HC Deb 29 January 1929 vol 224 cc895-901

I beg to move, in page 82, to leave out from the word "who" in line 3, to the word "an" in line 4, and to insert instead thereof the word "is."

This Amendment is designed to rectify what would be an obvious injustice to many Poor Law servants if the Clause went through as it stands at present. The Clause says: Subject to the provisions of this Part of this Act, any person who having been on the 12th day of November, 1928, an officer of a Poor Law authority is at the appointed day an officer of the same or any other Poor Law authority shall on the appointed day, as respects that office, be transferred as follows. That leaves any Poor Law officer appointed since 12th November last totally unprovided for. Another point to which I wish to draw attention concerns the words: As respects that office. I take it that means the office held by the Poor Law officer on 12th November. That does not allow for any promotions or any transfers to higher offices which have taken place since 12th November. Appointments of Poor Law officers are constantly being made, particularly at times like the present, when there is considerable distress and epidemics of disease are taking place. Quite a number of additional Poor Law officers may have been appointed since 12th November, and appointments may also have been made in the natural course of filling vacancies since 12th November. Keeping in mind the many thousands of Poor Law officers in the service of local authorities throughout the country we can quite see that there must be a fairly large number who will be left to the tender mercies of any new authorities and that there will not be adequate protection for them in their particular office if they were not in the service before 12th November, 1928. I know of one or two instances where particular Poor Law officers have shown brilliant efficiency, and they have been appointed to vacancies in the highest branch of the service. Those who have shown that extra ability are only to be taken over as respects the offices which they held on the 12th November, 1928.

I know it may be said that throughout the Bill 12th November is given as the appointed day, but in this Clause the point I am making could be met if my Amendment were accepted because it says "subject to the provisions of this part of this Act." I hope the Minister will accept my Amendment because the Clause as it stands would be unfair and unreasonable and would almost amount to an indecent treatment of valuable officers who have been promoted to higher positions since 12th November, or to those new officers who have filled vacancies since the 12th of November. If at the time of the functioning of these new authorities there are any servants under the Poor Law authorities who have been taken into the service since 12th November, I think they should have equal consideration with those who may have been taken into the service on the 10th or 11th November. I raise this point on behalf of the Poor Law officers.


This is the first of a series of Clauses dealing with the transfer and compensation of officers. I may say that it is the intention of the Government to treat these officers with perfect fairness. The Amendment which has been moved by the hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. Hayday) is one which I am afraid I cannot advise the Committee to accept, and I think on reflection he will not wish to press it. This Clause follows many precedents, and it follows the lines of many schemes connected with commercial and industrial affairs. The Clause we are dealing with provides that if a man is appointed between the 12th day of November, 1928, and the appointed day when the Bill comes into operation, the Clauses relating to compensation do not apply. I do not think that we are treating the Poor Law officers badly by a provision of that kind.

I also want to correct the hon. Gentleman in regard to his reference to the phrase "as respects that office." That is founded on the precedent of the Eating and Valuation Act, and is simply to meet the contention that might be made that a person holding a Poor Law office and some other office, and being transferred to the county council, might have to be compensated for both offices. What we are laying down perfectly clearly and fairly in this Bill is that he shall, of course, only be compensated in respect of his Poor Law office. I also want to make it clear that the Clause as drawn gives protection to any Poor Law officer who accepts a new Poor Law office in the interval between the introduction of the Bill and the appointed day. He will, of course, be treated on the footing that if during the interval between the intro- duction of the Bill and the appointed day he holds another office, he will be compensated on that basis. I think that on all these three points we shall not be doing any injustice, and that it would be unreasonable in such circumstances to ask the Committee to accept the Amendment.


Unfortunately, these important Amendments have been reached at a very late hour, and I have only time to ask one question of the right hon. Gentleman. The Clause under discussion refers to transfer of officers, but the right hon. Gentleman himself has alluded to compensation. As the Bill is drawn, it appears to be necessary that the officer should be in the service on the 12th November and also at the appointed day, which is the 1st April, 1930, and that if for any reason, in anticipation of this Measure coming into operation, the appointment is determined before the 1st April, 1930, the claim to compensation is lost. Is that the state of affairs, and, if it be the state of affairs, do not the Government recognise that a very serious injustice is involved?


You could not, obviously, bring in compensation which would have effect before the operation of the Bill. It is entirely a matter between the officer and the authority.


Is there any protection for the man appointed after the 12th November? He is not given the protection of being transferred to the new authority, apart from any question of compensation.


That is simply because he joined with the knowledge of these provisions. The man who has been many years in the service is in an entirely different position.


Is it not the case that, in the normal working of these Poor Law authorities, quite apart from this interval, persons would be appointed in the ordinary way, and, although their number might not be large, ought they not to be protected?


Perhaps I may put a particular case. The matron of the Penistone Workhouse died just after Christmas last year. A new appointment was made, and the post was given to a member of her family. The Parliamentary Secretary says that the new appointment will lie outside the terms of the Bill in regard to compensation, but I should like him to deal with this particular case of a deceased officer being succeeded by another member of that officer's family.

It being half-past Ten of the clock, the CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of 12th December, to put forthwith the Question on the Amendment already proposed from the Chair.

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

The Committee divided: Ayes, 222; Noes, 102.

Division No. 137.] AYES. [10.30 p.m.
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. Charles Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.) Macmillan, Captain H.
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith MacRobert, Alexander M.
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman Everard, W. Lindsay Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Fairfax, Captain J. G. Margesson, Captain D.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Falle, Sir Bertram G. Marriott, Sir J. A. R.
Ashley, Lt -Col. Ht. Hon. Wilfrid W. Fermoy, Lord Mason, Colonel Glyn K.
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover) Fielden. E. B. Meller, R. J.
Astor, Viscountess Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Merriman, Sir F. Boyd
Atkinson, C. Fraser, Captain Ian Meyer, Sir Frank
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Frece, Sir Walter de Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Welden)
Balniel, Lord Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Ganzoni, Sir John Moore, Lieut. Col. T. C. R. (Ayr)
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Gates, Percy Moore, Sir Newton J.
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.) Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamliton Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Moreing, Captain A. H.
Bennett, A. J. Gower, Sir Robert Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)
Berry, Sir George Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Morrison-8ell, Sir Arthur Clive
Bethel, A. Greene, W. P. Crawford Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Betterton, Henry B. Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Nuttall, Ellis
Bevan, S. J. Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E. Oakley, T.
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Gunston, Captain D. W. O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)
Braithwaite, Major A. N. Hacking, Douglas H. O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh
Brassey, Sir Leonard Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.) Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Briggs, J. Harold Harrison, G. J. C. Ormsby-Gore, Rt- Hon. William
Briscoe, Richard George Hartington, Marquees of Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Brittain, Sir Harry Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Perring, Sir William George
Brockiebank, C. E. R. Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Broun, Lindsay, Major H. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Henn, Sir Sydney H. Power, Sir John Cecil
Bullock, Captain M. Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Pownall, Sir Assheton
Burman, J. B. Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Preston, William
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard Price, Major C. W. M.
Campbell, E. T. Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.) Raine, Sir Walter
Carver, Major W. H. Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar) Ramsden, E.
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Hopkins, J. W. W. Rawson, Sir Cooper
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt.R.(Prtsmth.C.) Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)
Cecil, Rt Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Horlick, Lieut -Colonel J. N. Reid, D. D. (County Down)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S. Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Christie, J. A. Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K. Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Clarry, Reginald George Hume, Sir G. H. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Clayton, G. C. Hurd, Percy A. Rye, F. G.
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George Hurst, Gerald B. Sandeman, N. Stewart
Cohen, Major J. Brunel Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Iveagh, Countess of Sandon, Lord
Colman, N. C. D. Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l) Savery, S. S.
Conway, Sir W. Martin Kennedy, A. R. (Preston) Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie
Cope, Major Sir William Kindereley, Major Guy M. Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W)
Couper, J. B. King, Commodore Henry Douglas Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.) Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Sinclair, Col. T.(Queen's Univ., Bolfst)
Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe) Lamb, J. Q. Skelton, A. N.
Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend) Leigh, Sir John (Clapham) Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Crookshank, Cpt.H.( Lindsay, Gainsbro) Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley) Smith Carlngton, Neville W.
Dalkeith. Earl of Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey Southby, Commander A. R. J.
Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford) Loder, J. de V. Sprot, Sir Alexander
Davies, Dr. Vernon Looker, Herbert William Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.
Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) Lougher, Lewis Stanley, Hon. O. F. G (Westm'eland)
Dawson, Sir Philip Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Dixey, A. O. Luce, Major-Gen. Slr Richard Harman Storry-D[...]ans, R.
Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert Lumley, L. R. Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.
Drewe, C. MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen Stuart, Crichton, Lord C.
Edmondson, Major A. J. Macdonald, Capt P. D. (I. of W.) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Elliot, Major Walter E. Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart) Sunden, Sir Wilfrid
Ellis, R. G. McLean, Major A. Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South) Wayland, Sir William A. Withers, John James
Tinne, J. A. Wells, S. R. Wolmer, Viscount
Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple- Womersley, W. J.
Vaughan Morgan, Col. K. P. Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern) Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Waddingten, R. Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay) Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston on-Hull) Williams, Herbert G. (Reading) Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Warner, Brigadier-General W. W. Wilson, Sir Murrough (Yorks,Richm'd)
Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle) Winby, Colonel L. P. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Watts, Sir Thomas Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George Mr. Penny and Captain Wallace.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Hamilton, Sir R.(Orkney & Shetland) Ritson, J.
Ammon, Charles George Hayday, Arthur Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W.Bromwich)
Baker, Walter Hirst, G. H. Robinson, W. C. (Yorks,W.R.,Elland)
Barnes, A. Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Saklatvala, Shapurji
Barr, J. Hore-Bellsha, Leslie Sexton, James
Batey, Joseph Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Bellamy, A. Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose) Shinwell, E.
Bondfield, Margaret Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. John, William (Rhondda, West) Sitch, Charles H.
Briant, Frank Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Bromley, J. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Stamford, T. W.
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Stephen, Campbell
Buchanan, G. Kelly, W. T. Strauss, E. A.
Cape, Thomas Kennedy, T. Sullivan, J.
Charleton, H. C. Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M. Sutton, J E.
Connolly, M. Kirkwood, D. Taylor, R. A.
Cove, W. G. Lansbury, George Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Lawrence, Susan Tinker, John Joseph
Crawfurd, H. E. Lee, F. Tomlinson, R. P.
Dennison, R. Lindley, F. W. Townend, A. E.
Duncan, C. Longbottom, A. W. Viant, S. P.
Dunnico, H. Lowth, T. Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
England, Colonel A. Lunn, William Wellock, Wilfred
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) Mackinder, W. Welsh, J. C.
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Westwood, J.
Gillett, George M. MacNeill-Weir, L. Wiggins, William Martin
Graham, D. M (Lanark, Hamilton) Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton) Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.) Mosley, Sir Oswald Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Greenall, T. Murnin, H. Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Naylor, T. E. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Oliver, George Harold Windsor, Walter
Griffith, F. Kingsley Palin, John Henry Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Grundy, T. W. Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Hall, F. (York., W.R., Normanton) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Potts, John S. Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr.

Question, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

The CHAIRMAN then proceeded successively to put forthwith the Questions on any Amendments moved by the Government of which notice had been given and the Questions necessary to dispose of the business to be. concluded at half-past Ten of the Clock at this day's sitting.

Clauses 100 (Transfer of road officers,) 101 (Tenure and distribution of transferred officers,) 102 (Provisions as to Registration Officers,) ordered to stand part of the Bill.