HC Deb 16 December 1929 vol 233 cc1067-75

The next Amendment which I call is that standing in the name of the hon. Member for Lewisham (Sir A. Pownall)—in page 4, line 5, to leave out the word "may" and to insert instead thereof the word "shall."


Do I understand that the manuscript Amendment which I handed in is not called?


No, I do not propose to select it.


I beg to move, in page 4, line 5, to leave out the word "may," and to insert instead thereof the word "shall."

This Sub-section refers to the Subsection of the principal Act of 1920, by which any claimant for benefit is disqualified from receiving benefit if there has been a stoppage of work owing to a trade union dispute. By this Bill it is left optional with the insurance officer, who may disallow a claim for benefit if he thinks that the person claiming it is disqualified for the reason that I have mentioned. It seems very unfair to throw an onus of this sort on to the insurance officers, who will have sufficient anxieties and responsibilities conferred upon them by this Bill as it stands, without throwing on to them the invidious task of deciding whether there is a trade dispute or not. Therefore, I suggest that the word "shall" be inserted for the word "may." It cannot be argued that there is any serious danger of injustice to the claimant, because in the next Subsection there is a provision that if a claim is disallowed he may appeal.

Captain BOURNE

I beg to second the Amendment.


I dealt rather fully with the trade disputes Clause in the discussions on the Second Reading and in Committee. The trade dispute claims are in a class by themselves. That is generally recognised, and we do, as a matter of practice, find that the insurance officer decides in 99 cases out of 100. But it is important that there should be this slight relaxation of the general rule which may occur in connection with some dispute in which he may choose to refer the matter directly to the court of referees; or he may disallow it himself. There is a great advantage in leaving this Clause as it is.

Amendment negatived.


I beg to move, in page 4, to leave out lines 18 to 29.

This Sub-section deals with the review period. The matter was fully discussed on the Committee stage of the Bill, but at that time we did not have the new Clause 4 before us. That Clause puts the onus of proof from the claimant on to the Exchange; therefore, the periodical review by the Exchange and the court of referees is no longer necessary. That was generally agreed when this matter was discussed, and I understand that the Minister is prepared to accept this Amendment.


I beg to second the Amendment.


This gives me an opportunity of correcting a statement which I made in the Committee Debate, when I unwittingly misled the House. The point I made was that the "not genuinely seeking work" cases would not come in this review. I was mistaken, for my mind was taken up with two classes of review. I now wish to present some figures which I have had looked out as a result of the discussion on the Committee stage. I find that the cases that come before the court on review under the statutory conditions other than that of not genuinely seeking work are negligible. For example, in the period from 10th September to 14th October, I find that there were considered on review by the courts of referees 107,892 cases. Of these, 102,658 were recommended for allowance. They were the ordinary cases for the most part. Of the 5,234 cases recommended for disallowance, 5,227 were for not genuinely seeking work, and only nine were on other grounds. I have examined these other grounds, and I find that the machinery allows them to be dealt with without review. That is to say, even in those nine cases, the 13-weeks review was not necessary. In view of the fact that the new Clause 4 has completely altered the position, I am bound to admit the force of the arguments used by hon. Members as to the uselessness of this particular review machinery. It is cumbersome, expensive, and takes up the time of courts of referees turning over papers which were previously settled by the statutory conditions being complied with. Therefore, as the courts of referees will have plenty of work to do under the new Clause 4 the acceptance of this Amendment will be a real advantage to the administrative machinery.


The right hon. Lady had no doubt indicated her acceptance to the hon. Member who moved the Amendment, and I do not complain that she has not indicated it to this side of the House except in her speech, but it is a common practice, if the Government intend to accept an Amendment, to star it or to indicate in some way that they are desirous of taking the point of view of the Amendment.


I apologise if there has been any omission, but I understood that it was indicated.


The Amendment is starred.


A star means that it has been put on the Paper for the first time.


It is often the case that the Government adds the name of the Minister or Parliamentary Secretary to an Amendment by way of indicating that they are going to support it. The figures which have been quoted can well stand a little investigation. They refer us back to the great Debate which took place upon Clause 4. We are told that some 5,234 persons were disallowed, and that of these the new Clause 4 will allow through 5,227. I suppose that the original Clause 4 would not have allowed through anything like that number. It would have allowed through 2,200, judging by the proportion which the Government's memorandum gives between the persons whose claims were allowed under the old Clause which were 65,000, and the claims to be allowed under the new Clause, which were an additional 95,000. The number is rather more than double. Under the machinery which the Government first introduced, something like 2,200 persons would have been retained in benefit; under the machinery which they are going to introduce, the number is 5,227. The Attorney-General could no doubt make an equally fluent and mellifluous speech showing that both were the original intention of the Government.

We wish to get on to the Third Reading, and to discuss the principles, if there be any principles upon which this Measure is based. I understand that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is desirous of speaking, and we are more than desirous of hearing the defence which he wilt put up to a surrender practically unparalleled in the annals of the long story of the Treasury resistance to the claims of Departments and of this House. We shall first have to divide against this Amendment, for we have not had time to consider the proposals brought forward, as it has not been on the Paper before. The Minister may have given notice of it in manuscript this morning, but we must again say that these figures, these conclusions, and these Amendments ought to be in the Bill, and that a Bill embodying the considered judgment of the Government, which was not liable to be altered every moment, ought to be before the House before the Third Reading is taken. How do we know that some manuscript Amendment will not be moved later, transforming not merely the effect of the Clause, but of every Clause of the Bill to which it may apply? It is impossible for us to let this matter go without entering our protest in the Division Lobby.


May I remind the hon. and gallant Gentleman, before he wastes the time of the House by dividing, that he used these words when the matter was discussed before: "I cannot see what there is to review."


The hon. Member does not forward business by accusing me of wasting the time of the House. I merely say that the whole of the Clause and the

hon. Member's Amendment ought to be in print when the House is asked to give the Bill a Third Reading.

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

The House divided: Ayes, 142; Noes, 271.

Division No. 103.] AYES. [7.30 p.m.
Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l) Elliot, Major Walter E. Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.) Falle, Sir Bertram G. Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Fielden, E. B. Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William
Astor, Maj. Hon. John J.(Kent,Dover) Fison, F. G. Clavering Peake, Capt. Osbert
Atholl, Duchess of Forestler-Walker, Sir L. Penny, Sir George
Atkinson, C. Galbraith, J. F. W. Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley) Ganzoni, Sir John Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton Power, Sir John Cecil
Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet) Gower, Sir Robert Pownall, Sir Assheton
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Grace, John Purbrick, R.
Beaumont, M. W. Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Ramsbotham, H.
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. Reid, David D. (County Down)
Berry, Sir George Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Remer, John R.
Bird, Ernest Roy Greene, W. P. Crawford Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell
Boothby, R. J. G. Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) Salmon, Major I.
Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Boyce, H. L. Hartington, Marquess of Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart
Bracken, B. Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.
Briscoe, Richard George Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham) Hudson,Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Skelton, A. N.
Buckingham, Sir H. Hurd, Percy A. Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Burton, Colonel H. W. Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Butler, R. A. Iveagh, Countess of Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Butt, Sir Alfred Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Smithers, Waldron
Carver, Major W. H. Kindersley, Major G. M. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) King, Commodore Rt. Hon. Henry D. Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.) Knox, Sir Alfred Southby, Commander A. R. J.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J.A. (Birm., W.) Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R. Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)
Christie, J. A. Leigh, Sir John (Clapham) Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George Leighton, Major B. E. P. Stuart, J. C. (Moray and Nairn)
Colfox, Major William Philip Lewis, Oswald (Colchester) Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Colville, Major D. J. Llewellin, Major J. J. Turton, Robert Hugh
Conway, Sir W. Martin Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Cranbourne, Viscount Long, Major Eric Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert
Crichton-Stuart, Lord C. Lymington, Viscount Wardlaw-Milne, J. S.
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Warrender, Sir Victor
Crookshank, Cpt.H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro) Macquisten, F. A. Wayland, Sir William A.
Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West) Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham) Wells, Sydney R.
Dalkeith, Earl of Makins, Brigadier-General E. Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Dairymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey Margesson, Captain H. D. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Davies, Dr. Vernon Marjoribanks, E. C. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil) Mitchell-Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B. Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton
Duckworth, G. A. V. Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)
Dugdale, Capt. T. L. Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Edmondson, Major A. J. Muirhead, A. J. Marquess of Titchfield and Captain Wallace.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Bentham, Dr. Ethel Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel (Norfolk, N.)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Caine, Derwent Hall
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher Birkett, W. Norman Cameron, A. G.
Alpass, J. H. Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret Cape, Thomas
Ammon, Charles George Bowen, J. W. Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S.W.)
Angell, Norman Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Charleton, H. C.
Arnott, John Broad, Francis Alfred Chater, Daniel
Aske, Sir Robert Brockway, A. Fenner Clarke, J. S.
Attlee, Clement Richard Bromfield, William Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.
Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Bromley, J. Cocks, Frederick Seymour
Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley) Brothers, M. Compton, Joseph
Barnes, Alfred John Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield) Cove, William G.
Bellamy, Albert Brown, Ernest (Leith) Daggar, George
Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Dallas, George
Bennett, Captain E.N.(Cardiff, Central) Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West) Dalton, Hugh
Bennett, William (Battersea, South) Burgess, F. G. Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)
Benson, G. Buxton, C. R. (Yorks. W. R. Elland) Day, Harry
Denman, Hon. R. D. Leach, W. Salter, Dr. Alfred
Dickson, T. Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern) Samuel, H. W. (Swansea, West)
Dudgeon, Major C. R. Lees, J. Sanders, W. S.
Dukes, C. Lewis, T. (Southampton) Sandham, E.
Duncan, Charles Lloyd, C. Ellis Sawyer, G, F,
Ede, James Chuter Longden, F. Scrymgeour, E.
Edmunds, J. E. Lovat-Fraser, J. A. Scurr, John
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Lowth, Thomas Sexton, James
Edwards, E. (Morpeth) Lunn, William Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Egan, W. H. Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) Sherwood, G. H.
Elmley, Viscount MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham) Shield, George William
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) McEntee, V. L. Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Forgan, Dr. Robert Mackinder, W. Shillaker, J. F.
Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton) McKinlay, A. Shinwell, E.
Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.) Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.) Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) McShane, John James Simmons, C. J.
George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea) Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton) Simon, E. D. (Manch'ter, Withington)
Gibbins, Joseph Mansfield, W. Sinkinson, George
Gill, T. H. March, S. Sitch, Charles H.
Glassey, A. E. Marcus, M. Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)
Gosling, Harry Markham, S. F. Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Gossling, A. G. Marley, J. Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)
Gould, F. Matters, L. W. Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)
Graham, Rt. Hon.Wm. (Edin., Cent.) Maxton, James Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Granville, E. Melville, Sir James Smith, Tom (Pontefract)
Gray, Milner Messer, Fred Smith, W. R. (Norwich)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne) Middleton, G. Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Millar, J. D. Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)
Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.) Mills, J. E. Sorensen, R.
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Montague, Frederick Spero, Dr. G. E.
Groves, Thomas E. Morgan, Dr. H. B. Stamford, Thomas W.
Grundy, Thomas W. Morley, Ralph Stephen, Campbell
Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh) Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South) Strachey, E. J. St. Loe
Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.) Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.) Strauss, G. R.
Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn) Mort, D. L. Sullivan, J.
Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland) Moses, J. J. H. Sutton, J. E.
Hardle, George D. Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent) Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)
Harris, Percy A. Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick) Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S.W.)
Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Muggeridge, H. T. Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)
Hastings, Dr. Somerville Murnin, Hugh Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Haycock, A. W. Naylor, T. E. Thurtie, Ernest
Hayday, Arthur Noel Baker, P. J. Tillett, Ben
Hayes, John Henry Oldfield, J. R. Tinker, John Joseph
Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley) Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston) Toole, Joseph
Henderson, Arthur, junr. (Cardiff, S.) Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley) Tout, W. J.
Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow) Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon) Townend, A. E.
Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield) Owen, H. F. (Hereford) Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
Herrlotts, J. Palin, John Henry Turner, B.
Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth) Palmer, E. T. Vaughan, D. J.
Hoffman, P. C. Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Viant, S. P.
Hollins, A. Perry, S. F. Walker, J.
Hopkin, Daniel Peters, Dr. Sidney John Wallace, H. W.
Horrabin, J. F. Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Wallhead, Richard C.
Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield) Phillips, Dr. Marton Watkins, F. C.
Hunter, Dr. Joseph Picton-Turbervill, Edith Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline).
Isaacs, George Pole, Major D. G. Wellock, Wilfred
Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Ponsonby, Arthur Welsh, James (Paisley)
John, William (Rhondda, West) Potts, John S. Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)
Johnston, Thomas Price, M. p. West, F. R.
Jones, Rt. Hon Leif (Camborne) Pybus, Percy John Westwood, Joseph
Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W. Ramsay, T. B. Wilson Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)
Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford) Raynes, W. R. Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Kelly, W. T. Richards, R. Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Kennedy, Thomas Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Kinley, J. Riley, Ben (Dewsbury) Wilson, J. (Oldham)
Knight, Holford Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees) Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Lathan, G. Ritson, J. Winterton, G. E.(Leicester, Loughb'gh)
Law, Albert (Bolton) Roberts, Rt.Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich) Wise, E. F.
Law, A. (Rosendale) Romeril, H. G. Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)
Lawrence, Susan Rosbotham, D. S. T. Wright, W. (Rutherglen)
Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge) Rothschild, J. de Young, R. S. (Islington, North)
Lawson, John James Rowson, Guy
Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle) Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Paling.

I beg to move, in page 5, line 5, after the word "that," to insert the words in any case in which a decision of a court of referees disallowing a claim is not unanimous, notice in writing of the fact shall be given by the court to the claimant within three days of the decision and. This Amendment is moved in fulfilment of a promise which I gave on the Committee stage when dealing with an Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Newcastle East (Sir R. Aske). It is a question of a court of referees putting into writing for the benefit of a claimant the fact that a decision to disallow his claim was not unanimous.


On behalf of my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle East (Sir R. Aske), I beg to thank the right hon. Lady.

Amendment agreed to.