"At the end of Section eighty of the principal Act the following Sub-section shall be added:
(4) A society with branches, by resolution passed by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the votes cast at a general meeting of the society in accordance with the rules thereof, may adopt a scheme providing for the creation within the society of a central fund by the allocation thereto of a proportionate part, not exceeding one-third, of the distributable surpluses of branches of that society, for the purpose of providing for the whole of the members of the society a specified minimum of all or any additional benefits. Such scheme shall not be valid until approved by the Minister, and shall be prepared in such form and submitted in such manner as shall be prescribed. Upon receiving the approval of the Minister the scheme shall form part of the rules of the society, but shall not be amended other than by resolution passed as aforesaid and subject to the approval of the Minister."—[Mr. Rhys Davies.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
We come now to what I am sure the House will agree is the most important Amendment to be moved to the Bill. The principle embodied in it is that of the partial pooling of surpluses. We are not going to deal to-day with the partial pooling of the surpluses of all societies; the purpose of the Clause is to make it permissive for a society with separate branches to partially pool its surpluses, on the principle of mutual aid. There are not many approved societies with separate branches valued separately for the purposes we are dealing with; but societies which have a majority of branches separately valued favour this Clause. I may have to take the Parliamentary Secretary to task later on. It is very much more appropriate that I should do so than a member of his own party. The Manchester Unity of Odd-fellows, the Independent Order of Rechabites, to which some hon. Members may belong, the Catholic Benefit Society, the Nottingham Imperial Order of Oddfellows, and the Catholic Friendly Societies' Association, representing over 1,500,000 insured members, favour this proposal. The total insured population 1939 included in societies with branches separately valued is about 3,000,000, consequently we have societies with half the insured population, for the purpose of this proposal, supporting the scheme. The right hon. Gentleman has been already taken to task by one society for a statement he has made. In the fifth day's proceedings in Committee, he made this statement, in reply to my Motion to include this Clause in the Bill:Again, so far as the Royal Commission, which has given very excellent advice in these matters to the Minister and the Committee, is concerned, there is no recommendation made in its favour by the Commission.Surely the right hon. Gentleman knows better than that, the most important recommendation of the Royal Commission on National Health Insurance was that in favour of the partial pooling of the surpluses of all societies. [Interruption.] That interruption is a typical Conservative way out of all difficulties. The principle was established in the recommendation of the Royal Commission that it was advisable to pool part of the surpluses of all approved societies in order to help those that were in deficiency; and surely if the principle was laid down to cover all the insured population, it should apply in the same way to the smaller unit of one society covering three thousand branches separately valued. The right hon. Gentleman cannot get away from that. He made another statement for which I am very pleased to see he got into trouble. Nothing pleases me more than to see him in difficulties:I may tell the Committee that while the hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment refers to the Order of Rechabites, even that society is divided on that point, because we have received several resolutions from branches of the Rechabite Society protesting against the course that has been taken in this Amendment.The point at issue is, what does the society as a whole say? [Interruption.] Are we in this House, when the Government of the day brings forward a proposal, going to say the Government is not speaking the mind of the Tory party because there are one or two hon. Members on the other side who do not support the Government? Take, for instance, the new Clause we have just carried. There was one formidable Member of the Conservative party against 1940 it. Are we to take the opinion of the hon. Member for Royton (Dr. Davies) as being the Conservative opinion, or that of the right hon. Gentleman? The Independent Order of Rechabites as a society is in favour of the partial pooling of the surpluses of their own branches.
I said the Royal Commission had definitely recommended that course. If evidence is required I will read the recommendation later. Approved societies are becoming less and less societies of a national character annually. The National Health Insurance scheme ought not to be called a national scheme any more. It is a scheme covering separate units, all with their own additional benefits and separate schemes; and, in fact, the longer they remain separate units the more vested interest will weld itself around the whole of the business. I want this Clause to be carried in order to lay down first of all the principle of the partial pooling of surpluses within a single society. Let us see what the Commission itself says:That while the possibility of the existence of differences in the benefits provided by different societies may justifiably be continued as a feature of the scheme of National Health Insurance, the disparities which have emerged are greater than are expedient in the interests of the insured community regarded as a whole; and that therefore some mitigation of these inequalities is desirable.That applies to single societies with separate branches. In fact, it applies very much more strongly to the single society with separate branches than to the whole insured population. In order to enforce my argument I will quote something else for the benefit of the right hon. Gentleman. The Commission says, on page 120, in arguing the case and arguing it very forcibly:What we are concerned with in this connection is the degree of divergence from the average that is shown by particular societies. There remains in our opinion matter for serious consideration in the large gulf which now divides the most prosperous from the least prosperous societies, as respects the standard of benefits which they are in a position to provide for their members.I say, therefore, that all the arguments that were brought before the Royal Commission showing disparity between one society and another apply very much more so in the case of a single society with separate branches. The society with the largest number of branches separately 1941 valued has itself asked that this Clause shall be brought forward. I understood some time ago that the Ministry of Health had an open mind on the subject. In Committee upstairs the Minister of Health was absent. I believe if he had been there I could have carried him with me. When both right hon. Gentlemen are together, somehow or other we make no headway at all. I do not know which has most influence on the other.
Let me come back to the society concerned. It is a very large organisation indeed—the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows—with 886,947 members. They say that on grounds of justice this Clause ought to be inserted. It will not compel any society to pool its surpluses on the lines I am suggesting. All it will do is to give them power to do so. There is nothing compulsory about it. The society has 3,377 lodges, separately valued. It had a disposable surplus at the last valuation of over £2,000,000. There were 54 lodges in deficiency and 81 with no disposable surplus; and the argument is a good one therefore that the lodges that are in a good way financially with very large surpluses may say to the branches of the same society who are in deficiency: "We want to come to your aid, and you can have some of the money that we have in surplus in our own funds." Surely that is a good policy. I do not know that it is Conservative policy; but it is Labour policy that the strong should help the weak. That, at any rate, is the policy of the party to which I have the honour to belong.
Let us see what is the other argument against this proposal. I have heard hon. Gentlemen in Committee upstairs say: "Oh, but you are taking away the money of the rural workers, of the lodges covering the rural districts, in order to help the miners, who are always unemployed and in respect of whom there are no contributions at all during certain periods." As a matter of fact, that argument is not a sound one. The rural workers' lodges in some societies are not necessarily the branches with the largest surpluses. I am assured that the membership of one society in the London area is very much better off, financially, than the membership of the same society in some of the rural areas. Consequently, it is not correct to say that the miners and the industrial workers are taking 1942 away some of the surpluses made by the poor farm labourers. It is surprising how the Tory party profess to come to the aid of the poor farm labourer on every occasion. You might imagine that they are always the guardians of the poor farm labourer! [HON. MEMBERS: "We are!"] Well, we shall see at the next General Election.
Let me give some of the arguments that are used by the society itself, and I hope the House will permit me to state this case in detail, because it is a very important one to this society. They have scores of branches in deficiency which have not a penny-piece available to pay additional benefit of any kind. They have no dental benefit, no optical benefit, and no additional cash benefit for maternity purposes. Those particular branches of that society, I think, are entitled to ask for powers to enable them to ask the lodges with surpluses to help them out of their difficulties. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health generally puts the argument that it is going to cost the State something more. On this score there is to be no cost to the State at all. All this financial arrangement would be within the ambit of the friendly society itself, within the 3,000 odd lodges of the same organisation. As I have already indicated, it is not a compulsory Clause at all. It is merely permissive, and it will depend upon the members of the society itself. That is to say, that a branch in surplus will have the power to say, through the votes of the members, whether they are desirous of giving part of their surplus to a branch in deficiency.
I have been given to understand that some hon. Members on the opposite side of the House have already committed themselves in favour of this new Clause, though, I suppose, it was before they received the Whips of the Tory party. I hope that to-day they will be loyal to the promise they made to this friendly society. I should like to make it clear that the arguments that I am putting forward to-day are, as I have already indicated, against vested interests in the separate lodges and in the separate societies. I can speak feelingly on the subject because I happen to be the secretary of a society which is very well managed, as some hon. Members well know. It is one of the best managed 1943 societies in the country with a very large surplus. If this principle were adopted some of the surplus in my own society would go to societies in deficiency. It is argued that if you adopt the principle which I am now enunciating it would result in maladministration; and it is argued further that societies which have a surplus are the societies which are the best and most efficiently managed. That, as a consequence, the societies in deficiency must be societies that have been maladministered. I want to controvert that argument because it is not true.
I hope, at any rate, that when the right hon. Gentleman replies to what I have been saying he will agree with the one statement that I have made, that it does not necessarily follow that if a society is in deficiency it is maladministered. If the right hon. Gentleman doubts that statement I will give him proof of what I am saying. If a society is a segregated society like my own, with its members receiving constant wages and with not much unemployment among them, the contribution income is assured each week. It is a segregated society of shop assistants, warehousemen and clerks. Another society might be made up exclusively of coal miners, with its members for an average of three months in the year unemployed. It does not matter how well managed the latter society may be: it will always be deficient because its contribution income is not regular. Consequently, deficiency and surplus depend very little upon either efficiency or mal-administration. In fact, you can have a society with any amount of money in surplus and still have its affairs mal-administered. The right hon. Gentleman will say: "If this friendly society, with 880,000 members covering all parts of the country, wants to have the benefit of equalisation in regard to additional benefits why do they not amalgamate all their lodges so that the whole society can become a centralised organisation and thus have its benefits made equal amongst all the members?" The answer to that is simple.
The friendly society movement in this country differs fundamentally from the industrial organisations. I am not speaking disrespectfully of the Prudential, the 1944 National Amalgamated and other great industrial insurance concerns when I say this; but I want to make it perfectly clear that when the National Health Insurance Scheme was brought before this House in 1911 it was not intended that it should be administered by insurance companies at all. It was intended in the main to be a democratic organisation, where each insured person would have the right to say how the affairs of his society should be administered. There was a conflict of ideas amongst various sections of this House when the large industrial companies were given power to administer the business. I want to say that nearly one half of the insured population of this country have no say whatever in the detailed administration of their affairs. How can the Prudential, for instance, with three or four million insured persons, be democratically administered? They never call a delegate meeting and they never have a meeting in any district to discuss the affairs of the society. The friendly society differs fundamentally from that form of organisation, because the whole of the business depends upon personal initiative and personal interest; and I am sure that the Minister of Health does not desire to destroy that personal initiative. Consequently, I say that we ought to adopt this new Clause and give it a second reading this afternoon and then incorporate it in the Bill. We are getting, as I have already said, more and more away from the national idea of insurance, and fixing upon separate units all over the country, with great disparities growing as the valuation periods go by.
Let us see what happens in connection with valuation. There is no man in this country better qualified to support my contention than the Government Actuary. I have here a copy of his last report on the valuation of the approved societies, and he has given a table showing separately what are the additional benefits payable by approved societies with branches and by approved societies without branches. If the House will pardon me for a moment I think it will be well if I state how this disparity—which I am getting very much alarmed about by the way—is growing from year to year. Take, first of all, the disparity between one type of society and another. The available surplus per member on the last valuation in friendly societies with 1945 branches was £4.19, and in friendly societies without branches £4.07, and when we come to the industrial insurance and collecting societies it was £3.45. The House will see that the friendly societies with branches and those without branches were in a better financial position on the second valuation than the collecting societies, the trade unions or the insurance companies. Surely the argument that we are putting, that because these friendly societies with branches separately valued have a higher proportion of surplus per member they ought to be entitled to equalise that surplus between all the lodges and all the members of the society itself. I am afraid I am detaining the House for rather a long time in putting this case; but I not only speak on my own behalf but on behalf of the whole of the Labour movement when I say that we shall not be satisfied until this scheme becomes a national one. I want to be quite frank this afternoon. I am proposing this new Clause not merely in response to this friendly society, but in response to the declared policy of the whole of the Labour movement. Some clay these disparities will grow to such an extent that Parliament will, I feel sure, take the matter in hand and do exactly for the whole of the country what I am now trying to do for a single friendly society.
§ Mr. WHITELEY
I beg to second the Motion.
I want to draw the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary, who dealt with this matter in Committee, to a statement which he made at the latter end of his speech in Committee. He said that we should be very unwise indeed in seeking to make a fundamental alteration of this kind in our National Health Insurance system. On looking at the matter, I find that the real fundamental principle of National Health Insurance is that the constitution of an approved society must provide for its affairs being subject to the absolute control of its members. The Clause that we are putting forward to-day will not upset that principle in any way. As a matter of fact, it will bring it more into operation than has been the case in the past. We have been reminded many times of the fact that the Royal Commission went much further in their recommendation than is proposed in the Clause which 1946 we are putting forward to-day. They recommended the partial pooling of one half of the surpluses. This new Clause recommends or suggests that there shall be a third of the surpluses pooled within a particular society which desires to put the provisions of the Clause into operation.
The principle contained in this Clause is one against which, I think, there can be no argument. It is a democratic principle. I am not here to-day to argue in favour of any particular society. I am here to advocate that a democratic principle of this kind is one that should be included in the National Health Insurance Acts. It is based upon the constitutional principle of democratic control by members who are insured under the National Health Insurance Acts. This Clause is walled round by all kinds of protection, even of the members themselves. First of all, there is the society with a large number of branches that are valued separately. Say, you have 100 branches with a disposable surplus of valuation. You may have another section of branches with funds that enable them to pay the actual statutory benefits, without a disposable surplus, and you may have another section of branches that may have a deficiency, and in some cases the deficiency may be such that they have to resort to the calling of an additional levy. With all these circumstances within the society, we believe that it is essential to get rid of such an anomaly under National Health Insurance and get back to the fundamental principle on which National Health Insurance is based. This Clause suggests that in circumstances of this kind the society, in general meeting assembled, may discuss the question whether those branches which have a disposable surplus are willing to give some of that disposable surplus to assist those branches which have no surplus or those branches which happen to be in deficiency. There ought to be no attempt on the part of anybody to take that right away from any approved society.
When it is suggested that this Clause cannot be added to the Bill, it means that you are depriving a society of the right to discuss its own affairs within itself, and preventing it from having the right, provided it so decides by a two-thirds majority, to frame a scheme for 1947 helping those branches which are in deficiency or those which have no disposable surplus. Then, the scheme has to be forwarded to the Minister in order to secure his approval. No one can say that we have not weighed this question very fully. Irrespective of any society in the country, I think that what we propose is a sound principle. People who argue against a principle of this kind are really advocates for going back to the old idea that every individual must be separately valued and that he can have no more than he pays in, although he may be a man who has the misfortune to be ill on a number of occasions. The principle of insurance is that those who have the good fortune to be healthy should have the privilege of assisting by their contributions those who have the misfortune to be unhealthy and often in receipt of benefit. We say that that general principle applied on the lines which we suggest ought to he accepted, in order to give a society with branches separately valued an opportunity of discussing the matter among themselves and, if they so desire, exercise the privilege of assisting their fellow members in those branches of the society who happen to be in a more unfortunate position than themselves. It is a case of mutual help amongst the members of the society.
We are anxious that this principle should he operated by a society if and when by a two-thirds majority the members have decided in favour of such a course. On these grounds I hope the right hon. Gentleman will consider the matter very fully and favourably. If the Clause is to be rejected, it will be lowering the standard of the principle and the basis on which national health insurance was founded and limiting the opportunity of doing some real good by those societies which have branches which are separately valued.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The question which has been brought before the House by my two hon. Friends, who have given every possible reason that could be given in favour of the proposal, has been a subject of controversy and discussion for some considerable time amongst those who are administering the national health insurance scheme. The actual proposal now before the House deals with the pooling of surpluses in branches. It must 1948 be distinguished from the recommendation of the Royal Commission in connection with what we call partial pooling, a much wider and more extensive proposition altogether. It is true that in connection with partial pooling, not the proposition which we are now discussing, the Royal Commission made very definite recommendations in order to secure what insured people in this country very badly need, and which would be a great improvement to the insurance system, namely, specialist medical services. My right hon. Friend and I gave very serious consideration to that proposal and were naturally sympathetic to it, as we are desirous of seeing an improvement of the present system, but those who are familiar with the work of approved societies and what they are saying and what they are thinking, know that proposal met with the most strenuous opposition. Whilst there is, undoubtedly, a great deal to be said for that proposition, and whilst it is possible that the matter will have to come before the consideration of Parliament, my right hon. Friend, having regard to the attitude of the approved societies and the necessity for getting through a Bill containing so many important and vital things, could not at this stage ask the House to consider a proposition raising so much controversy.
Then there comes the proposition put forward by my hon. Friends this afternoon. It was put forward very forcibly in Committee. They suggest that we should allow a certain proportion of the surpluses of the branches to be pooled. On that question there is equal division of opinion and there is strenuous opposition. I will not say that it is contested with so much intensity as the other proposition, but there is very grave division of opinion on the matter amongst the societies. I have been reproached and brought to task for certain statements that I made in Committee in this connection. I stand by the statements that I made in Committee. I told the Committee and I now tell the House, (1) that this proposal was put forward by the Manchester Unity, the Independent Order of Rechabites, the Catholic Benefit Society and two of the smaller affiliated orders. The membership of these societies is about 1,500,000 out of a total membership of 3,100,000 in the group of friendly societies with branches. There- 1949 fore, I was correct in stating that there was a majority in the branches against-the proposal. (2) I told the Committee, as I now tell the House, that so far as the Royal Commission is concerned although this matter was definitely put before them, apart altogether from the question of partial pooling, they made no recommendation. To that statement I adhere. (3) I said that the Consultative Committee, upon which every type and class of society is represented, a very fully informed body, did not ask my right hon. Friend to adopt this proposal.
The House finds itself confronted with a highly controversial proposal, with no recommendation from the Royal Commission, with no recommendation from the Consultative Committee which has been formed specially to guide my right hon. Friend and this House on all matters of controversy of this kind, with a great division of opinion amongst the societies themselves, and with a majority of members of the societies which have branches against the proposal. Therefore, I was right when I said, and I am right in repeating it to the House, that it would need a very strong case for the House to accept this proposal, in view of the considerable difference of opinion and the absence of expert advice in favour of it. I realise that neither a Consultative Committee nor a Royal Commission should determine, finally, what this House ought to do, and that if the House thought it, was right they should certainly accept this proposal irrespective of any advice of that kind, but I do say that on a technical matter of this kind we had better be careful, and certainly it requires a very overwhelming case to justify this particular Clause.
We have been told by my hon. Friends opposite that the proposal is only permissive, that it is only a question of "may" and not "shall," but they know perfectly well the great pressure that would undoubtedly be exercised if this Clause, although only permissive, was placed upon the Statute Book. They know what strong pressure would he brought by a good many branches in connection with many societies to bring it into operation. It is only fair to point out that we are making, as I said in Committee, a very fundamental alteration in the position. The objectors to 1950 this proposal can rightly say that they rest upon the Statute and all that has been given to them in connection with it. If hon. Members will refer to Section 75 (1) (b) of the original Act they will note the following provision:If on the valuation of a branch of an approved society, a surplus is shown in respect of the branch, the branch may, with the approval of the society, submit to the Minister a scheme for distributing out of the surplus any one or more additional benefits among insured persons who are members of the branch for the purposes of the Act," etc.Those who object to the proposal in the new Clause can point to this Section, which provides for a branch putting forward a scheme. They say that the proposal we are now discussing makes a direct and fundamental change in Section 75 (1) (b) of the principal Act, upon which they rely. They can say that this matter has already been under consideration in Parliament and it is provided for in the principal Act. Now I come to the proposal in the new Clause. It avoids all difficulties of the situation, and says:A society with branches, by resolution passed by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the votes cast at a general meeting.In other words, two-thirds of the people who turn up at the general meeting are to decide the fate of all the branches up and down the country. The new Clause goes on to say:may adopt a scheme providing for the creation within the society of a central fund by the allocation thereto of a proportionate part, not exceeding one-third, of the distributable surpluses of branches of that society, for the purpose of providing for the whole of the members of the society a specified minimum of all or any additional benefits.I ask the hon. Member who moved this new Clause who is going to administer the additional benefits? Is it the central body—
§ Sir K. WOOD
I am glad to have that admission from the hon. Member. The branches up and clown the country will know that under the proposition in this new Clause the administration of additional benefits will no longer rest with the branches but with the central office.
§ Mr. DAVIES
The right hon. Gentleman will pardon me. He is misrepresent- 1951 ing all I am saying. I am not dealing with additional benefits, but with partial pooling, the pooling of one-third of their surplus, and I take it that the general meeting in this case is the general meeting of delegates from the lodges. In any case the administration of the additional benefits I am talking about from the central office will be the administration of the additional benefits which are made possible from the partial pooling of the surpluses.
§ Sir K. WOOD
We get to this position, that the central committee, whatever the amount may be, whether it is one-third or one-half, or whatever it may be, will be administering a particular benefit. That is part of the scheme and I invite hon. Members who are interested in these societies, and also the branches themselves, to note this, that under the present proposal the administration of this particular part of their funds is going from the branches themselves to the central committee.
§ Mr. DAVIES
The right hon. Member will pardon me again. I want to make this matter clear. Surely it will be possible for the central office to collect the one-third of the surpluses and hand a proper proportion to those lodges which are in a deficiency in order to equalise the benefits over the whole of the society. I am not asking that the central office should provide spectacles, but that they should administer the money collected from the lodges.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I do not want to weary the House but this is a matter of importance for the societies. The hon. Member first of all said the central committee of the societies is to administer these benefits themselves from the head office. If the hon. Member does that he immediately destroys the rights of the societies with branches up and down the country, a right which is jealously regarded by them, and he would he in this further difficulty, that whilst the branches would be administering one class of benefit the central committee would he administering another. Then the hon. Member on reflection rather wavered and came to the conclusion that the central body of the society should portion out the surpluses to the respective 1952 branches. I suppose it would give them a certain sum of money up to a minimum standard, and by that means he suggests that the additional benefits will be administered. Where does that lead him? Anyone who is familiar with the working of national health insurance knows that in one particular branch of a society the claims in respect of certain classes of additional benefit might be much higher than others and that in a few months or years you would be again in the old position, because some branches would have exhausted the additional benefits given by this pooling arrangement while others would be in a much more prosperous condition. The hon. Member will have to reconsider the whole of this new Clause; and he has to make up his mind what the machinery is going to be. But it is not only a question of machinery, a very vital matter of principle is involved. Apart from the division of opinion on this matter, the hon. Member has left out any protective provision which should be in a Clause of this kind, and clearly we could not entrust these powers to the approved societies without some safeguards. I say therefore that on both these grounds the new Clause ought to be rejected. It wants far more consideration than has been given to it. We must remember, too, that there is in the principal Act a section on which the branches rely and look to this House to maintain.
This is perhaps the most vital Clause we have to consider this afternoon. The hon. Member has attacked the present system as not being national. Never in the history of national insurance was it so national as it is to-day; never were so many millions of pounds of benefit divided amongst the members of societies up and down the country. It is true there may be inequalities, but from the point of view of a national scheme it was never more national than it is at present. The hon. Member was supplied to-day with an answer to a question which showed the amount of additional benefits which have been distributed during the last three or four years and I hope at some stage in our proceedings that he will read that state- 1953 ment. One would believe that there is less money being provided for insurance at the present time but hon. Members will see from that statement that there is a very considerable increase, and that never in the history of the country was so much money being distributed under national health insurance.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. James Hope)
The right hon. Gentleman is now going a good deal beyond the new Clause. Perhaps I ought to have stopped the hon. Member who moved it.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I am quite content to leave my reply at the suitable point at which you have stopped me. I hope the House is convinced that this would be a dangerous procedure to adopt to-day. There is no support behind it, and it certainly wants a great deal more thought and consideration than has been given to it. For all these reasons I ask the House to reject it.
§ Mr. HARNEY
I am afraid, much as I appreciate the experience and knowledge of the National Health Insurance Act of the Mover and Seconder of this new Clause, that I must support the Government. If you look at the actual terms of the proposal you are confronted with this difficulty. By a vote of two-thirds of the members of one of these societies they can resolve that one-third shall be taken from the branches with surpluses and that this third shall form part of a pool, which is to be redistributed amongst the branches. I presume the re-distribution would be either so much to each society, or so much to each society in proportion to the number of its members. A definite sum would meet the deficiency in some branches and not enable them to pay any additional benefits. In the case of some branches it would mean that they would be able to pay additional benefits. It would be very hard to work, and would not have the effect of enabling all branches to pay additional benefits. That is purely on the structure of the Amendment.
Really my objection to it is this. It is true that it is a suggestion of the pooling of societies that have branches with a separate valuation, not a pooling of different societies. At the same time it is a pooling, and it has been justified 1954 on the basis that all pooling is a good thing and that we ought to change the basis upon which the National Insurance Scheme rests. No one knows better than the Mover and Seconder of this new Clause that it has been very acutely argued from 1911 onwards whether there should be a sort of pooling or not. On the one hand the friendly societies, which did a good deal of this sort of work before the scheme was introduced, acted on a voluntary basis and they all feared that if the compulsory element was introduced they would lose their initiative. The Government in putting forward the scheme felt that it was impossible to work it without the co-operation of the friendly societies and, accordingly, an assurance was given them that if they would come in their voluntary character would still remain untouched, although there would be a State contribution. In proportion as they did well they would have a surplus, and in, proportion as they did not do well they would have a deficiency. That promise was given, and it was stated again very emphatically in 1918 when the question was reconsidered. The suggestion was then made to form a central fund, a very small fraction of the pool, but there was great opposition to it, and again an assurance was emphatically given that if they would agree to the proposal the Government would never go further, would never ask for any further pooling whatever.
Now we are being asked to go much further and, whatever may be the merits of the proposal, it is a, breach of faith. It is saying to the friendly societies, "We will be untrue to the declarations we made when you originally came in." Everyone will agree that this is a big controversial question. It goes to the structure of the whole scheme. A Royal Commission did recommend a certain sort of fractional pooling, but not this kind of pooling. The Minister said he would consider it, and I know that representations were made, but I understand that it was clearly stated to the approved societies that in the proposed Measure no new principle of pooling would form part. It would be an improper thing on Report stage to introduce a principle which, if it is brought in at all, should have formed part of the original Bill and have been discussed on the Second Reading. I hope the House at this stage 1955 will not give any support to the proposal which has not gone through the ordinary processes of debate and is of such importance that it ought to have been brought forward as an independent Measure so that we might have been able to bring forward the whole of the arguments.
May I intervene for one or two moments? The Parliamentary Secretary has pretty well demolished the case set up for the proposed new Clause and the hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney) has completed the execution, because he has pointed out that as this is a very controversial subject this is hardly the moment to bring it forward. When the Parliamentary Secretary was speaking, he gave figures showing that something like 1,500,000 people supported this proposal, and that something like 3,100,000 were against it.
Out of 3,100,000. Even of those 1,500,000 by no means all are in favour of this proposal, even if their societies' headquarters may be. I have been at some pains to make inquiries in my own constituency and to find out what is the feeling of the Independent Order of Rechabites in the local branch. There is no society whose motives I appreciate more than theirs, or one of which I am more an admirer, though, of course, I am not a member myself. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Because I understand that it is a society of total abstainers, and I am not one. But that is not the matter under discussion now. In the circular memorandum which was sent to me, and, I suppose, to other Members, by the headquarters of that society, it is stated that at the last annual conference a proposal made on the lines of this new Clause was adopted unanimously. I understand from my own constituents that that is far from being the case. The vote taken was not a card vote and the figures are not available. Certainly there was considerable dissension.
Whatever was the proposal under discussion at the conference, it is not the proposal which is now before the House, for instead of the 33⅓ per cent. which appears in this proposal, the suggestion at the conference was for a maximum of 1956 25 per cent. There is a difference between a quarter and a third. That, however, is by the way. In previous years, time and time again, the conference has rejected the proposal. I do not wish to weary the House, but I would like to quote a few words from a speech which was made at the annual conference of 1925. I am sorry that the hon. Member who moved this new Clause is not present, because in what I am about to say I do not want to offend his susceptibilities. The treasurer of this organisation, an Edinburgh man, was speaking against the proposal, which was, in fact, defeated. This was at the annual conference in Dundee in 1925. He said:This meant pooling. Pooling meant putting in as little and taking out as much as possible. It was no use saving money for someone else to spend it. Welsh weakness in administration would be covered up by the proposal submitted. The defects of certain areas would be covered up by the whole. Pooling had been described as theft—pure unadulterated theft.' Wales had improved, but Wales could do much better. He hoped the conference would reject the measure.Which it did. That quotation illustrates the point that by no means is there unanimity to-day within that great Order. The branch of the Order of which I am speaking, the branch to which many of my constituents belong, is a branch of a very mixed character. It is not an agricultural branch pure and simple. It has a few agriculturists, but its membership consists largely of miners and engineers and quarrymen. It has been particularly unfortunate in recent years, but yet that branch shows a very handsome surplus and it feels that any proposal of this kind is out of place today.
§ Mr. MARCH
I wish to support the new Clause as an old friendly society member of nearly 50 years' standing in a society which has branches all over the country, and as a member of a trade union which has branches nearly all over the country. We consider that a National Health Insurance scheme should give benefits equally to all its members, and that wherever there is a possibility of one branch, which happens to be in a better position because of the health of its members, giving help to a more unfortunate branch, it should do so. Why do we join friendly societies? Why did I join the movement? Not for what I 1957 could get out of it, but because I believed that collectively we could help one another better than we could individually. That is the principle which ought to guide us in regard to this new Clause. I know members of branches of friendly societies who do not get the same benefit as members of other branches which are in a better position in relation to the health of their members. I know that these members meet from time to time and talk over their difficulties and benefits. One will say, "I am getting only so-and-so per week," and another will answer, "I am getting 2s. or 3s. a week more than that." Then they begin to wonder why it is so. They do not understand that it is the national health side that is responsible.
We in the friendly society movement contribute from our branches to the general fund for various purposes simply because we realise that otherwise the branches would not be able to meet all the benefits desired. When there is an alteration in the rules regarding benefits, it is reported to the branches and they have the opportunity of considering what recommendations they will make, and they instruct the delegates who attend the general meeting as to how they are to vote. If the majority at that general meeting, coming from all quarters of the globe, decide upon a certain line of action and that certain benefits shall be paid, it is always expected that the minority will fall in with what the majority has decided. Where can there be anything wrong in that? This House is constituted in practically the same way; a majority of the Members here have managed to get a majority of votes among those contesting seats—not a majority of those voting, for in that case many Members who now sit opposite would not be here. We are told that this is a National Health Insurance scheme. It is nothing of the kind. The societies are not given the fullest liberty in administration. They are told what they may administer. The Government come along and take control; they make Acts of Parliament and then the Minister makes regulations for the societies to carry out. The Government also send their auditors to audit all the accounts. It is not like the business of a friendly society.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
The hon. Member is now following the example of the Parliamentary Secretary in going beyond the subject under discussion.
§ Mr. MARCH
I understand that you pulled him lip, and now you have done the same to me. I do not desire to transgress, but. I do desire to emphasise the fact that in the friendly society movement the branch that is successful should do its best to help the branches that are unsuccessful because of the inferior health of their members. Whatever surpluses are in the pool should go towards helping the societies which are not able otherwise to pay the same benefits as the more prosperous are able to pay. I know that that is the desire of the trade union to which I belong. We have in our trade union men who work in a very dangerous occupation in the area which I represent. I suppose there is no place where accidents are more frequent or illnesses arising from work are more common than at the docks. We have branches in Poplar, Stepney and Wandsworth, for instance. If our branch in Poplar is not able to make a surplus but the Wandsworth branch is able to do so, why should Wandsworth be prevented from pooling its surplus to help Poplar? That is what we call brotherly feeling or brotherhood. When we go to our branch meetings we address each other as "Brothers." We want brotherly feeling to exist in connection with National Health Insurance as it does in the friendly society movement.
§ Captain MACMILLAN
The last speaker has made a very interesting contribution to the Debate and has scarcely added a logical basis on which this new Clause can be defended. His point is that insurance consists in making the rich help the poor or the stronger help the weaker. He described the principle of this Clause as brotherly love, but omitted to notice that the brotherly love which he recommended so strongly was limited to 33⅓ per cent. by the terms of 1959 the Clause. If his principle be sound, there can be no reason whatever for this one-third limitation. As a matter of fact, there is nothing to prevent the amalgamation of branches if they wish to amalgamate. There is nothing in principle between reconsidering the whole basis of national health insurance and making a unified system—it might well be argued that that would be better—and maintaining the present system substantially as it is. It seems to me that there has been no case put forward for this new Clause. I have heard a great deal about it in my contact with the friendly society movement in my own constituency. From what I have heard I am satisfied that the feeling against this Clause is very great when the Clause is understood, for when friendly societies realise that once the principle of this Clause is admitted there will be nothing to prevent a number of their old societies being abolished and absorbed in a completely unified scheme, I think they will be, on the whole, against acceptance of the Clause.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
I cannot claim to have been a friendly society member for 50 years, but I have been one for 45 years. We cannot, however, discuss this matter merely as friendly society members, because the practice of the various organisations differs widely. It is not only a matter of brotherly love and of the strong branch helping the weak branch. This is a matter which raises the whole issue, as between the power of the central secretary in the district and the power of the branch secretary. In my organisation there are districts which have agreed to consolidate and are consolidated under the present law. Other districts have not agreed to consolidate, because, although the members of the various branches would say nothing against the efficiency of the district secretary, yet they believe that the movement is best served by the efficient working of autonomous branches, and they have refused consistently at district annual meetings to pass rules for consolidation.
The Government in this case are right, in my judgment, and the new Clause is wrong. We want to preserve as far as we can the incentive to good manage- 1960 ment. If this new Clause were passed, whatever it might do in reference to brotherly love, it would weaken the incentive to good management. The members of my branch were told in 1911 that if things were well-managed, at the end of each quinquennial valuation they would get the surplus accruing, and that it would be applied for additional benefits to their members. There are many branches of my order in the country which object to the idea of increasing any further the power of the central officials, whether the officials in the head office of the national movement, or the officials in the district. For those and other reasons, I oppose the new Clause.
§ Mr. TINKER
I cannot agree with the last speaker that the new Clause would weaken the incentive to economic working. All the new Clause asks is that certain branches, if they make a surplus, should be allowed to have some regard for their poorer brethren, and if they agree to it by a majority of two-thirds of their members that one-third of the surplus should be given to help the weaker branches.
§ Mr. TINKER
I concede that point to the hon. Member, but those members would represent the branches also. That does not affect the argument which I am putting up that the new Clause would not weaken the incentive to good management. It is only a matter of giving one-third of the surplus for the assistance of the poorer brethren, and we have to look at the matter in this way. Some of the branches, however well they may be worked, owing to peculiar circumstances fall into debt, whereas others by certain circumstances, make some profit, but all the branches belong to the one organisation. Can anyone argue against a two-thirds majority of the members of the 1961 organisation desiring to help the poorer branches? That is the way in which I regard this question. If they want to do so, we ought not to stand in their way. Having listened very closely to the arguments against the new Clause, it seems to me that the chief argument is that it might upset something which is fundamental in the Bill. I cannot see how it would do so. I cannot see how it would affect any society which does not want to put it into operation. I have had a large number of petitions expressing the view that the proposal of the new Clause ought to be carried out, and I think the arguments in favour of it are quite sound. I appeal to the Minister and to Members on the other side to give some consideration to our point of view. I do not think the proposal would alter the Bill in any fundamental way, and it would have the effect of helping a number of poor people.
§ Mr. BLUNDELL
I am very glad that my right hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary has resisted this proposed new Clause. I do not think there is any force in the argument put forward by the hon. Member who has just sat down. If a society with branches wishes to have the same benefits for all the branches, if it wishes the rich branches and the poor branches, the strong branches and the weak branches, the well-managed branches and the badly-managed brandies all to have the same benefits, there is nothing to prevent that society centralising its funds as many societies have done. No one can accuse my right hon. Friend of interfering with democratic management or preventing societies from exercising to the full the principle of brotherly love. All that can be said of him is that he is not in favour of exercising it to the extent of 33⅓ per cent., which, as the hon. and gallant Member for Stockport (Captain Macmillan) has pointed out, is the proposal of the new Clause. There is a further argument against it. It is the thin end of the wedge in regard to the pooling of surpluses generally. That is what the Mover and Seconder of the new Clause have in mind. They want to get the principle admitted that if it is justifiable to pool portions of the surpluses within a society with branches, then by so much more is it justifiable to pool portions of the surpluses of the societies generally. Hav- 1962 ing got as far as that, there is nothing to stop them from proposing to pool all surpluses, and that is the object at which they are aiming.
The pooling of surpluses is in direct contravention of the pledges given to the rural community when the original Measure was introduced. Over and over again, answers were given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) and by the late Mr. Masterman, who was then Financial Secretary to the Treasury, to the effect that if the rural population formed societies of their own they would not be interfered with, and that if their superior health enabled them to build up larger surpluses they would have the benefit of those surpluses. Anything which infringes that principle is an infringement of a pledge given by the Government of the day and endorsed by this House. Therefore, I am glad that my right hon. Friend is not allowing the thin end of the wedge to be inserted, and I hope the excellent arguments put forward against this form of pooling by the Parliamentary Secretary will not be forgotten by him if any further question of pooling arises in the future.
§ Mr. KELLY
A great deal of play has been made by hon. Members opposite with the idea that my hon. Friend the Member for Poplar (Mr. March) was referring to a percentage of brotherly love or fraternal spirit. I think the speech of my hon. Friend deserved better treatment than has been accorded to it by the hon. and gallant Member for Stockport (Captain Macmillan) or the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Blundell). The hon. Member for Poplar pointed out that in his experience there was no question of the richer districts refusing to help the weaker districts. Knowing the difficulty that exists in persuading hon. Members opposite to do other than follow the lead of their Front Bench, he pointed out that all they were asked to do on this occasion was to enable some of the societies to give a portion of their surplus in order that other members of the same society might enjoy additional benefits of which they would otherwise be deprived. The new Clause does not ask for the compulsory holding up of a portion of the surplus. It asks that societies with branches should have this opportunity, and I would remind the hon. 1963 Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown) that the society is not something other than the branches. When the new Clause speaks of a vote being taken, it is a vote of the society, and the society is composed of the branches.
§ Sir BASIL PETO
At this meeting will the branches which are going to benefit from the pooling arrangements have an equal vote with those which are not going to benefit?
§ Mr. KELLY
I should hope so, and I hope that no society with which I am concerned would dream of acting in any other way, but that where there is a surplus they should use it on behalf of those who require it, in any district and at any time. The Parliamentary Secretary made much of the permissive nature of the new Clause, and of the 49 per cent. in favour of the proposal as against the 51 per cent. of the people concerned who did not express themselves in favour of it. It is good to hear the right hon. Gentleman referring to the permissive nature of the proposal in this way. When we were discussing the miners' Eight Hours Act we were told it was a permissive Measure, but the right hon. Gentleman did not then consider whether it was a case of 1,500,000 out of 3,000,000. All we ask is that where a society with branches finds that some branches have a surplus, and others have not a surplus, then those with the surpluses may decide by a majority of two-thirds of the whole society to help the others by a payment into a pool of 33⅓ per cent. That can only be done after a meeting of the society has decided in the manner specified in the new Clause. That would enable poorer branches to find additional benefits. [Interruption.] The poorer branches might be in a majority, but if that were so, it would only show the greater necessity for the other branches being able to contribute to their assistance. Those who oppose the new Clause refer to the pledge that there was to be no general pooling, but the new Clause does not ask for anything in the nature of general pooling or even partial pooling. There is only the request that an opportunity should be given to assist—in the matter of additional benefit only—those branches which are not able to provide additional 1964 benefits at this time. I cannot see the great obstacles that seem to face hon. Members opposite. I think it is only a fear of what some societies will do, and I trust that this Clause will be carried.
§ Sir B. PETO
I should not have risen but for the speeches of the hon. Member for South Poplar (Mr. March) and the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly). All the recommendations for this Clause that have been put from the benches opposite are based on something which is not in the Clause at all. They all say Why should these branches of societies which have surpluses not have the opportunity of exercising brotherly love and giving a part of those surpluses to their poorer friends? That is not in this Clause at all. The Clause merely says that a society, which includes the branches with surpluses and those without, may by a majority decide in fact that the poorer branches may have the opportunity of spending other and thriftier people's money. Of course, that is a principle which is dear to the hearts of all hon. Members on the Socialist benches. They are always willing to give away other people's money and always claiming to equalise everything for everybody, whether they save or spend.
§ Sir B. PETO
I wish to point out that the real issue is not the one that has been put from the Socialist benches on this Clause. If I thought it was merely giving an opportunity for philanthropy, it would be very difficult to vote against it, but I see in the Clause as worded an opportunity to try to produce an artificial equality where there should be no equality whatever. We have had pledges given when the original Health Insurance Bill was going through this House, that there should be no pooling. It was pointed out that agricultural friendly societies, in districts where health is good, would perhaps produce surpluses and should not have their surpluses taken away from them by any pooling principle. I object to the pooling principle altogether, and, therefore, I object strongly to this Clause, which introduces it and allows a majority in a society to vote away money which has been saved by the careful husbanding and manage- 1965 ment of these branches which happen to have a surplus, and which surplus ought to be devoted to the benefit of their own members.
§ Mr. MORRIS
I have listened with some interest to the arguments that have been advanced in support of this Clause, and the main one seems to be the ideal one of brotherly love, but when one turns to the Clause itself to find out how far brotherly love will be secured by it, one is in a difficulty. The Clause, as I read it, means that a society with branches may decide, by a majority of two-thirds at a general meeting, to collect a central fund, and may then, by resolution, start to distribute that fund. It has first to find out what branches are in deficiency, and it must bring up the level of that deficiency to the standard benefit before it distributes the surplus. Supposing branch "A" has a deficiency of £1,000, branch "B" a deficiency of £2,000, and branch "C" a deficiency of £4,000. I can see that in those cases, far from brotherly love prevailing, branch "A" will question what right branch "C" has to a share of the central fund. If this Clause were passed in order to assist brotherly love prevailing, I think you would defeat your object and create instead a feeling of envy and irritation between the branches of a society. There is also the point that has already been made about the undertaking given to the rural societies. There is no reason why rural branches, which are often well managed, should be penalised because another branch suffers from a deficiency, perhaps through ill or bad management.
§ Miss WILKINSON
I have to apologise for not having heard a considerable part of the Debate on this Clause, but I have been asked by a number of people in my constituency to raise certain points in this connection. There is a good deal of dissatisfaction among many people who are members of societies with branches, with separate branch management, that they are not in fact getting what they pay for. You have people paying for benefits, and you have certain additional benefits provided for certain branches in a society because those branches have got a surplus. Some of the members of the 1966 society get the ordinary standard benefit only, and other members of the same society, though in other branches, are receiving additional benefits as well. They may not be branches at a great distance away; they may be quite near, where the people concerned meet each other and know of the additional 'benefits that are being paid. In fact, quite recently, the last time I was in my constituency, I had some people who came to see me on this point. They were not getting the same amount of benefits as were some of their friends, who, they knew, were paying only the same amount of money as they were to the same society.
§ Miss WILKINSON
One of the largest societies has raised this very point, and the people in that society prefer to be with their own people and do not want to join another society. They want to be in a particular society, and there is no reason why they should not be in it, but they find people who are getting these different benefits. It is said sometimes that they ought to look after their own local societies and that if they cannot control the finances of their branches, those finances should be controlled for them; but there is another argument, and that is that it is very often difficult for people in these circumstances really to control their local deficiencies. If you had a central fund, as proposed in this Clause, and you had a position such as that raised by the hon. Member for Cardigan (Mr. Morris), of one branch with £1,000 indebtedness and another branch with £1,000 surplus, or something like that, there would be some sort of central control, and it will be seen that if there bad to be a two-thirds majority obtained at a general meeting, any deficiency would have to be inquired into very carefully. Therefore, it seems to me that by passing this Clause you would, in fact, make for the better government of these societies which have this particular kind of autonomous branch government.
If this scheme were put on a proper national basis, and we had a national health insurance scheme in fact as well as in name, these difficulties would not arise, but as they have arisen and you have all kinds of vested interests created, it seems to me that when you have got 1967 such a very democratic safeguard as a two-thirds majority provided, which is very difficult to get in a big society, it is a very adequate safeguard. If it were a bare majority, it might not be adequate, but with a two-thirds majority it is; and I am all in favour of giving large majorities in societies and unions of all kinds the right to manage their own affairs. I know that that is not popular with the party opposite, because they are always preaching freedom on the platform but always wanting to meddle with other people's business where money is concerned. They want to spend the money of other people at all times. The hon. Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto) actually said that Socialists want to spend other people's money, when his own Government is a classic instance of that kind of thing and has produced an Act of Parliament for interfering with workmen's money when they have collected it together for certain other purposes.
§ Miss WILKINSON
I do not need to recall to the Parliamentary Secretary's memory the many instances of the kind which have arisen. That air of innocence sits very charmingly on his face, but we know very well that it covers a deep and Machiavellian personality. In this particular case we want to urge that where you have these large numbers of working men who want the right, by a two-thirds majority, to decide on the disposal of their own funds, it is wholly unfair, and an unwarrantable interference by this House, to withhold that right.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I desire to support this Clause, which is thoroughly in accordance with the principle on which friendly societies have been built. A friendly society has always been in the position that there have been so many people paying into it who have never got any benefit out of it, while so many other people who have paid in have got all the benefits. But the people who get all the benefits are in a more unfortunate position than those who do not, because the friendly society principle is that the strong should help the weak; and all along the people who have not had to take advantage of the benefits have thanked God that they were not in the position of suffering in health and having some disability which would have required 1968 them to go to their societies for assistance. This Clause carries out this principle, and I think that meets the point made by the hon. Member for Cardigan (Mr. Morris), when he spoke about the feeling of irritation on the part of one branch of a society which had achieved a bigger surplus or a smaller deficiency than another branch of the same society. The whole principle upon which insurance rests is that there are those who are in the more fortunate position, who see these surpluses which would have accrued to themselves going to others, because those others through sickness are in a worse position than themselves. Therefore, this Clause is in full accord with the principle upon which the whole insurance scheme is built.
There is also this point that has to be taken into account, that all these branches of a society have the benefit of being branches of that society and of having the assistance that comes to them as branches because they are connected with that organisation. When the National Health Insurance scheme was introduced, there was given the opportunity for various people to come together in approved societies. The old friendly societies were taken over under the scheme, and those people came together for various reasons and for various things that they had in common, and they felt that this association with one another was a matter of so much importance that they wished to continue it; so that the advantage of belonging to that organisation is something that involves likewise a responsibility upon the branch, not only to its own members within the branch, but to the whole organisation of which it is a branch. This Clause takes account of that fact, and there is a great deal to be said for the organisation having the power, if there be an overwhelming majority in favour of this sustentation or central fund, to be allowed to carry it through. It is eminently a matter for the society and its branches.
The one thing that could be said against the Clause was that it might be possible, by a snap vote of the majority of branches, to impose on the society a rule which would be repugnant to the members, but it cannot be said that there are not adequate safeguards provided in the Clause. In the first place, 1969 it requires this big majority, and, in the second place, the approval of the Minister has to be obtained for the scheme. This safeguards the rights of each individual, and I cannot see why there should be any real opposition to the Clause. I have had communications from various societies stressing the importance of this Clause, and the fact that there is a strong desire among approved societies to have this power. That is something to which due consideration should be given by the House. I have tried to find what there is against the Clause, and all I can find is the idea that the local people are against it. If there be anything in the argument that there is so much feeling locally against the Clause, there is no possibility of the Clause ever being effective, but if, on the other hand, the idea that there is so much local opinion against it is a mistaken idea, and that the Clause will be to the advantage of a society, the societies ought to have the powers that are asked for in this Clause.
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
I want to express my surprise at the attitude which the Government have taken up on this proposed new Clause. I am particularly surprised at the attitude of Members below the Gangway, and of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney). He expressed his surprise at a proposal to create a pool for mutual assistance. The principle of the pool, however, is not against the essence of the Bill, or of the original Act, because in the original Act, which it is proposed to be extended by this Bill, there is already a pool of something like £200,000, not for the equalisation of benefits, but for the keeping of members in benefits. In Clause 20 of this Bill, it is proposed to extend the pool that comes from unclaimed contributions. At present, the law is that nine-tenths of unclaimed contributions goes towards paying arrears, but the Bill proposes that the whole of
§ the arrears of members who are unemployed can be paid from the pool, which it is now proposed to be extended. Yet we have had Members, particularly below the Gangway, stating that the idea of the pool for mutual help is a new principle, and that it would be conducive to the bad working of branches.
§ Mr. HARNEY
No, I do not say that, but, owing to that undertaking, it has become a big controversial question, and ought only to be altered on a Second Reading Debate.
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
I am surprised at the attitude of the Liberal Members and the Minister. We thought it was a very modest proposal to take the surpluses of branches, and apply them to those branches which are not so fortunate. This is the whole essence of friendly society rules and of trade unionism. There are certain branches in the engineering union, in my own union, that for 50 or 60 years have never shown a balance. Some branches of my society are thousands, and tens of thousands of pounds in debt, but we do not cut them off for that. For the sake of equality and brotherhood, we pool our resources, and this is the very essence both of friendly society working and trade unionism. I am greatly surprised at the attitude which the Government have taken up on this matter.
§ Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 117; Noes, 230.1973
|Division No. 150.]||AYES.||[6.40 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife. West)||Bondfield, Margaret||Connolly, M.|
|Adamson. W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Broad, F. A.||Cove, W. G.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Bromfield, William||Dalton, Hugh|
|Ammon, Charles George||Bromley, J.||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Buchanan, G.||Day, Harry|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Cape, Thomas||Dennison, R.|
|Baker, Walter||Charleton, H. C.||Dunnico. H.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Cluse, W. S.||Gibbins, Joseph|
|Barnes, A.||Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Gillett, George M|
|Batey, Joseph||Compton, Joseph||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||MacNeill-Weir, L.||Smillie, Robert|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Groves, T.||March, S.||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Maxton, James||Smith, Rennle (Penistone)|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Montague, Frederick||Snell, Harry|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Hardie, George D.||Murnin, H,||Stamford, T. W.|
|Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Naylor, T. E||Stephen, Campbell|
|Hayday, Arthur||Oliver, George Harold||Sullivan, Joseph|
|Hayes, John Henry||Palin, John Henry||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Pialstow)|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Paling, W.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Hirst, G. H.||Ponsonby, Arthur||Viant, S. P.|
|Hirst, w. (Bradford, South)||Potts, John s.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Hollins, A.||Purcell, A. A.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfleld)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Riley, Ben||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Ritson, J.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Slivertown)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W.Bromwich)||Welsh, J. C.|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Rose, Frank H.||Westwood, J.|
|Kelly, W. T.||Saklatvala, Shapurji||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Kennedy, T.||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Kirkwood, D.||Scrymgeour, E.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Lansbury, George||Scurr, John||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Lawrence, Susan||Sexton, James||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Lawson, John James||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Wright, W.|
|Lowth, T.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Lunn, William||Shinwell, E.|
|MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J, R. (Aberavon)||Short. Alfred (Wednesbury)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Mackinder, W.||Sitch, Charles H.||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. Whiteley.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Conway, Sir W. Martin||Harney, E. A.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Cooper, A. Dull||Harris, Percy A.|
|Albery, Irving James||Cope, Major William||Harrison, G. J. C.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Couper, J. B.||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Isllngtn. N.)||Haslam, Henry C.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Crawfurd, H. E.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Henn, Sir Sydney H.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Hilton, Cecil|
|Atkinson. C.||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)|
|Balniel, Lord||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney,N.)|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberland, Whiteh'n)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Dixey, A. C.||Hurst, Gerald B.|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Drewe, C.||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)|
|Bennett, A. J.||Edge, Sir William||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Berry, Sir George||Elliot, Major Walter E.||King, Commodore Henry Douglas|
|Betterton, Henry B.||England, Colonel A.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-S.-M.)||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R. Skipton)||Everard, W. Lindsay||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.|
|Blundell, F. N.||Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Fenby, T. D.||Loder, J. de V.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Forrest, W.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere|
|Briant, Frank||Foster, Sir Harry S.||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Fraser, Captain Ian||Lynn, Sir R. J.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Fremantie, Lt.-Col. Francis E.||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Gadle, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Brown. Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Ganzonl, Sir John||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Maclntyre, Ian|
|Buchan, John||Gates, Percy||McLean, Major A.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Macmillan, Captain H.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.|
|Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D.||Goff, Sir Park||Maquisten, F. A.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Gower, Sir Robert||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Cassels, J. D.||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Grant, Sir J. A.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Grattan-Doyle. Sir N.||Mason, Colonel Glyn K.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Blrm.,W.)||Grenfell Edward C. (City of London)||Meller, R. J.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Griffith, F. Kingsley||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Hacking, Douglas H.||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hail, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hamilton, Sir George||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M|
|Morris, R. H.||Sandeman, N. Stewart||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Cilve||Sanderson, Sir Frank||Tomlinson, R. P.|
|Murchison, Sir Kenneth||Sandon, Lord||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Waddington, R.|
|Neville, Sir Reginald J.||Savery, S. S.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Shepperson, E. W.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Nuttall, Ellis||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Owen, Major G.||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfast)||Wells, S. R.|
|Penny, Frederick George||Skelton, A. N.||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple-|
|Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Sianey, Major p. Kenyon||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Smith, R.W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Pilcher, G.||Smithers, Waldron||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Pilditch, Sir Philip||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Price, Major C. W. M.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||Withers, John James|
|Ramsden, E.||Sprot, Sir Alexander||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Reld, D. O. (County Down)||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Rentoul, G. S.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G.(Westm'sland)||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Strauss, E. A.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Rice, Sir Frederick||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Wragg, Herbert|
|Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (Norwich)|
|Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell||Tasker, R. Inigo.|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Templeton, W. P.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Rye, F. G.||Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)||Captain Bowyer and Captain|
|Salmon, Major I.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)||Wallace.|
|Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|