HC Deb 15 December 1938 vol 342 cc2164-6
45. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Prime Minister whether he can give the names of the members who will constitute the Royal Commission that is to investigate the question of workmen's compensation; when is the Commission expected to meet; and when is it hoped to terminate the proceedings?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Chamberlain)

Yes, Sir. The King has been pleased to approve the setting up of a Royal Commission to inquire into the subject of workmen's compensation, constituted as follows:

  • Sir Hector James Wright Hetherington, LL.D. (Chairman).
  • Robert Reid Bannatyne, Esq., C.B.
  • John Smith Boyd, Esq.
  • Arthur Belcher Cauty, Esq.
  • Miss Grace Drysdale.
  • Reginald Cheyne Elmslie, Esq., O.B.E., M.S., F.R.C.S.
  • Edgar Hackforth, Esq. C.B.
  • George Alfred Isaacs, Esq., J.P.
  • William Lawther, Esq.
  • John Adam Lillie, Esq., K.C.
  • Clarence Thomas Albert Sadd, Esq., C.B.E., J.P.
  • J. L. Smyth, Esq.
  • His Honour Judge William Stewart.
  • F. J. Williams, Esq.
  • W. D. Woolley, Esq.
  • Mrs. Barbara Wootton.
It will be for the chairman to arrange for the first meeting, but I have no doubt it will be held as soon as reasonably practicable. I cannot forecast at present how long the inquiry will take.

Mr. Smith

Will the Prime Minister consider introducing some immediate reforms, such as increasing the maximum amount of workmen's compensation in the case of miners' nystagmus and silicosis, while the Commission is sitting?

Mr. Buchanan

The Prime Minister seems to have appointed a large Commission. As he knows, some of the reforms are extremely urgent and the Commission must have some time before presenting their report. Will he consider recasting the Commission to make it smaller and more effective, or introduce one or two of the more urgent reforms pending the Commission's report?

The Prime Minister

I understood that it was thought desirable the Commission should be representative, and that is the explanation why it is rather large. I am quite aware of the urgency of some of the problems the Commission has undertaken to survey, and I am sure they will take into consideration their urgency and will endeavour to expedite some part of their report.

Mr. Buchanan

Will the Prime Minister make representations to the Commission asking that one or two points which are urgent should be dealt with in an interim report?

The Prime Minister

I will represent to the Commission that on one or two matters an interim report might be made, but I must leave it to them to say how soon they can deal with those matters.

Mr. Silverman

Can the Prime Minister say how many members of the Commismission are lawyers?

The Prime Minister

I think one is a lawyer.

60. Mr. A. Jenkins

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the case of Lissenden versus C.A.V. Bosch, Limited, heard in the Appeal Court on 7th December, 1938, when each of the three judges expressed regret that under the existing workmen's compensation law the court was powerless to correct an injustice to the injured workmen; and will he take immediate steps to amend the law so as to remedy this injustice?

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sir Samuel Hoare)

I have seen reports of the proceedings in this case, and I appreciate that the point raised may have to be carefully examined. I understand, however, that leave was given to appeal to the House of Lords, and in the circumstances it would be premature at the moment to go further into the question.

Mr. Jenkins

Arising out of that reply, may I ask the Prime Minister whether he is including this subject among those which are being submitted for consideration to the Royal Commission on Workmen's Compensation to be dealt with in any interim report which may be made?

Mr. H. G. Williams

On a point of Order. Have hon. Members the right to interrogate Ministers other than those to whom the original questions are addressed?