HC Deb 21 June 1932 vol 267 cc983-1070

The following Amendment stood upon the Order Paper: In page 5, line 7, leave out Clause 3.—(Mr. Rhys Davies.)


I have found that it is not a good custom on the Report stage to select Amendments to leave out Clauses, especially those that have been fully discussed in Committee of the Whole House. It has been represented to me, however, that there was some particular point that was not fully discussed on this Clause, and I am going to allow this Amendment. I think that it would be for the convenience of the House to raise that question on the Amendment to omit Clause 3, and that we should have Divisions without any discussion on the other two Amendments standing in the name of the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies), namely, in page 5, line 17, to leave out the word "five," and insert instead thereof the word "six"; and in line 19, to leave out the word "six," and insert instead thereof the word "seven."


I beg to move to leave out the Clause.

I am much obliged to you, Mr. Speaker, for your suggestion. I want to raise a point which I think was almost entirely neglected on the Committee stage. Every speaker dealt with sickness benefit, but I never heard very much said about disablement, especially from the angle from which I wish to approach it now. The point I want to make is this: sickness benefit finishes at the most after 26 weeks, and most spells of sickness last only a very short time. I should imagine the average sickness of insured persons does not last more than a fortnight or three weeks. Consequently, very much more important considerations are raised when it is found that the Government are proposing to reduce the disablement benefit than would be the case in sickness benefit. I will put it to the House in this way. A man or a woman falls sick and after a fortnight or a month returns to work. They have lost their wages, perhaps, but that loss is made up to some extent by sickness benefit at 15s. for the man and 12s. for the woman, and where additional benefits are payable the man may get £l and the woman more than the statutory benefit. But there are cases which drag on for six, nine or 12 months.

It may astonish some Members to know that there are persons who have been drawing disablement benefit under this scheme continuously for 15 years without a break, and it is their cases to which I wish to direct special attention. A reduction of 2s. a week in sickness benefit for a few weeks is a very small and petty proposal by comparison with the reduction of disablement benefit which may be payable over a period of 15 or 20 years. I do not want to try to induce any undue human sympathy for the cases which I am putting forward, but let us consider the case of a woman suffering from tuberculosis, which is a long-drawn-out illness which may last for years; and there are other long-drawn-out complaints such as diabetes. Sometimes these chronic diseases seem to keep people alive almost longer than if they were free from that particular disease. When I was in Iceland I visited a leper colony there, and I heard from the medical officer of health the most strange statement ever made to me in regard to vital statistics. He told me that the length of life of inmates of that leper colony was several years in excess of the life of the people outside. That shows that there are some diseases which, although they may put a man out of action, may still keep him alive for an even longer period than the average length of life.

On that score, therefore, I raise the point that if we have to accept a reduction of benefit at all I would prefer a reduction of sickness benefits alone, leaving the disablement benefit where it is. The disablement benefit is reduced to a very small sum indeed by this Clause. Sickness benefit for unmarried women remains the same. Disablement benefit for unmarried women is reduced from 7s. 6d. to 6s. For married women disablement benefit is reduced from 7s. 6d. to 5s. per week. What will happen will be this. There are married women whose husbands are unemployed or who, unfortunately, have never looked after the home and family. If those women fall sick the benefit income will go down to 5s. I am quite confident that whatever arguments may be employed in support of a reduction of these benefits it is true to say that the Government, by reducing the disablement benefit from 7s. 6d. to 5s,, is actually adding half a crown on to the cost of public assistance. Hon. Members who are more familiar with the administration of public assistance than I am know that practically every public assistance committee, while taking certain income of a family into account, do not take into account health insurance disablement benefit. The printed forms in some cases provide that the benefit is 7s. 6d. and they do not take that 7s. 6d. into account. What wall happen will be that the approved societies will gain 2s. 6d. and a charge of 2s. 6d. will be added to public assistance authorities.

We oppose this Clause, however, because we do not think this is the only method open to the Minister for dealing with the heavy claims of women. We think he ought to look into the causes of those heavy claims. When he tells us that the actuary has reported in this way or in that way we have to remember that the actuary has nothing to do with policy. All he does is to take the result of policy and tell us the facts. I wish the right hon. Gentleman had gone a little deeper to find out the causes of these increased claims, because there are very serious causes behind them, and I am sure of one thing, that the reduction of benefits by itself will not save this scheme in the future. Hon. Gentlemen on my left were very critical of the words I used about doctors the other day. I return to the point. I have no hesitation an saying that one of the primary causes for the actuary's report and the introduction of this Clause is the loose certification by some of the medical profession.




The hon. Member will not believe me. Let me read him the document issued by the Minister.


Yes, by your Minister.


This is a document issued by the Minister.


Your Minister.


Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will let me proceed with my statement—


Give us the date.


—because I never interrupt him. The date is here. If I can find it I will quote it with pleasure. I cannot find it at the moment. At any rate this is what the report says, and I do not think the report has anything to do with any particular Minister, because these are admissions from members of the medical profession themselves, and I suppose they would admit all these things either to a Labour Minister or to a Conservative Minister. It is said that an inquiry was held and that: a substantial proportion of the practitioners interviewed stated that they found themselves unable to certify strictly in accordance with their medical judgment for fear of losing patients. That is the statement of the doctors themselves.


Where was this made?


On inquiry by the Minister of Health.


What inquiry? Who are the doctors?


Whatever I say about the doctors will probably not convince the hon. Member, but it may convince other Members. The hon. Member can see the Report, No. 3291.


We have seen it. We know all about it, and that is more than you do.


And we know the date.


The report says further: It was not infrequently said that although a patient might legitimately be considered to be not incapable of work the doctor knew how difficult it would be for that patient to find work under the prevailing conditions of employment, and allowed himself to be influenced by compassionate consideration in the direction of continuing to issue a certificate.


Shame! Awful!


I am astonished at the hon. Member favouring the doctors against the insured population. I have shown that there are causes which induce the actuary to make his report, and I repeat that the actuary is not concerned with policy. All he does is to take the results of the audit at the end of every quinquennial period and issue a report to the Minister. I do not think I would be wrong if I said that if policy had been designed to keep this scheme on actuarial lines we would not be called upon to deal with this Bill.

Let me mention one or two things I have mentioned before. Everybody knows about the £2,750,000 taken away from the funds in 1926. The approved societies have had to carry another item; they have had to carry a new charge during the last few years, the whole of the cost of medical benefits. Once upon a time the State used to shoulder part of that cost. Then the Ministry appointed about 200 regional medical officers to check the work of the panel doctors, and the cost of those regional officers has fallen upon the funds of the approved societies. In addition there is a new staff of regional dental officers who check dental claims. The Ministry has not been satisfied either with the medical or the dental practitioners under this scheme. I say, therefore, that unless there is a new conception of their duty among the professions towards this scheme nothing, not even a reduction of benefit, can save the scheme. If what they themselves admit is true, then the scheme could not stand whatever we did here by way of reducing benefit.

We are dealing with several proposals and Amendments in the discussion of this Clause, and I wish to raise another point. Some Members of the House insist that all we have to do is to pool all the surpluses. Some societies are rich, they say, and some are very poor, but if the present economic depression continues much longer there will be no surpluses left in any society. Further, it has been said by the Royal Commission that if the State insists upon pooling—although I favour pooling as far as the money will go round—some societies will see to it that in live or ten years they have no surplus to hand over to other societies. That is one of the dangers if we deal with this problem by pooling alone. Then the Ministry itself is responsible in part for bringing the funds of this scheme to their present position. A few years ago the Ministry induced societies to separate the funds of the men from the funds of the women, saying that they wanted to find out what the women cost in the way of benefit by comparison with the men. The hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary will know that at the instigation of the Ministry societies have separated the funds of the men from the women, and in future benefits will be paid on the surpluses accruing separately to the women's side and on the surpluses accruing to the men's side. If the surplus on the men's side is more favourable by the way, that cannot be used to pay the women, or vice versa; and let it be said that in some cases the women's funds are healthier than the men's funds.

7.0 p.m.

One thing I hope the Minister will do above all, and that is not give any support to the idea which is creeping into some minds that there ought to be once more a further separation of married women from single women in the same society for valuation purposes. If we adopt that policy we might as well say that every insured person shall have a separate ledger account. He would then merely put the money in and take out exactly what he has put in. That is not insurance. Although I am very concerned that these schemes shall be kept within certain financial limits, I am not at all happy to see a tendency of this sort—not only one society becoming richer and one-society becoming poorer, but one section of the same society becoming richer than another section of that society. That is not a national insurance principle. Then I want to put this to the Minister. I have never been able to understand the attitude of the Ministry towards this problem, especially in view of what has already happened this afternoon. I feel sure we would not be unwilling on this side of the House to adopt the alternative—but only as an alternative to Clause 3—put forward by the hon. and gallant Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams), provided the Minister would wipe out Clause 3.

As one who has had to administer the scheme I think I am right in saying that if we had the means whereby we could choose the type of person we were admitting into the societies we would have avoided the reduction of benefit altogether, because I think it is agreed on all hands that there are certain types both of men and women now insured who are not insurable and who do not fall to be dealt with in this scheme. Finally, I am not convinced by the argument put forward by the Actuary. I do not criticise him, because he has to take what the results are: he has nothing to do with policy; but I am totally unable to believe that every married woman and single woman is in fact more unhealthy to-day than they were eight or 10 years ago. I do not think we shall be able to settle the financial problem of this scheme either for men or women until the panel doctor is brought into a closer financial relationship with the approved societies.

I will tell the Minister what I mean by that. When the panel doctor issues a certificate—I am not criticising him on that score—he never sees the effect of the issuing of that certificate on the funds of the society. Unfortunately, some insured persons think that the medical certificate is nothing but a voucher for receiving benefit. It is not exactly a voucher. It is evidence in favour of a claim for benefit. I do say, therefore, that we ought to have a better relationship—and ultimately that is what is bound to happen—and the medical profession will have to secure a greater interest in the societies; there will have to be greater co-operation between the societies and the medical profession. I feel sure that unless there is a better understanding between the panel practitioner the society and the insured person as to the meaning of this scheme, nothing we do to-day can avail us very much. In order to draw attention to these problems, therefore, I beg to move my Motion.


I should not have intervened but for the remark just made by the last speaker. I thought we were to deal with the question of the rates of sickness benefit, whether the 12s. should be reduced to 10s. and the 7s. 6d. to 5s. I did not understand that we were discussing the question of whether doctors gave proper certificates or not, and it came to me as a surprise that we should be dealing with the whole ramifications and the rights and wrongs of doctors. I should have thought that was not the subject for discussion on this Motion, and at least we should have known that it was coming before the House. I, too, like my hon. Friend, took the precaution to read this circular some time ago. It was issued by the Minister of Health of the Labour Government of 1930. It was a deliberate act on his part to hound the doctors to be less humane to poor people than formerly. If he and his colleagues are brought to hounding the doctors on that score we must leave it to him. Personally in times like these I should always be ready to associate with anyone who is inclined to treat the poor more humanely. If the Labour party are proud of the desire of their Front Bench for inhuman treatment by doctors, then I make them a present of their Front Bench and I am glad that my association is severed.

This circular which has been read out says, if not in those exact words, that an inquiry has been made, and certain doctors say there has been loose certification, but it does not tell us who conducted the inquiry, who were the doctors examined, what districts they were drawn from, who examined them, whether evidence was taken on oath, or what kind of tribunal it was. All of this is flung at us, and because it comes from the Front Bench they say we are to accept it and are expected to believe it. I am not accepting it. When I want to inpugn the doctors I have the right to give them some trial, as indeed we should claim for ourselves. In the case of Unemployment Insurance if I were to make a statement against an official, I should need to go to the Commissioners, as I have done, and make a statement there, for cross-examination, in the light of day, and pin my name and reputation to it. Nothing like that is happening here. It is just a bald statement that some doctors have said it. We are not given their names or those of the people who carried out the examination. Just because it was done by the Labour Government we are told it is sacred and it must be right. Anybody who knows the history of the Labour Government would be foolish to take that seriously. I dismiss it, for this reason—not because the evidence is right or wrong, but because there is no evidence adduced as to the nature of the examination. Neither the source of the evidence nor the tribunal can be adduced. I think that is a fair and reasonable claim to make. I simply reject it because the evidence has no proper relationship to the evidence which ought to be provided.

Then there is another charge which has been brought against the doctors. There is another crime they have committed. It is said that they are too compassionate, and that they give certificates on compassionate grounds. Just imagine the Labour party, built up by the poor, attacking the medical profession because they are kind to the people. The first charge was that there was looseness of certification, and the second was that the doctors are compassionate, that they do not go about their business in the same way as the Court of Referees, who say at the Employment Exchanges, "The Act must be observed." A court of referees do not show too much human sympathy. The complaint has been made that they are an automatic machine and do not show that compassion and fellow-feeling and understanding that make life kindly. That was our complaint—that the ever-grinding machine left out the human element. Now along comes the complaint from the Labour party that the doctors will not work that grinding machine. Sometimes judges operate the law not in the strict light of the law but with human kindness, and say they will be decent and show some spirit of kindness and act on compassionate grounds. Now we are told that while that may be done by the judges it must not be done by the doctors. That is an amazing position for the Labour party. Then we have discovered another thing, that they were prepared to allow the new Clause of the Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) to come on to the Statute Book in order to get something else.


On what ground does the hon. Member say that the Labour party accepted the Amendment.


I do not want to be unfair, but what was said by the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) was that if they could get Clause 3 rejected they were prepared to accept the new Clause.


That is not the same thing.


The hon. Member stated that in the hearing of the House. That is the position. I am not surprised that after cutting down unemployment benefits the Government should now be reducing the benefit of married women. These Women are not getting justice. We are dealing here with reduced benefits and we can find no justification for reducing them. The doctors are not the cause of the reduced benefits. The Minister said that £500,000 could be saved on administration, and that £2,500,000 was to be saved altogether. The £500,000 was for administration. Over £1,000,000 was to be saved from the reduced benefits and there was another £1,000,000 from another section, making £2,500,000 in all. What was the £500,000 from administration? It was in respect of the tightening-up of certification. That is the administration and £500,000, it is said, is not enough. It is said, "We must get busier and make it £750,000." What a game! I hope that the result of the by-election pending in Montrose will be a proud day for Montrose.


I must ask the hon. Member to confine his remarks to the Question before the House.


Yes, Sir, but I can take no responsibility for my irrelevancy. Attacks were made upon us which were entirely out of order. We are usually blamed for making attacks. I am not going to continue on this subject, but I want to say that it is becoming noticeable that people are being hounded on in this way. I will repeat what I said, that people who have been kind when the poor, in times like these, are faced with wholesale poverty, should not be attacked. We would sooner be associated with the doctors in times like these, because they are men who are kind to the poor, than we would be associated with a party who would rather have the scheme actuarially sound and run as a soulless machine. We will defend the doctors and anybody else who show leniency and kindness to the poverty-stricken poor.


The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) has shot his bolt and departed. He seems to have some obsessional complex, and it is to be regretted that it is obsessional in regard to the panel doctors. If there is such a thing as loose certification, I do not think it will ever be corrected by loose speaking that covers looser thinking. You cannot help a Debate by distilling into it the very essential spirit of Gradgrind. An approved society depends for its efficiency upon good certification, and good certification will never be obtained by doctors who are under the lash of actuaries of venerable aspect but of soulless intellects.

I was distressed to hear the hon. Member say that doctors should come into closer contact with approved societies, for if the speech that we have heard was in fact the spirit by which the approved societies are guided in this country, then the greater distance the doctors keep from these approved societies the better for the sick and the better for the doctors. There is no question that the certification of married women is difficult, and there is no doubt whatever in my mind that the certification must be done with that consideration for the sufferer that I hope will always animate the panel doctor. A married woman bringing up a family is subject for years to a greater stress than any industrial hazard known to man. Doctors know that, and married men know that, but it is strange, when you are lifted to the calm and cool air of the board room of the approved societies, that those few human and medical facts are so soon forgotten. Loose certification has never yet been proved. When it is well and publicly known that that extremely loosely-worded report has been attacked paragraph by paragraph in the organs of the British Medical Association, I was hurt that a Member speaking from the Front Bench, a man of light and learn- ing, should have thought it worthy of his bench to make so ex parte a statement and to conceal from the House that every sentence in that report adverse to the panel doctor is combated and denied.

I can take no exception to any charge that is made, as long as it is admitted that the man charged believes that he has an answer, but to put forward with authority the uncertificated admissions of unnamed people as a definite charge of dishonest conduct of those in charge of public funds, is unworthy of what, up-to-date I believed to be the standard of the Front Opposition Bench. An argument can be put graciously or ungraciously. I regret that the hon. Member for Westhoughton is not here for me to say to his face that I have seldom heard charges made in such ungracious language. The regional medical officers do not exist to check the work of their colleagues; they are brother colleagues, ready to help the juniors in their difficult work and to promote cordial inter-action between all the forces of public medicine. For instance, I myself am responsible for a large department dealing with that disfiguring and destructive disease known as lupus. The approved societies, represented to us as the last word in benevolence, are continually seeking to have the allowance paid to the sick cut off, under the impression that those who are losing their noses, ears and whole portions of their faces are fit to work, because their biceps are still sound.

Regional medical officers are of the greatest assistance to me. When complaints are made to them that these patients are away from work too long, those officers, represented to the House as an expensive check on bad work, are of the greatest service in putting my opinion about my patients to the approved societies, whereupon the complaints are withdrawn and the sick pay is continued. Regional medical officers are experienced doctors who have had from five to 15 years' work in general practice, and they would resent from their hearts the suggestion that they exist as policemen or as detectives or guardians of the public purse. They are most useful public officials. They are seldom officious and, in my experience, are always helpful and are seldom a check.

We are told that doctors should have a new conception of their work. That is a most startling and explosive thing. The medical profession has existed for 2,000 years as a coherent and traditional body, and it is an explosive thought that a new conception of medicine should come in. Our sole object is to help the sick and to keep the sound alive, and the only new object that could come in would be for us—to use an American phrase—to continue with a newer right to "bump them off" for having lived too long and for having exhausted the funds of the approved societies for too many years. I hope we have heard the last of these loose attacks upon the panel doctor's job. It is a humble job, and it is not one that enjoys the limelight. The panel doctor is not gifted with speech, and he does not enter the market place or the senate house to defend himself. I am only too pleased to say to this House that the panel doctors whom I know—and I know them by hundreds—are as honourable in their intentions and as upright in their certification as any politician is in the conduct of public business.


The hon. Member for Mile End (Dr. O'Donovan) has defended the doctors, and I honestly agree with him as to what their difficulties are. When we take a Division on this matter, shall we find the hon. Member in the Division Lobby with us carrying his support to a practical test? Clause 3 is mentioned in this Debate because it closed the benefits to married women on account of certain statistics given out by the actuary. In his speech the hon. Member suggested that the actuary had no right to do this kind of thing, but it is because of that that these married women are being attacked and because of what is called loose certification. The Minister is faced with the position that the Insurance Fund must be made actuarially sound and that benefits must be taken from somebody. Clause 3 is quite definite as to where those benefits are to be taken from. I say that that is wrong. I say that he has no right to attack the married or the single women simply because they have drawn too much out of the fund. If that is correct, and if he is not doubting their integrity, then it is clear that those women are more in need of support from the fund than any other section. If hon. Members opposite support the Minister in his contention to pick out one particular class, they are not honest in their intentions—putting it in the Parliamentary sense. If the Minister really wants to put the fund on a sound basis he ought to lower the benefits to everyone.


I do not know what "honest in the Parliamentary sense" means. I understand what muddle-headedness means, but Parliamentary honesty is a new thing to me.


There are certain things in this House that have to be understood. When we say, "dishonesty" it is not a question of being dishonest in law; so I put it in the way I did. I ought to have put it quite straight, Parliament or no Parliament, and to have said what I meant. I put it as easily as I could. You can knock a man down in two ways, quietly or drastically. I was knocking the hon. Member down quietly when I said that.

There is no ambiguity about Clause 3. I was in some doubt about Clause 1. The Minister said, quite rightly, that if we read the White Paper that would make the matter clear to hon. Members' intelligence. I got a White Paper and I have perused it, and it is clear what the Minister means by a reduction of standard benefit and of disablement benefit. There is no question as to what they will have to pay under Clause 3. I do not want hon. Members opposite to attempt to get away from the facts by trying to defend the doctors and saying that they are quite honest and above board, and then to vote in the Division Lobby against the Clause standing part of the Bill. They are quite sincere to the married women and to the single women. They will say that they ought not to be made to suffer as they are in this Bill. If the Bill is to be put on a sound financial basis, everyone must pay a share towards it, and not one section alone. I would ask the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) not to pay too much attention to these benches. We are here in a common cause and there, across the Floor of the House, is the enemy.


Will the hon. Member forgive me? The attack was made upon me. I was sitting here with no intention of speaking. I intimated to Mr. Speaker that I wanted to speak only on one or two Amendments in which I was directly interested. An attack was deliberately made upon me from the Opposition Front Bench. The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) singled me out.


No. I was here and heard what the said.


I would ask the hon. Member for Gorbals not to direct too much attention to these benches.


Lecture your own benches on that!


It proves to me the truth of the old saying that once the members of a party quarrel among themselves, they leave the masters free to do as they want to do. When we find the Labour party quarrelling with each other, the Minister can merely laugh and say, "Leave them to themselves. They will rend each other, and we can get all we want." When the married women are being attacked, there should be no question as to our duty in the movement to try to resist an encroachment against those people. I hope that the hon. Member for West Willesden (Mrs. Tate) and the hon. Member for Dundee (Miss Horsbrugh) who spoke earlier, and who defended the married women by speaking so earnestly and well against the proposed new Clause, will come with us into the Division Lobby and prove that they are also earnest and sincere. I trust that when the Division is taken we shall get some definite indication of what they think in regard to Clause 3, and that they will resist the encroachment on the right of these people.

7.30 p.m.


I meant to give a silent vote in favour of this Amendment, but I am impelled to say a few words in support of my vote because of the remarkable arguments which were used by the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) in moving the Amendment. He said that he could not conceive that the health of married women was any worse now than it was eight or 10 years ago, but I would ask him whether he would seriously deny that eight years of increasing unemployment may very well have increased the ill-health among married women, owing to the privations which they have had to bear and the increased burden which has been put upon them of trying to add to the family income while doing all the rest of their household work. The hon. Member concluded that increased ill-health among married women would not account for the whole of the increase in claims, and that part of it must be accounted for by loose certification by the doctors. I have little doubt that loose certification may have something to do with it, and doctors accused of loose certification might well use the argument of their forefather: "A woman tempted me," because there would be no loose certification on the part of doctors if there were no loose claims on the part of married women.

All of us who have the state of the fund and also the honour of married women at heart feel that, granted that these claims are partly due to increased ill-health and partly due to unsound claims by married women, this Clause is not the right way to meet the situation. It merely assumes that the deficit will be a continuing one, and meets it by punishing the innocent with the guilty. We want a more drastic way of meeting the difficulty. So far as it is due to ill-health, we ought to have a thorough inquiry which would satisfy us as to the amount of the ill-health, and the same is the case as regards the question of loose: certification. I would remind the House of what was done in connection with unemployment insurance before the benefit was lowered. We had the Blanesburgh Committee, which not only took much evidence, but made an actual test. It scheduled certain areas and took a number of cases which showed certain suspicious features, and examined into those cases to see whether the common impression prevailing in the public mind at the time, that many people were claiming benefit who were not entitled to it, was justified or not; and the result of that test was to show that, although there was a certain number of unsound claims, the number was far fewer than was generally believed. I believe that the same result would happen if there were a test among married women, and I would ask the Minister, before this Clause is accepted, as I fear it will be, whether he will not give us some inquiry into the reasons for this increase in claims.

I do not see why such an inquiry should not be carried out on much the same lines as the Blanesburgh test. What is to prevent the selection of certain typical areas where there are heavy sickness claims among married women, and the investigation of every one of those cases which presents what are usually regarded as suspicious features, such as a large proportion of young claimants claiming disablement benefit, or very frequent claims on the part of married women. If the result shows that there is a large amount of sickness on the part of married women, I submit that the proper way to deal with such a situation would be, not to lower the benefits of married women alone, but to spread the cost of whatever economies are necessary over the whole body of claimants. We have not received a satisfactory answer as to why that cannot be done. The Minister has told us that it could not be done here and now by pooling the surpluses, but not why it cannot be done by a wider use than is at present made of the central contributory fund. I appeal, in the interests both of the fund and of the honour of married women, for some inquiry into the whole cause of these excessive claims among them. I was glad to see that the new Clause proposed by the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) was rejected, because, on the top of Clause 3, and without such an inquiry as I have suggested, it would have done grave injustice. There is this to be said for that Clause, that it was an attempt to get at causes, and not merely to deal with symptoms, and we want something of that sort before we can settle down comfortably to the idea that the married women of this country are to rest under a permanent shadow of discredit, and are to be penalised as a body by the lowering of their all too meagre scale of benefits.


The hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker) had a good deal to say about attacks on married women and the taking away of people's rights, but it does not seem to me that a speech of that kind is very helpful. No one is attacking married women or endeavouring to take away anyone's rights. All that we are discussing to-day is the best and fairest way of distributing between the different classes of insured persons the total amount that is available in benefit. That amount depends on the amount that comes into the fund. I think that the force of that argument was felt by the hon. Member who moved the Amendment, because he gave the House to understand that, so far as he was concerned, if reductions in benefit were necessary he would rather that they were made in sickness benefits than in disablement benefit. That is a perfectly arguable proposition; it is a question of the fair allocation of the benefit that it is possible to pay from the fund; but I would point out that the hon. Member is hardly justified in using that argument, because only a week ago, during the Committee stage, he voted for an Amendment, not to reduce further the sickness benefit, but to increase it, and I do not see how he can come before the House to-day and argue that he would rather there were a reduction in sickness benefit than in disablement benefit when only last week he was trying to increase the amount proposed to be allocated to sickness benefit.

The plain truth of the matter is, of course, that the law as it stands at this moment, without this Bill, provides for benefits which are greater than the fund can stand, and therefore, there are only two alternatives before us. The one is to increase the amount of money coming into the fund by increasing the contributions, and in no quarter of the House has that method been supported. The other alternative is to provide for a reduction of certain benefits in order to make the fund balance. It seems to me that anyone who supports individual Amendments to increase the amount of benefit paid in selected cases to selected classes of insured persons is really doing nothing that is in the true interests of insured persons as a whole, because, if that course were followed, the only result would be the ultimate bankruptcy of the fund.


We have every intention of following the point of view expressed by the hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker), and every vote in this group will be cast for the Amendment and against the Clause. But we want to make it fairly well known, both in the House and outside, that in doing that we dissociate ourselves completely from the ideas expressed by the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) in moving the Amendment. If anything could have dissuaded us from supporting the Amendment, his speech certainly would. I make these remarks in order that it may be very plainly known that, while we are opposing this Clause and supporting the Amendment, and shall be in the Lobby with the hon. Member for Westhoughton, if he is still in the House, we dissent in the strongest possible way from the views that he expressed in his speech.


I believe, Mr. Speaker, that I shall be most closely following both the spirit and the letter of your guidance to the House if I adhere, on this Amendment, rather closely to the new matter that has been raised in the course of the interesting speeches to which we have just listened. Let me deal, in the first place, with the criticism of the hon. Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone), who suggested, I think inaccurately, that the proposals of this Bill were not based upon adequate statistical inquiry into the field with which we had to deal. It would be impossible to deal with this matter in the same simple and straightforward manner as with the question of unemployment. The question whether or not a man or woman is unemployed is capable of a very much simpler decision than the question whether or not a married woman is sick within the meaning of the insurance scheme. Nevertheless, we have done our best throughout, long before my time, to secure a proper basis on which to frame the proposals contained in this Bill. In the first place, I would refer to the report of the Government Actuary on National Health Insurance covering the period from 1921 to 1927, which was published in 1930. For the purposes of that report, a sample was taken including some 500,000 men and 400,000 women, whose experience was carried right through the three years 1921, 1922, and 1923—no inadequate basis. In the second place, I would refer to another and even more important inquiry on the certification of incapacity for work, including the results of recent investigations as to the causes of increase of claims for sickness and disablement benefit, which was published in a Memorandum, No. 329./I.C. In that inquiry there were no fewer than 29,516 references on which to base a judgment in regard to this matter. The hon. Member will see, therefore, that there was a most careful and prolonged investigation of the facts before the practical proposals which are now placed before the House were framed.


Does the right hon. Gentleman say that that inquiry investigated the individual cases of women to see whether they were really sick? Unless that was done, the result would not bear on the question whether the excessive claims were really due to increased sickness or whether they were due to loose certification or malingering.


That, of course, would be the principal point of the inquiry in question.

Now I come to the new arguments which have been advanced upon this occasion, the arguments attacking the reduction of disablement benefit in comparison with the reduction of sickness benefit. I, first of all, call attention to the actual reduction made which, in the case of married women, is from 7s. 6d. to 5s., and in the case of single women from 7s. 6d. to 6s. The hon. Member who proposed the Amendment dealt with the hard circumstances of those who were very long ill. Of course, they are more concerned with disablement than with sickness benefit, and, in the case of the man or woman drawing disablement benefit during long sickness, I agree that there is there an argument against the reduction of disablement benefit in comparison with sickness benefit. But it is disposed of by the single fact that the average duration for the drawing of disablement benefit is 22 weeks. The argument, therefore, in favour of disablement as compared with sickness benefit, as far as figures are the basis, disappears. Of course, it is again not a pleasant thing to have to propose to reduce this benefit. It is only done under the stress of sheer necessity upon the basis upon which we proceed, but the statement of the actuary in his report—I must not call it a recommendation, because I am reminded, quite correctly, that actuaries are not concerned with policy—was that, if we were to balance the scheme and make it solvent again, we should have to reduce disablement benefit to 5s. for all women in insurance. He stated that his requirement for solvency was that that reduction should be made for single women as well as for married women. In applying the full reduction to married women only I have, so to speak, managed to let them off more lightly than strict actuarial requirements would demand, so that really is a matter for congratulation rather than for criticism.

I said on the Second Heading that one has been guided to some extent in fixing the relation between sickness and disablement benefit by the practical advice given by practical men that you ought to try to preserve a certain ratio between sickness and disablement benefit, and that in their experience the ratio that they would recommend was the ratio of one half. The effect of the proposals of the Bill is in every case to fix the ratio of disablement benefit to sickness benefit at one-half. Speaking, as I do, to so many Members who are practically acquainted with the administration of health insurance, I need not dwell upon the reasons for keeping disablement benefit down to about that ratio of sickness benefit. You cannot go on with the full benefit for the whole time, and experience shows that good administration requires that there should be a drop of 50 per cent.

The hon. Member who moved the Amendment made one point which, on reflection, he will see was not a good one. His criticism was that, by reducing disablement benefit from 7s. 6d. to 5s., we are casting upon the local authorities the burden of the extra 2s. 6d. He forgot something that one would not have expected him to forget. He forgot that in the granting of relief the public assistance committees are not allowed by Statute to take ino consideration the 7s. 6d. from health insurance. You might therefore, reduce the disablement benefit from 7s. 6d. not only to 5s. but to nil before you produced any results upon the granting of Poor Law relief.

The last points with which I have to deal are suggestions for alternative methods of covering the deficit which I have to cover. I have dealt with them all before and I will only summarise the reply in the briefest words. I was asked, "Why do you not get the economies you need from better administration?" That was the contention of the hon. Member who spoke first, which got him into such difficulties with hon. Members below the Gangway. The answer is that I have already made the utmost allowance which it is reasonable to make for a reduction of expenditure from, that source. I have allowed for £500,000. What I have heard to-day from some of my hon. Friends behind me makes me wonder whether I have not gone too far in that respect. I am asked, "How do you expect to get it?" I will quote one or two possible methods. I am making no charges of fraud or malingering on the part of wide classes of the insured, and I am certainly making no charge of inefficiency or failure of duty on the part of the medical profession. I am far too well acquainted with the labours of the medical profession to be so unfair or so foolish. The direction in which an improvement can be looked for, even to the extent for which I have allowed, is the direction of a general improvement of standards of administration. I have been challenged to say how that may be done. I will give an instance—by a wider use of the regional medical officer in co-ordinating and comparing the treatment of doubtful cases. If you have some general authority to whom you can go to produce a levelling up and a co-ordination of standards, that has often had a very good effect in improving the standard as a whole. Consequently I would say the most natural and the most wholesome way, beneficial both to the insured persons and to the finance of the scheme, is by a better system of visitation on the part of the approved societies so as to make themselves more closely acquainted with individual cases. Money spent in that direction would be well spent. It would probably be an economy in the long run.

I am asked, Why not accept as an alternative to this Clause the proposal put forward early this evening by my hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon (Mr. Williams), that all married women should go into Class K. In common with hon. Members below the Gangway, I was surprised to hear the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) practically declare himself an adherent of that Clause, because it had appeared to me that there were elements in that Clause which were much too hard in the tests that they would impose on married women. However, I understand that in his opinion I should have been mistaken in that supposition. But be that as it may—it is a matter which will be of more interest on future occasions than on this—the simple fact is that to suppose for a moment that the present deficiency can be covered by that measure in regard to Class K is to show oneself really not in possession of the simplest facts of the case. I am dealing with a deficiency of £850,000 a year, and the most optimistic estimate of what could be gained by the harshest administration of the Class K Clause does not amount to more than £50,000 a year. Sometimes in these Debates one wishes one could come into more close relation with the actual facts.

That same consideration applies really to the alternative suggestion made by the hon. Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone) that we should adopt the method of pooling. I do not want to try to raise at this stage the wide question of pooling, of its honesty as between society and society or even of its practicability in view of the accepted basis of the scheme in administration by approved societies. But I will say a single word about the aspect of its being commensurate with the amount that we have to find. If you take the only practical scheme of pooling which has ever been proposed, that is the scheme proposed by the Royal Commission, and if you translate it into the figures that now prevail, allowing for a fair distribution and pooling the benefits over the whole field of the societies—I could not do otherwise—you get a sum for the women's societies of £50,000 a year to deal with your deficit of £850,000. I think it is clear that all these alternatives are attempts to sweep the sea out with a mop.


The right hon. Gentleman has not dealt with the suggestion that I made that it might be met by an increase from the Central Fund. I did not suggest the, pooling of surpluses because the right hon. Gentleman dealt with that the other day. I suggested an increase in the contributory fund.


I am afraid the sad truth is that that is only the ostrich pushing its head one inch deeper into the sand. If you throw the burden on to the Central Fund, you have to refresh the Central Fund. You can only do that by contributions from the societies. If the contributions from the societies are increased, you drive more societies into deficiency, and the only remedy for that is to increase the contributions, which none of us is prepared to suggest. I think I have dealt with all the new matter which has been produced, and the House will probably be prepared now to come to a decision.

8.0 p.m.


I should like to stress the point that has been made once or twice that the ultimate cost of all these savings will ultimately come back on to the local authorities, who will have to increase their charges. I represent a local authority where the rates are already 27s. 6d., where deputations come to the Ministry of Health seeking for some amelioration of their condition and asking how they can be relieved of some of their commitments and liabilities. Instead of getting relief, they are constantly increased until the burden is becoming intolerable. The shopkeepers are being ruined. Every ratepayer is feeling the strain, and, what with unemployment and general destitution, everyone who has to pay rates in my division has my complete sympathy. Instead of placing increased burdens upon them, there ought to be some kind of relief from the burdens which they have to carry. I am not going to make any attack whatever upon what is called loose certification. I want to dissociate myself entirely from what has been said upon that matter. I do not speak as an authority upon the administration of this Act; I have had nothing whatever to do with it; but I know what the effects will be of cutting down the small quantity of relief which is now given. I want to insist that in all probability much of the increased burden which has come in the last few years has arisen from the burden of unemployment and destitution which has fallen upon the homes of so many millions of working people. It is the mothers who suffer most under those conditions. It is they who sacrifice food, it is they who sacrifice their health in many ways, and it is not surprising that there has been an increased demand so far as married women are concerned.

This call upon the resources of the approved societies is precisely what one might have expected in the circumstances. One would expect that there would be an increase of sickness. As a matter of fact, working people are too prone to go on suffering when they ought to be getting relief from medical men. There is far too much illness accepted by the working people. They deliberately do not go on to these funds. They keep off them as long as they can possibly do so, because they would rather continue to work sick and get their wages than accept the modicum of relief which comes from this Health Insurance Fund. But when it comes to a question of unemployment, when all the amenities of the home are being destroyed, when food is short, when children are suffering, when the mother begins to go short of all the things that her nature requires, I am not surprised that there are claims on the Health Insurance Fund. I am only surprised that they are not bigger than they in fact are.

It all comes to this, that the whole scheme is totally inadequate for dealing with the problems which confront us, and until the State takes over the matter and sets up a State medical service of a very wide character, we shall not be able to deal with the sickness which afflicts the great mass of our people. So far as increased confidence is concerned, how long is this to go on under present conditions? Are conditions going to improve? Do the Government think that the industrial condition is going to improve? Or do they think that it is going to get worse? If it is going to get worse, then this fund will get worse, bankruptcy will still stare it in the face, and it will ultimately come to this, that if you cannot increase the contribution of the em-

ployed man, if you cannot increase the contribution of the employer, then if these funds are to be secured at all and you are going to continue to deal with the sickness of the mass of your people, the State will have to make an increased contribution, whether they like it or whether they do not. All this talk of economy will have to go by the board. I am protesting from that point of view against the whole tenure of this Bill.

In the General Election of last October, the National Government gave a pledge. They said, or the Prime Minister said, "The poor and the unemployed will not be forgotten." They have not been forgotten. Whenever there is any saving to be made, the poor are remembered; it is they who have to make it. It is they who have to bear the stress and the strain; it is they who go short of the actual necessities of life itself. The whole thing is a hideous fiasco of bad management, crass carelessness and cold-blooded action so far as the mass of the people are concerned, not only in the individual, but in. the great distressed areas of the country where they are suffering in a two-fold degree. It is from that point of view that I make my protest, and I am pleased to go into the Lobby in favour of this proposal.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out, to the word 'ten,' in line 12, stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 263; Noes, 49.

Division No. 251.] AYES. [8.5 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Crooke, J. Smedley
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Broadbent, Colonel John Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Brocklebank, C. E. R. Croom-Johnson, R. P.
Albery, Irving James Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Crossley, A. C.
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.) Brown, Ernest (Leith) Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.) Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y) Culverwell, Cyril Tom
Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent) Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Burnett, John George Denman, Hon. R D.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Cadogan, Hon. Edward Denville, Alfred
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Caine, G. R. Hall- Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.
Apsley, Lord Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Dickie, John P.
Atholl, Duchess of Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley) Dixey, Arthur C. N.
Atkinson, Cyril Caporn, Arthur Cecil Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Dower, Captain A. V. G.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (P'rtsm'th, S) Drewe, Cedric
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Chalmers, John Rutherford Duggan, Hubert John
Balniel, Lord Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.) Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Clarry, Reginald George Dunglass, Lord
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Clayton, Dr. George C. Eady, George H.
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.) Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Eastwood, John Francis
Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel Conant, R. J. E. Edmondson, Major A. J.
Blindell, James Cook, Thomas A. Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.
Bossom, A. C. Cooke, Douglas Emrys-Evans, P. V.
Boulton, W. W. Cooper, A. Duff Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Copeland, Ida Erskine-Boist, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)
Boyce, H. Leslie Cranborne, Viscount Essenhigh, Reginald Clare
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Everard, W. Lindsay
Falle, Sir Bertram G. McKie, John Hamilton Salmon, Major Isidore
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton Salt, Edward W.
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) McLean, Major Alan Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)
Fox, Sir Gilford McLean, Dr. w. H. (Tradeston) Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Fremantle, Sir Francis Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Ganzoni, Sir John Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Scone, Lord
Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton Mander, Geoffrey le M. Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Gillett, Sir George Master man Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Margesson, Capt. Henry David R. Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Martin, Thomas B. Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)
Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Meller, Richard James Skelton, Archibald Noel
Graves, Marjorie Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Greaves-Lord. Sir Walter Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.) Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Greene, William P. C. Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k) Smithers, Waldron
Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres Somervell, Donald Bradley
Grimston, R. V. Moreing, Adrian C. Samerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Gritten, W. G. Howard Morrison, William Shepherd Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. Muirhead, Major A. J. Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Nail, Sir Joseph Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.
Gunston, Captain D. W. Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Guy, J. C. Morrison Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Normand, Wilfrid Guild Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Hales, Harold K. North, Captain Edward T. Stevenson, James
Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon) O'Connor, Terence James Stones, James
Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) O'Donovan, Dr. William James Storey, Samuel
Hanley, Dennis A. Ormiston, Thomas Stourton, Hon. John J.
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A. Strauss, Edward A.
Harbord, Arthur Palmer, Francis Noel Strickland, Captain W. F.
Hartland, George A. Peat, Charles U. Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Penny, Sir George Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Perkins, Walter R. D. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston) Petherick, M. Summersby, Charles H.
Hornby, Frank Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston) Sutcliffe, Harold
Howard, Tom Forrest Pike, Cecil, F. Tate, Mavis Constance
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Potter, John Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Hume, Sir George Hopwood Procter, Major Henry Adam Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Raikes, Henry V. A. M. Thorp, Linton Theodore
Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Todd, A. L. S (Kingswinford)
Jesson, Major Thomas E. Ramsbotham, Herwald Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan) Ramsden, E. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Rankin, Robert Turton, Robert Hugh
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Rea, Walter Russell Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter) Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Ker, J. Campbell Reid, James S. C. (Stirling) Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Kerr, Hamilton W. Reid, William Allan (Derby) White, Henry Graham
Kimball, Lawrence Remer, John R. Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Kirkpatrick, William M. Renwick, Major Gustav A. Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Knox, Sir Alfred Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip Wise, Alfred R.
Leech, Dr. J. W. Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U. Withers, Sir John James
Levy, Thomas Roberts, Aled (Wrexham) Womersley, Walter James
Lewis, Oswald Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall) Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley
Liddall, Walter S. Robinson, John Roland Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Lindsay, Noel Ker Rosbotham, S. T. Worthington, Dr. John V.
Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe- Ross, Ronald D. Wragg, Herbert
Llewellin, Major John J. Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)
Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A. Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Loder, Captain J. de Vere Runge, Norah Cecil
Mabane, William Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick) Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Sir Victor Warrender and Mr.
MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw) Rutherford, Sir John Hugo Harcourt Johnstone.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Milner, Major James
Attlee, Clement Richard Harris, Sir Percy Parkinson, John Allen
Batey, Joseph Hicks, Ernest George Price, Gabriel
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Hirst, George Henry Rathbone, Eleanor
Briant, Frank Janner, Barnett Salter, Dr. Alfred
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Jenkins, Sir William Thorne, William James
Buchanan, George John, William Tinker, John Joseph
Cape, Thomas Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Wallhead, Richard C.
Cripps, Sir Stafford Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David
Daggar, George Kirkwood, David Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Duncan, Charles (Derby, Claycross) Lawson, John James Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Edwards, Charles Leonard, William Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Logan, David Gilbert
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) McEntee, Valentine L. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) McGovern, John Mr. Gordon Macdonald and Mr.
Groves, Thomas E. Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Duncan Graham.
Grundy, Thomas W. Maxton, James

I beg to move, in page 5, line 12, to leave out from the word "woman" to the word "and," in line 14, and to insert instead thereof the words "eleven shillings and sixpence."

The object of this Amendment is to secure an all-round reduction of sixpence from the sickness benefit payable to married women and single women, instead of throwing the whole reduction—two shillings—upon married women alone. I raise this point because I am not at all satisfied that any case has been made out with regard to sickness benefit for differentiation between married and single women. I accept the principle which the Minister of Health laid down, that where experience shows that you are paying more benefit than the valuation provision provided for, the benefit must come down. My Amendment seeks to apply that principle.

There are certain figures in the Actuary's report, to which reference has not been made in the Debate to-day, nor even in the Debates of last week. They show that the sickness benefit paid to unmarried women exceeds the valuation provision by 10 per cent., and that in the case of married women it exceeds the valuation provision by 12 per cent. In substance the excess of the distribution of sickness benefit over the valuation provision is substantially the same in both cases—10 per cent. in one and 12 per cent. in the other. The disablement benefit position is quite different. The excess of disablement benefit paid to the married woman is 90 per cent. over the valuation provision, and it is only 23 per cent. over the valuation provision in the case of the unmarried woman. There is a huge difference—the one 23 per cent. over, and the other 90 per cent. over. There would seem to be ample differentiation between the two classes when you are dealing with disablement benefit, but when you are dealing with sickness benefit no one can suggest that there is any difference worth talking about. The two, as regards sickness benefit, are to all intents and purposes in the same position.

If the fund is short, where is the case for putting the whole of the burden upon the married woman and leaving the unmarried woman entirely out of it? Both classes have exceeded the valuation provision to the same extent and yet the scheme of the Bill is to throw the whole of the undervaluation or over-distribution upon the married women. There are four unmarried women to every married woman. Therefore, a deduction of 6d. all round would at least give us much as the deduction of the 2s. from the married women alone. You might have something in hand. If the sum of 6d. did not meet the position, probably 8d. or 9d. would. Whatever it was, there must be some figure lower than 2s. which, if deducted from the whole 5,500,000 would give you the sum aimed at instead of seeking to receive such a sum by getting all the money out of the pockets of the unmarried women.

I submit that my Amendment is consistent with the principle laid down by the Minister himself, that it is applying that principle fairly, and that no case has been made out for this unfair distribution. No one would feel hardship. The Minister spoke of "only 2s." If it is fair to speak of "only 2s." where you are taking 17 per cent. off the sickness benefit, you can use several "only 2s" when you are merely deducting,6d. I do not think that anyone would feel the deduction of 6d. It would remove the sense of injustice. I cannot conceive married women who understand the position not feeling a genuine sense of hardship and injustice if their sickness benefit were reduced by 2s., and if in the case of the unmarried women sickness benefit was not reduced at all. I re-read the Debate the other night to find whether any reason had been given for the proposal. The only thing I saw was a suggestion that the Minister liked the idea of the disablement benefit being just one-half the sickness benefit; therefore 6s. as against 12s., and 5s. as against 10s. Surely there is nothing in that. That principle does not apply now. It is 12s. and 7s. 6d. for disablement. I cannot see any justification for it simply because someone likes the idea of the disablement benefit being half that of sickness benefit. I raise the point in order to give the Minister, or the Parliamentary Secretary, an opportunity of explaining—it has not yet been done—the reason for the differentiation as regards sickness benefit, when as to both married and unmarried women the position is precisely the same. The amount spent has been 12 per cent. and 10 per cent. over the valuation provision.


I beg to second the Amendment.

I do so for the purpose of putting a few points to the Minister of Health in respect of the varying of employment arising out of this matter. Some of us feel that it is a sad state of society in our country that married women should be compelled to go out to work, but such is the position—and it is to their honour—that in a great many instances the state of the home compels them to go out to work, as their earnings are essential I conceive a position arising in respect of this matter, which, unless it is carefully adjusted, will place a very-serious handicap upon married women in regard to employment. I, therefore, ask the Minister to reconsider the provision in regard to the proposal in the Clause. If the proposal is not altered it will handicap married women who have to go to work and lead to some disadvantage of unmarried women, although not in the same proportion as in the case of their married sisters. It is a paradox and a problem, and I ask the Minister of Health if he cannot see his way to reconsider the position?


I should have thought that when the Ministry came forward with a proposal in regard to the reduction of certain benefits of any particular class from the actuarial point of view, and in view of the equalisation scheme in operation since 1912 under the original contract, there could have been no justification for saying that there should be the same rates of benefit and the same contributions in respect of two classes of insured members. Who else, from the point of view of actuarial sickness calculations, would draw benefit if they were not the married women? The married woman suffers all the difficulties, and naturally she is the person to whom the State should give the greatest assistance. The parent certainly requires all the help which can be given, and the State should certainly come along with assistance. I am anxious to know whether the Minister is prepared, seeing that there is a contra-distinction between married women and single women, to make any reduction in regard to contributions. If not, I consider the whole basis of insurance is being misapplied. It should be applied all round. We ought to have had statistics in regard to every class, and there should have been grada- tions in every class if the matter was to be dealt with absolutely on the sickness basis. This is a direct attack on the married woman. She is unfortunate and has to bear the brunt of the attack. Is she to pay? It appears that she has to pay, and that preferential treatment is being given to one particular class. I cannot see that anything is going to come in the way of much benefit from the extra shilling, but I shall vote for it. I would, however, like the Minister to say whether there is going to be a reduction in contributions corresponding to the amount which he is taking away in benefit.


The hon. and learned Member for Altrincham (Mr. Atkinson) has put his case with his usual lucidity, and has made constructive suggestions for dealing with a problem in the scheme of the Bill. It is not merely a question of percentages but of an actual loss of money also. Taking the whole scheme, we have to face a loss of £850,000. That loss is distributed between married and unmarried women as to £430,000 for the unmarried women and £420,000 a year for the married women, but whereas there are only 1,100,000 insured married women there are 4,400,000 insured unmarried women. We had to decide how we could meet that annual loss, which is due to various reasons. The House is well aware that those reasons cannot be stated in a sentence or two. There is always the danger of stressing one point against another. It is clear from the experience of the societies, not merely from their health insurance experience but from their private voluntary experience, that the married women risk is a very different risk from the single woman risk, in regard to sickness itself, and the economic risk is also a different one for the married woman. The hon. Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone) put the matter in her own words. She said: At the same time, I am not going to deny that there is a real difficulty here. The married woman has undeniably a greater temptation to malinger than the married man. I think there is some confusion, because hon. Members have spoken as if sickness was a clearly defined thing. The fact is that sickness is a relative thing. Many married women know, when they go out to work, that their work is badly needed at home, and if they are feeling slightly ill, they may deem it better policy to give up their work and claim on the fund, so that they may remain at home with the children. They are not actually working at home, but the value of their supervisory services at home, plus their sickness pay, is better worth their while than to continue at work."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th May, 1932; col. 1976, Vol. 265.] I do not phrase it that way. I would prefer to phrase it this way, that the whole experience of the approved societies in regard to married women makes it perfectly clear, and this has been stressed much more in the last three or four years, that the most subtle difficulty of the problem that the secretaries and officers of approved societies have to face, and that the doctors have to face, is in actually deciding whether a married woman is or is not sick. That is the main problem with which we are dealing.

8.30 p.m.

I regret that I cannot accept the hon. and learned Member's solution, because it would mean in the terms of our problem a loss of 10 per cent. of the saving. That is a vital matter from the point of view of acceptance of the Amendment. We are being asked by the Amendment to equalise the burden, but I would point out that the unmarried women already under our solution bear a part of the loss in respect of married women, because their disablement benefit is slightly reduced for them, though not as much as that of the married women. The unmarried women—and they include widows, for the single woman and the widow are grouped together, which is a very important point—number 4,400,000 as compared with 1,100,000 married women, who are actually responsible for half the loss. The Amendment asks us in the terms of sickness benefit to deprive the fund of 10 per cent. of the savings that we have already hardly got by this painful process, and in doing that to ask 80 per cent. of the women members of the societies, who already share the burden which is mainly caused by 20 per cent. of the women members, to share more. May I give one further figure? May I remind the Committee that the Actuary, in working out this matter, said

that the average yearly loss per member for single women amounted to 2s. while the average yearly loss for married women amounted to 7s. 6d.? It is for these reasons that I regret I cannot accept the Amendment. We cannot afford it. We have already taken a risk amounting, if our expectations are not fulfilled, to £500,000 a year, and we cannot afford to give away another pound, nor should we do justice to the single women, including the widows, by putting any more burden on their shoulders than is already imposed under the scheme of the Bill.


This is not the only injustice that the Government are doing in this Bill. I am not convinced by the arguments that the Parliamentary Secretary has used. They are the old arguments. They carry us no further forward. The hon. Member has developed what he did not possess when he sat on this side of the House. He has developed what I might call the money mind. The other considerations seem to have fallen into the background, and now he appears as the arch-apostle of economy. The £850,000 loss has become a nightmare to him and the Minister of Health, and no human considerations have been allowed to weigh in these Debates from the day that the Bill was introduced. I did not expect that the Government would accept the Amendment. I should not have been surprised if they had accepted the new Clause, to put an additional imposition on the insured women. A case has been made out for the Amendment, the case that has been made out from this side of the House on more than one occasion. I hope that the hon. and learned Member will stick to his guns, for we shall be delighted to follow him into the Lobby.

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

The House divided: Ayes, 244; Noes, 40.

Division No. 252.] AYES. [8.34 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.) Balniel, Lord
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Barclay-Harvey, C. M.
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Aske, Sir Robert William Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles Atholl, Duchess of Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell
Albery, Irving James Balfour, George (Hampstead) Beaumont, Hn. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.) Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel
Blindell, James Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Bossom, A. C. Hanley, Dennis A. Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Boulton, W. W. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Ramsbotham, Herwald
Bowyer, Capt Sir George E. W. Harbord, Arthur Ramsden, E.
Boyce, H. Leslie Hartland, George A. Rathbone, Eleanor
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Rea, Walter Russell
Broadbent, Colonel John Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston) Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Hornby, Frank Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Horsbrugh, Florence Renter, John R.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Howard, Tom Forrest Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip
Burghley, Lord Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Burnett, John George Hume, Sir George Hopwood Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Robinson, John Roland
Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley) Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford) Rosbotham, S. T.
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Ross, Ronald D.
Cassels, James Dale James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Castle Stewart, Earl Janner, Barnett Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Jesson, Major Thomas E. Runge, Norah Cecil
Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan) Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Johnstons, Harcourt (S. Shields) Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Chalmers, John Rutherford Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Rutherford, Sir John Hugo
Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.) Jones Lewis (Swansea West) Salmon, Major Isidore
Clarry, Reginald George Ker, J. Campbell Salt, Edward W.
Clayton, Dr. George C. Kerr, Hamilton W. Bandsman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D, Kimball, Lawrence Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Conant, R. J. E. Knox, Sir Alfred Scone, Lord
Cook, Thomas A. Leech, Dr. J. W. Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Cooke, Douglas Lees-Jones, John Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Cooper, A. Duff Levy, Thomas Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Copeland, Ida Lewis, Oswald Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Cowan, D. M. Liddall, Walter, S. Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)
Cranborne, Viscount Lindsay, Noel Ker Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Crooke, J. Smedley Lister, Rt. Hon Sir Philip Cunliffe- Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Llewellin, Major John J. Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Smithers, Waldron
Crossley, A. C. Mabane, William Somervell, Donald Bradley
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick) Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Culverwell, Cyril Tom MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw) Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) McKie, John Hamilton Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Davison, Sir William Henry McLean, Major Alan Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Denman, Hon. R. D. McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Denville, Alfred Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest Stevenson, James
Dickie, John P. Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Stones, James
Dixey, Arthur C. N. Margesson, Capt. Henry David R. Storey, Samuel
Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert Martin, Thomas B. Stourton, Hon. John J.
Drewe, Cedric Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Strauss, Edward A.
Duggan, Hubert John Meller, Richard James Strickland, Captain W. F.
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Eady, George H. Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k) Summersby, Charles H.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres Sutcliffe, Harold
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Moreing, Adrian C. Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Erskine-Boist, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.) Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Essenhigh, Reginald Clare Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.) Thorp, Linton Theodore
Everard, W. Lindsay Morrison, William Shepherd Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Muirhead, Major A J. Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Nail, Sir Joseph Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Fremantle, Sir Francis Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Turton, Robert Hugh
Ganzoni, Sir John Normand, Wilfrid Guild Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton O'Connor, Terence James Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Gillett, Sir George Masterman O'Donovan, Dr. William James Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Ormiston, Thomas Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon William G. A. Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Palmer, Francis Noel Wise, Alfred R.
Graves, Marjorie Peat, Charles U. Withers, Sir John James
Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Penny, Sir George Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley
Greene, William P. C. Perkins, Walter R. D. Worthington, Dr. John V.
Gritten, W. G. Howard Petherick, M. Wragg, Herbert
Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)
Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada
Guy, J. C. Morrison Pike, Cecil F. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Potter, John Sir Victor Warrender and Mr.
Hales, Harold K. Procter, Major Henry Adam Womersley.
Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon) Raikes, Henry V. A. M.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Duncan, Charles (Derby, Claycross)
Attlee, Clement Richard Cripps, Sir Stafford Edwards, Charles
Batey, Joseph Daggar, George Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)
Briant, Frank Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Thorne, William James
Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Lawson, John James Tinker, John Joseph
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Leonard, William Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David
Groves, Thomas E. Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Grundy, Thomas W. McEntee, Valentine L. Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Milner, Major James Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Hicks, Ernest George Parkinson, John Allen Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Hirst, George Henry Price, Gabriel Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Salter, Dr. Alfred
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Mr. Atkinson and Captain Spencer.

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

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

The House divided: Ayes, 243; Noes, 47.

Division No. 253.] AYES. [8.43 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Drewe, Cedric Llewellin, Major John J.
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Duggan, Hubert John Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Mabane, William
Albery, Irving James Eady, George H. MacAndrew, Lt.-Col C. G. (Partick)
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.) Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.) Emrys-Evans, P. V. McKie, John Hamilton
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton
Atholl, Duchess of Erskine-Boist, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) McLean, Major Alan
Atkinson, Cyril Essenhigh, Reginald Clare McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Everard, W. Lindsay Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot
Balniel, Lord Fremantle, Sir Francis Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Ganzoni, Sir John Martin, Thomas B.
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Gillett, Sir George Masterman Meller, Richard James
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.) Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Merriman, Sir F. Boyd
Blinded, James Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)
Bossom, A. C. Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw' k)
Boulton, W. W. Graves, Marjorie Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Moreing, Adrian C.
Boyce, H. Leslie Greene, William P. C. Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Gritten, W. G. Howard Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)
Broadbent, Colonel John Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. Morrison, William Shepherd
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Muirhead, Major A. J.
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd, Hexham) Guy, J. C. Morrison Nail, Sir Joseph
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Hales, Harold K. Normand, Wilfrid Guild
Burghley, Lord Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon) O'Connor, Terence James
Burnett, John George Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) O'Donovan, Dr. William James
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Hanley, Dennis A. Ormiston, Thomas
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.
Campbell. Rear-Admiral G. (Burnley) Harbord, Arthur Palmer, Francis Noel
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Hartland, George A. Peat, Charles U.
Cassels, James Dale Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Penny, Sir George
Castle Stewart, Earl Hollgers, Captain F. F. A. Perkins, Walter R. D.
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Hope. Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston) Petherick, M.
Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Hornby, Frank Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)
Chalmers, John Rutherford Horsbrugh, Florence Pike, Cecil F.
Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.) Howard, Tom Forrest Potter, John
Clarry, Reginald George Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Procter, Major Henry Adam
Clayton, Dr. George C. Hume, Sir George Hopwood Raikes, Henry V. A. M.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Conant, R. J. E. Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Cook, Thomas A. Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Ramsbotham, Herwald
Cooke, Douglas Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford) Ramsden, E.
Cooper, A. Duff Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Rea, Walter Russell
Copeland, Ida James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Cowan, D. M. Jesson, Major Thomas E. Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)
Cranborne, Viscount Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan) Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Remer, John R.
Crooke, J. Smedley Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip
Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Ker, J. Campbell Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Crossley, A. C. Kerr, Hamilton W. Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Kimball, Lawrence Robinson, John Roland
Culverwell, Cyril Tom Knox, Sir Alfred Rosbotham, S. T.
Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) Leckie, J. A. Ross, Ronald D.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Leech, Dr. J. W. Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Davison, Sir William Henry Lees-Jones, John Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.
Denman, Hon. R. D. Levy, Thomas Runge, Norah Cecil
Denville, Alfred Lewis, Oswald Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)
Dickie, John P. Liddall, Walter S. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Dixey, Arthur C. N Lindsay, Noel Ker Rutherford, Sir John Hugo
Salmon, Major Isidore Southby, Commander Archibald R. J. Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Salt, Edward W. Spencer, Captain Richard A. Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland) Turton, Robert Hugh
Scone, Lord Stevenson, James Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell) Stones, James Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar) Storey, Samuel Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Shepperson, Sir Ernest W. Stourton, Hon. John J. Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Simmonds, Oliver Edwin Strauss, Edward A. Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness) Strickland, Captain W. F. Wise, Alfred R.
Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich) Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- Withers, Sir John James
Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F. Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley
Smith-Carington, Neville W. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart Worthington, Dr. John V.
Smithers, Waldron Summersby, Charles H. Wragg, Herbert
Somervell, Donald Bradley Sutcliffe, Harold Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)
Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor) Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East) Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E. Thorp, Linton Theodore Sir Victor Warrender and Mr.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Grundy, Thomas W. Milner, Major James
Attlee, Clement Richard Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Parkinson, John Allen
Batey, Joseph Hicks, Ernest George Price, Gabriel
Briant, Frank Hirst, George Henry Rathbone, Eleanor
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Jenkins, Sir William Salter, Dr. Alfred
Buchanan, George John, William Thorne, William James
Cape, Thomas Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Tinker, John Joseph
Cove, William G. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Wallhead, Richard C.
Cripps, Sir Stafford Kirkwood, David Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David
Daggar, George Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lawson, John James Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Duncan, Charles (Derby, Claycross) Leonard, William Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Edwards, Charles Logan, David Gilbert Williams, Thomas (York., Don Valley)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur McEntee, Valentine L.
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) McGovern, John TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Grithffis, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Mr. Gordon Macdonald and Mr.
Groves, Thomas E. Maxton, James Duncan Graham.

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

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

The House divided: Ayes, 243; Noes, 46.

Division No. 254.] AYES. [8.54 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Castle Stewart, Earl Erskine-Boist, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Cautley, Sir Henry S. Essenhigh, Reginald Clare
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Everard, W. Lindsay
Albery, Irving James Chalmers, John Rutherford Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.) Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.) Fremantle, Sir Francis
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.) Clarry, Reginald George Ganzoni, Sir John
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Clayton, Dr. George C. Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton
Atholl, Duchess of Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Gillett, Sir George Masterman
Atkinson, Cyril Conant, R. J. E. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Cook, Thomas A. Goodman, Colonel Albert W.
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Cooke, Douglas Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas
Balniel, Lord Cooper, A. Duff Graves, Marjorie
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Copeland, Ida Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar Cowan, D. M. Greene, William P. C.
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Cranborne, Viscount Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)
Beaumont. Hn. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.) Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Gritten, W. G. Howard
Blindell, James Crooke, J. Smedley Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.
Bossom, A. C. Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.
Bouiton, W. W. Croom-Johnson, R. P. Guy, J. C. Morrison
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George F. W. Crossley, A. C. Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.
Boyce, H. Leslie Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Hales, Harold K.
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Culverwell, Cyril Tom Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)
Broadbent, Colonel John Denman, Hon. R. D. Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Denville, Alfred Hanley, Dennis A.
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Dickie, John P. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Dixey, Arthur C. N. Harbord, Arthur
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert Hartland, George A.
Burghley, Lord Drewe, Cedric Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)
Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Duggan, Hubert John Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.
Burnett, John George Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston)
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Eady, George H. Hornby, Frank
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey Horsbrugh, Florence
Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley) Elliston, Captain George Sampson Howard, Tom Forrest
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Emrys-Evans, P. V. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)
Cassels, James Dale Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Hume, Sir George Hopwood
Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.) Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Morrison, William Shepherd Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Muirhead, Major A. J. Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford) Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)
Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Normand, Wilfrid Guild Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H. O'Connor, Terence James Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Jesson, Major Thomas E. O'Donovan, Dr. William James Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan) Ormiston, Thomas Smithers, Waldron
Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Palmer, Francis Noel Somervell, Donald Bradley
Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Peat, Charles U. Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Penny, Sir George Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Perkins, Walter R. D. Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Ker, J. Campbell Petherick, M. Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Kerr, Hamilton W. Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston) Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Kimball, Lawrence Pike, Cecil F. Stevenson, James
Knox, Sir Alfred Potter, John Stones, James
Leckie, J. A. Procter, Major Henry Adam Storey, Samuel
Leech, Dr. J. W. Raikes, Henry V. A. M. Stourton, Hon. John J.
Lees-Jones, John Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) Strauss, Edward A.
Levy, Thomas Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Strickland, Captain W. F.
Lewis, Oswald Ramsbotham, Herwald Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Liddall, Walter S. Ramsden, E. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Lindsay, Noel Ker Rea, Walter Russell Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe- Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter) Summersby, Charles H.
Llewellin, Major John J. Reid, James S. C. (Stirling) Sutcliffe, Harold
Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Reid, William Allan (Derby) Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Mabane, William Remer, John R. Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick) Renwick, Major Gustav A. Thorp, Linton Theodore
McCorquodale, M. S. Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw) Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U. Touche, Gordon Cosmo
McKie, John Hamilton Roberts, Aled (Wrexham) Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall) Turton, Robert Hugh
McLean, Major Alan Robinson, John Roland Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Rosbotham, S. T. Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest Ross, Ronald D. Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Margesson, Capt. Henry David R. Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A. Wise, Alfred R.
Marsden, Commander Arthur Runge, Norah Cecil Withers, Sir John James
Martin, Thomas B. Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy) Womersley, Walter James
Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley
Meller, Richard James Rutherford, Sir John Hugo Worthington, Dr. John V.
Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Salmon, Major Isidore Wragg, Herbert
Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.) Salt, Edward W. Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)
Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k) Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Moreing, Adrian C. Scone, Lord Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert
Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.) Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell) Ward and Major George Davies.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Maxton, James
Attlee, Clement Richard Grundy, Thomas W. Milner, Major James
Batey, Joseph Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Parkinson, John Allen
Briant, Frank Hicks, Ernest George Price, Gabriel
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hirst, George Henry Rathbone, Eleanor
Buchanan, George Jenkins, Sir William Salter, Dr. Alfred
Cape, Thomas Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Thorne, William James
Cove, William G. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Tinker, John Joseph
Cripps, Sir Stafford Kirkwood, David Wallhead, Richard C.
Daggar, George Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lawson, John James Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Duncan, Charles (Derby, Claycross) Leonard, William Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Edwards, Charles Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) McEntee, Valentine L. Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur McGovern, John
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Mr. John and Mr. Groves.

I beg to move, in page 5, line 19, at the end, to insert the words: Provided that married women whose husbands are incapacitated from work or are unemployed and not in receipt of benefit shall be entitled to benefit as if they were not married. I would appeal to the Minister and to the Members of the House to see the reasonableness of this Amendment. It seeks to provide that a woman with a husband who is incapacitated from work or who is out of work and receiving no benefit shall be regarded as a single woman for the purposes of this Clause. The Minister, I have no doubt, will say that a man who is incapacitated receives possibly sickness benefit or disablement benefit, but the great point that is made in connection with married women is this, that married women have some inducement not to compete for a job in the same degree as a single woman. That is the case, but here, in the case of a man who is incapacitated, the whole burden of keeping him is thrown on his wife. In the case of unemployment insurance, a woman in that category can claim unemployment benefit, and receive if, if she can prove that she maintains her husband when he is incapacitated. Again, in the case of Income Tax, a woman who has a taxable income and can prove that her husband is incapacitated is entitled to a rebate of Income Tax on the ground that her husband is dependent on her. Single women are better off, and a widow may have the widows' pension, and to that extent she is in a better position than the woman who has to maintain a man who may be receiving at the best only disablement benefit.

All the arguments which are generally adduced about married women having an incentive to get something extra cannot be applied in this case where the married woman is obviously in a position of the breadwinner. We have had no concessions in this Bill, and I appeal to the Minister to meet us on this point. It may be argued that the test whether a man is in receipt of public funds may mean something or nothing, but if the Minister cannot grant us that test, we ask him to grant us the test of capacity for work. When we were debating capacity for work in regard to Income Tax, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury said that it was a definite test that could be easily made. If it is a test that can easily be made for Income Tax purposes, it is surely easy to say that a woman who has this added burden, should not have reduced scales of sickness benefit. Such a woman who is supporting a man may be saving the State funds locally and nationally, particularly locally, because she prevents him from being a burden on the local rates. The Income Tax Acts and the Unemployment Insurance Act deal with this type of woman as being deserving of help. We have purposely couched this Amendment moderately. We have been twitted for making extravagant speeches, but in this case we have drawn up the Amendment in a mild form purposely in the hope that it will appeal to the Minister and to the House. When we pressed for a similar Amendment when the Anomalies Act was under discussion, we received strong support from all quarters of the House, and we hope that the House will respond in the same way to this Amendment


I beg to second the Amendment.

To previous requests, the Minister has replied that he cannot make concessions, that he made all the concessions in the Bill as he produced it, and that he can do no more consistently with maintaining the solvency of the fund. There are not many cases of this kind, but those that there are deserve the fullest sympathy. The fewness of the cases that will arise may lead the Minister to say that it is not worth legislating for so few people, and that their needs will be met in other ways. We are thinking of the cases where the needs are not met in other ways, where the woman is going out to work, and, in addition to shouldering the responsibility of running her household, has the burden and responsibility of an invalid husband. The position of that woman is worse than the position of the widow or the single woman. She has not merely lost her breadwinner, but has an additional family responsibility to bear.

This concession cannot cost in bulk a sufficient amount to endanger the solvency of the fund. We have not treated the Minister badly; we have been very sympathetic. We know the struggle he had on the Town Planning Bill with Members of his own party and no doubt he thinks that it is not fair that one Minister should be badgered to death between the hosts behind him and the hordes in front of him—although "hordes" is the wrong term to apply here. We have been sympathetic towards him. We have not been carrying our antagonism to the Bill, which is very real, to undue lengths. I have always seen in previous Parliaments that the Minister generally handed out some reward to the Opposition for pertinacity that was not accompanied by offensiveness. We are asking this very small thing not for ourselves, but for a small section of the community who are suffering great hardship.


I always like to hear the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), for whether he puts his case in extravagant or mild terms, he is always an expert Parliamentarian. He puts his case with great effect and plausibility, but rather disarms the Minister because he is generally aware of the pitfalls of his own Amendment, as indeed he is in this case. Obviously, he thought that the Minister would reply that the terms had not been denned. That is true. What do public funds mean? They may mean half a dozen things, but I do not want to stress that.


We took the words from another Act of Parliament which is administered by another Department, and we thought that if it can be administered by one Department, it can be administered by two such geniuses as preside over the Ministry of Health.


The hon. Member has given another example of his Parliamentary ability and of his plausibility. He has been long enough in the House to know that a thing that is denned in an Act administered by one Minister may be entirely different from a thing denned in another Act administered by another Minister for another purpose. I will not raise difficulties in regard to technicalities, however, but some curious reactions may be discovered in the Amendment. It would mean, for example, that the wives of all unemployed agricultural labourers would get the benefits of single women.

Let me come down to the substance of the Amendment. Of course, if concessions could have been made on merits inside the fund they would have been made. The Minister made it perfectly plain at the beginning that all the facts that we could foresee had been foreseen when the Bill was drawn, and it is for that reason, and not from any hard-heartedness or lack of understanding, or because we might have sat later than 3.15 in the morning, that we have not conceded this point; it was because all the facts were opposed to it and no concessions were possible. Let me deal with

two other reasons, taking the first from the point of view of the man himself. The hon. Member for Gorbals said a man who is uninsured and incapacitated probably is a bit better off than the man who is insured. If the man is insured and he is sick or incapacitated he has either got sickness benefit, disablement benefit or workmen's compensation. That is so, and that is the answer.

With regard to the uninsured man, the case is rather different. The hon. Member said it was easy to determine incapacity for work for the purposes of Income Tax, but he knows very well that the test is an entirely different one from that in the case of incapacity for work under unemployment insurance. There are entirely different tests, and entirely different arrangements with regard to the test. The final objection on merits to this Amendment is this: health insurance is based upon a carefully balanced series of factors, and what the hon. Member and his friends are asking us to do is to enter upon a series of unknown factors, by asking health insurance societies to determine a category of considerations which are not within the structure of the Act. It is not the duty of health insurance societies to decide when a man is or is not employed in these terms, and what they are asking societies to do is a very dangerous thing, that is, to make the societies liable for extra benefits by reason of a state of affairs which has no connection at all with the very finely balanced considerations which make health insurance such a complicated structure. I am sure the Minister shares my regret that we cannot accede to the plea which has been made to us, but on merits I think we ought not to cast such a burden upon the approved societies.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes. 44; Noes, 249.

Division No. 255.] AYES. [9.18 p.m.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Leonard, William
Attlee, Clement Richard Groves, Thomas E. Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)
Batey, Joseph. Grundy, Thomas W. McEntee, Valentine L.
Briant, Frank Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) McGovern, John
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Cape, Thomas Hicks, Ernest George Maxton, James
Cove, William G. Hirst, George Henry Milner, Major James
Cripps, Sir Stafford Jenkins, Sir William Parkinson, John Allen
Daggar, George John, William Price, Gabriel
Duncan, Charles (Derby, Claycross) Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Salter, Dr. Alfred
Edwards, Charles Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Thorne, William James
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Tinker, John Joseph
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Lawson, John James Wallhead, Richard C.
Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Williams, David (Swansea, East) William, Thomas (York., Don Valley) Mr. Buchanan and Mr. Kirkwood.
Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Ganzoni, Sir John Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton Morris, Rhys Hopkin (Cardigan)
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Gillett, Sir George Masterman Morrison, William Shepherd
Albery, Irving James Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Muirhead, Major A. J.
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.) Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.) Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Normand, Wilfrid Guild
Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent) Graves, Marjorie O'Connor, Terence James
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter O'Donovan, Dr. William James
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe Greene, William P. C. Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.
Atholl, Duchess of Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Palmer, Francis Noel
Atkinson, Cyril Gritten, W. G. Howard Peat, Charles U.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Penny, Sir George
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Guy, J. C. Morrison Perkins, Walter B. D.
Balniel, Lord Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Petherick, M.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Hales, Harold K. Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon) Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.) Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) Pike, Cecil F.
Bossom, A. C. Hammersley, Samuel S. Potter, John
Boulton, W. W. Hanley, Dennis A. Procter, Major Henry Adam
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Raikes, Henry V. A. M.
Boyce, H. Leslie Harbord, Arthur Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Harris, Sir Percy Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Broadbent, Colonel John Hartland, George A. Bamsbotham, Herwald
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Harvey. Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Ramsden, E.
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd, Hexham) Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Rea, Walter Russell
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston) Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-
Burghley, Lord Hornby, Frank Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)
Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Horsbrugh, Florence Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Burnett, John George Howard, Tom Forrest Renwick, Major Gustav A.
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Hume, Sir George Hopwood Rhys, Hon Charles Arthur U.
Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley) Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)
Castle Stewart, Earl Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Robinson, John Roland
Cautley Sir Henry S. Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd) Rosbotham, S. T.
Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Ross, Ronald D.
Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (P'rtsm'th, S.) James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Janner, Barnett Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.
Chalmers, John Rutherford Jesson, Major Thomas E. Runge, Norah Cecil
Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.) Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan) Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)
Clarry, Reginald George Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Clayton, Dr. George C. Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Rutherford, Sir John Hugo
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Salmon, Major Isidore
Colville, John Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Salt, Edward W.
Conant, R. J. E. Ker, J. Campbell Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Cook, Thomas A. Kerr, Hamilton W. Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Cooke, Douglas Kimball, Lawrence Savery, Samuel Servington
Cooper, A. Duff Knight, Holford Scone, Lord
Copeland, Ida Leckie, J. A. Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Cowan, D. M. Leech, Dr. J. W. Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Cranborne, Viscount Lees-Jones, John Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Levy, Thomas Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Crooke, J. Smedley Lewis, Oswald Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)
Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Liddall, Walter S. Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Lindsay, Noel Ker Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Crossley, A. C. Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe- Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Llewellin, Major John J. Smithers, Waldron
Culverwell, Cyril Tom Lockwood. John C. (Hackney, C.) Somervell, Donald Bradley
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Loder, Captain J. de Vere Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Denman, Hon. R. D. Mabane, William Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Danville, Alfred MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. C. (Partick) Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Dickie, John P. McCorquodale, M. S. Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Dixey. Arthur C. N. MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw) Stanley Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert McKie, John Hamilton Stevenson, James
Dower, Captain A. V. G. McLean, Major Alan Stones, James
Drewe, Cedric McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Storey, Samuel
Duggan, Hubert John Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest Stourton, Hon. John J.
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Strauss, Edward A.
Eady, George H. Margesson, Capt. Henry David R. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey Marsden, Commander Arthur Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Elliston, Captain George Sampson Martin, Thomas B. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Meller, Richard James Sutcliffe, Harold
Erskine, Boist, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Essenhigh, Reginald Clare Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.) Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Everard, W. Lindsay Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Thorp, Linton Theodore
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k) Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Turton, Robert Hugh Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay) Wragg, Herbert
Wallace, John (Dunfermline) Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend) Wise, Alfred R.
Warrender, Sir Victor A. G. Womersley, Walter James TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Wells, Sydney Richard Worthington, Dr. John V. Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward
and Mr. Blindell.

I beg to move, in page 5, line 19, at the end, to insert the words: Provided that the foreging rates of sickness and disablement benefit shall be subject to review by the Minister at a date not later than the thirty-first day of December, nineteen hundred and, thirty-five, or the completion of the fourth valuation whichever be the earlier. The purpose of the Amendment which stands in my name and that of other hon. Members, is that if, when the next Valuation takes place, owing to more careful administration, to the reduction in benefit which will have been paid in the intervening years, and also, we most sincerely hope, owing to improved trade, there should be any surplus accruing to the societies of which women are the members, the cash benefits which are reduced by the Clause should be a first charge on such surplus, and that they should be restored either in whole or in part. It may be argued that it is within the power of the approved societies to restore those benefits if they have surpluses and if they so desire, and that this Amendment would, to some extent, encroach on the powers and the freedom of the approved societies. I would point out, however, that every National Health Insurance Bill has laid down the principle that there shall be minimum benefits which are a first charge on the funds of the societies, and it is only after these minimum cash benefits have been paid that approved societies may distribute such disposable surpluses as they have in the manner they wish. Furthermore, these cash benefits have been from time to time altered and increased, from the time of the first National Insurance Act passed in 1911, and it has always been for Parliament and not for the approved societies to determine what these alterations should be. It was further laid down in Section 11 of the 1924 Act that any extended benefits which it might be possible for societies to pay should be determined by Parliament and not by the approved societies. Therefore, this Amendment does not interfere with the liberties of approved societies any more than any previous National Health Insurance Act has done.

9.30 p.m.

To take the other point, that approved societies may, if they wish, distribute any surpluses they may have, either in cash benefits or an some other way. It is perfectly clear from what the Parliamentary Secretary said on the Committee stage that the freedom that approved societies have is to use these surpluses either for additional cash benefits or for any other benefits, such as ophthalmic, dental, or whatever benefits it may be. I want the House to consider the position of those societies which have both men and women members, and where the funds of the men and women are joint, and not separate. If the funds are separate, it is for the women to determine what shall be done with the women's surplus. In those cases where the funds are joint, it is for all the members to determine how these surpluses shall be used. There are a very large number of societies in which the funds are still joint and not separate, and it is perhaps worth observing that in the majority of those societies the men members out-number the women. If it is for the members to determine how the surpluses shall be used, though the women may wish them to be used for the restoration of the cash benefits, the men might very likely prefer that they should be used for such additional benefits as ophthalmic, dental and other benefits, and one could not prevent them. We think the restoration of those benefits should be a first charge on any surpluses. It might very well be that the size of the surplus was very largely due to the fact that these reduced benefits have been paid over a term of some years.

I want, also, to draw the attention of the House to a matter which has been frequently referred to in the course of the Debate—the great disparity in the situation of the most prosperous and the least prosperous societies. It might very well be that though the funds of the societies as a whole might at the end of the next valuation period show a very good and general increase, you might yet have a position where the most prosperous societies which have the best lives and the best contributions would be able to restore those cash benefits and to pay additional outside benefits over and above them, and, at the other end of the scale, you might very well have societies which contain industrial workers from the depressed areas, where trade had not sufficiently improved for the funds to have improved as compared with other societies, and these might well be in deficiency The point we wish to make is that, within the limits of National Health Insurance it is possible that there should be some pooling of resource's. You have to-day a position in which, taking the mass of societies as a whole, their sickness claims are not up to the general expectations and you have some societies, notably the miners' societies, where the sickness claims are just as much in excess of the expectations as are the women's claims, and where their contributions have been lowered owing to unemployment. Yet it is possible to-day to continue to pay the statutory benefit to members of those societies, as long as they are well administered, because they are allowed to draw on the central reserve fund.

The object of this Amendment is that should there be a return to prosperity and disposable surpluses, those surpluses should not be solely disposed of as each society might wish but that, in the general improvement which we hope will come, all the women's societies should have the same share. It is only possible to arrive at that by some Amendment such as we here propose. This Amendment does not depart from any principle which is not already implicit in the National Health Insurance Acts. Clause 3 asks for very serious sacrifices from a large number of insured women—from all insured women—but from the insured married women in greater proportion than from the insured single women. If the House will adopt this Amendment it will show that it is not unmindful of those women and of the sacrifices that they have had to make, and it will say that where and if there shall be surpluses accruing to the women's funds in general, and in those societies of which women are members, the restoration of the cash benefits shall be the first claim upon any such surpluses.


I rise to support, very briefly, the Amendment which has been proposed by the hon. Member for North Hammersmith (Miss Pickford). I am par- ticularly anxious that the women in distressed areas shall retain, when and if the National Health Insurance Fund becomes solvent, the possibility of a higher statutory benefit than at present contemplated under the Bill. This also appears to be the most desirable method of redistributing any surplus which may accrue as a result of the passing of this Bill. I need not emphasise the points which have been so ably put forward by my hon. Friend, but I would like to remind the House that a common sacrifice by women in all societies, good, bad or indifferent, in order to preserve the stability of the fund, calls for an equal reward when available.

In order to amplify my statement, I would refer to the Actuary's report where, for example, we find that the Prudential Assurance Company, which is a women's society, had a disposable surplus at the last quinquennial valuation of £195,700, and, in contradistinction to this, that the women's section of the Amalgamated Weavers Association shows a deficit of £63,332. It is not unreasonable to assume that, as a result of the passing of this Bill, the funds of the Prudential Assurance Society will be very heavily strengthened, and if that society so decides it may put back the cuts which are made in the statutory benefits in this Bill. I think it is unlikely that at the end of the next valuation the fund of the weavers' society will be in surplus. It is more likely to remain in deficiency still with a lower statutory benefit, and requiring to draw from the central fund in order to meet its obligations. I emphasise very particularly also that the women in the weavers' society come from that part of the country, as do so many other members of societies which are in deficiency, from depressed areas where unemployment is blackest, and where it is less possible to make the sacrifices necessary to preserve the stability of the fund.

The Minister has resisted consistently, during the course of the Debate, any consideration of introducing legislation based on the findings of the Royal Commission and the May Committee, with regard to the disparity of the benefits which are given by individual societies. In rejecting this Amendment, I venture to say the House would tend to increase that disparity, or at any rate be running the risk of increasing the disparity in available benefits, which would be very regrettable. I most earnestly beg the Minister not entirely to close the door to the possibility that there may be, in the next few years, some improvement in the financial position of the insurance fund. We are not asking in any way that we should retract from the steps which have been taken to place the fund in a solvent position, and we are not attempting to interfere with what may be termed the vested interests of the societies. We are merely suggesting that if, at the period mentioned, or at the end of the next quinquennial valuation, the position over the whole field of women's insurance is better, we shall reserve to the House of Commons the right to say whether it would not be better to restore the statutory benefits, rather than to allow the societies to distribute their surplus funds, with the possibility of creating unfairness among those who have made a common sacrifice.


This Amendment has been argued by the two hon. Members with close knowledge of this intricate subject, and with a close relevancy, which is refreshing in our Debates upon this topic. I have followed from step to step the very able sequence of the argument with the greatest interest and attention. If I am unable to accept the Amendment the reasons are two. The first is that, excellent as was the argument that was put forward to support some other Amendment which it might have been possible to frame with the object in question, it was certainly not in support of this Amendment. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment said that her object was to make a restoration to the original level of the cash benefits to women a first charge upon any future improvement. That is very clear, but the Amendment certainly would not do that. The Amendment says: Provided that the foregoing rates of sickness and disablement benefit shall be subject to review by the Minister at a date not later than the thirty-first day of December"— and so on. The Minister might review them and do nothing. He might review them and restore them, and he might review them and alter them in any way that he pleased. The Amendment certainly would not secure the object of the hon. Ladies.

The second reason why this Amendment could not be accepted is that it would have the effect of bestowing a most astonishing power upon the Minister. What is meant by a review? It cannot only be meant that he should have a good look at the thing, say, "Well, that's that," and go and do something else. If the Amendment is intended to have any effect, it must, I imagine, be intended to have the effect of giving the Minister the power to readjust the rates according to his own sweet will. There have been occasions which are not far past, on which I have had to maintain the power of the Minister to take certain action, but I should certainly hesitate to claim for the Minister the power thus to review and to change a deliberate legislative decision of the House of Commons. That seems to me to be, in the first place, a fatal objection to the Amendment.

Now let me proceed—passing by the actual phraseology of the Amendment, which, as I have said, is not, I think, really well directed to the purpose for which it is intended—to the contention so clearly expressed and so well maintained in argument by the two hon. Members. Their intention, as I understand it, is this: They would say, "Here, in bad times, you find it necessary to cut down benefits. Times may get better; it may be possible to increase benefits again; and in that case we desire to secure that the benefits shall be restored." That, I take it, is the central purpose of the Amendment.

No special legislation is necessary for that purpose. The assets of every society are revalued at intervals of five years. We cannot allow a period of less than five years, for five years is no more than adequate to ascertain the actual condition of a society. At the end of the valuation period, a society will find itself either with a surplus or without a surplus. If it finds itself without a surplus, then the question does not arise; there is no question of increasing benefits. If the society finds itself with a surplus, then it is perfectly open to the society to make use of that surplus by way of additional benefit in the following manner. It can devote part of its surplus as an additional benefit to increasing the cash benefits of its members, and, if it pleases it can make use of the surplus in order to increase the cash benefits of its members in such a manner as to restore the re- duction which is now being made. It will be seen, therefore, that the whole purpose desired by the hon. Members can be achieved under the existing law in those cases in which it is possible of achievement.

As I followed the argument of the hon. Members, they would like to go a step further, and say to the societies, "You not only may use your surplus, if you have one, in this manner, but you shall thus use it." I, for one, cannot see, however, why this House, legislating some years before the occasion arises, should constrain and bind the liberty of the women's societies to do what they please with their own surpluses. There need be no suspicion that the will of the members of the societies would not prevail. The method of disposal of surpluses is one which, if I understand aright the procedure of approved societies, has to be considered in a meeting of the members of the societies. At that meeting, if they choose, the members can decide that an available surplus shall be made use of to increase the cash benefits. If they desire not to use the surplus in that manner, but in some other manner, I cannot, as I have said, see why we, acting some years before the time, should seek to bind their hands in advance.

Then the hon. Members put the more difficult case of the joint societies, in which there are both men and women members. As I understand their argument, they fear that in those cases the interests of the men would in all cases prevail, and that the desire of the women for an increase in their cash benefits might be sacrificed to the desire of the men members to allocate the surplus in some other manner. It is to be noticed, however, that the men members of such a society certainly could not, even if they desired to do so, get permission to allocate a surplus in any manner which would discriminate unfairly against the women members of the society. That would be quite impossible; the control is too good and close for that. Accepting, as we must, the basis of the organisation of our insurance system through approved societies, it would be quite improper for this House to seek to bind and constrain the liberty of the mixed society as regards the disposal of its surpluses. There again, if women are joined with men as members of a joint society, they must enter it on an equal status as regards determining the destination of surpluses, and must leave that question to the ordinary democratic procedure of the society; but I may point out in passing that, even if we were to seek now, at this point of time—very prematurely, as I think—to decide that, in the case of joint societies, there must be an allocation of surplus in the first place to increase women's benefits, we could not secure the position for the women members, because, unless we bound and constrained the allocation of the whole surplus, we could not prevent those responsible for the disposal of the surplus from, as it were, making that advantage to the women good by some equal or equivalent disadvantage in the allocation of some other part of the surplus. If we accept the basis of organisation through approved societies, it follows that we must accept the basis of free disposal of surpluses according to the will of the society, and that must apply to the joint society as much as it applies to the women's societies. Those are two objections to the acceptance of any such Amendment as this.

The general objection to the Amendment appears to me to be that it seeks too much to anticipate the future. It is impossible for us to say at the present time what is going to be the position at the end of the next valuation period. The hon. Members who have so cogently supported this Amendment are anxious—and I fully understand the reasons for their anxiety—that, if a restoration of the cash benefits of the women at the end of the period is possible, it should take place. I have pointed out that it will be for the women themselves to decide whether that is to be so or not. Let me go one step further by way of reassurance to the hon. Members. The period is. so far ahead that it would be idle and absurd for any Minister standing at this Box now to give undertakings as to what is to happen then. But I will give this as my opinion, and one which I think will commend itself to the House, that, if in the course of the present valuation period there comes a marked improvement in our national position, if in consequence of that there comes a decided improvement in the finances of the societies, and if in consequence of that there is a prospect of such a restoration of surpluses an to raise the question, undoubtedly it appears to me that anyone who is responsible for the finances of national health insurance at that time will have to give a general review to the matter and will have to consider whether or not the time has come at which it is possible to undo these restrictions. It seems to me that it is in the nature of the case and that it is in accordance with the principles of commonsense that, just as now the present occupant of the post has had to consider restrictions, so, if the future position admits, the occupant of the post when that time comes will have to give reconsideration to the matter and consider whether it is not possible once more to raise the basic rate. That, I believe, is the only form in which the assurance which the hon. Member seeks can reasonably be given. In view of that consideration and in view of what has been said as regards the full liberty of the societies to raise their cash benefits at the end of the valuation period if they have a surplus to distribute, it would not at present be reasonable to ask the House to accept the Amendment in its present form.

10.0 p.m.


The right hon. Gentleman has given very good reasons why this Amendment cannot be accepted in its present form, but it appears to me that in almost his last sentence he indicated a very good reason why he should, if possible, think over the matter again before the Bill leaves another place and see whether he cannot take powers to require the restoration of the basic rate when the financial situation justifies it. He said it would be the duty of himself or his successor to do that if the circumstances justified it. We all know that a Minister may think the time is ripe to make a certain legislative change, but the state of the Parliamentary programme may not enable him to do it. We know the competition between the Departments when the programme of the Session is being discussed as to whose reforms are the most urgent. The whole subject of health insurance as covered by the Bill has been debated to-day at considerable length. Most of the general principles that we should like to see guiding the distribution of health insurance benefits hold good irrespective of the particular circumstances. Since the initiative will have to rest with the Minister in the long-run, since he alone will have the facts and figures before him which will enable him to propose the restoration of the basic rate, why is it not possible for him here and now to take powers to himself to do that when the valuation period is reached if the financial situation justifies it? I could not, although I listened most attentively, see that he really brought forward any reason which would prevent him doing by regulation in this case what he himself confesses it would be his duty to do when the time arrives.

Amendment negatived.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."


I should like to clear up a misunderstanding that arose on an earlier occasion. I gathered from statements made earlier that this Measure had received the almost unanimous approval of the Consultative Council of the Ministry of Health. It is difficult for any discussion to take place on this, but I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is the case that he had this approval, whether it is the case that he promised consideration of prolongation, which has not taken place, and whether it is also not the case that the trade union approved societies never on any occasion agreed to attack married women's benefits, because the House was obviously influenced by the statement that was made at an earlier point in our discussion.

Earlier to-day the Minister declined to accept an Amendment because he said it was throwing out the baby with the bath water. I want to ask the House what the Bill actually does. The right hon. Gentleman is not merely throwing out the baby with the bath water; he is throwing out the mother, the maiden aunt, the medicine bottle and the unemployed father as well. He is throwing out large categories of people, and his crime is enormous compared with the crime of the hon. Lady, who was merely throwing but a very tiny baby. The right hon. Gentleman must have an enormous amount of bath water to be able to throw these people out as he is doing. It is clear, as has been emphasised time and time again, that this Bill is part and parcel of the Government's policy of restriction. They began with the reduction of unemploy- ment insurance benefit, driving large numbers of unemployed people to the Poor Law. This is a further stage in this developing policy of almost indiscriminate restriction of the social services. The Bill as it leaves this House will whet the appetite of those enthusiasts for national economy who have set up sub-committees and who are going to sit during the Recess, if need be, in order to impose their will upon the Government in the autumn.

The truth is that the policy expressed in this Bill is one of sacrifice of human to material interests, and especially the human interests of people who are more hardly circumstanced than the rest of the people. Very reasonable Amendments have been moved and persuasive speeches have been made by many Members, but the flinty-hearted Minister has given us not a single concession. I referred earlier to the money mind of the Parliamentary Secretary. I cannot claim to have the same personal knowledge of the political life of the present Minister but I have watched the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown) sitting there among the Liberal party with his heart on fire to prevent any kind of indignity to the poor. I am quite sure that the Minister himself once had a heart which is softer than it is to-day, but the truth is that this £850,000 about which we have been hearing so much has become an obsession with the Minister and Parliamentary Secretary, and presumably with the whole of the Government Front Bench. It is an ever-present nightmare, and they have loft out of consideration what lies behind the squeezing of this money out of special categories of insured persons.

This Bill was presented to the House as though it were conferring new benefits on the insured population of this country. We were led to believe, by documents and by speeches from the other side of the House, that there was something in this Bill which would bring comfort to certain classes of insured persons. The truth is that, as regards unemployed persons and women, it is taking away rights and benefits which they have enjoyed up to this moment, without regard to the big human considerations which lie behind. Appeals have been made to the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary. I am sorry to say that they have no bowels of compassion. There have been appeals from these benches and from their own benches, but no single concession has been made on any point at all, and the only argument they adduced was, "This Bill has been framed in order to achieve certain financial results." Their ears have been closed to all other arguments, and every time the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary have come back to this saving of money.

In the case of the unemployed, the truth is that in the first part of the Bill we have imposed upon the backs of that unfortunate section of the community new burdens. We are taking away from them something which hitherto they have enjoyed, because of the sanctity of this insurance principle. The right hon. Gentleman, at an earlier stage of the discussion on this Bill, stood at the Table and said that I was prepared to put health insurance on the slippery slope down which unemployment insurance had fallen. The truth is that unemployment insurance never has been insurance; and the other point of substance is that you are penalising people under the health insurance scheme because of economic circumstances with which the scheme was never designed to deal. If, in a time of grave economic difficulties, you have to take special steps to deal with a problem which originates entirely outside all health insurance matters, it cannot be said that you are following that slippery slope down to the bankruptcy of the fund. That is the truth—that the unemployed are going to find, within a week or two now, an ever-nearing prospect of jeopardising their own old age pensions, widows' pensions and orphans' allowances. It is true that if they return to work they can come back on rather easier terms. That is not an improvement on the present position; it is an indication of one of the petty meannesses of the scheme that those people who have undergone a long sacrifice and a long period of unemployment are going to be penalised, and instead of being welcomed back into the scheme, will have to come in on terms.

As regards the married women, we have heard talk to-day about the wickedness of segregating one section from another. That is precisely what Clause 3 of the Bill does. It takes married women, and of course single women as well, and deals with women in a way different from that in which it deals with any other group or category of insured persons. There is no body of insured persons who, because of heavy rates of sickness or disablement, are pushed into a special class and told that their benefits are by Statute going to be less than the general rate. It may be that the reasons are different, but if they are, surely this financial solution is no solution whatever. The circumstances of married women, we have been told to-day, are different from those of other people. There are very large numbers of married women in this country who live in areas, and who have worked in districts where the employment of married women is a normal thing. During times of trade depression there are married women who are forced by economic circumstances into the labour market to try to find work, in order to eke out the income of a family in which perhaps the breadwinner has been out of work a long time, and these women are now having their benefits reduced.

Where we are dealing with reduction of benefits, I wonder, if we had been able in the title of the Bill to insert the words "rates of interest," whether we should have had the same flinty, cold, hostile treatment of any suggested alteration. We should have been told that if National Debt interest receivers were to have their rates cut, it would be treating one class of people unfairly as against another. Precisely the same thing has taken place in this Bill. We should have been told of the enormous hardships which would have been inflicted on people who were holders of National Debt, but they are nothing to the hardships which are going to be inflicted upon 80,000 unemployed workers ultimately under this Bill, and almost immediately on married and single women. This Bill is a Bill against which we protested on Second Reading; this Bill is a Bill upon which we have challenged every Division that could be challenged; and this Bill is a Bill against which we must make our final protest on Third Reading in the Division Lobby.


I have listened to the major portion of the Debate to-day, and before we go into the Division Lobby I want to give my reasons for being opposed to the Bill. I regard it as an extremely bad Bill. I regard it as an absurd Bill. I consider that this Bill is solely a Bill to deal with the deficit in the National Health Insurance societies. I am prepared to admit that in some of the distressed areas, some of the National Health Insurance societies need help, but this Bill does not put societies in distressed areas on a proper footing. It deals with all societies alike. It makes what is, in my opinion, the great mistake of treating all societies alike, when we are bound to admit that there is as much difference between societies as there is between chalk and cheese.

I am opposed to the Bill because it makes crystal clear the fact that the Government have no faith in a revival of trade. If they had any faith in a revival of trade or in their policy for bettering the conditions of trade, we should not have had the Government bringing in this Bill. The Minister has said that there is a deficit in the National Health Insurance Fund of £2,850,000, and that £2,000,000 of the deficit is due to loss of contributions owing to unemployment, and £850,000 to the position of married women. Having satisfied himself of the deficit and that it is due to the unemployed and the married women, he applies the knife and proposes to cut the benefits of the unemployed and of the women. I am whole-heartedly in support of the Members on this side of the House in opposing the reduction of the married women's sick benefit by 2s. a week, the reduction of the disablement benefit by 2s. 6d. a week, and the reduction of the unmarried women's disablement benefit by 1s. 6d. a week.

During the Debates a question cropped up as to whether the deficit in regard to married women's sickness benefit was due to loose certification by doctors. I wish to make my position clear. I do not believe that the deficit is due to loose certification by doctors. I have always been glad to think that the doctors show sympathy with the poorest of our people, and in my experience no doctor is prepared to give a certificate to a man or woman unless he believes that he or she is suffering from some illness. I do not think that it is any remedy for the present condition of things to say that we want good lives in the insurance fund. It would not be an insurance fund unless it took in the good and the bad, and the whole of the working men and women, and we cannot expect to have nothing but good lives. We ought not to lay too much stress upon taking only good lives into the insurance fund.

If malingering, which has been hinted at if not openly stated, is the cause of the excessive sickness of married women, the cutting of the benefit by 2s. per week will not remedy the grievance. The Ministry should have introduced some other remedy rather than that of merely cutting the benefit. I wish to deal principally with the proposals which affect the unemployed, because the Minister says that £2,000,000 of the deficit is due to loss of contributions owing to unemployment, and he proposes to cut away from the unemployed sickness, medical and maternity benefit, and pension rights. The Minister forgets that though he may take away both the sickness and the medical benefits, the unemployed will still need these services if they cannot get unemployment benefit. If the unemployed man is to be deprived of his sickness benefit it will not remedy the position, because if he cannot get his sickness benefit from the National Health Insurance Society, or his medical benefit from the society, he will be forced to the Poor Law.

Whether the Government realise what they are doing or not they are forcing the unemployed men more and more on to the Poor Law. The Minister said tonight that we on this side want to abandon the solvency of the scheme and to put the burden on to the Exchequer. We reply that the Government want to maintain the solvency of the scheme and to throw the burden on the Poor Law. If it becomes a question whether the burden should be thrown upon the Poor Law or the Exchequer, there is no doubt where we stand. I am in favour of the burden being thrown upon the Exchequer rather than upon the Poor Law. The Minister must not forget this fact, which he was told in Committee, that if the Treasury paid back what they took from the National Health Insurance societies under the Economy Act, 1926, the £2,750,000 a year there would be practically no deficit in the National Health Insurance societies. We say that if the burden is to rest either on the Poor Law or on the Exchequer there can be no question that in justice, the Exchequer ought to bear the burden.

The Bill not only takes from the unemployed man sickness and medical benefit, but where his wife is not working the maternity benefit is also taken away. A former Conservative Minister of Health, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, I think it was in 1928, dealt with the question of maternity benefit. He impressed the House more with that speech than with probably any other speech he has made. If the present Minister of Health would refer to that speech of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer he would have learned some of the reasons why maternity benefit ought to have been maintained and not taken away. One of my strongest reasons for opposing the Bill is that it robs the unemployed man of his pension rights. It is not sufficient to say that that will not apply until 1935. Step by step, as sure as we are here tonight, the intention of the Government is to rob the unemployed man of his pension rights in 1935. The pension rights of the working classes are most important and should be safeguarded.

I have always been at a loss to understand why pension rights should be attached to national health insurance; why widows' pensions, workmen's pensions and old age pensions, should be attached to a National Health Insurance scheme. Some of us were strongly opposed to the contributory Clauses of the 1925 Act. We thought that the working classes should not be called upon to contribute to widows' pensions or to orphans' pensions, or to old age pensions, but the House decided that it should be contributory. Under that Act it is possible for a man to contribute to the fund from the age of 16 until he is 56 and then for him to be robbed of his pension rights. He may have paid to the fund for 40 years and then, because he is thrown out of employment, he may lose all his pension rights, and if he dies his widow may not be entitled to the widow's pension or his orphans to the orphans' pension. That is grossly unfair. A widow's pension can be drawn to-day when the husband has never contributed a penny to the fund, and, therefore, we shall have on one hand a widow drawing this pension whose husband has never contributed to the fund, and, on the other, a widow who is debarred from receiving the pension but whose husband may have contributed for over 40 years to the fund.

10.30 p.m.

The same thing applies in regard to the man's old age pension. He may pay for over 40 years and then, through unemployment, he may be robbed of his pension at the age of 65. On the other hand, a man may be drawing an old age pension at the age of 65 and yet continue at work. Therefore, you may also get a man drawing an old age pension at 65 and continuing his ordinary employment and a man who has paid for 40 years into the fund being robbed of his pension. The Government should have dealt with this question in an altogether different way. They should have said that if a man has paid into this fund for a number of years he is entitled to his old age pension at 65, and that if he dies his widow is entitled to a widow's pension. There is no Member of this House who could go on to the platform and justify the anomalies of the Bill. There is no Member who could justify cutting the benefit of the married women and making the unemployed pay, in order to put National Health Insurance societies on a proper footing. There are other ways in which the Government might have dealt with this question. It would be out of order on the Third Reading to go into that matter, but there are many ways in which the Government could have dealt with the question, and if ever the Government have to approach this question of National Health Insurance again I hope they will not try to deal with it merely by making the poorest people suffer while leaving the societies, as they are to-day, some rich and some poor. I hope that instead they will consider seriously reorganising the whole of the health insurance societies into a national unit and making the rich societies help the poor societies.


I intervene only to take exception to some words which were used by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood). He said that this Bill was part of the general Government plan of national economy, and he went on to twit those Conservative Members who are forming themselves into voluntary economy committees to try to bring down national expenditure, with their attitude towards this question. In his condemnation of Members on this side of the House he tried to create a prejudice against us by suggesting that we were attempting to take, for the benefit of the national finances, contributions that were due to the people who come under the health insurance scheme. That is entirely untrue and the right hon. Gentleman knows it. The fact is that when an insurance scheme can no longer, by its own funds, continue to pay the benefits which it has previously been accustomed to pay, then that scheme if it is to retain its actuarial basis must be amended. What we insist upon from the back benches is that all these insurance schemes must in the future remain upon a purely insurance basis.

There is no excuse for introducing an insurance scheme at all, if you are going to allow it to pass on to a charity basis. Why not be honest and place the poor people of the country directly upon the public assistance committees. Alter the law, if you wish, so that national aid shall be given to them, but do not pretend that you are introducing an insurance scheme when you know that, in fact, your scheme is not based on insurance principles. We urge that a businesslike outlook should be adopted in these matters in the future and that we should do just as hon. Members opposite do, when they are administering insurance schemes of their own, whether through their friendly societies, their co-operative societies, or their trade unions. They take good care in that case to see that the balance sheet is kept in the right way. During the last two years you have seen men who have paid for 40 years into superannuation schemes belonging to the trade unions robbed of their subscriptions. Men who in their old age are no longer able to earn their livelihood, and who expected to get 12s. 6d. a week, for which they have paid and made sacrifices all their lives, are now seeing that superannuation whittled down to a paltry 5s. or 6s., because hon. Members opposite can no longer afford to pay back what those men have previously contributed.

Why do you do that? Where has the money gone? Did you administer your funds as you should have done? It ill betides you to condemn the Government, when you fail so ignominiously to provide full benefits yourselves. Every cooperative society in the country during the last few years has been reducing the wages of its workers, because you can no longer make the balance-sheet appear as it should do, and I urge upon hon. Members opposite not to throw stones, as they themselves are now living in glass houses. After two years of government by hon. Members opposite, we saw some of these same economies introduced when they found that they could no longer balance their Budget, and I am always sorry to find that when Labour Members occupy the Opposition benches their whole attitude seems to change. They have lost that position of responsibility, and then they go out preaching the gospel and promising all sorts of things which they know in their own hearts they cannot carry out.

The hon. Member who has just sat down mentioned that malingering was not taking place. I defy any Member on the benches, opposite who represents, as I do, a working-class constituency, to get up and say that there is no malingering in regard to this Health Insurance Fund on the part of married women, or to say that doctors do not give certificates unless they are fully assured that there is real sickness. Every hon. Member opposite who makes such a statement knows that it is mere humbug. Talk in any workshop you wish. I was talking only to-day to some working men in a workshop, and I had a trade unionist saying to me: "I know old Dr. So-and-So gives away certificates to the women as they walk in without inquiring at all. All that they have got to do is to ask for a certificate, and they get it." It is part of the National Health Insurance Scheme that the doctor's fortune has been made by the method through which he is paid. You all know that the doctor who can get 1,100 insured persons on has register—


Would the hon. Member dare mention that outside this House in respect of any doctor?


Why not mention that doctor outside, where it could be challenged?


I am speaking from personal knowledge, and every Member opposite is as conversant as I am with these facts, that the doctors to-day who have 1,100 patients or insured persons on their panel have a guaranteed income; and by the method which we have adopted, which allows a panel patient to transfer himself from one doctor to another, we have placed a temptation in the way of the doctor which forces him, in order to retain his panel patients, to be as lenient as possible. It is common talk in the workshops to-day. "If your doctor does not give you a certificate, you transfer to So-and-so; he is 'cushy.'" You all know that.


Why does not the hon. Member support a national benefit service?


The hon. Member knows that these are the facts of the case. In my constituency working women come to me and give instances of the malingering that is going on. If we are going to be responsible for the national finances, we ought not to talk with our tongue in our cheek, but admit that malingering goes on; and it is up to everyone of us, irrespective of votes or of the retention of our seats, to see that we do our best to put down this evil. It is the only way in which we shall retain the solvency of any fund. Wholesale malingering is going on, and hon. Members opposite know that it is common talk among working-class women, married women especially, that "Mrs. So-and-so has got two pensions." For a quarter of an hour last Friday week I was trying to get from a person who came before me what she meant by two pensions. After investigation, it came to this, that she was drawing a widow's pension and a disablement pension, a total income of 17s. 6d.


Shame, much too much!


I would remind the hon. Member that it is not a question of how much a person can live on; it is a question whether that person is drawing upon a fund to which he or she is not morally entitled. If by drawing upon a fund you are preventing people who are genuinely sick from obtaining their benefit, you are committing a crime against your fellows. In any compulsory insurance scheme, whether unemployment or health, it will always be necessary to review the scheme in detail from time to time. The trade unions have always the safeguard against malingerers that they can expel them from their societies, but under a national compulsory scheme everyone is forced to become a member. You have only good members in your in- stitutions. Only last Monday I came into contact with a trade union which had set up a special committee to expel members whom they regarded as a handicap upon the funds of the society. There is no consideration for humanity when trade unions are dealing with unemployed; their one idea is solvency.


What union is it?


I submit—




Hon. Members might be left to make their speeches in their own 'way.


The hon. Member is making an allegation against a responsible union, and we ask him in courtesy to name the union. I take it that when he does not name the union, he does not know the name.


I am not prepared—


Because there is no such union.


I am not prepared to give a name because what I have stated is a matter that affects a committee of a trade union, and unions are jealous that their committee matters should not be made public.


That is very lame.


The hon. Member knows very well that the action I have cited does frequently take place among trade unions. I submit that it is necessary that we should give this Bill its Third Reading in order that the contributors to the National Health Insurance Fund shall have a guarantee that in future the benefits which they expect to receive will be there whenever they unfortunately need them.


Like the vast majority of hon. Members I have spent the whole time during the Committee stage and the Report stage in listening, but I feel compelled to say a word or two on Third Reading. I shall not follow the hon. Member for South Islington (Mr. Howard) in his wide ramifications both inside and outside the com- pass of a Third Reading Debate, but I would like to make some reference to certain remarks he made. No one on this side of the House takes any objection to a sound and solvent insurance fund, every one of us believes that such a thing is a necessity; but we do take objection to the statement that vast numbers of insured people are malingerers. We come from industrial districts and we have never yet met these vast numbers of malingerers, but even if there were this Bill does not even attempt to deal with them. All it does is to say that certain sections of insured persons, whether malingerers or not, shall suffer certain reductions of benefit. We think that malingerers ought to be dealt with, and dealt with effectively. We have put that view forward on many occasions on the Committee stage and the Report stage, but our argument has always been that this Bill makes no attempt to deal with the malingerer.

With the object of the Bill we are in entire agreement. We think the fund ought to be solvent. Our objection is to the method taken in order to make it so. We are told the only way to secure solvency is by increasing contributions or reducing benefits, and the Minister tells us that in addition we might deal with loose certification. My hon. Friend the Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) called a colleague of mine to task because he ventured to speak at some length on the question of loose certification, but in documents issued in connection with this Bill mention is made of loose certification. I wish the hon. Member for Mile End (Dr. O'Donovan) had heard the last speech. He made a great defence of panel doctors, saying they were not guilty of loose certification. He was roused very much by the speech of the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies). I wonder to what extent he would have been roused by the speech of the hon. Member for South Islington, which came from the Tory benches. What we feel about this Bill is that a very wrong policy has been pursued by the Government. They have singled out a certain section of insured people to bear sacrifices, whereas we say that if sacrifices are necessary they ought to have been asked from the whole body of insured persons. It is most unfair to say that because married women happen to have suffered from sickness more than any other classes of insured people that they should bear the brunt of the loss of benefit. We from the industrial districts, and especially Lancashire, know that married women play as great a part as men in many industries. It is not a ease of married women filling up certain vacancies. In the cotton industry they find just as much employment as men, and to say to them that because they are married and because a certain section of married women have been heavy on the funds, they are to be singled out for this kind of treatment, is most unfair.

Further, we ask on what grounds they have been singled out? Surely it will not be suggested that they can best bear the burden, that they are the best-off section of the insured population. What about the rest of the nation? We heard much in the last election about equality of sacrifice; that was to be the principle on which they acted when distributing the burden among the various sections of the nation. How does it work out? You are singling out one section of the insured population for special treatment and penalties. Our feeling is that it would have been far better if we had carried on, facing this deficit and making this fund solvent from the national Exchequer. I know we should be told from the Tory benches that that would cut across their great principle of economy.

After all, this fund is not solvent, and is not the best thing to see how it can be made solvent without placing further heavy burdens on the weakest shoulders? It is not asking too much to say that this burden should not be placed on a section of the nation but on the whole nation. Sooner or later that must be done. Unemployment is increasing, and as it increases the solvency of the fund will be further endangered. Sooner or later this House will be compelled to take steps to make the fund solvent by the Exchequer increasing its contribution. We must remember that what is behind this trouble is that the Exchequer contribution has been lessened. That commenced the difficulty, and it has led to insolvency. Our main objection to the Bill is that it places the burden of securing solvency on the weakest shoulders. We ask that this Bill should be voted against on these grounds. It is the wrong way of making the fund solvent and we think the sound way is for the whole nation and the National Exchequer to share the burden in order to secure solvency.


I am very sorry the hon. Member for Islington South (Mr. T. Howard), who made such an attack on trade unions and panel doctors, is not in his place. The hon. Member talked about how many doctors he knew who had done this or that. Whatever the faults that they possess, the working people among whom they live understand them, and while it may be that here and there you find a doctor who gives a certificate easily, on the other side you have doctors who exercise what might be described as very harsh treatment. While there may be one doctor who is lenient, there is another doctor on the other side to balance. When the country places a public duty on a set of men you have various types who exercise these functions in different ways. I do not want to discuss Unemployment Insurance, but even there one knows that there are judges who carry out the law extremely leniently, while other judges are extremely harsh, and between them you have a set who take a middle course. The doctoring profession is not different from any other profession. I speak with some knowledge, for I have worked with them, and I say on behalf of the doctors that in these difficult times they carry out their public duty in a very fair manner, and I am proud to say that many poor people count them among their best friends.

I resent the suggestions made to-night by a back bench Tory and occasionally a Front Bench Labour Member against the doctors. References have been made to doctors looking for patients, but the position in regard to the ordinary doctor in the poorer districts is that he is carrying out his public duties in a public-spirited fashion. The Under-Secretary for Scotland will not challenge me when I say that he is one of the few men who have improved by association with the Government. He knows that in the poorer districts the Poor Law system has to some extent broken down with regard to doctoring; and if it were not for the panel doctor, who attends not merely the panel patient for his 9s., but the whole family, most of whom are not panel patients, the whole system would break down. The doctors' generosity towards the poor very often amazes me.

Hon. Members who say that they know of doctors who do certain things and follow certain practices, are making a serious charge. If they know of such things, they are performing a very sorry function in not taking action against the doctors in question. Everyone has a remedy, if he knows that a doctor is doing things for private gain and against the public weal. It is not the duty of such persons to come to the House of Commons and make unsupported statements and to applaud statements of that kind when they are made, but it is their duty to go to the proper place, to the Minister of Health, and to make their statement in writing in order that the doctors who are doing those things against the common weal should face a tribunal. They should make their charges in proper fashion. It is not sufficient for ill-considered statements to be made here. Doctors who are on trial should be given the opportunities that you give to the ordinary murderer or criminal. [Interruption.] I have no doubt that the doctors would be only too glad to produce evidence to meet the charges made against them.

I turn from that to the other remarks that were made about trade unions. It is perfectly true that trade unions are reducing benefits. I am the chairman of a union that has paid out huge sums of money since 1921. We have now reached a stage in which we have not a penny piece to pay out. We have asked the members who are at work to pay 3s. out of a wage of about £3, and they have responded with magnificent generosity. Officials have reduced their own wages, and those of us who are not officials have worked voluntarily without a penny reward. To compare trade union funds with a State fund is not a fair comparison. I dismiss the matter because I am certain that the Minister would never dream that a trade union fund, with sick and superannuation benefits and with a membership 30 per cent. of which is unemployed, could be compared with a State fund.

If the State was faced with the same problem as a trade union that, taken as a whole, was bankrupt, and if this nation was facing poverty, we would say: "Yes, the nation must suffer, but let the suffering be equal. That is to say, do not make two or three people suffer, or a comparative few who happen to come within the ambit of National Health Insurance, but let the nation start with its rich, its holders of War Loan interest and its civil servants, and then let it go right down the line." Just imagine! If I had the reserves that the Government have in the way of War Loan interest, etc., would I ever dream of letting my members be attacked in their sick pay? The great charge against the Government is that it has great sources of wealth and that, instead of attacking this source, it attacks the aged and the sick and the maternity benefits of the poorest of the poor.

11.0 p.m.

This Bill deals with five heads: married women, single women, maternity benefit, medical benefit and old age and widows' pensions. It covers the grants to all those people. The only defence put up is that its provisions will make a solvent fund; there is no defence for it on humanitarian grounds; it is just a question of making this particular fund balance. I should have thought that the Government, before attacking these poor people, would have examined the whole question of the relationship of insurance. Is the State making a proper contribution towards the fund? Is the State's contribution based on an insurance principle? The great mass of the Members of this House—I do not say this in criticism of them—have never examined the State's relation to the general finance of this scheme. Is the State's contribution at a time when unemployment is low to be the same as its contribution at a time when unemployment is high? Has not the time come for a revision of the State's contribution towards this fund, and of the lives covered by health insurance, in order to see whether the £5 a week basis which was fixed before the War, when wages were less than they are now, should not be increased to bring within the scope of the scheme "lives" that could help to contribute to the decent maintenance of their less fortunate brothers? Those questions have never been examined, and, before the very poor are attacked, this House has a right to examine and explore every avenue that is possible.

My indictment of this Bill is that it makes these poor people suffer, and, in addition, it imposes a burden upon local rates. As to the withdrawal of medical benefits, it is well known that that can only be met by two or three methods. Either the doctor must do the work without pay, or, if he does not, the Poor Law will have to do it. If he does it without payment, he is carrying a State burden; if the Poor Law does it, the nation, through the Poor Law, has to pay. I hope I am not too critical of my Labour colleagues, but I would like them to answer this question. It seems to be suggested that there is some magic way by which the fund can be kept solvent without reducing benefits, but I cannot see how that can be done administratively. In my view, the administration now is too severe, and I would make an earnest appeal to them not to ask for stricter supervision. To my mind, supervision now is carried to excess in its zeal to knock people off. I would ask them to depart from that principle. Frankly, I would sooner see the care of the sick undertaken leniently than harshly; I would sooner take the risk of some people getting something extra than see the shocking harshness that can be exercised. I have in mind at this moment cases in which there is excessive harshness.

I do not mind very much what the Tories say in connection with this Bill. The Tory philosophy is the philosophy of the Bill. But the Prime Minister was reared, not in strict Marxian Socialism, but in a Socialism that was supposed to be a benevolent kind of sentimental Socialism. When the Prime Minister took his place in public life, he stood for things which are different from those of this Measure. He never stood, as this Measure stands, for making a fund like this a solvent fund. He stood for a non-contributory system. He used to argue and write about these things, and his place in public life is due in a large measure to the fact that place and power were given to him by these poor people, and he now finds himself at the head of a Government which attacks them. That, I think, is a terrible betrayal of all the past that he has ever possessed.

My colleagues and I have agreed to say nothing that would offend anyone on either side. It is true that we got into conflict, but I was the person attacked. We set out to try to get one or two minor concessions. We argued the case of the woman whose husband was incapacitated for work. We tried to get the man who appeared before a medical board paid until the day of the notification of the result. We have pleaded and argued, but the result is nothing. Looking at the miseries that I represent and at the hours and days that I spend with my people, I feel annoyed about this. These people are almost bereft of a friend. They have little faith in politics—little faith in anything. The only thing they possess is the certainty that one day death will claim them.


We have now come to the end of another chapter in the history of this great scheme of national health insurance. I think the Minister did me an injustice earlier in the evening, though not deliberately. I understand he made a statement to the effect that he was astonished that I declared that we on this side of the House would have accepted the new Clause proposed by the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams). That is not what I said. I said we objected to Clause 3. We have objected to the reductions in benefit all along the line. The new Clause of the hon. Member for South Croydon would be less harsh in its effect upon women and we preferred it only as an alternative to Clause 3. I think any Member of the House who wanted this problem solved would prefer the new Clause to the Clause in the Bill.

This is the first Government since the National Health scheme was instituted which has reduced the benefits of the insured population. If we were on that side of the House and dared even to suggest it, we should hear about it at the next General Election. I should very much like the Minister and the Department to take note of one thing that is done by this Bill. Those who administer the scheme are not at all happy over the fact that the Ministry, whenever they are in difficulty, turn round and postpone the redemption of the reserve values, in order to keep within the finance of the scheme. We know that that happens under this Bill, and if the policy of the Ministry is carried through, the postponement of the redemption will some day come back as a boomerang on the scheme, and in my view it will destroy the whole basis of the scheme. In my view, too, it is not right to alter the actuarial basis of the scheme by postponing the redemption of the reserve values in the way in which it is done now.

Let me pass to something else. We are objecting now, and I think we ought to object on Third Reading, to the claim made on many occasions, I think, by both the Ministers in charge of this Bill, that they are doing a good turn to the unemployed by this Bill. Let me put it to them thus once again. I deny that they are putting the unemployed, under this Bill, in as favourable a position as the unemployed would have been in if the prolongation scheme had been carried forward from year to year. Let me put it in another form. The argument of the right hon. Gentleman about this prolongation scheme has been this: The prolongation scheme would have had to come to an end at the end of this year, and consequently we are doing a good service to the unemployed by offering them the terms in this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman knows full well that there is no Government in this country, either a National Government, a Liberal Government or a Tory Government—a Labour Government would not do it anyhow, of course—no Government of any political colour, which would dare to let the unemployed down by not prolonging this insurance scheme at the end of the year. I am sure of that.

An hon. Member talked about a trade union. Let me tell you what has happened with this scheme. The first blow at the financial stability of this scheme was given by the one party which ought to have been the last to do it, and that is the State. In 1911, when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) established this scheme, he put into Statute law a certain contribution from the State to the scheme. In 1926 a Tory Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) took from this scheme a sum equal to £2,750,000 per annum, and, with the interest which is calculable upon that reduction, the approved societies have lost the equivalent of almost £30,000,000 up to date. The two other parties have kept their contracts. Let me pay a tribute to the employers; they have kept their contract too. The employee is bound to keep his contract; he is compelled to. The employers have never yet attempted to break their contract. But the Tory Government of 1926 broke its contract, and delivered the first effective blow against the finances of this scheme.

Let me say something else. This scheme has suffered blow after blow; and the policy of the Tory party is as clear as daylight. It can be found in the provisions of this Bill. The policy is this: that in effect, so far as they can do it without showing their hands too clearly, they are determined to reduce the State grant to this scheme in such a way that the scheme shall be self-supporting in the end. Hon. Members know full well that the State contribution to this scheme was £10,000,000. It has now been reduced to £6,000,000, in spite of the fact that the insured population has increased all along the line. I say therefore that the Government really cannot convince the public that they are doing the unemployed, at any rate, a good turn in this connection.

The last point I want to make is this. The Government are thrusting upon the unemployed, who have been out of work for years, and partly upon the funds of the approved societies, the financial maintenance of this unemployment in order to keep them in pension rights.

I want to repeat this point to the right hon. Gentleman. The State, by introducing a contributory pension scheme some years ago, relieved itself of the payment of millions of pounds per annum by way of not being called upon to pay an old age pension at 70 years of age. In fact, as the years go by we shall find ourselves in the position, rightly or wrongly, that the vast majority of the old people of this country will come under the contributory pension scheme, and only a few will be left drawing a pension without having paid any contribution at all. The State has gained, I repeat, millions of pounds every year by that transaction. I should have imagined, therefore, that the Exchequer ought to have come to the aid of those old people a little more generously than they have done. In spite of all I have said, if I know anything about these schemes—and I have tried to study them—this Scheme after all is the best insurance scheme in the world. I wish the Government of the day would be as loyal to their promises in respect of the Scheme as are the other two parties to it. The right hon. Gentleman has tried to make it appear in the Debates that the Government are doing this, and, in fact, when he has been speaking about reducing the benefits to the married women, he has tried his level best to make us believe that he is doing them a good turn by reducing their benefits. I am not quite clever enough for that, but one thing is obvious. It will be registered against this Government that they are the first Government actually to reduce the statutory benefits of the insured population.


The House has now given its deservedly close attention over a three days' Debate to this Bill, and the Debate has been marked by at least two very interesting characteristics. The first on which I wish to comment is the extraordinary benefit which the House derived from the element of competition between the two sections of the Opposition. Either taken alone might not be considerable enough in numbers, alas, to achieve successfully their purpose, but the result of the competition between the two has been that which competition always produces, of so greatly stimulating activity as to provide the House with the effective opposition which it desires. I notice another interesting circumstance, that the size of the Opposition has illustrated the well-known chemical law: the smaller the mass the greater the energy. The maximum of energy resides in the atom. I do not venture to specify which of the hon. Members now seated below the Gangway most closely corresponds to that description. Another most interesting and encouraging feature of our Debate, if I may say so in a spirit of earnestness, has been the extraordinarily valuable contribution made to our discussion, upon a Bill which closely concerns the interests of the women, by the women Members of the House, who have shown a knowledge of the subject and a capacity for close reasoning which augur well for the future of our Parliament.

As regards the criticisms which have been advanced upon the Bill, we are told that it is a Bill for restriction. That is the main issue between ourselves and the Opposition, because we maintain that it is not a Bill of restriction, but a Bill for preservation. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) said that it offers no benefits to women, but reduces their benefits. Yes, it may be that you do find yourselves in a situation in which it is a positive ad- vantage to reduce insurance benefits, and that situation is this: If the alternative is that you have to confront a situation in which there will be no benefits at all, it is a greater kindness and a greater service to perform to the members of the insurance system to preserve for them the future of their scheme by adapting it to the passing circumstances of our national needs.

Upon other aspects of the Debate, which have occupied very prominently the attention of the House to-night, I will not enter, because it is unprofitable to enter. In particular, it is unprofitable for this House to indulge in heated Debate as to whether or not there is a large extent of malingering among insured persons, or whether or not the insurance doctors are doing their duty by the scheme. On neither of these matters will I advance any charges or any criticism. I believe that the growth of sickness experience is the result, of social forces which are practically irresistible—the social forces of bad times. As regards the medical profession, if there is an improvement to be gained in administration it is not in the direction of correcting faults cither of honesty or of efficiency among the medical profession—I do not believe there are such—but in the direction of more exact and higher standards of administration, which are more in accordance with the needs of the times.

I come to another charge against this Bill which, I think, must have been made in a moment of irresponsibility by an occupant of the Front Bench opposite. Failing to find any grounds at the moment for criticising the Bill for what it does, he criticised the Government for what he thought they would like to do in regard to reducing the State grant. I find it difficult to meet the charge that some critic supposes the Government might like to do something which they do not propose to do. Let me take this opportunity of making it as clear as day, in order that there may be no possibilities of misrepresentation, that this Bill deprives the National Health Insurance scheme of not one penny of public money which might otherwise have gone towards that scheme. The Bill takes no single penny of money away from National Health Insurance. As I have said before—and it is important to make this point clear—the Bill does not reduce the funds available for National Health Insurance; but what it does do is to effect a redistribution in order to ensure the solvency of the scheme.

Hon. Members opposite have paid lip-service to the solvency of National Health Insurance. One observes that they are always in favour of solvency, but always in favour of solvency in some other way. Therefore, one is bound to conclude that any method proposed for the attainment of solvency will be opposed by hon. Members opposite. It is of greater value to be prepared to take the obvious measures for the maintenance of the solvency of the fund than to pay lip-service to the cause of solvency, and to oppose all practical measures propounded for its attainment. The measures by which it is proposed to achieve solvency in this Bill are well known to the House.

Another criticism advanced against the Bill is the method by which the necessary redistribution is made; the lowering of the benefits of married women in preference to single women and of single women in preference to men; the bigger proportion from the married women and the second largest contribution from the single women. That distribution is based on the simplest, most obvious and most unassailable of all principles of insurance, that contributions should be related to benefits and benefits to contributions. If any hon. Member disagrees with that principle then the actual methods proposed in the Bill are not relevant to him, but if he accepts the principle that contributions should be related to benefits, and that you can have no insurance scheme on any other bask, then he is bound to follow step by step the methods proposed, because it is the simple fact that the cause of the deficit is in the first place, the higher sickness experience of married women and if benefits are to be related to contributions then the biggest reduction must be made in the benefits of married women. The next chief factor in the deficit is the unexpected high sickness experience of all women, including single women, and therefore if contributions are to be related to benefits the next principal contribution must come by a reduction in the benefits of single women. It is impossible to escape from that conclusion on the basis, which is the only basis consistent with a contributory insurance scheme, that contributions are to be related to benefits.

But, it is said, why are you making any discrimination between women and men? The reason for that is based in the very ground work of insurance. For health insurance, women and particularly married women are a risk of a different nature to men. The difference is due to the natural difference in the economic status of women, which finds its seat in the very roots of society. A married woman is not alone in the industrial world, where livings are earned. She is a member of a partnership; she has someone to fall back upon, which a single woman has not, and which other persons have not, and it is for that reason and the consequences which spring from it that it is impossible to regard women as a similar risk in insurance to men. The whole tendency of our insurance scheme in the process of evolution from good to better has been to segregate women in their own separate societies and thus secure for them the full measure of their rights in insurance.

11.30 p.m.

I have heard a phrase used in connection with this question of the relation of contributions to pensions, which seems to me to carry the exaggeration of language to the limits of what one would conceive possible. I have heard this Bill spoken of as a Bill which will rob people in insurance of their pension rights. I have dealt with this matter before in debate but, lest misconception should get abroad, let me deal with it once again, even at this late period in our discussions. The facts of the situation are these. Already, unemployed persons who are being continued in insurance under the prolongation scheme, have, in typical cases, exhausted the pension rights to which they are entitled by their contributions. Nevertheless, it was recognised, in the preparation of this Measure, that the pension right is that which is of most social value and of most importance to the welfare of the unemployed; that its loss would be a most severe loss to the unemployed and that everything which could be done, to keep the unemployed still insured for their pension rights, should be done, within the limit of what was consistent with the maintenance of the solvency and contributory character of the scheme. That has been done. It has been done by the continuance of the unemployed in their pension rights for three years after the expiration of the period at which they would, normally, under the existing law go out of insurance altogether. They have been continued in their pension rights until the end of 1935. One object which we had in view was to give an opportunity for times to improve and enable the unemployed to secure renewal of their pension rights in the normal and profitable way, by re-entry into employment. We were not content with that step. The matter has been carried still further. We have pushed on the age limit at the bottom and taken part of the little margin available to us to bring the age limit down at the other end. Just as the unemployed formerly, as long as they attained the age of 60, in insurance, were continued until they were 65—and safe—so, under the present provision, we have used that little margin to which I have referred to bring that age limit of 60 down to 58¼.

The matter does not rest there. We have carried it still further, by an extremely important new provision, which is in the nature of a concession as regards re-entry into insurance. We have said: "Even when you can no longer, consistent with the retention of any vestige of a contributory basis for the scheme, continue rights which have been long since exhausted, there is something which you can do, without involving your scheme in too great financial peril. You can make it possible for one who has gone out of insurance to come back on easier terms than those provided for in the existing Law." The basis of re-entry into insurance, according to the original scheme, was the fulfilment of a condition of 104 weeks of employment and related contributions. That was supposed to be the minimum when the scheme was originally passed. Taking advantage of further experience, we now propose to reduce that period from 104 weeks to 26 weeks, thus making it easier for those who have gone out of insurance to get back again.

Having described to the House those provisions in relation to insurance rights, and particularly pension insurance rights, I leave to the judgment of the House, without the least hesitation as to what that judgment will be, whether or not there has been in this case any robbing of pension rights. On the average the unemployed man who, at the end of the year 1935, will lose his insurance rights to pension benefits, if he does do so and, if there is no improvement in the meantime, will find himself in this case, that he will have had 10 years of insurance for this important and valuable right to pensions—old age, widows' and orphans' pensions—and for those 10 years of insurance he will have paid 2½ years of contributions. I submit to the House with confidence whether it is possible to go further in the way of stretching things in order to make it easier for the unemployed and yet retain the character of the scheme as a contributory scheme and the solvency of the fund.

The whole matter of the Bill reduces itself to this: Are we prepared to maintain the National Health Insurance scheme as a solvent, contributory scheme, or are we prepared to let it go downhill, and fall, and lose those two characteristics? I have no hesitation, with the experience that this country has had, with the knowledge that it now has as to the present conditions, in presenting to the House this Measure, which will ensure the maintenance of the scheme with those two characteristics of a contributory basis and solvency. Let me ask the House to consider what would happen if it came to any other decision, if the counsels of hon. Members opposite were to prevail, and on this and every other occasion, whenever and difficulty occurred, we were always prepared to overcome it by omitting all painful effort and by making up the gap with a grant from the Exchequer. [Interruption.] It is impossible to combine the two. You must be prepared to do the one or the other. You must be prepared to maintain the character of the scheme as it was founded, as a contributory scheme, or you must be prepared to let the growth of Exchequer grants overgrow the whole structure of the scheme, and in that case you will be unable to maintain the contributions to the scheme.

You cannot have it both ways. You cannot have people maintained by free grants from the Exchequer and, at the same time, ask other persons, getting the same benefits, to buy them for themselves by their own contributions. If you begin to go down that slope, of taking refuge ever with the Exchequer grant, you must be prepared to find, in a very much shorter time than you would expect, the contribution income of the whole scheme falling away to nothing, and you will have to maintain the whole of the health benefits and pensions system of the country simply as a matter of free Exchequer grants, without any contributory effort at all. There is no half way house. You must stop it at the outset, as we are asking you to do to-night, or you must go the whole way of substituting a State relief service for a contributory scheme.

But is that the choice? No, that is not the position in which we find ourselves at the present time. What is the course of events? Suppose you throw this burden on the Exchequer in ever increasing volume. To increase the burdens of the Exchequer so as to provide benefits under the National Health Insurance scheme means increased taxation; increased taxation—do we not know it now?—means increased unemployment; increased unemployment means increased inability on the part of the contributors to the scheme to maintain their contributions; and so you enter once more into that miserable vicious circle of which, surety, we have had enough in the past.

Now is an opportunity presented to us to prevent ourselves from entering that vicious circle. The contributory principle will surely work to-day. It is not merely an abstract ideal. It is not a mere phrase. As I understand it, it is this: that by this mechanism of insurance we can stimulate some of the finest qualities of the race, and stimulate people to care for their own future and fate. It is our duty to enable them to experience the benefits of the admirable stimulus of an insurance scheme. It is our duty when we see these elements in our national scheme of Health Insurance threatened, not through the fault of any man, but by a turn in the national tide for the worse, to make the effort which is needed in time, to confront the painful effort which is necessary in this House, to confront the painful necessity of explaining it to the country; and in the discharge of that effort to meet with the reward that in future times 17,000,000 of the contributors to this fund will thank the House for what it has done to preserve the solidity of the fund.

Question put, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."

The House divided: Ayes, 246; Noes, 43.

Division No. 256.] AYES. [11.42 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Goff, Sir Park
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Goodman, Colonel Albert W.
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Gower, Sir Robert
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd) Chalmers, John Rutherford Graves, Marjorie
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Clayton, Dr. George C. Greene, William P. C.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John
Atholl, Duchess of Colville, John Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)
Atkinson, Cyril Conant, R. J. E. Gritten, W. G. Howard
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Cook, Thomas A. Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Cooke, Douglas Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.
Balniel, Lord Cooper, A. Duff Guy, J. C. Morrison
Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell Copeland, Ida Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Cranborne, Viscount Hales, Harold K.
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Bateman, A. L. Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Harbord, Arthur
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.) Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Hartington, Marquess of
Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Culverwell, Cyril Tom Hartland, George A.
Borodale, Viscount Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Harvey, Majors. E. (Devon, Totnes)
Bossom, A. C. Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.
Boulton, W. W. Dower, Captain A. V. G. Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Drewe, Cedric Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Duggan, Hubert John Hornby, Frank
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Horsbrugh, Florence
Broadbent, Colonel John Eastwood, John Francis Howard, Tom Forrest
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Eden, Robert Anthony Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Elliston, Captain George Sampson Hume, Sir George Hopwood
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y) Emrys-Evans, P. V. Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Entwistle, Cyril Fullard Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)
Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)
Burnett, John George Erskine-Boist, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Essenhigh, Reginald Clare Jamieson, Douglas
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Jesson, Major Thomas E.
Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley) Fraser, Captain Ian Joel, Dudley J. Barnato
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Fremantle, Sir Francis Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Ganzoni, Sir John Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)
Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)
Ker, J. Campbell Ormiston, Thomas Skelton, Archibald Noel
Kerr, Hamilton W. Pearson, William G. Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Kimball, Lawrence Peat, Charles U. Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R. Perkins, Walter R. D. Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Knebworth, Viscount Petherick, M. Somervell, Donald Bradley
Knox, Sir Alfred Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n) Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Law, sir Alfred Pike, Cecil F. Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Leckie, J. A. Potter, John Stanley, Hon. O. F. C. (Westmorland)
Leech, Dr. J. W. Procter, Major Henry Adam Stevenson, James
Levy, Thomas Raikes, Henry V. A. M. Stones, James
Liddall, Walter S. Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) Storey, Samuel
Lindsay. Noel Ker Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Stourton. Hon. John J.
Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe- Ramsbotham, Herwald Strauss, Edward A.
Llewellin, Major John J. Ramsden, E. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Lloyd, Geoffrey Rankin, Robert Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Rea, Walter Russell Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Loder, Captain J. de Vere Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Mabane, William Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham- Sutcliffe, Harold
MacAndrew, Lt.-Col C. G. (Partick) Reid, James S. C. (Stirling) Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
McCorquodale, M. S. Reid, William Allan (Derby) Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
McKie, John Hamilton Remer, John R. Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton Renwick, Major Gustav A. Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)
McLean, Major Alan Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip Touche, Gordon Cosmo
McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Macmillan, Maurice Harold Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall) Turton, Robert Hugh
Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest Robinson, John Roland Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Rosbotham, S. T. Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Ross, Ronald D. Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Margesson, Capt. Henry David R. Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Marsden, Commander Arthur Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A. Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Runge, Norah Cecil Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy) Wells, Sydney Richard
Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.) Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) White, Henry Graham
Milne, Charles Rutherford, Sir John Hugo Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k) Salmon, Major Isidore Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Mitcheson, G. G. Salt, Edward W. Wills, Wilfrid D.
Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart Wise, Alfred R.
Moreing, Adrian C. Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard Womersley, Walter James
Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.) Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D. Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Morrison, William Shephard Savery, Samuel Servington Worthington, Dr. John V.
Muirhead, Major A. J. Scone, Lord Wragg, Herbert
Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)
Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Normand, Wilfrid Guild Shepperson, Sir Ernest W. TELLERS FOR THE AYES
O'Donovan, Dr. William James Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness) Sir George Penny and Mr. Blindell.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Attlee, Clement Richard Hicks, Ernest George Maxton, James
Batey, Joseph Hirst, George Henry Milner, Major James
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Jenkins, Sir William Parkinson, John Allen
Buchanan, George Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Slivertown) Price, Gabriel
Cape, Thomas Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Salter, Dr. Alfred
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Kirkwood, David Thorne, William James
Cripps, Sir Stafford Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Tinker, John Joseph
Daggar, George Lawson, John James Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Leonard, William Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Edwards, Charles Logan, David Gilbert Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Lunn, William Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Grundy, Thomas W. McEntee, Valentine L.
Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) McGovern, John TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Mr. John and Mr. Duncan Graham.

Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.