HC Deb 22 October 1942 vol 383 cc2179-80

Message to attend the Lords Commissioners.

The House went; and, having returned

Mr. SPEAKER reported the Royal Assent to:

  1. 1. Appropriation (No. 3) Act, 1942.
  2. 2. Greenwich Hospital Act, 1942.
  3. 3. Courts (Emergency Powers) Amendment Act, 1942.
  4. 4. Prolongation of Parliament Act, 1942.
  5. 5. Local Elections and Register of Electors (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1942.
  6. 6. India and Burma (Temporary and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1942.
  7. 7. Welsh Courts Act, 1942.
  8. 8. London Midland and Scottish Railway Order Confirmation Act, 1942.

Question again proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."

Mr. Tomlinson

When we were called to the other place, I was about to conclude my remarks. I want to put before the House one or two of the things that we have discovered as a consequence of our working of the interim scheme. The first is this. While we can claim great things for rehabilitation, I hope we shall not over-claim. It may be that a little story of a boy who was injured will illustrate what I mean. The boy had his fingers badly hurt in a mill and was taken to hospital. After a period, the doctor, looking at him, said, "Well, I think you will be all right, Johnny." The boy said, "You think I will? Do you think I shall be able to use my fingers ail right?" The doctor said, "Certainly, my boy." "Will I be able to play the piano with them?" "Oh, yes." "Well," the boy said, "that is funny—I couldn't before." That is where the interim scheme of the Ministry of Labour comes in, so that if an injured person cannot do that which he did before, he can at least be given a training which will enable him to undertake something useful.

The second thing I want to say is this. I want to emphasise that the possibilities of rehabilitation ought not to prevent us from using all the brains and ingenuity we have to devise machinery and working conditions which will render accidents and diseases arising from industry less and less frequent. We know that in wartime accidents tend to increase, not only because of the increasing number of people who come into industry, but because very often they come in without that background which others who have always been in industry possess. Although these accidents tend to increase, and although we may be able to improve matters afterwards by rehabilitation, let all who have any influence in industry, either in connection with the design of machinery or new inventions, do all we can to lower the accident rate in industrial occupations and prevent the necessity for rehabilitation, while taking steps to make rehabilitation a reality.