HC Deb 08 October 1942 vol 383 cc1339-40
20. Sir Charles Edwards

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he has considered communications from the Monmouthshire air-raid precautions committee about compensation for Civil Defence Volunteers Personal Injuries Scheme; and whether he will amend the scheme so as to provide compensation for injury or death between the times of leaving and returning to their homes, whether they are called out in response to an alert or on their normal duties?

The Minister of Pensions (Sir Walter Womersley)

The answer to the first part of the Question is in the affirmative. With regard to the second part Civil Defence personnel going to or from duty are covered under the Personal Injuries (Civilians) Scheme for injuries caused by enemy action. For other injuries the Personal Injuries (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1939, requires that the injury shall have arisen "out of and in the course of" duty, a requirement similar to that laid down by the Workmen's Compensation Acts. This requirement would not be satisfied during the periods in question under the Personal Injuries (Emergency Provisions) Act any more than under the Workmen's Compensation Acts. If, however, the journey is made in response to an emergency call (for example an air-raid warning) the injury can be brought within the scope of the Personal Injuries (Civilians) Scheme,

Mr. Silverman

Why is it necessary in this scheme to repeat all the anomalies of the Workmen's Compensation Acts, which everybody knows to be unsatisfactory and which were the subject of an inquiry by a Royal Commission?

Sir W. Womersley

The plain answer is that this is not an anomaly.

Mr. Silverman

Does not the right hon. Gentleman know that the trouble about what does and what does not arise out of and in the course of employment, which is repeated in this scheme, has been a source of great injustice in workmen's compensation, and why does he repeat it?

Sir W. Womersley

Not in this particular instance at all. This is a question of where a man is proceeding from his own home to report to his station and sign on. If he stumbles over something in the road as he goes along, that has nothing to do with his employment. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that we give the broadest interpretation to these provisions.

Mr. Evelyn Walkden

What happens if a fire bomb drops on the way?

Sir W. Womersley

Then he is compensated.

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