§ 30. Mr. THORNE
asked the Postmaster-General whether horse or motor drivers of mail vans are insured, or whether the Government are financially responsible for accidents where the drivers are involved?
§ The ASSISTANT POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Sir Ernest Bennett)
The drivers of mail vans owned by the Post 1914 Office are not insured. In the event of an accident in which the driver of such a van is involved, it is the practice of the Department to accept the same degree of liability in respect of a claim for civil damages as is imposed on a private employer?
§ Sir E. BENNETT
No, the Government do not insure their property or their servants. The object of private third-party insurance is, of course, to secure the existence, so to speak, of a definite person who can and must meet damages assessed against him. In the case of Government property or servants, no such insurance is necessary, because the risks are spread over the whole of the taxpaying community.
§ Mr. THORNE
Is it the case that where there is an accident involving one of your servants compensation is paid out of the Exchequer or the receipts of the Post Office?
§ Mr. HERBERT WILLIAMS
Is it the case that the Post Office denied liability for an accident to the wife of a former Member for the constituency which I now represent?
§ Sir E. BENNETT
The reason why we did not acknowledge liability in that case was that, according to the evidence before us, we did not think that the responsibility for what happened was on our driver. I need not say that in a case like that the aggrieved person can of course proceed against the driver in the courts, and we accept service on behalf of the driver and, if the case is given against him, also pay up.
§ 46. Mr. HUTCHISON
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the number of Government Departments which adopt third-party insurance in respect of the motor transport they directly or indirectly employ; and, if any Department does not employ such third-party insurance, whether he can state the method adopted when dealing with claims against the Department concerned in respect of any accident?
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
Motor vehicles, if directly employed in the public service 1915 of the Crown, are not insured by Government Departments against third-party risks. In such cases it is the practice for the Government Department concerned to assume the same degree of liability in respect of claims to civil damages as is imposed upon a private employer.