HC Deb 31 July 1941 vol 373 cc1521-2
16 and 21. Mr. J. Griffiths

asked the Home Secretary (1) whether he is aware that large numbers of partially disabled men are being deprived of their partial payment under the Workmen's Compensation Acts on account of the notional wages which they are deemed to be capable of earning being increased; and whether he will take steps to protect these men, who are deprived of compensation though their disability continues and is of a permanent character?

(2) Whether he is aware that workmen who are partially disabled by industrial accident and disease who take up suitable work in furtherance of the war effort are losing their partial payments under the Workmen's Compensation Act; and whether, as such loss of payment is continuous, he will take steps to prevent these men being penalised in this way?

Mr. H. Morrison

I would refer my hon. Friend to the Reply given to a Question by the hon. Member for the Penistone Division (Mr. McGhee) on 24th July. For the reasons then given, I regret that I cannot promise any legislative action at present. I may point out that where a workman is suffering from a continuing disability he will, in the event of his earnings being reduced in future below his pre-accident earnings, be able to claim further compensation on the basis of his reduced earnings.

Mr. Griffiths

Does my right hon. Friend not agree that in the meantime these men are suffering considerable hardship? Since this is a bar to their undertaking war work, will he consider introducing a simple Measure to stabilise partial payments of compensation at the pre-war level, so that every man who is free to do so may give of his best to the nation at the present time?

Mr. Morrison

This matter was carefully, and not unsympathetically, considered in consultation with the Trades Union Congress some time ago. As a result, we came to the conclusion at the Home Office that we could not deal with this single point without a wider reshaping of the system, and that was not thought desirable at the moment.

Mr. Buchanan

Could the Home Secretary not re-examine this matter, which is causing great anxiety?

Mr. Morrison

It was fully considered, and that conclusion was deliberately reached after weighing all the facts. I do not think it would be fair for me to hold out prospects that the question could be reopened.

Mr. George Griffiths

Is it not a fact that when a man gets an increase of wages, no matter how small, his partial compensation is lower as a result, so that he gets no advantage at all from the increase?

Mr. Morrison

We must take into consideration what the basis of workmen's compensation is. I do not see how this particular point can be segregated from a wide range of others inherent in workmen's compensation.

Mr. J. Griffiths

In view of the public importance of this question and of the large number of people involved, I beg to give notice that I shall raise it on the Adjournment.