HC Deb 16 July 1942 vol 381 cc1327-8
11. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware of the urgent need for increased payments under workmen's compensation and many other changes required; and what action is it proposed to take?

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

I have recently had under consideration certain representations made by the Trades Union Congress General Council in regard to benefits and certain other matters which would require amending legislation. Having regard, however, to the fact that a Government Committee is undertaking a comprehensive survey of the social insurance and allied services, including workmen's compensation, and that the conclusions reached by this Committee may have an important bearing on the lines on which workmen's compensation should be developed in the future, I have come to the conclusion that legislation proposing substantial amendments of the existing scheme could not usefully be con- sidered pending the report of that Committee, which is expected to be received in the next few months. I would remind my hon. Friend that the payments under the Act in disablement cases were substantially increased two years ago by the Workmen's Compensation (Supplementary Allowances) Act, 1940.

Mr. Smith

In view of that reply, could the Secretary of State give some idea what is meant by "the next few months," as it may mean many months? In view of the urgency of this question, will he consider taking some action between now and when the report is received?

Mr. Morrison

I can assure my hon. Friend that I am seriously and definitely informed that when we say a few months it will be so and will not run to many months, as he not unnaturally fears. I can assure him that I will keep the matter under observation in the meantime and keep in touch with the General Council of the Trades Union Congress, whose deputation was headed by my hon. Friend the Member for North Southwark (Mr. Isaacs), and I think that he will assure my hon. Friend that they at any rate will keep in touch with me.

Mr. W. Joseph Stewart

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in the county of Durham £22,000 is paid out each year from the local rates to help such cases as these?

Mr. Ellis Smith

Can the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that as soon as he receives the report action will be taken within a short time?

Mr. Morrison

I would not like to pledge myself, for it depends on the nature of the report, but when it is available I will enter into consultation with the representatives of the General Council of the Congress if they so desire, as I have no doubt they will.