HC Deb 14 June 1932 vol 267 cc247-341

Mr. Edward Williams.


On a point of Order. Before the hon. Member moves his Amendment, may I point out that there are three or four Amendments on the Order Paper all directed towards the same policy, that of raising the benefits above those allowed in the Bill. There is another Amendment which stands in the name of the hon. and learned Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Thorp), which deals with a slightly different point. I would suggest, for the convenience of the Committee, that possibly it might be considered advisable to have a general discussion to enable the whole of the argument on this Clause to take place on the first Amendment, on the understanding that subsequent Amendments could be moved and divided on, if necessary, when we had had the general discussion. That would enable us to obviate a further discussion on the other Amendments or on the Question, "That the Clause stand part."


I do not know what objection there could be to discussing all the Amendments which raise the same principle, and afterwards taking the Divisions. That is a course of action that has been followed during these Debates, and it seems to me to have worked successfully.


I am in the hands of the Committee, but it seems to me that it would be rather difficult on a discussion of the Amendment standing in the name of the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood)—to leave out the word "ten," and to insert instead thereof the word "eleven"—to avoid references to the other reductions of benefit with which the Clause deals. If it is agreeable to the Committee, I would suggest that we should take a discussion on that Amendment, on the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies)—to leave out the word "five" and to insert instead thereof the word "six"—and the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for West Bermondsey (Dr. Salter)—to leave out the word "six" and to insert instead thereof the word "seven." They all raise the same point. But if the Committee decide that the word "ten," and the word "five" stand part, the Amendments standing in the name of the hon. Member for Merthyr (Mr. Wallhead) and the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) could not be moved. The hon. Members would, however, be able to put their points in the general discussion. I think that general discussion would cover the principle and also the Question "That the Clause stand part," but the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. and learned Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Thorp) could be moved separately, as it raises a point not quite analogous with the other.


On the Question, "That the Clause stand part," we want to raise a point which is not covered by any Amendment, and we should like to reserve to ourselves the right to do that. We have no objection to a general discussion of the Amendments taking place, provided that our right is safeguarded. On behalf of my friends and myself, I want to preserve our right to raise n point not covered by the Amendment.


I understood that the suggestion made from the Chair, for the assistance of the Committee, was that we should have practically an unlimited discussion on the principles of the Clause on the first Amendment to be moved, and I also gathered from what you said that it would be possible on that discussion, subject to your ruling, for hon. Members to raise any point relevant to the Clause. Therefore. I suggest that such matters as the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) has in. mind could be raised in that general discussion without any difficulty, and that we should be well advised to accept your suggestion, that one discussion would do and that we should not need to have a repetition of the discussion on the question, "That the Clause stand part."


Am I to understand— we want to be quite clear about the matter—that there is to be one general discussion on the question of what the rates of benefit are to be, that we are to discuss the reduction in the benefit for single women and the reduction in disablement benefit at the same time; that we are to discuss the Amendment in the name of the hon. and learned Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Thorp) and that we are to have a general discussion on the Question, "That the Clause stand part."?


The hon. Member is not quite correct. The suggestion that I made was that on the first Amendment, standing in the name of the right hon. Member for Wakefield, we should have a general discussion which should cover not only the point that he has raised but any other points, that may arise on Clause 3. With the sole exception of the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne, a general discussion on the whole Clause should take place on the first Amendment. Therefore, the hon. Member for Gorbals would be in order and would be entitled to raise the point which he wishes to raise on that Amendment. But if a general discussion takes place in Committee it is on the understanding that there is no discussion on the Question, "That the Clause stand part." If that course is agreeable to the Committee, and it can only be taken if hon. Members are agreeable, we will take it, otherwise I shall have to keep hon. Members very strictly to the Amendments on the Order Paper, and I feel that that might not be convenient to individual Members as it would limit the scope of discussion very greatly.


That suggestion meets our position. Our experience throughout these Debates has been that the suggestion you have made has been most successful, but we wish to make it clear that we reserve the right to take a separate Division on each of the Amendments.


So far as Divisions are concerned, that is clearly understood. The Amendments will be formerly moved and voted upon, if hon. Members so desire. I should like to know whether the arrangement to have a general discussion on the first Amendment is acceptable to the Committee. Will the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) say whether it is acceptable to him?


We agree.


I am not sure. We do not jump to our decisions quite so quickly as hon. Friends above the Gangway. I should have thought that it would be very difficult to get a detailed examination of this Clause on such a general discussion as you suggest. I should have thought that there would be points left undiscussed, because I can see that when a general discussion has been started it will crystallise round one particular item, and when the Minister thinks that a sufficient time has elapsed he will move the Closure.


The Clydeside do not want a monopoly of the discussion.


While we never ask for a monopoly, we can always be sure of having our say on the few occasions that we mean to have it. To put it in a kindlier way than has been put by the hon. Member opposite, we can see clearly that points in which we are interested may be neglected in the general discussion. Therefore, we are doubtful whether to agree that the Question, "That the Clause stand part," should be passed without discussion.


We will accept it, and trust that it will work out all right.


I am not sure whether the hon. Member for Bridgeton is agreeing or not.


I can excuse you, Captain Bourne, for not knowing, because I do not know myself. I sat down to ask my hon. Friends whether they were accepting the proposal that you put to me. My hon. Friend the Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) says that the mind of our party is that we should accept it. Therefore, as an experiment, we accept.


I beg to move, in page 5, line 12, to leave out the word "ten," and to insert instead thereof the word "eleven."

7.0 p.m.

From the discussions that we have had we discovered that the Minister says that these reductions are necessary in order to adjust the financial liability, in view of the high level of the claims. It is generally admitted that the claims of the women have been high, but we consider that to reduce the benefit from 12s. to 10s. is affecting the basic principle upon which the State insurance scheme is operated. That is the pooling of the resources of all the members. This principle of pooling applies, we know, generally to the Unemployment Insurance Acts, and in making any departure in this respect we say it is a direct attack that is being made for the first time upon this class of contributor. When my name was attached to this Amendment, I did not appreciate that it would be possible for me to discuss at length the general principles underlying the Clause itself, and for that reason I am not prepared to discuss them. I am glad, of course, that we are to have the privilege of doing so, but I shall leave that to some of my hon. Friends.

I find in the next Amendment which stands in the names of my hon. Friends below the Gangway that they desire to insert the word "twelve" instead of "eleven." Speaking for myself, I would certainly support wholeheartedly such an Amendment, but I understand that it would, in fact, be technically out of order. I am advised that to insert the same figure, namely 12, as is already contained in the Act, would be technically out of order. I make that statement as an explanation for my support for "eleven" instead of "ten." It is essential that all Members should appreciate that we are not moving "eleven" in substitution of "ten" because we think that 11s. is adequate. We do not believe that the people who are involved in this reduction of the benefit are getting that which is adequate even to-day, namely, 12s. Perhaps it might be advisable if you, Captain Bourne, would give us a ruling on this matter, for personally I would withdraw "eleven" and substitute "twelve" and support the next Amendment if you would rule that "twelve" can be substituted.


I am afraid that to substitute "twelve" for "ten" would be to make this Clause read the same as the Clause for which it is being substituted. I think another figure for the one at present in existence must be put in.


That entirely confirms the advice I have received. There are three reasons why we are moving this Amendment. The first is, because what is proposed is a sectional reduction of benefit which is contrary to the basic principle of the national scheme; secondly, because the reduction proposed would not diminish, as such, sickness among women, but would rather tend to increase it; and, thirdly, because though one has heard much, particularly in previous Debates, on unemployment benefit, about malingering and other allegations against the married woman in particular, even if some of those allegations could be substantiated there could still be no reason for penalising the many other women. We do not think that the 12s. which has hitherto been paid was really adequate to meet the case, and to reduce it to 10s. brings it to a point where a large number of women will be so affected by the reduced benefit that they will be dependent on the fund itself for a longer period of time. It is entirely uneconomic.

I am amazed to find that in the last Division and in the Divisions which took place yesterday, supporters of the Government, apparently not concerned with the Debate at all, and not being in the House for more than a few moments intermittently, can flock into the Division Lobby like sheep to support anything that may be contained in this Bill regardless of the fact that they have had no explanation from the Minister or from any Member of the House in regard to it. The House itself is composed of people who have been advocating Protection for certain phases of industry. One has to presume there is some integrity in that advocacy. If one takes that as correct, they are not advocating Protection for the sake of the vested interests in which they may be concerned, but for the individuals engaged in the industry. I have to take that as being a proper interpretation of their protestations. Here you have scores of thousands of women who are affected by this reduction, and who desire to be protected at this juncture. Under the previous Clause, there are 80, 000 unemployed persons directly affected. One would have thought that hon. Members who have been advocating Protection for certain industries, in a desire that the persons engaged in those industries should have continuity of employment, would have been concerned about those 80, 000 unemployed who are affected, and about these thousands of women who are affected by this Clause. I am hoping that supporters of the Government will try to square themselves and tell us why they have supported the other Clauses of the Bill which directly affect 80, 000 unemployed, and affect maternity benefit, sickness benefit and medical services. If they speak, as we hope, on this Amendment, I hope we shall have some explanation of how it is they voted in the other Divisions in the one direction and in this case they are likely, as I presume, to vote with us.

Viscountess ASTOR



The Noble Lady says "No." I am amazed to hear her say she is not likely to support us on a matter of this kind. Does she really think it is possible that the women who are affected by the Clause can live upon the sickness benefit provided in the Clause? If not, I am hoping she will support us in this Amendment, which is the maximum we are able to move. Those are the reasons for this Amendment. The Clause is a violation of the basic principle of the National Health scheme, and it vitiates the principle of pooling which must be applied not only in this regard if the scheme is to work successfully, but is now applied to the National Health Insurance Acts. We oppose the Clause on that ground. We oppose it, further, because we think it is inadequate and makes it impossible for people who are sick to have sufficient nourishment to enable them to return to work in anything approaching the physical condition we should like. We hope we shall have the support in the Lobby of other hon. Members and particularly of the lady Members. We have not heard one of the lady Members participating in this Debate. We hope to hear at least one, and that they are prepared, not to go into the Division Lobby like a flock of sheep, but to voice their opinions on this matter. We trust that we shall have some explanation from lady Members in particular, as to the reasons for the way they voted on the First and Second Clauses.


I hope before the time comes to vote on this Amendment or on whether the Clause stand part, we shall have a very full explanation from the Minister or from the Parliamentary Secretary as to why this very grave diminution in the benefit of one section of insured persons is necessary. I gather from the Memorandum which has been issued containing the actuary's account, that the position of the women's societies particularly is very grave because of the undue and unexpected sickness claims of the women. One asks, is that the fault of the women or is it the fault of the actuarial calculations which have been exceeded in the sickness claims? If it should be that it is the fault of the women or of any section of the women, then surely, by stricter administration and stricter certification, or if necessary by an Amendment of the original Act, the position of the other women could be secured?

It was stated yesterday in the course of the Debate that the Government have no mandate for a Bill of this kind. If the National Government had a mandate for anything, they had a mandate for securing the resources of the nation and keeping the credit of the nation sound. It is impossible to keep the finance of a fund sound when benefits are being paid and no contributions are coming in. If hon. Members who sit on the Labour benches would like an explanation from me as to why I supported Clause 1, it was because it is impossible in a contributory scheme to go on paying benefits when there are no contributions. But it seems to me that this Clause stands in a somewhat different relation. If I understand it aright the reason why women's benefits are being reduced is not so much because of the loss of contributions but because of the unexpected amount of sickness claims. Their contributions are coming in but their sickness claims are greater than was anticipated.

I do not want in any way to diminish the seriousness of the position, but I think that it is worth while to look at the position of the approved societies as shown in the report of the Government Actuary on the Third Valuation. I agree that the position of women is relatively worse than that of men. The proportion of insured men entitled to additional benefits is still 88 per cent., while the corresponding proportion of insured women is only 38 per cent. It is also true that only 9 per cent, of the men have had to suffer a discontinuance of additional benefits while no less than 61 per cent, of the women are found in that position. But to refer to the report of the Government Actuary on the Third Valuation, I find that the great bulk of the women, nearly 3, 000, 000 out of a total of 5, 500, 000, are in societies which have a surplus but not a disposal surplus, and that only a relatively small number are in societies which have equal assets and liabilities, and that 233, 000 are in societies which are in deficiency.

If you compare this with the position of men, you will find that the vast bulk of the men are in societies which have a disposable surplus, but that when you come to societies which are in deficiency you find that more than double the number of men are in these societies. That being the case I think we require from the Minister of Health a very full explanation why it is proposed to reduce the benefits for women while leaving the benefits for men exactly where they stand. If we consider the Actuary's Report with regard to men and women who are in societies which are in deficiency we shall find some rather striking facts. The Actuary points out, as would naturally be expected, that the greater number of men in societies which are in deficiency are in the coal mining industry, but, apparently, it is not due to the fact that the societies have less contributions coming in owing to excessive unemployment in that industry but to the fact that the sickness claims of these men are very high. Comparing the sickness claims of men in these societies the Actuary points out that the percentage of actual claims to expected claims was 138 for sickness benefit and 154 for disablement benefit. If you compare that with the sickness claims of women in societies in deficiency, the actual sickness claims were only 122 per cent, of the expected claims as compared with 138 for the men, whilst their actual claims for the disablement benefit are slightly higher—159 as compared with 154.

Therefore it seems to me that the position requires considerable justification. It appears to be possible to carry this number of 488, 000 men in societies with deficiencies, whereas it is not possible to carry 233, 000 women. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment referred to the pooling of reserves and said that it was a principle of insurance. I agree with the hon. Member so far that this seems to be a ease where there should be some substantial pooling of reserves because it is clear that the reserves are there. It is easy if you take the Actuary's Report to pick out a few figures and items which are favourable to your case. It is impossible for me in the time I propose to take to bring out any more illustrations, but it is fair to take the Actuary's opinion on this matter. He concludes his report in this way: While the position revealed by the third valuation is one of some complexity, its predominant feature is the magnitude of the aggregated surplus and the substantial additional benefits ensuring to a large proportion of the insured population … In many cases these benefits are still considerably greater than anything which was envisaged when the insurance scheme was framed. That is the Actuary's opinion on the conclusion of the third valuation. When the Royal Commission on National Health Insurance reported in the year 1926 those who signed the majority report, whilst supporting the continuation of the administration of the fund through the approved societies and supporting the inequalities in benefits up to a point, drew attention to this matter: 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. And they go on to say that: It is not sufficient that justice should in fact be done; it is equally important that the public should realise that it is being done. In this matter already there is amongst those women who realise what is happening a grave feeling of injustice, and that feeling will be widespread when the 5, 500, 000 insured women who will be affected realise what is going to happen. I do not think that they realise it now. This Bill was so suddenly introduced and there has been such a short time between the Second Reading and the Committee stage that there has been very little time for the public to realise what is coming upon them, and, therefore, it is of the greatest importance that the Minister of Health should explain to the Committee if it is the case that no injustice is being done. The Royal Commission on National Health Insurance, while they supported, as I have said, inequalities in benefits because they felt it was for the encouragement of good administration and also stood for each society enjoying to some extent its own surplus, recommended that half of these surpluses should be taken in order that the various additional benefits should come to all contributors to the fund. If they advised that in the case of additional benefits surely they would have advised it still more when some people are to be deprived of the statutory benefits which so far they have enjoyed. It may be said that we were living in happier times in 1926, and that the surpluses were greater, but the principle of pooling reserves was also supported less than a year ago by the May Committee on National Expenditure, at a time when it could not be said that surpluses were enough or that we were living in happier times. May I read a short passage from that report: While the income of the scheme as a whole is just about sufficient to finance a continuance of the present rate of expenditure (including any additional benefits that are being provided out of the surpluses of societies) notwithstanding the serious loss of contribution from unemployment, the separate financial units comprising the scheme are showing at each valuation increasing disparities. The richer societies are becoming able to increase their additional benefits still more and even in a few cases refund to their members their proportions of the contributions, whilst others at the other extreme are in increasing danger of being unable to maintain even the statutory rates of benefit. That danger is already upon us. That committee also recommended that: A small element of pooling as between societies is already present in the working of the Central Fund. There is therefore no new departure of principle involved in a further measure of pooling and as long as it still leaves considerable variations in the rates of benefit offered by societies the ex- pectations held out at the inception of the scheme are substantially met. They also say The freedom of insured persons with favourable risks to form their own societies …. pushed to its logical conclusion is, however, destructive of national insurance in any field, and indeed strikes at the basis of all insurance namely, the pooling of risks. They did not necessarily recommend, as the Royal Commission, the pooling of surpluses. They pointed out that there were two ways in which the case could be dealt with. It could be dealt with by increased contributions to the Central Reserve Fund, which already provides for those societies which are in deficiency and which, presumably, will provide for the deficiency of those societies in which these 488, 000 men are, who will presumably draw their benefits from that fund. I suggest that there will be amongst the women contributors who form no less than one-third of the contributors to the fund a feeling of injustice if this position is not made abundantly clear to the Committee before we are asked to vote on this very serious Amendment to a very serious Clause.

7.30 p.m.

Women as a whole will be affected, but married women will be affected still more. It is suggested that their sickness benefit should be reduced by one-sixth, and their disablement benefit be reduced by no less than one-third. It will probably be argued that a married woman has a husband to support her, but every hon. Member knows of many cases where a married woman has continued her employment because the husband is out of work and she, therefore, has to take the position of bread-winner for the family. If she chooses to take that position, and also carries on her ordinary work as wife and mother and manager of the household, it is not unlikely that her sickness claims will be heavy because she has double the amount of work to do. We ask, therefore, that the Parliamentary Secretary will explain to the Committee whether the pooling of resources has been considered, and, if it has, why it has been rejected? Has he considered the possibility of a further contribution to the central reserve fund, and has he explored every avenue for resources which are available before asking the Committee to vote for these grave diminu- tions in benefit, which are going to bring hardship to no fewer than 5, 500, 000 contributors to the fund?

Viscountess ASTOR

We have heard one of the clearest speeches on a very complicated subject that I have ever heard in this House, and we are very grateful that we have a Member of the stronger sex who can put things before us so clearly. I hope very much that the Government will take to heart what my hon. Friend has said. What I protest against is this: Why are we put into this position with hurried legislation? We have a National Government which ought to take a big national view, and if necessary do unpopular things. We all know that the Labour Government knew all about this matter, but they had not the courage to deal with it. We know all the difficulties of insurance, how complicated it is, and how the vast well-to-do societies are clinging to their surpluses like limpets. We do not blame them, but this is a time when a National Government has a perfect right to ask them to make some sacrifice before reducing the benefits to the most needy people in the whole community, the married women who are suffering and sick.

I particularly object to this attack on married women, and women as such, under the Health Insurance scheme. We all know that, from a national point of view, the women contribute more than they take out. It is so in the ease also of old age pensions. When it comes to Health Insurance, we are told that the Government must reduce benefits for the reasons that have been stated by the last speaker. We have a right to know why it is that the Government cannot ask these societies to pay a farthing more per head per member to the central fund. If they did that there would be no need for these reduced benefits. If the point is that there is malingering—there might be a certain amount—this Clause does not help to do away with it. We women deplore the malingering. But malingering is not one of the stated reasons of the Clause. We have heard whispers about it, but it is never stated outright. Then why particularly women? Why not take the miners and the Welshmen, who are the worst offenders of all? There is a worse case against Welshmen than against married women. When there is a crisis at sea the sailor's cry is, "Women and children first," for safety. The cry here is, "Women and children first," but to the point of letting them down.

We resent it very much indeed, and I hope that the Government realise that the feeling of resentment among women is growing. [Interruption.] Members of the Labour party cannot say anything about it, because they brought in the Anomalies Act, the worst thing that has ever been done with women. [Interruption.] I will not talk with hon. Members who interrupt, because they are a lot of humbugs. They passed the Anomalies Act; they opened the sluice-gate of injustice on women. They can have nothing to say about it, but we have something to say. [Interruption.] Hon. Members in the Labour party will see more independence among women in this House than we have seen in the last 15 years among Labour women. Those Labour women would have lost their jobs if they had even winked against the Labour Government. They were not like sheep; they were like rabbits.

I appeal to the Government. Every Member of the House knows that very many women do double work; they work at home as housewives and they work as breadwinners. I know there is the point of view that a married woman's place is in the home. Nine-tenths of the married women would like to have merely to keep a home, but very few of them can do that. There are now 1, 150, 000 married women in industry. Before the War the number was only 680, 000. The whole of industry has changed. Women are doing work which men used to do. Men are beginning to say that it was a bad day's work on. their part not to have stood up for women and not to have demanded that they should get equal pay for equal work with men. The fact that they did not stand up for women in that way has meant the pulling down of their own wages. That is the men's fault, and, above all, the fault of the trade unions. Now men are beginning to get a little of their own back. These women are in industry.

When the Government get into a tight corner, it is not fair for them to put through this hasty legislation. They are putting many new Members into a very awkward position. Very few Members on the Government side seem to know anything about this complicated question. There is a great deal of fear in it and a great deal of politics. The Government are frightened of some of the big approved societies, and no one more frightened than some hon. Members on the Front Opposition Bench. I ask the Government to be courageous. National sacrifice is called for. Are the Government going to sacrifice the benefits of sick married women? Is that their idea? It is not mine, and it is not the idea of a vast majority of Members of the House. I cannot feel that the Government have done all that they might have done. They might have taken a little more time and might have asked for more, sacrifices from the more prosperous approved societies. Furthermore, they have no right to do this. It is wrong to ginger us up into this false position. We are not thinking about the political consequences, but about the health consequences, which are very serious.

We have had the Minister of Health making most earnest pleas because of the high death rate among married women. We know that over 3, 000 married women die yearly in childbirth. It is one of the most dangerous occupations in the whole country. But the women who die in childbirth are not the tragedy so much as the women who have to go on working in fair weather and foul. Many hon. Members could quote heartbreaking cases. We are asked to reduce the benefits to these married women. If they are ill they need the benefits even more. If there is malingering, let us know it. Women do not want to defend that. But we do ask that the women should have justice and a little mercy. There is no mercy shown to the women in this Clause. There is feeling about it and there is going to be a great deal more of it. At the last election no one supported the National Government more than the women.

We do not go as far as some hon. Members and say that we want non-contributory insurance, for we do not believe in it; but we do say that the whole purpose of this great National Insurance scheme is that the weak should help the strong— I mean that the strong should help the weak, and that the strong should not be brought down to the level of the weak. This is a great opportunity. The men who are healthy should help the women who are weak and need their assistance. I hope that the Minister is not going to put us into an awkward position. I do not want to vote with Labour Members. If they had been in office the position would have been far worse than it is; there would have been no Bill and no money left anywhere. I ask the Government not to put us in the awkward position of having to vote 'with hon. Members on the Labour benches. I would not do it. But unless the Government give a promise that they will go more thoroughly into this question we certainly do not propose to back the Government on this Clause.


To the remarks on the Amendment which has been moved and which, we are discussing in a general sense, I want to add a word or two of criticism. I am rather amazed to hear in the speech of the Noble Lady sympathy with those who are being attacked. But the suggestion is made that she sees a way out, so that she will not be compelled to vote against things that are iniquitous and wrong. I do not care which Government or which party propose an Amendment. If it is right, and I have a sense that it is right, I am bound as an individual to support it. Therefore, I am rather sorry to have to say that the Noble Lady's speech, in my opinion, is a most dishonest method of pleading with the Government to do a thing that she knows they are not prepared to do, which she knows the Minister of Health has no authority to carry out, and then saying that she hopes she will not be put into a difficulty in voting. The Noble Lady has put herself into the difficulty. If she is going to support the Bill as it is drafted she should be honest about it. She should go into the Lobby and vote for that which she believes to be wrong, but keep the fact that it is wrong in her own mind and her own heart. She should refrain from expounding it to this Committee, thus showing the continual hypocrisy which exists in this Chamber, the hypocrisy of condemning by voice and approving by vote. That course is not to be admired, and, if the electors were paying proper attention to the votes and acts of their representatives, they would quickly end this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde procedure which goes on in public life at present.

In this Bill, we are proposing to reduce benefits which are already admitted, on all sides, to be totally inadequate to deal with disablement and sickness among the people concerned, and in these reductions we are singling out the married women for special treatment. It is said that under every Government and in all legislation some people are singled out for special mention just as in war some are singled out for mention in despatches. During my two years in this House I have heard and have read in the Press continuous attacks on the married women in reference to this matter. One would think that to be a married woman was a crime which deserved to draw down virulence and antagonism in speech, writing and action from every section of the community. Because the Actuary has stated that benefits are being conceded which we cannot continue to pay we single out the married women in connection with this Bill.

I have been amazed to hear from time to time in these discussions references to a consultative committee which is said to have approved of all these reductions and changes. The hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) has several times asked for the names of the individuals who compose this consultative committee and the organisations which they represent. But so far as I have heard the Minister has not yet divulged that information. We are entitled to know because we are told that that consultative committee was unanimous in recommending these changes. We are entitled to know, representing the approved societies, the black list of working class representatives who have recommended to the Government and the nation that hardships should be imposed upon insured persons. We are entitled to show the working class organisations and the members of the approved societies what those recommendations are, and also the reasons of that consultative committee for their approval of such proposals. It has also been said during the discussion that these were members of the approved societies and not of the trade unions. I do not see why people should try to evade their responsibility in connection with this issue by any such subtle method. The approved societies represent the trade unions, and the people on that consultative committee represent the members of the trade unions who pay weekly contributions both to their unions and to their approved societies in order that those very individuals should defend them in every field, whether it be that of health insurance or that of the ordinary struggles with the "boss class." Therefore, I think it is a bad thing to attempt to make hon. Members believe that the trade unions have no responsibility for the suggestions made in connection with these reductions.

I have here a letter, which probably most hon. Members from Glasgow have also received, from an approved society. Even this Bill does not go far enough for this society, and I am rather sorry to find an approved society in the City of Glasgow with a completely working class type of membership, both in the ordinary insurance and in the National Health Insurance, sending out a document of this description and asking hon. Members to support it. The society is the City of Glasgow Approved Society, of 200, Bath Street, Glasgow. The late Lord Privy Seal, Mr. Johnston, was a director of that society, but I am told he is not now a director, and I hope that he is not, because it seems to me highly indefensible for any person to be connected with a board of directors which would issue an anti-working class document of this description. The letter is as follows: My Committee of Management have given very careful consideration to the provisions of the above Bill, and I am asked to inform you that in their opinion the provisions relative to women are not adequate to meet the position. It has been OUT experience, particularly in the operation of the various Prolongation of Insurance Acts, that there has been a growing tendency on the part of female members when married to take advantage of the provisions of the above-mentioned Acts, alleging an intention to continue in employment which in many instances is very doubtful. It has been necessary to pay such members very large sums by way of sickness and maternity benefits, and, in our view, this class of member represents one of the principal causes of the abnormal sickness experience of recent years to which the Government Actuary has recently referred. It is under-Stood that an Amendment is to be moved in the Committee stage of the above Bill to give effect to the recommendations of the majority of the approved societies' organisation, regarding requalification for benefit by women on marriage. The Amendment is in the terms of the attached, and my committee ventures to hope that you will see your way to give it your support. I shall be glad to supply any further information on the subject that you may desire. I do not propose to read the document attached to this letter, but I may give one or two of the suggestions which are made in it. It is suggested that a woman should only be given sickness benefit for six weeks in the 12 months following marriage.


I think the hon. Member is now anticipating the Debate which will arise later on a proposed new Clause standing in the name of the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams). So far as his remarks relate to the reduction of benefit proposed under this Clause in respect of women he is in order, but it would be better not to anticipate the Debate on the proposed new Clause which deals with the status of married women.


On the point of Order. It is quite true that a section of the argument of the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) does bear upon the point to which you, Captain Bourne, have referred, but I submit that he is now dealing only with the point that this particular society wants to go even further than the Bill, and only to pay benefit for six weeks in the year to married women. I submit that he is perfectly in order in dealing with that point.


I do not wish to rule too strictly on this matter. I only wish to save the Committee from having arguments on this Amendment which are pertinent to the new Clause to be considered later, and, if the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) relates his remarks to the Clause now before the Committee, he will be in order.


I am willing to be guided by you, Captain Bourne, and I was condensing the suggestions made in this document in order not to take up too much time. I have no wish to discuss anything which is alien to the Amendment before the Committee but merely to point out that vicious as are the proposals of the Bill, some approved societies which carry a large number of working-class members, are goading on the Minister to go even further in his attack on the working class than he is prepared to go. Another of the suggestions is that medical benefit shall only be paid until 30th June or 31st December whichever date is nearest to the 12 months following marriage. That suggestion comes from a society with, to my own knowledge—because I was for a time employed with these companies—a membership of which about 95 per cent, belong to the working class. In my estimation it is disgraceful for a document of that kind to come from such a source. I intend to pay no further attention to it and not even to reply to it.

In connection with the Actuary's Report we are continually told that the benefits dealt with in this Clause are benefits which cannot be continued. I have nothing to say against the Actuary who was appointed by the House of Commons to go into this most difficult question. He was asked to report on the position of the fund and the probability of continuing these payments and benefits, or in the alternative to state what changes he thought should take place. He analysed the position and made certain suggestions to the Government of the day and we have this Bill as the result. I cannot agree that the changes will be beneficial to the health of the people who are affected. Take the reduction of disablement benefit to women from 7s. to 5s. per week. Are we to understand that the gulf could not be bridged in any other way than by this reduction of 2s. a week? I think I would have exhausted every single idea that could be put into the pool by every Member of the House of Commons before I would have suggested such a reduction.

8.0 p.m.

Take the case of a woman who has 7s. a week as an insured person, and she is at the stage where the disease is chronic. She is being reduced to 5s. a week. We know that that cannot keep any person, and neither can 7s., but we are worsening the position to a considerable extent, and if you reduce the benefits paid to the women, it means that malnutrition will be more likely, and you cannot evade your obligations in this way. If a person is ill and the disease is chronic, that person is in more need of special treatment than at any previous period of her life, but instead of maintaining the benefits that were being paid, totally inadequate as they may have been, we are making a further reduction. In our hospitals in Glasgow we pay out of public funds more per day than 5s. to keep an individual who is ill, which means that if an individual happens to be an inmate of an ordinary hospital, suffering from a disease, we keep her at the rate of something like£2 10s. per week, and when she comes out of the institution, after having been improved to a certain extent, we dump her back into the outside world on the miserable pittance of 5s. per week. Yet we call ourselves a Christian nation, and the Members of this House open the proceedings each day by saying a prayer.

These decisions are vicious in the extreme against the women of this country. I am sorry to see the small attendance here for this discussion, which affects, taking the whole of the Bill, 17, 000, 000 insured persons. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is dinner time!"] It must be dinner time all day here, because I never see a much larger attendance than we have now, unless tariffs, beer, or Sunday cinemas are being discussed, which do not matter for the working-class at all. We have a poor attendance here, but we shall have a large attendance when it comes to the Division Lobby. I protest against the reductions that are being suggested in this Bill. The people who are being attacked in this Clause are the people who are least able to surrender anything to the nation. You have them down in the gutter in the very depths of poverty and despair. They are people suffering from disease, and it is my belief that when a person is suffering from any kind of ailment or disease, that person should be singled out for the whole sympathy and support of the nation. Instead of that, we have the whole nation almost, under the guise of a National Government, making fierce attacks and onslaughts upon these women, who are the very backbone of our nation, and you have selected the married women again for the attack. In the late War it was the single men against the married men. Now it is the married women against the single women. The position is reversed in sex, and it is also reversed in connection with the married as against the single.

I am sorry to see that the only apology for this change that the Minister of Health can put up continually is that the actuary has suggested that the fund cannot bear the strain. We ought to have exhausted the whole of our efforts to pro- tect this section of the community who most need support. The duty of the Minister is similar in character to that of the medical officer of health in any given area. I was a member of the health committee in the city of Glasgow, and the medical officer of health there came down, rightly and properly, to his convener from time to time and said: "Here is the amount of money that is required to provide for the health of the people in this area." When they took any disease, we did not consider the cost. They were taken into an institution and treated by the medical men; their relatives were paid relief of some kind outside, and sustenance, and the whole of the resources of the area were concentrated on the one purpose of bringing these people back to health and maintaining those under their charge while they were suffering.

We have now departed from that method, but the duty of the Minister should be to say to the nation and to the Cabinet, "A certain amount of money is required, small as it may be, to pay these benefits to those who are suffering from sickness and disease, and I must have that money." You can cut down your armaments, you can cut down your profligate expenditure in many ways, you can cut down the vast salaries which have been paid to the Cabinet in this country, you can cut down the allowances given to the descendants of those who fought in wars hundreds of years ago, but you ought to have searched every possible avenue and field before you came here to make the suggestion to the nation that, instead of being a Minister for health, you are a Minister for disaster and disease, or the Minister, as my hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) suggested yesterday, of death. It is a new part of the Minister of Health's duties to make suggestions for reducing the health of the insured persons instead of for improving it, and I view with alarm the proposals that are being made under this Clause. They ought never to have been made in any shape or form.

The toleration that this Committee has shown at the attendance at these Debates of Members of the Cabinet, and especially the Prime Minister, has been amazing to me. If there is one man who is playing a cute game in all this attack on the working class, it is the Prime Minister of this country, Before very long, when the House reassembles after the Recess, we shall have been returned for 12 months since the General Election without his presence at any very important Debate during that period, yet in his name all these attacks are launched on the working class. The man who is supposed to have stood against the attacks that were being made on the workers at other periods is now part and parcel of the game of plunder and murder on the workers of this country. I am sorry to see that he is associated with it, and I am sorry also to see the poor attendance here to-night. If tariffs were being discussed, we should have the House packed out at every end, but in dealing with these insured persons we have the meagre attendance of 30 or 40 Members, and the apology is given from time to time that this is an urgent national necessity.

To us, this is one of the few important periods in the history of this Parliament up to date, and we intend to make full use of this period to point out to the workers of the country the attacks that are being made in this most vicious and cruel manner. I say that the Minister of Health is a cold, cruel, and callous individual of the worst kind, who ought not in any shape or form to be part and parcel of this attack. He is simply carrying out a duty for the monetary consideration that he receives, a duty that he knows ought not to be supported by any person calling himself a man.


On a point of Order. Is it the convention of this House of Commons that during the period of the last two hours there should be a number less than 40 in the Chamber and no Member has the right to call attention to it? If I have the right, I wish to call attention to the fact that there are not 40 Members present.


The hon. Member should look at the Standing Orders. He has no need to refer to me.

Notice taken that 40 Members were not present; Committee counted, and, 40 Members being present—


Surely we are going to have some reply from the Minister. I understood that we were discussing a number of Amendments. Two things stand out characteristically, and one is that nobody on the Front Opposition Bench above the Gangway has spoken on this question of sickness benefit to women, and they were going to dispose of it now without speaking, following one short speech, and the Minister not having replied. The question was being put from the Chair, or I should not have risen, but I will reserve my remarks till later if we can get a reply. Am J not to get a reply?

Sir H. YOUNG indicated assent.


I would have preferred to speak later, but I rose now because I thought that no reply was to be made. I had no intention of speaking yet, because I thought both Front Benches would have made a contribution on this question of sickness benefit to women. Instead, we have had a short speech from one Labour Member, lasting for less than 15 minutes, and I think we should at least have had some statement from the previous Minister of Health. I did not think the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Ehys Davies) would have spoken, because of his speech, regarding which I refreshed my memory to-day by reading it, in connection with sickness benefit at the last insurance congress of the approved societies at Scarborough, when he gave the idea that he favoured some form of dealing with married women and the problem of maintaining the married women who were sick. I did not expect from him any criticism, but I did expect from some Member on the Front Opposition Bench a statement on this question. We who sit on this Bench below the Gangway are not surprised at anything being done to married women now.

I listened to the hon. Member for Ogmore (Mr. E. Williams), who moved this Amendment, and who is a Member for whom I have a great deal of respect. He twitted lady Members belonging to other sections of the House for not voting on other Amendments but hoping to vote on this. I join with him in asking not only women Members, but everybody who has any sense of equity and justice, to vote for this Amendment. I was looking forward to listening to some Member of the Labour party state the case of the party against this proposal, because, whatever they may say against it, they cannot make the case which was made by a lady Member in this discussion, that married women were not intended to be differently treated. They have accepted the principle in the case of Unemployment Insurance that married women should be treated as a class apart from the rest of the community. As the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) said, one would think nowadays that a woman became a criminal when she got married. I remember during the Debates on the Anomalies Act that an hon. Member called me a megalomaniac because I dared to attack the Government for taking away benefits from married women. A Labour Member for a Welsh Division said yesterday that the Anomalies Act was a cruel Measure in that it took every penny of unemployment benefit from married women, and I was looking forward to some defence of this attack on married women from the Opposition Front Bench to-day. However much we may regret the action of the last Government, the Anomalies Act was a brutal Measure forced on them by bankers and reactionary leaders of the party.

I want to raise now the same issue that I raised in the discussion, on the Anomalies Act with regard to the different treatment of married women. I was called many names because I argued that a woman could have as many children as she liked, but, provided she did not go through a form of marriage, she was not treated as if she were married. I know of a case of two sisters in Dundee. One is living with a married man and has three children. She is getting benefit. Her sister, a decent woman, is married and has no children. She is refused benefit because she is married. There may be something in modern ideas with regard to men and women, and there may be virtues in not being married, but I am old-fashioned. Now we say, by the Anomalies Act and by this Bill: "Do not get married, but live with a married man; do not commit the crime of marriage, for, if you do, we will come down with a heavy hand and deprive you of benefit." I can see some virtues in being a single man or a single woman, but I cannot see many virtues in cohabitation. Because a woman carries out a law—not a law in the ordinary sense, but a law of nature that people accept because it creates a decent standard in life—she is to be punished. One of the defences for depriving married women of benefit is that they make excessive claims. You have, however, to prove not only that they do that, but that the use to which they put the money is wrong. I maintain that of all people who spend their money well, the average married woman is the best, and I know of nothing that is put to better community use than the benefits that are paid to married women.

I could understand the Government saying that men and women, married or single, were getting benefit and not putting the money to a decent use; in other words, that they were abusing the money that they were drawing as benefit. I could understand the Government saying that, but there is no charge that married women do not use the benefit for its legitimate purpose, namely, to help them to recover from sickness. The charge is simply that they are married. It is said that marriage increases sickness. I do not deny that marriage increases both sickness and unemployment. We cannot separate the problem of unemployment from that of sickness, and the reason that unemployment is greatest among married women, although they want work, is that a large number of firms refuse to employ them because they are married. I have a relative in the medical profession, and he tells me that among the working class women are entering marriage in spite of unemployment, and this entails a great deal of physical and mental strain, many of the young women having been taken from comparative comfort into the home of a man who possibly loses his work shortly after marriage. Such conditions in early married life have a serious mental effect which is much more potent than in later years.

I shall always remember a young chap who used to work with me at the other side of the bench getting married. His wife was a girl who had never been unemployed, who was a steady worker in the co-operative movement. A fortnight after his marriage he was sacked, and for a month afterwards he used to leave home every morning as if to go to his work rather than have to tell his newly-married wife what had happened. All this widespread unemployment must have a serious effect upon the peace of mind of many women in the early years of married life, when the child is known to be coming, because those women are carrying a greater burden than any man can carry, the burden of a child. Those are the people we are attacking. The chief brunt of the attack is on the newly-married woman; but the House ought to be careful to see that people entering on married life get a decent chance. I live among the poorest people, and I know that some of our folk can get round things—they are used to poverty, and they manœuvre and work round things; and what I hate is to see how we punish the decent ones among them, as we say in Scotland, "the unco' guid," the woman who gets married and says "I am going out to work in order to try to give my children a better chance than I had." Then we come down here and say, "Sickness money—no; unemployment benefit money—no." I hate the idea of punishing those whose only crime is that they are trying to be decent.

8.30 p.m.

When your predecessor was in this Chair, Sir Dennis, I put to him a point which I was keen to safeguard. I told him that we had intended to put forward manuscript Amendments on the Clause, but he kindly ruled that we could discuss the points on the Clause. We did not put down the. Amendments because we decided to ask the Minister if he would not concede the points, leaving ourselves free, if he did not, to bring the Amendments forward on the Report stage. The first point I want to put is that under the Anomalies Act in connection with Unemployment Insurance a married woman is not regarded as coming within the definition of a married woman if her husband is not receiving any sum from public funds, for instance, unemployment benefit or sickness benefit, and is treated as being single. I wonder whether the Minister would concede the point that where a husband is in receipt of no benefit of any kind the wife may be treated as being single for the purposes of this Measure? The other point I want to raise is that a woman whose husband is an invalid and who herself is sick shall at least be treated as a single woman. Then there is the case of widows who do not receive the widows' pension; will they be entitled to rank as single persons? A widow who is receiving the widows' pension does not come in, I know, but could not the widow who is not receiving the pension be brought in? I know the Minister will not concede to us what we are asking, but at least I ask for an assurance that under this Measure married women will be treated similarly to the women under the Unemployment Insurance legislation. Where the husband is either permanently sick or in receipt of no public funds the wife ought to be treated as a single woman.

Then I would turn for a moment to the case of the single woman. It may be argued that married women do not need these benefits to the same extent, because they have a husband to maintain them; and there is also the question of the excessive sickness which is alleged among married women. Those considerations cannot be put forward, however, in the case of the single woman. Single women have as great a struggle to maintain themselves as any men; in the field of industrial employment there is no marked difference between the lot of the single woman and the man. Then how can we justify treating the single woman differently? Even with our economies we allow disablement benefit of 7s. 6d. to a man, and is there any reason why we should treat a single woman differently'? Does she not need 7s. 6d. for her support as much as a man? If 6d. had been taken off the allowance to the man and we had given 7s. to men and women alike there would have been equality of treatment, but there is no defence for submitting single women to a reduction of 1s. 6d. a week. Supplementing what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern), I would remind the Minister that approved societies are very active to-day in canvassing for this Clause. The approved societies are more responsible for this Clause than anybody else.

One thing I have noticed in the Debate is a demand to know what alternative proposals could be put forward. The approved societies have looked nowhere else for an alternative to their attack upon the married and single women. They do not seem to have tried to explore whether a unification of the societies into larger units for the purposes of administration would have been effective, nor to have tried to explore the possibilities of pooling the funds of the wealthier societies with the funds of the poorer societies. They have not tried to explore the elimination of the huge charges that they make in connection with their expenses, or to have investigated one practicable alternative. I have always understood that the principle of the friendly societies was mutual help, never to attack the poor, but to be constantly lifting the most helpless section of the community. Many of the approved societies have made their money out of these poor folk, and I should have thought that on this question they would at least have examined other alternatives.

Every hon. Member knows something about the approved societies. I am the chairman of a comparatively small approved society consisting of from 6, 000 to 8, 000 members. We all know that approved societies have surplus funds which they hardly know what to do with; funds with which they could increase sickness benefit far above the present rate, and from which they could afford to send people to good convalescent homes. Why do the approved societies not turn their attention to the pooling of those funds on the principle for which they have always stood, that the strong should help the weak. Instead of following that principle, they are supporting the miserable and contemptible set of proposals which we are now considering. Trade unions, approved societies, friendly societies, and collecting societies of all kinds are making this contemptible attack upon the married and single women. I have no doubt that the Clause will be carried and that the Government will get their way, and once more the Insurance Fund will be declared solvent.

I see no credit to those who have brought forward a Clause that picks out honourable women for dishonourable treatment. I know of nothing more honourable than that women should get married. This Clause picks out single women also. One of the tragedies of modern society is the single woman of about 44 years of age. Anybody who knows anything about that knows that it is a fearful tragedy. It is all very well for those in Governmental or semi-Governmental employment. [Interruption.] I do not take the view that this is a laughing matter. The problem of the middle-aged single woman is a terribly serious thing. When the single woman gets over a certain age and ceases to be attractive it is a terrible tragedy. I am not joking; it is a fearful thing. These women when they are over a certain age cease to be as nimble as they were and their eyes cease to be as quick and they are treated differently. They may keep a job over a period of years, but when they are out nobody wants them. The marriage market is closed, and other forms of activity are closing against them. It is single women that we are attacking in this Bill, the women whose brothers are married, whose parents are dead, and with whom other people do not want to be bothered, looking upon them as old maids. That is the section of the community—and they are all good folk—from whom the Government are proposing to take money. That is conduct that beggars description, and it is beyond the pale to attack that type of woman in any way. Of all the things that the Government have done and will do—and the Government and the present Prime Minister are capable of anything—this will be the worst. It is all very well going down to Lausanne for the promotion of kindness abroad, but I say that the Prime Minister, who has raised himself on the pennies of those people, should give them some of the kindness that he seems to reserve for the people abroad.


I have heard hon. Members say that Clause 1 is one of the most important parts of this Bill. I am not sure that I take that view, because I think that in Clause 3 we have one which raises a very far-reaching question. I do not think we need discuss this Bill, as the Noble Lady the Member for Sutton (Viscountess Astor) has done, in relation to the Anomalies Bill. The truth of the position is one with which the Committee is familiar. Whatever the reasons may be, in recent years there has been a growing volume of claims for benefit among women. The policy of the Government is to deal with that problem in a way which is bound to inflict very serious hardship, or may inflict serious hardship, upon all women contributors under the scheme, whether they are married or single women.

There is no doubt about the volume of claims made by women both single and married, and particularly about the claims made by married women. No analysis has been attempted so far as I know of the reasons why these claims have substantially increased. If it be that these claims have increased because, as a result of propaganda, women are going to the panel doctors earlier than they would have done, then I say that that is a national gain. If it be that as a result of the long-drawn-out trade depression and unemployment their health has been undermined and these women are being attended to, that again is obviously to the national advantage. If it be that women are obtaining benefits under the scheme to which they are not legitimately entitled, then I say that this Clause does nothing whatever to deal with that problem. That is the serious problem.

This matter was raised on the Second Reading. I hold that, if people under any scheme, however imperfect it may be, are obtaining advantages out of the scheme to which they are not entitled, and, as a result, are acting in a way which is disadvantageous to their friends, those people ought to be deprived of their benefit until the scheme is amended. If there be malingering, let it be dealt with. But the proposal in the Bill is to deal with the problem whether it arises from what might be called legitimate causes or from illegitimate causes. If this enormous drain on the funds of the societies, because of the claims of women, be due to legitimate causes, the fund and the nation ought to stand up to it. If it be due to causes which are not legitimate, if it be true that there is malingering, there is only one way to deal with that matter, and that is by improved methods of administration. This Clause, however, proposes to deal with that financial drain by levying a toll on all women, married and single, who hereafter wish to claim benefits under the scheme. I suggest that that is a situation and an attitude of mind which Members of the House of Commons, if they look at the problem impartially, will see is most unfair.

The Noble Lady said—it was a slip of the tongue, but it happens to convey the truth about this Bill—that the weak should help the strong. That is what has happened already on Clause 1; the unemployed are to go to the wall in the interests of national economy. Under Clause 3, married women and single women are to be penalised, the whole body of them, whatever may be the reason. Every woman coming under the Health Insurance scheme, once she is sick and has to make a claim, is going to be penalised; it is again a case of the weak helping the strong.

There does not seem to me to be any real justification for treating women, if sickness claims happens to be heavy, any differently from the way in which, shall we say, miners and steelworkers are treated. There has been no suggestion at any time that in any industry or among any category of persons where claims happen to be heavy, their rates should be cut by 33¾ per cent. A fund has been formed to try to deal with that problem. I do not want to go into the whole of the very complicated question of the pooling of surpluses to-night, but it is clear that in the past we have used the resources of the fund to assist those categories of insured persons who happen to be the victims of special disease or heavy rates of sickness. If that can be done with miners, there is no reason why it should not be done in the case of women. But, instead of spreading the burden, we are concentrating the burden among the married women, and are imposing on the single women a part of the burden of the married women.

Without going into all the reasons, it is obvious that the great burden is with regard to married women, and that the vast majority of their claims are claims connected with childbirth; and it seems to be perfectly reasonable, in these circumstances, that the men should bear part of the burden as well. I see no reason why we should concentrate this heavy responsibility upon married women. I have here two telegrams, one of which came to my right hon. Friend the Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury), and the other to me. The first is from a conference of women now being held in Brighton, and representing all kinds of working-class women's organisations, trade union and co-operative and political. That conference to-day passed a resolution: That this conference emphatically protests against the proposed reduction of sickness and disablement benefit for married women, and the disablement benefit of single women, in the National Health Insurance and Contributory Pensions Bill, and condemns the suggestion to place all married women in Class K. It demands equal treatment for all classes of insured persons, irrespective of sex. Again, a national conference of trade union approved societies, meeting in Weston-super-Mare, sends me a telegram in which I am told that a resolution has been passed at the conference emphatically protesting against the proposed legislation which provides for limitation and reduction of the benefits of certain classes of genuine insured workers, and imposes further hardship on the unemployed workers and their dependants. Here are telegrams from people who are intimately concerned, some of them as insured persons, others as representing approved societies, and I submit that the Committee ought to take into account the views of these people.

I would put this point to the Committee. Let us assume, if you like, that there are cases which are not genuine. Can this Committee, because of those cases, take the serious step of penalising all insured women under the scheme? Ought not the right hon. Gentleman, by improved methods of administration, to deal with those cases, and leave the-scheme to bear the responsibilities which it was intended to bear? If there be increased sickness, the scheme is there to deal with it. If there be an earlier appeal to the doctor, that is what everyone knows is right, and the scheme ought to bear it. We ought not to expect a class of insured persons to suffer because of a problem which has arisen either for reasons which cannot be helped or because the scheme is not being administered with sufficient strictness.

If the right hon. Gentleman would say, "I will withdraw Clause 3, and we will have a modified new Clause"—not the Clause that is on the Paper, but a modified Clause—I think that that would be reasonable. If women get married and go out of wage-earning employment, and do not intend to go back to wage-earning employment, they are not effectively within the scheme. If they are within the area of wage-earning employment, and are desirous of wage-earning employment, then they ought to be treated like everyone else within the scheme. I could understand a proposal of that kind, but I am afraid the right hon. Gentleman will not accept such a modification. He will insist on what seems to me to be the serious injustice that he means to inflict on women insured under the scheme in order to deal with a problem that cannot be dealt with in this way. I hope that Members who belong to what the Noble Lady called the stronger sex will, with many of the weaker sex, support us in the Division Lobby.


The joint discussion on these Amendments undoubtedly raises the central point of the Bill, and the Debate, so far as it has proceeded, has raised the most interesting questions for the decision of the Committee in connection with the Bill. I feel that the task that I have to discharge in connection with this Amendment is to show, first of all, that action in the nature of a reduction of benefits is necessary, secondly, that the reduction proposed is no greater than is necessary, and, thirdly, that the distribution of the reduction as between the various classes of insured persons is just. To establish that action is necessary, I need only refer the Committee to the report of the actuary. I am proceeding upon the assumption that our National Health Insurance scheme must be a solvent scheme not maintained by fresh grants from the Exchequer. It must not become merely a scheme of State relief. The Committee will find in the report of the actuary that at present there is a difference between the annual liabilities and the annual income of the scheme of no less than£2, 850, 000, of which£2, 000, 000 is accounted for by deficiency of income due to unemployment. With that we are not concerned at the moment. As regards the other£850, 000, that is a deficiency due to excess of benefits over the contributions. What can be more plain than that urgent and immediate action is needed in order to preserve the solvency of the scheme?

9.0 p.m.

I am dealing on these Amendments with the£850, 000 deficiency which is due to the excess of benefits at present over contributions. I believe the fact is established beyond the possibility of doubt that action is necessary if the scheme is to be maintained in solvency. As to the manner in which the deficiency is to be met, first of all let me deal with the various proposals that have been made. We have had no reference to-night to any proposal that the deficiency should be met by an increase of contributions. I think that can be dismissed by common consent from the possibilities at present. If we dismiss an increase of contributions as a possibility, in view of the present depression of our national conditions, you are left with two possible alternatives. The first is that you should reduce benefits and the second is the vague suggestion that you may look round and in some way find a means of tiding over the difficulty by tapping the existing surplus of the Insurance Fund. We have chosen the course of a reduction of benefits for a reason which I will explain.

In the first place, may I say a word, in order to clear the ground, as to the extent to which benefits have been reduced? Let us see the measure of the reduction in the change that is to be made. The benefits of all women used to be 12s. for sickness benefit and 7s. 6d. for the continuation of sickness benefit called "disablement benefit." There is no reduction at all for sickness benefit for single women, and a reduction of 1s. 6d. only in the disablement benefit of single women. As to the married women, we are making a reduction of 2s. only in sickness benefit and half-a-crown only in disablement benefit. This will still leave the benefits for all women either equal to or in excess of what they were before the increases were made in the spacious times over the pre-War rates of benefit, so that disablement benefit, even after the reduction, will still be equal to what it was before the War and sickness benefit will still be half-a-crown bigger than before the War. Let us get a true sense of proportion in considering the reductions that are to be made.

May I turn to the question whether there is any possible manner of dealing with the emergency other than the simple, direct manner of a reduction of benefits? First of all, let me deal with the various alternatives that have been suggested in the course of the Debate. I will deal, in the first place, with the alternative which I think was particularly enforced in the argument of the hon. Member for North Hammersmith (Miss Pickford) in a speech which was so cogently put and listened to with so much interest and attention. That suggestion was that, instead of covering the deficit by a reduction of benefits, we should cover it by a pool over the whole field of national insurance, that is, by calling upon the surpluses of the stronger societies to aid the weaker. There may be attraction in that suggestion until you look at the figures. I will take, as the only practical suggestion of pooling that has ever been put forward, the suggestion made by the Royal Commission that you should pool one half of the future surpluses of the approved societies after a given date. It is quite unthinkable that you should make a levy upon the past surpluses of approved societies. It would be a measure of stark confiscation. If you look at the only possible method which is the pooling of future surpluses, what the commission suggested was that you should pool a half of those surpluses.

Would that give us enough to deal with our deficiency of£850, 000? When the Royal Commission made its report, a half of the future surpluses would have amounted to some£1, 000, 000 a year. Unfortunately, owing to the turn for the worse of the finances of approved societies, at the present time one half of the annual surplus of approved societies available for pooling would give only£100, 000 a year, and as you have to distribute the advantage of the pooling over the whole field of approved societies, only one-third of that sum would be available for the women's societies. So that by adopting the only suggestion of pooling ever put forward as a practical one, you would have available for disposal to meet your surplus of£850, 000, only£30, 000. I suggest to the Committee that that shows that in dealing with the suggestion of pooling you are dealing with a remedy which is absolutely incommensurate with the evil which you have to meet.

Let us deal with another suggestion, namely, that instead of finding the money for pooling, you should in some way get it from better administration. That is a favourite thesis of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood), because this was the remedy which we recognise he commenced to apply during his tenure of office at the Ministry. He commenced to apply it, and as far as it has gone, I am sorry to say, it has not presented any prospect whatever of amounting to such a measure of saving as would be in the least commensurate with the deficiency we have to cover. Let me point this out to the Committee, because the matter has never been quite fairly apprehended, though I tried to make it plain in speaking on the Second Reading. In sketching future remedies with which to deal with this deficiency, I have already allowed for such a gain from improved administration and from the tightening up of certification and so on for which it is prudent to allow. The gap, as I have said, is£2, 850, 000. The reductions to be effected by the measures which I propose in the Bill will amount on the Estimates to£2, 350, 000 a year. I am allowing for£500, 000 to be gained by improvements in administration, and in allowing for those improvements I have gone to the very verge of what is prudent in allowing any benefit to be derived from improved administration.

If the Committee will consult the report of the Government Actuary on the solvency of this fund, they will find that he says, so to speak, to me as Minister of Health and to the House: "What you have allowed for in this Bill is not enough. In order to make your fund solvent you ought not only to reduce benefits to the extent to which you propose to reduce them, but you ought also to increase your contributions by a halfpenny, and strict actuarial solidarity requires that you should exact this extra halfpenny contribution. But if you choose to allow for a£500, 000 gain from improved administration, I cannot say that it is totally unreasonable. I think that it is not too excessively optimistic for you to do so, and on that basis we have a good chance of winning through. In those circumstances, the Committee will see, not only upon my statement but upon the statement of the Government Actuary himself, that I have allowed to be gained by the benefits of improved administration all that it is possible and prudent to allow.

I will deal with another point of view which has been advanced in the discussions as to whether the distribution of contributions to the deficiency which I propose as between men, married women, and unmarried women are fair and just. I will take the case as between the men and the married women. It is said, "Why do you not spread this contribution over men as well as women? Why do you not call upon men to make a contribution to your deficiency? Why do you accumulate the burden upon the women?" Our National Health Insurance system was already weighted in favour of the women before the Bill was introduced. I will show the Committee how it was weighted. It was weighted in this way. The proportion of benefit provided by the State is 40 per cent, greater in the case of women than it is in the case of men, which is a very great advantage to the women as distinguished from men. In taking the estimates upon which the whole scheme is based in regard to the probable sickness experience of men and women, the provision in regard to the sickness of women is no less than 60 per cent, greater than that in respect of men. Therefore, already there is an enormous advantage for women in comparison with men on the very basis of the scheme. The average age of women in the scheme and their contributions are less. Under the weighting for sickness, the average amount which women receive out of insurance in a normal state of affairs is greater than that which men receive, so that you have already a big weighting of the scheme in favour of women. I suggest to the Committee that in view of the fact that you have this special deficiency to make up which is due to the additional sickness experience of women, it would be quite unfair to call upon men to bear a bigger share of the sickness expense. That is the case as between married women and men.

I turn to the case as between married women and unmarried women. Is the distribution which we make as between the two just in that respect? I think I can convince the Committee by figures quoted directly out of the Actuary's Report that as between the married women and the unmarried women the slightly greater burden in contribution to the deficiency which is cast upon the married women in comparison with unmarried women is nothing less than fair. If Members of the Committee will look at page 5 of the Actuary's Report on the financial provisions of the Bill they will see, at the bottom of the page, that the losses to the benefit funds of the societies attributable to the respective claims of unmarried women and married women were approximately as follows. Of my£850, 000 which I have mentioned several times to the Committee,£430, 000 comes from the unmarried women and£420, 000 from the married women. But the number of married women in the last valuation return was 1, 100, 000, while the number of unmarried women was 4, 300, 000. The Actuary saw that although the aggregate annual loss was about the same in the case of both sections—the married and the unmarried women—the loss per head resulting from the claims of the married greatly exceeded that due to the claims of the unmarried. The Actuary summarises the position in the following figures. The average yearly loss per member for unmarried women was only 2s. and for the married women it was 7s. 6d.

In view of these figures, the Committee will see that we have differentiated between the married women and the unmarried women far less than the actuarial proportion of the losses borne by the two classes would justify. I have demonstrated by the irrefutable figures of the scheme that the amount of loss which we have to make up is not more than covered by the changes which we are making, and that, assuming throughout as an accepted principle that that loss must be made up, the way in which it has been distributed between men, married women and unmarried women is certainly justified by the actual figures which show where the loss comes from, with only this difference, that, on the whole, we have made less difference between men and women than would be justified by the figures, and we have made less difference between married women and unmarried women' than would be justified by the figures.

What would be the inevitable effect of the Amendments? It would be this. By failing to cover outgoing benefits by incoming contributions you would throw the societies into a deficiency. Let me once more say a- word on this essential point and try to carry the Committee with me in apprehending that you cannot meet this deficiency and you cannot prevent the insolvency of the insurance scheme simply by a redistribution of surpluses within the scheme. There is an old Indian. proverb that "A bear cannot live by sucking its own paws."

Just in the same way, the approved societies in the position which they now find themselves cannot maintain solvency by a redistribution of their surpluses. At the rate at which that deficiency is accruing against the societies at the present time no surpluses can stand against it, and I repeat, with every sense of responsibility, what I said to the House on the Second Reading of the Bill, that if this deficiency is allowed to go on accruing against the insurance scheme the surpluses which you have at the present time will only serve to enable you to conceal the insolvency of the fund for a period, and when you come to the end of the next valuation period you will find the approved societies falling into such deficiency that the whole scheme will fall into rack and ruin. To suggest that you would gain by a redistribution of surpluses would only tend to dupe you into thinking that things are all right for a year or two to come.

The Amendments are not aimed at the whole of the reduction of benefit which the Bill suggests, but I have had a most careful estimate made of the effect of the Amendments, and I discover that they would cost me one half of the whole effort which is to be made in order to restore the solvency of the scheme. To deny towards the solvency of the scheme one half of that which is required would be, in effect, nothing less than a denial of the whole benefit which is to be expected from the measures proposed in the Bill. Let me repeat, and this is really the key-note of this Measure, that in regard to all the proposals which we here make, although they are difficult and painful, I believe as firmly as can be believed that if we fail to take the measures that are here proposed there are disasters ahead of the insurance scheme which will be more difficult and more painful still. We are dealing here with a small class, a small category of the insured. We are dealing with the contribution which is to be made in a difficult time by a. class of insured women. That little sacrifice which we claim from them is not to be reckoned for a moment against the avoidance of the enormous disasters which would come to the 17, 000, 000 subscribers to the scheme if, by refraining from taking measures in time, we allow the scheme to drift from one state of insolvency to another.


I have listened with great and growing disappointment to the speech of the Minister, which amounted to this that he deems it impracticable to give any kind of mitigation to the effects of the Clause. He regards the Clause as the only possible way of meeting the deficit of the fund. It is extremely difficult for any private Member who has not the Minister's figures at his command to meet at a moment's notice the kind of argument that the Minister has put forward, but I think that most Members of the Committee will, in spite of the Minister's statement, be disposed to cling to the broad facts of the case as they are familiar to those of us who have studied the documents which the Government have supplied, especially the Actuary's third valuation, and the report of the test group of societies.

The picture which the Actuary has drawn is very difficult to reconcile with the despairing picture which the Minister has put before us. He has made a great deal of the£800, 000 per annum deficit that has to be met, but the broad fact is this, that out of 7, 600 societies the Actuary's report shows that 7, 001 had surpluses, that 6, 263 had a disposable surplus, that the average amount of the disposable surplus per member was larger in quantity than the amount of the deficiency in the case of those societies that had a deficiency, that 93 per cent, of the whole of the insured population belong to societies with surpluses, and that 88 per cent, of men and 38 per cent, of women belonged to societies with disposable surpluses. It is extremely difficult for hon. Members with these facts in their minds not to believe that if the Minister really wanted to find a way out of this particular Clause other than that which he has found he might have found that other way.

The whole assumption which underlay the Minister's reply was that the particular group of people who incurred this deficiency must meet the deficiency, and that it can only be met by lowering benefits. He referred to the suggestions which have come to him from various quarters that the deficits on married women and women generally might be shared by the men, but he told us that that could not be done by the societies with surpluses within the exact terms of the Royal Commission's report. Possibly those exact terms would have to be varied. When the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) wanted to raid the surpluses of insurance societies, he did not say that he was going to raid the surpluses in the future, but he raided the surpluses already there.

There is another possible method with which the Minister did not deal. Why could not something be done to meet this deficit out of the fund which was expressly formed to meet deficiencies of societies, namely, the Central Fund? I only speak from memory, but I believe the calculation is that something like one-tenth of a farthing per week per member would produce£200, 000 a year. It is an easy arithmetical calculation that in that case something like one farthing per member would produce more than the£800, 000 per year. Why, then, is it impossible to increase the Central Fund? There are many who contend that it should be done. The right hon. Gentleman did not allude to the very heavy deficits incurred by sections of the male population, miners, steel-workers and so on, though these are to be met because it is possible to have recourse to the Central Fund. If it was considered just to do it there, why is it not possible in the case of women?

Is it just, is it essentially fair, that the married women should meet the deficit incurred by married women? I do not think it is possible to deal with this subject without saying a very few words on a matter which is so important not only to the question of finance, but to the honour and repute of the working-class women of the country. Why is it this position has arisen and why has the Actuary been so far wrong in his calculations? It is clear there has been a very much larger amount of sickness among women, and especially among married women than the Actuary allows for. It can only be due to one or more of the following reasons. It may be that the sickness among women has been much greater than the Actuary thought, and has been increasing all through the period and that the number of married women in employment has increased, as we know. Married women are a much unhealthier class than spinsters. Up to a certain point in life they are unhealthier owing to maternity and its results. It may be that because there are more married women remaining in work there is a larger proportion of sickness. A third possible reason is that women are appreciating more and more the value and benefits of health insurance and therefore are applying for benefits more readily.

9.30 p.m.

A fourth reason—and I will call a spade a spade—is the charge that married women are malingering. I am almost the only speaker in the Debate who has used that unpleasant word openly, but it has permeated the whole Debate and the Actuary's report. We can see perfectly well that he thinks that this deficit is largely due to malingering. I said when I spoke on the Second Reading that I did not deny that malingering does account for a proportion of the deficit, but I think there are features in the Actuary's report which do point that way though they are susceptible of another explanation. For example, there is the very considerable proportion of young claimants, and the fact that the number of weeks claimed for disablement pay has been nearly as large as the weeks claimed for sickness pay. As the Actuary has pointed out, that is a strange fact in an insured population of which only 15 per cent, are over 45 years of age. There is the still more awkward fact that a very large proportion of those who are put on disablement pay find in a very short time afterwards that they are able to return to work, and the implication is that as soon as sickness benefit ceases they find they can return to work. As far as that is. the case, and there is malingering, all women will want the matter to be dealt with drastically. I claim to speak with some authority about married women, because I have probably had more experience of married women than most people in this House. It happened that when the Minister and the Under-Secretary were fighting in the Navy and Army I was mainly occupied in assessing claims of married women to benefit out of public funds, and I must have dealt with, or superintended the dealing with by others, thousands of such claims, besides visiting many hundreds of married women in their homes and speaking at scores of meetings. I think I know something about the married working class woman, and I say she is one of the most self-sacrificing, devoted, unselfish and funda- mentally honest human beings in the community. You might leave a bag of gold in the house of a poverty-stricken married woman for weeks, and in nine cases out of 10 not a farthing would be touched. But the pressure of the struggle for existence is so heavy that she is very often open to example and once she gets an idea that she has a right to make claims on public funds because other people are doing it the habit soon spreads. If malingering is going on, it is not something which is going on for ever and ever, and you should make provision for it by ascertaining how far it is going on, and then deal with it as an evil which must be remedied.

So far as heavy claims are due to other causes than a real increase in sickness, that calls for a remedy, and for analysing it and discovering how far it does exist. My experience also told me that this sickness among married women is a real and serious factor. I am not at all surprised that the Actuary finds that it transcends his expectations, because we must remember his original calculations were made at a time of relative prosperity soon after the War. Even at that time the health of the married woman was causing very great disturbance in the minds of those of us who cared about her. I should like to quote if I may a few words I wrote eight years ago on this subject which will show I am not merely trying to make out a case about this Bill. I alluded to the fact that there were often very few statistics available about the health of married women and I said: In default of official evidence, therefore, I will venture to give my own impression of the health of married working women. It is that among those of the poorer sections from early middle age onwards, the standard of health is deplorably low, and that, if any method existed of testing their condition comparable to that of the medical examination of school children or troops for enlistment, the proportion of those found suffering from some definite defect or chronic ailment would startle everyone. We see the truth of that proved. Figures are now available and they do startle everyone, and everybody says, "Oh, but they must have been shamming." I can quote other testimony and other extracts from book after book, by those who have carried out health inspection, as to the conditions of the working class in different quarters, and as to the health of married women. I will quota only three very short extracts. In Glasgow they said: The midwives say they have to get more medical assistance now because the women are not as strong as they used to be. Our opinion is that this is due to under-nourishment. In Stoke-on-Trent it was said: The increasing evidence of malnutrition of mothers is unmistakeable. In quite a recent report by a committee of clergy of Newcastle-on-Tyne it was said: We have observed that the mothers are suffering from under-nourishment, particularly in families where there are several children. This is endorsed by doctors in charge of welfare centres who affirm that long-continued unemployment is telling increasingly on the health of mothers. So far as it is true that increased sickness among married women is largely due to unemployment, the lowering of the benefit will only intensify it. If married women have too little to eat now, they will have still less if their benefit is dropped from 12s. to 10s. per week. A remedy must be found. The question I put to the Minister of Health is this: Is there not a case for a much more careful inquiry than has been undertaken before he adopts this drastic remedy; before he assumes that this high rate of sickness is going to be permanent and lowers the benefit to all married women? Before unemployment pay was lowered we had two important inquiries. The Blanesburgh inquiry showed that. there was far less shamming among those applying for unemployment pay than the public generally believed, and the same results would follow if we had an inquiry into excessive sickness among married women. There was also the Royal Commission on Unemployment.

Why is it that it is so much easier to take action with regard to the excessive claims of women? Is it because this Government, and any other Government, thinks once and twice and thrice before it takes any action which may affect the money going to trade unions because they are highly organised and before it does anything which approved societies may dislike because they are also strongly organised, but that the Government thinks that married women are fair game and an easy prey because they are inarticulate and an unorganised class? I cannot believe that, if married women had been as highly organised as the men, that this Bill would have been brought in in this way, with only two days' discussion in Committee, and with only a few hours in which to discuss the position of women. It is a light way in which to deal with the interests and the honour of the whole mass of married working women in industry.

I hope that the Minister of Health will consider the matter more carefully before the Report stage. There is an Amendment on the Order Paper which raises the question in a somewhat different aspect. If that Amendment were accepted, it would be a gross injustice. Cannot we, before the Bill finally leaves this House, think of some method of dealing with this problem by spreading the burden over the whole body of the insured class? If married women are sick, have not their husbands some interest in the matter? I pointed out on a former occasion that in regard to unemployment insurance women have a claim in proportion to their contributions, but that they are pooled with the men so that the men get the whole of the benefit. Why should women in the matter of Health Insurance bear the burden of their fellow-citizens? We want a much more scientific method of dealing with this great problem, and I hope the Minister will indicate that he does mean to grasp the nettle a little more firmly, do something which would be more just to married women, and spread the burden more evenly over the whole body of insured persons.


The right hon. Gentleman earlier in the evening said that women, because of sickness, take 40 per cent, more out of the fund than men. Surely that is a justification for our Amendment. It has always been the care of men to guard women, but here because women are more liable to sickness than men they are to be penalised. It is reducing human beings to mere machines. And to think that we can have a man, a representative man, a very intelligent man, a man who carries some weight in the country, who can get up in 1932 and make a statement like that; and expect to be supported in this House. He said that if we take away the surpluses from certain organisations it would be confiscation, and he was not going to do it. It would be better to take surpluses from those who do not require them and give them to the women who do. There is not an hon. Member in this House who would say that the amount it is proposed to allow to women would be sufficient for their own wives and daughters. It would not be enough pocket money for a day, let alone keep them for a week. Confiscation; the word has no terrors for us. We have always stood for confiscation without compensation. [Interruption.] We lived during the War, when our flesh and blood were confiscated. We are not going as far as that in confiscating money or food or anything else that we require. We are more humane. We would not do as the ruling classes of this country did. We would not confiscate human lives. We would not put them into the trenches, unless it was into the trenches to overthrow capitalism, I would put them there to-morrow for that purpose, and I would have no hesitation in going there myself.

Viscountess ASTOR

You would not kill a fly.


The next statement of the Minister to which I took exception was the statement that "They will have more after this reduction than they had before the War." Just think what that means. The right hon. Gentleman is trying to put back the hands of the clock. Of course, they will have more. The Minister remembers, as well as I do, when they got nothing, no allowance, no Unemployment Insurance benefit at all. Why did they get these things? Because the ruling classes of this country were terrified lest there should be a revolution. That was the reason why we of the working-class got; these things during the War and after the War. It was not that the ruling classes were any kinder to my class after the War than they were before the War. It was because they were afraid of the working-class. It is because to-day the Government think the working-classes are crushed, that they bring forward these proposals The men and women who fought in the War—it is those the Government are crushing to-day, not foreigners, but our own kith and kin. The Minister himself says it; he is admitting it. But he thinks it is quite safe to make the reduction. And they are to apply, to whom? Single disabled women are to get a reduction from 7s. 6d. to 6s. a week? Is there any man in this House who believes that 6s. a week will keep any woman? Everyone knows that it will not.

Everyone probably has at the back of his mind the thought, "Well that is not all that will be going into a house. There will be other forms of contribution going into the home where the single woman is living, and she will share with all the others." I ask hon. Members who are going to vote against us to bear in mind that all the incomes going into a house, no matter how small they may be, have been reduced already. [HON. MEMBERS: "So has the cost of living!"] The incomes have been reduced out of all proportion to the reduction in the cost of living. I appeal to hon. Members, think of what you are doing. In every form you have attacked the incomes of every section of the working classes, the father, the mother, the sister and the brother. Now you are attacking the disabled. Oh, if I was able to portray to you, not an imaginary picture, but a picture of actual life that we see. We do not read about working-class women; they are bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh) and we know the life that they live. Think what this means. Here is a daughter, disabled probably for life. Everyone who has any spark of humanity left knows that the first thing he would do would be to rush to that one's assistance. But here is a Government attacking that poor individual. Up to now she has been receiving 7s. 6d. a week. Now this great Christian Government is going to take Is. 6d. from her, and she is to get only 6s.—Is. 6d. off the poor unfortunate women to save the great British Empire!

Then the next thing is the case of the disabled married women's payment. Think of it! I wish my voice was all right, because otherwise I am in excellent fettle for going the whole way on this subject. If I would not have my say here, the very paving stones would cry out. Disabled married women—think what you are proposing to reduce their benefit to. Not disabled married women of Members of Parliament, not disabled married women of the ruling classes. There is no talk about that, irrespective of how the ruling class married women are disabled; but an attack made on the married women of my class. You are going to take from them 2s. a week. They have 7s. now, and you are going to make it 5s. a week. Is there any hon. Member who believes that 5s. a week will maintain a woman?

Viscountess ASTOR



Then why vote for it? I hope that every woman who is in the House to-night will vote against the Government. If they do not, they are not worthy of the name of women. The last item on which I wish to touch is the proposed reduction in the case of married women who are not disabled. Think of it! The British House of Commons, with all the brains of the country, with all the bright young Tory Lords, all the young bloods, all the boys of the bulldog breed is considering a proposal like this. Here they are, some of them great athletes, well set-up men who have had every chance to fit themselves mentally and physically for the struggle of life, able to give a good account of themselves in every sphere. They came here with a great flourish of trumpets. They were going to put the British Empire on its feet, but to-night they are going into the Lobby to vote for a reduction from 12s. a week to 10s. a week for married women—the mothers of the British race.

Remember that the mothers of the British race are the working-class mothers. Hon. Members can boast of Britain's greatness from now until Doomsday, but Britain's greatness rests on the working-class mothers. They are the greatest heroes in Britain's story. They have a harder job spending the money than the men have in earning it. They are the mothers of those who stood betwixt the onrushing Germans and Paris. They are the mothers of the boys who smashed the mightiest military machine on which the sun has ever shone—the German Empire—and you are going to treat them in this fashion. These are women who at the moment have to struggle, as with a steel band, trying to make ends meet each week, and those ends are eternally bursting apart. Those are the conditions which prevail in this great British Empire for the mothers of our children, and Members are going into the Lobby to vote for a reduction of a few shillings a week in what is allowed to these poor women. But you can take it from me that while the mothers may be treated in this way, their daughters and their sons are watching. They will arise in their might and smite you who are their oppressors. It is not foreigners who are the oppressors of the working-class of this country but the British ruling class. No German ever attempted to crush the British people in the fashion which a British Minister is proposing to-night, and the Minister is asking a British House of Commons to support him in measures which mean nothing less than the starvation of the poorest section of the British community.

10.0 p.m.


There are few Members on this side who could agree with many of the propositions advanced by the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood), but I think there are also few who would deny that he has shown fervour and enthusiasm in his plea for the married women. To-night, however, we are considering a question which, turns not upon sentimentality but upon facts. I listened very patiently yesterday and to-day to the speeches on this Bill, and I could almost have persuaded myself from those speeches that we were considering a Bill for the distribution of some surplus funds which the Government had at their disposal, rather than a Measure designed to deal with the possible insolvency of this great insurance scheme. Later speeches have been devoted more particularly to the question of the married women, but it seems to me that this is a question which should not be considered from the point of view of the married women only. There is a very large class of insured women who have also to be considered, namely, the single women and the proportion of single women to married women is as four to one.

I cannot understand why so much feeling should be displayed on behalf of the married women. If it be a question of need, surely the single woman has an even greater responsibility thrown upon her in times of sickness than the married woman. As I endeavoured to explain on the Second Reading, Members should have clearly in mind the fact that there is a distinction between the married woman and the widow, and, in consider- ing the case of the married women we must recollect that in the very large majority of cases, there is income coming into the home in. respect of the husband. We are not considering the case of a woman who has no support either financial or moral but the case of a woman who has some support at home, and, while she may have responsibilities, her case, in the main, is not so drastic or so trying as that of the single woman.

There is another aspect of the case which seems to be lost sight of in these discussions. One would think that the question of the liability imposed upon the Insurance Fund by married women had never been brought up until now, and that the House of Commons and the country had only just discovered that the married woman was a drag upon the insurance scheme. One would also imagine that no attempt; had been made to have any special consideration given to the women's section in insurance. This is a mistake.

Perhaps hon. Members have not cast their minds back or have not been interested in the question of social insurance in its earlier stages, but the fact is that the position of women and children in national insurance has been a factor of considerable concern to all those who have been working in connection with this subject for the last 20 years. From time to time funds have been bolstered up either by special contributions or special allowances or postponements of reserves. All these things have been done in order to keep up the solvency of the women's section of the fund, and to pay benefits in accordance with the provisions of the original Act.

What is the position which faces this country to-day? It is not that you have money to distribute. It is said that you might use the surpluses of those societies which have surpluses. It is all very well to quote a number of societies, but you have to take the total number of insured persons in the successful societies and then divide the surplus and see now far it goes.

There is an idea that has been put forward from time to time, that if you collected all the gold in this country and distributed it among the people, how rich we should be. But when we come down to the real facts, we find what a small distribution there would be, and that we should not be richer at all, but probably poorer than before. In this matter we find that there is an impending insolvency unless the scheme is grappled with and the trouble is met. I thought, from the very lucid explanation given by the Minister, that there would be no second thought as to what was the right line to take with regard to this Bill. The hon. Lady the Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone) put forward a powerful plea for the married women, and asked, Is it really necessary to take this important step at this moment? Can we not wait a little longer? Is the sickness experience likely to be a permanent one? That has been answered very clearly by the Actuary in his Report. He says, first of all: I have computed the contribution required to support the benefits of the scheme as it is proposed to amend them in the Bill, on the assumption that the sickness and disablement claims in the future will conform to the average experience of the years 1928–30. He goes on: The question of what will be the future level of, the sickness and disablement claims of women is a matter of peculiar difficulty at the present time. Further he says: If the rate of sickness should thenceforward be maintained at a level 10 per cent, lower on average than that of the years 1928–30, the present contributions will support the benefits at the rates proposed in the Bill, and if these rates be adopted it will be unnecessary to provide for any increase of contributions. Therefore, it is not a question of dealing with the position as we find it to-day. What we have to contemplate is a reduction in benefits or an increase in contributions, and in addition a very marked improvement in the sickness experience of women. What is the use of talking tonight as though the funds will provide that? We are told that the existing funds and the surpluses would be insufficient. The Minister has clearly demonstrated that. He comes forward with a scheme which says that we can only expect solvency on the condition that you have reduced benefits, and the actuary is not prepared to advise the Minister that even the reduced benefits will be sufficient unless there is a marked improvement in the sickness experience.

The hon. Lady said something on the question of malingering. I do not like the word. Those who have had experience—and let me say at once, because there seems to be some mystery surrounding the members of the Consultative Council, that it is composed of representatives of all types of society, who know from experience, not from a casual acquaintance such as may come to Members of the House by circulars distributed by this society or by that organisation. I have spoken to some hon. Members, who have come to me and said, "I shall vote against this." They have asked questions of the Minister and have then said, before they have got his answer, "I shall vote against you." They have not a semblance of a notion of what the scheme means. When I speak of the Consultative Council, I know the composition of that body. I have had the honour of serving on it for a good many years.

Viscountess ASTOR

Are there women on it?


There are women on the council, representative of the women's approved societies, and there are men representing the organisations connected with trade unions, men with co-operative society experience, and men from the great industrial organisations. I have had the honour to serve on the first Consultative Council, which started for a limited period of years, but which has been re-elected from time to time, not by the Minister, but by the recommendation of the organisations. I have been through the discussions there carefully, because I happen to have been the Chairman of the Consultative Council. Let there be no mystery about it. My hon. Friends in front know it quite well. Some people talk as though there are men behind this who do not know what they are talking about, but the men and women who compose that council have come forward with their advice to the Minister, not because they think it will be an advantage to their particular society; they have come forward with the desire and the sole reason that they may protect the interests of the members of the societies who are committed to their charge.

The great advantage held out by the author of this scheme was this: "You shall have your own types of society, you shall work out your own salvation, you shall not be kept down to a common level, but as you, by your good management, can succeed in getting together your surpluses, so you shall have the advantage of them, "But there has been a measure of pooling within the scheme. My hon. Friend who sits on the Front Opposition Bench and who has had some experience of approved society work knows what sacrifices have been made by societies, and indeed in this Bill, although it would not be proper to refer at length to Clause 6, I think I may in passing say that the question of pooling has been recognised and is extended within Clause 6. There provision is made that no societies shall be declared insolvent until not only they have gone through reserves piled up by any particular society, but until they have had their dip into the central fund. That being so, it seems to me that the societies are meeting the difficulties of the moment.

In this case you have an inherent difficulty that cannot be met merely by dipping into the central fund or distributing among all women's societies the surplus funds which may exist. Why should there be the distinction between the married and the single women? Why is it, as the hon. Lady behind me suggested, that you should force this upon the women and not go upon the men? I suggest that there is the very simple answer, that it would be a very unfortunate thing, in the present state of the employment market in this country, if you were going to penalise the men who are in the main the breadwinners. After all, out of 17, 000, 000 of insured people, some 12, 000, 000 are men, and therefore you cannot rightly disregard the responsibilities of the men. On the other hand, of the 5, 000, 000 women, some 4, 000, 000 are single women, and one-fifth of the total insured population may be affected by this particular scheme. It is not unfair to say to the people who for some years past have been battening upon the good experience of their single sisters that at least they should come down to something like the terms of insurance in this matter.

In the Second Reading Debate I applauded an hon. Member on the Front Opposition Bench when he said that he delighted in the principle of insurance. Under this scheme we are being asked to pay a greater benefit to married women than the scheme itself will bear or that the contributions will bear. For a long series of years the married women have been an uninsurable proposition so far as their contributions were concerned under the existing Acts. It is not unreasonable in the circumstances to ask them to bear their particular burden. It is an unfortunate thing. I do not agree, and never did agree, that the benefits under the Insurance Acts were adequate, but they went as far as we could go within an insurance scheme. If there were in the coffers of the State an amount available and sufficient to pay benefits adequate to meet the views of my hon. Friends on the Front Bench, I should be glad, and I look forward to those days when there is such prosperity in this country that we shall be able to distribute money lavishly.

What is the position to-day however? The question has been asked more than once whether any Member will dare to say that he came back with a mandate from the people to deal with the question of women's and men's benefit. Of course, there was not a mandate. What the Conservatives and the National party had as a mandate was to deal with the finances of the country. There was no mandate to spend money and to pile indebtedness such as has been happening for many years past. If in years gone by we had had a little more thought for the future and had not been so lavish in State contributions to meet deficiencies from time to time, the times through which we are passing would not have been as difficult as they are. I ask hon. Members to come back to a sense of reality and responsibility. Let the lady Members of the House throw over their sentimental ideas and realise what their duty is. If they clearly and properly understand the answer which has been given by the Minister, there is no alternative for them, or for any other Member who loves the country and really believes in economy, but to go into the Lobby in support of this Measure.


I should like to refer to a serious statement made by the hon. Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone). She repeated the old Socialist tag that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), when Chancellor of the Exchequer, robbed the Health Insurance Fund. That old tag did a certain amount of service during the election of 1929, but I hoped that it was dead for good and all. The hon. Member said that it was not a question of dealing with some surplus that might be accrued in future, but that it was definitely a case of finding a surplus existing and taking it. Such, of course, was not the case in any way. What the right hon Gentleman did was to reduce the State grant from two-ninths in the case of men to two-fifteenths, and from two-ninths in the case of women to two-tenths. That was entirely for the future, and not one penny piece of any existing surplus was touched.


Is it not a fact that if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) had not reduced the State grant, the societies would have had a surplus to meet the difficulties with which we are now confronted? Is it not a fact that approved societies have lost in actual State grant and interest thereon nearly£30, 000, 000 owing to the action of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping?


Is it not a fact that if that Economy Bill had not been introduced, probably we should have arrived at the stage of insolvency in health insurance very much earlier?


The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) has tried to trail a red herring across the track. I rose to deal with a perfectly specific statement on a specific point, and I propose to deal with it, and not to chase off after a red herring wrapped in a rabbit skin, because I am not a drag hunter myself. The hon. Member evidently understands the technique of drag hunting. The hon. Lady specifically stated that the then Chancellor of the Exchequer took money from an existing surplus, and she emphasized that particularly by saying that it was not merely a question of stopping money that was going to accrue in the future, but that he found an existing surplus there and took the money from it.


The point I was trying to put was simply that the Minister used the argument that it would not be fair to the approved societies to deprive them of a fund on which they were counting. That is exactly what the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) did. He took it out of the State's contributions, but it was a sum which the approved societies had to find, and therefore they had less money for their other purposes.


I do not know what point the hon. Lady is trying to make, but I am quite clear about the statement that she did make, and which she went out of her way to emphasise, or I would not have intervened. I think she will agree that I quoted the sense of her words quite correctly—that the then Chancellor found a surplus there and took money from it. Now, that is absolutely untrue.


I am sorry to interrupt again. Surely what happened was this. He found there was a surplus there and because of that surplus, which the societies counted on being able to use for certain purposes, he felt he could cut off supplies. It comes to the same thing.


The fact is that the hon. Lady said that he found a surplus there and took money from it. He did nothing of the sort. There has been a great deal of loose thinking and, worse than that, of loose talking about the disposal of surpluses. Getting to the bottom of the hon. Lady's statement, I think it raises a matter of far wider importance than the mere question of this Debate, and that is the general attitude of people towards the disposal of surpluses. It is rather interesting to realise that even in this age of sex equality the diminution in the rate of State grants then made was considerably smaller in the case of women than in the case of men; but that is merely incidental to my argument. The point is that not one penny piece of any existing surplus was touched by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer.


I have been very much interested in the controversy as to precisely what the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) did when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer. Those of us who know him best and admire him most know that it is always better not to try to say precisely what he has done or is doing at any moment; but the fact of the matter is that he made inroads on the resources of the approved societies.


Not the existing resources.


It all depends on what we call resources. The serious position of the great societies is not merely because of what has taken place to the funds that were collected last year or the year before, but to the funds that they calculate on collecting in the current year. There is no doubt about the position of those funds to-day. The whole framework of our insurance system—I do not merely mean our national insurance system, but also the insurance system that is run by private enterprise—is in a very serious position, not because of anything that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping did in the past, or because of anything that the Minister of Health is doing to-day. It is because the whole economic system has failed to fulfil the high hopes that were placed in it by hon. Members here who supported it. Far be it from us to minimise in any way the nature of the financial catastrophe that this nation is experiencing and the more serious financial catastrophe that it will experience. We do not attempt to go into that; we simply come here and we plead, admitting your financial catastrophe and your very great difficulties, is statesmanship limited, in its attempts to deal with these very serious difficulties, to making further inroads into the meagre livelihood of the poor? That is the proposition we are putting before the Committee.

On this Clause we are asking whether it is sensible from the financial point of view or from the social point of view, and whether it is right from an ethical point of view, to put the married women of the working-class into worse conditions in their periods of sickness than they have been in during recent years? Our view is clear and definite. On the general question of the financial difficulties of the country, we say that every step that diminishes the purchasing-power of the masses of the common people, whether it is by making cuts in unemployment benefit, by reductions in wages, or, as here proposed, by taking shillings out of married women's pockets, everything that you do in that direction, intensifies the difficulty with which you are attempting to deal. On that general principle, and on that principle alone, we oppose this Clause, which reduces working-class purchasing-power when it takes a couple of shillings out of the pocket of a sick married woman.

10.30 p.m.

What has worried me more than anything else in the discussion on this Clause is a matter raised by the Minister which had escaped my notice, although I have attended very faithfully during the discussions on the Bill. On the Second Reading I listened carefully to all that was said, and I have studied the Memoranda, the Bill and the Acts upon which it is founded: and yet it escaped my notice that the right hon. Gentleman is proposing to save£500, 000 at the expense of the sick by more drastic forms of administration. The right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) supports that aspect of the Bill, as I gathered from his speech to-day. I gathered that he was prepared to stand for this more drastic administration, and suggested that, if more drastic administrative methods were adopted, the cuts on the married women would not be necessary. The Minister replies to that by saying that, when he allows for a saving of£500, 000 by a stricter administration, he is making the most optimistic estimate of what he can possibly save, that it only gives him about£500, 000, and that he must have£2, 000, 000 or£3, 000, 000 more.

This reminds me very much of our old friend "not genuinely seeking work." Everyone who has been in the House of Commons for more than one Parliament knows all the trouble that Governments and individual Members have had over the question of "not genuinely seeking work." Now we are coming to the other device of not being genuinely sick, and, by a tightening up of administrative methods, we are going to find out a whole lot of people who are malingering. We know quite well that the "not genuinely seeking work" provision was devised to catch that man who, with 100 jobs offered him, was dodging round a corner lest one of the jobs should hit him. That was the creature of fiction that was created. In actual practice, we knew that it was a device used to save the resources of the Unemployment Insurance Fund at the expense of men for whom no jobs were available—who, after having searched all day, after having visited all the works in the neighbourhood, after having done everything that a man could possibly do, still found themselves at the end of the week with no job, and yet were turned down by the local Employment Exchange as not genuinely seeking work.

Now we are proposing administrative methods particularly against the married woman, who, it will be remembered, was a, tremendous offender in not genuinely seeking work. She is going to be pursued—by whom, I wonder? First, there will be the panel doctor, who is to act the martinet with the sick married woman. "You must get up; you have been in your bed long enough; away out to your work; the fund has to save another£500, 000."This is a. very serious thing, because it would seem to me to wreck the established tradition that exists between the medical man and his patient. The medical man going into the home is, in the normal practice, a family friend, a man whom you can trust, not merely with your life and your health, but with your secrets. If he is the right type of man, as many of them are, he is a confidant, adviser and friend. Now he is to be made a sort of policeman; his help is to be enlisted to save£500, 000; he is not to allow any sentiment to interfere with the absolute letter of the law, which none of us like when we are sick men. Every one of us knows, or has known at some time of his experience, how very fine are those last two or three days at the end of a period of illness, when the doctor knows, and you know, that you could be back on the job if you made a special effort; but you just do not want to get back until you are perfectly sure that you are all right again. I have no doubt that£500, 000 might be saved in that way.

My hon. Friend the Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) raised at Question Time the other day the case of a woman who came under the stricter administration that is now operating. She was called up to be examined by the regional medical officer. Her panel doctor permits her to go and, in the office where she is being examined as to whether she is fit for work or not, she becomes so ill on the spot that she has to be sent home in a taxicab.


Is it in order to address the Committee leaning against the Bar?


I had not observed the hon. Member leaning against the Bar.


I am sorry if I have offended the hon. Member's refined susceptibilities, but I do not think there is anything more ungraceful in my posture than, in that of Ministers when they lounge across the Dispatch Box. Here she goes to be examined as to whether she is fit to return to work. She is in such a condition that she is sent home and dies within 24 hours, while the medical officers are still arguing whether she is fit for work or not. You might have that on an extended scale throughout the country, because, if the Minister is going to save£500, 000, he has not to rely on one doctor for this sort of thing. He has to rely on a whole regiment of panel doctors, health visitors and insurance officials, all acting as detectives to decide the precise day and hour when a man or woman who has been sick shall go back into employment again.


That is what every trade union does now.


I know how the visiting committee of a trade union works, and I know how the visiting committee of a friendly society used to work in these matters. They never went to a man in the spirit of saying, "We have to save£1." They went to him as a brother and said: "Are you feeling fit to go back?" The trouble against them was not being too strict in saving the funds of the society at the expense of the man who was sick. It was great liberality and generosity, which was seldom taken advantage of, because there was as much common sense on the part of the person receiving benefit as on the part of the local people who were administering it. Moreover, it would not be regarded by me as an adequate excuse for the Government doing a wrong and a harsh thing that the trade unions had established a precedent for it, and I am sure the hon. Member who interrupted would not admit for a moment that a precedent set by trade unions in their various activities should form the basis upon which the Government should found its policy for dealing with its citizens.

I do not know what to say in the way of persuading the Minister. Obviously, it is no use for a group like this to threaten. There is no sense in threatening. I have never believed in making threats which you were unable to carry out to the letter, and at the moment there is no threat that I can make that I can see an opportunity of carrying out except that we will raise our voices outside to the maximum extent and try to let the country see exactly what we are doing in this House of Commons. One of the greatest difficulties in democratic Parliamentary politics is the time lag between Parliament doing a thing and the population waking up to the fact that it has been clone. The House of Commons gets away with a tremendous lot with which it would not get away if the people were alert to what was happening.

I do not expect, after the service which the Minister has paid to the genuine sincerity of his desire for actuarial solvency, that anything we can say will persuade him just now to make any concessions on this Measure at all. He tells us that he has gone to the last limit of generosity, which means that his conception of generosity is, that where he might have taken five shillings, he has only taken half-a-crown. That is the extent of his generosity. He can go no further than that, and I do not expect that we can have a majority in the Committee to carry the Amendment which we are proposing. I have said before, and my hon. Friends have said it, that we have seen several Parliaments. We are not callow Parliamentary waifs. [Interruption.] An hon. Member behind me takes that as being a commentary upon new Members who have come in for the first time, but I do not mean it in that way at all. The nasty thing which I have to say about them is coming later. I have never seen in any preceding Parliament a body of men. or women who were so absolutely slavishly tied to the chariot wheels of the particular Government which they are supposed to support.

Viscountess ASTOR

What about the Labour party?


The Noble Lady knows that Sodom and Gomorrah would have been saved if there had been one or two just men among them. Even in the period of the Labour Government there were always some hon. Members who would protest. They were admittedly, very few, but here not one voice and not one vote. The women of the House are going to submit to this Clause. In fact, they are not merely going to submit to it, but they are going to walk into the Lobby in support of it—in support of a Clause to make a sick woman subsist on 10s. a week or, if totally incapacitated, upon 5s. a week. And it is because the Whips have told them that it is the right thing to do. As I once said in a previous Debate, in regard to the Noble Lady, when she presents herself at the judgment seat and the is asked why she gave her vote to reduce the health benefits to women, it will not be accepted as an adequate excuse that the Whips had told her to do so. The only appeal that I make is that some hon. Members who can visualise the nature of the thing they are doing, who can imagine the kitchen and the sick room of working class folk in their constituencies, who have enough imagination to transplant themselves into the home of a Borrowing family and imagine what is in the minds of that family, should have the courage to vote against the imposition of additional suffering and sorrow.




I think the Committee is ready to come to a decision.


I should not— [HON. MEMBERS: "Divide!"] I shall only intervene for a few moments, but this is a Clause which has aroused very considerable interest in many quarters of the Committee, and a certain division of opinion exists. I have risen to express the hope that the Government will take into serious consideration some of the arguments presented during the Debate. It has become rather the practice that when economy has to be made, which, unfortunately at the present time is sometimes necessary, to put it on to a class of women, especially married women. Curiously enough, in certain parts of our social insurance the women are of benefit and general value to the Insurance Fund. That is true of Unemployment Insurance and the pensions part of Health Insurance. In that part of the fund we never hear of any desire to cut down their benefit, but in this part of the fund, where it is argued that they are a charge upon the fund, the saving is to be made at the expense of married women. I think the Government, on the case that has been presented, ought to recognise that in many parts of the Committee there is a certain uneasiness about this Clause.

It is all very well to say that it is necessary to make these economies, and we all recognise that in present circumstances the fund is in a state when economies are necessary, but the fact that economies are necessary does not prove that these specific economies are the right ones to make and does not prove that the particular sacrifice should fall upon this particular class. Indeed I think it is arguable that either by an increase in the contributions now paid to the Central Fund or by the imposition of sacrifices upon all the classes who benefit, it would be possible to make these economies in another way and yet achieve the same financial result. We have heard the Minister's statement about the contributions and the Central Fund, and that even if he went to the extreme lengths proposed in the Minority Report of the Royal Commission of 1&26 on the subject of pooling, it would not produce solvency. That must be based on his estimate of the future. The National Government cannot one day produce an optimistic estimate of the future and the next day produce a pessimistic estimate, and when they want to justify economy, say they look forward to three years' continuous unemployment, but when they want to justify expenditure say things are getting better and going on all right. We cannot have conflicting speeches such as those made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer last week and the Minister of Health to-day. The view that it is not possible even by the provisions of the Bill to obtain solvency must be an estimate reflecting a very pessimistic view of the next few years.

The argument I am putting forward is that between now and the final stages of

Division No. 236.] AYES. [10.54 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Balniel, Lord Brocklebank, C. E. R.
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nhd.) Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell Brown, Ernest (Leith)
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Barclay-Harvey, c. M. Browne, Captain A. C.
Aske, Sir Robert William Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Ayletbury) Buchan, John
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.) Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton) Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Burghley, Lord
Atholl, Duchess of Bossom, A. C. Burnett, John George
Atkinson, Cyril Boulton, W. W. Cadogan, Hon. Edward
Bailey, Eric Alfred George Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Caporn, Arthur Cecil

the Bill we should consider whether some alleviation cannot be made on this Clause. If it is said there is malingering on the part of this class of beneficiaries, then it should also be recognised that that may possibly be partly due to what we all really know is the actual position in which medical services are carried on. As long as claimants have the right to choose a doctor you will always have a danger of temptation on the part of the medical profession itself. These great questions must be settled in a permanent measure and in a much wider scheme than this Measure, which is a purely temporary Measure. I only urge the right hon. Gentleman that between now and the final passage of this Bill he should see whether some alleviation cannot be made. He says that this is a slight sacrifice, but the sacrifice involves a reduction of sickness benefit by two shillings and of disablement benefit by two shillings and sixpence. Having read in the report of the medical officer of health for my own constituency that the state of poverty arising from unemployment there is causing grave alarm to the medical authorities of the town, I am bound to say that the description of it as a slight sacrifice does not altogether commend itself to ordinary people, because really the sacrifice is very great. If it were possible even to make some small reduction of what the Minister is now asking from this class of beneficiary, it would be very well received in every quarter of the House, and most of all in those quarters which are most anxious to support the Government in these difficult times.

Sir H. YOUNG rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 235; Noes, 44.

Castlereagh, Viscount Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.) Procter, Major Henry Adam
Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Ralkes, Henry V. A. M.
Gazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Hurd, Sir Percy Ramsden, E.
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Ratcliffe, Arthur
Chalmers, John Rutherford James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H. Rathbone, Eleanor
Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Jamieson, Douglas Rood, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric Jesson, Major Thomas E. Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Clarry, Reginald George Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Remer, John R.
Clayton Dr. George C. Jones, Sir G.W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)
Conant, R. J. E. Ker, J. Campbell Rosbotham, S. T.
Cook, Thomas A. Kerr, Hamilton W. Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Copeland, Ida Kirkpatrick, William M. Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.
Courthope, Colonel Sir George L. Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R, Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)
Cranborne, Viscount Knebworth, Viscount Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Knight, Holford Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Rutherford, Sir John Hugo
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Salmon, Major Isidore
Crossley, A. C. Lees-Jones, John Salt, Edward W.
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Leighton, Major B. E. P. Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Curry, A. C. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Dawton, Sir Philip Lindsay, Noel Ker Savery, Samuel Servington
Denville, Alfred Llewellin, Major John J. Scone, Lord
Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Selley, Harry R.
Donner, P. W. Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Drewe, Cedric Loder, Captain J. de Vere Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Duncan, James A. L.(Kensington, N.) Mabane, William Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. sir A. (C'thness)
Dunglass, Lord MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick) Skelton, Archibald Noel
Eden, Robert Anthony MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Slater, John
Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E. McCorquodale, M. S. Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Elliston, Captain George Sampson McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)
Emrys-Evans, P. V. McKeag, William Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Entwistle, Cyril Fullard McKie, John Hamilton Somervell, Donald Bradley
Erskine, Lord (Wetton-super-Mare) Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) Macmillan, Maurice Harold Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Essenhigh, Reginald Clare Magnay, Thomas Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.) Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Stevenson, James
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Mander, Geoffrey le M. Stourton, Hon. John J.
Everard, W. Lindsay Manningham-Butler, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Strauss, Edward A.
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Margesson, Capt. Henry David R. Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Marsden, Commander Arthur Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Ford, Sir Patrick J. Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Fraser, Captain Ian Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Tate, Mavis Constance
Fremantle, Sir Francis Meller, Richard James Templeton, William P.
Ganzoni, Sir John Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Gluckstein, Louis Halle Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.) Thompson, Luke
Glyn, Major Ralph G. C. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Milne, Charles Thorp, Linton Theodore
Greene, William P. C. Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k) Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Grenfell, E. C. (City of London) Morgan, Robert H. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Muirhead, Major A. J. Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Gunston, Captain D. W. Nail, Sir Joseph Ward, Iren Mary Bewick (Wallsend).
Guy, J. C. Morrison Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Hales. Harold K. Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon) Normand, Wilfrid Guild Wells, Sydney Richard
Hanbury, Cecil North, Captain Edward T. While, Henry Graham
Hanley, Dennis A, O'Connor, Terence James Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Harbord, Arthur Oman, Sir Charles William C. Wills, Wilfrid D.
Hartland, George A. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Womersley, Walter James
Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Ormiston, Thomas Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A. Worthington, Dr. John V.
Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Palmer, Francis Noel Wragg, Herbert
Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P Peat, Charles U. Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Holdsworth, Herbert Perkins, Walter R. D.
Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston) Petherick, M. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Hornby, Frank Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilston) Major George Davies and
Howard, Tom Forrest Pike, Cecil F. Commander Southby
Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Potter, John
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Kirkwood, David
Attlee, Clement Richard Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George
Batey, Joseph Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Lawson, John James
Briant, Frank Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Leonard, William
Buchanan, George Grundy, Thomas W. Logan, David Gilbert
Cape, Thomas Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Lunn, William
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) McEntee, Valentine L.
Cripps, Sir Stafford Hirst, George Henry McGovern, John
Daggar, George Jenkins, Sir William Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) John, William Maxton, James
Edwards, Charles Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Milner, Major James
George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Parkinson, John Allen
Price, Gabriel Williams, David (Swansea, East) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Thorne, William James Williams, Edward John (Ogmore) Mr. Cordon Macdonald and Mr. Groves.
Tinker, John Joseph Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David Williams, Thomas (York., Don Valley)

Questions put accordingly, "That the word 'ten' stand part of clause

Division No. 237.] AYES. [11.2 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Glyn, Major Ralph G. C. O'Connor, Terence James
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Greene, William P. C. Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.) Grenfell, E. C. (City of London) O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Gunston, Captain D. W. Ormiston, Thomas
Atholl, Duchess of Hales, Harold K. Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G.A.
Atkinson, Cyril Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon) Palmer, Francis Noel
Bailey, Eric Alfred George Hanbury, Cecil Petherick, M.
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Hanley, Dennis A. Peto, Geoffrey K.(Wverh'pt'n, Bilston)
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Harbord, Arthur Pike, Cecil F.
Balniel, Lord Hartland, George A. Potter, John
Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Ralkes, Henry V. A. M.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Ramsden, E.
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th. C.) Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Ratcliffe, Arthur
Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Holdsworth, Herbert Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Blindell, James Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Alton) Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Bossom, A. C. Hornby, Frank Remer, John R.
Boulton, W. W. Howard, Tom Forrest Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Roberts, sir Samuel (Ecclesall)
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Rosbotham, S. T.
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Hurd, Sir Percy Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Buchan, John James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H. Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Jamieson, Douglas Rutherford, Sir John Hugo
Burghley, Lord Jesson, Major Thomas E. Salmon, Major Isidore
Burnett, John George Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Salt, Edward W.
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Ker, J. Campbell Savery, Samuel Servington
Castlereagh, Viscount Kerr, Hamilton W. Scone, Lord
Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Kirkpatrick, William M. Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Knatchbull Captain Hon. M. H. R. Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Chalmers, John Rutherford Knebworth, Viscount Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A.(C'thness)
Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring) Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Skelton, Archibald Noel
Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric Latham Sir Herbert Paul Slater, John
Clarry, Reginald George Lees-Jones John Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Clayton, Dr. George C. Leighton, Major B. E. P. Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Lennox-Boyd A. T. Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)
Conant, R. J. E. Lindsay Noel Ker Smith, R. W.(Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Cook, Thomas A. Llewellin, Major John J. Somervell, Donald Bradley
Courthope, Colonel Sir George L. Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Cranborne, Viscount Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Loder, Captain J. de Vere Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Mabane, William Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Croom-Johnson, R. P. MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick) Stevenson, James
Crossley, A. C. MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Stourton, Hon. John J.
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard McCorquodale, M. S. Strauss, Edward A.
Dawson, Sir Philip Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert McEwen Captain J. H. F, Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Donner, P. W. MaKie, John Hamilton Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Drewe, Cedric Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton Templeton, William P.
Duncan, James A. L.(Kensington, N.) Maitland, Adam Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)
Dunglass, Lord Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Thompson, Luke
Eden, Robert Anthony Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E. Margesson, Capt. Henry David R. Thorp, Linton Theodore
Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey Martin, Thomas B. Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Elliston, Captain George Sampson Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.) Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Ward, Lt. Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Entwistle, Cyril Fullard Meller, Richard James, Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Erskine-Boist, Capt. c. C. (Blackpool) Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Wells, Sydney Richard
Essenhigh, Reginald Clare Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.) White, Henry Graham
Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.) Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Milne, Charles Wills, Wilfrid D.
Everard, W. Lindsay Morgan, Robert H. Womersley, Walter James
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Muirhead, Major A. J. Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Ford, Sir Patrick J. Munro, Patrick Worthington, Dr. John V.
Fox, Sir Gifford Nail, Sir Joseph Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Fraser, Captain Ian Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Fremantle, Sir Francis Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Ganzoni, Sir John Normand, Wilfrid Guild Major George Davies and Lord Erskine.
Gluckstein, Louis Halle North, Captain Edward T.

The Committee divided: Ayes, 212; Noes, 47.

Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Grithffis, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Attlee, Clement Richard Grundy, Thomas W. Maxton, James
Batey, Joseph Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Milner, Major James
Brlant, Frank Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Parkinson, John Allen
Buchanan, George Hirst, George Henry Price, Gabriel
Cape, Thomas Jenkins, Sir William Rathbone, Eleanor
Cocks, Frederick Seymour John, William Thorne, William James
Cripps, Sir Stafford Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Tinker, John Joseph
Daggar, George Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Kirkwood, David Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Edwards, Charles Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Lawson, John James Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Leonard, William Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Logan, David Gilbert
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Lunn, William TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) McEntee, Valentine L. Mr. Gordon Macdonald and Mr. Groves.
Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) McGovern, John

I beg to move, in page 5, line 17, to leave out the word "five," and to insert instead thereof the word "six."


I do not know if there is an agreement about having no discussion. I have no intention of breaking it, and I did not want to make the Minister move the Closure on the last occasion, but I put some questions to him on the main discussion, and I understood that he intended to reply. Those questions were: Was a widow to be treated as a married woman, and did he intend to treat a woman whose husband was permanently disabled as a single woman, in the same sense as in unemployment insurance? I had no intention on the last occasion of making the right hon. Gentleman move the Closure, but I expected him to say a word or two in reply, because when I was speaking he

Division No. 238.] AYES. [11.13 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Dunglass, Lord
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Burnett, John George Eden, Robert Anthony
Albery, Irving James Cadogan, Hon. Edward Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nhd.) Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Caporn, Arthur Cecil Elliston. Captain George Sampson
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe Castlereagh, Viscount Emrys-Evans, P. V.
Atholl, Duchess of Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Entwistle, Cyril Fullard
Atkinson, Cyril Chalmers, John Rutherford Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)
Balley, Eric Alfred George Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring) Essenhigh, Reginald Clare
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Clarry, Reginald George Everard, W. Lindsay
Balniel, Lord Clayton, Dr. George C. Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)
Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Ford, Sir Patrick J.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Conant, R. J. E. Fox, Sir Gifford
Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Cook, Thomas A. Fraser, Captain Ian
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th. C.) Courthope, Colonel Sir George L. Fremantle, Sir Francis
Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Cranborne, Viscount Ganzoni, Sir John
Bossom, A. C. Crooke, J. Smedley Gluckstein, Louis Halle
Boulton, W. W. Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Greene, William P. C.
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Croom-Johnson, R. P. Gunston, Captain D. W.
Boyce, H. Leslie Crossloy, A. C. Guy, J. C. Morrison
Braithwalte, J. G. (Hillsborough) Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Hales, Harold K.
Broadbent, Colonel John Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somersot, Yeovil) Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Dawson, Sir Philip Hanbury, Cecil
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert Hanley, Dennis A.
Buchan, John Donner, P. W. Harbord, Arthur
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Drewe, Cedric Hartland, George A.
Burghley, Lord Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)

nodded as if he intended to reply. Can he now say a word or two without breaking any agreement?


A widow is treated as a single woman, not as a married woman. As regards a woman whose husband is disabled, I should be very sorry to judge the general by the particular case, but, generally speaking, a. woman whose husband is alive is a married woman.


Yes, but would the right hon. Gentleman not consider, between now and the Report stage, making the Amendment made in the Anomalies Act and treat that woman as being single for the purposes of the Act?

Question put, "That the word 'five' stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 227; Noes, 45.

Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Marsden, Commander Arthur Salt, Edward W.
Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Martin, Thomas B. Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.) Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Holdsworth, Herbert May hew, Lieut.-Colonel John Savery, Samuel Servington
Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston) Meller, Richard James Scone, Lord
Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Hornby, Frank Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.) Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Howard, Tom Forrest Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Milne, Charles Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A.(C'thness)
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.) Morgan, Robert H. Skelton, Archibald Noel
Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Muirhead, Major A. J. Slater, John
Hurd, Sir Percy Munro, Patrick Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Nail, Sir Joseph Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)
Jamieson, Douglas Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, c.)
Jesson, Major Thomas E. Normand, Wilfrid Guild Somervell, Donald Bradley
Joel, Dudley J. Barnato North, Captain Edward T. Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) O'Connor, Terence James Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) O'Donovan, Dr. William James Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Ker, J. Campbell Oman, Sir Charles William C. Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Kerr, Hamilton W. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Stevenson, James
Kirkpatrick, William M. Ormiston, Thomas Stourton, Hon. John J.
Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R. Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A. Strauss, Edward A.
Knebworth, Viscount Palmer, Francis Noel Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Peake, Captain Osbert Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Perkins, Walter R. D. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Petherick, M. Templeton, William P.
Lees-Jones, John Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilston) Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Leighton, Major B. E. P. Pike, Cecil F. Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)
Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Potter, John Thompson, Luke
Lindsay, Noel Ker Ralkes, Henry V. A. M. Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Llewellin, Major John J. Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) Thorp, Linton Theodore
Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Ramsden, E. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Loder, Captain J. de Vere Ratcliffe, Arthur Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Mabane, William Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter) Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick) Reid, William Allan (Derby) Wells, Sydney Richard
MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Remer, John R. White, Henry Graham
McCorquodale, M. S. Roberts, Aled (Wrexham) Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall) Wills, Wilfrid D.
McKie, John Hamilton Robinson, John Roland Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton Rosbotham, S. T. Womersley, Walter James
McLean, Major Alan Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Maitland, Adam Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy) Worthington, Dr. John V.
Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton(S'v'noaks)
Mander, Geoffrey le M. Russell, Hamer Field (Shef'ld, B'tside)
Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Rutherford, Sir John Hugo TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Margesson, Capt. Henry David R. Salmon, Major Isldore Lord Erskine and Mr. Blindell.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Grundy, Thomas W. Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)
Attlee, Clement Richard Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Maxton, James
Batey, Joseph Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Milner, Major James
Buchanan, George Hirst, George Henry Parkinson, John Allen
Cape, Thomas Jenkins, Sir William Price, Gabriel
Cocks, Frederick Seymour John, William Rathbone, Eleanor
Cripps, Sir Stafford Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Thorne, William James
Daggar, George Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Tinker, John Joseph
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Kirkwood, David Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David
Edwards, Charles Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Lawson, John James Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Leonard, William Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Logan, David Gilbert Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Lunn, William
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) McEntee, Valentine L. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) McGovern, John Mr. Gordon Macdonald and Mr. Groves.

I beg to move, in page 5, line 19, to leave out the word "six," and to insert instead thereof the word "seven."

Division No. 239.] AYES. [11.23 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Atkinson, Cyril Barclay-Harvey, C. M.
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Bailey, Eric Alfred George Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.) Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th.C.)
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe Balniel, Lord Bossom, A. C.
Atholl, Duchess of Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell Boulton, W. W.

Question put, "That the word" six' stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 239; Noes, 45.

Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Petherick, M.
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)
Boyce, H. Leslie Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Pickering, Ernest H.
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Holdsworth, Herbert Pike, Cecil F.
Broadbent, Colonel John Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston) Potter, John
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Ralkes, Henry V. A. M.
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Hornby, Frank Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Browne, Captain A. C. Howard, Tom Forrest Ramsay, T. B. w. (Western Isles)
Buchan, John Howitt, Or. Alfred B. Ramsden, E.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Ratcliffe, Arthur
Burghley, Lord Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Burgin, Or. Edward Leslie Hurd, Sir Percy Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Burnett, John George Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Remer, John R.
Cadogan, Hon. Edward James, Wing.Com. A. W. H. Roberta, Aled (Wroxham)
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Jamieson, Douglas Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Jesson, Major Thomas E. Robinson, John Roland
Castlereagh, Viscount Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Rosbotham, S. T.
Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Rose, Ronald D.
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Chalmers, John Rutherford Ker, J. Campbell Russell, Albert (Kirkcatdy)
Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Kerr, Hamilton W, Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric Kirkpatrick, William M. Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)
Clarry, Reginald George Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R. Rutherford, Sir John Hugo
Clayton, Dr. George C. Knebworth, Viscount Salmon, Major Isidore
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Salt, Edward W.
Conant, R. J. E. Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Cook, Thomas A. Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Copeland, Ida Lees-Jones, John Savery, Samuel Servington
Courthope, Colonel Sir George L. Leighton, Major B. E. P. Scone, Lord
Cranborne, Viscount Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Crooke, J. Smedley Lindsay, Noel Ker Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Llewellin, Major John J. Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Sinclair, Ma). Rt. Hn. Sir A.(C'thness)
Crossley, A. C. Loder, Captain J. de Vere Skelton, Archibald Noel
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Mabane, William Slater, John
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Mac Andrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick) Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Dawson, Sir Philip MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert McCorquodale, M. S. Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-ln-F.)
Donner, P. W. Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Smith, R. W.(Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Drewe, Cedric McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Somervell, Donald Bradley
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) McKie, John Hamilton Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Dunglass, Lord Maclay, Hon. Joseph paton Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Eastwood, John Francis McLean, Major Alan Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Eden, Robert Anthony Macmillan, Maurice Harold Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E. Maitland, Adam Stanley Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Stevenson, James
Elliston, Captain George Sampson Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Stourton, Hon. John J.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Margesson, Capt. Henry David R. Strauss, Edward A.
Entwistle, Cyril Fullard Martin, Thomas B. Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Erskine-Boist, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Essenhigh, Reginald Clare Meller, Richard James Templeton, William P.
Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.) Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Mills, Major J. 0. (New Forest) Thompson, Luke
Everard, W. Lindsay Milne, Charles Thornton, Sir Frederick Charles
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale Thorp, Linton Theodore
Ford, Sir Patrick J. Morgan, Robert H. Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Fox, Sir Gifford Muirhead, Major A. J. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Fraser, Captain Ian Munro, Patrick Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Fremantle, Sir Francis Nail, Sir Joseph Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Ganzoni, Sir John Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Wells, Sydney Richard
Gluckstein, Louis Halle Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) White, Henry Graham
Graves. Marjorie Normand, Wilfrid Guild Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Greene, William P. C. North, Captain Edward T. Wills, Wilfrid D.
Gunston, Captain D. W. O'Connor, Terence James Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Guy, J. C. Morrison O'Donovan, Dr. William James Womersley, Walter James
Halos, Harold K. Oman, Sir Charles William C. Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Hall. Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon) O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Worthington, Dr. John V.
Hanbury, Cecil Ormiston, Thomas Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Hanley, Dennis A. Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.
Harbord, Arthur Palmer, Francis Noel TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Hartington, Marquess of Patrick, Colin M. Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward and Mr. Blindell.
Hartland, George A. Peake, Captain Osbert
Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Perkins, Walter R. D.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Dagger, George Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)
Attlee, Clement Richard Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)
Batey, Joseph Edwards, Charles Grundy, Thomas W.
Buchanan, George Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)
Cape, Thomas George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Hirst, George Henry
Cripps, Sir Stafford Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Jenkins, Sir William
John, William McEntee, Valentine L. Tinker, John Joseph
Jones, J. J. (Watt Ham, Silvertown) McGovern, John Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Kirkwood, David Maxton, Jamas Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Milner, Major James Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Lawson, John James Parkinson, John Allen Williams, Thomas (York, Don valley)
Leonard, William Price, Gabriel
Logan, David Gilbert Rathbone, Eleanor TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Lunn, William Thorns, William James Mr. Gordon Macdonald and Mr. Groves.

Before a Division is taken OH the next Amendment, I would invite the hon. and learned Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Thorp), in whose name it stands, to give a short explanation of it.


I do not want to delay you, Sir Dennis, but my recollection of the arrangement, so far as the Amendment in question is concerned, is that it involves a different idea altogether, and that it is a subject for discussion. The arrangement was that the Amendments on which we have just divided were not to be discussed, but the next one raises an entirely new matter.


I am obliged to the hon. Member for raising that point. I have not been in the Chair for the last two hours. I understand that it is the case that the principle involved in this Amendment has not been discussed, and, therefore, it can be discussed at this stage.


I beg to move, in page 6, line 19, at the end, to add the words: Provided that where any approved society shall have reason to believe that the funds at its disposal would permit of the payment of sickness or disablement benefit to its members or to any specified class thereof at a rate or rates higher than those aforesaid, such society may at any time after the passing of this Act submit to the Minister a scheme for the payment of either or both of such benefits at any rate not exceeding the corresponding rates paid by the society at the date of commencement of this Act. Any such scheme shall apply either to all members of the society or to any specified class thereof, and stall not have any effect unless and until confirmed by the Minister, and the Minister shall not confirm any such scheme unless satisfied that by reason of the sickness experience of the society during the two years last preceding the date of submission of the scheme, the annual expenditure under the scheme is not likely to exceed the normal annual expenditure expected to be paid by the society calculated upon the actuarial basis of expectation of sickness and rates of benefit upon which the principal Act was framed. The rates of benefit under the scheme shall be deemed to be the ordinary rates for the society in lieu of the ordinary rates aforesaid, and shall be payable from such date and during such period as the Minister shall prescribe. At so late an hour I rise with a good deal of hesitation to move this Amendment, which stands in the names of my hen. and learned Friend the Member for North-West Camberwell (Mr. Cassels). the hon. Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone) and myself. My hesitation is due to more reasons than one. The first is that this is the first occasion upon which I have had the honour of addressing the House. The second is that I am only too conscious of the fact that many right hon. and hon. Members are more familiar with this class of legislation than I am; and the third is that this legislation is so extremely complex that I am satisfied that no one really knows what it means.

The object of this Amendment is to enable those approved societies which are in a position financially to do so to continue to pay the rates which they have been paying hitherto. I am given to understand, though I speak subject to correction by the better information of the Minister, that, if this Amendment be carried, it will only affect some 250, 000 people. As the Bill stands, the effect of this Clause will be to reduce the benefits paid by approved societies to one lowest common level, and I submit with some confidence that it is not right, in legislation of this kind and in times of difficulty such as these, that we should set our pace by the most ungenerous rather than by the more generous approved society. Furthermore, when insurance was introduced in 1911, people were specifically requested to be wise in the selection of the approved societies they joined and it was pointed out that they themselves would reap the benefit of joining a society that insured comparatively valuable lives. Yet this Clause would take away from those who took that advice the benefits and advantages they would derive from having exercised their choice somewhat more carefully than other people not so well advised.

I should hesitate to move the Amendment if there were in fact any machinery in existence at present for the pooling of the accumulated funds of the approved societies, but there is no such machinery existing. One must assume that the present position is, and will remain, that the approved societies which have accumulated funds will be allowed to retain those funds. That being the case, unless these approved societies are enabled by the Amendment to pay the benefits that they are now paying, and the benefits that their funds would permit them to pay, the effect must inevitably be that they will accumulate large sums of money which will not go to benefit the Treasury and will not go to the central fund, but will benefit the insurance funds in general. They will not go anywhere where they can serve any useful purpose and, in a somewhat dog in the manger spirit, approved societies which by prudent and careful administration have been able to accumulate these funds will be denied the right of distributing the benefits that they are now paying. It is somewhat unfair that the members of these societies should be penalised in that way. I have in mind a society formed shortly after 1911 which has a membership of 71, 437. It might be somewhat invidious to mention its name. Its members are extremely healthy. They belong to a class that does not so often have occasion to appeal for medical benefit as other members of the community. The valuation in 1918 showed that the society had a gross surplus of£124, 000. In 1923 they had a surplus of£239, 000 and in 1928£192, 000. The benefits that it has been paying over to its members are very considerably in excess of the amount it will be allowed to distribute should the Bill pass in its present form. It is at the moment paying 15s. a week sickness and 9s. disablement benefit to those qualified to receive it and to those only entitled to ordinary benefit, 12s. sickness and 7s. 6d. disablement benefit. Moreover, it is clear from actuarial calculations and from the audit that the society is well able financially to continue to pay benefit at that rate.

We should do nothing to preclude a society that is financially capable of doing so from continuing to pay those benefits. They are small enough in all conscience upon which people can live. Whether they are the result of care, attention and prudence on the part of those responsible for the society or not, it is a distinct hardship that they should be denied the right of continuing paying what after all is an extremely small sum of money upon which people can be expected to live. At the present moment, as far as that society is concerned, there are 1.864 members in receipt of either sickness or disablement benefit. The effect of reducing the payments by the society to the limits proposed by the Bill would be to force many of those 1, 864 members to seek relief either at the hands of charity or the Poor Law. That would not be a desirable state of affairs, and in those circumstances I move the Amendment standing in my name.


I am sure that I am expressing the wish of all Members of the Committee in congratulating the hon. and learned Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Thorp) upon his excellent maiden speech. Its lucidity and brevity will lead us to hope that we shall often hear him speak in future Debates. I ought to make it clear that nothing in the Bill before the Committee affects additional benefits. It is not true to say that owing to the Bill members of approved societies are not getting the advantage of good management and thrift. The hon. Member pointed out that the great incentive to thrift and good administration ought to lead, in the course of each successive quinquennial valuation, to additional benefits over and above the standard rate. That has been the experience of the society of which my hon. Friend spoke. I should like the Committee to notice that the argument advanced on this Amendment is a complete answer to nine-tenths of the views put forward during the last two days that the strong ought to help the weak and that surpluses ought to be subject to pooling. I hope that Members of the Committee have noted that fact. The difficulty is that you are asking for two bases of valuation inside the one scheme. That is impossible. As the Committee know, the whole scheme proceeds upon the basis of the quinquennial valuation. At the end of the five-year period, according to the results of the valuation, each individual secretary of the 7, 500 societies and branches is able to distribute to its members additional benefits as well as the standard benefits.

The Amendment asks us to do an impossible thing. It asks us to determine at a period inside the valuation period whether the Minister can say that the society is in a financial position to pay cash benefits in excess of the standard rate. That is a proposition impossible of solution until the actual valuation is completed. Take the particular society to which, the hon. Member has referred. It has given large additional benefits, but that society has not been without experience of the problem of heavier claims in the last few years. At the end of its second period of valuation it was able to increase the normal sickness benefit by 5s. 6d. a week, and disablement benefit by 2s. 9d., but on the third valuation the increases instead of being 5s. 6d. a week came down to 3s., and instead of 2s. 9d. fell to Is. 6d. The Committee will therefore see that it is not so simple as it seems to solve this difficult problem. I believe the Bill proceeds on the right lines. It says that there are three types of societies—the large society which is in surplus and, even in this bad period, is able to pay additional benefits, although they be smaller than in previous valuations. Large numbers of societies are not in deficiency or in surplus, but are just paying their way, but there are societies that are in deficiency. By tackling the problem in the way it does the Bill seeks to help societies now in deficiency to get out of deficiency.

It would be impossible to solve this problem by asking the Minister to say that a particular society at any particular time inside the valuation period was able to give additional benefits above the standard rate. Equally, it is impossible to depart from the fundamental basis of the insurance scheme. The ordinary rates of benefit payable to women under the scheme are determined actuarially, having regard to the general sickness experience of women as a class, and there is a standard measure applied in determining what benefits the contributions can support, but that can only be determined at the end of the actual valuation period. To get the scheme back to solvency is the surest way to increase the additional benefits. Additional benefits not only mean ophthalmic treatment, dental treatment and other treatments, but the society if it desires to add to the ordinary rate— the rate determined in this Bill—can add so many shillings a week according to the valuation as additional benefit. I am sorry to have to refuse the first Amendment moved by the hon. Member in his maiden speech, but I think the arguments that I have put forward show that we could not accept the Amendment.


In regard to any society now giving reduced benefits, and being able to give additional benefits later, may I take it that, if that society were to adopt the "want and distress" rule, which is one of the additional benefits, the society would be able to make up their additional benefits, like the benefits which in ordinary circumstance? the society would receive?


The answer is that the additional benefit will not alter the standard rate, which is statutory.


Some of us have been confirmed in our views by the Debate this afternoon. When the National Insurance Acts came in, the were hailed as a great solution of all our social difficulties, and we were told that the sun would shine and that everything in the garden would be lovely. Now we have got a scheme, and we have been informed that with each different section some may be fortunate and others may be unfortunate, but they have all got to stew in their own juice. If you belong to a particular section of insured people, everything will be all right as far as you are concerned, but, if you happen to be one of the down-and-outs, such as a casual labourer and a man who has no guarantee of a day's work from week to week, you have to suffer all the disabilities. I come from a constituency where the dock labourer formerly got on the average one day's work in three days. To-day they do not get one day's work a week, but the insurance money is stopped for every day they work. Where do they stand when it comes to a question of making up the balance? They belong to approved societies, and, when they go to ask for benefit, they find that, owing to the circumstances of their employment, they have not been able to pay in enough to guarantee them benefit, so they are always more or less out of benefit. The Amendment says, "Let the people who are well off keep what they have got." That justifies our view when we say that if you are to have national insurance let it be really national and let the nation shoulder its responsibilities, and, if our people are ill or unemployed or not capable of working in times of great industrial depression, the nation ought to find them either work or maintenance.


I am afraid the hon. Member does not follow the effect of this Amendment. Whether the Amendment is passed or not, it makes no difference whatever to the point the hon. Member is making.


I understand that. I understand exactly what it means. It means that the poor man will be hit right through to the end of the chapter and that the working man will always find himself in a state of bankruptcy. your schemes are bankrupt already.


The hon. Member must not discuss those schemes, but must confine himself to this particular Amendment.


The particular Amendment means, of course, that those who have got it can keep it.


I am afraid the hon. Member does not follow me. No question arises here as to whether an approved society and its members shall part with their funds or not. The only question is the way in which a particular approved society should use its funds. There is no question as to any other society or its contributors.


I quite understand what is meant by the Amendment. It means that because you happen to belong to a particular section you can keep what is your own. The other fellow over the garden wall has to go down, down the pan. We all appreciate the difference between the man who works in a regular job, who pays in because he knows that he gets out all that he pays in, and the poor fellow who has to go to the docks every morning to line up for a job. It is only half a day when he gets it and when he gets his half day's pay he has the insurance money deducted. I say quite frankly that the whole insurance scheme, both National Health and Unemployment, is a fraud, because the nation has not accepted its real responsibility.


I am sorry to interrupt again, but up to the present the hon. Member has not said a single word relevant to the Amendment under discussion.


I thank you very much for that compliment. If I ever said anything relevant in this House I think I should not be a Member of it. I only want to express the feelings of the people I represent. Their feeling is that this is not a National Health Insurance Bill but a national insult to the general body of workers.


Let me come back to the point under discussion. I put this question to the Parliamentary Secretary: Is it not the case that the process of valuation is going on all the time, and that societies are taken by groups? If that is so and a staff is at work all the time on the job of estimating the assets of societies, would it not be practicable to avert the grave inconvenience inflicted on a substantial number of societies by being compelled to cut down their ordinary benefits when there may be no financial obligation to do so I Would it not be possible for the Ministry to arrange for any necessary inquiry to take place and to ensure that those societies which believe themselves to be in a-position to pay the present rate of benefit, or something approximately to it, can continue to do so? We have heard a great deal of the right of societies to pay additional benefits to their members and to be considered as; individual units. It seems to me from the Minister's reply that we are in the position where we get neither Socialism nor individualism. The women are being penalised as a group because there is no principle at work of the poor helping the rich.

12 m.


The hon. Member is, of course, asking for favouritism in the valuation. What happens is that there is a continuous valuation, and there are four groups of societies. The only possible basis for valuation, in order to ensure that the standard benefits can be paid and to determine what surplus is available for distribution in additional benefits—I do not like the word "fancy," no single benefit can be called a "fancy" benefit—is the full picture over an adequate term of years, five years, and it would be quite improper for any Minister to bring forward the valuation of any group of societies in order that they might have an advantage over other societies. I think that the hon. Lady will see that there is great force in that contention.


I am not at all attracted by the principle underlying the Amendment. It is the converse of the point of view which the opponents of the Measure are putting forward, but I want to understand clearly the reply of the Parliamentary Secretary. Do I understand that he is resisting the Amendment because the principle is already embodied in existing legislation; that a society which is able to do this can do it now as an additional benefit?


The hon. Member must not understand that. I said that additional benefits are always distributed at the end of the valuation period. When that period comes if there is a surplus it can be dealt with by the members of the society in such a way as is prescribed in the Schedule to the Act.


Has the Parliamentary Secretary overlooked Section 74 of the principal Act, which provides for a valuation every five years or at such other times as the Minister may appoint.


As I understand it, a society may do this provided that the quinquennial valuation proves that they are financially capable of doing it, that they are not debarred from doing it as an additional benefit provided that the quinquennial valuation of the society showed that it was financially possible. Presumably all societies are working on a quinquennial valuation which has been completed and which included the payment of benefits on the scale for which the hon. Member is pressing, and presumably the last quinquennial valuation, which cannot have been long completed, proved that some societies can pay scales on the existing rates and additional benefits as well. I want to ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether his reply means that approved societies which could pay 12s. benefit to a single woman two months ago or three months ago when the valuation was completed will now be permitted to pay the 12s. benefit until a further quinquennial examination has taken place? Is it barred from this particular form of benefit for five years?


If there have been additional benefits at the standard rate, either for men or for women and those additional benefits have taken the shape of cash benefits, nothing in this Bill interferes with that. What the Bill does, as far as it affects the scheme with regard to women, is to make provision in reference to the valuation to determine the new rate of statutory—not additional— benefit.


I had not intended to intervene, but perhaps I ought to show, if I can, some of the weaknesses, as they appear to me, of the new provision proposed in the Amendment. I happen to be secretary of a society and, as regards the effect of this Bill on that society, I am glad to say that I think we shall be able to pay the same, by way of additional cash benefits, in spite of that provided for in this Bill. But if this proposed new provision were carried out, there would be two statutory benefits under the National Health Insurance scheme, that is to say, the 12s. statutory benefit for women, in my society for instance, and the 10s. statutory benefit for women in societies which have no surpluses. That is one weakness of the proposal. The other is this. At the end of the proposal it is stated that the rates of benefit under the scheme are to be deemed to be the ordinary rates and so forth, and then occur the words "as the Minister shall prescribe." What is to prevent the Minister prescribing exactly what we pass into law as it now stands? We should be putting one thing into this new provision and then handing over to the Minister the power to do-what he likes by regulation.


The Minister could not prescribe benefits less than those provided for in the Act. All that there is here is that the Minister can prescribe additional benefits. The hon. Member knows that the Minister does prescribe additional benefits now or that additional benefits must have the Minister's sanction and agreement.


That is exactly the point. The Minister, if we adopted this provision, would not be entitled to prescribe a rate lower than the statutory rate. What he would be able to do— destroying at the same time most of the effect of this new proposal—would be to prescribe by rules, additional benefits equal to the old statutory benefits. Consequently we should be in just the same position as before. There is another point against this proposal. When I saw it first I was rather attracted by it, but on examination it appears to me that if it were accepted, there would be a tendency on the part of approved societies to do away with treatment benefit— optical, dental, convalescent home benefit and the like—in order to use the money for additional cash benefits. If there is one thing more than another which we ought to aim at under this scheme it is to avoid, as far as possible, spending money on cash benefits but rather to spend it on treatment benefit. It is better to prevent sickness than to pay benefit when sickness comes. On the whole, it would be better for the scheme if this were not passed.


The hon. Member has not explained the point with which I was dealing. Ho must remember that we are typical Members of this Committee, without the day-to-day experience which he possesses of running the affairs of an approved society—a very special kind of approved society. I would remind him that our specialised experience is in dealing with our constituents, who are insured in a variety of approved societies, but who are not selected lives, if I may use the term, as are the members of his society; and we want to be quite sure, because if there is one scrap of benefit to be got for our constituents by adopting this Amendment instead of the scheme of the Minister, we shall vote for the Amendment.


It is the other way about.


We are trying to be satisfied as to what the position is, and I do not think that up to date there is a toss of the coin between the two, but the reply of the Parliamentary Secretary and the additional reply of the hon. Member on behalf of the Government's scheme lead us to think that what the Minister said is that if a wealthy society has given to a married woman as additional benefit to the existing 12s. a cash payment of 4s., that society can continue to pay 16s.; or is that society now to be allowed to pay 10s. and 4s.? It was giving a 4s. addition to the previous statutory rate, which meant 16s., and an hon. Member above the Gangway here tells me of a society that now pays 17s., which is a 5s. addition to the 12s. basis. Do I understand that the society that is paying 17s. may now not continue paying 17s., but may pay 15s., up till the time when its next quinquennial valuation is completed, or must it drop all its women members to a 10s. level?


I will try once more. It will continue to pay every additional benefit which it was allowed to pay its-members, cash or other. Nothing in this Bill interferes with any additional benefit, but it will have to pay the lower rate of standard benefit as prescribed in the Bill.


I am not quite clear on this question yet. The hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) quotes a society that has been paying 12s., plus an additional payment of 5s. from its surplus funds. Can that society now pay 12s., plus 5s., or can it pay only the 10s., plus 5s.?


It can only pay the 10s., plus additional benefit.


I am most anxious to understand the position, and I think I do, but I do not want any subtlety of language to be used, and I know that the Minister is not anxious to be subtle at all, but that he wants to explain quite honestly what the Bill means. If my memory serves me rightly, what has happened to-day means that you have now determined that, from the point of view of sickness and disablement benefit, what, we have passed to-day, so far as women, are concerned, will be the standard rate of benefit. There need be no ambiguity about that. It means that you are to bring all societies on to a common basis with this smaller amount in order, from the point of view of valuation, to bring them within the ambit of actuarial proposals which will enable the societies to be solvent. I understand that we are deciding now that there is to be a definite reduction of standard benefits in the approved societies. It has been made clear, however, that so far as quinquennial valuations are concerned, it is not intended to interfere with rights of societies in respect of additional benefits where a declaration has been made that the funds are absolutely solvent, and that they can prove that they have a surplus. The Minister has made clear that the Government do not intend to take those amounts which the societies can give in the form of additional benefits. The point which has been raised by an hon. Member below the Gangway has not been honestly dealt with. I am in a society which is second to none in the benefits that it gives. It gives full dental and optical treatment, hospital treatment with pay for the dependants of the person in hospital, full convalescent treatment, medical and surgical treatment, and sick nursing. In addition, it gives up to£12 to members in cases of want and distress. From an actuarial point of view, my society is quite sound in doing this. I am convinced that there must be differentiation between societies, but not at the cost of the bottom dog. The particular

Division No. 240.] AYES. [12.21 a.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Buchan, John Eastwood, John Francis
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Eden, Robert Anthony
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Burgin, Or. Edward Leslie Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.
Albery, Irving James Burnett, John George Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nhd.) Cadogan, Hon. Edward Elliston, Captain George Sampson
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Caporn, Arthur Cecil Emmott, Charles E. G. C.
Aske, Sir Robert William Carver, Major William H. Emrys-Evans, P. V.
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton) Gazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Entwistle, Cyril Fullard
Atholl, Duchess of Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Essenhigh, Reginald Clare
Bailey, Eric Alfred George Chalmers, John Rutherford Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring) Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric Everard, W. Lindsay
Balniel, Lord Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst
Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell Conant, R. J. E. Foot, Dingle (Dundee)
Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey Cook, Thomas A. Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)
Bateman, A. L. Copeland, Ida Ford, Sir Patrick J.
Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Cranborne, Viscount Fox, Sir Gilford
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.) Crookshank, Col.C. de Windt (Bootle) Fraser, Captain Ian
Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Fremantle, Sir Francis
Blinded, James Croom-Johnson, R. P. Gledhill, Gilbert
Bossom, A. C. Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Gluckstein, Louis Halle
Boulton, W. W. Curry, A. C. Goff, Sir Park
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Davits, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil) Gower, Sir Robert
Bracken, Brendan Dawson, Sir Philip Graves, Marjorie
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Dickie, John P. Greene, William P. C.
Broadbent, Colonel John Donner, P. W. Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbra'. W.)
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Drewe, Cedric Gunston, Captain D. W.
grown, Ernest (Leith) Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Guy, J. C. Morrison
Browne, Captain A. C. Dunglass, Lord Hales, Harold K.

class of people whom we want to benefit are the casual labourers and those who are not well employed, who ought to get as good benefits as those who are better placed.


The hon. Member is now getting beyond the Amendment.


With all respect, I am simply pointing out by contrast what I feel the Committee is anxious to avoid.


The hon. Member must not discuss that. It is not before the Committee at the moment.


What I do wish to point out is that we have decided that there shall be a reduction of benefits, and that this reduction will certainly bring solvency to those particular societies, and I am wondering—


The hon. Member is still entirely out of order.


I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.


Sir H. YOUNG rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 233; Noes, 31.

Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon) Margesson, Capt. Henry David R. Salmon, Major Isidore
Hanley, Dennis A. Marsden, Commander Arthur Salt, Edward W.
Harbord, Arthur Martin, Thomas B. Savery, Samuel Servington
Hartington, Marquess of Meller, Richard James Scone, Lord
Hartland, George A, Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Selley, Harry R.
Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Milne, Charles Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd A Chitw'k) Shaw, Captain William T. (Fortar)
Holdsworth, Herbert Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston) Moreing, Adrian C. Skelton, Archibald Noel
Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Morgan, Robert H. Slater, John
Hornby, Frank Muirhead, Major A. J. Smiles, Lieut.-Col. sir Walter D.
Horsbrugh, Florence Munro, Patrick Somervell, Donald Bradley
Howard, Tom Forrest Nail, Sir Joseph Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Howitt, Dr. Allred B. Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Normand, Wilfrid Guild Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) North, Captain Edward T. Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) O'Connor, Terence James Stevenson, James
James, Wing-Corn. A. W. H. O'Donovan, Dr. William James Storey, Samuel
Jamieson, Douglas O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Stourton, Hon. John J.
Janner, Barnett Ormiston, Thomas Strauss, Edward A.
Jesson, Major Thomas E. Palmer, Francis Noel Strickland, Captain W. F.
Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Patrick, Colin M. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Pearson, William G. Sugdcn, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Ker, J. Campbell Penny, Sir George Sutcliffe, Harold
Kerr, Hamilton W. Perkins, Walter R. D. Tate, Mavis Constance
Kirkpatrick, William M. Petherick, M. Templeton, William P.
Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R. Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bliston) Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Knebworth, Viscount Pickering, Ernest H. Thompson, Luke
Lamb, Sir Joseph Quintan Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Pike, Cecil F. Thorp, Linton Theodore
Law, Richard k. (Hull, S.W.) Procter, Major Henry Adam Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Ralkes, Henry V. A. M. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Lindsay, Noel Ker Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Llewellin, Major John J. Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Lockwood, John c. (Hackney, C.) Ramsbotham, Herwald Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Loder, Captain J. de Vere Ratcliffe, Arthur Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Mabane, William Rathbone, Eleanor Waterhouse, Captain Charles
MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick) Rea, Walter Russell Wells, Sydney Richard
MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter) Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
McCorquodale, M. S. Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham- Wills, Wilfrid D.
McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Reid, William Allan (Derby) Womersley, Walter James
McKeag, William Roberts, Aled (Wrexham) Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
McKie, John Hamilton Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall) Worthington, Dr. John V.
Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton Ross, Ronald D. Wragg, Herbert
McLean, Major Alan Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)
Macmillan, Maurice Harold Runge, Norah Cecil
Maitland, Adam Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Captain Sir George Bowyer and Lord Erskine.
Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Rutherford, Sir John Hugo
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) McGovern, John
Buchanan, George Hirst, George Henry Maxton, James
Cape, Thomas Jenkins, Sir William Milner, Major James
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Price, Gabriel
Daggar, George Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Tinker, John Joseph
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Kirkwood, David Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David
Edwards, Charles Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Lawson, John James
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Leonard, William TELLERS FOB THE NOES.
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Logan, David Gilbert Mr. John and Mr. Duncan Graham.
Grundy, Thomas W. Lunn, William
Hall, F, (York, W.R., Normanton) McEntee, Valentine L.

Question put accordingly, "That those words be there added."

Division No. 241.] AYES. [12.30 a.m.
Kirkwood, David Milner, Major James TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Maxton, James Rathbone, Eleanor Mr. McGovern and Mr. Buchanan.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Aske, Sir Robert William Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton) Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Atholl, Duchess of Bateman, A. L.
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Bailey, Eric Alfred George Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)
Albery, Irving James Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.)
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.) Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Balniel, Lord Blindell, James

The Committee divided: Ayns, 4; Noes, 250.

Bossom, A. C. Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon) Palmer, Francis Noel
Boulton, W. W. Hanley, Dennis A. Patrick, Colin M.
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Harbord, Arthur Pearson, William G.
Bracken, Brendan Hartington, Marquess of Penny, Sir George
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Hartland, George A. Perkins, Walter R. D.
Broadbent, Colonel John Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Petherick, M.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Hellgera, Captain F. F. A. Pickering, Ernest H.
Browne, Captain A. C. Hirst, George Henry Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada
Buchan, John Holdsworth, Herbert Pike, Cecil F.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston) Price, Gabriel
Burgin, Or. Edward Leslie Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Procter, Major Henry Adam
Burnett, John George Hornby, Frank Ralkes, Henry V. A. M.
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Horsbrogh, Florence Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Cape, Thomas Howard, Tom Forrest Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Howitt, Or. Alfred B Ramsbotham, Herwald
Carver, Major William H. Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Ratcliffe, Arthur
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Rea, Walter Russell
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Heed, Arthur c. (Exeter)
Chalmers, John Rutherford James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-
Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring) Jamieson, Douglas Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric Jenkins, Sir William Roberta, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Jesson, Major Thomas E. Ross, Ronald D.
Conant, R. J. E. Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Cook, Thomas A. John, William Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)
Cranborne, Viscount Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Jonos, Morgan (Caerphilly) Rutherford, Sir John Hugo
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Ker, J. Campbell Salmon, Major Isidore
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Kerr, Hamilton W. Salt, Edward W.
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Kirkpatrick, William M. Savery, Samuel Servington
Daggar, George Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R. Scone, Lord
Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil) Knebworth, Viscount Selley, Harry R.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Dawson, Sir Philip Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Dickie, John P. Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Donner, P. W. Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Skelton, Archibald Noel
Orewe, Cedric Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Slater, John
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Lindsay, Noel Ker Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Dunglass, Lord Llewellin, Major John J. Somervell, Donald Bradley
Eastwood, John Francis Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Spencer, Captain Richard A,
Eden, Robert Anthony Loder, Captain J. de Vere Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Edwards, Charles Lunn, William Stanley, Hon. O. F. C. (Westmorland)
Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E. Mabane, William Stevenson, James
Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick) Storey, Samuel
Elliston, Captain George Sampson MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Stourton, Hon. John J.
Emmott, Charles E. G. C. McCorquodale, M. S. Strauss, Edward A.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. McEntee, Valentine L. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Entwistle, Cyril Fullard McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) McKie, John Hamilton Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Erskine-Boist, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton Sutcliffe, Harold
Essenhigh, Reginald Clare McLean, Major Alan Tate, Mavis Constance
Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.) Macmillan, Maurice Harold Templeton, William P.
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Maitland, Adam Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Everard, W. Lindsay Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Thompson, Luke
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Margesson, Capt. Henry David R. Tinker, John Joseph
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Marsden, Commander Arthur Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Ford, Sir Patrick J. Martin, Thomas B. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Fox, Sir Gilford Meiler, Richard James Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Fraser, Captain Ian Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Fremantle, Sir Francis Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Milne, Charles Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Gledhill, Gilbert Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k) Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Glucksteln, Louis Halle Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David
Golf, Sir Park Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Wells, Sydney Richard
Gower, Sir Robert Moreing, Adrian C. Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Morgan, Robert H. Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Graves, Marjorie Muirhead, Major A. J. Wills, Wilfrid D.
Greene, William P. C. Munro, Patrick Womersley, Walter James
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Nail, Sir Joseph Wood, Sir Murdoch MeKenzie (Banff)
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Worthington, Dr. John V.
Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesoro', W.) Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Wragg, Herbert
Grundy, Thomas W. Normand, Wilfrid Guild Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)
Gunston, Captain D. W. North, Captain Edward T.
Guy, J. C. Morrison O'Connor, Terence James TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Hales, Harold K. O'Donovan, Dr. William James Captain Sir George Bowyer and
Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Commander Southby.
Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Ormlston, Thomas

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill".

The Committee divided: Ayes, 207; Noes, 38.

Division No. 242.] AYES. [12.40 a.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Fremantle, sir Francis O'Connor, Terence James
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Gledhill, Gilbert O'Donovan, Dr. William James
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Gluckstein, Louis Halle O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh
Albery, Irving James Goff, Sir Park Ormiston, Thomas
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.) Gower, sir Robert Palmer, Francis Noel
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Greene, William P. C. Patrick, Colin M.
Atholl, Duchess of Gunaton, Captain D. W. Penny, Sir George
Bailey, Eric Alfred George Guy, J. C. Morrison Perkins, Walter R. D.
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Hales, Harold K. Petherick, M.
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon) Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)
Balniel, Lord Hanley, Dennis A. Pickering, Ernest H.
Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell Harbord, Arthur Pike, Cecil F.
Bateman, A. L. Hartington, Marquess of Raikes, Henry V. A. M.
Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Hartland, George A. Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portstm'th, C.) Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., skipton) Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Rarmbotham, Herwald
Blindell, James Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Ratcliffe, Arthur
Bossom, A. C. Holdsworth, Herbert Rea, Walter Russell
Boulton, W. W. Hops, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston) Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-
Bracken, Brendan Hornby, Frank Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Howard, Tom Forrest Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)
Broadbent, Colonel John Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Ross, Ronald D.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridgs)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)
Buchan, John Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Rutherford, Sir John Hugo
Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Jamieson, Douglas Salmon, Major Isidore
Burnett, John George Jesson, Major Thomas E. Salt, Edward W.
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Savery, Samuel Servington
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Scone, Lord
Carver, Major William H. Ker, J. Campbell Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Kerr, Hamilton W. Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Chalmers, John Rutherford Kirkpatrick, William M. Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring) Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R. Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Chorlton. Alan Ernest Leofric Knebworth, Viscount Skelton, Archibald Noel
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Slater, John
Conant R. J. E. Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Cook Thomas A. Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Sonwervell, Donald Bradley
Cranborne, viscount Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Lindsay, Noel Ker Spender-clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Croom-Johnson R. P. Llewellin, Major John J. Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Stevenson, James
Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil) Loder, Captain J. de Vere Storey Samuel
Dawson Sir Philip Mabane, William Stourton, Hon. John J.
Dickie John P. MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick) Strickland, Captain W. F.
Donner P. W. MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Drews, Cedric Mccorquodale, M. S. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel McKie, John Hamilton Sutcliffe, Harold
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton Templeton, William P.
Dunglass, Lord McLean, Major Alan Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Eastwood John Francis Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Thompson, Luke
Eden, Robert Anthony Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Thomson, Sir Fredcrick Charles
Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E. Margesson, Capt. Henry David H. Thorp, Linton Theodore
Ellis Sir R Geoffrey Martin, Thomas B. Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Elliston, Captain George Sampson Meller, Richard James Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Emmott, Charles E. G. C. Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir Victor A. G.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Entwistle cyril Fullard Milne, Charles Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tfd & Chisw'k) Wells, Sydney Richard
Erskine-Boist. Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale Wilams Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Essenhigh, Reginald Clare Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Wills, Willfrid D.
Evans Cant Arthur (Cardiff, S. Moreing, Adrian C. Womerley, Walter James
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Morgan, Robert H. Wood Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Everard W. Lindsay Muirhead, Major A. J. Worthington, Dr. John V.
Fielden Edward Brocklehurst Munro, Patrick Wragg, Herbert
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall Bodmin) Nation, Brigadier-Genera. J. J. H. Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks,
Ford, Sir Patrick J. Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)
Fox, Sir Gifford Normand, Wilfrid Guild TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Fraser, Captain Ian North, Captain Edward T. Captain Sir George Bowyer and
Commander Southby.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton) Graves, Marjorie Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Buchanan, George Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Kirkwood, David
Cape, Thomas Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Grundy, Thomas W. Lawson, John James
Daggar, George Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Leonard, William
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Logan, David Gilbert
Edwards, Charles Hirst, George Henry Lunn, William
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Jenkins, Sir William McEntee, Valentine L.
McGovern, John Price, Gabriel Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Macmillan, Maurice Harold Rathbone, Eleanor
Maxton, James Tinker, John Joseph TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Milner, Major James Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend) Mr. John and Mr. Duncan Graham,
Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada Watts-M organ, Lieut.-Col. David