§ 7.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Henderson
I beg to move,That, while welcoming the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into the many problems connected with workmen's compensation, this House is of opinion that the urgent necessity for an immediate increase in the amount of compensation payable is already abundantly clear and should be enacted without delay.This Motion calls attention to one aspect only of the problem of workmen's compensation, namely, the insufficiency of the amounts paid to injured workmen, and to the urgent necessity for an immediate increase in such amounts. I doubt whether anyone would deny that the present system of workmen's compensation is full of grave defects, is extravagant in its cost of operation, is wasteful of human health in its indifference to the need for the rehabilitation of the injured workman, is a source of constant friction and even ill feeling between employers and workmen, and frequently engenders distrust on the part of the workmen in relation to members of the medical profession. Moreover, for many years there has been acute controversy on important aspects of workmen's compensation, such as the question of medical boards and the necessity for a system of compulsory insurance of all employers in relation to their liabilities under the law relating to workmen's compensation.
Of course it is a fact that at the present moment a Royal Commission is sitting to inquire into these problems, but my object to-night is to urge upon the House that immediate action should be taken to increase the amounts payable to workmen, without waiting for the Royal Commission to report. It is evident, I think, that it will be a considerable time before 1033 the Royal Commission is able to complete its investigations and make its report. The last occasion on which a comprehensive inquiry was conducted was when the Departmental Committee under the chairmanship of Mr. (now Sir) Holman Gregory was appointed, in May, 1919. That Committee did not report until 14 months later, in July, 1920. To take another example, the Delevingne Rehabilitation Committee, which was appointed in April, 1936, did not produce its interim report until 13 months later, in May, 1937. Therefore, I suggest that in all probability we may not expect an interim report from the present Royal Commission before next year. We on these benches believe that the matter is urgent, and that immediate steps should be taken to ameliorate the position of these unfortunate victims of industry.
I find that the last returns that we had in relation to injuries caused during employment, namely, those for the year 1936, show that there were 2,286 deaths, and 459,271 cases of non-fatal injury lasting over three days in respect of which compensation was paid. Even these figures only cover about one-half of the 15,000,000 workpeople who come within the scope of the Workmen's Compensation Acts. They exclude, for example, the building industry, road transport and agriculture. If all accidents covered by the Workmen's Compensation Acts were statistically recorded, the totals would be far higher than those which I have just given to the House. I think few people would deny that, in spite of all the measures of accident prevention, the majority of workpeople to-day are in daily danger of being injured while carrying on their work. They are daily faced with the risk of injury.
We on these benches have made a number of attempts in this Parliament to secure improvements in the system of workmen's compensation. On the first occasion, in April, 1936, the Under-Secretary of State opposed the Bill on behalf of the Government on two grounds. He stated, in effect, that it was a very big and complicated Bill, and one which would make a revolutionary change in the principles upon which workmen's compensation in this country was based. On the second occasion, in November, 1937, the Under-Secretary opposed the Bill on the ground that two Departmental Committees were sitting, whose recom- 1034 mendations, if accepted by the Government—I doubt whether many Members of the House at the time realised this very important qualification, which meant that what he said had very little value at all—would be implemented in legislation to be introduced by the Government. Both of those Committees have reported, I believe I am correct in saying, but the House is still waiting for legislation to be introduced on the basis of their recommendations. We made a third attempt in November last. On that occasion the Under-Secretary opposed the Bill on the ground that the House must await the result of the inquiry which was to be undertaken by the present Royal Commission; and to-night we are asked again to await the issue of an interim report by the Commission. We on these benches, at any rate, consider that there has been far too much delay, and that the Government should do something now. If it is not possible to accept all the recommendations that I propose to put before the House, we should for the time being be satisfied if the Government would give these unfortunate people something in the nature of token increases pending the report of the Royal Commission.
What is the case for urgency? I should like to give the House particulars of a number of cases which have come to my notice, and which to my mind evidence the desperate conditions in which many injured workmen to-day find themselves, compelling them to have recourse to the public assistance committees, and even to become hopelessly involved in debt. The first case is that of a miner, who lost two feet in October, 1937. He has six children. He receives 3os. a week as compensation, and had to go to the public assistance committee, who allowed him 20s. 6d. a week. Later on, the eldest child, then 14 years of age, left school and was offered a job at l0s. a week, and the public assistance allowance was reduced to 15s.; so that now this family has£2 5s. with which to clothe and feed the husband wife, and five children, apart from the sixth child, who is in work. Another case is also that of a miner, who received an accident to his spine in October, 1935. He is, of course, unfit for work. He is drawing 23s. 11d.a week compensation, and he also had to go to the public assistance committee, who awarded him 21s. a week. That is 1035 to say, he had £2 4s. 11d. with which to keep himself, his wife and five children. The eldest son started work at 8s. a week, and the public assistance committee have reduced the allowance to 17s. 6d., so that at the present time he has £2 1s. 5d. to keep himself, his wife and five children.
The last case to which I shall refer is that of an engineer, married, with three children. He receives the maximum amount of 30s. per week, with £1 6s. from the public assistance committee. This unfortunate man has had expenses which have caused him to run up debts to the extent of £75. My comment on these cases is this: Why should a workman who is injured in the course of his employment, and whose earning capacity is thereby reduced, be compelled to have recourse to the public assistance committee? We on these benches maintain that the amount of compensation payable to the injured workman should be such as to make it unnecessary for him to have recourse to the public assistance committee.
What are the amounts that we suggest should be paid in relation to workmen's compensation? We have put these proposals before the House in the Bill that has been introduced from time to time. In case of death, under the present law, the maximum amount that can be payable is £600. In the case of a widow without children, the sum paid is £300, but where there are children an additional amount may be payable, provided that the maximum does not exceed £600. It is interesting to note that the Holman Gregory Committee, which was composed of gentlemen of great ability and great experience on this particular subject of workmen's compensation, recommended that the maximum should be £800, and I think it therefore follows that, in the opinion at any rate of the members of the Holman Gregory Committee, £600 was not an adequate sum, and should be increased to £800. We are not so enthusiastic about a lump-sum payment. We propose that the system of lump-sum payments should be terminated; and I believe that, whatever may be the views of hon. Members on either side of the House, and especially of hon. Members on the other side who have had practical experience of workmen's compensation, they will at any rate agree that there are strong and cogent arguments for support- 1036 ing a proposal to terminate lump-sum payments.
We suggest that, instead of a lump-sum payment to the widow and dependants of a deceased workman, there should be paid a sum weekly, and we suggest that this sum should be 30s. per week or half the weekly earnings, whichever is the greater. In the case of a widow left with children, we suggest additional payments, to be calculated on the following basis: Under the present computation, the average dependent child receives 6s. per week. The Holman Gregory report suggested that l0s. should be paid for the first child, 7s. 6d. for the second, and 6s. for the third. We go a little further still, and propose that there should be paid in respect of each child up to the age of 16, 10s. per week; but we put in the limitation that in no case shall the normal weekly earnings of the deceased be exceeded. Those are very moderate proposals. We show, I think, our sense of responsibility by inserting this limitation. Those are the proposals where death ensues as a result of the accident. In the case of incapacity, where a man is finished as far as the labour market is concerned, where a workman is prevented from earning any wages, the maximum sum payable at the present time is 50 per cent. of the pre-accident earnings.
§ Mr. Henderson
Yes. The Holman Gregory report recommended that this should be increased to 66⅔ per cent. We suggest that it should be increased to 75 per cent. of the wages received before the accident. It is, again, very interesting to note that the Holman Gregory Committee, which, as I said before, was an independent committee, representing all points of view, recommended that there should be a maximum weekly payment of £3 a week. We, however, suggest that £3 a week should be the minimum, unless the normal weekly earnings of the injured workman prior to the accident were less than that sum. That is the position with regard to total incapacity: where a man, for example, has lost both arms and has no likelihood of being able to earn anything. In the case of partial incapacity: where a man's earning capacity is only partially affected, he now becomes entitled to 50 per cent. 1037 of the difference between the amount he earned before the accident and the amount he is able to earn after the accident. We suggest that he should receive the whole of the difference, because we take the view that the standard of living of an injured workman and his family should not be lowered as a result of injuries sustained in the course of his work.
We believe that the increases we have suggested are reasonable, and that they are no more than are necessary to maintain the injured workman and the members of his family in a reasonable degree of economic security. I do not believe that any hon. Member on this side of the House overlooks the importance of medical and vocational rehabilitation, but we believe that by the provision of reasonable economic security we make, or ensure, a contribution to securing such medical and vocational rehabilitation. There is no Member on this side of the House who would not give his enthusiastic support to any reasonable scheme which could be advanced for securing the rehabilitation of the injured workman, provided that, as a basis, the workman has been guaranteed a sufficient weekly amount to permit him and his family to maintain their standard of living without being compelled to have recourse to the public assistance committee. Whatever people may say about the complexities of the system of workmen's compensation, we, at any rate, believe in what we call the dignity of labour. We believe that the injured workman values his self-respect as much as any other member of the community, and it is because I take this view that I appeal to both sides of the House tonight to support my Motion.
§ 7.51 p.m.
§ Mr. Dunn
I beg to second the Motion.
In doing so, I would like to congratulate my hon. Friend on the admirable way in which he has presented his case. There is no need for me to attempt to go into the long legal history attached to the question of workmen's compensation. It is sufficient for me to say that this is one of the most human problems coming before this House, and a problem to the improvement of which every hon. Member on this side of the House, and I trust the majority of those on the other side, will lend support. It seems to me that if we make any contribution whatever to the broken, bruised and injured work- 1038 man, in order to alleviate his lot and to make some contribution to the happiness of the widow and the orphaned child, we shall be doing a great service. The conscience of the nation has demanded, for half a century at any rate, that when people are injured while following their normal occupation, their employers, whoever they may be, should be under a legal obligation to make some compensation. I do not approach this Debate in exactly the same way as my hon. Friend. He has had considerable experience in the law courts of the country, and has made a very close and thorough examination of the legal aspects of the matter. I approach this from the standpoint of one who has had a personal and practical experience, spread over a period of 25 years, of the working of the Workmen's Compensation Acts. During that time I must have dealt with thousands of cases of all kinds, fatal and non-fatal. During my day-to-day experience in the coalfields, I have never been satisfied that industry has made a reasonable contribution to the assistance of the injured workman or the widow and orphans of the man who is killed in the course of his work.
It is not necessary for me to attempt to argue the urgency of the Motion before the House, but there was one point that I was glad to hear my hon. Friend mention, and that was that an injured workman does not require less income after an accident, whatever its nature. We are all too familiar with cases where men have lost fingers, an arm, a leg, or an eye. I have seen scores of cases of men being taken out of the pit into their homes, and I have always felt that it is a monstrous injustice, not merely to the injured workman and his dependants but to the community at large, that the provision made for a person who has been maimed in industry is of such a character that he is worse off after the accident than he was when in work. It seems to me that the view that should be taken is that because a person is injured the income of his home should be not less but at least the same as before, and I believe that it should be even more. In respect of partial incapacity, I have nothing to add to what has been said by my hon. Friend. But I am glad to know that there are in this country some employers of labour who, despite the fact that they insure their workpeople, take the view that I have now expressed, the view so 1039 admirably expressed by my hon. Friend, that the income of the home in the event of an accident should be not less than it was when the man was healthy and at work.
I speak with some experience of this matter. I can tell the House with a great degree of satisfaction that it has been my privilege to act as secretary and manager to a scheme which has been running successfully since 1928. During that period we have never deducted, in the event of an accident, even a penny from a man's normal weekly wages. If his wages have been £5 per week he has drawn £5 per week. If the minimum has been £3 9s. per week, the man has drawn his full wages during the whole period of incapacity. We take exactly the same view with regard to National Health Insurance. If a man is sick he does not require less money in the house on that account. We take the view that he requires more money. We have not only paid full wages during the period of incapacity due to accident, but during the period of sickness also. I put this before the House with a good deal of satisfaction, knowing that not only ourselves, but knowing also that the bulk of decent employers take the same view.
When this question was before the House on 18th November the hon. Gentleman the Member for Ecclesall (Sir G. Ellis), called the attention of the House to the fact that big industry had secured itself by the formation of mutual indemnity companies. I was reading his words before I came to the House to-day and found that he appeared to take a good deal of pride in saying that the big industries of the country had now insured themselves through mutual indemnity organisations in such a manner as to give satisfaction to their workpeople. The only quarrel that he had with the Bill which was before the House on 18th November was that he feared and regretted that the small employer would find it difficult to insure, and, in the event of accidents, to meet any claims. I do not know whether or not the hon. Member for Ecclesall thought that we on these benches who have had experience of mutual indemnity organisations were satisfied with the operations of those schemes or not, but I assure the House that, as far as we in Yorkshire are concerned, we are far from being satis- 1040 fled with the operations of the mutual indemnity organisations. We do not believe in policemen acting on behalf of the indemnity companies, standing upon the doorsteps of injured people, seeking to make all sorts of arrangements on their behalf. It is entirely wrong and we offer our strenuous opposition to it.
I would like to put before the House the real problem, as I see it, in relation to the big industries of this country. I notice that in shipping in 1936 the percentage of injured workmen was 5.74, in factories 3.83, on docks and harbours 11.33, in mines 23.62, in quarries 10 per cent., on constructional work 4.18, and on the railways 4.56. I have looked up the figures as far as the mining industry is concerned, and as a miner, I can tell the House that we feel very strongly indeed upon this question. Nobody in this country is as hardly hit as the miner. In 1936 the men injured or suffering from industrial diseases contracted in the mines numbered 180,893, and in 1937 184,092. That is a sorry picture as far as this basic industry is concerned. I would like to put these figures on record once again, although they have been quoted in this House over and over again. During the last 20 years 3,173,102 miners in this country have been injured and have received compensation. It is a staggering total. During the last seven years 1,241,486 have been injured or have suffered from industrial diseases. I speak as a miner and I do not need to make any apology for putting this sorry picture before the House. The men fatally injured during the period from 1920 to 1937 numbered 18,405; and during the last seven years the figures have been 6,176. I was somewhat surprised to find that, while the compensation paid in respect of injured workmen in 1923 amounted to £3,810,661, in 1937 the amount was £2,808,012, a reduction of over £1,000,000.
I notice that there is an Amendment on the Paper, but I do not know whether I should regard it as being an Amendment in the real sense of the term. I should like it to be withdrawn by hon. Gentlemen who, I know, have a good deal of sympathy with the workers, for I cannot believe that they are hostile to the case that has been presented. I should like to feel that they would give their support to our case. Therefore, I am not expecting that the usual arguments will 1041 be made against this Motion. Although there is a Commission sitting, it was well stated on 18th November that, by the time the Commission had sat and taken evidence, and the report had been prepared and presented, and legislation introduced, if ever it is, we could expect at least 750,000 additional miners being injured, and, in view of the rate of increase which has taken place, approximately a further 5,000 miners being killed. That is our case for urgency and why we are asking that these amounts should be increased.
Can it be a question of costs? I do not believe that the question of costs, so far as the mining industry is concerned, is as vital now as it might have been some 10 years ago. The rate of production per person employed in the mines of this country since 1927 has increased by 51 tons per year. That is a staggering increase. There can be no argument now about the mining industry not paying. The figures for the last two years and a half—and they are authentic—show that the balances and profits in favour of the industry have been £30,291,962. There can be no argument now, as far as the mining industry is concerned against this proposal when 23 out of every 100 workers, 230 out of every 1,000, and 2,300 out of every 10,000 are injured once per year. There is an unanswerable case, in view of the rate of profits made in the industry. As I have said, the industry is now paying £1,000,000 less in compensation than was being paid in the industry in 1927. I know that I shall be met with the argument that there are fewer men employed. That is true, but nevertheless, the fact remains.
I should like the Under-Secretary, when he replies, to be good enough to explain this anomaly. I have been looking very closely at the figures which have been published for the last 12 months, and I find that under the wages ascertainment scheme the amount of money under the heading of workmen's compensation in 1937 is shown as £3,342,125, while the amount of money paid in compensation in 1938 was £2,808,102, or a difference in favour of the insurance companies, and, in the mining industry in the main in favour of the mutual indemnity companies, of no less a sum than £534,113. Adding these two figures together, we have £1,500,000 more than was paid in 1923. If that figure were made available 1042 for workmen's compensation, all that we are asking for in this Motion, or most of it, could be met.
With regard to the question of cost, in the Debate on 18th November, the hon. Member for Hitchin (Sir A. Wilson) estimated that his modified figure would require no more than an increase of ½d per ton upon the tonnage rates. That figure was rebutted by the Under-Secretary, who said he was advised that the figure was an understatement of the case. Discussion took place, and the Under-Secretary was questioned by the hon. Member. Taking the figures that I have already given, I estimate that 1d. per ton on the top of the figures which were available in 1923, which are not being paid at the present time, would not only meet the provision for which we are asking but would double the rates of compensation. In other words, a widow instead of receiving £300 would receive £600, the children instead of receiving £300 would receive £600, and instead of 30s. a week being the compensation figure the maximum could be raised to £3. We cannot be satisfied with an average figure of 23s. a week as compensation in the case of accidents.
In December of last year I was in the law courts of this city and heard a case argued over the life of a dog. The claim was substantiated, and the compensation was fixed at £120. The value of the life of a pit pony is estimated at £25, but under the Act as it stands the amount paid for the life of a boy, with no dependants and if there is no contribution to make to the home, is put at £15. That is a perfect scandal. There is another side. What about the cost in happiness and pleasure to the man who is injured? Surely, that ought to be weighed in the balance. There is the loss of happiness in his home, and in his self-respect. Very often the injured man is cut adrift from his fellow men in the ordinary walks of life. That is a loss which in other walks of life would be compensated. He could go into the courts and obtain compensation for that in a court of law, but not so if he is injured in the mining industry, or in the industry generally. It is wrong that public funds, the funds of local authorities and charitable organisations, should be called upon to make contributions to our injured in industry. I hope the Amendment will be withdrawn, in the interests of one big human problem, which 1043 is appealing more than anything else at the present time to the hearts and consciences of the people.
§ 8.22 p.m.
§ Sir Arnold Wilson
I beg to move, in line 3, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:relies on the Commission to proceed with its work as quickly as possible and, when the inquiry has sufficiently advanced, to consider the issue of an interim report on the more urgent questions, including the rates of compensation.There is no one on this side of the House who would take exception to what has been said by the hon. Member for Kingswinford (Mr. A. Henderson) and the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Dunn), in their claim for the urgency and importance of this question. When the Workmen's Compensation Bill was brought before this House for First Reading in 1880 Mr. Gladstone said that of all subjects which could be brought before the House it was the least fitted to be used as an instrument of party attack. There has been no attempt on the part of the Opposition to use this question in that way; it is not their fault that the law has remained unchanged for 15 years. We have no reason whatever to regret this Motion, if only because a Royal Commission is about to sit. I do not doubt that the Under-Secretary will make it his business to see that a copy of to-day 's proceedings is placed in the hands of every member of the Royal Commission.
The purport of my Amendment is that the Government, having decided to appoint a Royal Commission, this House would stultify the Royal Commission if it proceeded forthwith to deal with one side only of the question by legislation. if may put the statistics quoted by the hon. Member for Kingswinford in a slightly different form, between 14 and 15 workmen have been killed at their jobs to-day, 1,500 to 2,000 have received injuries which will incapacitate them for more than three days, and between 75 and l00 men have been maimed for life to-day, and will never again be able to undertake the work in which they were engaged this morning.
Fatal and non-fatal accidents are increasing, both relatively and absolutely. Young and inexperienced workers are suffering more severelythan others. Every 1044 fifth or sixth person who meets with a non-fatal accident in industry is a juvenile, and of these the larger proportion are in the first year of their particular job. Of all the "accidents in lifts and hoists half are of young persons. The lower-paid workers suffer most and, of course, their weekly compensation is on the lower scale. Cases of silicosis are not decreasing but increasing, rather rapidly, and in several directions simultaneously, for reasons which are not yet fully understood. These increases are part of the price we pay for the return of a certain amount of commercial prosperity, and, incidentally for rearmament.
Industry, like the armed forces, has its disabled ex-service men, and it is incumbent upon us to enable them to take their place again in the industrial world, so that they may again become productive members of society. Meanwhile they should not become a charge on public funds, a humiliation which is one of the greatest of grievances. They should receive a weekly payment of compensation sufficient to maintain them in health with out incurring debt. In the last three years we on this side of the House have pressed for workmen's compensation legislation as part of the programme of national fitness. The hon. Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Higgs) when he last spoke said that the 30s. maximum is not sufficient, and I have heard no Member on this side of the House take the view that the present scales are enough.
It has been suggested that we should not place a heavier burden on industry, than it can bear. The burden on industry, represented by premiums paid in respect of employers' liability, is about £12,000,000. So far as concerns commercial insurance offices, their overhead expenses are 42½ per cent. per annum. We do not know the corresponding figure for mutual assurance societies, but it is unlikely to be much less than 33⅓ per cent. The difference between the figures quoted by the hon. Member for Rother Valley is probably attributable thereto. Overhead charges are fixed and hear no relation to the sums disbursed. An increase in the amount of compensation paid will not involve a corresponding percentage increase in the total amount of compensation. For the coal industry the cost of workmen's compensation is about 3d. per ton; for most other industries it varies between 5s. and 17s. 6d. per £100 paid 1045 in wages. A 25 per cent. increase in compensation scales, if we linked it with preventive measures, would probably cost nothing.
The scales of compensation in this country are the lowest in Europe, that is to say, there is no country which has lower scales of compensation. We stand at the bottom with Italy and Hungary. Our scale is 50 per cent. of the average weekly earnings. The usual scale in the great industrial nations with whom we are in active competition is 66⅔ per cent. Our maximum weekly payment is 30s. for a man who is earning £3 or £6. No great industrial country has so low a maximum. On the average our payments for total incapacity are also the lowest in Europe, bearing in mind that no provision is made for meeting the cost of any remedial treatment beyond that afforded by medical benefit under national health insurance. An injured person on a weekly pay of 10s. would get 7s. 6d., on 15s. 11s. 3d., on 20s. 15s., and up to 25s. on 50s. The proposal made by the hon. Member for Kingswinford, and that embodied in the Bill which was before the House in November, would not really touch the worst cases. If a man is only getting 7s. 6d. it is not going to help him to get the additional amount which the Bill proposed. With rent at 7s. 6d. a man getting 25s. has only 17s. 6d. left for food and clothes for himself, his wife and say three children, and it follows that he must go to public assistance for help.
The hon. Member for Houghton-le-Spring (Mr. W. Joseph Stewart) in a previous speech mentioned that Durham administrative county paid last year £21,000 to 580 persons who were in receipt of workmen's compensation. The population of Durham administrative county is, roughly, 800,000. On this basis over the whole of England public assistance is making additions to workmen's compensation of a sum rather more than £1,000,000 a year; a sum between to per cent. and 20 per cent. of the total disbursed in the form of workmen's compensation. I find from Appendix 5 of the Unemployment Assistance Board's last report that they have received applications in respect of partial incapacity from men in receipt of workmen's compensation of a figure of over £150,000. Remembering that under the Act of 1934 50 per cent. of the sums received under 1046 workmen's compensation is disregarded, in assessing workmen's compensation it is reasonable to suppose that not less than £250,000 is being paid out by the Unemployment Assistance Board, on the one hand, and over £,1,000,000 a year by public assistance authorities.
It is impossible to go into details because figures are not available. I have two question on the Order Paper, and if they are answered, as I hope they may be from the material available in Government offices, we shall know more of the sums which are being spent. Skilled men, the cream of our industrial life, dislike going before public assistance authorities, who, in some cases, deal very harshly with them. Under the Transitional Payments Act a public assistance authority need not take into consideration anything received by way of workmen's compensation, although they may at their option disregard only 50 per cent. Their proceedings differ greatly. Then there are approved societies. Those which are really friendly societies—their membership is not very large—do what they can under the terms of the Act, but there are others, the great approved societies, managed as an annex to their commercial business by great insurance companies, who do nothing at all, and cannot be expected to do anything, for it is to their interests and profit to push a man into compensation, or a lump-sum agreement. They cannot be expected to help him in the way contemplated when these approved societies were brought into being.
Hon. Members who have listened to me thus far—and I have not dealt with lump sum compensation for death or for dependants—may well ask why, knowing these facts and being deeply conscious of them, I have put down this Amendment. I will endeavour to give my reasons. The hon. Member for Kingswinford has over-simplified the case. He suggests and assumes that the admitted need for a higher scale can be met by a general increase in permissible percentages and in the minimum and maximum sums permissible, whether for death or for total or partial incapacity. I cannot accept that. I think it is indispensable that the Royal Commission should, however late in the day, examine the whole question in all its bearings before we attempt, by a crude piece of legislation, such as by simply adding 25 per cent., 50 per cent. 1047 or even 100 per cent., to the purely cash outgoings.
Cash will not settle the matter. There was a time when an hon. Member of the Labour party, Mr. Barker, who represented Abertillery, took the same view in the House, that the question could not be dealt with by cash payments, however liberal. It must be dealt with on a far more human and a far more intelligent line. A percentage increase of all scales would leave untouched the worst cases of hardship, even if we accepted the advice of the Holman Gregory Commission; it would not distinguish between the single man and the man with dependants.
There are three possible ways, which I should like to use concurrently, to deal with the matter. The first is a sliding scale. Two-thirds of all accidents cause an absence from work of less than four weeks' duration, and in regard to those two-thirds the 50 per cent. minimum is not, in all the circumstances, unreasonable. Then comes the next period, when men have a more or less prolonged absence. From the period of four weeks, for the next eight weeks, I should like to see the compensation brought up to 66⅔ per cent., which is the Continental average that has been in force for years in all those countries which are most actively competing with us in international markets. [An HON. MEMBER: "And in the Dominions."] In the Dominions also, except South Africa which is as backward as we are, for reasons peculiar to that country. Then come the people who are disabled for more than 13 weeks, and for them I should without hesitation advocate a 75 per cent. scale. Only 10 per cent. of all injured persons remain incapacitated for more than 13 weeks, and it is they who constitute the hard core of human misery, and they who should be dealt with liberally.
That is the first way; but I must enter a caveat—and this is where the advice of a Royal Commission is indispensable. If weekly payments were to be increased, there would be even greater pressure on an injured workman to accept a lump-sum settlement, unless lump-sum settlements were under a far closer control than at present, and in the long run he might be worse off, in the absence of legislation which would ensure to him the full benefit of those weekly payments. Subject to this difficulty, however such a 1048 scheme as I have suggested would in fact meet the most serious cases of disability. But it would involve a dispassionate inquiry and the hearing of evidence, not I hope entirely in London, but in various areas where the Commission could get into touch with real cases of hardship and men who have personal experience on the spot.
Secondly, I would suggest additional allowances for dependent persons in the case of non-fatal accidents as are now allowed by Statute in the case of fatal accidents. The existing distribution of the burden of injury between master and man is arbitrary and unintelligent. It penalises very heavily the better paid worker on the one hand, and on the other hand the married man with dependants. An adult with a wife and three children draws 17s. for himself, 9s. for his wife, and 3s. for each child—say 35s., if unemployed, but if he is injured he does not get more than 3os., and often only 25s.
It would be a great step forward to add allowances for dependants at the rates prescribed for dependants' unemployment benefits. It would not cost very much, but to devise a machinery for introducing it involves full inquiry, and it is a proper point for a Royal Commission. In my judgment, this new conception would involve using the machinery of the Unemployment Assistance Board to assess sums due to injured workmen in respect of their family and dependants.
The third matter, to which I attach the greatest importance, the question of rehabilitation, is a matter which the Government have long had in mind, and to examine which it appointed a Departmental Committee in April, 1936. Full payment for all costs of medical rehabilitation is the rule in most of the great industrial countries with which we are in most active competition. The necessity for it is sufficiently indicated by a single quotation which I will give the House from an article from Dr. Norris, the chief medical officer chief the Bank of England and the Metropolitan Water Board, in the Encyclopaedia of Medical Practice (VII, 129):In Great Britain employers as such are under no legal obligation to provide or pay for treatment. Recovery is. often retarded because the workman is unable to obtain sufficient food or to pay for treatment out of his compensation money1049 That being the case, the important thing is not to give every workman more cash compensation irrespective of his accident or family or marital condition, as the Opposition have suggested in successive Bills, but to provide for complete medical treatment free of cost. Although employers and workmen pay for National Health Insurance, an injured workman cannot draw any cash benefit at all. He can draw nothing but medical benefit. He may need convalescent treatment, artificial limbs, crutches, a wheel chair, X-ray therapy or massage, but he cannot get these from an approved society. If he cannot get them from some charitable society, he cannot get them at all, unless he can pay for them, which, as we all know is, normally speaking, impossible.
I will not attempt to go into the importance of vocational rehabilitation, except to say that where it has been dealt with on a large scale by large firms, they have found themselves able in practice to employ nine out of 10 persons, however severely injured, in their works. Mr. Henry Ford, in a paper recently published in America, claimed that 87½ per cent. of all persons injured in his employment were found jobs at their pre-accident rates of wages, with no loss of efficiency. This is clearly a matter which the Royal Commission should consider. It is not enough, as the hon. Member for Kingswinford suggested, merely to pay cash compensation. There are large firms who carry their own insurance and do, as the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Dunn) suggested, that is, pay full or at least three-quarter wages and pay the whole cost of medical rehabilitation. I am told that they have found that it pays, that the men get back to work much quicker, and that the general effect on the industry is good.
Surely there is another line which has been neglected by the Opposition, by the trade unions and by all concerned. Under Section 31, any firm may contract out of the Act by satisfying the Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies that it has a scheme into which its workmen will voluntarily enter and which is, at least, as favourable as or more favourable than that laid down in the Act. There are 12 such schemes at present registered and I have copies of all of them. This is a system which enables the trade unions if they desire to get into direct touch with em- 1050 ployers who are willing and ready to take a forward step and give increased benefits and advantages to all injured workmen in their employ. The Government itself at present employs 150,000 persons, all under a contracting-out scheme which they have voluntarily accepted and which gives them slightly greater benefits than the Act. Judging from the small number of complaints from Government employés, I gather that it is a fair and just scheme. The South Metropolitan Gas Company have a scheme which gives 25 per cent. greater benefits to all employés and they have told me that it has resulted in a steady decrease in accidents.
In all these cases, except that of the Government scheme, the workmen make a contribution of ½d 1½d a week on the understanding that the employers contribute four times as much. In return for that contribution—and this has been in force for the last 30 years in the case of the London and North Eastern Railway, Great Eastern branch—the men have a measure of control of the scheme itself. Every accident case comes before them, and carelessness is discouraged or prevented in the only way in which that can be done, namely, by the action of the men themselves. The consequences have been wholly good. I can give any hon. Member or anyone outside the House who is interested in these contracting-out schemes, which I would prefer to call special schemes, full details of their working. We want to get away from the belief that it is possible by legislation to give general benefits to all indiscriminately and cut out the diversities and experimental activities of various firms and employés.
The Miners' Welfare Fund, for example, has done a great deal towards providing surgical appliances, wheel chairs, and the like and I should like to see all seven great industries and other industries as well, organising themselves in the same way. I confess that I should like to see the question of industrial diseases in mines taken out of insurance altogether and placed under the Miners' Welfare Fund. I believe it would be cheap and efficient and that cures would be far more likely to follow, if this question could be dealt with centrally. Progress on those lines is in keeping with our traditional willingness that masters and men should get together through their own organisa- 1051 tions and handle these questions themselves, instead of having intervention by Government departments. As long as we adhere to the view that nothing can be done without an Act of Parliament, I do not think we shall achieve the progress which ought to be achieved if the trade unions would go directly to the employers and ask them to go beyond the Act under Section 31, and produce agreed schemes.
The circumstances surrounding workmen's compensation to-day have a close parallel with those which surrounded employers' liability in 1880. The Government, then, had a series of reports before them but had not acted upon them. Finally a push was made and after a General Election Mr. Gladstone took up the Bill which was put forward by a Conservative Member, Mr. Brassay. The person who saw it through this House was Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, and I suggest, and I am sure my hon. Friend the Member for Kingswinford will not disagree, that in connection with these matters there is something in heredity. If I thought the Royal Commission would take as long to reach a provisional decision as the Stewart Committee, which sat 28 times in 2½ years and then produced a report which was not agreed to by the great majority of Members of this House, I should indeed despair. But I am sure that the Royal Commission will act quickly. It has at its disposal a vast amount of information from the Delevingne Committee and the Stewart Committee by which it will be helped to make up its mind. Its personnel is drawn impartially from all sides. Of such bodies, Lord Chancellor Bacon said:For the good that comes of particular and select Committees and Commissions I need not commonplace, for Your Majesty hath found the good of them, but nothing to that, that will be, when such things are published; because it will vindicate them from neglect, and make many good spirits, that we think little of, co-operate in them."—[Letter to King James I in January, 1620/1 (Works VI 250).]The reports of Royal Commissions have often been landmarks in our constitutional history. I ask the House to give this Royal Commission its confidence and allow it to go ahead with its work. We want to eliminate waste in this country, and the biggest single form of waste now going on, is the waste of human material, and its worst form is the failure to rehabilitate those who have been tempor- 1052 arily injured at work. The object of the Royal Commission is to show how that waste can be avoided. The hon. Member for Kingswinford suggests that we have but to pay out cash and the rest is easy. I submit with some confidence that the proper course is to place all the available evidence as soon as possible before that Royal Commission, and, having done so, to await with confidence the legislation which I am certain the Government will not be loath to introduce as a result of the Commission's recommendations. There is a demand on both sides of the House for this legislation, and I earnestly hope that we shall soon see it. In the words of Sir Robert Peel, in his last speech in this House as Prime Minister:It may be I shall leave a name, sometimes remembered with good will in the abodes of those who earn their daily bread by the sweat of their brow.Any Minister whose privilege it is to introduce fresh legislation on workmen's compensation will be able to quote those words with confidence, for his name will not be forgotten.
§ 8.53 p.m.
§ Mr. Lyons
I beg to second the Amendment.
I would preface my remarks by saying how much hon. Members in all parts of the House appreciate the fact that the hon. Member for Kingswinford (Mr. A. Henderson) took this opportunity of raising this question, which is of prime importance, and how grateful we are, not only for the argument and moderation shown by the hon. Member and the Seconder of the Motion but for the benefit of the research and industry which we know have been devoted to the subject by my hon. Friend who has moved the Amendment. I do not think there is any fundamental difference of opinion between hon. Members in different parts of the House on the undesirability of allowing to continue the present state of the scheme of workmen's compensation, but I disagree with the Mover of the Motion on at least one point. I suggest that neither he nor the Seconder of the Motion go far enough in regard to the remedies which should be introduced, remedies which, I think, are long overdue in a proper conception of the industrial life of the nation.
I join with the last speaker in hoping fervently that there will be no undue delay by the Royal Commission in settling the great issues that have been referred 1053 to them. It is manifestly unanswerable when we see that the amounts of money given as compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act now are not adequate for the purpose which they are intended to serve. It is an extraordinary thing when we realise that if an insured workman meets with an accident, say, by being collided with by a motor car of a stranger in the street, brings an independent action, and succeeds in establishing liability, one of the several items he is entitled to claim is a sum of money for "special food and nourishment during his incapacity, and yet when he is injured in the course of his work and gets his remedy under the Workmen's Compensation Act, the very scale of benefit which the Act gives to him is such that it must depress him in his own standard of life and in that of his family, because of the depleted income which he receives on account of the injury which he has suffered. I can see no justification for that state of affairs, and it should be brought to an end at the first possible moment.
Is not my hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin (Sir A. Wilson) right when he says that the mere increasing of the cash benefit will not really solve the problem at all? The trouble goes far deeper than there being a mere insufficiency of compensation. A good deal more has to be considered, and I would never think that a mere Bill giving a percentage increase of the amount recoverable under the Workmen's Compensation Act would deal satisfactorily with the whole question. This is one of the real problems which should not be tackled in any half-hearted manner. We ask that all the urgent matters in relation to the law of workmen's compensation should be considered by the Royal Commission, and one of the first of those matters that I would like to see dealt with by the Commission and then by this House is a complete alteration of the conditional words "arising out of or in course of" a man's employment, which now have to be proved before he becomes entitled to qualify for payment at all under the Act.
I think those who are interested in this question, when they are considering how little an increase of payment will operate in general favour of the workman should remember what was said as far back as 1920, in the case in the House of Lords of Armstrong, Whitworth, and Company 1054 and Redford, a case in which a young girl machinist during her dinner hour had gone out to the canteen, and coming back after her meal to her place of employment had to go down some stone steps, when she slipped and broke her ankle. In the claim for compensation, in all the courts where this matter could be tested the point was taken that the employer was not responsible, because the action did not arise "out of and in course of" her employment. In that year 1920–19 years ago—Lord Wrenbury, in the course of his judgment in the final appeal, said:The language of the Act of Parliament and the decisions upon it are such that I have long since abandoned the hope of deciding any case upon the words out of and in course of' upon grounds satisfactory to myself or convincing to others.That definition declared by that authority then to be wholly unsatisfactory has never been interfered with since 1920. I think that one of the hardships that an injured workman has to meet is that he has to satisfy the authority in each court in which he appears that that definition or condition is complied with. It can indeed be a great obstacle to the injured man. In our Amendment we ask that various matters shall be considered by the Royal Commission and I do not hesitate to say that I hope to see in the reform which is forthcoming, as one of the first things, the abolition of that very unfair qualifying phrase, which jeopardises the case of injured men in so many instances.
The question was raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin just now of the great advantage that there would be from a sliding scale, and that has to be considered. I agree with him, and the question of dependency is very much connected with it. There is the very important question of how far you will allow lump-sum settlements to be made; how far you will allow the employer always to get redemption. Are we ever going to give to the injured workman, under proper safeguards, the right to have the same redemption that the employer has against him? Is any hon. Member opposite satisfied with the present condition in regard to incapacity caused to a man through silicosis caused by or in his employment? Is that not a matter crying out for reform? Many of us realise the difficulties in regard to that disease, and we think it is a matter which demands consideration. The whole question of 1055 industrial diseases may be re-cast. We instance this fact as showing how poor an answer it would be to say that, when you once increase the amount of payment under the Workmen's Compensation Act, the whole picture is dealt with. The Medical Referee to-day, in considering a claim of an injured man, has a certain finality, and that seems quite unjustifiable. Are we going to allow, in what I hope will be a real reform of the present system, that more or less arbitrary finality to continue? For myself, I hope we are not, but it is one of the matters that wants probing through and through by this complete inquiry.
There is the question too of an injury received by a workman in what is said to be a "risk incidental to his employment." I cannot see why such a risk is not put in the same category as an injury received while actually in that employment itself. I am anxious, too, that the principle of proper subsistence whilst under institutional treatment should be available in proper cases for injured workmen. These are some of the things that I want to remedy by a really comprehensive change. These are all matters which, in my view, are worthy of the greatest consideration and of the attention of this House in some wide measure of reform which we can bring about. While I agree that the amounts now paid as compensation are unsatisfactory, while I can see no justification at all for giving a man such a diminished income during the time that he is suffering from injuries received while at work as will substantially depress his whole standard of life, while I see no justification for that condition, it is only one of the many serious injustices under which the workman labours to-day.
In the whole course of industrial legislation there are, perhaps, at least three objects that have to be borne in mind. The first is by what increased safety methods we can take steps to prevent accidents. When, unfortunately, an accident is received by a man, let him as fairly as possible establish the legal liability of those against whom the action should lie. Thirdly, let it help him to establish, as a matter of policy and justice, his rights as a workman. We cannot get very far towards that threefold object merely by tinkering with the subject and saying, "Let us pay another 1056 10 or 20 per cent. to the man who should receive compensation and let us finish with it." That would touch only the fringe of the matter. Let us press the Government, as I hope we are doing tonight, for this matter is urgent and there is in this House no real division of opinion about the necessity for these alterations. I do not think it should be beyond the scope of the Government, with perfect propriety, to ask the Royal Commission to consider some of these pressing objects as matters of priority, to ask them to give precedence in their consideration to those outstanding questions which strike us as justifying some immediate action. Let us have at once an interim report, and I hope that on the basis of that report some more comprehensive legislation will be introduced than that which was adumbrated by the hon. Gentleman. I have dealt with a few of the matters that appeal more forcibly to me, and I hope that the Debate will manifest throughout that fundamentally the House is united in its desire to alter the present state of affairs where considered unsatisfactory.
§ 9.7 P.m.
§ Mr. Buchanan
This matter has not been debated on the issue of the Motion itself. All that has been argued is that the Motion is inadvisable because a Royal Commission is sitting. Nobody has attempted to answer the hon. Member for Kingswinford (Mr. A. Henderson) on the question of figures. Nobody has said that the amounts he gave or what he proposes are wrong. All that the opponents seek to do is to say that the Royal Commission ought to be left free to consider this problem with the possibility of their issuing an interim report on the more urgent matters. I do not propose to say much about workmen's compensation but will try to answer that argument. I am taking it for granted that both the hon. Gentleman who moved and the hon. Gentleman who seconded are, like myself and everybody else, honest in meaning what they say and in their desire to see the amount of compensation increased and certain steps taken to deal with such matters as "arising out of and in course of employment." I am conceding that on matters affecting workmen's compensation there is little difference of opinion, and yet hon. Members on the other side say that the Motion is inadvisable because a Royal Commission is sitting.
1057 I would say to those who support the Amendment that there is no guarantee that we shall have an interim report. The Mover and the Seconder accepted the necessity of an interim report, but that is a matter for the Commission to decide. Neither the Government nor anybody else has any power to force the Commission to make an interim report. It is for the Commission themselves to decide. It is agreed beyond doubt that certain matters are urgent. The hon. Gentleman who seconded the Amendment said that the mere raising of the amount was not sufficient. The hon. Member for Kingswinford agrees with that. He was terribly reasonable to-night, and his reasonableness and his moderation are used as an argument against him. He said, "I do not ask the House to do all the things I want the House to do. I introduced a Bill, but I was defeated. I am a democrat and I accept the defeat. All I am asking now is that one or two things that I had in my Bill should be done at once." That moderation is used by the opponents as justification for saying that it does not go far enough, yet when the hon. Member introduced his Bill he was defeated because his reforms were far too sweeping. I must confess that in these days I cannot follow men's minds.
What are the facts? The Government have appointed a Commission, the largest Commission in size since the War. It is bigger even than the Licensing Commission. It is drawn from every interest. The most conflicting interests in the country are on it. What is bound to be the result? The Commission is a body of intelligent men who represent such interests as the coalowners on one side and trade unions on the other. There is bound to be a terrific conflict between the two in the searching of evidence and the examination of facts. What is bound to happen on a Commission of that size? If they are to do their work thoroughly a year or two years must elapse before they give their report. They will have to travel all over the country and take an enormous amount of evidence. Take the engineering trades alone, with all their ramifications and complications. Take the mining industry with all its ramifications, and the building trades. Take the great growth that is now going on in industrial estates, which are packed with juvenile or semi-juvenile labour. The Commission have to go into all that. There are also 1058 the questions of new kinds of disease and the different kinds of accidents.
The hon. Member for Kingswinford said he believed in the abolition of the lump sum, but he was willing to allow the Commission to examine that question. He says "I do not want to come into conflict with Parliament, I give in to them regarding the Commission, but I come here and ask Parliament to do this in the meantime." His appeal is to this elected Parliament. I cannot understand the desire to send so many questions to Royal Commissions. I have come to the conclusion, ever since the late Mr. Ramsay MacDonald was Prime Minister, that nearly every committee or commission appointed is appointed for the one purpose of delay. It was an old dodge in 1929, a dodge well done, and it is the dodge now. In connection with unemployment insurance I once likened it to a game of football in which a team is kicking the ball out in the hope that time may settle things. In our Parliament here we have men just as capable of dealing with this problem as any members of a Royal Commission, and in fairness to the Home Office I would say that their officials—their factory inspectors, their mines inspectors and others—must have gathered for them all the data which we require upon this subject.
Are not the Members of this House of Commons capable of sitting clown over a Bill in a Committee Room upstairs and hammering out this problem? I remember the Committee which dealt with the Scottish Poor Law. The Scottish Members sat upstairs—Liberals, Tories, Labour and our Independent Labour group. There we were, with only half-a-dozen or eight opponents of the Government, as against their 60. That Poor Law Bill had many ramifications and we sat there for months working things out. We made concessions and we were given concessions, and at the end of the time we hammered out a Bill which was in the main a Bill creditable to all concerned. Why cannot we do that with workmen's compensation? Why cannot we sit together in a committee room, with miners' Members, Government Members, and others who have a point of view to represent? They have an intelligent view, the members of the legal profession. I never take the view that the members of the legal profession look upon these Bills as giving them an opportunity to "milk" 1059 people. I think they have rendered magnificent service on many occasions. Let us go there, miners—mineowners if you like—the whole lot of us and sit down together and pool our brains.
The hon. Member says, "Let the Royal Commission go into the big aspects of the question, but let us meantime pass a little Bill raising the amounts payable as compensation." It would be doing a little If a man who is now getting 30s. a week were to get £2 to-morrow, he would be 10s. better off. One hon. Member said the sum suggested by the Holman Gregory Report as compensation in case of death was £800, and that it was not enough; but at any rate it is £200 more than the present sum, and we would be thankful for it. The Motion shows that the hon. Member who introduced it accepts the defeat on the Bill on the subject dealt with a short time ago. It accepts that decision of Parliament and it accepts the Royal Commission, and all that it asks is for a small advance in the compensation while that big roving Commission, with all its conflicting interests, is getting on with its work. We ask that Parliament should do a small thing, remedy one or two of the really gross hardships of the present system. Is that asking too much?
Surely the hon. Member for Kingswinford should not be open to the charge that in this Motion he is not curing all the ills of the problem, because he has never attempted to do so. He has shorn himself of most of his beliefs, thinking that if he showed himself mild and moderate he could get something done, but his very moderation is now made an argument against him. I shall not go into any harrowing details of workmen's compensation cases, but I have had some dealings with cases through my trade union and have seen these terrible hardships going on day in and day out. I congratulate the hon. Member for Kingswinford upon having brought forward the Motion, and I hope that for the sake of our common humanity and of the common people the House will carry it to-night.
§ 9.22 p.m.
§ Mr. Dingle Foot
We shall all agree that this has been a most interesting Debate, and I join in congratulating the hon. Member who introduced the 1060 Motion, and should also like to associate myself with the very powerful plea just put forward by the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan). No doubt there are times when Royal Commissions and committees of inquiry serve a useful and necessary purpose, but that is no reason why we should get into the habit of being constantly dependent upon them. It appears to me that the Government nowadays appoint far too many commissions and committees to inquire into matters which we know all about. There is no mystery about the law of workmen's compensation. As the hon. Member for Gorbals said, there are a great many Members on both sides of the House who are perfectly well acquainted with the difficulties of the present law, and anyone who went into the Temple would have no difficulty in picking out ten or a dozen lawyers who in a comparatively short time could draft a satisfactory amending Bill. But even if this Amendment is carried, as I suppose it will be, it will achieve something if it leads to an interim report, if we get something on which action may be taken without a delay of two or three years.
We all agree that the amounts paid as compensation are inadequate, but there are three matters which I do not think have yet been mentioned of which I have had some experience and I should like briefly to bring them to the attention of the House. First, I think we ought to abolish the doctrine of election, whereby when a workman has a claim for damages against his employer on the ground of the employer's negligence or breach of a statutory duty, he is expected to elect between his right to claim damages and his rights under the Workmen s Compensation Acts. A workman may be injured because the provisions of the Factory Acts have not been observed, because, for example, a machine has not been properly guarded. He is taken home, and it frequently happens that within a day or two someone representing the insurance company or the employers comes to the door, offers to him or to a member of his family the sum of 30s., and gets him to sign a receipt. On that receipt are the words "Received as payment under the Workmen's Compensation Acts "—or some similar words. Ofter the man is in no state to realise what it is that he is signing. Afterwards he is advised that he would be likely to succeed 1061 in an action for damages, in which he could recover far more than under the Workmen's Compensation Acts, but he finds that by signing that receipt he has elected to take instead workmen's compensation.
Of course, there are cases in which one can satisfy a court that the man did not fully appreciate what he was signing, but that is not an easy thing to prove, and anyone who is advising a workman in those circumstances and is considering the amount that should be accepted in settlement of his claim has to take into account the fact that he has signed a document of that kind, and it ends in many cases with the workmen who are entitled to damages being advised to accept hundreds of pounds less than they would otherwise get. I cannot see the reason for that provision in the Workmen's Compensation Acts. There is no reason, of course, why a man should get both damages and compensation, but it does seem to me an indefensible provision in our law that the mere acceptance of one or two payments under the Workmen's Compensation Acts should, in some cases at any rate, deprive a man of a very much larger sum.
That is the first matter that I wanted to deal with, and that is something which could be dealt with immediately, and we do not need to wait for any Royal Commission to throw any further light upon it. The second is that part of the Workmen's Compensation Act which deals with partial dependency. I think that Subsection (2) of Section 4 of the 1925 Act is too narrowly drawn, because hon. Members will recall that in assessing partial dependency the word "necessaries" is used. It is provided thatA person shall not be deemed to be a partial dependant of another person unless he was dependent partially on contributions from that other person for the provision of the ordinary necessaries of life suitable for persons in his class and position.It inevitably follows that the word "necessaries" has been rather narrowly construed, and therefore the partial dependant is not compensated for what he has lost, he is merely compensated for what the court thinks constitutes "necessaries" In other branches of the law we do not compute dependency in that way. Under the Fatal Accidents Act, for example, if somebody is killed and his dependants bring an action for what they have lost by the death, their damages are assessed on the basis of what they have 1062 lost, what they could reasonably have expected to have received if the deceased had lived, and I cannot see any reason in equity why we should have a different provision in the Workmen's Compensation Acts when we are considering what the dependant should get.
There is one other matter which, I think, certainly ought to be dealt with, and dealt with soon. The great majority of employers, I suppose, insure nowadays against Workmen's Compensation claims and against claims at Common Law and claims for breach of statutory duty. But by no means all employers are accustomed to insure, and it seems to me that one of the most urgent reforms in this matter should be a measure compelling all employers to insure against claims of this kind. For it does seem a remarkable thing that if a man takes a motor car on a road we compel him under the Road Traffic Act to insure in case he injures somebody by his negligence, but an employer who brings a man into contact with dangerous machinery is under no similar obligation. And it does sometimes happen that a man is robbed of what is properly due to him because of the insolvency of the firm which employs him.
I want to refer to one particular case which was recently brought to my notice, a case which I think illustrates the point I am endeavouring to make. This case was brought to my notice as a member of this House and not in any professional capacity, so I think I am entitled to refer to it. It is the case of a tin miner who in the County of Cornwall worked for nearly two years from 1933 to 1935 with the Wheal Reeth Tin Mine, Limited—that is a mine at Germoe, Marazion, Cornwall. He gave up his work in 1935 suffering from silicosis, and he received compensation for the best part of two years, and he died from silicosis in 1937. I want to draw the attention of the House to the treatment that his widow received. She, of course, was clearly entitled to receive compensation in respect of his death. What happened was this. About a fortnight after her husband's death the widow went to the Wheal Reeth Mine and saw one of the officials of the mine to inquire about compensation. At the mine she was told she was entitled to compensation, and that they were waiting for the production by her of various certificates. On that she produced her 1063 husband's death certificate, his birth certificate, their marriage certificate, and their daughter's birth certificate. She gave these to the clerk, and had a receipt for them.
She then heard nothing more about it until 21st December—her husband had died on 1st November—when she again went to the mine, and this time saw the manager. He telephoned to their solicitors, and he then told her that the solicitors could not get on with the claim until they had had the certificate issued by the Silicosis Board after the postmortem. She obtained the certificate, she handed it over, and she again had a receipt for it. Another month went by. She did not hear a single word from either the mine or the company. She went to the mine and got another vague reply. She then waited another fortnight, and then went to the mine again. This time she saw the manager, who assured her that they admitted liability, and they did not intend to dispute her claim; but, he said, the matter was being attended to by their head office in London. This time the widow pointed out that her husband had been dead four months, that she had not received as yet one penny from the company, and that she was in very considerable financial difficulties.
On or about 14th February she wrote to the head office. She received no reply until 28th February, when she received a letter from a Mr. F. Stacey Hooker. I want to put the name on record. He is a director of the company, and he stated that he was coming to Cornwall during the next few weeks and he would then ask the widow to go to the mine and see him, when, as he said, perhaps some arrangement could be made satisfactory to both parties. Time went by. Eventually she did what she should have done in the first place—put the matter in the hands of a firm of solicitors. They wrote on 5th April. They received no reply. They wrote again on 28th April to Mr. Hooker and to the secretary of the company, giving formal notice of the claim, and eventually, at the end of April or the beginning of May, they received a reply saying that the Company had not yet received particulars of any amount claimed from their solicitors in Cornwall, although they had been given to the solicitors a long time before. They 1064 also stated that a receiver had been appointed for the debenture stockholders.
The solicitors pursued the matter. They wrote pointing out that the certificate in question had been handed to the manager of the mine on the 21st December. They then received a circular letter from the agents of the company, stating that, following a further severe fall in the price of tin, which had greatly affected the financial position of the company, the directors had been forced to decide that the company should stop payment and request the trustees for the first mortgage 6 per cent. debenture stockholders to appoint a receiver, and a receiver had been accordingly appointed. The letter also stated that they hoped the price of tin would improve and that the trustees had asked the company to grant them a moratorium until December, 1938. The solicitors acting for the widow then made further inquiries of the local solicitors acting for the company in Cornwall, and inquired whether this particular firm was insured against claims based on silicosis. The solicitors acting for the company replied that the mine was not so insured. They went on to say that the receiver had informed them that there were no funds from which any outstanding claims could be met and the receiver did not think that the floating assets would realise more than a very small sum on a forced sale.
I have gone into that matter in great detail because I think it is a perfectly scandalous case, and that it is right that the names of the director concerned and of the company should be given all the publicity possible in this House. It is obvious that in that case this matter was deliberately held up by the people who were responsible for it, the management of the Wheal Reeth Tin Mine Company. As a result of their action the widow has lost the larger part of that to which she was entitled. I heard yesterday that the full amount to which she and her nine-year old daughter were enticed was £280, but that it is unlikely that the company will pay more than 2s. in the £ so that she will get a lump sum of £28, after all these months. It is a scandalous thing—and I say it having some connection with the county of Cornwall—that the company should not have insured against claims based upon silicosis.
Anybody who knows the tin mines will be aware that silicosis is their worst 1065 scourge. I remember going to one village in Cornwall some time ago near a tin mine, the workers in which suffered particularly from silicosis, and the people telling me that if I cared to go up to the graveyard I should see tombstones to young men of 27, 28 and 29 all of whom had died from silicosis in one mine. That does not mean the company to which I have been referring, but it shows the risk in this occupation. Here was a company which must for some time have been in difficult financial circumstances and which made no provision against claims which were very likely to arise.
I do not think that we can wait to deal with a matter of this kind the two or three years which will be occupied by the Royal Commission. Here is something which can be done in advance of any Royal Commission, and we ought to pass a short Act dealing with occupations of this kind and saying that every employer in those occupations should be compelled to insure in respect of workmen's compensation, and in respect of claims for negligence and breach of statutory duty.
§ 9.38 p.m.
§ Mr. Higgs
I share the opinion that the legislation suggested is very considerably overdue. I go so far as to say that it is most pressing industrial legislation at the present time for this country, and that pressure should be brought to bear to the end that such legislation should be rapidly brought before this House. I support the Amendment, because I consider it ridiculous to consider a Bill before receiving the report of the Royal Commission which is sitting, but surely pressure can be brought to bear upon that Commission that they should report more quickly and that legislation may be brought before the House before the two or three years mentioned by the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Foot).
Reference was made by the hon. Member for Kingswinford (Mr. A. Henderson) to the Bill discussed here in November, 1937. On that occasion I opposed the Measure because I considered it was undesirable, and not because I did not think that some modification was necessary in workmen's compensation. At that time I gave several instances why it would be undesirable to pass that Bill into law. The hon. Member for Hitchin (Sir A. Wilson) referred to the large firms in relation to insurance. I am under the impression that the large firms who are 1066 capable of carrying their own insurance do not employ the majority of the workers whom such insurance covers, and that the smaller firms are those for whom insurance is so necessary. The hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) did not like the Measure; I equally object to patchwork legislation.
Workers and the employers will gain by legislation on workmen's compensation. I know that it is necessary to have increased expenditure to meet the expense but, as an employer, I should be only too pleased to contribute to that increased expenditure. I have said before that the legislation is long overdue. I should like to see workmen's compensation, employers' liability, and, if possible, the common law, combined. It would give the worker one remedy. Compensation is not enough at the present moment. Solicitors try to prove negligence and to get unlimited damages, and that is an unnatural state of affairs. There should be a better definition of who is responsible in doubtful cases. There is the constitutional condition of the individual to be considered, and also the industrial condition. One of those factors comes under State insurance and the other under workmen's compensation. The result is that occasionally the fellow in question gets no compensation at all, through no fault of his own.
Compulsory insurance was referred to by the hon. Member for Dundee as being desirable; I certainly support it. I believe that it is very desirable. He cited a very important case. I have also made inquiries about the number of defaults due to bankruptcy, and I find that they are very few, but if there were only the one case cited by the hon. Member I believe that it would be worth while to do something to prevent such deplorable cases occurring again. The hon. Member for Hitchin spoke of the rate of premiums paid. I think he said they were from 5s. to 17s. 6d., but the rate of premium varies from 2s. to £8 The £8 is when the risk of silicosis exists. That just shows the risk which is run by some workers. £8 per cent. is a deplorable figure for insurance, and if we could possibly eliminate that type of employment I should be one of the first to support the elimination.
As to the rate of compensation, hon. Members opposite have suggested that the minimum should be £3. I would make 1067 that figure the maximum. That would be making the figure 100 per cent. more than it is at the present moment, and 75 per cent. of the earnings. In serious cases where the person was likely to be incapacitated for a considerable period I would give full compensation for the first six or eight weeks. Then there is the maximum of £300 in cases of fatal accidents; a reasonable figure would be arrived at by increasing that £300 to £500. With regard to widows and dependants, I would have the position as it is now, but with no maximum. I have noticed in the Act of 1925, Part 1, section 10, the rule for determining earnings. It is a very complicated procedure, and a very undesirable procedure. I remember a case where there were 300 or 400 workmen employed, and by some unknown means an error was made in their wages, whereby they were all paid 3s. less than they should have been paid in one particular week; and only about four of them realised the error. I give that as an example to show the inability of the average individual to calculate his wages. They were all being paid at piecework rates. The same state of affairs arises in connection with workmen's compensation. It should be worked in such a manner that the average individual can understand how his compensation is calculated. I suggest that it should be based on the last full week's work—not the last week's work, but the last full week's work, whether it was a week, or a year, or five years before the accident. In Part II of the Act, Section 43, paragraph (f), it is laid down thatIf an employer or workman is aggrieved by the action of a certifying or other surgeon in giving or refusing to give a certificate …he can appeal within 10 days. I consider that that period is too short, in view of the fact that these certificates have to go to the workmen, the employer, the broker, the insurance company and so on. I know that the period can be extended by another seven days, but the appeal has to be made before the expiration of the first 10 days.
Workmen's compensation does not cure accidents. The remedy is increased co-operation. We have seen the benefits that have resulted from the Factory Acts, which have to a large extent reduced the risk of accidents. I hope the Government 1068 will do all they can to expedite the bringing in of a Bill, which I am sure will be accepted by the House and appreciated by the country as a whole.
§ 9.48 p.m.
§ Mr. Charles Brown
I do not propose to follow the hon. Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Higgs) in the details he has given with regard to workmen's compensation, but I cannot understand why he is not going to vote for our Motion. To begin with he was in full sympathy with making the change we propose, and making it quickly. It is not necessary on this occasion to argue the matter in detail; what we on this side want to ascertain to-night is whether or not the House is willing to do something soon in regard to this matter. That is the only issue that is at stake at the moment. I am convinced that we need not wait for a Royal Commission to deal with it. A moment or two ago we had the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Foot), who obviously has a wide legal knowledge of this matter. Earlier we had my hon. Friend the Member for Kingswinford (Mr. A. Henderson), who also has a wide legal knowledge of the matter; and we had the hon. Member for Hitchin (Sir A. Wilson), whose statistical information is simply marvellous, and who knows everything about compensation both at home and abroad. Why on earth we should wait for a Royal Commission passes my comprehension.
If the Under-Secretary is amenable to argument, or if the Government are amenable to argument, and can be stirred into activity by argument—I do not think they can, as a matter of fact—the hon. Gentleman, after this Debate is over, will go to the Home Secretary and say to him, "This matter has become urgent, and all the Members of our own party who have spoken in the House to-night on the matter are in favour of making the change, so you had better go to the next Cabinet meeting and tell the Cabinet that something ought to be dune at once" It seems to me that that is the only inference we can draw from this discussion. I am sure that all Members who have put their names to any Motion in connection with workmen's compensation recently have received communications from all parts of the country as to the urgency of this problem.
The hon. Member for Hitchin—I sorry he has now left the House—began 1069 his speech with an allusion which had historical value. He told us that Mr. Gladstone thought that this was not a party question in 1880. That will not give much satisfaction to many miners in my division; they are suffering too much under the operation of the present law to be consoled by historical allusions of that kind. Everything that has been said tonight points to the urgent necessity for dealing with many aspects of this problem. I only want to put forward one argument. I think everyone will agree that there has been, in relatively recent times, marvellous material progress of all kinds. Our knowledge is constantly increasing; the technique which we command is constantly increasing; our material resources are constantly expanding; wealth is growing; and if you apply 1:he only form of measurement that ought to be applied in order to decide whether civilisation is making progress or not, namely, whether it is possible to provide an increasing amount of security for an ever-increasing number of people, by that test we ought to do something at once for those men who fall in industry, and for the dependants whom they leave behind when they meet with fatal accidents, and who very often are quite inadequately provided for.
As to the possibility of dealing with this problem in the light of recent events, probably every Member of the House will have felt some time ago that not much of our attention was being directed to social questions and social reforms. We were all very greatly troubled about what was happening in the world outside. But now that the Prime Minister has assured us that everything is going well, that we have made satisfactory arrangements with the dictators, and that there is not likely to be any serious disturbance from outside, surely we can concentrate our attention on an urgent social reform. Hon. Members opposite surely believe that that is so, and, if they do, they ought not to do anything to delay the giving of attention by the House to this problem, which we all regard as so urgent and pressing. Enough has been said about the human aspect of this question, and I hope that the arguments which have been advanced, if not those from our own benches, those from the benches of supporters of the Under-Secretary, will be listened to by him and cause him to press upon the Government the fact that something 1070 should be done quickly about this very urgent matter.
§ 9.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Erskine Hill
I should like to associate myself with the congratulations that have been offered to the hon. Member for Kingswinford (Mr. A. Henderson) on bringing this matter before the House. It is a matter which affects all of us. Just as every Member of the House is interested in the casualties which occur in war, so we are all interested in the honourable casualties of peace time. But I think the hon. Member is not in the same position as myself. He does not recollect at first-hand the difficulties which arose prior to the alteration of the law in 1923. I think hon. Members opposite will remember that under the 1906 Act there was a right of reference to the medical referee, and that is one of the most important types of case, that comes most frequently before the court. Hon. Members opposite, and, I think, they alone, pressed for reference to be made to a medical referee on one party's request. I do not think hon. Members opposite are entirely pleased with the result, because that which was supposed to be a remedy, to help the workmen in every case, turned out to be for hon. Members opposite a Pandora's Box. That ought to be a lesson to the House not to hurry this legislation, because, anxious though they are that there should be remedies—and undoubtedly there is good cause for alteration being made in the law—hon. Members opposite should be the first to admit, on the lessons of the past, that it is unwise to hurry too quickly.
I have a suggestion to make to my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary which may go some way towards meeting the wishes of those who are eager to hurry, but in the meantime I would advise the House not to hurry too quickly in this matter. There are many very difficult and technical questions which would have to be dealt with. There are medical referees, there is the question, raised by the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Foot) as to whether an alteration should be made in the law as regards election, and there is the question of lump-sum payments. I would ask my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary to use his influence, in so far as he can, to secure that the Royal Commission should make an interim report as soon as possible, and that the Government should take action on the 1071 lines of that interim report. The reason why I object so much to any action being taken beforehand is that such action may run counter to the recommendations of the Royal Commission, and may, in fact, delay the coming of that time when, as we all hope, the matter will be put on a footing of the utmost satisfaction to the working man, with the greatest safeguarding to industry.
I had not the privilege of being in the House when my hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin (Sir A. Wilson) was speaking, but I agree with his theory that probably the best solution eventually will be for workmen's compensation to be put on a proper footing, and for other remedies, such as common law remedies, to be done away with. I think there ought to be more adequate reparation to the workman, as a matter of course, but I do not think he ought to have common law remedy, with all its uncertainties. I think the workman is entitled to know where he stands, and to know that if he is injured he will get a certain remedy. Hon. Members opposite will realise that in saying this I speak against my own interests, because common law cases result in far greater payment than other cases to lawyers like myself. But common law action leads to hardships all round. Hon. Members opposite will be patient, I know, if I put a case on the other side. I know a case of a woman who was left a coal mine. She was not in very good circumstances. Hon. Members will realise that, under the Coal Mines Act, she had no control over that pit. She had appointed competent servants, and she had made available any resources that were necessary so that the pit should be properly worked. An accident of a most unfortunate sort happened in the pit. As a result, very properly, under the law as it stands at present, the workman concerned took an action against the woman. Damages were awarded, most properly, by the court. but that woman was crippled as a result, and it made the greatest possible difference to her.
I agree with hon. Members opposite that the proper remedy is to insist on some sort of insurance; but does that not give emphasis to my point, that in matters which raise such difficulty you should not risk acting against the recommendations of this well-qualified Royal Commission? 1072 I would ask the hon. Gentleman opposite to consider whether, if the Under-Secretary can give any assurance of using his influence to obtain an interim report at the earliest possible moment, he will consider withdrawing his Motion. The hon. Member may well feel impatient, as I do myself, but I think that is worth trying. He will then be successful, whereas I would not like to say that he will be successful with his Motion now, and the course I suggest is worth consideration.
§ Mr. A. Henderson
May I suggest that a much easier solution would be for the hon. and learned Member to withdraw the Amendment?
§ Mr. Erskine Hill
That is not in my hands; it is in the hands of the hon. Member for Hitchin. But I, for one, would not be prepared to do that as long as the hon. Member's Motion stood on the Paper, because I think that what we ought to do is to get some remedy which will be on the lines of the eventual recommendations of the Royal Commission. I feel certain that that view would have the support of the whole House.
§ 10.4 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)
It is true, as some hon. Members have mentioned, that we have discussed this question several times in recent years. But I would be the last to grudge discussion on workmen's compensation in this House, because I think it is true to say that most of the other great subjects of social reform have been dealt with according to certain principles, while workmen's compensation has been an exception, and it is the subject which is most exercising the minds of the working people in this respect at the present time.
Before I come to the man part of what I have to say, I would like to deal shortly with one or two specific points which have been raised. First of all, should like to refer to the anomaly which was mentioned by the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Dunn) with regard to the amount of money that was paid into the mutual societies in a particular year being larger, as it had been in that year, than the amount which was paid out. It really is not a right comparison to make between the amount that is paid into the mutual indemnity associa- 1073 tions in a particular year with the amount of compensation paid out in that year. It does not really give any indication of the working expenses of the mutuals. The amount paid in should not only be enough to cover the compensation payable from year to year but also be enough to meet the future compensation payments where the disablement lasts more than a year. Some of the amount paid in must be carried to reserve to meet future liabilities for compensation. Therefore, according to my information, you cannot get, what I think the hon. Gentleman wishes to get, the actual amount of administrative expenses by just making that simple comparison. It is a much more complicated calculation.
§ Mr. Lloyd
I think it can be got, but it is not accurately represented by the comparison which the hon. Gentleman made, and that is the explanation of that particular anomaly.
I would like now to refer to the case mentioned by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Dundee (Mr. Foot). I am not familiar, as he will realise, with the details of the particular case of the widow of the tin miner, but, on the facts as stated, it is in our view a very bad case. I ought just to mention, in case the hon. Gentleman is not aware of it, that there is a provision under the law—in Section 7 of the Workmen's Compensation Act as amended by the Companies Acts—whereby compensation may take priority among the debts of a company when a Receiver is appointed. Therefore that might have an effect in this case. I am not saying that to minimise the gravity of the case, but just in case he was not aware of it.
§ Mr. Lloyd
Perhaps it is presumptous of me to think that I could teach a lawyer anything with regard to the law. What does the case show? It shows that there is a great need for making more secure provision that the workmen's compensation that is due should be paid into the pockets of the person who needs it, but while it shows that clearly, it does not lead equally to the solution which the hon. Gentleman mentioned. The need for compulsory insurance is a much more 1074 complicated question. The last time we discussed it in this House it raised very difficult points, which I will not go into, but there is the possibility of using some kind of central fund which might in certain circumstances be a more efficient method of achieving its object. While we might be agreed about some of the objects, we are not agreed about the way in which these objects should be achieved. That is not a thing that can be decided at a moment's notice any more than the point made in the Motion moved by the hon. Gentleman and the question raised by the hon. Member for Dundee.
The proposal in the Motion must, at first sight, make an appeal to a great many of us, but I suggest to the House that we must think it out a little more than the hon. Gentleman seems to have done on the basis of his speech. We must see where we are going. The present workmen's compensation scheme is based on definite principles, and any future scheme will also have to be based upon recognisable principles. The principle of the present scheme with regard to benefits is that it is non-contributory, and that payments are made in respect of all accidents whether they are the fault of the employer or not his fault at all. No doubt it proceeds from the point which I have mentioned, that the principle of the present scheme is not that workmen's compensation is a complete indemnity for some wrong that has been done by the employer to the workman. It proceeds upon the basis that it is a substantial assistance to him in his incapacity. That is the principle of the present scheme. I am not laying it down for ever that that is the right principle, but I wish the House to realise that, in adopting some of the proposals mentioned in the speech of the hon. Gentleman who moved the Motion, they would be adopting a completely different principle. As for example, if they adopted the basis that workmen's compensation should maintain completely the pre-existing standard of life, or if in computing workmen's compensation regard was had to the size of the family. I am not at this moment arguing against these proposals, but I am pointing out that to adopt them would be to adopt an entirely new principle and a different principle from that upon which the present scheme is based.
Those reflections, with some others, lead me to agree with my hon. Friend 1075 the Member for Hitchin (Sir A. Wilson) that the Movers of the Motion are seeing the problem in rather too simple terms and that their proposal seems to us rather a crude solution. The hon. Gentleman moved the Motion in simple terms, but the solution proposed so simply by the hon. Member for Dundee, when he said, with great confidence, that he could go to the Temple and find half a dozen lawyers who could find a new Compensation Act without delay, is not a view that I am prepared to accept at all. There are legal problems in workmen's compensation, but there are more than the legalistic problems. There are great human problems and great problems of policy involved in this matter. My hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin—and I should like to pay tribute to the speech which he made, because it was a remarkable speech—has made a deep study of the problem, and I think he is publishing a book upon it very shortly. He did not approach it in a non-constructive spirit at all. He gave an example of other problems in workmen's compensation which were just as urgent as, and in fact, in some instances, he gave a reason for thinking that they were more urgent than, the percentage increases that were suggested by the hon. Mover.
In addition to what the Mover of the Motion thought was the most urgent problem, there were other problems which hon. Members thought to be equally urgent. Some were mentioned by the hon. and gallant Member for Hitchin, and there was the point mentioned by the hon. Member for Dundee, about compulsory insurance. I should like to add one or two other problems to the category mentioned by the hon. Member for Hitchin. A problem of very great difficulty under the existing scheme is that of the position of the man who has been involved in an accident and completely disabled, temporarily, and is therefore drawing the full compensation rates. He makes a certain amount of recovery and under the present system is certified fit for light work, and therefore he no longer draws the full rate of compensation, but only partial compensation. He may not be able to get light work.
Let me point out the very melancholy position of the man, certified fit for light work, who has had an automatic reduction in his benefit, who cannot get light 1076 work and who therefore gets no assistance from partial or additional wages. From the investigations that we have made at the Home Office and from information which comes to us, there is no doubt that this is a particularly obstinate sort of case. The man is in a difficult financial position. He is not working and, therefore, he may have difficulties in the home. The normal rhythm of employment is disturbed, and he very often gets into a very bad psychological state and becomes morbid about his condition. He is obviously in a very bad position.
I would point out, further, that under our present system, this situation can continue indefinitely, because the Workmen's Compensation Acts are not formally concerned with the treatment or the question of the recuperation of the injured workman. There is no vital or progressive principle within the existing Workmen's Compensation Acts which does anything to break the vicious circle into which the man may get. There may well be the very forcible argument put forward that one of the most urgent things that should be done in regard to workmen's compensation should be to continue the payment of full compensation to a man, in a good many cases, at any rate, even when he has been certified fit for light work.
§ Mr. Lloyd
I do not wish to enter into a controversy about the past. I am trying to deal with things on their merits at the present time. I should like to carry the matter a little further, and in doing so I will come back to the position of the workman immediately after the accident. I would again emphasise the fact that under our present system of workmen's compensation there is no machinery which is directed towards securing that the man should get back to work, as he wants to do, in a proper and reasonably quick space of time. A great deal of work has been done on this subject in recent years, and one of the points which has come to the front is the importance of treating these cases, certainly the fracture cases which are a high proportion of the industrial accidents, in modern fracture clinics. Herr Böhler of Vienna is the pioneer of a new system of treating fractures which has undoubtedly received the approval of the general consensus of opinion of the medical profession, and is making extraordinary 1077 progress in the efficient treatment of fractures. The secret of it, I understand, is a special organisation of the fracture clinic and a constant supervision of the case by the physician.
Suppose a way was found to provide this kind of treatment for workmen's compensation cases, what is the position when they leave the fracture clinic? They will be surgically sound, they may have been submitted to a certain amount of massage and remedial exercises, but there is no doubt, from the experience which has now been collected, that a good deal more is needed in a great many cases, especially in regard to those men who are going back to really heavy industrial work. I remember giving an example of the extra treatment which is necessary after a case has left the fracture clinic, concerning the Home Office itself. The extra treatment which is necessary in many cases is partly physical and partly psychological. I gave the example of the Chief Medical Inspector of the Home Office, who broke his ankle and although he knew from the doctor who was attending him that it was strong enough to use, nevertheless from a psychological point of view he found the greatest difficulty in beginning to use the ankle again.
Let me refer to the question of light work again. Some people regard light work in itself as the best form of remedial treatment immediately a man has left the fracture clinic, but I do not think that view can be accepted altogether without reserve. The reason is this. What is primarily required by a man who has left the fracture clinic is that he should have graduated physical exercises for the injured part under medical supervision. If the light work is going to place a strain of some kind and it can be properly supervised, then the light work will no doubt do good, but in a great many cases the light work is often totally different from the man's real occupation. A man normally engaged in heavy manual labour is given light work of a sedentary nature, and that, of course, is not what he needs in order to get back his working capacity.
I will give the House an example which will show where this argument leads, and also interest the hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), who is to follow me, as it is from the mining industry. This patient was a coal-face miner, aged 35, who sustained a fracture 1078 of the lower end of the fibula and a sprained ankle. This is an injury from which medical science would expect a complete recovery and restoration to normal work in a man of this age. He was discharged from the fracture clinic, classified as a "good result," and was provided with light work by the colliery company. A year later he was still on light work, and by that time he had become firmly convinced that he would never get back to his normal work. The opinion of the doctor in this case was that the root of the man's trouble seemed to be that he had to walk two miles to his store on a rather bad surface, and that his ankle had never been quite brought to the state in which it would stand this without some pain and swelling, and that as a result, not only was the physical improvement of the ankle prevented, but the man, in his own mind, came to the conclusion that because there was constantly a slight pain, that ankle would never improve. In that case, the doctor believed that if the man had been handled more scientifically and had been given graduated exercise, he might have made a complete recovery.
§ Mr. Lloyd
These investigations into the importance of modern curative treatment at fracture clinics show that further careful re-education and rehabilitation of the injured man cannot always take place in light work. If it cannot take place there, where should it take place? This argument leads one to the view that it ought to take place in special rehabilitation centres.
§ Mr. Lansbury
I can give the hon. Gentleman a case—my own case. The reason I recovered from a very severe fracture was that I had no worries about my income. I was not invited to get well quickly; I was invited to go on resting and to have massage and all the treatment necessary; but the chief thing was that psychologically I had no worries about my wife or children or anything else, and I received my full income from this House and elsewhere. If that is done in the case of a workman, he will soon get well.
§ Mr. Lloyd
Obviously, it is not for me to argue with the right hon. Gentleman about his own case, and I should be the 1079 last to deny that very considerable importance should be attached to psychological security, the feeling of a man that he is being properly looked after, and properly nourished. That is necessary if these cases are to be cured. What I am putting to the House is that the measures which I have mentioned are not at present part of our workmen's compensation system, and an increasingly large body of opinion holds that it is very important that these curative measures should somehow be attached to the workmen's compensation system, or at any rate ought to bear upon the position of the injured workman. I am pointing out that this involves the provision, first, of fracture clinics, and secondly, perhaps, rehabilitation centres.
I do not think hon. Gentlemen sufficiently appreciate the length to which those who hold these views have gone. Many of them take the view that these clinics should be residential clinics. I am not asking hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite to agree with a particular view. I am merely stating that a considerable body of responsible opinion holds that injured workmen would be more effectively treated in residential clinics, where, of course, no question would arise about their security or provision for their food and maintenance or the conditions to which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) has rightly drawn attention. That is one of the reasons why importance is attached to residential clinics. It is more possible in those clinics to cultivate the kind of atmosphere to which the right hon. Gentleman referred.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I can give the hon. Gentleman cases of men who have been cared for and treated in the manner described, but as soon as any reference was made to their wives and children they started to cry, which showed that they were worrying all the time.
§ Mr. Lloyd
The point which I am seeking to put to the House and which I think hon. Members opposite will, on reflec- 1080 tion, appreciate, is that these ideas are new and that this question of increased provision for workmen's compensation is a much more complicated one than a mere question of crude increases of percentages. There is no doubt that it would be in the highest degree bad in the future interests of injured workmen if we were now to prejudice the whole question of how any money which may be available in future from any source is to be expended. We should prejudice that by deciding at this time that there was to be a certain increase under the present workmen's compensation law when it might well be the case that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, after going into the matter further, would find that some better use could be made of the available resources upon the lines which I have sketched to the House and that these might be much more constructive and useful than the present proposal.
I mention these matters because they give body to an argument which may seem to hon. Members opposite to be mere evasion but which I think hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on this side know to be a perfectly honest argument, namely, that it is ridiculous to attempt to deal with the complicated question of workmen's compensation by attempting an immediate and partial solution of a particular part of the problem without waiting for the Royal Commission's investigation. It is for that reason, which I think even hon. Members opposite will, on consideration, appreciate, that I advise the House to support the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin (Sir A. Wilson) calling the attention of the Commission to the urgency of the matter. I cannot give my hon. and learned Friend the Member for North Edinburgh (Mr. Erskine Hill) the assurance which he would like, but I think if he considers the matter further he will see that an expression of opinion by this House on the lines of the Amendment will really have more force than any request which I myself could make. Therefore, I would advise my hon. Friends to vote for the Amendment.
§ 10.33 p.m
§ Mr. James Griffiths
I had hoped that to-night for once in my three years' Parliamentary experience, I would have heard an hon. Gentleman at that Box preaching a sermon on the text, "Now is the accepted time." On several 1081 occasions in the last two or three years we have discussed this question. We on this side brought in a comprehensive Bill to reorganise the system of compensation completely, as some day it must be reorganised. But we were told by hon. Members opposite, "You are asking too much. This is too vast, too complicated, a proposal. If you brought forward a Bill to deal with some of the outstanding problems you would get general agreement in the House." We took the other side at their word, unfortunately, and brought forward a smaller Bill, and again we were told, "That is too large, too complicated." Then, in November last, we brought forward another Bill to deal with two or three of the biggest problems, and again we were told the same thing.
To-night we have brought forward this Motion, and in view of the speeches which we have heard, in view—I say it with all respect—of the speech of the Under-Secretary of State, I feel that it is necessary to read what the Motion says. Most of the speeches this evening have been about something else and have said that there are so many urgent problems. We call attention to the most urgent, and I say that on behalf of the Members on this side of the House, who have had practical day-to-day experience of these problems. In this Motion we welcome the appointment of a Royal Commission. We do not regard it, as perhaps some hon. Members opposite may regard it, as being a useful way to dodge the question, but as an opportunity to collect together the vast experience on this subject which exists in this country, a good deal of which is to be found in this House, to deal with the problem. But in the meantime we say, "Here is one particular emergency problem, the fact that there are in this country tens of thousands of disabled men whose compensation is so low that they have to depend upon public assistance to maintain them." Therefore, in the Motion we ask the House to urge the Government to bring forward, immediately, a Bill to increase the weekly and other payments under the Workmen's Compensation Act.
I face this problem, as I always want to face such problems, on the human side. We are dealing with men, women and children, and when we speak and vote on these matters, we should always remember that we are dealing with the livelihood of people who are as good as 1082 any of us. First of all, I will deal with the question, Should we do it now? I would remind hon. Members that there is a precedent, and I understand that precedents count for much in this place. In 1917 this House was too busy either to appoint a Royal Commission or to pass legislation of a long and complicated character. At the same time there was this pressing problem in existence, and in one day a Bill was rushed through to increase by 25 per cent. the payments under the Workmen's Compensation Act. In 1919 again a Bill was passed through this House—it got its Second Reading in three-quarters of an hour—to increase the amount from 25 to 75 per cent. If it is possible in wartime for this House to act quickly to remedy an injustice, why cannot we act quickly now? In 1919, when the second emergency Act was passed, it had already been decided to set up, not a Royal Commission, but a Departmental Committee, the Holman-Gregory Committee, to investigate the whole problem of workmen's compensation, but this House felt then that it would be undesirable and unjust to wait until the Holman-Gregory Committee reported, and that there was a case for immediate action, and they passed that war Measure.
We understand that this House of Commons will shortly break up, and I think that if at the end of this Session we are to go back to the country, we ought to be ashamed to have spent a whole Session without having passed a single Measure to deal with this urgent problem. I therefore urge hon. Members opposite that we ought not to wait for this Royal Commission's report, but that we ought to do this job now. May I urge one other thing? The appointment of the Royal Commission was announced by the Prime Minister in June last. When he made the announcement hon. Members on this side pressed him with questions, and asked, "In the meantime, do you rule out any possibility of any action being taken to deal with the urgent problems?" The Prime Minister replied: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 have had its report.He added, and I would draw particular attention to this:I should not consider, on the other hand, that we should be debarred from introducing 1083 legislation dealing with particular aspects of the question in the meantime."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd June, 1938; col. 1065, Vol. 337.]That is a promise, a pledge that if this House thinks that there is any aspect of the Workmen's Compensation Act which ought to be dealt with at once without waiting for the report of the Commission, we are not debarred from doing it. I hope that hon. Members on the other side in a matter of this kind are not going to be more reactionary than the Prime Minister. I want hon. Members to vote on this Motion, if I can help them, with a picture in their minds of what is behind it. The Under-Secretary cannot give any undertaking that the Commission will issue an interim report. We have no right to appoint a Royal Commission and then hurry them on with their job. It is because it is a big job that the Commission were appointed. The Under-Secretary, on the Second Reading of the Bill introduced by my hon. Friend, used the words, "This is a vast, complicated problem." It is an enormous job. The Commission are charged with investigating not only compensation, but the doctrine of common employment.
The House ought to have a clear idea how long a job it is. The nearest parallel is that of the Commission which sat on Safety in Mines. It was not appointed because of pressure from our side; we have not sufficient pressure to bring about even the appointment of a Royal Commission. Its appointment was the way in which this House and the country salved its conscience for the crime of Gresford. Therefore, in December, 1935, it was decided to appoint a Royal Commission to investigate and report upon the problem of safety in coal mines. It was appointed on 14th December, 1935. It reported three years later in December, 1938. That report has been available since last December and the recommendations in the main are unanimous. When I asked when we were to have legislation, the Secretary for Mines replied, "Ah, but look at the report. It contains 500 pages and it is a tremendous report. It includes a vast number of recommendations and it will be impossible to bring forward a Bill in this session." That means that we cannot have a Bill until next year. It will not pass until 1940. In a big Measure of that kind there must be a time lag between when it is passed and when 1084 it becomes an Act, and I suggest that the new Coal Mines Act will not become operative until 1942, seven years after the Royal Commission was appointed.
§ The Secretary for Mines (Captain Crookshank)
I would remind the hon. Member that I did say that I was considering how far some action could be taken in advance of legislation—by regulation.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I am very much obliged to the right hon. and gallant Member for saying what I have been saying, that in the meantime he would try to take action to deal with the most urgent matters, and that is what we are asking for here.
§ Mr. Griffiths
We are asking the House to do it now. It did such things in war time. Why can the House act quickly only in war time? To show the urgency of the position I will quote one or two simple figures. I asked my friend the compensation secretary of the South Wales Miners' Federation, whose experience and knowledge in these matters equals that of any layman in this country, to make a careful computation of what was the average weekly payment for total incapacity in the South Wales coal field and he tells me that at this time it is 24s. per week. I think the House ought to feel ashamed of that figure. Times without number in this House we have had to complain to the Minister of Labour, and through him to the Unemployment Assistance Board, about the treatment of the unemployed, about the inadequacy of the allowances and the operation of the means test. In view of that it is amazing to find that in 1937 the average payment made by the Unemployment Assistance Board to unemployed men, after the full operation of the means test, is 2s. 6d. per week more than men receive who are totally disabled. Does anyone suggest that 24s. a week is enough for a man who is totally disabled, or that we ought to wait three, four or five years for a report from a Royal Commission? Cannot the House end that position now? Why cannot we act quickly and pass a simple Measure to add 50 per cent. to the present compensation?
I have also sought information from the public assistance offices for my county—it is not one of the largest counties, 1085 but one of the smallest—and he sent me particulars of 37 cases of totally disabled men who seek public assistance. I wish those 37 cases could be called to the bar of this House. I wish they could be in the Lobby when we vote upon this Motion, and I hope that though they are not present physically we shall have them in our minds when we cast our votes. Among those 37 cases were 17 cases of silicosis. Do hon. Members know what silicosis is? The other night I was in my native village of Ammanford, presiding at a drama competition, which goes on for the rest of this week, which miners, tradesmen and Others—it is the poor who help the poor—have got up in an effort to raise a sum to help these poor silicosis sufferers. From one pit alone, where I worked as a boy and a man, have come 60 men, 50 of whom were my contemporaries, suffering the slow death of silicosis. Among the 37 cases applying for public assistance there were 17 silicosis cases, two cases of fractured skull and four of nystagmus. The rest were examples of the daily toll of the pit—fractured leg, fractured pelvis, fractured arm. The public assistance officer says that the total amount of the weekly compensation paid in those 37 cases is £36 1s. 3d., an average of 19s. 5d. a week. The public assistance committee have to pay to these cases as much as £24 a week. I make no apology for mentioning these cases; they are the cases of the people whose destiny we are deciding here to-night.
Case No. 1—a collier, aged 58, wife and five dependent children, one daughter bed-ridden; silicosis, totally incapacitated, compensation 29s. per week—a good workman, rent 10s., leaving him 19s. per week to maintain his family. A poor public assistance committee comes to the rescue of an industry which is rich and prosperous. Case No. 2—a collier with wife and three children; fractured pelvis, compensation 24s. 5d.; public assistance committee gives 18s. per week. Case No. 3—a collier With wife and one child; fractured spine, full compensation 23S. 6d. per week; the public assistance committee gives 14s. 6d. We hear from the other side of the House often times complaints about the burden of local rates. Help us to relieve this burden upon the local rates.
1086 Much has been said about lawyers, and I do not deny that lawyers have sometimes rendered service in this matter, but some of the judges have made the most amazingly curious decisions. I wonder if hon. Members have heard of a case against the Cannock Chase Company, in which it was decided that in computing the average earnings of a workman before an accident the time lost was an incident of his employment, and therefore the workman should bear the full burden of that. Here is a case from my own village—a collier whose average wage per shift that he worked was 10s. 10d. However, the pit had fallen on a very bad time, and in the 12 months prior to his accident had worked only 13 full weeks and three half weeks. His total earnings in the 12 months were £42 12s. According to this decision that £42 12s. had to be divided by 52 to arrive at the earnings and compensation comes out of that. In this case the full compensation amounts to 11s. 7d. a week.
That is the present Act. Are you going to wait for three, four or five years to deal with the Workmen's Compensation Act as it exists now? It is not the Act this House passed. It is the Act this House passed, interpreted by hundreds of legal decisions, which very often have taken away a good deal of the benefit conferred upon the workmen by the Act. Insurance against compensation risks—and I am using the words deliberately—is a ramp. The hon. Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Higgs) quoted the kind of premium asked for by insurance companies for insuring against silicosis. That is a premium asked for by the insurance companies, not to insure the employers against the risks of silicosis, but because they do not want to undertake to do so, and because they want a more profitable risk.
What is happening? At the moment, out of every £1paid by the employers of this country to insure their workmen against the risk of injury, and on each of income-premium paid, 12s. 9d. is paid out in compensation, damages, and legal and medical fees. Out of that sum come the full amount of compensation and the full amount of damages from the employers, under the Act, as well as all the legal charges and all the medical fees. Hon. Members who know something about workmen's compensation will know that many of the legal fees are already 1087 substantial enough. Out of that £1, 75. 3d. goes in administrative expenses and profits. I venture to say that if we care to increase by 50 per cent. all the present payments under workmen's compensation there is an ample reserve in the profits now made out of this business from which such increase could be paid, without it costing anybody else a penny. Even if it did cost anything, I presume that the burden would fall upon the mining industry rather than anywhere else. That burden would amount to only half the burden of royalties.
I ask the House to remember that this is the last opportunity that we shall have of doing justice to the men who give their lives to this nation, who give it its coal, run its trains, do its work, and are
§ broken. These men deserve something more than charity, something better than public assistance. They deserve to be put beyond worry and insecurity, and to be in a position where they can quickly recover; or, if recovery is impossible as it is for the men who have silicosis, that the nation shall treat them as men to whom it owes a debt. I ask hon. Members on all sides of the House that in voting tonight they should remember that they are voting to determine whether we shall bring one little, ray of sunshine into the lives of men who are broken in producing the wealth which we enjoy.
§ Question put, "That the words pro- posed to be lit out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 134; Noes, 135.1089
|Division No. 31.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple)||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Nathan, Colonel H. L.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Groves, T. E.||Nicholson, G. (Farnham)|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S)||Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.)||Noel-Baker, P. J.|
|Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford)||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Oliver, G. H.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Hardie, Agnes||Owen, Major G.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Harris, Sir P. A.||Paling, W.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir W. J. (Armagh)||Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Parker, J.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Hayday, A.||Parkinson, J. A.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Pearson, A.|
|Barr, J:||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Price, M. P.|
|Bartlett, C. V. O.||Hicks, E. G.||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Batey, J,||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)|
|Bellenger, F. J.||Holdsworth, H.||Salt, E. W.|
|Benson, G.||Hopkin, D.||Seely, Sir H. M.|
|Broad, F. A.||Jagger, J.||Sexton. T. M.|
|Bromfield, W.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Shinwell, E.|
|Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Silkin, L.|
|Buchanan, G.||John, W.||Silverman, S. S.|
|Burke, W. A.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Cape, T.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Cartland, J. R. H.||Kirkwood, D.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Chater, D.||Lathan, G.||Stephen, C.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lawson, J. J.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Cocks, F. S.||Leach, W.||Summerskill, Dr. Edith|
|Collindridge, F.||Leonard, W.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Cove, W. G.||Leslie, J. R.||Thurtle, E.|
|Crooke, Sir J. Smedley||Lipson, D. L.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Daggar, G.||Logan, D. G.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Dalton, H.||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Viant, S. P.|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||McEntee, V. La T.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||McGhee, H. G.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Day, H.||Maclean, N.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Ede, J. C.||MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Westwood, J.|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||MacNeill Weir, L.||Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Mainwaring, W. H.||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Markham, S. F.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Foot, D. M.||Marshall, F.||Wilson, C, H. (Attercliffe)|
|Frankel, D.||Mathers, G.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Gallacher, W.||Maxton, J.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Gardner, B. W.||Messer, F.||Wright, Wing-commander J. A. C.|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Milner, Major J.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Graham, D M. (Hamilton)||Montague, F.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Mr. A. Henderson and Mr. Dunn.|
|Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Muff, G.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Cot. G. J.||Guest, Hon. I. (Brecon and Radnor)||Radford, E. A.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Hambro, A. V.||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.)||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)||Reid, J. S. C. (Hillhead)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T P. H.||Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Heneage, Lieut.-colonel A. P.||Rosbotham, Sir T.|
|Bird, Sir R. B.||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Ross, Major Sir R. D. (Londonderry)|
|Brooke, H. (Lewisham, W.)||Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Hogg, Hon. Q. McG.||Rowlands, G.|
|Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)||Holmes, J. S.||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.|
|Bull, B. B.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Russell, Sir Alexander|
|Cayzor, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Salmon, Sir t.|
|Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Scott, Lord William|
|Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Hunloke, H. P.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Colville, Rt. Hon. John||Joel, D. J. B.||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.|
|Conant, Captain R. J, E.||Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir Donald|
|Craven-Ellis, W.||Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Leech, Sir J. W.||Spens, W. P.|
|Cross, R. H.||Lees-Jones, J.||Storey, S.|
|Crossley, A. C.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Crowder, J. F. E.||Llewellin, Colonel J. J.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Cruddas, Col. B.||Lloyd, G. W.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|De la Bère, R.||Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lyons, A. M.||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Donner, P. W.||McKie, J. H.||Thomas, J. P. L.|
|Dower, Lieut.-Col. A. V. G.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury)||Marsden, Commander A.||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Dugdale, Captain T. L.||Maxwell, Hon. S. A.||Touche, G. C.|
|Duggan, H. J.||Mayhew, Lt.-Cot. J.||Turton, R. H.|
|Duncan, J. A. L.||Medlicott, F.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Eastwood, J. F.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Eckersley, P. T.||Moreing, A. C.||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Elliston, Capt. G. S.||Morgan, R. H. (Worcester, Stourbridge)||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Emery, J. F.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirenoestar)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Errington, E.||Munro, P.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.||Wise, A. R.|
|Everard, Sir William Lindsay||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Womeraley, Sir W. J.|
|Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Wood, Hon. C. I. C.|
|Furness, S. N.||Palmer, G. E. H.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Fyfe, D. P. M.||Perkins, W R. D.|
|Gluckstein, L. H.||Patherick, M.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Grimston, R. V.||Procter, Major H. A.||Sir Arnold Wilson and Mr. Higgs.|
§ Question proposed, "That the proposed words be there added."
§ Sir A. Lambert Ward rose—
§ It being after Eleven of the Clock, the Debate stood adjourned.
§ The Orders of the Day were read, and postponed.