HC Deb 07 April 1938 vol 334 cc509-11
36. Mr. Tinker

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware of the resolutions passed by trade unions asking for a revision of the Workmen's Compensation Acts; and will he meet a deputation from them, along with Members of Parliament, to hear their views why this should be done?

Sir S. Hoare

I am well aware of the desire of the unions in this matter, and when I received a deputation on the subject from the Trades Union Congress last December I told them that I recognised that there are grounds for revision, and that, while I could not give any undertaking as to when it would be possible to introduce legislation, their representations would be carefully kept in mind. I shall, of course, be glad to consider any personal representations made to me by any hon. Member, but I doubt, in the circumstances, whether any useful purpose would be served by my receiving a further deputation.

Mr. Tinker

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Prime Minister is meeting with trade union representatives, in order that they might help in one direction, and can he help us in this direction, so that both can be considered together?

Sir S. Hoare

I am not sure whether the hon. Member is aware that I have already received a deputation from the Trades Union Congress on the subject. I am doubtful whether a further deputation would add to the information I have.

Mr. A. Bevan

Is not the inadequacy of the existing compensation proved by the fact that public assistance authorities all over the country now have to supplement workmen's compensation every week?

Mr. Cassells

Having regard to the recommendations in the Stewart Report, is it the right lion. Gentleman's intention to make a statement with regard to the alterations suggested in the report; and, if so, when?

Sir S. Hoare

I have already answered one or two questions on the subject and told the House that I do not think there would be time to deal with the recommendations in the present Session.

Mr. T. Smith

Will the right hon. Gentleman take the House into his confidence, and say what are the obstacles in the way, apart from the question of Parliamentary time?

Sir S. Hoare

The obstacle, to a great extent, is the difficulty of finding Parliamentary time.

Mr. Bevan

We will sit longer, if necessary.

38. Sir Arnold Wilson

asked the Home Secretary the estimated number of persons within the scope of the Workmen's Compensation Acts whose employers were not covered by insurance in 1937 as compared with the estimate of 250,000 persons in 1914, as given to the Holman Gregory Committee in 1919?

Sir S. Hoare

I regret I am not in a position to furnish the estimate asked for by my hon. Friend. I would point out that the figure given by the Holman Gregory Committee, which was of a conjectural character, referred to the number of uninsured employers and not to the number of persons employed by such employers.

Sir A. Wilson

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that it is impossible to promote legislation or discuss it unless these figures are available to the House? Will he take further steps to ascertain the number of uninsured employers, from which a rough calculation of employés can be made?

Sir S. Hoare

I agree that this is the kind of information we should need in the event of the introduction of legislation.