§ 3.40 p.m.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of LABOUR (Mr. R. S. Hudson)
I beg to move, in page 44, line 12, after "incurred," to insert, "by the Department."
§ This Amendment and the Amendments which follow it are drafting Amendments consequential upon the Amendments made in Committee in the Fifth Schedule which gave the Unemployment Assistance Board the status of a Government Department.
§ Mr. LAWSON
I understand that these Amendments are down in order to make the Unemployment Assistance Board the organ of the Crown. I do not quite understand in what sense we have to take the statement of the hon. Gentleman that the Public Assistance Board is to be the organ of the Crown. I do not recollect what the discussion was at the time, and there may be nothing in the Amendments, but I think that the House ought to know their full meaning.
§ 3.51 p.m.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir Donald Somervell)
The House will remember that min the Committee stage an Amendment was moved by my right hon. Friend stating expressly that the members of this board would be exercising their functions on behalf of the Crown. Those who heard the discussion will remember that I expressed my view that that would be held to be the position, having regard to the duties imposed on them by the Bill, whether the words were expressly inserted or not. It was agreed in all parts of the Committee that it was desirable that the thing should be dealt with expressly, and the Committee accepted that Amendment. I also stated that as the Bill was originally drafted there were one or two places where the draftsmen had not clearly in their minds the full implication of this position. Of 1274 these three highly technical Amendments to Clause 47, which deals with payments between the Treasury and the Board inter se, I think the first is purely drafting. The second, to leave out the words "belonging to the Crown" and to insert "provided by the Department," is also a drafting Amendment in view of the fact that it is expressly declared that the board is exercising its functions on behalf of the Crown. It is in some sense consequential or related to that question. I hesitate to use the word "consequential," because really that was the position under the Bill before the express words were inserted. The last Amendment is in line 34, to leave out from the beginning to "as," in line 36, and to insert :There shall in each year be paid to the Treasury out of the fund at such times and in such manner as the Treasury may direct, such sum.This, again, is purely drafting; the words are more appropriate than the words in the Bill, having regard to the position of the members of the board as officers of the Crown. These Amendments bring the Bill into line with the Amendment that was accepted by the Committee to the Sixth Schedule in regard to the position of the board.
§ 3.53 p.m.
§ Mr. LAWSON
I do not know whether you, Sir, would allow us to discuss the question of the Unemployment Assistance Board being an organ of the Crown as against a body appointed by Parliament. We have held a very strong view with regard to the position this board holds because, in the first place, their salaries are placed on the Consolidated Fund Bill, and, in the second place, they are outside the purview of Parliament once they get into operation. It seems to me that these Amendments would justify us in raising the question as to whether the members of the board should be representatives of Parliament and perform their functions as such, or whether they should be the direct representatives of the Crown.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
This is one and the same subject which has been discussed before, and I think it would be waste of time to discuss it all over again.
§ Mr. LAWSON
Would it not be within the bounds of order to discuss that particular point? It seems to me that these 1275 Amendments simply confirm a principle to which we have objected during the Debates.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The Amendments are only a confirmation of what has been done previously, and only make that
§ clear. I do not think it would be in order to discuss the whole principle of these Amendments.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided : Ayes, 264; Noes, 42.1277
§ Further Amendments made : In page 44, line 15, leave out "belonging to the Crown," and insert "provided by the Department."
In line 34, leave out from the beginning, to "as," in line 36, and insert :
There shall in each year be paid to the Treasury out of the fund at such times and in such manner as the Treasury may direct, such sum."— [Mr. Hudson.]