§ Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Bill further considered in Committee.
§ [Mr. JAMES HOPE in the Chair.]
§ CLAUSE 9.—(Contributions and Financial Provisions.)
The following Amendments stood upon the Order Paper:
In page 7, line 35, after the word "shall," to insert the words "save in respect of insured persons employed in agricultural operations as defined for the purpose of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1920, when half the rates specified in the appropriate Schedule or Schedules of this Act shall apply, and."—[Brigadier-General Clifton Brown.]
In page 7, line 39, after the word "sixty-five," to insert the words "(but not by or in respect of insured persons employed in agricultural occupations, as defined for the purposes of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1920)."—[Sir Alfred Mond.]
In page 8, line 2, after the word "Act." to insert the words "(but not in respect of persons employed in agricultural occupations, as defined for the purposes of the Unemployment Insurance Act. 1920)."— [Sir Alfred Mond.]
§ The CHAIRMAN
The first three Amendments on the Order Paper have been dealt with on a former Clause.
§ Brigadier-General CLIFTON BROWN
I understand that the Amendments standing in the names of myself and my hon. Friends have been ruled out because the subject was discussed on Clause 1. I want to submit to you, Sir, that since Clause 1 was under discussion a great deal has happened. Among other things, the Government have brought in an Unemployment Insurance Bill, under which every other industry, except agriculture, gets relief from a certain part of the contributions. I submit that is quite a new point, which could not have been raised before, because the Unemployment Insurance Bill had not then been brought in.
§ The CHAIRMAN
My duties are concerned with the Amendments on the Order Paper. I know nothing officially of what may have happened outside. The hon. Member's point is not a point of Order, because the matter can be raised on Report.
We understand that some arrangements have been come to by the Leader of the Opposition and the Government as to time, and it is very often the way in these debates that Amendments which some of us agriculturists think are important cannot be discussed for lack of time. Could not we get some assurance from the Government and the Opposition that we should have time to discuss it on the Schedule?
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is not a point of Order with which I can deal. As to whether some Amendment can be moved on the Schedule to reduce, I presume, the contributions paid by agricultural workers, I do not want to say that will not be in order, but I will give the matter consideration. It certainly cannot be raised on the present Clause.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Amendment I now call upon is a manuscript Amendment handed in by the hon. Member for North East Ham (Mr. Crook). It proposes to leave out paragraph (v) of Subsection (1). I do not view eleventh hour Amendments with favour, but I understand other Amendments have been put down dealing with the same question on a later Clause, and it was overlooked that it would first be necessary to omit this paragraph.
§ Mr. C. W. CROOK
I beg to move in page 8, line 20, to leave out paragraph (v).
I apologise for being so late in putting forward this Amendment. We have already put down a similar Amendment to Clause 15, but we have decided that it would be better to deal with it at this stage on Clause 9. There is another reason why we have taken this course. This Bill applies to England, Wales and Scotland. With regard to our Amendment later on we were informed that if we desired to make it effective we must come to an agreement with our Scottish friends, and I only heard this morning that our Scottish friends had agreed to this course. Under these circumstances, I hope hon. Members will pardon my lateness in giving notice of this proposal.
889 This is an Amendment of substance. It asks that the teachers eligible for benefit under the Superannuation Act who are excepted under the National Health Insurance should be excepted persons under this Bill as well. The reasons for asking for this to be done are many, but I will give only the most important. Only last week this House imposed for an indefinite period a payment of 5 per cent. by the teachers and 2½ per cent. by the authority for the pensions scheme. That is already a heavy burden. If teachers are not excepted from this scheme, not only will they have to make superannuation payments, but they will also have to pay an extra amount under the Widows and Orphans Bill. When they reach the maximum salary of £250, if they wish to remain within the Act they will have to pay not only the full amount provided for under this Bill, but the full amount under the National Health Insurance Act as well. We should not trouble at all about that matter if tangible benefits were available consistent with the payments demanded. The great majority of our teachers, particularly in elementary schools, are unmarried women. If they get married, in the great majority of areas they have to leave the service. Obviously, most of those who remain in the service remain unmarried, and will come under this scheme. I think the Committee will agree that an unmarried woman cannot be a widow, and I think hon. Members will also agree that an unmarried woman cannot leave orphans. No teacher can get a double pension, and as the unmarried woman teacher is entitled to a pension under the Act she cannot get the widow's and orphan's pension or the old age pensions benefits. No scheme of this kind ought to be imposed where not one of the classes I have mentioned can get any benefit at all.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of HEALTH (Sir Kingsley Wood)
Hon. Members will observe that paragraph (v) of Subsection (1), which it is now proposed to omit, deals by way of reference with certain excepted employment by virtue of paragraphs (d), (e), (g), or (h) of Part II of the First Schedule to the Insurance Act. It is rather difficult for hon. Members to follow the meaning of this proposal. 890 These paragraphs refer to those employed as teachers in public elementary and certain other schools subject to provisions set forth in the First Schedule. My hon. Friend who moved this Amendment has already explained that England, Wales and Scotland have carefully considered this Amendment and are satisfied with it. Under these circumstances the Government propose to accept this Amendment.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MacDONALD
We have had no notice of this arrangement, and perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary can assure me that the paragraphs which are being dealt with refer to teachers only.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Sir ROBERT HORNE
I beg to move, in page 8, line 37, to leave out the word "either."
This is the first of a series of short Amendments which I have put on the Paper to make some changes in paragraph (b). That paragraph provides for the continued existence of certain schemes already in operation, although the provisions of this Measure, when they come into force, provide that according to the terms of the Clause the benefits conferred by other schemes in existence and not less capable of providing benefits than those prepared under this Bill are to be secured. Under the Workmen's Compensation Act and the National Health Insurance Act similar arrangements have been made. What I complain of in regard to this paragraph is that it only allows these schemes to be continued if they are secured by statutory enactment, and there seems to be no reason why other schemes, if not secured by Statute, should not be allowed to continue in operation provided that the benefits are equally favourable and that the scheme is equally secure. For these reasons I think we should allow the continuance of such schemes provided that the Minister is satisfied that the benefits are secure.
891 4.0 P.M.
I daresay the Committee will know of particular illustrations of the kind of scheme that I have mentioned. For example, in connection with at least two of the great railway companies there are in operation at the present time schemes in favour of widows and children of people who are in the service of those companies. Of course, no one would ask that they should take less good provision under private schemes than under this Bill, but since it is clearly provided that the benefits are to be equally good and equally as well secured, I think the Committee will feel assured that no harm is being done; but, on the contrary, that any very meritorious scheme which is at present in existence should be allowed to continue.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Is the right hon. Gentleman's proposal a substitution for the compulsory scheme of the Bill, or is it supplementary?
§ Sir R. HORNE
It is supplementary. It allows the Minister to continue these schemes in operation provided he is satisfied that their benefits on the whole are not less favourable than those under the Bill
§ Sir R. HORNE
Yes, certainly. The paragraph accordingly would read as follows:(b) where the Minister certifies as respects any such excepted employment is is mentioned in paragraph (iv) of this Subsection that provision is made by means of a, superannuation fund established by Act of Parliament, or by means of any other statutory enactment."—and then I add the wordsor by other means approved by the Minister for securing in respect of men employed therein and of their widows and children, or in respect of women if also employed therein and of their children, benefits on the whole not less favourable than all the benefits conferred by this Act, no contribution shall be payable under this Act in respect of such men and women, as the case may.In the following paragraph there will be two consequential Amendments. I think the Committee will realise the importance of continuing these schemes and will allow the Amendment to be accepted.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The Committee will observe that this paragraph (b) says:Where the Minister certifies, as respects any such excepted employment as is mentioned in paragraph (iv) of this Subsectionthat the provisions of a superannuation fund equal those in the Bill he can exempt such fund by his certificate. As the Clause is now drawn, it is limited to schemes which are on a statutory basis. It has been represented to us that there are several good and sufficient schemes which are not on a statutory basis, and the Amendment which my right hon. Friend has moved would enable the Minister, if satisfied that such schemes are sound and secure to the recipients benefits equal to those mentioned in this Bill, to exempt them just as he can statutory funds. I need hardly say that these schemes will be scrutinised very carefully in order that the contributors may be properly safeguarded, but in principle we see no objection to the Amendment. Of course, we shall have to make full inquiries into schemes which may be put forward. Under these circumstances, the Government propose to accept the Amendment, but perhaps my right hon. Friend will permit me to make an observation with regard to the concluding words of his series of Amendmentsin respect of such men or women, as the case may be.Those words enable the Minister to have regard separately to the particular benefits which are given to men or to women, so that if he is not satisfied with the benefits of the scheme for women he will not of course give his certificate in respect of women, but he can give it in respect of the men. In these circumstances, I think the Committee will agree that the Government are acting reasonably in accepting the Amendment.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
I feel that there is some force in the Amendment that we should not call upon people to pay twice for two benefits of the same kind, but. before I can give a vote for it, I want to be satisfied on this point. I know of some superannuation schemes which provide these benefits, but do not provide benefits equal to those under this Bill, and do not proceed on the same lines.
§ Mr. DAVIES
You give the Minister authority to decide what to do, and it will be within his power to include or exclude any scheme. I do not see anything in the Amendment to cover this case. A superannuation fund may have been established for a period of five or 10 years, and may when it comes before the Minister appear to be quite solvent, but I have known such superannuation funds which have fallen to the ground, and I want to have some assurance that the right hon. Gentleman will review these superannuation schemes which are accepted in substitution so that men who have paid into them will not, if they fail, fall between two stools, as it were.
§ Sir K. WOOD
Certainly, I will give that assurance. If the Committee will look at the paragraph, they will see that the Minister has to be satisfied that the benefits under these schemes are not less favourable than all the benefits conferred by this Act. We shall certainly, before we approve of any such scheme, have to be satisfied, not only that the benefits at the moment are sufficient, but that there is no danger whatever of the scheme breaking down. Of course, with regard to responsible undertakings like railway companies, there would be no difficulty in providing a safeguard for the contributors to the scheme; but we shall have to be satisfied that these schemes are stable and secure, not only for the moment, but for the time that the people are insured under them.
§ Sir ALFRED MOND
It seems to me that we are proceeding rather rapidly with a rather important Amendment, because the substitution of a voluntary. non-statutory scheme, however good, for a scheme of the character embodied in this Bill must always involve some element of risk, and, though the Parliamentary Secretary has endeavoured to cover the various points which have been raised, there are many other points that could be raised and which will have to be considered. Why should a voluntary scheme which is not less favourable be acceptable, and why should a voluntary scheme in any case have to be more favourable to make it acceptable to a statutory scheme? I know that my right hon. Friend the Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Home) is 894 doubtless thinking of some of the old railway pensions schemes which have been in operation for many years and which I daresay have been proved to be entirely actuarially sound, but this Amendment would cover a great deal more ground than that, and would put a great deal of responsibility on the Minister in having to examine, and practically guarantee, voluntary schemes. The question is whether it is really wise, when you are making a change like this, to go in for an extension of such a wide character. For instance, are new schemes not in operation but which might come into operation to be excluded, or are we to deal only with schemes already in existence? Is it to be a scheme of any particular magnitude? It seems to me that there are a number of points of that kind on which the Committee ought to be assured before it passes this Amendment. After all, it might be better to abandon a voluntary scheme and have a uniform scheme of this character than to exclude people on a voluntary basis with the idea that the scheme was all right when unforeseen events might happen.
§ Mr. OLIVER
Could the hon. Gentleman state what guarantee there will be that persons employed by a company operating a sectional scheme will have free movement from one firm to another? Apart altogether from whether the benefits of any such scheme may be actuarially sound, does it not limit the freedom of the individual if you are going to substitute these small sectional schemes for one national scheme? It almost compels any person who has contributed for a number of years to remain. It limits his freedom of movement and choice of employment, and, in consequence, to some extent operates detrimentally to a person if he is insured under a sectional scheme of this kind. If we are making an important change and establishing a national scheme, would it not be better, even where these sectional schemes are in existence, if some policy could be outlined whereby they could be incorporated in the national scheme, thus leaving freedom of movement and choice of employment to the people of this country who are compelled to contribute?
§ Mr. ARTHUR GREENWOOD
Supposing a scheme has been approved and then for some reason or another it fails and becomes insolvent, is it proposed to have provisions whereby the workpeople shall not be placed in any less eligible position as the result of such failure than they would have been if they had been under the State scheme?
§ Mr. GILLETT
One of the borough councils in London for a number of years made it their custom to collect their refuse by direct employment of labour, but they now have a proposal that the work should be done by a contractor. They have had about 60 or 70 men in their employ, and there was a superannuation scheme to which those men contributed. Under the proposals of the council, the payments made by those men to the fund are now to be paid back. Supposing this scheme had come before the Minister, there would have been no reason whatever why he should not have thought the plan would go on indefinitely. That is the danger it seems to me of accepting this Amendment. A scheme like that comes to an end on the ground that the council think they can do the work more economically by handing it over to a contractor. The man who has been connected with the fund has no voice in the determination of it. A number of them are men of 40 and 50 years of age. Supposing a scheme like this had come before the Minister 20 years ago—it is not as if there had been any political change in the composition of the council: it is simply a change of policy by members who have been there for many years—the Minister might very easily have said, "the thing is perfectly sound and secure." How could ho have guarded himself against a change of this kind? What is going to happen to any men in such a fund to whom this happens? Can the right hon. Gentleman make provision either by making it an understanding, if there is a change of this kind, that he must consent, or that his approval must be obtained before such a fund is wound up, or, in the second place, by finding some means by which these men can be transferred if the scheme with which they have been connected and which scheme has been exempted by his approval should for any reason come to an end.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I think the best answer I can give to several of the questions that have been put to me is to refer the 896 Committee to the Clause. It will be seen that, under paragraph (b), the Minister, before he can give a certificate, must see that the people referred to are secured terms that are on the whole not less favourable than all the benefits conferred by this Act. The number of these cases can be but a limited one. and perhaps the Committee will feel more reassured about the matter when I say that, of course, the certificate will only be given in those cases in which the Minister has already given a certificate under paragraphs (b) and (c) of Part II of the First Schedule to the National Insurance Act—that is to say, where he is already satisfied that the scheme is of such a nature that, so far as national health insurance is concerned, it secures provisions for sickness and disablement benefit which are, on the whole, not less favourable than the corresponding benefits conferred by the National Insurance Act. It is only in cases whore the scheme is of that character, and has already received the certificate of the Minister under the National Insurance Act, that the particular association can come forward and say, "You have given us. a certificate under that Section; you are already satisfied about our stability and security so far as national health insurance is concerned: in so far as we make provision for superannuation, we ask you to pursue that policy in connection with superannuation just in the same way as with sickness." As regards the point raised by the hon. Member for Ilkeston (Mr. Oliver), as to people being transferred and not being able to go to another society, that, of course, is an objection which would apply just as much to a statutory scheme as to a scheme that was not imposed by Statute.
§ Mr. OLIVER
I do not mean joining another society. My point was that, in the case of a sectional scheme such as that of a railway company, for instance, the employé's freedom of action is limited in consequence of his having contributed for a number of years t;o a scheme. It ties him, in many cases, to one firm, when he. would much prefer to leave.
§ Sir K. WOOD
In answer to that, I think I can safely say that no scheme will be approved by the Minister which does not make adequate provision and safeguards for persons leaving, say, a railway company, and joining another society. 897 Obviously, if the Minister is to comply with that part of the Clause which says that the employé must be secured, he must have regard to the fact that people may leave and go elsewhere. I think it is the experience of those who have been connected with national health insurance that, when the Minister certifies a scheme under the National Insurance Act, due provision must be made that, if a person leaves that scheme, adequate transfers will be made in respect of him to the scheme into which he goes.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Can the hon. Gentleman tell me whether there are many schemes of that kind under the National Insurance Act?
§ Sir K. WOOD
I will make inquiries, but, of course, in that respect, the Minister, in. order to comply with this Clause, must see that the person is secured. It may be said, and this certainly weighs with the Government that inasmuch as due provision is made in many of these schemes by responsible bodies, whose security is, perhaps, as good as that of the Government, it is hard and unnecessary to ask that people who have belonged to such schemes for a long time should have to contribute twice, or have their schemes wound up. I can assure the Committee that it will only be done after the very greatest scrutiny. The Minister will naturally feel that the obligation is put upon him by Statute to see that adequate security is given in the case of all these schemes, and it is only in such cases—and I do not think the number will be very large—that the certificate will be given. In all the circumstances of the case, I think the Committee may rely upon the carefulness with which this discretion will be exercised, and in those circumstances I suggest that the Committee might accept the Amendment. I may say. with regard to the question asked me by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), that I have just been informed that the number of the schemes in question is 550.
§ Sir K. WOOD
Of course, the certificate will be given subject to conditions. I feel in some little difficulty about replying to the question of the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. Gillett), who is, apparently, referring to some case which he has in view and with which I am not fully acquainted. I always hesitate to reply on any case about which I have not the fullest information, but I hope the hon. Member will be able to apply the general observations I have made to the particular case he has in mind. If, however, he will let me have the facts of that case, I will carefully look into the particular point of view, and let the hon. Member have a full statement upon them.
§ Mr. GILLETT
I did not wish to put forward a special case, but, in the event of a society coming to an end which a few months previously might have been thought to be fairly permanent, I wanted to know whether any provision was made, and the hon. Gentleman's answer does not seem to me to meet that point.
§ Sir K. WOOD
Obviously, before the Minister could certify that the scheme was one which would secure to its members benefits equal to those under this Bill, he would have to have very particular regard to the question whether the funds and stability of the scheme would warrant his doing so. That, I should think, would probably be the first matter which would receive bis consideration. He will, of course, be advised by the Government Actuary, and the very first point to which he will direct his attention is whether there are adequate reserves in such a scheme; and, of course, no certificate will be given unless there are adequate reserves. I think that that would meet the case mentioned by the hon. Member.
§ Mr. A. GREENWOOD
May I press the point that I put to the hon. Gentleman? Suppose that the judgment of the Minister happened to be at fault, and he gave a certificate to a scheme which afterwards broke down, what is to be the position in that case? Such a case may arise. What is to be the position of the people interested? Are they going to be in a worse position than that in which they would have been under the Government scheme?
§ Sir K. WOOD
I think the hon. Member must assume that we should approve 899 of no scheme unless it was absolutely certain that the interests of those concerned would be safeguarded. We should have to see that adequate reserves were actually there, and we shall certify no scheme unless it provides adequate reserves.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
But reserves that are adequate at this moment may disappear in the future. Are we to take it that, in the event of such a scheme breaking down, the workpeople are going to be left to begin again? It is rather an important point.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I think the hon. Member must have in mind some case abroad, or something of that kind. Certainly, before such a scheme is certified, those who advise my right hon. Friend will see that adequate reserves are there, just as is done in a statutory scheme. These non-statutory schemes will have to comply with exactly the same standard of reserves and the same guarantees which apply in the case of a statutory scheme.
§ Mr. BROAD
I do not think that the Ministry have quite grasped all that there is in this question. The hon. Gentleman has drawn a comparison with the transfer of a person under National Health Insurance from an exempted scheme to an approved society and the transfer of value which has to go with it, but this is not a scheme of pensions to be administered under an approved society with separate funds. I think the Committee, ought to see that a man who has been in employment under one of these companies who have exemption schemes, whenever he goes out of their employment, either by his own desire or through a reduction of the company's staff, is going to be in as secure a position as the man who has been under the Government scheme all the time, and from that point of view I think we want more adequate provision in this Bill to see that a capital sum is transferred from the exempted scheme to the Government, to compensate for the loss of the contributions which have been made to that special scheme. The Minister will find that the matter is a very involved one, if he is going to deal with it properly, because, apart from the question of men being tied to one employment, very few of these men have any statutory 900 security in their positions. The conditions of a railway company, for instance, may be considerably altered, and, although they may seem secure at present, it may be that the railway companies will have to reduce their staffs considerably. In that case, what will be the position of the men affected? If they are to be transferred to the State fund, in what way is provision going to be made to see that a capital sum is taken from the railway company's superannuation fund and transferred to the Government? The whole matter is very difficult.
Moreover, apart from the railway companies, we know that a considerable number of old men have been put off from Government establishments, and we had a communication before us to-day with respect to some of these, showing in what a pitiful plight they are. They may have contributed to special schemes in small-arms factories or other ordnance factories, and when they are put off, many of them at the age of 55 or 60, no other employer will look at them, and they will have no chance of qualifying, even under the three years' period. It will be hopeless for them to get 39 contributions each year. I want to see them transferred to the Government scheme, with the full value of their past years of service. In order to do that it will, I am afraid, be necessary to submit further provisions to the House, and to add new Clauses to the Bill. When the Minister comes to consider these cases, as I hope he will before the end of the Committee stage, I hope he will see that it is advisable, for the sake of continuity, to restrict the application of these exemptions, as far as possible, and bring us all under one national scheme.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I hope that the Government, before the Report stage, will consider this provision very carefully. It is full of pitfalls and dangers. I should like to know a little more about the 350 special schemes which have been established under the National Insurance Act. Unless I am mistaken, they will probably be schemes under which better benefits are given than those given under the Act, because I cannot see the object of giving exemption in cases where only the same benefits are given. What possible advantage can there be in having a works scheme with only exactly the same 901 benefits as under the National Health Insurance or the Pensions Scheme? There is no point in it. I can understand an inducement being offered to employers and workpeople in a given works to establish a better scheme with increased benefits, but to say to them, "If you establish exactly the same scheme as the scheme under the Pensions Bill of the Government, we will exempt you"—
§ Sir R. HORNE
My right hon. Friend must not think that that is what the Clause says. The phrase "not less favourable" is, as my right hon. Friend will remember, the phrase used in previous Statutes in the same connection. The Minister, in the exercise of his discretion, will look at the scheme very narrowly to see whether it is worth continuing or not as compared with the benefits given by the Statute.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I do not think my right hon. Friend's interruption in the least challenges the proposition I was laying down. If it is the same, surely it is not less favourable. If you have a scheme which gives exactly the same benefits as the benefits given under the Act, surely it is not less favourable?
§ Sir R. HORNE
It does not provide that if as favourable a scheme is provided the Minister is bound to approve of that scheme. It leaves the Minister discretion to decide whether the temptations are good enough to allow him to sanction it.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I want to increase the temptations in this particular case, because it is rather a statutory indication to the Minister that, if the scheme is good and the actuarial position is sound, then he is to accept it. What I think ought to be done is to give an inducement to works to give some additional benefit, some improvement, some variation which is more favourable, and I would ask the representatives of the Government to consider, between now and Report, whether there ought not to be words which will make it perfectly clear that there should be no exception unless some additional benefit of some sort or kind is given. I cannot see why there should be any exception at all. I agree that there might be a gap before a man got into the next employment and began to make his contribution, which would deprive him of benefit. There is a real danger of that kind, but it is worth 902 taking that risk if the benefits are better. I should like to ask the hon. Gentleman whether he would examine some of the schemes which have been exempted under th Insurance Act. I should be very surprised if they are not schemes which are an improvement upon the statutory benefits conferred by the National Insurance Act, 1911. There is a good deal to be said in that case for offering inducements to employers and workmen to retain a scheme of their own which increases the benefits, but I really do not see why you should give an exemption where the benefits are practically identical, or "not less favourable."
§ Mr. ROBERT SMITH
There is one point I should like to put before the Committee. If the Minister grants a certificate to a scheme, is not that a guarantee by the State that it is absolutely solvent? If in 5 or 10 years' time that scheme comes down, surely the person who is not able to receive benefit will be able to turn round to the State and say "You guaranteed this, and you will have to pay."
§ Mr. MELLER
Is it not a fact that in many of these excepted cases to which reference has been made, the real advantage is that there is no contribution in respect of which these benefits are received? That is the great advantage which is to be found in these excepted schemes.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I should, of course, like to respond to the suggestion of the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George). Anything said by him in connection with the matter will receive our most careful attention, because we recognise his knowledge of the question. But the words we have taken follow a very great example, set by the right hon. Gentleman himself. I told him just now there were some 550 schemes which were exempted under the National Insurance Act. They were exempted as giving benefits in respect of sickness and disablement "on the whole not less favourable than the corresponding benefits conferred by this Act." Therefore in all these 550 schemes, which cover 300,000 men and women, which receive a certificate under the right hon. Gentleman's National Health Insurance Act, all that has been done is to grant a certificate that on the whole 903 they are not less favourable than the corresponding benefits conferred by the National Health Insurance Act. My right hon. Friend the Member for Hillhead (Sir E. Horne), in introducing his Amendment, has simply taken the same criterion and the same words as in the right hon. Gentleman's Act. That is really the position, and I think in all those cases we have been satisfied that the people who have been so excepted have been amply safeguarded. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the gap, and hon. Members are naturally anxious about the people who remain in the societies, but obviously the Minister could not certify any scheme as securing benefits not less favourable than this Act which do not make adequate protection for people leaving the scheme. Obviously that must be so. Of course, the exemptions which are likely to arise in this connection are not in connection with workpeople as a whole, but with people who are generally permanently employed by railway companies and associations of that kind. Therefore I ask the Committee to accept this Amendment. We will have due regard to what the right hon. Gentleman has said to see if any further safeguards are necessary to be inserted in the Clause to secure what the whole Committee wants, namely, that these people should not have to pay a double contribution, or pay something from which they are now free. I ask the Committee, having regard to the vast amount of work which is before us, if they will be content with the assurance I have given, and allow the Amendment to pass.
§ Sip HENRY CRAIK
There is one omission in the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary. The Amendment touches a very important point, and there has been some doubt in my mind whether it is not seriously invading further the general scheme. One point was raised by the hon. Member for Central Aberdeenshire (Mr. Robert Smith) as to the question of the solvency of these schemes which are now to be admitted. The hon. Member for Central Aberdeenshire assumed apparently that if these schemes do not prove solvent, the Minister pledges himself to the contributors and would at once proceed to replace them in a position of solvency, even though he had had no contributions in the past. I should like 904 to ask whether he is prepared to accept that responsibility on behalf of the Treasury, and is prepared in the event of the failure of such recognised schemes to implement these insolvent schemes from public funds.
§ Sir K. WOOD
Before the Minister certifies any such scheme, he will see that there are adequate reserves already there safeguarding and securing to the Members benefits as favourable as those provided under the Bill. That is far better than giving any undertaking as to the future. Before any certificate is given by the Minister, he will have regard to the future. The first thing any actuary who is advising him would say would be, before granting a certificate under the scheme, "Are there adequate reserves? Is the scheme solvent?" No certificate will be given unless there are adequate reserves which fully safeguard the future in respect of these people.
§ Mr. ROBERT SMITH
I do not think the hon. Gentleman has quite answered my point. I quite admit that the Minister will be most careful before he approves of any scheme, but that does not get away from the difficulty of the unfortunate individual who is insured under a private scheme. He is not able to insure under this other. The Government say, "This is a perfectly good scheme, and we guarantee it." But it does not seem very fortunate for the insured person if the scheme fails.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendments made:
§ In page 8, line 39, after the word "enactment," insert the words "or by other means approved by the Minister."
§ In page 8, line 41, leave out the second "and", and insert instead thereof the word "or"; after the word "women," insert the words "if a so."
§ In page 9, line 3, after the word "Act," insert the words "in respect of such men or such women, as the case may be."
§ In page 9, line 11, leave out the word "and" and insert instead thereof the word "or."
§ In page 9, line 15, after the word "payable," insert the words "in respect of such man or of such women as the case may be."—[Sir R. Horne.]905
§ Mr. BASIL PETO
I beg to move, in page 9, line 16, at the end, to insert the words,(2) Where the Minister is satisfied that employment by any statutory undertakers, that is to say, persons authorised by Parliament to construct, work, or carry on any canal, dock, harbour, tramway, gas, electricity, water, or other undertaking of public utility is, having regard to the normal practice of the employer, employment which is permanent in character, and that the persons engaged in that employment are entitled to rights in a superannuation fund approved by the Minister, and that the terms of the employment (including those rights) are such as to secure to the persons so engaged benefits on the whole not less favourable than the benefits (other than additional benefit, but including medical benefit) conferred by the Insurance Act, the Minister may give a certificate to that effect, and thereupon, subject to such conditions as may be prescribed,One of the Amendments of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hill-head (Sir R. Horne) which has just Been accepted paved the way for this Amendment, which deals more specifically with the same matter that the Committee has been considering for the last half-hour. The class of undertakings dealt with here are undertakings which are permanent in character, which are such things as canals, docks, harbours, tramways, gas, electricity, water, or other undertakings of a public nature.
Provided that the Minister shall not give a certificate unless he is satisfied that, if the certificate is given, proviso (b) or proviso (c) to Sub-section (1) of this Section would apply to the case.
- (a) the employment shall be treated for the purposes of this Act as if it were an excepted employment within the meaning of paragraph (iv) of Subsection (1) of this Section; and
- (b) the employment shall for the purposes of the Insurance Act be treated as an excepted employment within the meaning of that Act, subject to this qualification, that where employed persons affected by this Sub-section are members of an approved society connected with the undertaking such financial arrangements between the society, the Reserve Suspense Fund, and such superannuation fund as aforesaid as may be provided by a scheme approved by the National Health Insurance Joint Committee shall be carried into effect.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am not quite clear on the point. Perhaps the hon. Member will explain. It appears to me, on the face of it, that this is really covered by the words just passed.
§ Mr. PETO
I do not think it is, because it goes to certain specific cases and exempts entirely members of approved schemes from this Bill. I understand it is accepted by the Government. It appears to me that the whole crux of the Bill is that we should somehow or other include under it as nearly as possible all for whose benefit it is designed, but it is also important that we should exclude and exempt certain categories of people. Further, on the point of benefits not less favourable than those under the Bill, it is obvious that where a scheme has been in force, perhaps long before the inception even of the Insurance Act, and has been constantly administered in the main by the employés themselves, it tends to promote good relationship between employer and employed, and confidence in the employment, and it is exactly the spirit in industry which is so very desirable at present.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I should like to ask the Minister whether this provides for cases which are not provided for by the Clause so far as amended.
§ Sir K. WOOD
We are advised there is this difference. The Amendments of which have been passed referred to undertakings which have already been excepted so far as National Health Insurance is concerned, by a provision in that Act. This applies to superannuation funds, which are not subject to that exception, and, therefore, would not be covered.
§ Mr. PETO
I think it will be clear that it is very desirable that where these schemes are promoting good feeling and good relations between employer and employed, we should not substitute for them a scheme of general national application. On those grounds, therefore, I am glad to hear that the Minister is prepared to accept the Amendment. If any small alterations in the wording are required, we shall be quite prepared to see them made.
§ Sir K. WOOD
We have given careful consideration to this matter. It is one of those superannuation schemes which does not come within the purview of the Minister as far as National Health Insurance is concerned. There is one scheme that I know of which makes very valuable 907 provision as far as the employés are concerned. We want to help them, inasmuch as they are taking a great share in the insurance scheme itself and are very anxious that we should help them in this way. The same safeguards that I mentioned in connection with the other Clause will be used by the Minister in this connection. I hope the Committee will see their way to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
I should like some explanation of this Amendment. The proposed new Sub-section uses the wordsand that the terms of the employment (including those rights) are such as to secure to the persons so engaged benefits on the whole not less favourable than the benefits (other than additional benefits but including medical benefit) conferred by the Insurance Act.I raised the question as to whether a person would be entitled to additional benefits under the National Health Insurance scheme from 65 and upwards? I received a reply that such a person would be entitled to additional benefits between the ages of 65 and 70. I should like to be assured that a person falling into that category will not be deprived of those additional benefits if we accept this Amendment.
§ Sir K. WOOD
Those schemes which are now excepted from the National Health Insurance Act have to be not less favourable as far as sickness and disablement benefits, etc., are concerned. The words in this Amendment have the same effect. The schemes which my hon. Friend who moved the Amendment has in mind will not be certified unless they provide benefit exactly the same as under the National Health Insurance Act itself. As to the question of additional benefits, that is a matter for the particular society to which the Member may belong. In some cases there would be no additional benefit.
§ Mr. DAVIES
In the event of the Minister certifying a scheme as a sub stitution scheme for this fund, am I to understand that the Minister will not certify any scheme unless the additional benefits as well as the normal benefits will be as good as under this scheme, plus the National Health Insurance Act? The approved societies after the last valuation will be able, I understand, as to a large majority of them, to provide 908 various additional benefits, including contributions for convalescent home treatment and so forth. I want to make it clear that no scheme shall be certified by the Minister as a substitution for this scheme unless the substituted scheme will give benefits equal to those of the National Health Insurance Act and this Bill as well.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The answer is that as far as this Bill is concerned, under the Clause which we are now discussing, the Minister can certify no scheme which does not secure to the members of that scheme benefits not less favourable than those given by this Bill. The conditions specified in the Amendment also apply as far as National Health Insurance is concerned. Those conditions are that the benefits shall not be less favourable than the benefits referred to in the Statute which are sickness, disablement benefit and medical benefit. With respect to additional benefits, that is a question of membership of a particular society. Some members will not get additional benefits, while some will. The Minister under the National Health Insurance Act has not to have regard to the question of additional benefit. The hon. Member will see that it is in regard to sickness, disablement and medical benefit that the benefits are not to be less favourable. What the Minister will have to see is that as far as those particular schemes are concerned, that they shall be not less favourable in their benefits than the benefits given by this Bill and the Insurance Act.
§ Mr. CLUSE
There are a large number of trade unions who are paying superannuation benefits after a certain period of membership, and the unions are charging their members certain subscriptions in respect of these liabilities at a certain age. I should like to know whether this Bill will bring about any reduction in the present amount of superannuation paid to the members of those unions on their arrival at a certain age. or after a certain number of years' membership.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The hon. Member will appreciate the fact that I have not in mind the particular case to which he refers. Any such body as that he mentions, provided that it complied with the conditions of this Clause would, equally 909 with the associations to which the hon. Member who moved the Amendment has referred, have the benefit of it. If there is any particular case which the hon. Member has in mind, I will gladly go into it with him and see whether it comes within the Clause or not. This Clause is in general terms.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Sir A. MOND
I think it will be for the convenience of the Committee if I move the second Amendment which stands in my name, to provide a new Sub-section (3), instead of the first Amendment to insert in line 20, after the word "provided," the words "and subject to the provisions of Sub-section (3) of this Section."
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not think the first Amendment is necessary, but if the right hon. Gentleman wishes to move it, it would not be out of order.
§ Sir A. MOND
I beg to move, in page 9, line 23, at the end, to add(3) The provisions of this Section shall not take effect until the deficiency period, as defined in Section sixteen of the Unemployment Insurance (No. 2) Act of 1921, has terminated, and the weekly contributions of employers and employed for the_ purposes of unemployment have been fixed in accordance with Section four of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1923, at rates not higher than the maxima prescribed in the First Schedule to that Act.The principle raised in this Amendment has been debated more than once during the proceedings on this Bill. I make no apology for raising it again, as it is perhaps the most crucial question which arises, and one which has not yet been finally disposed of. The object of the provisions is obvious, and that is, to avoid any new contributions being levied on industry, either on the employer or the employed, while the present very heavy unemployment contributions are going on. Since this provision was laid down, the Minister of Labour has introduced a Bill which has the effect that the additional contributions to be made to meet the deficiency under the Unemployment Insurance Act are reduced by nearly one half. The Government has to that extent tried to meet the critics of the Bill who, from the beginning, have pointed out, and I think with irresistible force, that in the present condition of industry, or of a large 910 section of industry, you cannot possibly afford to place any more heavy charges on industries which are already on the brink of shutting down.
I should like to ask the Committee to go back to certain figures on the subject. If you take the present Unemployment Insurance Act figures, the employer pays 10d. in the case of a man and the employé 9d., making 1s. 7d. In the case of a woman, the total charge is 1s. 3d. Under the new Bill we get a reduction of 2d. The rate under the Bill which has been introduced will be, in the case of a man, a reduction of from 10d. to 3d. to be paid by the employer, and from 9d. to 7d. in the case of the employé. The contribution in respect of a woman will be reduced in the case of the employer from 8d. to 7d., and in the case of the woman herself from, 7d. to 6d. Even with these reductions, there will still be a very heavy burden. The final burden on industry will be, unemployment insurance in the case of a man 1s. 3d.; pensions, employer 4d,, employé 4d., total 1s. 11d. In the case of a woman, unemployment insurance 1s. 1d.; pensions, employer 2d., employé 2d., total 1s. 5d.
It will be seen that there is still a considerable increase over the existing burden, an increase which has been estimated by actuaries at something like 11¼ million pounds per annum. One does not want to repeat arguments, but one does feel bound to put certain points to the Government. Look at our present industrial position. We are in the middle of a great coal crisis. Everybody is trying to find a way out of the difficulty existing in the coal trade, and the high cost of coal which is preventing our export trade. There is the crisis in the steel industry. The Government have a Cabinet Committee sitting to consider whether it should give a subsidy to the steel trade, and at this very moment, when it is admitted on all hands that the biggest industries, the fundamental industries, cannot go on working with the present burdens, the Government are proposing to put a burden of 11¼ millions per annum on their standing charges. I have never understood how they can justify that course. I have heard speeches from the Minister of Health and the Prime Minister on the subject, but they have been entirely unconvincing, and they must remain so.
911 5.0 P.M.
On the one hand they have a Committee considering whether or not they should pay out of the Exchequer grants to help industry, and on the other hand they are increasing the standing charges on industry by a Bill which is not yet law. A more illogical procedure has never been followed by any Government nor by this House. We all want to see this Bill proceed, and we all want to see these benefits begin, but how can it be seriously argued that the Government are justified, in order to provide something which does not yet exist, in adopting a procedure which is liable to add to the very deep and terrible distress with which we are having to deal to-day? People talk about two-pences as though they were very small amounts, but when you come to a question of a labour dispute as to wages, two-pences, fourpences and sixpences have led to long controversy and strife. I have been looking through figures published in reference to the coal industry, comparing certain social services in the year 1913 and in the year 1924, and it is perhaps worth while to repeat these figures. In 1913 you had added to the cost of a ton of coal: health insurance .93d., and workmen's compensation 1.25d., or a total of 2.18d. In 1924 you had: welfare levy, 1.09d., unemployment insurance, 2.31d., health insurance, 1.16d., and workmen's compensation, 3.76d . or a total of 8.32d. When we are talking of endeavouring to reduce the cost price of coal by 2s. or 2s. 6d. a ton, by increasing the hours of labour or cutting down the wages of the miner, you cannot disregard the accumulations of burdens an industry, and there is no use on the one hand trying to make the industry pay and or the other hand creating conditions which necessarily make it more difficult.
What is the necessity for this? Anyone who cares to go into the details of the matter can ascertain the facts for himself. As I have pointed out before, there is no financial necessity for any additional burdens in the shape of contributions to be laid on this scheme for the first two or three years of its existence. If you look at the finances of the scheme as explained in the White Paper you will observe that practically for the first two or three years no money is really required from the Exchequer at all. The money is practically coming from the contributions, not merely the money for 912 the benefit, but the money for the accumulation of a great reserve. It Is true that according to the White Paper the Treasury has to contribute £4,000,000 a year for 10 years, but that is not a matter of financial necessity. That is a way in which the Treasury covers its liability in the 10 years by a level contribution of £4,000,000 a year for the first 10 years, until you have a total Treasury contribution of £40,000,000. Twenty-one million pounds is in respect of other purposes, and the amount which the Treasury has to contribute for the for 10 years for new purposes is only £18,000,000. During the first 10 years, out of £248,000,000, the Treasury will provide only £18,000,000 for new services.
Those of us who voted in favour of the contributory principle did so only on condition that the contribution should not add any additional burden on industry as long as the very heavy unemployment insurance payments are made. The Amendment states that until you have the unemployment insurance contribution down to its old normal level no new contribution should be levied on industry. The right hon. Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne) and various other people have made ingenious endeavours to devise means in order to deal with this difficult matter. I am not going to associate myself with any of these schemes. Knowing something about the matter as an old Minister of Health, I think that they are all financially unsound and would be bitterly resented by all the great friendly societies which, by their administration and care, have accumulated large surpluses, and would now naturally object to these being utilised in order to save the British Government or the Treasury in a new scheme of this kind.
Anyone who likes to examine this matter will see that there is no financial difficulty in the Treasury, taking this scheme for the first two or three years. Obviously, it is the right course to pursue. There are two or three ways of doing it, and it is not our business to tell the Government which is the best way. The whole deficiency of the unemployment fund is a pure question of bookkeeping. It depends upon the period within which you wish to pay off that deficiency, and what rate of contribution you want. If you spread it over a larger number of years you can 913 drop the contribution now to unemployment insurance. That is one method which might be financially quite reasonable, and which could be adopted. It would be for the Treasury to take over this scheme for two or three years, or, at any rate, to provide that no contribution should be exacted from employer or employed as long as the unemployment insurance remains in deficiency, that is to say, as long as the extra contributions are demanded.
I do not know what reply the Front Bench would give to the Amendment. I do not know whether they have decided that in no conditions and in face of no arguments will they depart from the existing scheme. I do not know whether they have said their last word in this matter. As one who is seriously concerned with our industrial situation, with industrial peace and with this Bill, and with its smooth and efficient working, I earnestly implore the Government not to shut the door on this Amendment, and not to force through with their majority a procedure which in their heart of hearts they must know is unsound. I cannot believe that if an impartial committee had been sitting investigating the industrial conditions of this country, and investigating at the same time the additional burdens which have been placed on industry, and if a scheme of this nature had been put before such a committee they would have reported in favour of the action which the Government are taking. The question is of vital importance, and the objections to these burdens being placed on industry occur just as forcibly to those who represent the workmen's side as to those who represent the employers, and the views of such a combination of forces should be taken into account by any Government responsible to this country. They are unanswerable and fundamental. That being so, there being no reply to the arguments which I have put forward and no real financial difficulty in the way of adopting this Amendment, we beg the Government to give it consideration, and we say that the people of this country and the employers will be equally happy if the Government can accept the Amendment which I now move.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Douglas Hogg)
The right hon. Gentleman, in moving this Amendment, said, 914 and said truly, that the principle of the Amendment is one which has been debated before in the course of the proceedings on this Bill. He said also, and I think quite fairly, that he need not apologise for reintroducing the matter, as it is one of some importance. But the reasons why the Government are unable to accept the Amendment have, I think, been stated before, and I shall very shortly, but I hope clearly, state again what they are. The right hon. Gentleman said that at the present moment the position of industry is a serious one, and that any Government ought to hesitate before imposing any additional burden. That is an accurate statement, and the Government have had to consider carefully the question of imposing any additional burden. But what is the logical deduction to be drawn from that argument? This Bill undoubtedly does necessarily cost a very considerable sum of money in the first years, increasing in the third year to some £16,000,000, and in the fourth year I think to more than £25,000,000, and rising gradually thereafter. If that argument be accepted and pressed to its logical conclusion, it would necessarily mean that we should postpone the operation of this Bill until industry recovers what we all hope will be a more normal condition. The Government said on the Second Reading, and I can only say again now, that they are not prepared to postpone indefinitely what they regard as a most vital social reform.
The right hon. Gentleman said that the annual cost, as he estimated it, was £11,250,000, but the text of the Amendment is that all contributions are to be stopped for such period as may be necessary until the employment insurance scheme becomes solvent. Nobody can say at what date that may happen—it depends on the uncertain future—and until then the whole burden of the finance of the Bill is to be borne by the Exchequer. That is not a scheme which the Government can accept. It is all very well to say that in the earlier years it does not cost so much as in the later years. I have indicated already that it will cost a very considerable sum. Of course if you postpone it until the later years it really means that the extra payments which have to be made up in the later years will be even bigger than they are supposed to be under the Bill. 915 We hope and believe that this Committee and the country will say that this is a reform which is already overdue, and which does not brook further delay. If we take that view we are bound to try to devise the most practical scheme which we can for putting this reform into operation at the earliest possible moment. We propose under the Bill that the scheme should commence to confer benefits next January, Jess than six months from now. We are not prepared to postpone it for an indefinite time. We are not prepared to saddle the Exchequer with the uncertainly and the increasing liability which the right hon. Gentleman proposes, and therefore we are bound to ask the Committee to reject the Amendment and to accept the scheme in the form in which we have brought it forward.
Mr. TREVELYAN THOMSON
lam sure that the Committee will have heard with regret of the non possumus attitude of the Government. My right hon. Friend never suggested the postponement of this scheme. All that he suggested was that there should be a postponement of the contribution of industry, which is a very different matter. He asked that because of the very heavy contributions that have to be made under the Unemployment Insurance scheme. Why are those contributions so heavy? Because in the past the State has not recognised its responsibility with regard to the burden of unemployment that is thrown on the employer and the employé, a very much bigger burden than there should be thrown on them. If the State had accepted its responsibility in the past for the abnormal amount of unemployment, if it had not piled up this debit, and if it had met: its liabilities out of the national exchequer, the position to-day would be very much easier than it is. This Amendment merely seeks to carry out an understanding or a suggestion made when the Chancellor of the Exchequer first foreshadowed this scheme. The right hon. Gentleman said that arrangements would be made, by balancing operations, which would relieve industry of a very heavy burden. Although the original proposal involved a charge of 8d. for individuals, which has been reduced to 4d. by the Unemployment Insurance Bill which is now upstairs, the 4d, that is left is far more than industry can bear.
916 The Minister of Health spoke somewhat glibly of the extra 2d. to be paid by the employer and the employé, as though those twopences were of very small account. I can assure him that, although they may be small under normal conditions, yet when industry is unable to make ends meet and is making losses, these extra sums are very real and very serious handicaps on industry. The present burdens of the various insurance schemes are very heavy items. We have 1s. 3d. for unemployment, 10d. for health, and 8d. for pensions, making a total of 2s. 9d. per employed person, which industry has to provide. The right hon. Gentleman referred to some figures showing the increase of these social charges in the coal industry. May I quote some figures bearing on the steel industry? At the annual meeting of one of the works in my constituency, the chairman stated the increase for social services for iron and steel. It included rates and health and unemployment insurance, and in 1913–14 these various charges amounted to 3s. 2d. per ton. To-day, before this Bill comes into operation, they amount to 10s. 3d. per ton. To suggest, when that large increase has taken place, that the industry can bear further additions, is surely asking the industry to do more than is possible.
We have been told that unemployment averages something like 11 per cent. That is only an average, and average; figures are often very deceptive. In certain districts there is three times that amount of unemployment. In marine engineering on the North-East Coast the figure is something like 28 or 29 per cent., and it is 42 per cent. in shipbuilding. That means, when the yards are able to turn out only a little more than half their capacity, that you are adding very considerably to their burden by putting on this extra 2d. per man employed. This is not a time for these added burdens. We were told that under the Unemployment Insurance Bill there was to be a reduction of £6,800,000 in the contributions to be levied from employers and employed, and that that was given as a relief. I submit that the relief is more apparent than real, because at the same time benefits are likewise reduced by £6,500,000. Although the benefits are reduced the payments will have to be met notwithstanding. They will come out of the local rates which these industries have to bear. Therefore, 917 the Government are not, in their new Unemployment Insurance Bill, relieving industry at all, they are merely transferring the burden from the insurance fund to the local rates. I trust that the Prime Minister, who knows the difficulties of those black spots, will see that further consideration is given to the appeal made, not merely by employers and employed, but by local authorities also. The Government should consider whether they cannot postpone this extra charge.
§ Mr. LEES-SMITH
I think I can state very shortly the view of the Amendment which is held by the Labour party. We agree with the Amendment and we agree with the arguments which were used in favour of it. Therefore, if the right hon. Member for Carmarthen (Sir A. Mond) goes to a Division, we shall support him in the Lobby. We would add that we think we can support him in the Division Lobby with a good deal more logic than he can vote for the Amendment. The fact is that every argument which he has used to support this Amendment is an argument which leads directly to a non-contributory system of insurance, such as we have hitherto advocated and for which we have received no support from him. We admit that the right hon. Gentleman has proved conclusively that this contributory system will have an evil effect upon industry at the present time; but he has not proved that it will have a good effect upon industry 10 years hence.
What is the right hon. Gentleman's argument? What was the one argument on which he relied? His argument was that the contributory system added to the stauding charges of business, and, therefore, of course, added to the price of manufactures and was a handicap both in home and foreign trade. That is true. But it would be equally true 10 years hence. It is because a contributory scheme adds to the standing charges of business that we have advocated that this expenditure should be met out of the Income Tax, which is levied after the standing charges have been paid out of any profit that may remain. The right hon. Gentleman in previous Debates has noted as the chief champion of what maybe called the capitalist doctrine, but when the industries for which he speaks are in difficulties he finds himself driven to the argument used on these benches, and finds himself more or less standing under 918 the red flag. I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman should come and sit here amongst us. I can make him this offer— that if he will learn to sing the "Red Flag" we will learn to call him comrade. We invite him to subscribe generously to our funds and to accept the logical end of his own arguments.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I wish to emphasise some of the points put by my right hon. and hon. Friends. Let me say, in the first place, that I can quite understand my hon. Friend who has just spoken looking forward with some joy to a new recruit. No doubt he would be grateful to get my right hon. Friend. But do not let Members of the Labour party over-stress the importance of the virtue of consistency. It is a very much exaggerated virtue. Hon. Gentlemen of that party, although they have a clean sheet on the question of contributions versus non-contributions in this Session of Parliament, have not always had the same advantage in the past, and we cannot forget that. I hope my hon. Friends will acquit me of being at all inconsistent on the subject. I have from the first, in every discussion, pointed out how unfair the present contributory system would be to certain industries, and how disastrous it would be to some of those industries which are least able to bear any additional burden at the present time. In one of our discussions I gave figures covering the coal trade of Northumberland and Durham, and on another occasion I stated the effect of these new burdens on the shipyards. In both of these industries, where foreign competition of a most severe kind has to be met, the scheme of the Government will add to overhead charges an amount which can be worked out per ton of coal and per ship. We know from the experience of the shipyards in the North of England that the total amount added to an ordinary tramp ship of 7,500 tons will be something like £1,100.
I am sure that the Prime Minister knows, even if his colleagues do not, that a difference of that amount is quite sufficient at the present time, with other differences in charges and costs, to drive an order to Holland, or to the Elbe or to Denmark. It has already done so to some extent. With all the burdens which are borne by these extremely hardly-pressed industries at the present time, it is little wonder that the addi- 919 tions of the extra amount, first of all at 4d. and now on the revision of 2d., should be looked at with horror by those who are trying to make ends meet and to keep their men together. I hope that the Government are not going to dismiss lightly the plea that has been made. They will not have heard the last of it in the Committee stage of this Bill. They will hear of it in every one of the heavily-depressed constituencies. I do not think they need bother to wait for the opinion of the constituencies. They are quite capable of understanding themselves that, for instance, in the iron trade, where the local burdens are a matter of very grave consideration, this unemployment insurance scheme will add to the local rates and will not diminish the overhead charges. There is no doubt that the scheme must raise the poor rate, for instance, on the Tees. My hon. Friend who represents Middlesbrough West (Mr. Thomson) is in one of what the Prime Minister calls black spots. The only suggestion, which has been made by the Government with regard to a modification of the burdens to be thrown upon that black spot, is that the charge shall be taken off the contribution under the widows' pension insurance and transferred to the amount that they have to pay in poor rates. They would be no better off; the burden remains just the same and they are still at the same disadvantage.
There is no doubt that, so far as the working of the scheme goes, it is a worse scheme by that arrangement than it was originally. The other fact is that they are asked by their weekly contribution to make payments to what is, in effect, a national charge. You will never persuade them that it is anything else. This is not a matter which is directly concerned with a particular industry and with no-one else. It concerns the country as a whole. They have an objection to paying this tax—it is nothing more nor less than a tax—and they say that if there is to be a national service rendered the money ought to be raised on a national basis. To raise it from those trades which are now most depressed is unjust. By doing so you handicap the very industries which ought to be receiving assistance and make what is a bad case worse. I am sure the 920 Prime Minister must be conscious of the fact that while his Civil Research Committee is looking into schemes for helping the steel industry, his right hon. Friend the Minister of Health is adding to the very burdens which he thus seeks to lighten. I do not know what artificial stimulus he will give the steel industry, but one thing he could do for it would be to relieve it from the additional burdens which are now being put on by his right hon. Friend, or, at all events, make some arrangement for postponing them and allowing the trade a chance of recovering itself before these steps are taken. The right hon. Gentleman will find his Civil Research Committee hard put to it to devise any scheme which will give a stimulus to the steel trade, if at the very time when they are attempting to do so the overhead charges are either kept up or increased.
The other point I wish to emphasise in connection with the appeal which is being made to the Government, is that it is absolutely essential, if the scheme is to succeed, that it should be popular, not only in the benefits it confers, but also in the method by which the funds are collected. I know what happened in 1911 and 1912. There was a great deal of feeling in the country against the health insurance schemes of those years because of the collection of the money from both employers and employed. If this scheme is to work well and is to be a complete success, the method of collection ought to be on a basis incapable of being challenged on the ground of unfairness or injustice. I hope the Government will not shut their minds to the fact that not only are they going to make trouble for these great industries, but that they will create an atmosphere in some areas which will be detrimental to the good working of the scheme unless they are going to raise this £11,500,000 this year and the £20,000,000 or £25.000,000 or whatever it may be next year, on a basis which will appeal to the public as being a fair basis on which to finance these great benefits to be conferred upon our less fortunate classes. The Attorney-General, I understand, has said that the Government cannot see their way to modify their views on the subject. If they have said their last word in the Unemployment Insurance Bill I deeply regret it. It will not be the last word which they will hear on the 921 subject. The only sound way to raise funds for these great national services is on a national basis—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I must point out to the right hon. Gentleman that the only question before the Committee is the question of postponement.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I hope none of the arguments which I have used is inconsistent with the proposal for a postponement of the burdens which are being placed upon industry. If I suggest that the just basis on which to raise this fund is a national one, I do so, not only for the future, but for the temporary period covered by the Amendment of my right hon. Friend. I have no doubt the time will come when this House and the country will decide that, if they are going to pay for these great services on a fair basis, they will make what my hon. Friend now regards as a temporary expedient into a permanent way of relieving the burden.
§ engaged on work of a casual nature. The 2d. a week which is to be added on to the charges of these casual workers will seriously hit them. Those who are only getting a half-day's work or a day's work now and again find 2d. an important consideration, and it seems to me that we should pause before imposing any extra burden either upon the men or upon the industries in which they are engaged. The shipping industry is not too bright and very little is being done in the ship-repairing yards, with the result that large numbers are unemployed. It may be said that when this fund comes into being and widows and orphans receive the benefits, they will be getting assistance in that way which they now receive from the rates and that the rates will be relieved in consequence, but in the other Bill you are going to re-impose that burden on the rates. At the present time the rates in my Division are very heavy, and they are likely to be increased. I hope the Minister will give this subject further consideration and will see if it is not possible to wait before putting this burden upon the workers or upon the industries.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 109; Noes, 241.925
|Division No. 262.]||AYES.||[5.37 p.m.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Greenall, T.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Greenwood. A. (Nelson and Coine)||Naylor, T. E.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Oliver, George Harold|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Groves, T.||Owen, Major G.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Grundy, T. W.||Paling, W.|
|Baker, Walter||Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Barnes, A.||Hardle, George D.||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Barr, J.||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Potts, John S.|
|Batey, Joseph||Hayes, John Henry||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F.O.(W. Bromwich)|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)|
|Bread, F. A.||Hirst, G. H.||Rose, Frank H.|
|Bromley, J.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Buchanan, G.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
|Charleton, H. C.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Salter, Or. Alfred|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kelly, W. T.||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Kennedy, T.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Compton, Joseph||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Connolly, M.||Kenyon, Barnet||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Cove, W. G.||Lawson, John James||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Dalton, Hugh||Livingstone, A. M.||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lowth, T.||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Lunn, William||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Dennison, R.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J.R.(Aberavon)||Snell, Harry|
|Duncan, C.||Mackinder, W.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Dunnico, H.||MacLaren, Andrew||Stamford, T. W.|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||March, S.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Maxton, James||Taylor, R. A.|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Gillett, George M.||Montague, Frederick||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Gosling, Harry||Morris, R. H.||Thurtle, E.|
|Tinker, John Joseph||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.||Young, E. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.||Whiteley, W.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Viant, S. P.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Warne, G. H.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)||Mr. Trevelyan Thomson and Sir|
|Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah||Windsor, Walter||Robert Hutchison.|
|Westwood, J.||Wright, W.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Fermoy, Lord||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Albery, Irving James||Fleming, D. P.||Meller, R. J.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Foster, Sir Harry S.||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Fraser, Captain Ian||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Astor, Viscountess||Gates, Percy||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Moreing, Captain A. H.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Gower, Sir Robert||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Grace, John||Murchison, C. K.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Grant, J. A.||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Bennett, A. J.||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Sir H.(W'th's'w, E)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Berry, Sir George||Grotrian, H. Brent||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G.(Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Bethell, A.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne)||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Blundell, F. N.||Hanbury, C.||Oakley, T.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Harmon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Ormsby-Gore. Hon. William|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Harrison, G. J. C.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Hartington, Marquess of||Perring, William George|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Haslam, Henry C.||Philipson, Mabel|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Pilcher, G.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Preston, William|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Ramsden, E.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Henniker-Hughan, Vice-Adm. Sir A.||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Burman, J. B.||Hilton, Cecil||Rice, Sir Frederick|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Salmon, Major I.|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Campbell, E. T.||Holt, Captain H. P.||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Homan, C. W. J.||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Sandon, Lord|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Huntingfield, Lord||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hurd, Percy A.||Savery, S. S.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hurst, Gerald B.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mol.(Renfrew, W.)|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n &P'bl's)||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Christie, J. A.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Jacob, A. E.||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfst.)|
|Clayton, G. C.||Jephcott, A. R.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Smithers, Waldron|
|Cope, Major William||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Couper, J. B.||Knox, Sir Alfred||Spender Clay, Colonel H.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Lamb, J. Q.||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Cralk, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Col. George R.||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F.(Will'sden, E.)|
|Crook, C. W.||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend)||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Storry Deans, R.|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Loder, J. de V.||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Looker, Herbert William||Strickland, Sir Gerald|
|Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Royton)||Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Dixey, A. C.||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Templeton, W. P.|
|Doyle, Sir N. Grattan||Macintyre, Ian||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Drewe, C.||McLean, Major A.||Tinne, J. A.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Elliot, Captain Walter E.||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Elveden, Viscount.||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.||Wilson, M. J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)||Wood, E. (Chester, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Warrender, Sir Victor||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).|
|Waterhouse, Captain Charles||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Watts, Dr. T.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Wells, S. R.||Wise, Sir Fredric||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple||Wolmer, Viscount||Major Sir Harry Barnston and|
|Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)||Womersley, W. J.||Captain Douglas Hacking.|
|Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)||Wood, Rt. Hon. E. (York, W. R., Ripon)|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
I would like to ask the Minister a question with regard to the effect of carrying the Amendments of the right hon. Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne), to leave out the word "either" on page 8, line 37, and on the same page, line 39, to insert the words "or by other means approved 'by the Minister." How will the carrying of these two Amendments affect corporations such as that of the city of Newcastle-on-Tyne, which has a superannuation fund which gives more than the Bill provides for old age, but is not quite so comprehensive so far as widows and orphans are concerned? Will corporations of this kind be called upon to pay the full 4½d. as laid down in the third part of the first Schedule, or will they be subject to some relief? It appears to me that an anomaly and a certain injustice will be done to these corporations if the Amendments in question have, no bearing upon their position, for it will mean that such corporate bodies as have made some provision for old age will be paying the full 4½d., the same as those who have made no provision at all.
§ Sir K. WOOD
We shall be dealing with the question of corporations and their schemes on an Amendment which will be taken in a short time, and I shall be able to deal more specifically on that occasion with the point raised by the hon. Member, but I can say briefly now that there is a provision by which associations whose schemes do not give quite so much as does the Act may make alterations in their schemes, to bring them up to the standard, and they will not have to be insured under both schemes.
§ Sir K. WOOD
Yes. Of course, so far as this Clause is concerned, before any schemes can be certified by the Minister, the benefits must be not less favourable than those conferred by the Act. I hope 926 to be able to deal more adequately with the question when we come to the appropriate Amendment on the Paper.
§ Clause 10 (Collection of contributions) ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ CLAUSE 11.—(Financial provisions.)
§ An Amendment stood on the Order Paper in the name of Mr. WILLIAM GRAHAM and other hon. Members, in page 10, line 20, to leave out Subsection (3).
§ Mr. MacDONALD
I think we Will raise this point on the question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ The CHAIRMAN
The next Amendment—in page 10, line 23, to leave out the words "twenty-seven" and to insert instead thereof the words "twenty-six" —imposes a charge and is, therefore, out of order. I do not know whether the right hon. Member for Carmarthen (Sir A, Mond) or any of those with him intend to argue the next two Amendments—in page 10, line 23, to leave out from the words "twenty-seven" to the word "such" in line 25; and in line 25, at the end, to insert the words" and as the payment of pensions under this Act may require "—as one. I think they really hang together, though it would be possible technically to take them separately. I do not know how that may be.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
It was our intention to take them together, but after the decision that has been taken by the Committee just now, we do not propose to press these Amendments.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. LEES-SMITH
My right hon. Friend the Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham) had an Amendment down to leave out Sub-section (3) of this Clause, which we have not actually moved, but he wished to raise certain questions on which he wanted an answer 927 from the Government with regard to the financial provisions of the Clause, and those questions, I think, can be put in a very few words and disposed of without any delay In Sub-section (3), which is the Sub-section by which the Exchequer contributes £4,000,000 a year towards the cost of the widows' pensions, the orphans' pensions, and the old age pensions at 65, a contribution which, I believe, includes nothing towards the cost of the increased pensions at 70, we understand that this £4,000,000 represents only an average over 10 years, but, as a matter of fact, during the first three years the fund will have a surplus, and, therefore, no Exchequer contribution will be necessary.
I think the point my right hon. Friend wished to raise was this: This £4,000,000 has always seemed to us to be a very-small and a very insufficient sum, but the special question which now arises is whether it remains at the original figure after the Amendments which have been introduced into the Bill. There have been Amendments, for example, which have increased the orphans' pensions, for all children but the first, from 6s. to 7s. 6d.: there have been Amendments which have increased the period of allowance for children from the age of 14 to the age of 16 if the children were at college; and, most important of all, there is the Amendment which the Government have put down to-day to Clause 13 with regard to voluntary insurance, which I imagine is going to cost a very considerable sum of money. It would facilitate our discussion on that Clause if we knew where that money was coming from, and for that reason the specific question that I put is whether it is the intention of the Government at any later stage to increase this sum of £4,000,000 to some larger amount as a result of the extensions which are being introduced into the Bill.
§ The MINISTER of HEALTH (Mr. Neville Chamberlain)
The question which has been put is, if I may say so, a very proper one. It is quite clear that a number of alterations have been made in the Bill which will have, not, I think, a very important, but certainly some effect upon the amount of the Exchequer contribution. It is not necessary to alter the sum of £4,000,000, which has already been covered by the Financial Resolution, but the point which the hon. 928 Member has raised indicates, what has already been in my mind, namely, that it is probably desirable that we should have a report from the Government actuary at a somewhat earlier period than is laid down in Clause 42, and I think, therefore, the best way in which I could meet the hon. Member is by-saying that, when we come to Clause 42, I will put down an Amendment which will call for an earlier report by the actuary, and will, therefore, make it quite certain that we know where we are, and what is going to be the result of the various alterations in the Bill.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, if he does that, he will not be governed by Clause 11? The limitation is put on him in Clause 11, no matter when he gets the report of the actuary. Is not that the case?
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
Yes, I think it is the case. But if it were then found that the contributions were insufficient, we should have to come to Parliament again.
§ CLAUSE 12. — (Administrative expenses.)
§ The CHAIRMAN
The only Amendment on this Clause, standing in the name of the hon. Member for Govan (Mr. Neil Maclean), should come as a new Clause.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. R. DAVIES
I would like to raise one simple question on this Clause, which deals with the administration of the Measure. The approved societies will collect the contributions for this purpose, and the amount collected for this Measure will be transferred to a pensions account, and the benefits will be payable through the Post Office. I understand from the actuary's report that the total sum set aside from the £4.000,000 for the purposes of administration is, for the first year, £300,000, and for each succeeding year approximately £500.000. I would like to know what proportion of the £300,000 or the £500,000, as the case may be, will fall to the approved societies and to the Post Office respectively. I know it will be very difficult at the moment to say, but I think we are entitled to some indication. I would like to inform the Committee that the approved societies are very anxious to find out what income they will get for 929 administering this scheme. I know they will administer it to the best of their ability, and the machinery is there to collect the contributions, but I do not think it would be fair if this question which I have put were not asked on this Clause.
§ Sir K. WOOD
This is a question which I should expect from the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies), who is a prominent member of an approved society and of the Advisory Committee, and I know he will anticipate the answer I am going to make. Of course, it is impossible at this stage to indicate what the exact financial arrangements between the approved societies and the Ministry will be, so far as their work under this scheme is concerned. The Committee will remember that it is contemplated that use will be made of the approved societies in connection with certificates which we shall ask them to give in relation to the insurance status of persons insured under the Bill, but I would say to my hon. Friend that the matter will be the subject of negotiations between the approved societies and ourselves, and I have no doubt that the Consultative Committee will be one of the first to be consulted in the matter. I gladly recognise the help which the approved societies of the country have afforded us in connection with this matter, and the expression of their willingness to do all they can to assist us in passing the Bill into law, and endeavouring to make a success of it when it is on the Statute Book. So far as the financial arrangements are concerned, we will certainly consult them, and I have no doubt we shall come to a satisfactory arrangement.
§ CLAUSE 13.—(Voluntary contributors.)
§ Brigadier-General CHARTERIS
I beg to move, in page 11, line 7, to leave out the words "married woman," and to insert instead thereof the words "woman married to an insured man."
The effect of the Amendment is to grant to women who have been insured prior to the passing of the Bill, and who have fallen out of insurance, either by marriage to an uninsured man or for any other reason, the same privileges which are extended to men. The justice of this is 930 so obvious that I spent a little time in turning the matter over in my mind to see what could be the reasons why the Government, who, we all know, are anxious to deal fairly with all people, had not put this provision in the Bill as originally drafted. There are, of course, the obvious difficulties of administration from the point of view of health insurance. A woman who might become uninsured by marriage, would, of course, be difficult to control from the administrative point of view under health insurance. While I admit that difficulty, I think, on the other hand, it could be overcome, and the great justice of giving women the same advantage as men is, I think, sufficient to enable us to ask the Government to make an effort to overcome the administrative difficulty. It requires, of course, no stressing of the fact that the woman who has paid contributions should get some return for them, if it can be fairly done, and the proposal to allow her to become a voluntary contributor would not, I take it, adversely affect the Insurance Fund. She would probably— although I am not an accountant—get less out of the Fund as a voluntary contributor than would be a fair value of what she put in. The Amendment, of course, connects with an Amendment to be discussed later on. I should not be in order in discussing that subsequent Amendment, but it is quite obvious that if a woman, who has passed out of insurance before the passing of this Bill, be given the privilege of becoming a voluntary contributor, it would carry with it a similar privilege to a woman who fell out of insurance in future. That, I understand, will be one of the difficulties. I move the amendment for the reason that it is quite obvious, that not only in this House, but throughout the whole country, there is that feeling that the woman who has fallen out of insurance is being harshly treated, or, at least, is not getting as much out of this Bill as the man, and even if the Amendment cannot be accepted, I think it is right that the Committee here, and the country, should know very clearly what are the reasons the Minister finds himself unable to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. LEES-SMITH
The next Amendment on the Paper in the name of the 931 hon. Lady the Member for East Middlesbrough (Miss Wilkinson) and myself, is, I think, one which can be dealt with on this Amendment, as it will save the time of the Committee. This is a very far-reaching Amendment, which, I am sure, is going to deal with the cases of tens of thousands of women, and I should like to discuss it, in view of the Amendment which the Government have down later on this Clause as a result of our Debate on Friday week. The Government have down a very important proposal indeed with regard to voluntary insurance to which we shall come in a short time, but what I wish to point out to the Minister is that that proposal is not going to cover this particular case, and that, while his new Amendment, as we admit, deals with a great many of the hardships that we have pointed out, this particular injustice remains as it was. In order to explain what it is, and to explain a suggestion I wish to make, may I put the case with which the Minister is familiar? Take the case of a woman who goes into insurance at the age, say, of 16. She works for nine of 10 years, paying contributions all the time. She then marries, we will say, a blacksmith, who is a poor man, but who, because he is not in a mill or a workshop, is not insured. She, perhaps, continues in work for another 10 years. Then the Bill, as it at present stands, lays it down that, after 20 years' contributions, if her husband were to die, she would not receive a penny for herself as a widow's pension, or for her children as children's allowance. The Minister of Health, when this was pointed out to him, explained that the woman's contribution is only about one-half that of a man, and that, although it did not cover the widows' and orphans' pension, it would more or less cover her old age pension at 65, and that, therefore, she was justly dealt with on that account.
That was the argument, so far as I think it was taken when we last dealt with this subject. But may I ask the Minister this question, about which I am not yet at all clear? Is it not the case that, as a matter of fact, in, I should say, a majority of instances, these women will not get their pension even at 65? The majority of women in this position who are married do not keep on employment till 65. Long before the age of 65, they will have passed, 932 in most cases, out of insurable employment altogether. That being the case, as far as I read the Bill, they will not be entitled to their old age pension at 65. Look at the position which is revealed by the Amendment moved by the hon. and gallant Member opposite. Here is a woman who may contribute, in these circumstances, for 20 or 30 years, and the majority of women in this class, after contributing half their lives, will not get a widow's pension, they will not get an allowance for their children, and they will not even get a pension at 65, but will have to wait till 70. This is a gap in the Bill which must be filled, and, if not filled now, there will have to be an amending Bill dealing with it.
When this was discussed two or three weeks ago, I asked the Minister of Health whether he could not provide that a woman of this sort could become a voluntary contributor for the purposes of this Bill, so that she could use the reserve value that she had created in all these years to help her forward till 65 years of age, and cover the intervening period. The Minister's answer was this. He said, "No. This Bill is interlocked with health insurance. We cannot permit a woman to become a voluntary contributor for this Bill, unless she becomes a voluntary contributor for the National Health Insurance Bill at the same time, and, as the National Health Insurance Bill will not permit married women to become voluntary contributors, she cannot become a voluntary contributor at all."
That is the position in which we are left, and I wish to put this suggestion to the Minister. This case can be met by certain alteration of machinery. Let this woman become a voluntary contributor for the purposes of this Bill alone. The Minister shakes his head. What is the objection? I have tried to find out the objection in the last few days, and I know the objection which, I think, he will state. It is that if you allow people to become voluntary contributors for the purposes of this Bill, and not for health insurance at the same time, you will not be able to utilise the wonderful machinery of the approved societies under health insurance for collecting the contribution under this Bill, and that, without that machinery a large proportion of men and women would lapse out of the Bill altogether. That is the argument. I, really, if I 933 may say so, accept that argument in some of the cases which I have brought to the attention of the right hon. Gentleman before, but is it not evident to the Minister that that argument does not apply to this particular section of the community? In this particular section of the community, in order to prevent some of them from lapsing out of insurance, you are saying they shall not be allowed to have any insurance at all. Because if they became voluntary contributors under this Bill a certain number of them would lapse, you are not justified on that account in forbidding insurance to the others who would not lapse.
In order to meet the difficulty that he cannot get a perfect scheme, the right hon. Gentleman is refusing to have any scheme at all, and I venture to say, if he will look into the matter, he will find all his arguments may apply to other cases, but they do not apply to this, and the proposal I put to him is this—I know it alters the symmetry of the Bill. The suggestion I put to him in the case of this special class of women married to uninsured men is, that he should allow them to have a system of voluntary contributions for this Bill alone.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
Will the Minister give us some indication as to how many people are likely to be affected by this Amendment? If the number of people be small, it might be possible to remedy the injustice. On the other hand, if the number of people be very large, the injustice would be very large, and the cost of remedying it would be very large. Perhaps he will give us some idea, when he replies, as to how many people are likely to be affected by the Amendment.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
The question which has just been put to me by the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. H. Williams) draws attention to an observation that I was about to make, namely, that the Amendment which we are discussing, although it has been used to raise a much larger question, really only deals with a comparatively small point. We are dealing here, in this first Sub-section, with persons who have been continuously insured as employed contributors, or as voluntary contributors, for a period of 104 weeks, and who have fallen out of insurance before the commencement of this 934 Act. That is all we are doing. The really big question is, what is going to happen to the people who may be in a similar position after the commencement of the Act, and that, I think, is a case we have already disposed of in the Amendment of the hon. Member for East Middlesbrough (Miss Wilkinson) at a very much earlier period of the Bill. We have discussed and argued the very question which has just been stated by the hon. Member opposite, and, to me, it seems rather difficult to enter upon that discussion a second time; but I may, perhaps, use the arguments which were applicable to that case, as applied only to those people who are dealt with in this particular Amendment of my hon. and gallant Friend. He wants that a woman who marries an uninsured man shall be permitted to become a voluntary contributor Under his proposal, any woman, whether insured or not, if she has been insured at any time for a period of 104 weeks, would be able to become a voluntary contributor, and receive the benefits which would accrue to her in respect of her contributions. That is a very big proposition. I am not quite certain whether my hon. and gallant Friend realises that his Amendment would have that effect, that the woman herself would not be required to be insured if she had at some previous time been insured. It is, of course, opening the door pretty wide, and the first question one has to consider is, What about health insurance? Is this woman going, also, to be a voluntary contributor for health insurance?
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
But the hon. Member opposite says No, and, obviously, there is a difference of opinion on that point. If she has become insured as a voluntary contributor for health, we get into the very difficulties which have proved so fatal to the voluntary system under the Insurance Act. The hon. Member opposite, I believe, is well aware of these difficulties, and sees where they would lead. While it is easy to check the contributions of the men who are in employment, when the woman becomes married it becomes practically impossible to discover whether she is fulfilling the proper conditions when she claims benefit. The hon. Member opposite inquired, why do you not separate the two? If the 935 State creates a special arrangement for the women, not themselves insured, but who have been insured, and who are married to uninsured men, how can you withhold that privilege from the women who have married insured men? It is impossible The uninsured man, presumably being a man in a better position, may, therefore, be supposed to look after his wife and provide for her future. I myself cannot see how it is possible to restrict this principle as suggested to the women who marry uninsured men. It will have to be extended to the wives of insured men. Therefore, you come up against exactly the same difficulties as before.
The Amendment which I have put down to this Clause is designed to meet the difficulties which were put to me in a previous discussion on the Bill, and that, I think, is so far as it is practicable to go. We have tried to meet the views of hon. Members in that Amendment. When, however, they speak of grave injustice as between women and men, surely they have forgotten the distinction that has been drawn, not between women and men, but between the widow who is provided for and the widow of the man left unprovided for. We are dealing here with the difference between the women who marry insured men and the women who marry uninsured men. The talk of grave injustice I do not think will bear examination for a moment. I ask hon. Members to remember that the contributions of the women, small as they are compared with those of the men, are contributions not small in view of the benefits, but they are contributions to the general pool, and it is only by reason of those contributions that we can give so large benefits to the women and so keep the general contributions so low.
§ Mr. R. DAVIES
I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman has answered my hon. Friend at all. He stated the case that would only arise if a woman marries, and he pitted her case against another woman and said: if this Amendment to which we are speaking were carried, it would follow as a corollary that the woman who marries an uninsured man would also continue in insurance as a voluntary contributor. Let me put this case. The wife of an insured man secures advantages that this type of 936 woman cannot hope to get. That is the point we are trying to make, and I repeat—
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
Perhaps I did not make myself clear. It was the suggestion that there should be separation between health insurance and pensions to which I addressed myself when I said that if you gave the privilege to the wife of an uninsured man you would have to extend it to the wife of an insured man.
§ Mr. DAVIES
What I intended to ask was whether this case cannot be met in some other form. It has passed through my mind that there are thousands of people who now go to the post office, and are regarded under the health insurance scheme as deposit contributors. These women could be dealt with by the post office, or by the approved societies, for the purpose of this Bill alone, and it does appear to me that the Minister ought to meet the case by bringing them through the post office for the purpose of this Measure alone, so that they might be in the category mentioned by my hon. Friend or in some other way. They ought to be entitled to receive some benefit instead of being ruled out altogether. That is the case we are making out. We appreciate the difficulties that the right hon. Gentleman foresees, but I think the case ought to be met much better than it has been up to the present.
§ Mr. B. PETO
I would ask my right hon. Friend to consider this point. Surely if the Bill is to be the complete success that we desire, our object must be to try to prevent, so far as possible, the omissions suggested, and to make the Bill really applicable to the people who, having been called upon for contributions at one period or another in their lives, now find that they can get no benefit at all out of their contributions. The hon. Gentleman opposite has an Amendment dealing with a woman married to an uninsured man, and the right hon. Gentleman has met that by saying that the vast majority of these uninsured persons are people of superior position. That may be quite true. But there is a residuum of husbands of that sort who are uninsured and who may be in no better position than hawkers or the village blacksmith, the small wheelwright or the smallholder—somebody, 937 that is to say, who depends mainly upon the cultivation of what is little more than an allotment. I do not see why these cases cannot be dealt with under this Bill. I feel convinced that if this Bill is to be a complete success these gaps and holes have got to be stopped somehow. I ask my right hon. Friend to consider between now and Report if he cannot put words into this Amendment which will provide that if a woman is fortunate enough to marry a man of considerable means she may be exempted from this Act? That can be dealt with by putting in a means limit. Where the husband's means are below the insurance scale, in that case, at any rate, the woman's contribution should ensure that she is not deprived of all benefit.
§ Sir JOHN MARRIOTT
I am in complete accord with the object at which my hon. Friend is aiming, but may. I venture to suggest to my hon. Friend and the Committee that the only way of dealing with this question is to induce the woman who marries an uninsured person to bring pressure upon her husband to become a voluntary contributor? I should not, of course, be in order if I were to anticipate a subsequent Amendment on the Paper, but I would suggest that what I have said is the real solution of the difficulty.
§ Mr. TEMPLETON
The Committee will surely see that there are not many people who would be affected by the Amendment that is proposed to this Clause. At the same time, though there are not many
§ throughout the United Kingdom, you hear from different parts, of the country that there are a great many of these people. Take, for example, a fishing town where share fishermen form the bulk of the population. We find that many wives of share fishermen have been, for many years during their spinsterhood, contributors under the Health Insurance Act, and now they find themselves the wives of men who are poor, distinctly poor. Not only are the men poor themselves, but also on account of the conditions of their avocation. They have helped to pay the contributions under the National Health Insurance Act and under this Rill when it becomes an Act for other people who will benefit. It does seem to me a decided hardship that these women should be deprived of the means of again becoming insured under this scheme and drawing the benefit to follow from it. I would like to ask the Minister to consider, when we are in Committee, whether this differentiation will not prove a real hardship to many very deserving women.
§ Sir W. LANE-MITCHELL
If a woman is married, say, to a husband who is not now insured, surely he can get insured, and then she gets the benefits. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO!"] There are Amendments down that seem to me to go a long way towards meeting the point.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 226; Noes, 131.941
|Division No. 263.]||AYES.||[6.29 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Crooks, J. Smedley (Deritend)|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Buckingham, Sir H.||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)|
|Albery, Irving James||Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Curzon, Captain Viscount|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Bullock, Captain M.||Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Burman, J. B.||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Royton)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Caine, Gordon Hall||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Campbell, E. T.||Dawson, Sir Philip|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester. City)||Dean, Arthur Wellesley|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt, R. (Prtsmth. S.)||Doyle, Sir N. Grattan|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Drewe, C.|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Elliot, Captain Walter E.|
|Berry, Sir George||Christie, J. A.||Elveden, Viscount|
|Bethell, A.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Clarry, Reginald George||Fairfax, Captain J. G.|
|Blundell, F. N.||Clayton, G. C.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.|
|Borthby, R. J. G.||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Fermoy, Lord|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Fleming, D. P.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Cooper, A. Duff||Foster, Sir Harry S.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Cope, Major William||Fraser, Captain Ian|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Galbraith, J. F. W.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L.||Ganzoni, Sir John|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Crook, C. W.||Gates, Percy|
|Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Loder, J. de V.||Sinclair, Col. T.(Queen'sUniv., Belfast)|
|Goff, Sir Park||Looker, Herbert William||Skelton, A. N.|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Luce, Major-Gen, Sir Richard Harman||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Grace, John||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, Co)|
|Grant, J. A.||Macintyre, Ian||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||McLean, Major A.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Sir H.(W'th's'w, E)||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Spender Clay, Colonel H.|
|Gretton, Colonel John||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Grotrian, H. Brent||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)|
|Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Manningham-Buller, sir Mervyn||Stantey, Lord (Fylde)|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Mason, Lieut.-Colonel Glyn K.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Meller, R. J.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne)||Meyer, Sir Frank||Storry Deans, R.|
|Hanbury, C.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Strickland, Sir Gerald|
|Harrison, G. J. C.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Mousell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Sueter, Roar-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Haslam, Henry C.||Moreing, Captain A. H.||Tasker, Major R. Inigo|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Tinne, J. A.|
|Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd, Henley)||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Murchison, C. K.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Nelson, Sir Frank||Vaughan-Morgan. Col. K. P.|
|Henniker-Hughan, Vice-Adm. Sir A.||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G.(Ptrsf'ld.)||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Herbert, S.(York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Ward, Lt.-Cot. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Hilton, Cecil||Nuttall, Ellis||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Oakley, T.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Perring, William George||Wells, S. R.|
|Holt, Capt. H. P.||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Homan, C. W. J.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Wilson, M. J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)|
|Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Pliditch, Sir Philip||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U.M. (Hackney, N.)||Preston, William||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Huntingfield, Lord||Rentoul, G. S.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Hurst, Gerald B.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's)||Rice, Sir Frederick||Womersley, W. J.|
|Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Jacob, A. E.||Salmon, Major I.||Wood, Rt. Hon. E. (York, W. R., Ripon)|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Wood, E. (Chester, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Sandeman, A. Stewart||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).|
|Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|King, Captain Henry Douglas||Savery, S. S.||Young, E. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)|
|Knox, Sir Alfred||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W. R., Sowerby)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.-|
|Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Col. George R.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mol. (Renfrew, W.)||Mr. F. C. Thomson and Major Sir|
|Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)||Harry Barnston.|
|Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Dennison, R.||John, William (Rhondda, West)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Dixey, A. C.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Duncan, C.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Astor, Viscountess||Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Kelly, W. T.|
|Attics, Clement Richard||Erskine, James Malcolm Montelth||Kennedy, T.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Kenyon, Barnet|
|Baker, Walter||Forrest, W.||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Lawson, John James|
|Barnes, A.||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Livingstone, A. M.|
|Barr, J.||Gillett, George M.||Lowth, T.|
|Batey, Joseph||Gosling, Harry||Lunn, William|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R.(Aberavon)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Greenall, T.||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Broad, F. A.||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus|
|Bromley, J.||Groves, T.||Mackinder, W.|
|Buchanan, G.||Grundy, T. W.||MacLaren, Andrew|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||March, S.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hardle, George D.||Maxton, James|
|Cluse, W. S.||Harney, E. A.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred|
|Compton, Joseph||Hayes, John Henry||Montague, Frederick|
|Connolly, M.||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Morris, R. H.|
|Cove, W. G.||Hirst, G. H.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Cralk, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Dalton, Hugh||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Oliver, George Harold|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Hurd, Percy A.||Owen, Major G.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montross)||Paling, W.|
|Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Snell, Harry||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Westwood, J.|
|Phillpson, Mabel||Stamford, T. W.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Ponsonby, Arthur||Stephen, Campbell||Whiteley, W.|
|Polls, John S.||Taylor, R. A.||Williams, c. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Roberts, Rt. Hon. F.O. (W. Bromwich)||Templeton, W. P.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro, W.)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Salter, Dr. Alfred||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Scrymgeour, E.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)||Windsor, Walter|
|Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Thurtle, E.||Wright, W,|
|Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Tinker, John Joseph||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Slesser, Sir Henry H.||Viant, S. P.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)||Watts-Morgan, Lt. Col. D. (Rhondda)||Mr. T. Henderson and Mr. Warne.|
|Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
§ Mr. LEES-SMITH
I beg to move, in page 11, line 7, to leave out from the word "woman" to the word "may" in line 13.
This Amendment covers, broadly, the same subject as a number of Amendments standing in the name of a group of hon. Members on the opposite side, and is moved in order to raise the case of those millions of persons who are going to be shut out of this Bill because they do not happen to be wage earners and, therefore, within insurable employment. The Minister of Health will be aware that, when he determined to base his Bill upon the contributory principle, he at that moment automatically decided that there would be shut out from it that vast number of people who are just as poor as those who work in mills and factories, just as much in need of assistance and of freedom from financial anxiety, but who will not be able to get the benefits because they are not wage-earners working for an employer. The Parliamentary Secretary will see that I am not dealing with the particular point in the new Amendment which the Government have put down. That would be more conveniently discussed on our next Amendment. We are dealing with the large section of the population who receive neither benefits nor pay contributions under this Hill. This particular Clause allows for voluntary, insurance, but lays it down that no person may come into voluntary insurance who has not been an employed contributor for two years. That provision automatically shuts out the whole class of small tradesmen, costermongers, fishermen, smallholders and crofters, many of them miserably poor. I am not going to make an extended speech. I have moved my Amendment to get a statement from the Government. We are entitled to a statement, and even an explanation from the Minister of 942 Health, because of the hopes he raised by his words on the Second Reading, when he showed that he was aware of this enormous omission from the Bill and said that a scheme which imposed heavy charges on the community at large and then shut large sections out of its benefits was a scheme that was not complete. He went on to say he would like to see whether it was possible to plan in such a way as to bring these people in. If he has formulated his plans in the intervening period this is the proper stage in the Committee discussions at which those plans should be stated to the Committee; and this Amendment is moved, therefore, to give the Government an opportunity of stating whether they have any plans for a scheme of voluntary insurance for these millions.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
I wish to say one or two words in opposition to this Amendment which, I feel, is too widely drawn. This proposal gives anybody the right to came into insurance at any time they like and to draw full benefits. As I understand it, if this Amendment were carried people who are not in the ordinary way qualified to come into the insurance scheme would insure themselves as they were approaching 60 in order to get the old age pension at 65 on very cheap terms. An Amendment of that kind is really a wrecking Amendment. What we ought to do is to consider seriously admitting to the Bill those persons who, in the opinion of some of us, have been improperly left out. I shall vote against this Amendment, but that will not in any way prevent me from voting perhaps in another way on some other Amendments.
§ Mr. WESTWOOD
I am rather amazed at the argument used by the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. H. Williams). He said this Amendment would allow some people to get cheap insurance. Obviously he has 943 not read what the Bill would allow if this particular Amendment were accepted. The Bill says that they can only come into insuranceOn giving notice in that behalf within the prescribed time and in the prescribed manner,and a prescribed time will be decided, I assume, by the Minister of Health Surely no one on the other side can argue against allowing hundreds of thousands of individuals to get the benefits of this wonderful insurance scheme, as they claim it to be. If people are prepared to pay both the employers' contributions and the employés' contributions as voluntary contributors, surely hon. Members opposite will not refuse them the benefits of insurance. The Minister of Health can lay down the prescribed time. He may say that they must apply within two years of the passing of the Bill or within three years. The purpose of the Amendment is to give all people an opportunity of coming within the terms of the Bill in accordance with conditions laid down by the Bill. I shall support the Amendment, and I trust that the hon. Member opposite will see his way to support it when he realises the mistake he has made.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I certainly do not complain of the action of the hon. Member in moving this Amendment and calling attention to the words which I used in the Second Reading Debate on this Bill. I do not go back in any way upon those words, although I have exactly the same feeling of sympathy with regard to these people who are concerned in this Amendment. I say that a scheme of State insurance is not complete unless it does include these people, and I was extremely anxious to see if we could bring them under this Bill in order to complete our scheme. I regret to say that I have not been able to find any practical way of achieving that object. The assumption underlying the speeches which have been made is that it is possible to bring voluntary contributors into a compulsory scheme at the same rate as compulsory contributors. That, however, is a mistake, because when you have a voluntary scheme you offer a selection to the people who wish to take advantage of it.
Who are the people who would take advantage of the selection? Obviously, those people who would have most to 944 gain by it. Under a compulsory scheme everyone has to come in, and then you can balance the contributions with the risks. If you have a voluntary scheme, the confirmed bachelor, for instance, will not come into it, because it is a scheme which is going to give benefits to widows and children. The older man who has no children and is not likely to have any children is not the sort of case which would come in. In these instances, they may select against the scheme. A man who is sickly, the man who has a large family, those are the people who will pick out this scheme and take advantage of the flat rate. Therefore it seems impossible that we should offer a flat rate to voluntary contributors.
Some argue that we ought to have a sliding scale, but in that case difficulties immediately arise. The actuary informs me that the rates which would have to be paid would begin in the most favourable circumstances at about 1s. 6d. per week, and rise perhaps as high as over 5s. per week. That is not a very practical scheme. Further than that, there would have to be inquiries in every case into the circumstances of the proposed voluntary contributor in order to find the proper rate. We should have to ascertain the man's age and condition of health, whether he is married, what family he has, and make up our mind whether he is likely to marry again in case his first wife dies, and whether he is likely to have a family by the second wife. Hon. Members can put their own limit to the number of cases, and I am only putting these cases to show that there are difficult problems in connection with voluntary insurance Here we have in this country a large number of insurance societies which have had as prosperous and enterprising a career as in any other country in the world. They have explored every aspect of insurance, and, if they have not found it possible to formulate a scheme for voluntary contributors, we may take it that the difficulties in the way are very serious indeed.
When I spoke on the Second Reading of this Measure, I did not think that it was impossible to bring in the voluntary contributor under the Bill as it stood, and I had in mind that we might make some arrangement with the insurance societies which would allow these other people to contribute and have the 945 benefits. I am afraid that further acquaintance and exploration has not encouraged me to hope that we are likely to find a very easy solution of this problem. I can say to the Committee that, whilst I see no possibility of producing a scheme that will work successfully in dealing with this particular point, yet I feel it is a problem which ought to be solved, and it is one which deserves further and more protracted investigation. As far as I am concerned, I certainly intend to go further into this matter in order to see whether something cannot be devised to meet this case.
§ Mr. DAVIES
I feel sure the Committee will agree with me when I say that the Minister of Health, by his speech, has practically supported the Amendment which has just been put forward, and it seems to me that all that counts now against the Amendment is a question of administration and behind that the question of finance. If hon. Members will look into that matter closely they will see what is actually stated on the financial position, and they will agree with me that it is the financial side which prevents this Amendment being accepted. These cases of voluntary contributors will involve the granting of a valuable option, and it must be assumed that in general this option will be exercised against the Exchequer. That is the whole position against this Amendment.
Let me take one or two of the points which have been made by the Minister of Health. He stated that if we threw this scheme open to all persons who de-sired to become voluntary contributors there would be a selection against the Exchequer. According to the Bill as it stands, they can do that now. The Clause we are now dealing with states that no person will be able to become a voluntary contributor unless he has been through the National Health Insurance scheme for two years as a compulsorily insured person. Let me ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is not a fact that practically all those persons who have gone through the National Health Insurance scheme, and in respect of whom 104 contributions have been paid, will be old people now. My experience has been that if a person joined in 1912 he would go out because very often he was of such an age that he would not 946 continue compulsory insurance under the Act. I repeat that the selection will be against the State as the Bill now stands.
I want to put a stronger argument. When the State establishes an insurance scheme of any kind to which the Exchequer makes a contribution, that scheme ought to be open to all citizens of the State, and, in fact, I have not yet heard any argument to upset that principle. Let me go a step further. This Clause makes it clear that no person can come in as a voluntary contributor unless he has paid 104 contributions under the National Health Insurance scheme. I know of two brothers, one of whom has been for three years through the National Health Insurance scheme, and the other has been in it for only 18 months. The brother who has been in it for three years and will be entitled to benefit under this scheme is in a better financial position than the. brother who is refused benefit because he has not been in the scheme for that period. There is something very unfair in the case as it stands, and I fail to appreciate the difficulties which the Minister of Health seems to apprehend. If Sub-section (2) of Clause 13 is carried as it now stands it practically means that people will not be encouraged to come in of their own volition, and they will not in many eases get an opportunity of coming in as voluntary contributors.
This Clause states that no person will be entitled to the benefits unless he comes in of his own free will. The Bill provides thatany person who at the commencement of this Act insured as a voluntary contributor, unless before the prescribed date and in the prescribed manner he gives notice to the contrary.The man who is now a voluntary contributor will not be able to come into this scheme unless he carries out certain instructions, and I am not so sure that the approved societies will trouble to give him those instructions. I know of no Regulation that is suggested by the Amendment that will give this man power to continue automatically his membership as a voluntary contributor. I confess that I cannot see what administrative difficulties there are in the way of these people coming into this scheme, provided that they have been through the National Health Insurance scheme before. 947 I do not see the value of 304 weeks' contributions in this case. Whenever the Exchequer makes a contribution towards a scheme of this kind, it ought to be open to any person in the State to come into that scheme.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I am sorry that the Minister of Health did not think it wise to offer any suggestions as to what he might be prepared to accept in the way of modifications in regard to this Amendment. I want to put to the Minister a particular case which it seems to me is a good illustration, and it would be covered by this Amendment. I have already referred the Minister of Health to the case of the men who are engaged in the meat trade as slaughterhouse-men in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Those men, because of the particular way in which they are engaged in their work, are not able to come under the National Health Insurance Act. In Glasgow the slaughterhouses belong to the Corporation, and because of that in each case the men engaged have got to work for more than one employer, and they are deemed not to have a contract of service, and consequently they are not able to become insured under the National Health Insurance Act.
In all the other districts of the country, because of the fact that the slaughterhouses in those cases are held under different conditions, and are let out to various private firms in the meat trade under different conditions, the people engaged in the slaughtering of cattle are able to come under the National Health Insurance scheme. Consequently, one section of the workers are in the position of coming into this insurance scheme just as they have come under ordinary insurance schemes, whereas in respect of the same class of people engaged in that particular trade in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and working under practically similar conditions to those in Birkenhead, Liverpool and London and other places, they are unable to come under this scheme. Surely here is a case that the Minister ought to be willing to meet, to give these manual workers who are engaged in this industry the opportunity of coming under this scheme the same as their fellow-workers in other parts of the country. It has already been suggested by the Mover of 948 the Amendment that there are also the crofters, smallholders, and people like that who, if there is an insurance scheme, ought to be entitled to share in the benefits of that scheme. In the case that I have put to the Minister I know that the men at the present time are willing to pay not only the contribution that the worker is being called upon to pay. but until they can get their position regularised under the National Health Insurance they are willing to pay the employers' contribution as well. But it seems impossible to get them into the four corners of this Bill because of this extraordinary Regulation that, because a man works, or because a. squad are engaged, by more than one employer they cannot be considered to be working under a contract of service. They are said, forsooth, to be contractors themselves. They are said to be on their own as contractors, and they cannot expect to come under this Regulation. But the fact that they are on their own engaged in work for more than one employer is not of their own choice, but is something imposed upon them by the Regulation laid down by the corporations in Glasgow and Edinburgh in regard to the slaughter-houses.
I put it to the Parliamentary Secretary that, surely, the Minister is going to hold out something to those men with regard to the benefits of insurance. It is not good enough that thousands of men in this country, who are being called upon to pay as citizens their share of taxation, workmen the same as others, should be put into an unfair position, and I do hope that the Minister or the Parliamentary Secretary is going to give me some promise with regard to this class of man, that he will put an Amendment down himself that will make provision for workmen who are really manual workmen just as much as others, but who, by a technical regulation are ruled out, in order that they may get in benefit in this way.
I think that the Minister of Health has been in these Debates a little bit too prone to rule the whole community into two sections, a working class section working under contract of service, and other people whom he seems to consider as well off, able to provide for their widows if anything happens to them. They are so well off that their widows 949 will be assured of a competency that will enable them to provide for the future. We cannot rule off the people of the country in any hard and fast line in any such way. The case that I have given is a proof of that, and I am looking to the Parliamentary Secretary who is here on the Bench to tell me what he can do to meet such a case as I have suggested.
§ Mr. THURTLE
I think the Minister will have convinced us from the actuarial point of view that this proposal is unsound, but I hope we are not going to regard it merely from the actuarial point of view. It is perfectly true that in this process of selection which would be arrived at under the voluntary scheme, the worst cases would probably elect to come under the scheme; that is to say, the scheme would make bad bargains and would not make good bargains. The Minister instanced the case of the sickly man who would take the opportunity of becoming an insured person and also of the man with a large family, and in that way those cases would probably get a great deal more value, actuarial value, out of the scheme than their contributions would entitle them to. But I submit to the Government that the whole purpose of this scheme is to render aid when aid is most desired. If you take the case of a sickly man and a wife and children or a man with a very large family—in each of these cases I assume that there is not a large income, and, of course, we are talking on that assumption—there is very great need, because it may easily happen in the case of a sickly man that he will be cut off and his widow and children will be left, and in the case of a man with a large family obviously there will be a very serious position if that man is cut off.
I thought the main object of this Bill was that when you had got a case of a widow with a large number of children that that widow and those orphan children should be relieved from the obligation of resorting to the Poor Law. Obviously, in these cases cited by the Minister where the family is poor, where there is no other provision if the man does die, and he is not allowed to come under the scheme, these people will have to be kept. The widow will have to be kept and the orphan children will have to be kept, and I submit that what we want to do by means of this scheme is to keep them without forcing them to resort to the Poor 950 Law. Various eases have been cited like the costers and the crofters, and everyone knows very well that these people are not well off, that their families are generally very large, that they live in very poor circumstances indeed, that, because of the nature of their calling, their physique is not of a very high order, and that they frequently do die very early in life. It does seem to me that it is those classes of persons that in particular the State ought to assist by a scheme of this kind, and, if there is any case at all, and. of course, there is a very powerful case for a scheme of pensions of this sort, then that case is strongest probably for the very persons you are seeking now to exclude. I would like the Government to think over this project further and say if at some later stage they cannot bring forward some proposal which would cover the great mass of these people.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I have listened, as, of course, every Member of the House has listened, with great sympathy to the speeches which have just been made. I may tell the House that my right hon. Friend and myself have been engaged ever since the formation of this scheme in an endeavour to see if we could do anything further for the men such as the hon. Member has referred to just now. Our main difficulty has been the financial difficulty, and this was put very plainly indeed by my right hon. Friend. As soon as we came forward with a scheme and presented it to the actuary, it was stated that the liability that might be incurred was very serious indeed. The hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Thurtle) just now invited me not to take any account of actuarial considerations, but I know he would be one of the first if this scheme proves to be unsound, very seriously to indict this Government the moment that it broke down. Above everything else, we must keep the scheme solvent.
As regards the question which was put by the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen), I hope that in any event their ease may be somewhat mitigated. I think a great majority of them will have served in the War, and by a Clause which is on the Paper and which we hope to move very shortly a great opportunity will be afforded to men in that position, because their years of service in the Army will be treated as if they had complied 951 with the statutory conditions of payment of contributions under this Bill. In other words, all men who have served for, say, two years during the Great War, will be deemed to have qualified themselves under this Bill and will not have to comply with any other conditions so far as past contributions are concerned, and by that means I think a very large number will be covered. I confess that I have not been able to devise a scheme to meet the remainder. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Health says we shall not relax our efforts. I know very many hon. Members on both sides of the House would like us to extend this scheme as regards voluntary insurance.
I venture to ask the Committee if it will come to a decision on this matter, because we have still a great deal to do, and there are very many important
§ Amendments on the Paper dealing with this Clause, including one put down by the Government, which will do a great deal to mitigate a great many of the cases which hon. Members have in mind. It is one of the most far-reaching proposals, so far as voluntary insurance is concerned, and I know the Committee will be glad to discuss it. So far as this Amendment is concerned, I do not think anyone would seriously care to see it in the Bill, because it practically permits anyone to enter insurance without any qualification at all. I do not desire to press the point any further, because I want to urge the Committee, if I may, to come to a decision.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 247: Noes, 114.953
|Division No. 264.]||AYES.||[7.15 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hasiam, Henry C.|
|Albery, Irving James||Cooper, A. Duff||Hawke, John Anthony|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Cope, Major William||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M.S.||Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Cralk, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Henniker-Hughan, Vice-Adm. Sir A.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)|
|Astor, Viscountess||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Crookshank, Cpl. H (Lindsey. Gainsbro)||Hilton, Cecil|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanlay||Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)|
|Balfour, George (Hampsttad)||Curtis-Bennett, Sir Henry||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy|
|Balniel, Lord||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Holt, Captain H. P.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Royton)||Homan, C. W. J.|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Doyle, Sir N. Grattan||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Berry, Sir George||Drewe, C.||Hudson R. S. (Cumb'l'nd, Whiteh'n)|
|Bethell, A.||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Elliot, Captain Walter E.||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Elveden, Viscount||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)|
|Blundell, F. N.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Jacob. A. E.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Fleming, D. P.||Jones, G. W, H. (Stoke Newington)|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Kennedy, A. B. (Preston)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Forrest, W.||Kindersley, Major G. M.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Foster, Sir Harry S.||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Brown, Maj. D. C.(N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Fraser, Captain Ian||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Fremantle. Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Col. George R.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Ganzoni, Sir John||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Burman, J. B.||Gates, Percy||Little, Dr. E. Graham|
|Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D.||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Loder, J. de V.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Lowe, Sir Francis William|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Goff, Sir Park||Lumley, L. R.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Grace, John||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Cassels, J. D.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Grotrian, H. Brent||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Macintyre, Ian|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||McLean, Major A.|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Christie, J. A.||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Makins, Brigadier General E.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Harrison, G. J. C.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hartington, Marquess of||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.|
|Meller, R. J.||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Meyer, Sir Frank||Ruggies-Brise, Major E. A.||Tasker, Major B. Inigo|
|Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Rye, F. G.||Templeton, W. P.|
|Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Salmon, Major I.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Tinne, J. A.|
|Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T, C. R. (Ayr)||Sandeman, A. Stewart||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Moore, Sir Newton J.||Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Moreing, Captain A. H.||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W. R., Sowerby)||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Shaw, Capt. w. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Murchison, C. K.||Shepperson, E. W.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Nelson, Sir Frank||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||Wells, S. R.|
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Sinclair, Col. T.(Queen's Univ., Belfst.)||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G.(Ptrsf'ld.)||Skelton, A. N.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Nuttall, Ellis||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kine'dine, C.)||Wilson, M. J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)|
|Oakley, T.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Smithers, Waldron||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Spender Clay, Colonel H.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Sprot, Sir Alexander||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Perring, William George||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F.(Will'sden, E)||Wood, Rt. Hon. E. (York, W.R., Ripon)|
|Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)||Wood, E. (Chester, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).|
|Philipson, Mabel||Steel, Major Samuel Strang||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Plicher, G.||Storry Deans, R.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Pliditch, Sir Philip||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.||Young, E. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Preston, William||Strickland, Sir Gerald|
|Rees, Sir Beddoe||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Rentoul, G. S.||Styles, Captain H. Walter||Major Hennessy and Captain|
|Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser||Margesson.|
|Rice, Sir Frederick||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Sexton, James|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hardie, George D.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hastings, Sir Patrick||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hayes, John Henry||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Baker, Walter||Hirst, G. H.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Snell, Harry|
|Barnes, A.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Barr, J.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Batey, Joseph||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Beckett. John (Gateshead)||Kelly, W. T.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Broad, F. A.||Kennedy, T.||Taylor, R. A.|
|Bromley, J.||Kenyon, Barnet||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Buchanan, G.||Lawson, John James||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro, W.)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Livingstone, A. M.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lowth, T.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Lunn, William||Thurtle, E.|
|Compton, Joseph||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavan)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Connolly, M.||Mackinder, W.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Cove, W. G.||MacLaren, Andrew||Viant, S. P.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Dalton, Hugh||March, S.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Maxton, James||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Montague, Frederick||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Dennison, R.||Morris, R. H.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Duncan, C.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Westwood, J.|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Oliver, George Harold||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Paling, W.||Whiteley, W.|
|Gillett, George M.||Parkinson. John Allen (Wigan)||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Gosling, Harry||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Ponsonby, Arthur||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Potts, John S.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Greenall, T.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Windsor, Walter|
|Greenwood, A (Nelson and Colne)||Riley, Ben||Wright, W.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Roberts. Rt. Hon. F.O. (W. Bromwich)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Griffiths. T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)|
|Groves, T.||Salter, Dr. Alfred||TELLERS FOB THE NOES —|
|Grundy, T W.||Scrymgeour, E.||Mr. T. Henderson and Mr. Warne.|
§ Sir J. MARRIOTT
I beg to move, in page 11, line 9, to leave out the word "whether."
I think it will be obvious to every Member of the Committee, after the very 954 interesting discussion which has already taken place, that in this Clause we are brought up against one of the most difficult and most disputable problems raised by the whole of this Bill. The 955 Clause, as it stands in the Bill, admits the existence of this problem, but my sub mission is that it only provides a very partial solution for it. What is the problem? I will state it in the briefest possible terms. It is the problem of providing for the people who, in one way or another, do not come into the general scheme of this Bill, which is based, as I would venture to remind hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, not merely on the principle of contribution, but also on the principle of compulsion. How are you going to provide for people who are not brought in under the scheme, and how are you going to deal with those who, having been brought into the scheme, have, for one reason or another, fallen out of it?
Clause 13, as it stands, does make provision for certain categories of persons, but not for other categories who, in my submission, have equal or even superior claims to inclusion. I would remind the Committee that in this Clause we are dealing with persons, who, for one reason or another, are to receive special consideration, and my short point is that the persons whom the Bill, as it stands, selects for special consideration, are not, in every case, the most appropriate recipients. I would ask the Committee to bear in mind, as, indeed, has been obvious throughout the whole of our discussions, although I think it was a little forgotten in the discussion on the previous Amendment, that the whole of this scheme is absolutely interlocked with health insurance—with the Acts of 1911 and 1918—and that under those Acts some 70 per cent. of the population, that is to say, probably 30 millions of people, are affected. By the Act of 1911 there was given a very important option. The option was given to a large class of persons to become, under the National Health Insurance scheme, voluntary contributors. They were persons who, in economic status, were not above the class of the ordinary insurable person, but who for one reason or another—being in small businesses, small tradesmen, or falling within such categories as those of woodmen, blacksmiths, smallholders and so on, which have already been enumerated—were not in receipt of wages, and were outside the general scope of the Act of 1911. The 956 point that I want to impress on the Committee, however, is that that very important and valuable option, which was given in the Act of 1911, was withdrawn by the Act of 1918. That is really the whole basis of the Amendment which I am now venturing to press upon the attention of the Committee.
Briefly stated, the object of my Amendment is to restore that option. The persons mostly affected will be small tradesmen or small shopkeepers in the towns, and smallholders, woodmen, and so on in the country districts. I may be met by the suggestion, and it is perfectly true, that for seven years, that is to say, between 1911 and 1918, these persons on behalf of whom this Amendment is being moved enjoyed an option and had the opportunity of an option which they did not exercise. The reason for their abstention in many instances was that a large number of them had already made provision for themselves in times of sickness, through the various friendly societies in the country, and they preferred to continue that independent method, which, incidentally, I may remind the Committee, did not involve any supplementary payment from the Exchequer, that is to say, from the taxpayer. But these men, nevertheless, did, as taxpayers, contribute to the benefits of the employed contributors and of those who availed themselves of the voluntary contributory provisions of the National Insurance Act, 1911. What I am asking the Committee to accept is the re-option, as it were —that these people should be given once more the opportunity which I admit they neglected between 1011 and 1918. I have not the least doubt that, if this option were restored, as it virtually would be restored were this Amendment accepted, many of these men would avail themselves of it, in view of the contingent benefit which now attaches to insured persons under the present Bill. I ought in candour to point out that the Amendment as it stands is both exclusive and inclusive. In the Bill as drawn, provision is made for persons who have for two years contributed under the Health Insurance Acts and paid 104 contributions to resume health insurance if they wish, and so become entitled to pensions. It is true that the Amendment, as framed, would exclude some of these persons, because it imposes a qualifying test in the words "at the date of the passing of this Act." 957 A person, therefore, who has gone out of insurance because he has prospered, because he has made good, because he has got beyond the range of economic income to which insurance is limited, would be debarred from the opportunity of coming in, but on the other hand a person whose financial status at the date of the passing of the Act is comparable in every respect to that of the employed contributor would be permitted to become a voluntary contributor under both Acts, that is to say, under the Health Insurance Act and under this Act, if he so desires.
In this Amendment we are adhering to the principle on which the Bill is based, namely, the close interlocking of this new insurance scheme with the existing Health Insurance Acts, and it appears to me that there is no reason whatever for differentiating, as the Bill would propose to do, in favour of the man who for the prescribed period was insured either voluntarily or compulsorily. So far as health insurance is concerned, voluntary contributors would be required to pay contributions appropriate to their age in order to take advantage of the opening offered by the Amendment, and the right to admit or to reject such persons would lie with the approved societies, as indeed it dons at present, so that no undue strain would be placed upon the finances of these approved societies. But I am free to admit that the Amendment would impose some additional strain on the new pensions fund because there is the possibility that it is the worst lives, the people who have most to gain by voluntary inclusion in the scheme, who would be most likely to take advantage of this voluntary opportunity. It is obvious that it is the more unsatisfactory risks—men with large families or men approaching the pension age—who would be attracted to the voluntary scheme. I have been at some pains, which I am sorry to say have not been rewarded with success, because the means of investigation open to me are very limited—they are open to the Government but not to me—to try to form some approximate estimate of the number of persons to whom the option, if granted, would be available, but I have found it really impossible to reach any conclusion on that subject, but it is a matter that merits, and I hope will receive, further consideration at the hands of the Government.
§ Sir ROBERT SANDERS
On a point of Order. May I point out that by our last Division we affirmed that all the words down to "may" in line 13 should stand part. How then can we move to leave out the word "whether" in line 9?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain FitzRoy)
What the hon. Gentleman said is perfectly true, and it is entirely my mistake. I should have put it down to the word "whether." I took it upon myself to enter it accordingly.
§ Mrs. PHILIPSON
Although my name is not down to the Amendment I should like to support it wholeheartedly. In spite of the opposition, I feel that there are a good many women throughout the country who welcome the Bill and the Pensions scheme, and it is only right that the widows should have the fear of penury and starvation taken from them and their children. As has been proved, even on the last Clause, there is a splendid case on behalf of fishermen and agricultural labourers. There are going to be many people left out and many extremely hard cases which I think the hon. Gentleman should bring under the scheme. It was only the sympathetic reply of the Minister of Health that he would do his best to further look into these cases that made mo go into the Division Lobby on the last Amendment. I should like to mention another case which I think was extremely hard. It is that of the widows of disabled ex-service men who married after the War. In many cases they have young children to bring up and, owing to the disability of their husbands, they are unable most of the time to be in insurable employment, and when the disability pension ceases and he dies the widow is left with her young children to face very great hardships. I hope the hon. Gentleman will consider that case most sympathetically, and I am certain, perhaps by some scheme in conjunction with the Ministry of Pensions, those cases could be dealt with, as could the case of the fishermen and the agricultural workers, which are two most important industries comprising very hard-working races of men. Many of these people would be very glad to come into the scheme and would be only too willing to contribute, and I hope the hon. Gentleman will do something to help them.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I regret to have to ask the Committee not to accept the Amendment, especially after the appeal which has been made by the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mrs. Philipson). I know the Committee will forgive me if I do not go again into the discussion which was very largely dealt with on the last Amendment. The Mover desires to revive the option which was first given in the National Health Insurance Act, 1911. It is right that the Committee should know that that option meant a graduated allowance, and, if adopted here, would again set up a scheme of graduated pensions. That is full of difficulty. The approved societies would have the greatest difficulty in administering it, and that is one objection to the proposal. A second objection is that it would limit the number of voluntary contributors who can come in, even under the Government proposal, by confining it to employed people. I do not think the Committee would desire to do that. If they have any desire in the matter at all it would be to add to the number of people who can take advantage of the scheme. The really great difficulty we have to face is that if you are to bring in this class of person at any age, at any time they like, you must obviously impose a health test and medical examination. You will have to inquire the person's age, whether he is married and how long he has been married, and matters of that sort. It would impose a very considerable burden so far as inquiry is concerned, and new machinery altogether would be required.
§ Sir WILFRID SUGDEN
Is it not a fact that this machinery was operating years ago, and that it still lies to hand and could be used without any extra cost to the Exchequer?
§ Sir K. WOOD
No, I regret to say that the voluntary contributory scheme broke down. As a matter of fact, it was very unsatisfactory, and only about 20,000 people came in altogether, and that was the real reason why, with the assent of the approved societies and the insurance committees, it was repealed.
§ Sir K. WOOD
That is not my information at all. I think the approved 960 societies recognise the very grave difficulty. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO!"] Hon. Members may be better informed than I am. [HON. MEMBERS: "They are:"] I will say they are, but I would remind them that the scheme the hon. Member has referred to, with such satisfaction, broke down and, with the assent of the approved societies was repealed. Therefore, while I may be wrong, it surprises me to hear that the approved societies wish to see it set up again. It may be that hon. Members are right, but I am entitled to tell the Committee that that part of the National Health Insurance Act was repealed. Therefore we view with apprehension any proposal now to readopt it. We regard the scheme as incomplete when it does not make provision for some of the small shopkeepers and people of that class. We would, if we could, devise a scheme which would be actuarially sound by which they should come in. We have given a great deal of consideration to the matter and we are at present unable to devise a scheme which would be actuarially sound. I again give the assurance I gave a little while ago that we will endeavour, in conjunction with our advisers, to see. if anything further can be done. The matter has occupied the attention of the Committee for some time, and I hope they will now see their way to proceed to the next Amendment, which also raises an important issue.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
I do not think the Parliamentary Secretary has given quite as much consideration to this proposal as he ought to do. He says the provision contained in Clause 5 of the National Insurance Act, 1911, had to be repealed. I think it would be more accurate to say that it was allowed to lapse when the law was standardised and brought up to date in 1918. It was found that not a great many of these people chose to join the National Health Insurance scheme. It was a scheme which provided for a graduated rate of payment, which was not a that rate scheme, and many people did not join because, perhaps, it did not make a great appeal to them. We are advised—I am speaking for those whose names are down in support of the Amendment—that the friendly societies want the Amendment which we have put on the Paper and that they are largely responsible for the 961 drafting of the Amendment. Therefore, for the Parliamentary Secretary to say that this is something to which the friendly societies would object is not correct. He must have been seriously misinformed. The friendly societies look upon this matter with very considerable perturbation, and they are anxious that something should be done. I do not say that this is the perfect way of doing it. It would be absurd, in view of the difficult problem involved, to say that what certain people think is necessarily the best way of meeting the problem, but, at any rate, there is a case to be met, and we suggest dealing with it in a modified form. We have provided a means to reduce the number within reasonable limits. I hope that something will be done to meet this very legitimate demand.
§ Sir W. SUGDEN
I want to say a few-words in reply to the statement made by the Parliamentary Secretary as to the unsuccessful working of this type of Clause in the previous Act. I need scarcely remind him, because he is an expert in these matters, that in consequence of the tightening up that has taken place the machinery now is at concert pitch and in first-class operating condition. I can assure him that if the point he raised is the only difficulty he may rest quietly in his bed that if he is good enough to give us this Amendment nothing will go awry in the rest of the Measure.
§ Mr. DEAN
This is a most important question. I know something of the people referred to. The small shopkeepers, the blacksmiths, carpenters and others have in the past been the backbone of our friendly societies. There have been no more thrifty people in the country. From year to year they have been the chief supporters of the friendly societies. I have been a trustee of three friendly societies, and I know that these men have always been helping the societies and have always been active in encouraging others, perhaps less educated than themselves, to join the societies. It would be a most grievous blunder if these men were to be left out, and not allowed to come into the scheme.
§ Mr. SKELTON
In view of the apparently erroneous statement made by the 962 Parliamentary Secretary that the friendly societies are against this Amendment, whereas, apparently, they are absolutely in favour of it, I hope that before the Report stage this matter will be gone into fully by the Department in consultation with the friendly societies, and that it will not be left over until some future Bill, in some unknown year, is brought forward. I do not urge the Parliamentary Secretary to accept the Amendment now, but I do strongly urge him to realise the importance of the question, and to get the facts correct and see whether something cannot be done. I know the difficulties, but wo must realise that the matter is of the greatest importance. It brings in all the classes to which the hon. Member who has just spoken referred. If the Amendment were accepted it would make the Bill not so much numerically more comprehensive as socially more comprehensive. Therefore, it raises a question which cannot be disposed of in this Committee, and nothing more said about it.
In view of the fact that the Parliamentary Secretary has said that it applied only to employed persons, which I understand is not correct, there is apparently a difference of fact and opinion there which requires discussion and inquiry. Further, in view of the fact that he said that the friendly societies were against this Amendment, whereas that statement, apparently, is not on all fours with the facts, and in view of the essential importance of the question raised by the Amendment, I urge the Parliamentary Secretary to have the question properly investigated before the Report stage, and see whether he cannot, even at this late hour, do something to bring into this Bill a socially important class of the community.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I hope there will be no misapprehension in regard to any statements that I have made. I made an observation that the Amendment confined the classes more than does the Government Clause. I stated that the Amendment confines the Clause to the employed contributors. That is correct. I made an observation as to the attitude of the approved societies towards the scheme. I did not say that they were against the scheme, but I said I did not believe they were for it. I have had some opportunity —hon. Members will agree that I have 963 been in very close contact with the views of approved societies on this matter-of making inquiries since I made my statement, to see whether the approved societies expressed approval of this matter when they had the opportunity, when the special committee of the consultative council went into all the Amendments and had an opportunity of discussing the various Clauses. I understand that they gave no expression of opinion either for or against this Amendment. My hon. Friend the Member for York (Sir J. Marriott) may have in mind some special class of approved society.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The matter is not of sufficient importance to justify delaying the Committee longer. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes!"] I mean, my own views about the friendly societies. I do not want the Committee to think that because I dealt briefly with the matter on the second occasion that I do not understand the importance of it, or the desire of the Committee that something should be done, if possible. My point was that the matter had been discussed at some length on the previous Amendment, and I suggested
§ that we might dispose of the matter. If we can possibly devise a scheme which is actuarially sound, no one will be more pleased than my right hon. Friend. I hope with that assurance the Committed will now come to a decision.
§ Mr. BLUNDELL
I think the Parliamentary Secretary had overlooked the proviso of this Clause when he said it was limited to the employed contributor. If he looks at the proviso he will see that that is not the case. There is no question about the attitude of the friendly societies. Without any disrespect to the Parliamentary Secretary, I maintain that the friendly societies are certainly in favour of this Amendment, whatever the approved societies in general may be. I am aware of the actuarial difficulties, but I hope the Minister will respond to the appeal of the hon. Member for Perth (Mr. Skelton) and see whether something cannot be done on the Report stage of the Bill, and not in some future Bill, if he can find an actuarially sound solution of the question.
§ Question put, "That the word 'whether' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 234; Noes, 122.967
|Division No. 265.]||AYES.||[7.56 p-m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Burman, J. B.||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D.||Elliot, Captain Walter E.|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Elveden, Viscount|
|Albery, Irving James||Caine, Gordon Halt||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Campbell, E. T.||Fairfax, Captain J. G.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Cassels, J. D.||Fleming. D. P.|
|Amery Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M.S.||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Foster, Sir Harry S.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Fraser, Captain Ian|
|Balfour George (Hampstead)||Christie, J. A.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.|
|Balniel Lord||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Ganzoni, Sir John|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Clarry, Reginald George||Gates, Percy|
|Barclay-Harvey, C M.||Clayton, G. C.||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton|
|Barnston Major Sir Harry||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham|
|Beamish Captain T. P. H.||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Cooper, A. Duff||Grace, John|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Cope, Major William||Greene, W. P. Crawford|
|Berry. Sir George||Couper, J. B.||Grotrian, H. Brent|
|Bethell, A||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, w. R.. Skipton)||Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Blundell, F. N.||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Harrison, G. J. C.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Crook, C. W.||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft.||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Brass. Captain W.||Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Haslam, Henry C.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert||Hawke, John Anthony|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Curtis-Bennett, Sir Henry||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Henderson, Capt. R.R.(Oxf'd, Henley)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Royton)||Henniker-Hughan, Vice-Adm. Sir A.|
|Brown, Maj. D.C.(N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Dixey, A. C.||Hilton, Cecil|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Doyle, Sir N. Grattan||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Drewe, C.||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard|
|Holt, Capt. H. P.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Homan, C. W. J.||Moreing, Captain A. H.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Spender Clay, Colonel H.|
|Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Murchison, C. K.||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Nelson, Sir Frank||Stanley, Col. Hon. G.F. (Will'sden, E.)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U.M. (Hackney, N.)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Nuttall, Ellis||Storry Deans, R.|
|Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n &P'bl's)||Oakley, T.||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Strickland, Sir Gerald|
|Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Jacob, A. E.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Perring, William George||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Tasker, Major R. Inigo|
|Kindersley, Major G. M.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Templeton, W. P.|
|King, Captain Henry Douglas||Plicher, G.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Lamb, J. O.||Pilditch, Sir Philip||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Col. George R.||Preston, William||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Raine, W.||Warner. Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Little, Dr. E. Graham||Rentoul, G. S.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Rhys, Hon. C. A. O.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Loder, J. de V.||Rice, Sir Frederick||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Looker, Herbert William||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||Wells, S. R.|
|Lougher, L.||Ruggies-Brise, Major E. A.||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Lowe, Sir Francis William||Rye, F. G.||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Macintyre, Ian||Sandeman, A. Stewart||Wilson, M. J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)|
|McLean, Major A.||Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Mac Robert. Alexander M.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustavo D.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Margesson, Captain D.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mol. (Renfrew, W.)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)||Wood, Rt. Hon. E. (York, W. R., Ripon)|
|Meller, R. J.||Shepperson, E. W.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyda)|
|Merriman, F. B.||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).|
|Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Sinclair. Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfst)||Wood, Sir s. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Skeiton, A. N.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES -|
|Moore, Sir Newton J.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Major Hennessy and Mr. F. C. Thomson.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Groves, T.||Philipson, Mabel|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Grundy, T. W.||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Potts, John S.|
|Amman, Charles George||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hardle, George D.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bliston)||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Riley, Ben|
|Baker. Walter||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hirst, G. H.||Robinson, W.C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)|
|Barnes, A.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Barr, J.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Batey, Joseph||Hurd, Percy A.||Scurr, John|
|Broad, F. A.||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Sexton, James|
|Bromley, J.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Buchanan, G.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Kelly, W. T.||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Compton, Joseph||Kennedy, T.||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Connolly, M.||Kenyon, Barnet||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Cove, W. G.||Lawson, John James||Snell, Harry|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Livingstone, A. M.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lunn, William||Stephen, Campbell|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Mackinder, W.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Dennison, H.||MacLaren, Andrew||Taylor, R. A.|
|Duncan, C.||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||March, S.||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro, W.)|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Forrest, W.||Maxton, James||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Montague, Frederick||Thurtle, E.|
|Gillett, George M.||Morris, R. H.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Gosling, Harry||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Naylor, T. E.||Viant, S. P.|
|Greenall, T.||Oliver, George Harold||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Paling, W.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Welsh, J. C.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Westwood, J.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Whiteley, W.||Windsor, Walter||Mr. Hayes and Mr. Warne.|
|Williams, C. P. Denbigh, Wrexham)||Wright, W.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The next Amendment which I select is that which stands in the name of the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith). I would suggest that when we are discussing that Amendment we might also discuss the principle of the Amendment which stands in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health so as to cover the whole question.
§ Mr. LEES-SMITH
I beg to move, in page 11, line 16, after the word "contributor" to insert the words "under this Act, or."
I recognise that this Amendment is of considerable importance, because it is going to be the vehicle for an explanation by the Government of the very far reaching Amendment they have put down later on the Paper as a result of a discussion which we had in this Committee OR last Friday week. I have endeavoured to understand all that is signified by the new Government Amendment, and I wish to raise certain points upon it, and also to point out that, having gone so far, the Government, I am afraid, will be compelled to go a good deal further. The position is this. By Clause 8 of this Bill if a man falls out of insurance he loses his right to an old age pension at 65 if he has not been insured for the previous five years, and lie also loses the value of the contributions which he has paid throughout his life. That obviously was an injustice which was going to affect hundreds of thousands of people, and we called the attention of the Minister of Health to its effect.
The answer of the Minister of Health was that by the Prolongation of Insurance Act, 1921, approved societies could keep these men in technical insurance, not in benefit, and as they were technically in insurance then they would receive their old age pension at 65. The approved societies only had the Tight to do this as long as the insured man remained in an insurable occupation, and when that became clear it was evident that the case of tens of thousands of men was not going to be met. The whole class of men from 55 to 60, who leave the factory or the mill and set up perhaps in some small business, would be left out. The whole class 968 of single women who, perhaps, have been employed as maid servants or housekeepers then left their position and were too old to go back to domestic service, would be left out, because they would not have been in an insurable occupation. That was the point to which we called attention on the last day. The Minister of Health said that they could continue as voluntary contributors, and so obtain the pension at 65, but in order that a man or a woman in this position could continue as a voluntary contributor, the Bill lays down that they must be contributors, not only for the purposes of this Bill, but for national health insurance at the same time. We pointed out that the double contribution was so heavy as to be impracticable to tens of thousands of people who came within this class.
I would like now to know whether I am correct as to what the Government Amendment docs. The position before that Amendment has been this. In a single year, in order to keep within the Insurance Act, a man had to pay 39 contributions in the year. He had to be insured 39 weeks which meant paying 1s. 6d. for 39 weeks, or a total of £2 18s. 6d. in the year, and a woman had to pay 1s. 1d. a week for 39 weeks which meant a contribution of £2 2s. 3d. in the year. Our contention was that £2 18s. 6d. per man and £2 2s. 3d. for a woman was too heavy to meet the cases of the men and women whose circumstances we had in mind. I hope that I am right in interpreting the new Government Amendment in this way. It lays down that a man or a woman in this category will be considered as insured, and entitled to an old age pension, if instead of paying 39 contributions 20 contributions are paid. It would mean, in the case of a man, paying 30s. in the year instead of £2 18s. 6d., and in the case of a woman £1 1s. 9d. instead of £2 2s. 3d.
We asked that the burden should in some way be lessened, and this is the Government method of meeting our case. If I am correct in my interpretation I should like to say on behalf of those sitting on these benches that we consider that the case which we put forward has been fairly met by the Minister of Health, 969 and that it carries out the undertaking which he gave to us when the subject was under discussion. But now I want to put a question that arises as to a matter of machinery.. There may be a very good reason for it, but why this very complicated system? Why say to a woman, "You must pay 1s. 4d. a week, but you need only pay for 20 weeks"? Why not say to her, "You shall pay whatever it is, say 6d. a week, and pay all the year through"? That would be simpler for her and, I should think, simpler for the purposes of collection. That is so obvious that I presume that there is a good reason for the course adopted, but up to the present those of us who have been going into this Amendment have not been able to find the answer.
Now I come to a matter which I have no doubt was present to the mind of the Minister of Health. It is a matter which affects a large class of cases, larger than the class which he has dealt with in this particular instance, and I cannot myself see how, having gone so far, he can avoid going further and dealing with this far larger class. I have no doubt that he took the full consequences into his mind when he consented to meet us, and I would like to try to explain the point which is now in our mind. The Amendment which the Government have put down deals, and deals fairly, with the case of those who have passed entirely out of insurable employment. They can come in as voluntary contributors under this scheme, but the case which I would like to put to the Minister is a case which involves a very large number of persons who have not passed out of insurable employment. What is going to be done about the case of men who, say, at the age of 55 or 60, do not leave their occupation altogether, but slacken off, as many of them do, legitimately, and become intermittent? They will still be working, but only so many weeks in the year.
On Saturday in the North of England I came across two cases. One was that of a fairly elderly man who told me that he spent half his time playing in an orchestra at Morpeth, and that for the remainder of the year he pottered about in a little business. Another man said that during the summer season he drove a char-a-banc at Blackpool and during the winter 970 he also pottered about. He, too, was a fairly elderly man. What about waiters? There must be many thousands of cases of men who are not wholly out of an insured occupation, but are working in an insured occupation for only part of their time. What is their position as the Bill stands? They will fall between two stools. They cannot become voluntary contributors, because they are still insured persons, and they will not get their benefits as insured persons, because they will not for 39 weeks of the year either be in employment or seeking employment in their insured trades. They may be perfectly genuinely working for half the year, and be outside the insured trade for the other half. I have no doubt that the Minister is aware of these cases. Unless they are met, there will be tens of thousands of men who will lose their benefit between these two alternatives. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will take such cases into consideration, and by adapting the new Amendment to them will confer on them the same advantages as are conferred on those who have Passed out of the trade altogether and have become voluntary contributors.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I am very pleased to hear from the hon. Member that, in his opinion, the Amendment we have put down fairly carries out the undertaking, which I gave earlier, to provide for cases which he impressed on my attention. He has asked me to answer two questions which arise out of the Amendment standing in my name. He asked first, "Why go through this somewhat complicated process of saying to the would-be voluntary contributor that we insist on the full rate of contribution for a smaller number of weeks instead of a smaller rate of contribution for a larger number of weeks?" The answer to that is very simple, and I am much surprised that it has not occurred to the hon. Gentleman. We do not want to exclude these people from the benefits of the Health Insurance Act. People who are arriving at the age of 55 for women or 60 for men are just at that time of life when the value, of health insurance benefit is greatest to them. What we are doing by maintaining the contribution at the full rate is to maintain their insurance and their entitlement to benefits, not only for pensions, but also under the Health Insurance Act.
971 The hon. Gentleman put to me a further question, with regard to those who cannot become voluntary contributors and are only intermittently employed, and therefore might have difficulty in making the 39 contributions required under Clause 8. It has already been made clear that in calculating those 39 weeks under Clause 8, weeks of unemployment and sickness would count as weeks of contribution provided that the illness was proved or that the persons could be shown to have been genuinely seeking employment. That should entirely meet the case of the people whom the hon. Member has described. Therefore, I think it will be necessary to make a provision for these people which will bring them into line with the Amendment I have now put down in the case of voluntary contributors. Hon. Members will see that it is not possible to deal with that point in this Clause. It will have to be dealt with on Clause 8 which we have passed. Therefore, I shall propose in due course to recommit the Bill for the purpose of introducing an Amendment to Clause 8, under which I think I shall be able to deal with those cases. What I had in mind was that we should leave open a sort of alternative or option between the 39 weeks, in which case each week of genuine sickness and genuine seeking for employment will count as a week's contribution. That. I think, will entirely meet the case of the hon. Member.
§ Mr. LEES-SMITH
In view of the right hon. Gentleman's statement, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. AMMON
I beg to move, in page 11, line 16, at the end, to insert the wordsProvided that any person in the permanent and pensionable employment of the Crown whose employment, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, is an excepted employment by virtue of paragraph (k) of Part II of the First Schedule to the Insurance Act (which relates to employment otherwise than by way of manual labour and at a rate of remuneration exceeding in value two hundred and fifty pounds a year) and who desires to become voluntarily insured under this Act shall be entitled either upon payment by the contributor of the contribution prescribed in Part I of the First Schedule to become voluntarily insured under this Act in the case of a man for widows, orphans, and old age pensions, and in the case of a woman for orphans and old 972 age pensions, but without paying any contribution to, or becoming entitled to any benefits under, the Health Insurance Act, or to become a voluntary contributor under this Act and the Health Insurance Act in accordance with the provisions on that behalf contained in this Act.This is an Amendment which I had put down to Clause 16, and which, it was suggested, would be more appropriately moved on Clause 13, with the alteration of preliminary words to adapt it to the Clause we are now discussing. I hope it will be accepted by the Minister. It asks that option shall be given to a civil servant to become a voluntary contributor for widows' and orphans' and old age pensions only; that is, that they will pay 9d. for men and 4½d. for women. The position is that these people for most of their service have been paying at the full rate. But at the moment when a man passes the margin of an income of £250 a year, he falls outside the Act. He is then allowed to become a voluntary contributor. All permanent and pensionable employés of the Crown normally are entitled to six months' sick pay, and to other leave with reduced pay during a short term of sickness, so that it is hardly to be expected that many of them will take advantage of any such suggestion, and insure under the National Health Insurance provisions, plus the other Act. Then, owing to the means qualification limit, very few, if any, civil servants came under the National Insurance Act, so far as medical benefits and the panel medical assistance are concerned.
I suggest that the people who have contributed to the scheme for a number of years certainly have some claim to be considered, if they wish to remain in the scheme so far as the benefit for the old age pension and the widows' pension are concerned. The Minister will get a larger number who will voluntarily come into the scheme, than he is likely to get if he insists that they also have to pay the national health insurance contribution. Really this is going to act against the Exchequer because the only people likely to take advantage of the right hon. Genleman's suggestion and become voluntary contributors are those people whose health is bad or indifferent and who may think it to their advantage to subscribe the full amount. I admit that my Amendment tries to make the best of both worlds. It suggests a double 973 option. There may be some persons who, for various reasons, think they would like to have a little more benefit when they are sick and would like to take advantage of this provision, but when we have regard to the terms of service and the provisions already made for sick leave and so forth it is hardly likely these will be many, and they are more likely to be the persons who stand most in need of benefit from the point of view of their normal health. Surely the civil servants who find themselves excluded under the operations of this Clause will have a legitimate grievance. They will have paid probably for the greater part of their service careers. In this matter I am speaking not only for the Post Office but for all the Civil Service, and a large number of the persons for whom I speak will not pass the £250 a year limit until they are well advanced in their service. This means that they will have paid during all these years, and that they will be shut out unless they pay for something which means no benefit for them and in regard to which they need not insure. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will accept the proposal in the interest of a large number of civil servants. I think it will make his own scheme better, and it will give these, people the knowledge that while they are paying in during the earlier years of their service they are not going to be shut out from benefits in regard to widows' pensions and old age pensions for which they have paid.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
The effect of this Amendment would be to give a special privilege to this particular section of the community and give them what we are refusing to give to other people, namely, an option to separate health insurance from pensions insurance, and to become voluntary contributors for pensions insurance only. I did not gather from what the hon. Member said that he had any particular case to put forward on behalf of these people which would distinguish them from other people whose case might be just as strong. I do not think it a fair description of the actual provisions of the Bill to say that they are shut out from benefits for which they have been paying over a large number of years. They are not shut out; they can go on keeping the insurance alive by means of the voluntary contributions and, 974 although it is true that they have to pay contributions for health as well as for pensions, it is only 7d. per week and the benefits from that insurance are worth probably 50 per cent. more than the contributions they pay. I cannot think that is a very great hardship. I might remind the hon. Member that these people would come within the benefits of the Amendment of which I have just been speaking and at which we have not yet arrived, and, when they reach the age of 60 they can secure this benefit by the payment of only 26 weeks. In these circumstances I cannot accept the Amendment.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
I beg to move, in page 11, line 16, at the end, to insert a new Sub-section:(2) Any woman who at any time after the commencement of this Act has been an insured person for a period of one hundred and four weeks and has one hundred and four contributions to her credit shall, in the event of her marriage to an uninsured man, be deemed to be an insured person for the purposes of this Act, and shall be entitled to a widow's pension on the death of her husband or to an old age pension on reaching the age of sixty-five, notwithstanding the fact that on marriage she ceases to pay contributions under the Insurance Act or under this Act.The object of this Amendment is to raise in an acute form the case of the woman who, after contributing during her unmarried life, marries an uninsured man, and then drops out of the scheme of the Bill. The Amendments which we have been considering during the past hour sought to bring into the Bill persons who were outside its scope. This Amendment deals with the peculiarly hard case of persons who are compulsorily brought into the Bill so far as contributions are concerned, but are kept out of the Bill so far as benefits are concerned. I cannot help thinking that the words which the Minister used recently with regard to another set of persons when he admitted that in that respect the Bill was incomplete, also apply to the case which I am raising. Let me go over the principal points of this case as it appears in the Bill. In the first place, the woman as a single woman, even as a girl of 16, is compelled to contribute week by week towards this scheme. She then marries a man who is uninsured—I need not go over the various reasons for the man being uninjured— 975 and automatically, according to the Bill, she drops right out of the scheme. It cannot be argued that a woman ought not to marry a man who is uninsured. Even though she were to use some option in choosing an insured man he might of his own volition drop out quite: shortly after marriage. As I say, she falls out of the scheme; she does not get the benefit which other widows get when their husbands die. If she and her husband both die their children do not get the orphans' pensions, and, if she survives, she does not get the old age pension at 65. Further, the State does not offer her any surrender value for all the insurance money she has paid. This is an insurance scheme, and in a case where, owing to circumstances over which the insured person has no control, the insured person drops out of the scheme, any insurance company would allow that insured person the surrender value of the policy and thereby enable the insured person to reap some benefit for the contributions paid. According to this Bill the State does not do so.
I would like the Committee to note that the woman has no alternative. She cannot continue to contribute as a voluntary person. Her husband is in many cases ineligible for voluntary contribution, and even if he be eligible the wife has no power to compel the husband to contribute. I would like the Committee further to notice that he may be poor. It does not at all follow that, because the, man is outside the limits of the compulsory insurance scheme, they are well off. He may be a small shopkeeper, or a hawker, and it must be clear that here is a very grave injustice. I have spoken to a number of people about this question, and they are amazed that it is possible for people to be compelled to insure themselves and, after having paid all that money, that they should be ousted from any benefit under the scheme. So far the Minister has defended this on the ground that in every insurance scheme you must pool resources. I recognise that general fact, but I would remind him that, if a scheme were one in which the State paid all the contributions, it would be open to the State to give or to withhold benefits as it thought right; if you had a voluntary insurance scheme, it would be open to prepare a scheme in which certain people would not benefit, and if people 976 voluntarily insured themselves, they would do so with their eyes open; but the circumstances are quite different when you come to compulsory insurance. There you have to be much more just, because you have taken money compulsorily from people, and you have to render an account to them, which at any rate should give them the benefit when the risks against which they think they are insuring actually occur.
I would make this further point, which I do not think has been made at all in these Debates. If you are going to have a compulsory insurance scheme, and certain sections of people are going, after having paid benefits, to be ruled out, why should you limit the persons who are to be compulsorily insured to special members of the working classes? Why should you not take other sections of the population? Why should not Members of this House be compelled to come in under thi6 scheme, knowing they will not benefit by it, but assured that their contributions will swell the general pool? I do not seriously suggest that, but it seems to me quite as defensible as bringing people into this scheme, compelling them to pay, find then saying, when they become widows or when they leave their children fatherless and motherless, or when they reach the age of 65: "Owing to circumstances over which you have no control, you will not get the benefit which you thought you would get when you paid your money."
My Amendment proposes to bring all these people in and give them full benefits. I am aware, of course, that the Minister will say that that is actuarially impossible, and that it is far too large a financial claim to make on this Fund. I put it down in this form as the best means of raising the question, and I shall be perfectly satisfied if the Minister is able to make a substantial concession which will give to women under these circumstances a reasonable ground for thinking their contributions have not been thrown away. It must be a reasonable concession, and one which really does meet the case, but if he is able to do that, I shall not press the precise form of this Amendment. I suggest that it is not possible for the State to behave worse than any decent insurance company. It would be quite impossible for an insurance company, even under a voluntary scheme of insurance, to refuse benefits 977 under more or less arbitrary circumstances, and to refuse a surrender value to a policy, and leave people who have paid in considerable sums of money absolutely without benefit when the very risks against which they thought they had insured actually occurred. I am sure the Minister must recognise that it is impossible for the State in a compulsory insurance scheme to be more unjust to those who pay their money than any insurance company could be under a voluntary scheme.
§ Mr. J. BECKETT
On a point of Order. Is it possible, Mr. Chairman, in view of the very important nature of this Amendment and the number of women affected, for you to see that at least one Member of the Liberal party may be present in the discussion?
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
The Amendment seems to me to be entirely inconsistent with the terms of Clause 1, which we have already passed, and also with the terms of Clause 8. The hon. Member said that if I were prepared to make a substantial concession, he would be satisfied, even if it were not in the form he had suggested. I think I am absolved, in the circumstances, from entering upon a repetition of the arguments I have already used in refutation of his statement that serious injustice would be done to women who choose to marry uninsured men, but I am prepared to make a suggestion, which I think should go a long way towards meeting the hon. Member's difficulties. The suggestion I owe to the ingenuity of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Dumfries (Brigadier-General Charteris), and it is, in effect that when an insured woman marries an uninsured man, the uninsured man shall have the right to become a voluntary contributor by virtue of the contributions that have been made by his insured wife. That is certainly not going all the way, but it is going a very long way towards removing any sense of hardship on the part of these women, and I propose, when the time comes, which will be in line 35 of this same page, to move an Amendment which will carry out that suggestion. In those circumstances I hope the hon. Member will not think it necessary to press his Amendment.
While we, on this side, appreciate the desire of the 978 Minister to meet us as far as possible, we recognise, on reflection, that he has not met very fully the very strong case put up by my hon. Friend the Member for West Leicester (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence). When the matter was raised in Debate a fortnight ago, the right hon. Gentleman will remember that reference was made to the case of women who may, from coming into the insurance scheme at the age of 16, be contributing at a fairly high rate for as long as 15 or 16 years before marriage and then marry an uninsured man. That brings us up against the point, already referred to to-night by my hon. Friend who moved the Amendment, as to whether there should or should not be, in the case of a scheme which the Government choose shall be contributory, a surrender value. I remember the very long discussions which we had in this House on the Industrial Insurance Act, 1923. There you had weekly contributions of insured persons for certain specified benefits, it may be as low as one penny a week, but if the insured person under that Act has been keeping up his contributions for at least five years, and the premiums have been paid in full for that period, an industrial insurance company under private enterprise is now compelled by the State to do one of two things, either to give a fully paid-up policy for a given sum or to make the grant of a surrender value.
If you put that alongside a woman's contribution of, say, 2d. a week for 15 years under this scheme before she marries an uninsured person, it is true the Minister goes a little way along the road of compromise when he says the husband shall be given the opportunity of continuing the payments, but supposing he does not, then here is a married woman who has paid into an insurance scheme, which the Government are upholding to the country because it is an insurance scheme, she is paying for benefits, and, after having paid for 15 or 16 years, will lose the whole of the contributions. That seems to be very hard, and I do think the Minister—I know we are pressing him on a good many points—might consider whether there should not be some definite form of benefit accruing in these circumstances to a woman who has paid in for a long time. Perhaps my hon. Friend will be prepared to accept a compromise from 979 the Minister by having a longer period of time than is covered by 104 contributions. Having regard to the fact that the right hon. Gentleman's own Government in 1923 laid these burdens, if I may put it so, on insurance companies, they ought to see in the Government scheme that some more consideration is given to those cases than has yet been shown to-night.
§ Mr. DAVIES
There is only one question, from the point of view of information, I should like to put to the right hon. Gentleman. He has given what I regard as a concession of considerable importance. I understand it to mean, that where a woman who is insured marries an uninsured man, the uninsured man will be entitled to become a voluntary contributor in respect of the insurance of his wife. That, I think, is the point the right hon. Gentleman has met. What I want to know, however, is whether the qualification in that case is exactly the qualification that applies to a man who becomes ordinarily a voluntary contributor. That is to say, I take it that the man in this case will be entitled to become a voluntary contributor only if his wife was insured for 104 weeks, and 104 contributions had been paid in respect of her. The right hon. Gentleman nods his head, so that I take that to be the ease. As I said at the beginning, a substantial concession has been made.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
In some ways the Minister has met us, but there are other points which, it seems to me, he has not taken fully into account, and one of them is that the woman herself has no rights in the matter. He has met us by allowing the man to become a voluntary contributor, but the man may not like to do that. When the right hon. Gentleman brings forward his proposal in the form of an Amendment, I should like him to consider whether it would be possible, in some way or other, to give the woman some right in this question, because the man gains an option, and the woman seems to have no claim. I should like the Minister to consider that. But I recognise the Minister has met us, and, in those circumstances, I had better wait for his Amendment. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.980
§ Mr. DAVIES
I beg to move, in page 11, line 17, to leave out Subsection (2).
This Sub-section deals, not with persons who may join for the first time as voluntary contributors but with 30,000 odd such contributors who are now attached to approved societies, and I want to call the attention of the Minister to what I think may happen. First of all, I might be allowed to explain that the Bill would not be disturbed in the least, in my view, if this Sub-section were eliminated entirely, because this Sub-section implies that, unless the person who is now a voluntary contributor acquaints his approved society that he desires to continue as a voluntary contributor, he will fall out automatically from the health insurance scheme, and this scheme which is combined with it. The point I desire to make is this. If this Bill, as it intends to do, compels about 13,000,000 or 14,000.000 people to be insured, although they may not desire it, I fail to understand why, automatically, in the same way, these 30,000 people: might not fall into the same category, that is to say, why should they be asked at all. The Minister of Health knows full well that many of these voluntary contributors send in their stamped insurance card each six months without any difficulty, and I have failed to understand, although I have looked up the subject from every point of view, why this Sub-section has been included.
Let me carry the point a step further. The actuary anticipates that several hundred thousand will come into the scheme as voluntary contributors, in addition to the 30,000 who are now voluntary contributors. I should say with regard to those people who are not now attached to the scheme, it is quite proper to ask them to declare themselves in favour of joining this scheme. But, I fail to understand why people who are already under the National Health Insurance—30,000 of them—should be asked to declare their intention in this connection. I would rather reverse the order, and let them come under this scheme automatically. If they do not desire to come under the scheme, then they must declare that they do not desire to do so, but to reverse the order in the way this Sub-section does is, in my view, incomprehensible.
981 Might I put one or two other points? I would like to know, from an administrative point of view, what is actually going to happen when this Bill becomes law? It will operate as from January, 1926. Take my own society, in which we have, roughly speaking, about 100 voluntary contributors. I take it, it would be quite competent for our society, or any other approved society, to acquaint all voluntary contributors with the fact that this scheme comes into operation in January, and the voluntary contributors, having been acquainted with the fact, ought, in my view, to be included automatically within the scheme. I repeat that I fail to appreciate why this Sub-section is included in the Bill.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
The explanation is very short and simple. The hon. Gentleman says he cannot understand why it is necessary to make any change in the position of 28,000 voluntary contributors under the National Health Insurance Act. The reason is because we are now linking up the National Health Insurance Act with the Pensions Bill. These people having become voluntary contributors, not only under the national health insurance scheme, but under the Pensions Bill, the effect of the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman, if carried, would be to enable them to remain as voluntary contributors under the National Health Insurance Bill without becoming voluntary contributors under this Bill as well.
§ Mr. DAVIES
Might I put it in another form? The 13,000,000 or 14,000,000 persons now included in the national health insurance scheme are compelled to come in whether they like it or not. It is assumed by the Government that they are compelled to come into this new scheme for their own good. As these 30,000 people are attached to 'he national health insurance scheme surely they have shown a desire, at any rate, to continue their attachment to this scheme! Really, I am not yet convinced that the right hon. Gentleman has given a complete answer to me.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman is not aware that the sub-committee of the approved societies and the consultative council, appointed by the Ministry, have forwarded a resolution 982 to the effect that this Amendment should not be accepted.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Amendment on the Paper standing in the name of the hon. Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow (Mr. Maxton), in page 11, line 34, to leave out from the word "contain" to the end of the Sub-section, and to insert instead thereof the wordsbe deemed to be an insured person for the purpose of this Act but for no other purpose, and be entitled to pay contributions in accordance with the provisions of Section nine of this Act.is not in order.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I beg to move, in page 11, line 35, at the end, to insert a new Sub-section:(4) Where an uninsured man marries a woman by or in respect of whom one hundred and four contributions have been paid under this Act he may, if he gives notice within the prescribed time, and in the prescribed manner, after the marriage, become a voluntary contributor under the Insurance Act.I propose this manuscript Amendment to meet the points made by the hon. Member for West Leicester (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence).
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Mr. LEES-SMITH
I think we understand the point of this Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman has met the point put forward by saying that the woman's husband may at any time on account of past contributions become a voluntary contributor on his side; that, so to speak, the reserve value she has created may assist him.
§ Mr. LEES-SMITH
But the matter is one upon which I am not yet clear This ordinary voluntary contributor obtains in return for his contribution a right to a widow's pension, children's allowances, and an old age pension for himself. That, I gather, is the case. Now, in this case— perhaps this point has not yet occurred to the Minister of Health—that this Amendment will give him not only the right to an old age pension at 65 for himself, but will give his wife a right to an old age pension at 65. In the case of the employed contributor the Bill lays it down that if the employed contributor is getting 983 an old age pension at 65, that when his wife reaches the age of Go she will obtain that pension on account of his contributions. I am not at all sure, as I read this Clause, that as the Amendment is drafted that it will give the wife the right to an aid age pension at 65 in addition to himself. I should like to be satisfied that that will be the case, and that further Amendments required to make it clear will be put down.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
As I read this Sub-section there will be no doubt about it. It does not create a new special class of contributors, it merely adds to the existing class.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I beg to move, in page 12, line 7, at the end, to insert the wordsProvided that where a person had on attaining the age of sixty in the case of a man, or fifty-five in the case of a woman, been continuously insured for a period of ten. years, or since the fifteenth day of July, nineteen hundred and twelve (whichever period is the shorter), this Sub-section shall apply as if for reference to thirty-nine contributions and forty-five contributions there were respectively substituted references to twenty contributions and twenty-six contributions.I move this formally because I have already discussed the matter on a previous Amendment.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I beg to move, in page 12, line 10, at the end, to add the wordsWhere a person is in receipt of a pension payable by the Minister of Pensions, the Minister of Pensions may, with the consent of the pensioner, notwithstanding anything in any Act, royal warrant, order in council, or order, pay any contributions payable by the pensioner as a voluntary contributor, and deduct the amount so paid on his behalf from the pension payable to him.The object of this Amendment is to meet the wishes of those concerned in it.
§ Sir K. WOOD
No, Sir; there is an Amendment which specially deals with that which, I understand, will be taken later.
§ Amendment agreed to.984
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
Before this Motion is passed, I think it is only right and proper that I should express our appreciation of the manner in which the Minister has met us on this Clause. The concessions he has made do not, of course, go as far as we would like—that would be more than we are entitled to expect—but I think in all the circumstances he has treated us very fairly, and I want to express our appreciation of the manner in which he has done so.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I cannot say that I agree entirely with my right hon. Friend the Member for Shettleston (Mr. Wheatley), who is appearing in a new role in offering the dove of pence to our comrades opposite, but I do not want to disturb the harmony of the two Front Benches. Being only a humble backbencher myself, that would be too great an infliction on this House. I wish to raise another matter which was discussed on an earlier Amendment. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) brought up the question of the exclusion from this Bill of men who are working in our great markets as slaughtermen, or, as they are called in some part of the country, killers, who are neither within the scope of the National Health Insurance Act nor of this Measure. I thought from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Shettleston that it was almost an olive branch that he was extending, and I appeal to the generosity of the Government Front Bench to give the benefits of this Bill to these men. Many of the men, who are working in these markets as slaughtermen, have no definite employment. Where they have a definite employer, where a meat salesman employs them regularly, from week to week or from month to month, they come under the National Health Insurance Act; but in some cases these men go from meat salesman to meat salesman asking if he has any cattle to kill, and they get engagements to kill so many head of cattle, and, when that particular task is finished, they transfer their services to another meat salesman, who engages 985 them to kill so many more. Repeated efforts have been made to include these men in the National Health Insurance Act, but they have failed, and now we are making another effort to secure their inclusion.
There is no denying the fact that they are working men, their wages on an average are less than £250 per annum, they are liable to all the trials and troubles that afflict ordinary working class men, they have their periods of unemployment, and they themselves now ask that a scheme of this kind should be open to them. I understand the Minister of Agriculture, when replying to my hon. Friend, pointed out that those of them who had served for two years in the Army would be covered by this Bill, not because they were slaughtermen, but because they had served two years in the Army, and stated that a good number of men could come into the scheme in that way. I agree, and I suppose that we ought to be grateful for that, but may I point out that the men who are mostly in need of the provisions of this scheme, the older men, will not be included, because they wore not in the Army on account of their age. May I cite this example of what happens in the Glasgow and the London markets? In the Glasgow markets an undertaking like the Co-operative Society employs its own killers, paying them a standard wage, and they will all be under this Bill, because they pay national health insurance contributions, whereas other men, who have not been so fortunate to get steady employment, but depend from day to day on different meat salesmen to engage them, will be all excluded.
One might liken their case to that of dock labourers. A dock labourer might be employed to-day by a man at the docks, and be idle to-morrow. He is in search of any employer who will give him a day's work or an hour's work. These men are in exactly similar circumstances to the dock labourers at the docks. They have no steady employment, but look diligently for a roan to engage them to work for him. I cannot see why the Minister should not arrange on Report stage for these slaughtermen to be included They are only working men, and, like all other working men, they want to secure their widows against the troubles and trials of widowhood, and they have made representations that they should be included 986 in the Bill. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary who is now in charge of the Bill to grant this concession in order that he may earn from the back benches an expression of thanks which will be far more valuable than one from the Front Bench. He will probably never have another chance of getting such testimony. But, speaking seriously, the men for whom I plead are faced with a great problem. They are outside the National Health Insurance Act, they are not included even under the Workmen's Compensation Act, and now they are to be excluded from this scheme, although their case differs in no way from that of dock labourers. There is nothing to baffle the ingenuity of the Department in dealing with this problem, and I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will be able to include them in the Bill.
§ Mr. HARRISON
I wish to point out that as this Clause now stands many thousands of share fishermen will not benefit by this Bill. In some cases their position is even more serious than that of the men of whom the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) spoke just now. In some cases the share fishermen will have to pay employer's contributions in respect of the engine-room men and the cook of the vessel. If the vessel and crew are lost, the widows and families of the engine-room men and the cook will benefit, whereas the wives and families of the share fishermen will not benefit. I hope in those explorations which the Minister says he is going to make into the question of voluntary contributors, he will bear in mind the cases of the thousands of in-shore and share fishermen.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
On behalf of a large number of employed persons who will not come under this Bill, I wish to say one or two words. There is one class of workers which has not been mentioned, and would not have been raised except for a certain letter which has been addressed to hon. Members—I refer to ex-Government workers. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary has seen the circular issued by this class. I hope the Government is not going to allow this Bill, when it becomes an Act, to be their excuse for neglecting other systems of superannuation to their employés. There is a large class known as ex-Government workers who were dismissed from Govern- 987 ment employment owing to the reduction of staffs who are almost the most necessitous of all classes now because they have not got even their little businesses. I want to know if the hon. Member has any plans in mind for dealing with ex-Government workers?
§ Mr. LEES-SMITH
I would like to have a Parliamentary statement on one point. The hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) raised the subject of the deposit contributors, and I still have a certain amount of anxiety on that point. The position is that the provision by which a man is not entitled to his old age pension at 65 unless he has been insured for the previous five years by itself would throw hundreds of thousands of men out of insurance. The answer has been that the Prolongation of Insurance Act enables the approved societies to keep these men in insurance and enables them to obtain the old age pension at 65. That Act deals with members of approved societies alone, and it is not applicable to deposit contributors. The answer which the Parliamentary Secretary gave was that the rights of deposit contributors would be guaranteed by certain Regulations which either had been issued or would be issued. I am not satisfied that the rights of this large class should depend merely upon Regulations issued at the discretion of a Government Department. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether on behalf of the Government he could not say that the Government will put down a Clause of their own safeguarding the rights of deposit contributors by Statute.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I am glad that this matter of the deposit contributors has been raised. It certainly will be necessary to meet the points which hon. Members have put in connection with the Insurance Act, to put forward a Clause probably on the Report stage in another place in order that it should not rest only on Regulations, but that there should be an enabling Clause in the Bill itself. We gladly accept the suggestion made by the Leader of the Opposition in that connection, and at the appropriate time we hope to be able to put down a Clause which will leave no question at all as to the actual position. We will also take into account the representations which 988 have been made on behalf of the slaughtermen, the share fishermen and the ex-Government workers. I have endeavoured to indicate our difficulties, and I assure the Committee that there has been no lack of willingness or any lack of anxiety to bring as many people into the scheme as possible to obtain the very many undoubted benefits which accrue from joining. The difficulty has been to devise a scheme which would be actuarially sound, and would not adversely affect other contributors. If any hon. Member desires now or afterwards to put forward any scheme that will meet the situation I will undertake to give it the most careful and sympathetic consideration. It is only because of the manifest difficulties which arise directly you allow some to come in and others to stay out that you adversely affect the finance of the Bill. I undertake that the Government will do their best to meet the situation and endeavour to devise a practical scheme. I hope with that assurance the Committee will now be able to adopt this Clause.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
I have no objection to the adoption of this Clause, but I would like to say that I hope the Clause which has been promised relating to deposit contributors will be brought in during the Report stage instead of being inserted in another place. The Parliamentary Secretary knows how difficult it is to discuss Lords Amendments, and a Clause of this importance ought not to be put before us under those disadvantageous circumstances.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
May I take it that the invitation which the Parliamentary Secretary extended to the Committee to suggest schemes for the inclusion of those classes which have been left out would mean that he would consider the inclusion of class by class. Suppose, for example, a practical scheme was prepared applying to costers, would he be prepared to consider such a scheme apart from other classes?
§ Sir K. WOOD
We shall be glad to consider any scheme, but I do not think we ought to differentiate between class and class. For the case which has been suggested I see little prospect of devising a practical scheme, but any practical suggestions we shall gladly welcome. I am sure, however, that the hon. and 989 gallant Member who has made this suggestion would be the first to say we ought not to make any differentiation between class and class. We have tried to devise some scheme by which all these classes should come in, but the difficulties on the actuarial side have been very great. I may say that anything which the hon. and gallant Member can suggest of a practical nature will receive our careful attention.
§ CLAUSE 14 (Exempt persons).
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I beg to move, in page 12, line 25, to leave out from the first word "person" to the word "be" in line 32, and to insert instead thereof the wordsthen for such of the purposes of this Act as may be prescribed such contributions shall.This is merely a drafting Amendment, and its object is to make it quite clear that contributions paid in respect of an exempt person before the commencement of this Act under the National Insurance Act, and the period in respect of which they were paid should count as contribution for deciding whether the statutory conditions have been satisfied. I think that makes the object of the Clause plainer, and with those few words of explanation I beg to move.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I beg to move, in page 12, lines 33 and 34, to leave out the words "weeks since the date of the entry of that person into insurance," and to insert instead thereof the wordsany period during which that person was an exempt person or entitled to medical benefit shall be treated as a period of insurance.This is the rest of the same Amendment.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. A. GREENWOOD
I beg to move, in page 12, lines 39 and 40, to leave out the words "with such modifications as may be prescribed."
I move this Amendment in order to get some explanation from the hon. Member who has been in charge of this 990 Bill. This Bill is littered with such phrases as "with such modifications as may be prescribed." Although many people accuse Members on this side of running riot towards bureaucracy, it would seem that in this Bill there is a very large amount of uncontrolled power being left to the Minister to determine in practice the conditions under which this Bill is to work. The particular Clause which we are now considering reads:Where an exempt person by whom a certificate of exemption is surrendered is at the date of the surrender of the age of 45 or upwards, the provisions of this Act relating to Old Age Pensions thereunder shall apply in the case of that person with such modifications as may be prescribed.Presumably these modifications are to be prescribed by the Minister, and we have put down this Amendment to make quite sure that the Department or the Minister is going to prescribe conditions and modifications which are reasonable. We would desire to be assured that the Minister is not, behind the back of this House so to speak, working this Bill by a series of administrative regulations of which this House has no knowledge. I move this Amendment in the hope that we shall get a fuller and more satisfactory explanation from the Parliamentary Secretary.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I quite recognise the course the hon. Gentleman has taken, because these words always call for question, but I hope my hon. Friend will agree with me that they are necessary. He will see there that provision is made in the Clause generally to bring exempt persons within the provisions of this Bill. As he knows the exempt, as a. rule, are people who have some means of their own, and further it is some concession at any rate to bring them within the provisions of this Clause. All we desire to do by our regulations is, if at a very late date, after 45 years or upwards, some exempt persons come forward and surrender their certificates and by that means are able to claim the full provisions of the Bill, that in order to prevent abuse by people surrendering their certificates at the age of 60 by which we should not get a sufficient number of contributions, we should be able, if the necessity arose, to prescribe some conditions by which they should be regulated. We have not set them out in the Bill 991 because the event may not arise, and because it may be that no undue advantage will be taken of its provisions. If we get a flood of people coming in at a very late age then, I think the hon. Member will agree, in order to protect the finances of the Bill it may be necessary to take some steps to safeguard the funds. The event may not arise, and if we take that power in fairness to the other contributors to the scheme we could at any rate have the power to say that such late surrender must be in accordance with certain Regulations we may lay down. It is only on that account, in the event of such an event happening, and it is really in fairness to the other contributors to the scheme.
§ Mr. A. GREENWOOD
If it be merely a question as to the possible surrender of certificates by people of 60, cannot the Government put an age limit on? Is it only intended to prescribe modifications in respect of age, and, if so, at what age? If an age is determined, why does not the Government put it in the Bill? Surely, that would have been much simpler than to have left this House suspicious of the bureaucratic powers of the Department.
§ Sir K. WOOD
We do not want to do that. My hon. Friend has been in the Department and he saw very little of bureaucratic powers there. I know my hon. Friend will be one of the first to agree that we shall not take an undue advantage of this Clause.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
May I take it that this Clause deals with purely hypothetical circumstances that are only likely to arise in very rare instances? Is it not a fact that there may be a considerable number, small, relatively, to the total number of persons, but who absolutely at the age of 45 or upwards will surrender their certificates of exemption, and, if that be so, it is surely a matter of business and a matter of sound finance to have made provision for it in the Bill rather than have to wait until necessity arose to prescribe conditions of which this House will have no knowledge?
§ Sir K. WOOD
I do not think so. It is only in respect of these people who surrender at the age of 45 or upwards. The hon. Gentleman will see that it is 992 impossible in a Bill of this kind to make provisions for every possible contingency. The House will have an opportunity of discussing any regulation that may be made, in order to see that we do not take undue advantage of a very small group of people. It is only with a view to safeguarding the funds that we make the suggestion.
§ Mr. R. DAVIES
Before the hon. Gentleman passes from the point can he tell us whether these regulations will be laid upon the Table of the House in the ordinary manner as the regulations under the Health Insurance Act are laid?
§ Amendment negatived.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I beg to move, in page 13, line 5. at the end, to add the wordsProvided that if at the date of so becoming a voluntary contributor such person is of the age of forty-five or upwards, the provisions of this Act relating to old age pensions thereunder shall apply in the case of that person with such modifications as may be prescribed.The object of this provision is merely to ensure that voluntary contributors may be treated in exactly the same way as the compulsory ones.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The next Amendment, standing in the name of the hon. Member for East Ham North (Mr. C. W. Crook) and other hon. Members, at the end of the Clause to add the wordsThis Act shall nor, apply to any person who is employed in England or Wales—would come more properly as an Amendment to the next Clause, Clause 15. The following two Amendments, in the name of the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Mr. B. Peto), at the end of the Clause to add a new Sub-section:
- (a) as a teacher in recognised, or contributory, service within the meaning of the School Teachers Superannuation Acts, 1918 to 1925: or
- (b) as a teacher in re-corded service within the meaning of The Elementary School Teachers (Superannuation) Act, 1898; or
- (c) as a pupil or student teacher in a public elementary school; or
- (d) as a teacher in a public elementary school at any time after the person employed has undergone an examination in. order to qualify for the position of a certificated teacher in such a school and before the announcement of the result of the examination; or
- (e) as a teacher of any class which may be specified in a special order made after consultation with the Board of Education as being a class in the case of which the conditions of employment
993 are similar to the conditions of employment prevailing in the case of teachers falling within the foregoing exceptions relating to teachers,"(6) The widow of every person who has been engaged in any Civil Service employment for a period of not less than fifteen years, and who died before the commencement of this Act or who dies within two years after the commencement of the Act. shall be entitled to the widow's pension provided by Section one of this Act as if her husband had been a person who had complied with the statutory conditions of the Act, provided that the terms of his employment did not include the provision of a pension for his widow, and the rate of his remuneration at the time of his death or retirement from the service did not exceed two hundred and fifty pounds per annum,and at the end of the Clause to add the words:This Act shall not apply to any person engaged in clerical work under any banking or other corporation or company where the average salary of the clerical staff of the corporation or company paid to persons of forty years of age exceeds two hundred and fifty pounds per annum,should come as new Clauses.
§ Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ CLAUSE 15.—(Persons employed in excepted employments.)
§ Sir K. WOOD
I beg to move, in page 13, line 9, to leave out from the word "employment" to the end of line 12, and to insert instead thereof the wordsto which paragraph (iv) of Sub-section (1) of Section nine of this Act applies.The Committee will remember that we accepted an Amendment, moved, I think, by the hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney), which provided that the Minister of Health might give certificates in respect of people who were employed in excepted employments. Under the National Insurance Act, certain certificates were given by the Minister, and to-day we have added a Clause to the Bill by which he can give other certificates. This is a drafting Amendment to permit certificates which have been given by the Minister to be made applicable to this Clause also. It is in order to keep the Bill in conformity with the Amendment which we passed this afternoon.
§ The CHAIRMAN
May I ask the hon. Gentleman how this will affect the Amendments which follow, proposing to leave out "(d), (e), (g) or (h)"?
§ Sir K. WOOD
I am afraid there will have to be some saving here, if the hon. Members in whose names those Amendments stand intend to move them.
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out, to '(d)' in line 12, stand part of the Clause," put and negatived.
§ Proposed words there inserted.
§ Question proposed, "That the words '(d), (e), (g) or (h) of that Part of that Schedule' stand part of the Clause."
§ Mr. MacDONALD
Could the Government give us some guidance in this matter? Does not the manuscript Amendment, which was moved at the commencement of our proceedings to-day, run contrary to this Sub-section? I suspect that it does.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The manuscript Amendment that was moved to-day, as the right hon. Gentleman doubtless followed, exempted teachers from the Bill altogether, and, therefore, it affects a number of the Amendments on the Paper, which were designed to meet that particular matter. There is an Amendment in the name of the hon. and learned Member for Moss Side (Mr. G. Hurst) to insert at the end of Sub-section (2) the wordsProvided that no contributions shall in any event be payable by those whose conditions of employment as civil servants, teachers, or otherwise, involve the loss of employment on marriage.It is right that I should point out to the Committee that the manuscript Amendment, which had the approval, I think, of Members in all parts of the Committee, dealt with the question of teachers only, and, therefore, if any hon. Member desires to raise the position of other persons, it will be open to him to do so. All that the manuscript Amendment did was to exempt teachers.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
May I ask now, Mr. Hope, for some guidance from you? If you will call the Amendment to which the hon. Gentleman has just referred, it will be observed that it applies only to those persons in the various categories named who lose their employment on marriage. Therefore, I assume that, so far as teachers are concerned, it is out of order.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I beg to move, in page 14, line 7, after the word "Act," to insert the words "or within the prescribed period before."
This is consequential on the new proviso that was added to Clause 13. It enables the excepted person to count, towards the period of JO years' insurance, the period of excepted employment immediately preceding the commencement of the Act.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendments made:
§ In page 14, line 8, after the word "is," insert the word "was."
In line 9, leave out from the word "then" to the word "contributions" in line 13, and insert instead thereof the words
for such of the purposes of this Act as may be prescribed."—[The Attorney-General.]
§ Sir K. WOOD
I beg to move, in page 14, line 19, to leave out the words "other than a married woman."
The object of this Amendment, and a later one on the Paper in the name of my right hon. Friend, is to put the person who ceases or has ceased to be employed in excepted employment in the same position as the person who ceases or has ceased to be an exempted person.
§ Amendment agreed to.
Further Amendment made: In page 14, line 21, leave out from the word "applies" to the word "he" in line 35. and insert instead thereof the words
not being a married woman or a person in respect of whom no contributions under this Act were, or would had he continued to be so employed sifter the commencement of this Act have been, payable whilst he was so employed, ceases or has before the commencement of this Act ceased to be so employed."— [Mr. N. Chamberlain.]
§ Mr. A. GREENWOOD
I beg to move, in page 14, line 37, to leave out Subsection (6).
I move this for the purpose of obtaining an explanation in plain English of 996 what exactly the Sub-section means. I will read it to the Committee:Where a person is employed in an employment which is an excepted employment by virtue of paragraph (k) of Part II of the First Schedule to the Insurance Act (which relates to employment otherwise than by way of manual labour and at a rate of remuneration exceeding in value two hundred and fifty pounds a year), he shall, for the purposes of this Act, be treated as employed in an employment which is an excepted employment by virtue of that paragraph and not in an employment which is an excepted employment by virtue of any other paragraph, or a certificate given under any other paragraph, of the same Part of the same Schedule, notwithstanding that the employment in which he is engaged is an employment which is an excepted employment also by virtue of such other paragraph or certificate, and his employment shall not be deemed to be an excepted employment to which this Section applies.I have a feeling in my mind that this is a protection for the beneficiaries under the Act, but the wording is so obscure that I feel quite sure Members of the House, and much more, members of the public outside, will fail to appreciate what its true inwardness is. I move in the hope that we shall obtain a simple and straightforward explanation.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I am not surprised that this explanation has been asked for. I agree that it is a little difficult to follow the meaning or effect of the Sub-section. The object of it really is this. There are people who are excepted from the Act by reason of the fact that they are employed at more than £200 a year and not by way of manual labour. There are same people who might also be excepted for some other reason, for instance, that they are employed by a local authority or something of that kind. Therefore you would get people who come under two different categories. What are you to do with those people? We want to make it clear that if they are above £250 a year they are outside the Act altogether, and the effect of this will be that if you get someone who is employed, let us say, by a local authority at a salary of £240 a year he would come within the Clause, because he is an excepted person by virtue of paragraph (k). If he were employed at more than £250 by a local authority he is outside this, because paragraph (k) applies to him, and that would be the ruling paragraph. It is in order to make that clear that this somewhat complicated language is used, but I think the effect of it is 997 reasonable and what the Committee would desire.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. DAVIES
I beg to move, in page 15, line 2, after the word "shall," to insert the wordsif the rate of remuneration does not exceed in value Three hundred and fifty pounds a year, be deemed to be insured.This Amendment raises a very important issue. When the National Insurance Act came into force it was laid down that any workman who followed an occupation by way of manual labour was compelled to be insured irrespective of the amount of his wages, and if he earned £5, or £10, or any number of pounds per week, if he followed an occupation by way of manual labour he was compulsorily insured. But, strange to say, if he was a clerk or shop assistant or was not following an occupation by way of manual labour he was not compulsorily insured if his income exceeded the rate of £160 per annum. The War came along and disturbed the values of wages and altered the standard of life, and an Act was passed later, which provided that no person whose income exceeded £250 per annum was entitled, if a non-manual worker, to be included in the scheme. That rate is £4 16s. 3d. per week, and the point we desire to make is that it is not fair to the non-manual worker to say that he shall fall out of the National Insurance scheme simply because his wage exceeds £4 16s. 2d. a week. That is not an excessive remuneration. Many of these people and their wives and children are as much entitled to this social insurance scheme as if they were manual workers in receipt of £7 or £8 a week. The idea has crept into the whole scheme that a man is above want simply because his income is beyond the rate of £250 and that he should not be entitled to sickness, disablement, maternity or medical benefit under a State scheme. We want to declare that that sum is too low by far, and we would like the opportunity taken to alter it and make it £350 per annum. I do not know how many such persons there are who were once compulsorily insured under the National Insurance Act, and have fallen out because their income exceeds £4 16s. 2d. I cannot understand anyone on that side of the House regarding £250 998 as a very large sum of money for the father of a family.
The right hon. Gentleman will probably say this is not an opportune time to alter the law, and that this Bill docs not deal with the fundamental issue, but he has taken the opportunity of altering many points in connection with national insurance. He has altered many substantial points in connection with National Health Insurance. The time has arrived when the thousands of people who are compelled yearly to fall out of the scheme because of this narrow income limit ought to be removed from that stage, and included within the limit which I have suggested in this Amendment.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The hon. Member has already anticipated my reply. This Bill is interlocked with the National Health Insurance Act, in which Act the limit is £250. He seeks, for the purpose of this Bill only, to increase the amount to £350. That is a fundamental alteration in the law of National Health Insurance as well as pensions. My reply is that an alteration of that kind, going to the fundamental principles of insurance, is not a matter that we can deal with in this Bill. I agree that there is a. good deal to be said for the hon. Member's point of view. It has been represented to me on many occasions that the amount ought to be increased in order that people above the existing income limit may have the advantage both of National Health Insurance and of this Bill. That is not a matter which we can deal with on this Bill, and I hope the hon. Member having made his point, will not see fit to press the Amendment further.
Mr. T. THOMSON
I wish to express disappointment at the answer of the Parliamentary Secretary. Could he not insert the provision increasing the limit to £350 in this Bill, and bring in another Bill next year amending the National Insurance Act? That is the easiest way out of the difficulty. He could get half the work done now and leave the other half for next year.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 115; Noes, 260.1001
|Division No. 266.]||AYES.||[9.59 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hurdle, George D.||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Stall., Cannock)||Harney, E. A.||Scurr, John|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Sexton, James|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hastings, Sir Patrick||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hayes, John Henry||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hirst, G. H.||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Barr, J.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Snell, Harry|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Stamford. T. W.|
|Broad, F. A.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Bromley, J.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Buchanan, G.||Kelly, W. T.||Taylor, R. A.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kennedy, T.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lawson, John James||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro, W.)|
|Clynes, Right Hon. John R.||Lowth, T.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Compton, Joseph||Lunn, William||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Connolly, M.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Thurtle, E.|
|Cove, W. G.||Mackinder, W.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||MacLaren, Andrew||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Viant, S. P.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||March, S.||Warne, G. H.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Maxton, James||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Dennison, R.||Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Dunnico, H.||Montague, Frederick||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Morris, R. H.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Westwood, J.|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Naylor, T. E.||Whiteley, W.|
|Glbbins, Joseph||Oliver, George Harold||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Gillett, George M.||Paling, W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Gosling, Harry||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Ponsonby, Arthur||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Greenall, T.||Potts, John S.||Windsor, Walter|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Wright, W.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Riley, Ben||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich)|
|Groves, T.||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Grundy, T. W.||Rose, Frank H.||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. A.|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Saklatvala, Shapurji||Barnes.|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Erskine, James Malcolm Montelth|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Caine, Gordon Hall||Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)|
|Albary, Irving James||Campbell, E. T.||Everard, W. Lindsay|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Cassels, J. D.||Fairfax, Captain J. G.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Falle, Sir Bertram G.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Fleming, D. P.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.|
|Astor, Viscountess||Christie, J. A.||Forrest, W.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Clarry, Reginald George||Foster, Sir Harry S.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Clayton, G. C.||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.|
|Balniel, Lord||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Fraser, Captain, Ian|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Galbraith, J. F. W.|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Cooper, A. Duff||Ganzoni, Sir John|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Cope, Major William||Gates, Percy|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Couper, J. B.||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham|
|Berry, Sir George||Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Bethell, A.||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Goff, Sir Park|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Gower, Sir Robert|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Grace, John|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Grant, J. A.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Greene, W. P. Crawford|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Curtis-Bennett, Sir Henry||Grotrian, H. Brent|
|Brass, Captain W.||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Guinness Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Royton)||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hammersley, S. S.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Hanbury, C.|
|Brown. Maj. D. C.(N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Dixey, A. C.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Doyle, Sir N. Grattan||Harland, A.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Drews, C.||Harrison, G. J. C.|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Elliot, Captain Walter E.||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)|
|Burman, J. B.||Elveden, Viscount||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D.||England, Colonel A.||Haslam, Henry C.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Hawke, John Anthony|
|Henderson, Capt. R.R.(Oxfd, Henley)||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D, Mol. (Renfrew, W.)|
|Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Henniker-Hughan, Vice-Adm. Sir A.||Merriman, F. B.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Hilton, Cecil||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon Sir S. J. G.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Smithers, Waldron|
|Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Holt, Capt. H. P.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Spender Clay, Colonel H.|
|Homan, C. W. J.||Morden, Col. W. Grant||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Moreing, Captain A. H.||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)|
|Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Murchison, C. K.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Nelson, Sir Frank||Storry Deans, R.|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U.M. (Hackney, N.)||Neville, R. J.||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Strickland, Sir Gerald|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen, Sir Aylmer||Nuttall, Ellis||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's)||Oakley, T.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Pennefather, Sir John||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Jacob, A. E.||Penny, Frederick George||Tinne, J. A.|
|James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Perring, William George||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Pete, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Philipson, Mabel||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|King, Captain Henry Douglas||Pilditch, Sir Philip||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Preston, William||Wells, S. R.|
|Lamb, J. O.||Price, Major C. W. M.||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Col. George R.||Rains, W.||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Rees, Sir Beddoe||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Remer, J. R.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Rentoul, G. S.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Loder, J. de V.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Looker, Herbert William||Rice, Sir Frederick||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Lougher, L.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Lowe, Sir Francis William||Rye, F. G.||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Salmon, Major I.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).|
|Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Sandeman, A. Stewart||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Macintyre, Ian||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|McLean, Major A.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.-|
|MacRobert, Alexander M.||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)||Lord Stanley and Captain|
|Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W. R., Sowerby)||Margesson.|
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I beg to move in line 15, page 15, after the word "employment," to insert the words "to which this Section applies."
This Amendment and the two following Amendments substantially modify the Clause in the Bill, which is designed to provide for particular cases of persons who have been in excepted employment, or have been exempted themselves, who have retired on superannuation allowance and taken up thereafter insurable employment. If hon. Members will look at the Sub-section they will find that it divides itself into two paragraphs dealing with two classes of cases. Paragraph (a) is designed to deal with the case of the policeman who has had everything provided for him that will be provided under this Bill. If that ex-policeman, having retired from police employment, and having the benefit accrued to him from his superannuation allowance, 1002 including provision for widows and children, takes up insurable employment, he is out of the Bill. He pays no contributions, because he has already rights in respect of his own employment, which are equivalent to those of the Bill, but the amended paragraph provides that contributions shall be payable by his employer, because it is necessary that that man shall not enter employment at an advantage compared with other people in respect of whom similar contributions have to be paid.
The second paragraph deals with cases like those in which there is the pensioned official of a local authority. This pensioned official was a pensioned official for widows' and orphans' pensions, or, at any rate, would have been so if his remuneration had not been altered. When he takes up insurable employment it will be on another rate of contribution, but he will be entitled to modified grants of old age pension 1003 because he has not paid contributions in respect of old age pensions. Therefore, we feel that we cannot give him fully the old age pension, but we will give him a modified right which is to be prescribed in Regulations, which are afterwards to be laid before the House. That is the substance of the Amendment, and I hope that they may be agreed to.
§ Amendment agreed to.
Amendment proposed: In page 15, line 38, to leave out from the word "Act" to the end of the Sub-section, and to insert instead thereof the words
the provisions of this Act relating to old age pensions payable thereunder, or by virtue thereof, shall apply in the case of that person in such circumstances only, and subject to such modifications as may be prescribed."—[Mr. N. Chamberlain.]
§ Mr. B. PETO
I quite follow the right hon. Gentleman's explanation in regard to his Amendment. It appears to be conclusive with regard to the widows of police officers who are fully covered at the present time. I would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman to bear in mind that while those whose widows who are provided for should be left out of the Bill, it is equally clear that the widows of those police officers who retired before September, 1918, for whom no provision whatever is made, should be allowed to come under the Bill. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will see that the converse of his proposition is as true as the proposition which is put before the Committee.
§ Mr. R. DAVIES
Am I correct in assuming that the regulations governing these modifications will be given to the insured person beforehand, under the wording of the Amendment, so that the payment will be made in the ordinary way and that when the man comes to claim the pension he will not find that he is debarred from receiving the pension because of something else? What I want to ensure is that the regulations will be issued in such a way that every one of these people shall know exactly where he stands.
§ Major HORE - BELISHA
I support what the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Mr. B. Peto) has said. I would like the right hon. Gentleman to make some statement as regards the widows of 1004 policemen, because to-day these widows draw pensions, and a- police officer to-day draws a very much higher rate of pay than formerly, whereas the widows of policemen who retired before 1918 get absolutely nothing.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
With regard to the question of the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. R. Davies), the regulations will be drawn up and published and laid before the House, so that there will be no doubt about the matter. I am not certain that I apprehend the point that has been put by the hon. Member for Barnstaple, but there is a proviso, as he will see, which makes an exception to the general rule laid down in the first category of cases, which so that persons who have retired already on superannuation and have taken up insurance employment before the commencement of the Act will continue to remain on as fully insured persons with modified rights to an old age pension.
§ Mr. PETO
That is the point as far as those who are able to enter into insurable employment are concerned. Many of these people are old people, and their widows are old women, and they have no provision whatever made for them. If the husband, after he has left the police force, and re hypothesi, before September, 1918, has left on superannuation, his widow does not get a farthing.
§ Amendment agreed to
§ Further Amendments made:
In page 15, line 40. at the end, insert the words,
Provided that where a person to whom paragraph (a) would apply is a person who at the commencement of this Act was an insured or exempt person, he shall be treated as if he were a person to whom paragraph (a) did not, but paragraph (b) did, apply.
Where a person has been employed in an employment which would have been an excepted employment to which this Section applies had the rate of his remuneration not exceeded two hundred and fifty pounds a year this Section shall apply to him in manner provided in the Schedule of this Act.
§ In page 16, line 12, leave out the word "this," and insert the words "the Insurance."— [Mr. N. Chamberlain.]
§ Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.1005
§ CLAUSE 16.—(Application of Act to persons in service of Crown.)
§ Major HORE-BELISHA
I beg to move, in page 16, line 31, to leave out Sub-section (3).
Briefly, the intention of the Amendment is to make the pensions scheme non-contributory, as far as the lower deck ratings in the Navy and soldiers and airmen are concerned. I am sure that, with their well-known and almost atavistic sympathies with the fighting Services, the Government will have no difficulty in accepting this Amendment. The grounds upon which I advance it are these: I have just looked at the Navy List, and I find that there are, roughly speaking, 100,000 men in the Navy, and only 5,000 officers. The widows of those 5,000 officers would receive £57,000 per annum in pensions, and the widows of the men would receive only £13,000. In other words, although there are 20 times more men than officers, the officers receive 4½ times more pension than the men, in prefect of their widows. There can be no possible cause whatever for this differentiation. If you give to the widow of an officer in the Navy, Army or Air Force a pension for which the officer has not contributed, you have no right to exact from the naval rating or from the soldier or airman, a contribution in respect of exactly the same right, and a light which is far less lucrative than in the case of the officer. It has been demanded for many years in the Royal Navy that the widows of naval ratings should receive pensions.
You get disasters in the Royal Navy. You had one the other day, when men were returning from leave, and because they were not engaged immediately in a duty which caused their death they were deprived of pensions altogether. They have to fall within the ambit of the Workmen's Compensation Act, and they have to be killed in an affair which is directly related to their duty before they can get any pensions for their widows at all. On the other hand, the officer, who pays no contribution whatever, receives from the Admiralty a pension at a high rate. I submit if we have any regard for logic and fairness we should put the naval rating on exactly the same basis as the officer. The widows of naval ratings are, often left in a very severe plight. They are left destitute 1006 and cast upon charity although the deaths of their bread winners have been caused by circumstances which in no sense differ from the circumstances in which the officer may die. An officer and a man may be killed in exactly the same mishap; the widow of the officer will get a pension while the widow of the man gets nothing. I know an officer's widow cannot demand a pension as of right. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Yes, but it depends entirely on her circumstances. If the widow of an officer is in bad circumstances, then she can get a pension and in practically all such cases she does. I do not think there is any instance in which the widow of an officer has been refused a pension when she has been left in circumstances of destitution. The widow of a naval rating is almost always left in circumstances of destitution. I feel certain the Government will regard this case with sympathy, and knowing as I do their wish to do justice as between officers and men, I submit this Amendment in the confidence that it will be accepted.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The hon. and gallant Member has made a very forcible appeal to the Committee, but he has raised the question which is not appropriate to this particular Bill. He has suggested that there is some differentiation—with which he is probably better acquainted than I am—between different classes of men who serve in the forces.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The discussion of this Hill is not the occasion to put these matters right if they require to be put right. All we have to see to here is that the appropriate contributions are made by the Admiralty and the men themselves.
§ Sir K. WOOD
All we are stating here is that the same contribution should be made by men engaged in these services as are made by other sections of the population. I know that the hon. and gallant Member would like to put all these matters right but we cannot deal with them here. So far as widows' pensions are concerned this is not an unfair provision, and it is appropriate to the Bill as a whole. I know the hon. and gallant 1007 Member has many times raised these questions in the House, and I am not surprised that he should have raised them now, but in regard to this Bill we must in fairness to everybody concerned, especially the contributors, have some payments in respect of all classes who contribute on the same terms and receive the same benefits. I hope that the hon. and gallant Member, having put the case in such forcible terms, will not press his Amendment any further.
§ Mr. HARNEY
I could not miss the opportunity of taking my stand beside my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Devonport (Major Horen-Belisha) in accentuating the fact that the Services are not the monopoly of those on the other side of the Committee. It is delightful to feel that for once I am raising the standard of doing what is right for the Navy. The only difference between the hon. Members on this side and those on the other side is that when they do a good thing they are thinking of the officers, and when we do a good thing we are thinking of the men. I rather agree with the Parliamentary Secretary that the Amendment is not perhaps quite logically appropriate, but this is an occasion for removing an anomaly. Judging from what my hon. and gallant Friend has said, it would appear that a naval officer may die comfortably in his bed and, if he leaves his widow destitute, she can claim sustenance from the State, but the poor man who serves under him, before he can make any claim at all either to the mercy or the justice of the State, has to die a violent death on the battlefield or by some accident in the course of his occupation. That is an anomaly that ought to be removed. The Under-Secretary said it was not appropriate to this Bill. It is not logically so, I agree, but this Bill deals with the giving of benefits in return for contributions. There are some persons who are asked for less contributions than others, those in the exception Clauses and those in the exemption Clauses, and what the hon. and gallant Member asks is that the subordinates in the Navy should form a third class and should get the benefits without any contributions at all, and if they do so it will bring about this very desirable result, that we, at all events, on the Liberal side will have voiced the 1008 universal sentiment that those who fight and die for their country should receive the benefits which it has to give without giving further contributions than the risks they run when they incur the chances of death or accident on the battlefield. For these reasons I support the Amendment.
§ Colonel APPLIN
I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is bringing into this Clause the workers in the small arms factory at Enfield. They at present are without pension, and I should like to know if they come under this Clause at all. At the present moment they are working for the Government in very much the same position as the men in the Army and Navy, with this exception, that they are not entitled under the present Regulations to any pension at all, although in 1870 these workers were entitled to and did actually get pensions.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
I think that if there is any class which can establish a claim to have its contributions paid by the State, it is the soldier, the naval man and the aircraftsman. I have just put my hand on the Royal Warrant for pay, and I see some of the stoppages to which the paltry pay of the private soldier is already liable. He may be liable to stoppage for a. marriage allowance of 2s. a day; for mess and washing, 5½d, a day; and if be loses his medal, he is liable—
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
May I submit that on this Amendment; a good reason why the State should pay these contributions, is that a private soldier is not in a position to pay, as I hope to show if you will allow me to continue my argument.
§ The DEPUTY - CHAIRMAN
The Amendment has nothing to do with a private soldier's pension in the Army.
§ Captain FOXCROFT
I should like to congratulate the hon. Members opposite on the new-found keenness of the Liberal party for the Navy, but I think we must agree that, if anomalies are to be cor- 1009 rected, they should be corrected, not under this Bill, but by the Admiralty.
§ Mr. BROAD
I want to support this Amendment, and in so doing to point out that the arguments of the Government amount to this, that it is a case always of jam yesterday or jam to-morrow, but never jam to-day. We are, by this Clause, imposing charges on the Army Estimates, the Air Estimates and the Navy Estimates, and we are also altering the conditions of service in the pay of the men, by imposing this charge on them. Let the Government be a model employer, and pay the whole of this contribution on behalf of the men on the lower deck and in the ranks of the Army and Air Force, and then it is possible that some good employers may follow such a worthy example, and also pay the whole. I hope the Committee will accept this Amendment, because I am sure in some of these ranks the men are not too well paid at present, and I hope to see in future such pay as will enable them to marry and keep a decent home, because there is quite enough demoralising effect in barrack life without keeping these men single to such a late period of life, and I am sure the deduction of this money from their small pay will be another deterrent to their getting married.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
Did I correctly understand you, Captain FitzRoy, to rule that I was not in Order in quoting the stoppages from a soldier's pay as a reason why the Government should pay the contributions under this Bill?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. and gallant Member is not entitled to discuss this question on this particular Amendment. If he wants to raise the question of stoppages from the pay of soldiers and sailors, he should do so under the Army and Navy Estimates.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
With all respect to your ruling, I am not arguing the merits or demerits of the stoppages made under the Royal Warrant. I was hoping seriously to show, and I think I can show, that a soldier's pay is not able to stand any further drafts made upon it and if you allow me to go on for a few minutes I think I shall show myself to be in Order.
§ Mr. THURTLE
I should not have risen to take part in the Debate had it 1010 not been for the very moving appeal of the hon. and gallant Member for Devon-port (Major Hore-Belisha) in favour of equality for officers and men. I am a passionate believer in equality, and I could not resist the appeal of my hon. and gallant Friend in that regard. I discover, in looking up the Navy Estimates, that this equality which exists between officers and men is indeed most marked.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
Whether it is marked or not, it does not come under this scheme. That question should be discussed on the Army or the Navy Estimates.
§ Mr. THURTLE
I find, at any rate, that the other ranks and the ratings of the Navy really do not receive sufficient pay to enable them to bear this fresh impost, and on that ground I would like to urge that the Government, with its well-known zeal for the. men of the Service, their desire to do everything possible for their benefit and comfort, should consider seriously whether or not they can accept this Amendment. We on this side are perfectly entitled to press this point as strongly as we possibly can. We sought to make this whole scheme non-contributory. We failed in our effort to do that, but if we can make one slight breach in the contributory system, it will be something, and we hope to be able to lead the whole of the embattled hosts on the other side with us in making this breach in the contributory system, because we cannot believe that they who are so zealous for the well-being of the services, the men of the Army and Navy, will be deaf to the justice of this particular appeal, and not support us on this occasion. If hon. Members cannot bring sufficient moral pressure to beat upon their Front Bench to get them to give way, I hope they will exert a more effective pressure in the Division Lobby.
§ Major Sir BERTRAM FALLE
We on this side draw no distinction between the officer or the man either in the Army or the Navy. In the last Parliament the word "eyewash'' was ruled rot to be Parliamentary, but this afternoon it was accepted by Mr. Speaker. Perhaps that may account for some of the things we have heard from both sides. So far as I know the Army, in which I had the honour to serve, and also the Navy—and 1011 I represent the headquarters of the Fleet-I do not for a moment believe that either the Army or the Navy desire any charity on the part of the Government. I have had something to do, in fact a good deal, with the contributory scheme which was suggested before this Bill was brought in, and the men of the Navy were perfectly willing and ready to subscribe for their own insurance and advantage. I am absolutely persuaded that the men of the Navy and the Army do not desire charity. [Interruption.] The hon. Member opposite interrupts me. I did not interrupt him. As between officers and men it is perfectly true that if an officer has a very small income, and he leaves his wife destitute, the Admiralty "may" give her a pension, they may, but she must have a very small income herself. I know many instances of officers who died, and who were receiving a £50 pension—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I am afraid what the hon. and gallant Gentleman is saying has nothing to do with the Amendment before the Committee.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
I desire, Captain FitzRoy, not to pursue my previous argument, having regard to your ruling, but I desire to point out that under the Royal Warrant at present in force it is possible for the whole of the soldier's pay to be deducted to within a penny per week. May I quote in support of that the Royal Warrant which says that the pay and other emoluments of the soldier, after meeting the actual expenses of messing and washing, are liable to meet any other charges that fall properly to be met, provided that one penny shall be lift to the soldier. Supposing, however, it happens that a soldier's pay is completely stopped for three or four weeks and there is no money left for this contribution] Is it not desirable to put in some safeguarding Clause to ensure any benefit should continue and not be endangered? Some provision ought to be made, to meet that contingency.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 257: Noes, 112.1015
|Division No. 267.]||AYES.||[10.40 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Cadogen, Major Hon. Edward||Fairfax, Captain J. G.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Caine, Gordon Hall||Falle, Sir Bertram G.|
|Albery, Irving James||Campbell, E. T.||Fleming, D. P.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Cassels, J. D.||Forestler-Walker, Sir L.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Forrest, W.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Foster, Sir Harry S.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Christie, J. A.||Fraser, Captain Ian|
|Astor, Viscountess||Clarry, Reginald George||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Clayton. G. C.||Ganzoni, Sir John|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Gates, Percy|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Gauit Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton|
|Balniel, Lord||Cooper, A. Duff||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchen||Couper, J. B.||Gilmour, Colonel Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Goft, Sir Park|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L.||Gower, Sir Robert|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Grace, John|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Crook, C. W.||Grant, J. A.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Greene, W. P. Crawford|
|Bethell, A.||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Grotrian, H. Brent|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Hammersley, S. S.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Rayton)||Hanbury, C.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Harland, A.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Dixey, A. C.||Harrison, G. J. C.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. H.||Doyle, Sir N. Grattan||Hartington. Marquess of|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Drewe, C.||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Harvey, Major s. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Brown, Maj. D. C.(N'th'rd., Hexham)||Elliot, Captain Walter E.||Haslam, Henry C.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Elveden, Viscount.||Hawke, John Anthony|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||England, Colonel A.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Henderson, Lieut.-Col, V. L. (Bootle)|
|Burman, J. B.||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.|
|Burney Lieut.-Com Charles D.||Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)||Henniker-Hughan, Vice-Adm. Sir A.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Everard, W. Lindsay||Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)|
|Hilton, Cecil||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T, C. R. (Ayr)||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Holt, Capt. H. P.||Morden, Cot. W. Grant||Smithers, Waldron|
|Homan, C. W. J.||Moreing, Captain A. H.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Spender Clay, Colonel H.|
|Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Murchison, C. K.||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Nelson, Sir Frank||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Neville, R. J.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Hudson, R. S. (Cumb'l'nd, Whiteh'n)||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Storry Deans, R.|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Nuttall, Ellis||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Oakley, T.||Strickland, Sir Gerald|
|Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's)||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Pennefather, Sir John||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Jacob, A. E.||Penny, Frederick George||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Perring, William George||Tinne, J. A.|
|Kennedy, A. R. (Preston).||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Tryon. Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Kindersley, Major G. M.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Waddington, R.|
|King, Captain Henry Douglas||Phillpson, Mabel||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Pilditch, Sir Philip||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Lamb, J. Q.||Preston, William||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Col. George R.||Price, Major C. W. M.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Raine, W.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Rees, Sir Beddoe||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Reiner, J. R.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Rentoul, G. S.||Wells, S. R.|
|Loder, J. de V.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Looker, Herbert William||Rice, Sir Frederick||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Lougher, L.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Rye, F. G.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Salmon, Major I.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Samuel, A. M, (Surrey, Farnham)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Macintyre, Ian||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Womersley, W. J.|
|McLean, Major A.||Sandeman, A. Stewart||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|MacRobert, Alexander M.||Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Wood, Rt. Hon. E. (York, W. R., Ripon)|
|Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Savery, S. S.||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).|
|Margesson, Captain D.||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mol. (Renfrew, W.)|
|Merriman, F. B.||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.-|
|Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Captain Douglas Hacking and|
|Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Shepperson, E. W.||Major Cope.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Naylor, T. E.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Oliver, George Harold|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Groves, T.||Owen, Major G.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Grundy, T. W.||Paling, W.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Guest, Or. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hardle, George D.||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Barnes, A.||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Potts, John S.|
|Barr, J.||Hastings, Sir Patrick||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hayes, John Henry||Riley, Ben|
|Broad, F. A.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Bromley, J.||Hirst, G. H.||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Rose, Frank H.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Clynes, Right Hon. John R.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Compton, Joseph||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Scurr, John|
|Connolly, M.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Sexton, James|
|Cove, W. G.||Kelly, W. T.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Kennedy, T.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lawson, John James||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Livingstone, A. M.||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Lowth, T.||Slesser, sir Henry H.|
|Dennison, R.||Lunn, William||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Duncan, C.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Snell, Harry|
|Dunnico, H.||Mackinder, W.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||MacLaren, Andrew||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Taylor, R. A.|
|Gillett, George M.||March, S.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Gosling, Harry||Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro, W.)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Montague, Frederick||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Greenall, T.||Morris, R. H.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Greenwood. A (Nelson and Colne)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Thurtle, E.|
|Tinker, John Joseph||Westwood, J.||Wright, W.|
|Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.||Whiteley, W.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Viant, S. P.||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Warne, G. H.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)||Mr. Harney and Major Hore-|
|Watts-Morgan, Lt:-Col. D. (Rhondda)||Wilson, R. J, (Jarrow)||Belisha.|
|Welsh, J. C.||Windsor, Walter|
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ CLAUSE 17.—(Provisions as to seamen.)
§ Mr. B. PETO
I Beg to move, in page 16, line 37, after the word "Trade," to insert the words "and organisations representing the masters and seamen."
The Committee will observe that this Clause deals with special provisions as to seamen, and it commences by saying that the Minister after a consultation with the Board of Trade shall make a special Order modifying in such manner as he thinks proper the provisions of this Act in their application to masters and seamen. I do not think it is asking much to ask that the Minister of Health, as well as consulting the Board of Trade before he makes such alterations in this Act as he sees fit, should at least consult some of the organisations who represent the masters and seamen in the Merchant Service. I am told that it will be difficult for the Minister if I move this Amendment in exactly the words on the Paper because there are several different organisations representing masters and seamen, and the Minister might not know which organisation to consult. I am quite ready to meet that objection by omitting the word "the" and leave it to the Minister to consult organisations really representing masters and seamen. Every member of the Committee probably knows what those organisations are, and I am quite sure that hon. Members opposite know well enough what organisations really represent the seamen. Therefore it is quite easy for the Minister to agree with this Amendment, and I think he ought to. I can go further. The Amendment is so obvious, and if the Minister cannot see his way to agree with it I shall be compelled to go to a Division.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I may at once assure my hon. Friend that in all these cases which arise in connection with the Mercantile Marine the Minister and the Board of Trade take all adequate steps to ascertain the opinions of the masters and the men, and I feel some hesitation in 1016 accepting my hon. Friend's Amendment for one of the reasons he himself has mentioned. As this Amendment originally stood, it said "consultations with the organisations of masters and mew." As he knows, I think it would be most invidious for a Minister to have to consult every conceivable organisation, some big and some small, in this connection. My hon. Friend, in order to meet that point, leaves out the word "the" and makes it "consult organisations." That, of course, can leave it to the Minister. He may consult the principal one, or two of the principal ones, or not, as he thinks fit, and it really takes the matter very little further than at the present time. I must point out to my hon. Friend that, much as I would like to meet him, the masters and men are not the only people to be consulted in this connection. There would be the shipowners—
§ Sir K. WOOD
The Amendment would have to include all classes, including the shipowners. I hope my hon. Friend will accept the assurance that we give in this connection that we shall consult the appropriate organisations, and not impose conditions that would be difficult to carry out in practice.
§ Mr. PETO
I am sorry not to be able to agree with the hon. Gentleman. Only to-day I was informed by these organisations that they feel rather keenly that they are not consulted on these matters, which are vital to the interests of the masters and men in the Mercantile Marine. Therefore, as I am informed that the shipowners see no possible objection, and as the shipowners are not insured persons under this Bill, I cannot see any reason why the Amendment should not be accepted.
§ Mr. SEXTON
The hon. Gentleman seems to me to have got into a sort of intellectual "doldrums" in regard to this matter. There are not more than three or four of those organisations, and, therefore, there is no great difficulty in consulting them. It is not as if the 1017 number of organisations were very large. There would be no difficulty in consulting the very few organisations representing the seamen, the masters, the officers and the shipowners, and I cannot see why the hon. Gentleman should object to accepting this Amendment.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I really do not think that this is an Amendment upon which the Committee ought to spend time. My hon. Friend has assured the Committee that in this case, as in all cases, the Board of Trade will always consult all the people concerned. That has always been the practice in the past, and it will always be the practice in the future. Why, therefore, should be put into this Bill in this particular case an instruction that they are to consult a particular section of those who are interested, and not others? It seems to me that that would only cause confusion in future, because it would suggest that no one ought to be consulted except those who are particularly mentioned. I think the Board of Trade ought to be able to consult anybody and everybody who is interested in this question.
It seems to me extraordinary that the right hon. Gentleman should get up and say, "I accept everything the hon. Gentleman asks, but please do not force me to say so." That is the sum total of the speech we have just heard. My hon. Friend said that he anticipated the objection of the Government Bench, and was prepared to meet it by deleting the word "the," in other words, that it would be left to the discretion of the Ministry to consult the proper organisations. That is the object of the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman says, "Why all this bother? That we do now; that we are always prepared to do; that was always in our mind." Very well; then what is the objection to the Amendment? The real difference is that, while the light hon. Gentleman is there he will give effect to it; when we are transferred from here to there we will give effect to it; but we have to legislate for those foolish people who may not give effect to it. Therefore, if the Amendment be accepted, that will be provided for.
§ 11.0 P.M.
§ Mr. HANNON
I desire to support the Amendment. Really, the Mercantile 1018 Marine of this country deserve more consideration than haw been manifest from the Government Bench this evening. The Amendment of my hon. Friend is a very reasonable one, and I do not see any reason whatever, if these organisations are to be consulted, why it should not be put in the Bill. There is only a small number. They have all been actually engaged in looking after the interests of the seamen for a long time. The shipowners are not an insured body, thank God! I suggest that the Parliamentary Secretary ought to accept the Amendment and dispose of the matter.
§ Sir K. WOOD
In order to meet my hon. Friend I will, on the Report stage, endeavour to put in words after "the Board of Trade" in a form which he would desire providing that we will invite observations from such societies, associations, or trade unions as it may think fit.
§ Mr. HARNEY
I am one of those who are not satisfied. The phrase suggested by the Parliamentary Secretary is in all respects the equivalent, except that it is not so good as the phrase in the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman has said that in the past it has been the habit to do the very thing the hon. Member asks should be put in the Bill. I should have thought that a practice which has been sanctified by usage would really exult in the glorification of having a statutory halo put round its head. There can be no objection whatever to putting, as a matter of strict statutory right, what has been found in the working of the Department to be necessary in order to carry out its duties effectively. I think the hon. Member ought to persist in his Amendment and not allow the words "think fit" to rob it of all its force. It force is that it shall be done by the decree of Parliament, and that it shall not be left to the discretion of the Minister.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."1020
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 123; Noes, 232.1021
|Division No, 268]||AYES.||[11.3 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hardie, George D.||Riley, Ben|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hartley, E. A.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F.O.(W. Bromwich)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Robinson, W.C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hastings, Sir Patrick||Rose, Frank H.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hayes, John Henry||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Barnes, A.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Barr, J.||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L, (Bootle)||Scurr, John|
|Batey, Joseph||Hirst, G. H.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Broad, F. A.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Bromley, J.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Buchanan, G.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Snell, Harry|
|Cluse, W. S.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Clynes, Right Hon. John R.||Kelly, W. T.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Compton, Joseph||Kennedy, T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Connolly, M.||Lawson, John James||Taylor, R. A.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Livingstone, A. M.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lowth, T.||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro, W.)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lunn, William||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Day, Colonel Harry||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plalstow)|
|Duncan, C.||Mackinder, W.||Thurtle, E.|
|Dunnico, H.||MacLaren, Andrew||Tinker, John Joseph|
|England, Colonel A.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)||March, S.||Viant, S. P.|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Maxton, James||Warne, G. H.|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Mitchell, E. Rossiyn (Paisley)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermilne)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Montague, Frederick||Waits Morgan. Lt. Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Morris, R. H.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Gillett, George M.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham. N.)||Westwood, J.|
|Gosling, Harry||Naylor, T. E.||Whiteley, W.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Oliver, George Harold||Williams. David (Swansea, E.)|
|Greenall, T.||Owen, Major G.||Williams. T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Paling, W.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Griffiths. T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Windson, Walter|
|Groves, T.||Ponsonby, Arthur||Wright, W.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Potts, John S.||Young. Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Rees, Sir Beddoe||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Mr. Basil Peto and Mr. Sexton.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Butt, Sir Alfred||Everard, W. Lindsay|
|Albery, Irving James||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Fairfax, Captain J. C.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Caine, Gordon Hall||Falle, Sir Bertram G.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Campbell, E. T.||Fermoy, Lord|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Fleming, O. P.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Forestler-Walker, Sir L.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Forrest, W.|
|Astor, Viscountess||Christie, J. A.||Foxcrott, Captain C. T.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Clarry, Reginald George||Fraser, Captain Ian|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Clayton, G. C.||Fremantle. Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Cooper. A. Duff||Ganzoni, Sir John|
|Balniel, Lord||Couper, J. B.||Gates, Percy|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Courthope, Lieut.-Col. sir George L.||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Gilmour, Lt. Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Goff, Sir Park|
|Bethell, A.||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Gower, Sir Robert|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Grace, John|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W, R., Skipton)||Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert||Greene. W. P. Crawford|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Dalkeith, Earl of||Grotrian, H. Brent|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Brass Captain W.||Davies, A, V. (Lancaster, Royton)||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hail, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Dixey, A. C.||Hammersley, S. S.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Doyle, Sir N. Grattan||Hanbury, C.|
|Brown, Maj. D. C.(N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Drewe, C.||Harland. A.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Harrison, G. J. C.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Elliot, Captain Walter E.||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Burman, J. B.||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Haslam, Henry C.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Hawke, John Anthony||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Headiam, Lieut.-Colonel CM.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Ht. Hon. B. M.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd, Henley)||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Spender Clay, Colonel H.|
|Henniker-Hughan, Vice-Adm. Sir A.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Morden, Col. W. Grant||Stanley, Col. Hon. G.F.(Will'sden, E.)|
|Hilton, Cecil||Moreing, Captain A. H.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Murchison, C. K.||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Holt, Capt. H. P.||Nelson, Sir Frank||Strickland, Sir Gerald|
|Homan, C. W, J.||Neville, B. J.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Hope, Sir Hairy (Forfar)||Nuttall, Ellis||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Hopkins, J, W. W.||Oakley, T.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Templeton, W. P.|
|Hudson, R. S. (Cumb'l'nd, Whiteh'n)||Penny, Frederick George||Thomson, F, C. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Tinne, J. A.|
|Huntingfield, Lord||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midi'n & P'bl's)||Perring, William George||Waddington, R.|
|Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Philipson, Mabel||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L..(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Jacob. A. E.||Pilditch, Sir Philip||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Preston, William||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Kennedy, A. R. (Preston).||Raine, W.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|King, Captain Henry Douglas||Remer, J. R.||Watson, sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Rentoul, G. S.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Lamb, J. Q.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Wells, S. R.|
|Lane-Fox, Colonel George R,||Rice, Sir Frederick||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Rye, F. G.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Salmon, Major I.||Wilson, Sir C. H (Leeds, Central)|
|Loder, J. do V.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Winterton, Ht. Hon. Earl|
|Looker. Herbert William||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|tougher, L.||Sandeman, A. Stewart||Womersley, W, J.|
|Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Wood, Rt. Hon. E. (York, W.R., Ripon)|
|Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Savery, S. S.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Scott. Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Macintyre, Ian||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|McLean, Major A.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Mac Robert, Alexander M.||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Shepperson, E. W.||Major Sir Harry Barnston and|
|Margesson, Captain D.||Skelton, A. N.||Major Cope.|
|Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
Question, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. A. GREENWOOD
I beg to move, in page 16, line 42, to leave out from the word "provisions," to the end of the, Pub-section, and to insert instead I. here of the wordsmay, on the consent of the Minister of Labour, provide by such order that in the case of masters and seamen serving on foreign-going ships—This Amendment is of substantial importance to seamen. I am glad that the 1023 Minister of Health has met one. of the two substantial points raised in this Amendment. I need therefore do no more than thank him for having done so. There is another point which we desire to impress upon him. National Health Insurance has never been that advantage to seamen which it ought to have been because of the administrative difficulties involved. The voyage card is not a treasured possession of the seaman, and it is unfortunately true, though large sums have been paid into the Health Insurance fund by seamen and shipowners, that those contributions have never really been used to pay benefits to seamen. For, with that carelessness that we often associate with seamen, these cards get lost or destroyed and discharge papers are useless as evidence, and it is unfortunately true that the Minister of Health is accumulating a fund at the expense of seamen's and shipowners' contributions.
(2) In this Section the expression "foreign-going ships" includes ships engaged in regular trade on foreign stations, and fishing vessels proceeding to or beyond Rockhall, the Faroe Island, the White sea, and the coast of Portugal or Morocco.
- (a) at the end of every voyage a schedule shall be prepared by the employer in a form to be prescribed by the Minister, after consultation with the Board of Trade, giving such information as shall sufficiently identify each contribution with the master or seaman on account of whom it has been paid. The said schedule shall be delivered by the employer to the Board of Trade superintendent in the presence of whom the wages for the voyage are to be paid before such payment commences;
- (b) the total value of the contributions payable by the master and seamen and the employer shall be paid through the employer to the Board of Trade superintendent and shall be paid by the superintendent as may be prescribed;
- (c) the schedule shall be forwarded by the Board of Trade superintendent to the clearing house hereinafter described;
- (d) a clearing house shall be established under the supervision and direction of the Minister, in consultation with the Minister of Labour, at which the information contained in the said schedule shall be analysed and statements shall be prepared at prescribed intervals and forwarded therefrom to each approved society of which masters or seamen are members, showing the amounts and dates of contributions paid on account of its respective members:
- (e) the order -hall provide for the payment of the expense of the clearing house out of the contributions with which it deals or otherwise as may be prescribed.
This Bill, if it is allowed to stand as it is at present drafted, will mean that seamen and shipowners will contribute additional funds in respect of widows' pensions, orphans' pensions and old age pensions, a great deal of which will simply swell the coffers of the fund of the Minister of Health, without accruing to the benefit of seamen. It seems opportune, therefore, to ask the Minister of Health whether in these circumstances he cannot see his way to simplify the administration so that seamen shall reap all the advantages that accrue under the law from their contributions. What is proposed is a simplification of the present method of administering insurance. I cannot speak for the shipowners, I speak rather for the organisations of seamen, hut I understand that the shipowners are prepared to be responsible for the collection of contributions and to submit to the Board of Trade a schedule of particulars. All that we are asking is that the Board of Trade should establish a clearing house, which should disburse to the various societies the funds that ought to stand to the credit of the particular seamen. If this were done, not only would seaman secure all the advantages that should be theirs by law under the National Health Insurance Act, but they would be able to enjoy to the full such advantages as are given under this Bill.
The fact that this Amendment is supported from all quarters of the House 1024 should commend it to the Minister. I believe there can be no opposition to the proposal. It will do tardy justice to seamen. Unless something is done on these lines, I fear that seamen will be deprived of the rights and benefits given to them under this Bill. I move the Amendment in the hope that the Government, having met us half-way, will be good enough to come the rest of the way.
§ Mr. LOUGHER
I am supporting this Amendment because I am convinced that it is sound. The card system by which the contributions are paid by merchant seamen under the present Health Insurance and Unemployment Insurance Acts has broken down, or rather, it has proved to be very ineffective. It is recognised, that seafaring men should be treated differently from landsmen, and a different system of collecting cards is provided for collecting seamen's contributions. These seamen's contributions are made on what are called voyage cards. These cards represent the contributions for the voyage, whether it be one week or one year. They are distinct from the landsmen's cards which have to be stamped every week. The result of this is that when seamen are paid off, their cards are stamped and are given back to them. but, in the careless way in which seamen treat most things, instead of returning the cards to their approved society for registration, many of them keep the cards by them, and there are many cases of cards, covering several years, which have never been recorded, and, although the seamen have paid their contributions and are entitled to the benefits of the Act, yet they are deprived ox receiving any benefit because the cards are not recorded. It is proposed to adopt the same system in connection with the pensions scheme, and this Amendment is submitted in order to suggest a better system.
The Amendment proposes to make the employer or owner responsible for the collection of the seaman's contribution and his own. He is to hand to the Board of Trade superintendent a list or schedule showing the contributions of each man and the schedule is to be sent to a clearing house where the return will be allocated among the various approved societies concerned. By this means every seaman will be automatically insured. There will be no risk such as now attaches to the non-return of cards, and if this procedure 1025 is adopted in connection with the present Bill, it can be adopted for the purposes of health and unemployment insurance as well. We desire to have the Amendment included in the Bill in order to establish the principle of the schedule system. As the last speaker explained the present system is ineffective and is doing a great injustice to a class of men whom we all admire. Our merchant service during a time of stress was the admiration not only of this country but of the world and these men should be protected in this matter of pensions as they are protected in other respects. We take measures for their safety on board ship and to see that they have proper accommodation and food on board ship. It is recognised by the authorities that they must be specially cared for, and we desire to see them specially cared for in the matter of pensions. For that reason I am pleased to have the opportunity of addressing the Committee, in the first speech I have ventured to make in this assembly, on behalf of the merchant seamen, a body of men who are entitled to every consideration and who will, I am sure, receive every consideration from hon. Members.
§ Sir LESLIE SCOTT
I feel sure the Committee will join me in congratulating the hon. Member for Central Cardiff (Mr. Lougher) on his maiden speech, because he has given in a short, sensible and pithy statement, the elements of the case and presented them clearly to us. It is a case which, I feel sure, commands the support and sympathy of the majority of the Committee. The Amendment raises a question of considerable social importance in connection with the administration of the Measure now under consideration. The seamen of the merchant marine, whom we all admire so much, have their faults— like Members of Parliament, possibly— and they require a great deal of looking after—also like Members of Parliament. It has been the principle of the Merchant Shipping Acts all through the last half century to take particular trouble to see that their wages are paid to them in conditions which ensure that they are paid those wages without unfair deductions and in circumstances which encourage them, so far as possible, to invest and, generally, to take care of the money which they get. This question of insurance really in that sense falls upon the same general plane and requires treatment in the same kind of way.
1026 Under the present system, which was adopted in order to meet the difficulties incident to the difference of length of voyage and so on that seamen had to make, was a system designed in order to make sure that their contributions would be recognised and have effect given to them by a system that would be successful. In practice, the system has failed. It is reckoned—Sir Norman Hill, giving evidence before the Royal Commission, dealt with the figures, speaking on behalf of the National Seamen's Approved Society—that something between a quarter and one-third of the contributions made by the seamen in our merchant marine fail, so to speak, to be recognised under the insurance system of the National Insurance Act, with the result that the men do not get the advantage of the contributions they make, and those who are entitled to benefit do not get the advantage of the contributions being actually paid into the Fund by those who ought to be contributing to it. I remember that in 1921 the Board of Trade admitted that, it had cards for seamen which had come in, but which could not be identified with the particular seamen contributing, to a total value of £50,000. If that was the value of the cards that had found their way to the approved society, and from the society ultimately to the Board of Trade, what was the value of the cards which had been unidentifiable or mislaid and never got returned at all] Something incomparably greater. If that is true of the present position, the card system has broken down as a piece of machinery.
That is the essence of this case. The Amendment is designed to get over the difficulties that were incidental and inevitable in the system of cards. Cards went wrong because they were not made out with sufficient care by the master of the ship or by the agent of the shipowner, Christian names were omitted, names were illegible, they were not sent in by the men, identifying numbers were not attached, and for one reason or another—and "Jack" is always careless-cards have not succeeded. The proposal of the Amendment is that for the card system we shall have a different system, namely, that the employer shall be under obligation to send in to the Board of Trade superintendent a schedule containing1 a complete list of the crew, with a statement of all the contributions made 1027 by each man, and in that way enabling the approved society to have a complete list of the contributions in fact made. The machinery for carrying out that is a clearing house, as was stated by the hon. Member for Nelson (Mr. A. Greenwood). That system will enable analyses of the figures to be made, so that the approved societies will in the result know the actual total contributions received; there will be approximately no leakage in the arrival of contributions at their proper destination, for the future the seamen will get the full value of the contributions they make themselves, and all will get the value of the contributions made to the Fund by others.
I, therefore, support the Amendment, but I would like to add one word. I understand that the system is one that is difficult to apply to this Bill unless it is applied concurrently to national health insurance also. It may be that the Government will say that they cannot deal with it piecemeal, and what I say upon that is that if the Government to-night say they cannot accept it for this Bill here and now, but will introdue the Amendment next year in a Bill dealing with national health insurance and this insurance at the same time, the Committee ought not to part with this Amendment without having it quite clear that that Bill will be introduced next year.
§ Sir BEDDOE REES
I very much agree with the speech of the hon. Member for Central Cardiff (Mr. Lougher), but there is more in this system than the card system or the schedule system. As I understand, this Amendment takes out of the Bill another big section that would otherwise come under it. The Amendment seeks to leave out the non-domiciled seamen from the operation of the Bill, because it seeks to omit from the Bill the words dealing with the non-domiciled seamen. I am not quite sure that those words ought ever to have gone into the Bill. The non-domiciled seaman receives no benefit whatsoever under the Health Insurance Act, but the shipowners have continued to pay for the non-domiciled seaman, with the result that the shipowner is paying something like £100,000 a year more than other employers of labour are called upon to pay, but with this very important result. There has been built 1028 up a fund out of which aged seamen are paid a pension from 65 to 70 years of age, precisely the same as is now proposed for land workers under this. Bill. That has been going on, and. therefore, I see no reason now why the shipowner should continue to pay for the non-domiciled seaman as is proposed by the Bill as it is drawn. It take it that this Amendment would take out entirely the non-domiciled seaman, and, in so far as that is concerned, I think it would meet with the approval of the Committee.
The only argument that can be used in favour of the non-domiciled seaman being brought in is the fear that the shipowner in this country might have a preference for the non-domiciled seaman if no contribution had to be, paid. That was a fear that was expressed when the Health Insurance Act was under discussion. We have had some years of experience, and I think it will be generally agreed that the number of foreigners employed— the non-domiciled men—is very much less that it was ten years ago. I think to-day it is only one-third of what it was 10 years ago, and I am sure I am speaking the opinion of the Committee when I say we want that third to go also, and have none but British sailors on British ships. They are getting very near to it. [AN HON. MEMBER: "Lascars."] Lascars are Britishers, and I do not think you could ever get to the point at which no Lascars were employed, and I do not see why we should get to it. We should have serious trouble with India if we did any such thing. Anyhow, I do not think there is any incentive to the British shipowner to employ non-domiciled men merely because they may save money under this Bill. There is already a very good reason why the British shipowner does not like employing foreigners. The Aliens Act is a sufficient consideration to make that undesirable. I should like to read a statement made by Sir Norman Hill:The Ministry of Health ascertained that in 1921 the total amount received in foreign-going contributions by all the Approved Societies was £101,987, and that the average rate actually paid in that year was 7"597d. per week. It follows that the £101,987 represented the employment of 61,000 insurable seamen per week throughout the whole fifty-two weeks. On the other hand, the returns of the Board of Trade for the same year showed that the ships that were employed could not have been manned without from 90,000 to 100,000 insurable 1029 (seamen being on articles constantly throughout the whole of that year. If 90,000 be taken as a minimum figure, then at 7.597d. per week the total contributions paid to the Government during 1921 must nave been £148,141, of which the seamen benefited only to the extent of £101,987. The loss in that year alone was therefore £46,154 equalling 31 per cent.Any system with a loss of 31 per cent. is surely wrong? We may start now by putting that right so far as this part of the matter is concerned. I am quite sure the House will not be satisfied with a mere promise that when the Royal Commission has reported that a Bill may be introduced. We ought to have something more definite than that. So far as the Pensions Bill is concerned I think that the returns published can be sent to the Board of Trade. I suggest that in this Amendment we will have a very good argument when the Royal Commission has reported if you now start the principle. I hope, therefore, the House will press the Amendment.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I rise to say a few words upon the latter part of the matter. The hon. Member who has just sat down has suggested a remedy for the present position in regard to the insurance of seamen so far as National Health purposes are concerned. It is perfectly true to say that the administrative machinery has not run over-smoothly. I do not say it has completely broken down, but there is no doubt about it that a radical alteration is required. Might I however, venture to say this: that to a large extent the difficulty has arisen through the members of the service not belonging to one or two great societies. A very large proportion of these men, it is true, belong to one or other of the great societies which specially cater for there needs, but, unfortunately, a small percentage of the remaining men are dotted in and out among 1,700 other societies. That makes the administrative machinery even more difficult still.
What is really required more than anything else at the present time is, without interfering with their rights under the national health insurance scheme, to get them into one or two of the great seamen's societies. The alteration that is really required and the amendment that must be made, in the opinion of everybody, including my right hon. Friend and myself, is an amendment in connection with national health insurance in 1030 the first instance, because this Bill, as has been frequently stated is based upon our national health insurance machinery. Therefore, I come to this suggestion, which I make to those Members who have put their case so well to-night. There is a Royal Commission now sitting to inquire into alterations required in the national health insurance law and its administration. It is under the chairmanship of a very eminent man, and is an expert Commission. That Commission, we anticipate, will report at the end of this year. My right hon. Friend is pledged, not only in connection with the report of the Commission, but by the mere fact that many portions of the Act need amendment, to bring in legislation in connection with national health insurance next year. It will have to be done, it must be done. I can say this, as far as my right hon. Friend is concerned, that he is in full sympathy with the proposals which have been made by hon. Gentlemen to-night. Ho proposes, in the evidence to be given to the Commission, to support the suggestions which have been made in all quarters of the Committee to-night.
Supported as the proposals are by my right hon. Friend, I believe, having the approval of most people who are concerned with the administration of national health insurance, there is little doubt that the Royal Commission will recommend alterations which will certainly secure a much more efficient machine than we have at the present time. If that is done, my right hon. Friend undertakes to-night to see that in the Bill he will introduce next year he will give effective support to the suggestions which have been made. I think this will be the best and most effective way of dealing with what, I admit, is a matter which certainly needs a remedy. I think most Members will agree that it would be out of place for us to-night to introduce new machinery, so far as widows' pensions are concerned, and to leave the national health insurance machine as it is, inasmuch as the national health insurance machine is the machine we adopt for widows' pensions. I suggest, therefore, in view of the undertakings, and the no doubt almost immediate effect which will be given—as I have not the slightest doubt will be the case—to the recommendations, that we should leave 1031 this matter to be remedied in our Bill next year; and I will give the assurance that when the new arrangement is made so far as national health insurance is concerned we will see that the consequent alterations are made so far as widows' pensions are concerned.
§ Sir L. SCOTT
Having regard to the fact that this Bill will come into operation in January, will it be possible to introduce the National Health Insurance Bill quite early in the year?
§ Sir K. WOOD
I cannot, of course, give an undertaking as to that, because we do not know when the Commission will Report, but I am given to understand that their Report will be available, it is hoped, at the end of this year, and certainly with a view to getting our legislation through my right hon. Friend will take the earliest opportunity of introducing a National Health Insurance Bill. With that assurance, I hope hon. Members will not press this matter further. I want them to believe that the Government are as anxious as they are to put this matter right, because we believe this is a class of men who are deserving of every consideration at the hands of this House.
§ Mr. SAMUEL SAMUEL
I am a member of the Council of the Chamber of Shipping, and it is our wish to protect seamen as far as we possibly can. We have found that the National Health Insurance system inflicts an injury upon a large number of seamen. What we propose is the simplest system possible. It is that at the end of every voyage the captain of a steamer should hand to the representative of the Board of Trade at the shipping office where the crew is paid off a list of the members of the crow showing the amount of wages due to each seaman. What we ask is that, instead of giving to each seaman a card which is liable to be lost, that a similar list on a sheet of foolscap paper should be handed to the representative of the Board of Trade Shipping Office giving a list of the amounts contributed to the Pensions Insurance Scheme so that a record would be kept of amount due to every seaman, 1032 the amount paid by him. and also the contribution made by the shipowners. This record would give the amounts and could be handed to the insurance societies in which the seamen have entered. It is well known that an enormous number of seamen go away every year and lose their cards, and under this proposal the Board of Trade would have a record when these men came back to put in their claims as insured people, and these men would be able to prove their claims by the records kept at the Board of Trade.
§ Mr. HANNON
Are we to understand that the National Health Insurance Amendment Bill will be introduced early next year?
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I beg to move, in page 16, line 43. to leave out from the word "provide," to the end of the Sub-section, and to insert instead thereof the wordsfor determining in the case of a ship registered in Northern Ireland the owner of which resides or has his principal place of business in Great Britain or of a ship registered in Great Britain the owner of which resides or has his principal place of business in Northern Ireland, whether or not persons employed on the ship are to be treated as being insured for the purposes of this Act.This is to deal with a position which arises under the National Health Insurance Act. Under the Schedule of that Act you may have a case of a shipowner residing at say, Liverpool, while his ship is registered in Belfast, and the question arises whether the employment is or is not employment under the Act. The Amendment provides that the Minister may make an Order determining that the place of choice may be the place of residence of the owner. I am only following the precedent of the National Health Insurance Act, 1924, under Section 20 of which will be found a somewhat similar provision.
I notice that in moving this Amendment the Minister of Health did not draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that, although he is providing for this purpose the words to be inserted, he is actually leaving out from line 43 of page 1C to the end of that part of the Sub-section on page 17. I just want to draw attention to what he is leaving out. A point has been raised 1033 already by the hon. Member for South Bristol (Sir B. Rees), and it is a very important one. I am not at all sure that hon. Members would agree with the point expressed by the Member for South Bristol. The proposal being left out is the one that was made by the Minister in his draft Bill, that seamen domiciled in Great Britain or Northern Ireland might be brought within the terms of this Bill tinder regulations to be made by the Minister. He has said that this Bill is based on the National Health Insurance Act; he hardly needs to be informed that under the National Health Insurance Act, in its provision with regard to seamen, in the case of seamen not domiciled in Great Britain or Northern Ireland, these se-;amen are not regarded as employed for the purposes of the Act, but nevertheless the employers have to pay the employer's contribution in respect of such seamen and out of the fund created from that contribution by the employer provision has been made in the past for pensions for aged British seamen. It seems to me that that was a real deterrent against employment of alien seamen upon British ships, and I am not at all satisfied—I am willing to hear any explanations the Minister has to give—that the Amendment now proposed by the Minister will not make it easier for British shipowners to employ alien seamen at a lower rate than is paid to British seamen. I do not say the contributions are very high each week, but it will make it easier from that point of view. Moreover, I am strengthened in my view on this matter by the reply made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Mover of the last Amendment, for he said that, while ho would not be able to meet their point of view with regard to that Amendment, yet the Controller of Health Insurance would put forward such views to the Royal Commission as a result of which the National Health Insurance Act is to be amended by a Bill to be brought in by the present Minister early next year. May I put the categorical question: Is it proposed, by the views which are to be expressed by the Controller of Insurance to the Royal Commission, to wipe out the present provision in the Health Insurance Act with regard to the contributions of the employers for alien seamen? Is that to be included in the recommendations? Is there to be a binding promise to-night from the Minister that there is to be no disturbance whatever of the present conditions 1034 laid down in the Health Insurance Act with regard to employers' contributions in respect of alien seamen? We ought to be satisfied as to what effect leaving out of the Bill as drafted by the Government this provision with regard to alien seamen, is going to have upon the employment of alien seamen by the British shipowners. We should be glad to have an answer.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I deliberately left out an allusion to this point because I saw our time was getting short and I did not wish to raise any other question unless it was raised by some other member of the Committee. It is quite clear what the effect of leaving out these words is. It dons what the hon. Member for South Bristol (Sir B. Rees) was alluding to. It takes these seamen who are not domiciled in the United Kingdom out of the Bill altogether. All I would say about that is that I understand the seamen's organisations are quite satisfied that that should be so. With regard to the categorical question whether this is only the first step, and that it is intended that the Controller shall, in giving evidence before the Commission, recommend the writing off of the contributions already paid in respect of insurance, I can give a categorical No to that question. I hope this answer will satisfy the hon. Member that he has nothing to fear from the Amendment.
§ Sir B. REES
It will probably satisfy any probable criticism raised on these benches when I say this proposal for leaving out non-domiciled men is an agreement entered into between shipowners on the one side, and the representatives of the Trade Unions on the other. At least the National Sailors' and Firemen's Union and the Shipowners' Association agreed, because it was understood that it was unfair to take payments on behalf of men who could not possibly derive any benefit from them. At the same time we realise that there is already a big fund created for the payment of these men under Health Insurance when they are in receipt of pensions now similar to what is provided in the Bill, and it is generally understood that there was no need for any further contributions on behalf of non-domiciled seamen. Seeing that it is an agreed matter, I think the Committee should agree to the Amendment.
§ 12 M.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I know this has been agreed between the Sailors' Organisation and the employers, but I do not want it understood that it is generally agreed, or that representatives here have lost their right of criticism. This is a very dangerous question. You have to bear in mind that our folk are competing with these people in the labour market, and if you let an employer off from having to pay contributions for those people you are to an extent subsidising a cheap form of labour as against a dearer form. You already have the case of young women who have not yet come to the age where they have to pay Health or Unemployment Insurance. You find that the employers are prepared to employ these young female workers, but the moment they reach the age when extra money has to be paid for them they are dismissed and younger women are again taken on in their place. That is what occurs at present. If you say that merely because a man is a foreigner no contribution is to be paid for him, to that extent you are subsidising that employer, or at least letting him off paying contributions as against our own people. It is true the foreign sailor gets no benefit from the fund, but I am not sure that that is a good thing, because there are a largo number of lascars and other people employed on ships who come to our ports who ought to receive benefit under the National Insurance Act, and because they do not receive benefit either the burden is thrown on the local authorities or the man is not treated as he ought to be while he is in a British port. Any alteration in regard to the Health Insurance Fund will receive my uncompromising opposition. I think the shipowners ought to be asked to pay a quota for the foreign workmen the same as he pays for British workmen.
§ Mr. SEXTON
I do not think the question of employing cheap foreigners affects the case at all, because in many cases the shipowner will employ the cheapest labour if he is allowed to do it. It is the business of the union to see to that. The general tendency of the employer is to go for the cheapest labour. Leaving the foreigner out of the Insurance Act does not alter the fact that he is cheaper than the Britisher all the time. Leaving him in or out of the Act does 1036 not make the slightest difference. During the last 10 years there has been a considerable decrease in the employment of foreign seamen on British ships.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I want to mention a matter affecting particularly officers of the merchant service. For some years, through their two principal organisations, they have been pressing for a superannuation scheme. They are prepared to contribute to it. The shipowners also would welcome some such scheme. In some of the regular lines there are very efficient and generous superannuation schemes, but in a great many of the smaller lines, especially the cargo lines, I am informed that it is difficult for one owner to start such a scheme if his competitors do not. The officers say that it is necessary for the Government to move in the matter. I do not know whether it is possible to do anything on the Report stage, but I could not allow the Clause to pass without directing attention to the matter and asking whether the Government are doing anything in regard to it I have raised this matter by question in the House, and I have raised it on the Estimates, and have been told that the matter will be taken into consideration. The position is very unsatisfactory. It is very extraordinary that in a calling which is so hazardous, and where the risk of life is so much greater than in many other occupations, there is no provision for the officers either for a pension or superannuation scheme, in ease of an officer breaking down in health or having to retire from the service through advancing years. In the French merchant service there is a compulsory superannuation scheme, and the Gorman merchant service had such a scheme before the War, and I am not sure that they have not such a scheme still. Why should not we, the principal maritime power, have this very natural and desirable method of insuring our mercantile marine. Ninety per cent. of the officers wish for such a scheme and are prepared to pay their fair share towards it, and most of the owners agree and are prepared to work it.
§ Sir K. WOOD
This is not a matter directly appropriate to this Bill. I appreciate the force of the observations which the hon. and gallant Member has made, and I will undertake to convey them to the particular Minister who is more concerned with the matter than the Minister of Health.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I was wondering whether the hon. and gallant Member was in order. I now rule that he is not in order.
§ Ordered "That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again." —[Mr. N. Chamberlain.]
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.
§ It being after half-past Eleven of the clock upon Monday evening, Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER adjourned the House, without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.
§ Adjourned at Twelve Minutes after Twelve o'clock.