upon the Employment Exchange and have to wait until the age of 70 before they get an old age pension. I quite appreciate what the Minister said, but surely a contributory scheme ought to give something in return for contributions. It should not put a sacred character upon the last five years of a man's life; it should have regard to the whole span of his work. If a man has worked from the age of 16 to that of 60, I see no reason why he should be in a worse position than a man who has come in for the first time at the age of 57. We should have regard to the insurance character of the scheme. We should see how many contributions a man has made in his lifetime, and what is the actuarial value of those contributions, and if he should be so unfortunate as to 2979 fall out before qualifying at the age of 65, we ought to give him a surrender value. We should give him some return for the money which he has paid throughout his life. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will bear in mind the class of men for whom I speak.
§ Mr. HARDIE
I wish to draw attention to the statements made in regard to certain of the payments which may be called for under this proposal. I suggest to the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary that the reason why they suggest these payments, is because they have never gone through that which we on this side know so well, namely, poverty. Never having been in want themselves, they cannot value in their own minds what a sum of 1s. 6d. or 1s. 1d. or even 9d. means to a person living in the conditions which this Bill is supposed to alleviate. A person who is in absolute want places a real value upon every coin that comes into his possession, and exerts all his powers to make that coin go as far as possible in procuring sustenance. This Bill has been broadcast as a Bill which confers old age pensions at 65, whereas when we come to examine it we find it is not a Bill for old age pensions at all, but a scheme of so-called insurance, and that certain persons at a certain age may be deprived of all that they have paid. It seems to me that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, when they broadcast this Measure as the great scheme of the great Tory party to confer old age pensions at 65, did so purely as an election cry and nothing else. When we come to the details of the Bill we discover exactly what it means, and we find that the scheme is not two-fold, but three-fold, in its reactions. When you depart from what is called the true line of payments in insurance, then the whole burden falls on the people who have paid. You have the case of the man known in Scotland as the "orra" man, the man in casual employment; there is, for instance, the fisherman in Scotland, a decent hard-working man, who is entirely left out of consideration so far as payments are concerned. You have also the charwoman and the men and women in small businesses. It is lack of knowledge of the real conditions of poverty which make it so difficult for 2980 hon. Members opposite to realise the full meaning of these payments. They can only measure 1s. 1d. as being the price of a cigar or a drink, or something of that kind, whereas where that poverty exists for which we are seeking redress, the sum of 1s. 1d. means a lot, and a person in those conditions cannot afford to fling away anything at all. Every penny has to be used for actual requirements. I ask the Minister to give consideration to this question, not from the point of view of the actuary, or of some special system of figures or balance sheets, but to realise what this means to those who live in poverty. What is the use of talking about old age pensions at 65, when, even now, it is going to take a Philadelphian lawyer to know whether the man of 65 is going to be in or out. In order to justify the advertisement which hon. Gentlemen opposite have given themselves they ought to put something substantial before the country.
§ Mr. J. BAKER
There are men in this country who have been out of work for four years, who have been declared now by employment committees to be unemployable in an insurable industry. How are these men going to qualify under this Clause? Does the Minister remember the time when there were glaring headlines in the newspapers: "Too old at 40"? That will occur again, and how will this Clause affect those men?
Before the right bon. Gentleman replies, may I put him a question to do with the case of the woman who marries an uninsured man? It is quite possible that the difficulty is met, but I do not know. Under Clause I when we pointed out that the woman who married an uninsured man failed to get the advantages of Clause I the right hon. Gentleman said: "She is called upon to pay contributions because she will get a pension at 65." It appears now, however, that it is problematical whether she will get it, and in some cases certainly she will not; that is to say, if I am right, that a woman may go into employment at 16 years of age and pay till she is 35 every week. She might then marry an uninsured man, as many women do, and then she might not fulfil this condition, and she would then find that she had paid all those contributions and could get nothing whatever in return for them.
2981 I should not have made the point if the right hon. Gentleman had not emphasized it on Clause I that the woman's contributions were always good for the old age pension at 65, that she should be very grateful, and that the contribution was justified, because she would be certain to get the old age pension at that age. The hon. Member for York (Sir J. Marriott), who has a passionate keenness for the principle of contribution, is surely carrying his fetish too far when he thinks we should insist on contributions even when the contributors know they will get no benefit at all. That is over emphasizing a valuable moral principle. My question to the Minister is whether a woman can be called upon to pay from 16 till the time of her marriage, and, if then she marries an uninsured man, she will be disqualified from getting, under this Clause, the one benefit which the right hon. Gentleman specially said would be hers.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
In his rather lengthy and ornamental question, the hon. and gallant Member for Leith (Captain Benn) really goes back to the old story. He wants to have certain benefits assured to everybody who is a contributor, and we cannot ensure that everybody will get benefits from a scheme of this kind. It is obvious that the woman he instances, if she continues in insurable employment, will get her old age pension if she arrives at the proper age, but if she does not continue in insurable employment, and marries a man who is not insured, and, therefore, presumably able to support her, she has not the same need for a pension. The Leader of the Opposition has made it clear that he and his friends desire to raise the general question and not merely to confine the point to that raised on this Amendment, and I think the discussion has shown that the difficulty boils down really to the amount of the contribution exacted from the voluntary contributor. I have explained to the Committee what the difference is between the solution with regard to the voluntary contributors to be found in the Bill and that advocated by the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith), and, although I did not admit that there were likely to be a great number of cases of genuine hardship under the scheme of the Bill, I am prepared to try to make the way still easier 2982 than it is in the Bill, and I will undertake that, when we come to the appropriate Clause, which is Clause 13, I will see what I can do to introduce some provision to ease the way, as suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Reading (Mr. H. Williams), for people who are no longer in an insurable employment and who desire to become voluntary contributors in order to save the fruits of their previous contributions. It may be necessary to put in some limit, possibly an age limit, in regard to persons who become voluntary contributors after a certain age, but I think I shall be able to make some provision which will meet the purpose of the Amendment, and make it easier for these people to become voluntary contributors.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
After the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, we would like to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment, and wait until we see what the proposal is in Clause 13.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. R. DAVIES
I beg to move, in page 7, line 1, to leave out paragraph (c).
This Clause lays down the statutory conditions which must be complied with in order that the insured person might secure his old age pension at 65 years of age, and paragraph (c), in my view, is quite as important as either of the two preceding paragraphs. I ought to point out that there are three statutory conditions laid down in this Clause, and they are as follows: The five years' membership, which has already been debated, the payment of 104 contributions since the date of entry into insurance, and then we come to this paragraph (c), which provides that, under regulations made within this scheme, at least 39 contributions, on the average, must have been paid for the three preceding years; that is to say, I suppose, from 62 to 65. The insured person, in order to secure his old age pension at 65 years of age, must have had paid in respect of him, or deemed to have been paid in respect of him, at least 39 contributions. There are two specific points raised on this Amendment, and I would like to get information from the Minister upon them. First of all, who is to make regulations dealing with these 39 contributions?
2983 Under the National Health Insurance Act, perhaps the Committee would be interested to know that in fact the Act is only a general declaration of principle, and that the whole administration of the National Health Insurance scheme through the approved societies is governed very largely by regulations, issued sometimes once a week. Those regulations must, of course, have the principles of the National Health Insurance Act embodied in them, and what I want to know is this: Will the Treasury be the authority to issue the regulations governing these contributions? If the Treasury issues the regulations, we shall have, I suppose, the Government auditors coming to the approved societies themselves, as they are doing now, to audit the accounts and find out whether these contributions have actually been paid through the books of the societies or deemed to have been paid. That is the first point that I want to be cleared up, if the Minister will help us by stating who will make the regulations. The second point is this: I come back to the point that has been raised on more than one occasion, and, in fact, this is the pivot upon which the whole thing turns; that is to say, the insured person, in order to secure the old age pension at 65 years of age, must have had 39 contributions paid in respect of him for each of these preceding three years, or the contributions must be deemed to have been paid in respect of him. The Prolongation of Insurance Act must operate on this paragraph (c), and I will go back, as I said, to the old and very important point as to where it is that the unemployed person stands under this Clause.
Take the case of a man who falls unemployed, say, at 55 years of age. He has been insured for National Health Insurance, and for this purpose up to 55. He then becomes unemployed, and, in fact, I can conceive, under the present industrial conditions of this country, a man being permanently unemployed from 55 to 65 years of age. We must picture a case of that kind. Then the prolongation of Insurance Act provides that the approved society can keep this man in insurance from year to year, but it does not provide that a man can be retained in membership of an approved society from 55 to 65 years of age. So far as I know the approved society must take 2984 his case each year, and the regulations, issued under the Prolongation Act do not provide that the approved society can do-this indefinitely. What I want to point out is, that the approved society, first of all, will say, "We are not going to do this indefinitely. We have done it for three, four, five or six years. This man has now been unemployed for seven years without a break, and we are not going to regard him any further as an insurable person in our society." That is point No. 1.
Point No. 2 is this: When a genuinely unemployed person goes to the employment exchange for his benefit he is turned down, and he goes back to his approved society to be continued as a member, but the approved society turns round and says, "We know you are unemployed; in fact, we are satisfied that you are unemployed, but we have to meet the Government auditor when he comes to examine the accounts of the society, and says, "Where is your proof that this man has been unemployed?" Because, in order to secure the funds from the Treasury, the approved society must secure documentary evidence that the person is genuinely unemployed. Then the society secures evidence from the employment exchange, who turn round and declare that, although the man is unemployed within the regulations of the employment exchange, he is not deemed to be unemployed at all. That is the case I want to bring before the Minister. This is not merely poetry—these are facts. The mass of the unemployed members of our society are regarded as unemployed for the purposes of this Clause. They are brought in, but there are cases of women in particular, and the Parliamentary Secretary knows full well that the case of the woman is very much more typical than the case of the man, especially if she marries and becomes a widow, and enters industry once again. She is a very difficult proposition indeed. A widow who is unemployed at 55 to 60 years of age, I dare venture to declare, cannot satisfy the approved society that she is genuinely unemployed, and, in consequence, she will fall out of the insurance scheme, and will, of course, not get a pension provided under this new scheme. I hope the Minister, having looked into the case we made out earlier under paragraph (a), will be able to say something 2985 on the points I have raised, because, after all, the whole of this Clause stands together. We have made out a case particularly for a woman arriving at 55 to 60 years of age. I feel sure the right hon. Gentleman will find also that the case under this paragraph is quite as strong as the case made out previously.
I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman wishes to save two Amendments appearing in his name on the Paper subsequent to this Amendment?
§ Mr. DAVIES
I might explain that if the Amendment I am now moving falls to the ground, or is defeated, I would like to be in a position to move one, at any rate, of the following Amendments.
In order to save the next Amendment, I will put the Question, "That paragraph (c) down to line 4 stand part of the Clause."
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Douglas Hogg)
I will do my best to answer the questions which have been addressed to the Government, although I may say at once that I am afraid we cannot accept this Amendment, any more than we could the precisely similar Amendment which was moved when we were dealing with the Statutory conditions where a similar provision appeared in Clause 5, and where we discussed this very point, and the Committee decided in favour of the Government view. The hon. Gentleman asked us, first of all, who is to prescribe the regulations? I think if he will look at Clause 29 he will find the answer to his question in Sub-section (1, f), which lays down that it is the Minister who is to make regulationsfor prescribing anything which under this Act is to be prescribed.
§ Mr. R. DAVIES
Does it mean, therefore, that the Ministry of Health Regulations governing the conduct of approved societies will be subject to regulations issued by the Postmaster-General?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Every qualification which is to be prescribed here is to be prescribed by regulations, which are to be made by the Minister, who will act in conjunction with the Postmaster-General, so that there will be no difference of practice between the two authorities. That is, I think, the answer to the first question. Then the hon. 2986 Gentleman took the case of the widow who may be regarded as unable to keep up the contribution. The widow of the insured person, of course, is getting her benefit, and she will not be asked for contributions. The only persons who are left are the widows of uninsured persons who themselves enter into insurable employment, and then come under the scheme, so that they will, of course, be paying their contributions at the woman's rate during such time as they are employed, and if they lose employment, through sickness or inability to obtain work, then, as we explained in dealing with Clause 5, these Regulations will prescribe that they are to be deemed to have paid. The object of the words in the paragraph "deemed to have been paid" and "calculated in the prescribed manner" is to ensure that we may make Regulations which will provide that anybody who is prevented from paying, by reason of the fact of being unable to get work, or being ill, and so, for the time being, out of employment on that account, shall be deemed to have paid, although he has not paid.
§ Mr. SPENCER
How does the right hon. Gentleman explain the differentiation between the two Clauses?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
In the Clause we are now discussing, we are dealing with the case of the person who reaches the age of 65, and has been continuously insured for a period for not less than five years immediately prior to the date on which he attained the age; while in Clause 5 we were dealing with the person who died before he reached the age of 65. We are dealing with a definite fact, and the provision in the circumstances is less rigid as to the number of contributions in view of the uncertainty than in the case of the contingency which everybody knows must happen. I do not want to reiterate the arguments as to the necessity of some such Clause as this, for the matter was discussed at some little length in the early hours of a recent morning. But I think it will be obvious to the Committee that there must be some provision as to the regularity of contributions. I would ask the Committee, therefore, with that explanation which I hope makes it clear that the particular cases that the hon. Member opposite has in mind 2987 have been kept in view, that the Committee will accept the decision which was come to earlier.
§ Mr. SPENCER
Notwithstanding the explanation which has been given by the learned Attorney-General, for the life of me I cannot see why, in Clause 5, we should take a 26 weeks' average for the three years, while in the Clause we are now discussing, dealing with almost similar conditions, but applied to a different subject, we should have gone in for 39 weeks. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that the reason for that was that we must be more rigid as to the age of the old age pensioner than we need to be in regard to the question of the widows' and orphans' pensions. The right hon. and learned Gentleman says that in a series of arguments it has been made perfectly plain to the Committee that, if the insured person falls ill or falls out of work, the contributions will be assumed to be paid. Why, then, the distinction? Why should you have 26 weeks on the one hand, where you are assuming that the contributions will be paid, and 39 weeks in the other, where, also, the assumption will be that the contributions are paid? As a matter of fact, they will not be paid, because in the case of the man genuinely unemployed and seeking work they will be assumed—it will be assumed in both cases that the contributions have been paid. If, then, I am correct in that assumption, I cannot for the life of me see why we should treat the cases differently! I do not want to delay the Committee, but I want to know exactly what is the point.
§ 1.0 P.M.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of HEALTH (Sir Kingsley Wood)
I am sorry that we have not made the matter clear. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] At least, the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General was clear enough to me. Clause 5 deals with the question of the statutory conditions as to widows' and orphans' pensions. It largely turns on the fact as to what the man has paid. In that case the man is not likely to suffer such stringent regulations, whereas in the other he knows that within a certain time he will attain the age. That is the real distinction. The Committee, perhaps, will 2988 not regard the course suggested as un reasonable, for conditions have to be made.
§ Mr. R. DAVIES
In view of the explanation which has been given and in view of the fact that these regulations can be laid before Parliament, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. DAVIES
I beg to move, in page 7, line 4, to leave out the word "three" and to insert instead thereof the word "two."
This is a simple Amendment, but I regard it as important. The intention of it is that we shall reduce the period for calculating the number of contributions paid on an average from three years to two. The only point I desire to make is this— and it is an administrative one: I want the scheme to be administered as smoothly as possible once it is passed and becomes law. It will be much easier to calculate on two years than three. In fact, I feel sure that the officers and the other people who are engaged in the actual administration of this scheme will thank this House-of Commons if we will in this respect ease their work as far as possible. I myself can see no point why three contribution years should be included in this Clause. I shall be glad to hear any argument as to why three years has been included. Up till now I have never been able to understand it. In fact, there is no more point in this connection in saying three years than in saying four or five years for the purpose of finding out whether a man has been continuously insured. For the mere purpose of calculating whether a man is entitled to benefit or not it seems to me that two years are quite as good as three-years.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Westhoughton (Mr. R. Davies) will note that this period prescribes a test. It is perfectly true that it might be better for the officials and the approved societies to have the number reduced to two, but the Committee-will see that in the interests of employed men themselves it is better to have the three, because the test will be more favourable to them than the two. I do not think that the hon. Gentleman would 2989 desire easiness of calculation as against the other considerations. I hope that that explanation will meet the case.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Excuse me. Every man must be between 62 and 65 years of age and have an average of 39 payments for each of the three years. That is how I understand it: but it will rule out certainly the bulk of the dockers and casual labourers both in Liverpool, Southampton, London and other places. I will speak of London, which I know most abut. The more I consider the Bill, the more I am confirmed in my opposition to the contributory principle, because of the class of persons for whom pensions are most necessary. I am thinking of the casual labourer, the dock worker of 62 years of age. Hon. Members may think there is not a very large class of these, but I assure the Committee there is, and any provision of this kind will throw them into the arms of the Poor Law and nowhere else. We shall have taken money from them for a considerable portion of their lives—I will not say regularly since they were 16— and just at the time when they are least able to compete with the younger and middle-aged men they will be denied the benefits they have paid for. I understand we have been told that the Minister may be able to deal with this position by Regulation. With great respect to Ministers and ex-Ministers, I have not much faith in them. If the relief is to be given to these people, we might just as well take this proviso out. It happens that I am slightly beyond the age of the people whose case we are dealing with. Put me into the ordinary labour market at 62, even at an ordinary occupation, and in these days I should not have anything like the chance of a man of 50 or 45 of getting employment. The mere fact that I was over 60 would penalise me.
This is one of the little provisos, of small account on paper, but very hard when we apply them, that the Minister might take out of the Bill. At present a man of 70 gets an old age pension willy-nilly. When this scheme is in full operation 2990 will he be denied what a man of 70 gets now? [Interruption.] Wait a minute. The Parliamentary Secretary shakes his head, but is it not a fact that when the Bill is in full working order, after a period of 40 years, the man who is going to get any pension at all will have to comply with these conditions? Does not the Committee see that they are taking away something that these men already have—I mean that men of a similar category already have the advantage of. I do not think the British House of Commons ought to want to take away from aged and worn-out workers the little privileges they have had up to the present time; and again I strongly urge that we should take out this proviso. I think it was a great mistake for the Minister to put it in, for it will penalise many thousands of deserving old men.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The hon. Member will forgive me for saying so, but he was not really speaking on this Amendment, but on a previous Amendment.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The matter that he was referring to has already been debated at some length. I think he will agree, whatever the merits of the question of applying this test, that it is better for the test to be over a period of three years than over two years.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The Amendment we are dealing with now concerns that point of three years or two years. As regards the other matters, I hope my hon. Friend will not press me to repeat all the replies that have been given earlier in the Debate, when we discussed at some length the position of the men he has referred to, and my right hon. Friend made a statement of considerable length as to the position as far as they are concerned. We have a great deal of work to do and I suggest to my hon. Friend that he should not press this Amendment.
§ Mr. R. DAVIES
In view of the fact that a very important principle is raised on the next Amendment, which touches the principle of this one as well, I beg to ask leave to withdraw this Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.2991
§ Mr. DAVIES
I beg to move, in page 7, line 7, to leave out the word "thirty-nine, ' and to insert instead thereof the word "twenty-six."
We come now to what appears to me to be a very fundamental issue. Let me put the case as I see it. This Clause lays it down that in order to qualify for an old age pension at 65 years of age a man must have paid, or be deemed to have paid, an average of 39 contributions a year in the three preceding years. My Amendment, if carried, would reduce the average number of contributions to 26. As the Clause now stands, a man arriving at the age of 65 years and having only 38 contributions on an average, will be debarred from pension. It will be a terrible thing, especially for those who administer the scheme, to tell a man who has paid insurance contributions for many, many years, that because the number in the last three years falls short by one of the required number, he is not entitled to a pension. I know full well what the reply will be. It will be said, "If you make the number 26, what about the man who has paid 25?" and on those lines one could reduce the issue to an absurdity. But I will show the Committee that there is a real point in reducing the number from 39 to 26. We cannot ignore the fact that we have in this country a large number of people totally unemployed, and who will continue to be unemployed, unfortunately. To ask for 26 contributions on the average, in spite of the difficulty I have mentioned, will be immeasurably better for the insured population than to ask for 39.
The Bill ought to meet the cases of those people who are the most deserving of pension, and of all the people who ought to be covered by it surely none are more deserving than those who have fallen out of employment? Surely a man who is unemployed from 60 to 65 is the very man who ought to get the pension at 65? But the Bill, as it now stands, requires that he must prove that during the three preceding years he has paid on the average 39 contributions, or they must have been deemed to be paid in respect of him.
There is one suggestion I desire to make. The approved societies are in a very good financial position. I am not entitled to speak for them, but the hon. 2992 Gentleman knows full well that, in the schedule of additional benefits, there is a provision whereby approved societies can make good the arrears of an insured person. I am not anxious that any of the surplus funds of approved societies should go to subsidising this scheme—I should be very unwilling that that should be so—but for the purpose of enabling people to qualify both for health insurance benefit and this benefit, I wish the hon. Gentleman would look into the problem as to whether we could meet it somehow or other. As I say, I would be very unwilling for the surpluses to be used for that purpose, but I do say we can make out a case, and I think I have made out a case for the unemployed person in this respect.
The hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) spoke of London by way of illustration. The effects of unemployment in particular constituencies are often brought before this House by Members, and I can speak for my own Division. I very much doubt now whether there is any district in this land which can show more poverty arising out of unemployment than the district I represent. I feel sure the-Parliamentary Secretary will agree that a case can be made out for 26 contributions. For the purposes of calculation in the books of the approved society it would be very simple. With regard to there being 39 contributions, the Parliamentary Secretary has already taken 45 as a basis for claiming full benefit, and 39 contributions is the number mentioned in connection with the prolongation scheme. There is no reason at all, if the Treasury and the Ministry of Health were to combine on this question, why they should not make regulations to secure that the average number of contributions for the three preceding years should not be 26 instead of 39.
§ Sir K. WOOD
With regard to what the hon. Member has said about the average test of 39 contributions, I would like to point out that under the regulations, weeks of sickness and unemployment would count, and I think that disposes of the case which the hon. Member has tried to make out, and makes the test a very easy one indeed.
§ Mr. DAVIES
When calculating the weeks of unemployment, the hon. Member 2993 must not forget that it is only the weeks in respect of which the approved society is satisfied.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I think my hon. Friend will agree that here there is no case of any strict interpretation or unfair attitude taken up towards the members of approved societies. I do not know of any such case where this difficulty has arisen. I think, as a rule, approved societies administer this part of their scheme most sympathetically, and they have experienced no difficulties whatever. Somebody has to decide whether there have been weeks of unemployment or not, and it really comes to this, that in the case of an unemployed man who falls sick, the weeks are counted up to 39, and you must have some test. This Amendment suggests that the number should be 26. Of course you can argue in the same way about 26 or 39, but I do not think that 39 is unfair. We must in all these schemes have some test, and if you put in 26, other hon. Members would argue that it should be 10 or 12. I think 39 is a fair number to take, because in all these cases the position of the man is most generously met, and for these reasons I hope the hon. Member will not press his Amendment.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
In all these discussions we hear a good deal about the members of approved societies, but there is one person who always seems to be ignored, and that is the Post Office contributor. He is a man who is not in regular employment, and therefore he is not a good subject for an approved society. This provision about 39 contributions will affect him far more than a member of an approved society, who is generally a resident at one particular place, whereas the post office contributor is someone the approved society does not wish to have at all. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will answer that question. With regard to the Clause itself I agree that the statement which has been made considerably modifies the opposition.
I would like to mention a case which I agree does not arise very often, but it is one which I think the Parliamentary Secretary might consider. Take the case of a man who works at his occupation, and earns his stamps for 13, 15 or 20 weeks in a year, working at some seasonal occupation. For 26 weeks he is not sick, 2994 but has left his occupation, and has been working part-time in the management of a shop for over 26 weeks. My question is, can this man for the other weeks become a voluntary contributor in order to qualify himself for the 39 weeks benefit. Men in the building trade work during the summer months at their trade, and in winter they sometimes leave that trade and enter occupations where they are not eligible for these benefits. I want to ask if a person under the circumstances I have mentioned would be able to pay for the weeks he is uninsured by voluntary contributions.
§ Sir K. WOOD
With regard to the man in seasonal occupation, his case is met because he has made 39 contributions, but the post office contributor comes under another test. He is an insured person within the meaning of this Act, and his insurance remains so long as there is a credit to him at the post office, and when that ceases he ceases to be an insured person. Of course he gets the benefit of the prolongation, but when his deposit is exhausted, he ceases to be insured under the National Insurance Act. He ceases within the meaning of the National Health Insurance Act and this Act, subject to modification. This class of deposit contributors has caused a great deal of trouble and anxiety to all those connected with National Health Insurance and to the Department for many years. It is a very small class, and the great bulk of them are people who will not take the trouble to observe the necessary few formalities to join an approved society. The Department and the approved societies again and again have endeavoured to get hold of these people and to make them join an approved society. Efforts are made practically every year to reduce this class.
§ Sir K. WOOD
Perhaps the hon. Member will allow me to continue. They are certainly acting within their rights, but they are rather foolish people. My hon. Friend says that they should not be penalised, but, when he comes, as he does, and asks for the conditions to be relaxed, I would point out to him that it is a little hard to say to all the other people who have taken the trouble which 2995 these people will not take that in order to make it easy for those people they must contribute to the extra arrangements which have to be made. That is not the proper way of approaching the question. I think that the very fact that these conditions apply will make these people, especially having regard to the benefits of this Bill, more likely to come in. A very small proportion of the deposit contributors are rejected by the societies on medical grounds. There is no doubt that the great bulk of them represent people who say they will not have anything to do with National Health Insurance at any cost, as the hon. and gallant Member for Leith (Captain Benn) knows quite well.
Certainly. I remember quite well the attitude adopted by Duchesses led by the hon. Gentleman himself.
§ Sir K. WOOD
Not by me. I have not the same close association with Duchesses as the hon. and gallant Member. The best way to deal with these deposit contributors is not to make things easier for them, but to lay down a proper condition of this kind which I hope will induce them to join the approved societies. Every class of approved society is willing to do something for these people, but they will not come in. Therefore, I do not think that the proper way is to make it easier for them, but to lay down fair conditions, and then go to them once again and say to them, "Come in and join the approved society."
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
We have among the poor section of the community a very, very poor class. As a rule, they are deposit contributors under the National Health Insurance scheme. They are acting within their legitimate rights in being voluntary contributors. It does not suit the views of the party now in power that there should be deposit contributors, and it appeals to the ambition of the approved societies in asking their representatives in this House to join in pursuing a policy that will reduce the number of deposit contributors by increasing the number in the approved societies. We disagree with every step that is taken to reduce the liberty of even the poorest section of the working-class.
§ Sir K. WOOD
They are not voluntary contributors; they are people who are compulsorily insured, but they will not join the approved societies. They come within the provisions of the Measure and have to be compulsorily insured. There is no compulsion upon them to join the approved societies, and therefore they go into the deposit contributors' class.
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
I agree that, so far as being insured is concerned, you have already succeeded in depriving them of their liberty.
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
Under a Measure which was introduced before this party had any great influence in the House. But even under the Health Insurance scheme you left them a certain amount of liberty. They might become deposit contributors instead of joining the approved societies.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The Leader of the Opposition stated that the scheme was a Socialistic one, and he supported it.
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
The Parliamentary Secretary's study of Socialists' speeches has not given him a very clear understanding of Socialism. The unemployed people who are fortunate enough to be members of an approved society are to be protected from the iniquities of this Bill by the generosity of the approved society.
§ Sir K. WOOD indicated dissent.
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
In the 39 contributions will be included the weeks in which a man is deemed to have been genuinely unemployed and maintained by his approved society. That justifies me in saying that he is to have the benefits of this Bill out of the generosity of the approved societies.
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
The approved society goes to the Employment Exchange and ascertains whether a man has been genuinely seeking employment. If he has been genuinely seeking employment, then he will be kept within insurance by the approved society, and in that way he will be entitled to the benefits of this Bill. That is how I understand it. When you come to the people who are not members 2997 of an approved society but who are voluntary contributors, they have no one to protect them, and no one to assist them, though they really need assistance most. What we are contending for and what we are appealing to the Government to do is to give to these people who are not members of approved societies the same assistance as is given to members of approved societies who are in distress. I think some way could be found of protecting these people from being deprived of the benefits under this Bill because of unemployment. If we are not to have any concession in response to the cases we have put forward, then we must press this Amendment to a Division.
§ Mr. VIANT
The Parliamentary Secretary, when he was speaking a few moments ago, said that some test must be made, and he said that an average of 39 weeks over a period of three years was an exceedingly generous test. Even assuming that it is a generous test, I want to put this point, that that test is going to be applied at the worst possible time for the individual concerned. In view of the conditions in industry to-day, the chances of that man being employed, or rather, being able to pay those contributions for 39 weeks, becomes more and more remote as he approaches the qualifying age, and more especially does that obtain in the case, not only of the casual labourer, but of those who are engaged in seasonal occupations. The building industry has been referred to, and there is a number of industries on a par with the building industry in that respect. Take the case of an employer in business. Trade becomes bad. He may have had certain men in his employ for 25 or 30 years, and they will have been contributors to this scheme, but they lose their occupation owing to the fact that the employer by whom they have been employed has no further work for them. They drop out of employment, and, owing to their age, it is exceedingly difficult for them to find employment. But they were, perhaps, contributing for all that number of years, and the application of this test is going to bar them from ever receiving that towards which they have contributed; whereas the man at the other end of the scale might only have been a contributor for six or seven years, but, through sheer good fortune—having, perhaps, only come into an insurable 2998 occupation within the last six or seven years—he is going to step in and receive a benefit for which he has in no sense of the word contributed to the same extent as the other individual or individuals who, by sheer misfortune, may become disqualified by reason of this test.
The test is not a fair one. If a test is going to be applied, and if it is to work with equity, it should start by being applied when the chances for the individual are better, when he is younger, and not as he approaches old age. In addition to that, the test which is to be applied here is in no sense of the word to be compared with the test or disqualification that is applied with respect to the National Health Insurance scheme. There, the individual who is unable to contribute, who lacks the necessary contributions to qualify him for drawing the full amount of benefit, does not become disqualified by a hard-and-fast line being drawn. There is a finer line of demarcation, in the sense that his benefit is reduced on a graduated scale in accordance with the amount of arrears. If he is so many weeks in arrears, he is penalised by such-and-such an amount of benefit per week. That would have been far preferable to a hard-and-fast line such as is drawn in this Bill at the moment. I would prefer that the position should be met, if a test or penalty is to be applied for not having paid the necessary contributions, by allowing the individual to draw, perhaps not the full amount of benefit or pension, but pension on a graduated scale. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will be able to eliminate this 39-weeks test completely and give us a graduated scale of pension, rather than drawing this hard-and-fast line. Five shillings a week would be better than that the individual should not receive anything, but, at least, let us have a proposal put forward that is based more upon the principle of equity than the disqualification which is before us at the present moment.
§ Notice taken that 40 Members were not present; Committee counted, and, 40 Members being present—
§ Mr. LEES-SMITH
It appears to me that the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) has suddenly revealed a point upon which a great deal more explanation is required, and which, as it seems to me, may be so important that I should 2999 like to have the opportunity of putting it to the Minister of Health. Will the Parliamentary Secretary tell me whether or not we have a right understanding of the position now of the deposit contributor? By the Prolongation of Insurance Act, 1921, a member of an approved society, as distinguished from a deposit contributor, who has fallen out of employment, can be kept in insurance by his society, and an arrangement is made by which the society is—I am not sure whether wholly or partly—reimbursed, in performing that service for him, by the State from some fund. I think that is the position. We have seen from this Debate that enormous consequences follow from this right of the approved society to do this on behalf of one of its members, because that member may get an old age pension at 65, instead of having to wait till 70; but what is not apparent is what provision is made for the deposit contributor under such conditions as these. The Prolongation of Insurance Act is confined specifically to members of approved societies, and what we wish to know is whether there is any provision—we are not satisfied with provision by means of Regulations and Orders—whether there is any provision in an Act of Parliament by which a deposit contributor can be kept in insurance, and will be kept in insurance, on the same terms as a member of an approved society. If there is not, then, here again, there is a differentiation, and a differentiation against the class which undoubtedly includes the bad lives, on whom the special sympathy of this House should be concentrated. I hear something about a Regulation, but certainly a Regulation for this purpose is not enough. We want the security of an Act of Parliament, and an Amendment ought to be put into the Bill by which the deposit contributor is secured by Statute and not by Governmental discretion.
§ Sir K. WOOD
Under the National Health Insurance Act, 1924, Section 54 (2) (a) power is given to the appropriate authority to make Regulations for applying any conditions of this Act relating to members of approved societies, with the necessary modifications, adaptations and exceptions, to deposit contributors. Why 3000 that is done in that way is that obviously you could not follow every Clause in the National Insurance Act, which is a very extensive Statute, so in the case of this small body of people power was given to make provision in that respect. I am informed that the necessary Regulation was made some time ago, and deposit contributors enjoy, in the same way as members of approved societies, all the benefits of the Statute to which the hon. Member has referred.
§ Mr. LEES-SMITH
The Parliamentary Secretary says the protection of these deposit contributors depends on some Regulations. The Regulations are there, and I presume he intends that they shall remain there. Will he now give us this assurance on behalf of the Government, that if Regulations are in force they will be maintained, and, if not, they will be made, by which every right and advantage given to members of approved societies under this Act and under the Prolongation of Insurance Act, 1921, shall be extended to deposit contributors, so that they will be put on exactly the same footing for the purposes of this Act as members of approved societies.
§ Sir K. WOOD
Yes. There will be no differentiation whatever between members of approved societies and deposit contribution. We shall maintain the provisions we have already made in connection with widows' pensions as they would apply in connection with national insurance, namely, give deposit contributors the same benefit under the Prolongation of Insurance Act.
§ Mr. BATEY
There is one matter I should like to be clear upon. A large number of our members can cease work at 60 years of age. We have a miners' old age fund in the North of England, and there are over 8,000 miners who have ceased work at that age or later. They cannot plead for the three years prior to 65 that they are unemployed and they cannot plead sickness. I want to know where they stand. If they can pay their contributions voluntarily is it necessary for them to pay the full five years contributions, or under this Clause would it only be necessary for them to pay the last three years, 39 contributions each year?
§ Mr. SPENCER
This is a very important aspect of the question. Very often between 60 and 65 men have to give up. They are not genuinely unemployed, and they are not really sick men, but they come on our fund, because we provide a pension for them at 60, and if a man comes on at 62 it is evident that he will have to continue out of his meagre pension to pay 39 contributions a year. I cannot for the life of me understand why you will not accept it. You have accepted 26 weeks in Clause 5 with regard to the widow and orphan. Surely we want to have uniformity. There has been some attempt to meet us on this side upon minor details and a new spirit has come over the Committee. This is a minor detail, but one of very great importance to this side. Let us continue to have that good spirit between the two sides, but if you insist on maintaining this irritating obstinacy we cannot have that amiability of spirit that we ought to have. I hope the hon. Gentleman will meet us. Take the case my hon. Friend has mentioned. It would be sufficient for the man to maintain an average of 26 payments for three years. He would have to do that to qualify. If a man has to retire through physical infirmity at 62, he takes his meagre pension of 5s. or 6s. a week from his society and has to live on what he has managed to save, in addition to his pension. I could give cases where a man has built his house, when it was cheap to do so, and saved a bit of money, and he looks to his pension, but He will be deprived of the pension under this Act, unless he has made certain contributions during the last five years, from 60 to 65. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will meet us on this point in order that we may retain the good spirit which now prevails in the Debate. I hope he will allow us to make these 26 contributions, because we have it under Clause 5, and then we shall have uniformity in the two Clauses.
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
The Parliamentary Secretary stated that the Government intended to take steps to protect the deposit contributor and to see that he will be placed on equal conditions, so far as protection is concerned, with the members of approved societies. Will he tell us what steps he proposes to take to ensure that any benefits accruing to a member of an approved society through 3002 Government assistance of the society, or facilities to the society, will be extended to the deposit contributor?
§ Sir K. WOOD
The answer to the last part of the question is this. Seeing that we are going to make the Prolongation of Insurance Act applicable to this Bill and give benefits to members of approved societies, at the same time that we apply that part of the Prolongation of Insurance Act under this Bill to members of approved societies, we shall apply it to the deposit contributors.
§ Sir K. WOOD
In the case of members of approved societies, as the right hon. Gentleman knows as well as I do, and perhaps better, the committee of management decide, but in the case of deposit contributors there is no committee of management and the Minister of Health has to act in the place of the management committee, and he has done so ever since the institution of the National Health Insurance Act.
§ Sir K. WOOD
He has devolved his duty on some official, and that would continue to be done. There would be no difficulty.
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
Can the hon. Member say whether any official who is acting in that capacity will enable the Minister to protect the deposit contributor?
§ 2.0 P.M.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The Controller of National Insurance acts in that capacity on behalf of the Minister. He has done that in regard to the group of people known as the deposit contributors, and he has acted very efficiently and very well. He makes the decision. There has never been any difficulty so far as I am aware. With regard to the miners, the case which has been put by the hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey) and the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Spencer) will be considered further when we come to Clause 13. I understand that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health has already given an undertaking to consider the special case of these men. If they cease work at 60 and are not 3003 unemployed or ill and they wish to avail themselves of the benefits of this Act they will have to come in as voluntary contributors. When we come to Clause 13, my right hon. Friend will deal with that particular case and make a statement on it. Having regard to this explanation, I hope that hon. Members will not think fit to press the Amendment. We meet hon. Members opposite whenever we can. We do not resist Amendments simply for the sake of resisting, but only when we feel that they will adversely affect the scheme and the finance. It is no pleasure to resist Amendments. I would gladly give almost anything to ensure the passage of this Bill quickly, so that the very considerable benefits which are given may be enjoyed by the people concerned at an early date; but we must have regard to the administration and the finance of the Bill. It is in that spirit and not in any spirit of antagonism that I am bound to resist this Amendment.
§ Mr. SPENCER
Will the hon. Member give it serious and sympathetic consideration before the Report stage?
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
With respect to the Controller-General under the National Insurance Act having the right to decide, I recognise the difficulty of the situation. The approved society is usually much more closely associated with the mar than is this official. In the case of a man being dissatisfied with the decision of the official, will it be possible for him to raise the question in any way? I represent a good many of these men in my constituency. Should I be able to raise the matter on their behalf?
§ Sir K. WOOD
Yes. As this is under the direction of the Minister, my hon. Friend could raise any case in this House in the same way that he can raise the question of any decision with the Minister of Labour. My experience is that this system has worked, on the whole, smoothly. In any event, the hon. Member 3004 will have full opportunity of questioning the decision of the Minister, acting through his official.
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
Can the hon. Member give us the number, approximately, of the deposit contributors who have been assisted in the way members of approved societies are assisted during the period of unemployment?
§ Mr. VIANT
Will the hon. Member reply to the point I raised. I took objection to the line of demarcation being drawn where you insist on there being 39 week's contribution, and I gave an instance of the way in which similar circumstances have been met under the National Health Insurance Act. Instead of drawing a hard-and-fast line, would it not be possible to say that where only so many weeks' contributions have been paid over an average of three years, you will only pay a pension with certain deductions. Could it not be met in that way rather than taking a hard-and-fast line?
§ Sir K. WOOD
My right hon. Friend has to give very careful consideration to the administration and finance of the Bill. It is very difficult in practice to do what the hon. Member suggests. I have made inquiries with respect to the number of deposit contributors, in reply to the question put by the right hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. Wheatley) and I am informed that the Controller has no information on that point.
§ Mr. BROAD
I do not think that the Minister has yet grasped fully the importance of this matter. He has undertaken to consider the case of the miners with the old age fund. This applies not- only to the miners, but to many of the craft unions such as my society, the engineers. We give a superannuation to our members at 60 years of age, provided they are not able to follow their ordinary employment. But in the case of infirmity, which is certified, we give such sperannuation at the age of 55, and it may go to 14s. per week. But I am thinking more particularly now of men who are not what is called the aristocracy of labour, and who have not made provision for superannuation.
§ Sir K. WOOD
If they come into the same category as has been mentioned by the hon. Member opposite, they will be considered at the same time. I do not want to make a differentiation between one class and another.
§ Mr. BROAD
I am thinking of those who do not come within that class. I am thinking of a large number of people who have been industrious workers all their life, but, when they pass the zenith of their powers, have to pick up a living somehow or other. They are the men who, perhaps, are too old—at 40 it used to be—at 45 or 50. They are a large body who are working at no particular trade or calling, but have to pick up a living, I live in a working-class constituency, and I find large numbers of these people coming round trying to sell something. They have no society and no one to put their case forward. They are not qualified as it is almost impossible for them to qualify, yet those men have paid from the age of 15 to 50. You impose the test on the wrong end of their life.
I would suggest that through the regular payments in the early period of their working life you should build up a system of reserve contributions which should be the test, or, if you cannot work on that system, that the whole record of all the people in insurable employment should be taken into consideration, rather than the last few years. I am sure that the Minister does not want to build up the finances of this scheme on leaving out a number of these people who are most of all in need of relief. On the other hand many men in our engineering society find that they cannot get insurable employment, though they might be suitable for light work, owing largely to the conditions of the companies which insure against workmen's compensation, etc. Some of those people, though they are prepared to superannuate them in my society at 55 years of age, sometimes for two or three years prior to that are receiving continuous unemployment insurance, waiting for the time when, they will come under the rules. Those people under continuous unemployment only get 6s. per week, and those who are superannuated at 55 and onwards, may get anything from 8s. to 14s. a week, and that may be their only income.
3006 I suggest that to tell those poor old folk that they can qualify by becoming voluntary subscribers to this fund, both for health insurance and for pensions, which would mean a joint contribution of about 1s. 5d. per week to be taken from the dole or from the benefit which we are paying from our society, is to tell them something which it is impossible for them to do, and it is no concession to these people to say that they can become voluntary subscribers. Therefore, I hope that the Minister will take seriously into consideration the question whether having as the test the average contributions during the last three years is not a bad system, and that the test should not rather be a test spread over the whole of their record or insurable occupation
Mr. ROSSLYN MITCHELL
If this Amendment be accepted, let us see how it will operate. In the first place, all those who are employed will still pay contributions, because that is a condition of their employment. Those who are normally employed, but who, on account of genuine unemployment, or sickness, are unemployed, will not be affected, because they are deemed to have contributed. But we have, first, those who are of such sickly physique that they cannot be accepted by an approved society and are not able to obtain work in an insurable employment; second, the large class of those who have passed a certain age when they could obtain insurable employment, and are now put upon the heap of casual labour; and, third, the section to which I would particularly call attention, the women folk who have not been in insurable employment, but who may have been married, and to men who were not insured, or who may have been domestic servants, and then left.
I am particularly interested in asking the Minister to have his mind fixed on one very large portion of the population, the women who depend entirely for their existence upon the casual day's work which they obtain as charwomen. I do not know any class of the community that so appeal to the chivalry of man, because unfortunately these women, as a rule, are unable to obtain insurable employment, and, when they do obtain a day's work in our households—it is a terrible thing to say, but it is true—there is laid before them all the hardest and the dirtiest work which has accumulated over three or four 3007 days, waiting for their half-weekly visit. I think that any scheme which deals with the real social, as well as with the purely actuarial financial side, would take in that class. All these women exist on the merest pittance. They do not know from day to day how many days they are going to be employed.
The payment of even a shilling a week does not mean a contribution of a shilling merely; it means the denial of a portion of the necessaries of life. I do not want to be emotional about it, and I will state only an absolute fact. I see in the early morning, on the coldest mornings and the dirtiest mornings, charwomen coming out after having done the only kind of work that is available for them if they are to live at all. Theirs is a form of physical labour that not one Member of this House would accept at any salary whatsoever. It is the most miserable form of work, the washing of entrances to restaurants, coffee-shops and offices, some of them palatial, in order that we men-folk, the lords of creation, may walk upon clean tiles or clean rubber as we enter for our work. I ask the Minister to make inquiries as to these cases. Such women have so small a reward for their labour that if one of them falls behind one week to the extent of one shilling, it will take her from two to three weeks to make up the deficit. So narrow is the margin between actual existence and starvation—I am not exaggerating but speaking from facts known to me—that a contribution of one shilling per week from such a person means a deprivation of food for a whole day. We are only asking that these people should be allowed to contribute 50 per cent. of the total. It is not as if we were asking that they should be admitted free, though I cannot imagine that the Minister would refuse even if that demand were made.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
On a point of Order. Is the hon. Member not now discussing a subject wholly different from that which is touched by this Amendment? I understood that we were discussing the substitution of two years for
§ three years. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, 26 for 39."] The same thing applies. The hon. Member's point is one that we have already discussed, and one which I promised to consider when we came to Clause 32.
I agree that the same subject is referred to in the other Clause, but here I am dealing with the Clause in which you ask that there should be 39 contributions. I am dealing with the case of women who are not in an insurable occupation, and not under the Health Insurance Act, unless voluntarily, and the Post Office contributor whose physical condition will not allow him to be admitted into a society. You are asking that these two small groups should make 39 contributions a year.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Ex hypothesi the person who is referred to in this Clause must have been insured under paragraph (a). It appears to me that the hon. Member is referring to a class of person who does not come under Clause 8 at all, and that his arguments should be deferred until we reach Clause 13.
I am referring to people who are insured in one of the statutory sections of insurance, namely, the Post Office, and others who are insured upon a voluntary basis. They are the only two classes with which I am concerned for the moment. I suggest that to ask them to pay one-half of the total which an ordinary normal, healthy and employed man in an approved society would pay, is quite as much as should be demanded from them. A reduction of the contributions to 26 could have only the most minute effect upon the finances of the scheme.
§ Question put, "That the word 'thirty-nine' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 188; Noes, 114.3011
|Division No. 254.]||AYES.||[2.22 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Atkinson, C.||Barnston, Major Sir Harry|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Beamish, Captain T. p. H.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, E.||Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Berry, Sir George|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Gretton, Colonel John||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Grotrian, H. Brent||Remnant, Sir James|
|Blundell, F. N.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Rhys Hon. C. A. U.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne)||Rice, Sir Frederick|
|Brass, Captain W.||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Hartington, Marquess of||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Harvey, Majors, E. (Devon, Totnes)||Salmon, Major I.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootie)||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Savery, S. S.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W. R., Sowerby)|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Hilton, Cecil||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl.(Renfrew, W.)|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Shaw Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Campbell, E. T.||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Holt, Captain H. P.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Home, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Howard, Capt. Hon. D. (Cumb., N.)||Spender Clay, Colonel H.|
|Chilcott, Sir Warden||Hume, Sir G. H.||Stanley, Col Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E)|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Clayton, G. C.||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Storry Deans, R.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Jacob, A. E.||Strickland, Sir Gerald|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Cop., Major William||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Couper, J. B.||Knox, Sir Alfred||Templeton, W. P.|
|Court hope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L.||Lamb, J. Q.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Lister, Cunliffee, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Crook, C. W.||Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Tinne, J. A.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Tyron, Rt. on. George Clement|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Macintyre, Ian||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Royton)||McLean, Major A.||Ward, Lt. Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Macmillan, Captain H.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Wells, S. R.|
|Drewe, C.||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Meller, R. J.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Fermoy, Lord||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Fielden, E. B.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Fleming, D. P.||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Wood, Rt. Hon. E. (York, W. R., Ripon)|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Morden, Col. W. Grant||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Nuttall, Ellis||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Gee, Captain R.||Penny, Frederick George||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Lord Stanley and Captain|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Margesson.|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Pilcher, G.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Crawfurd, H. E.||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Dalton, Hugh||Hardie, George D.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Hayday, Arthur|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Hayes, John Henry|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Day, Colonel Harry||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)|
|Baker, Walter||Dennison, R.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Hirst, G. H.|
|Barnes, A.||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Hore-Belisha, Leslie|
|Barr, J.||Forrest, W.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)|
|Batey, Joseph||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Gillett, George M.||John, William (Rhondda, West)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Gosling, Harry||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Broad, F. A.||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Kelly, W. T.|
|Buchanan, G.||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Kennedy, T.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Kirkwood, D.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Groves, T.||Lansbury, George|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Grundy, T. W.||Lawson, John James|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Lee, F.|
|Connolly, M.||Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Livingstone, A. M.|
|Cove, W. G.||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Lowth, T.|
|Lunn, William||Rose, Frank H.||Thurtle, E.|
|MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Scrymgeour, E.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Mackinder, W.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Viant, S. P.|
|March, S.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Maxton, James||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Sitch, Charles, H.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Slesser, Sir Henry H.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)||Westwood, J.|
|Naylor, T. E.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Oliver, George Harold||Snell, Harry||Whiteley, W.|
|Palin, John Henry||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Stamford, T. W.||Windsor, Walter|
|Ponsonby, Arthur||Stephen, Campbell||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Potts, John S.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Ritson, J.||Sutton, J. E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. B.|
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
I understand that the Amendment which we have down to Clause 9, postponing the contribution until the end of the deficiency period, will be sufficient, even if the Amendment to Clause 8, which is not being called— Clause 8, page 7, line 31, at end to insert(2) From the commencement of this Act and. until the provisions of Section nine of this Act take effect insurance for the
purposes of this Section shall be insurance within the meaning of the Insurance Act, and contributions for the purposes of this Section shall be such contributions as the Insurance Act prescribes.
—is not moved.
§ Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 196; Noes, 108.3013
|Division No. 255.]||AYES.||[2.31 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Cope, Major William||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Couper, J. B.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, E.||Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.|
|Atkinson, C.||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Crook, C. W.||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Hilton, Cecil|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Royton)||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Holt, Capt. H. P.|
|Berry, Sir George||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Drewe, C.||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Howard, Capt. Hon. D. (Cumb., N.)|
|Blundell, F. N.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Jacob, A. E.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Fanshawe, Commander G. D.||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Fermoy, Lord||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Fielden, E. B.||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Fleming, D. P.||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Forrest, W.||Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Fraser, Captain Ian||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Macintyre, Ian|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Gee, Captain R.||McLean, Major A.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Macmillan, Captain H.|
|Campbell. E. T.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Gretton, Colonel John||Meller, R. J.|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Grotrian, H. Brent||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-|
|Chilcott, Sir Warden||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne)||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Moore, Sir Newton J.||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Morden, Colonel Walter Grant||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W. R., Sowerby)||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Nuttail, Ellis||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Shepperson, E. W.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Penny, Frederick George||Skelton, A. N.||Wells, S. R.|
|Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Smithers, Waldron||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Peto, G (Somerset, Frome)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Pilcher, G.||Spender Clay, Colonel H.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Price, Major C. W. M.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Remnant, Sir James||Steel, Major Samuel Strang||Womersley, W. J.|
|Rentoul, G. S.||Storry Deans, R.||Wood, Rt. Hon. E. (York, W. R., Ripon)|
|Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Strickland, Sir Gerald||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Rice, Sir Frederick||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).|
|Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Styles, Captain H. Walter||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Salmon, Major I.||Templeton, W. P.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES. —|
|Sandeman, A. Stewart||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)||Major Hennessy and Captain|
|Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Margesson.|
|Savery, S. S.||Tinne, J. A.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R. Elland)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rose, Frank H.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hardie, George D.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Harney, E. A.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hayday, Arthur||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Baker, Walter||Hayes, John Henry||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Barnes, A.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Barr, J.||Hirst, G. H.||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Snell, Harry|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Broad, F. A.||John, William (Rhondda, West)3||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kelly, W. T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kennedy, T.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Kirkwood, D.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Connolly, M.||Lansbury, George||Thurtle, E.|
|Cove, W. G.||Lawson, John James||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lee, F.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. p.|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Livingstone, A. M.||Viant, S. P.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lowth, T.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lunn, William||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Mackinder, W.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Dennison, R.||March, S.||Westwood, J.|
|Duncan, C.||Maxton, James||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Whiteley, W.|
|Gillett, George M.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Gosling, Harry||Naylor, T. E.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Oliver, George Harold||Windsor, Walter|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Palin, John Henry||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Groves, T.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Grundy, T. W.||Ponsonby, Arthur||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. B.|
|Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Potts, John S.||Smith.|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Ritson, J.|