HC Deb 14 July 1938 vol 338 cc1494-5
23. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department which of the recommendations contained in the Departmental Committee's reports on workmen's compensation it is intended to implement pending the report of the Royal Commission that is to investigate the question of compensation?

38. Mr. Batey

asked the Home Secretary what steps the Government intend to take to implement the report of the Departmental Committee arising under the Workmen's Compensation Act which reported last January on miners' nystagmus, medical examination and certification by medical referees and certifying surgeons, and also lump-sum settlements?

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

I am not in a position to add anything to the answers which the Prime Minister gave to questions on this subject on 22nd June.

Mr. E. Smith

Does that mean that the valuable work of the Departmental Committee is to be ignored until the Royal Commission has reported?

Sir S. Hoare

No, Sir, that is not necessarily the case. The hon. Member will recall that the Prime Minister said: I think it is obvious that, if we set up a Royal Commission, it would not be proper to introduce any legislation which affected the general system until we had its report. I should not consider, on the other hand, that we should be debarred from introducing legislation dealing with particular aspects of the question.''—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd June, 1938; col. 1065, Vol. 337.]

Mr. T. Smith

Will the right hon. Gentleman do all he can to implement the last part of the Prime Minister's statement in view of the serious situation as regards compensation in the country?

Mr. Batey

Does the Prime Minister's reference to particular matters with which we are not debarred from dealing, include the three matters mentioned in my question, namely, miners' nystagmus, medical examinations and lump-sum payments? Can we not deal with them?

Sir S. Hoare

I think that question had better be addressed to the Prime Minister. Speaking generally, it seems to me to be the case that those particular questions come within the Prime Minister's undertaking, and that it would be possible to deal with them.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

When does the right hon. Gentleman expect the Commission to be set up?

Sir S. Hoare

That question should be addressed to the Prime Minister.

33. Mr. E. Smith

asked the Home Secretary whether, having regard to the fact that the maximum payment of 30s. a week in respect of workmen's compensation is too small and that, owing to the method of computing average weekly earnings, very much less than the maximum is paid, he will introduce legislation to remedy the matter pending the Royal Commission's report?

Sir S. Hoare

The scales of compensation and method of computation are among the most important matters to be investigated by the Royal Commission, and they could not, I think, properly be dealt with by legislation in advance of the report.

Mr. Smith

In view of the unanimity that prevails among all interests in industry regarding the need of some reform in this matter, will the right hon. Gentleman consult the Prime Minister with a view to dealing with the matter within its limits prior to the report of the Royal Commission?

Mr. Tinker

Will the right hon. Gentleman not consider the position taken up during the War and adopt it before the report comes to finality?

Sir S. Hoare

No, Sir; I do not think I could go beyond the answer I have given. It is one of the chief subjects to be investigated by the Royal Commission.