HC Deb 15 April 1943 vol 388 cc1389-91
Mr. Arthur Greenwood

Will the Leader of the House state the Business for the next series of Sittings?

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Eden)

The Business for the next series of Sittings will be as follows:

First Sitting Day—Report and Third Reading of the Catering Wages Bill.

Second Sitting Day—Report stage of the Budget Resolutions; Consideration of the Lords Amendments to the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill; and Motion to approve the War Damage (Highways Scheme) Order.

Third Sitting Day—The House will Adjourn for the Easter Recess.

If there is time during the week, progress will be made with the Settled Land and Trustee Acts (Court's General Powers) Bill [Lords], Evidence and Powers of Attorney Bill [Lords], and Courts (Emergency Powers) Bill [Lords].

Sir P. Harris

Can my right hon. Friend indicate when a day is likely to be available for the discussion of the refugees problem?

Mr. Eden

I think I dealt with that question the other day. I thought the House agreed that it would be better to let the conference have its results before we have a discussion, and I thought that perhaps, provisionally, it might be the first day after we come back after Easter.

Mr. A. Bevan

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is on the Order Paper a Motion in the names of a large number of hon. Members on the subject of workmen's compensation, and that for over a fortnight we have asked for facilities for a discussion of this? Can he give an idea when that Motion can be discussed, because in the mining industry there is very great dissatisfaction on the subject?

[This House is of opinion that the scales of payment to injured workmen under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1925, deny a reasonable standard of living to the injured workman and his dependants and delays his restoration to full industrial employment, and calls upon the Government to take steps to raise the rates provided for in the 1925 Act by 50 per cent., and to adjust the method of calculating pre-accident earnings so that the injured workmen may be compensated on an equitable basis.]

Mr. Eden

I am not yet able to say when that can be done. The hon. Gentleman is aware that there are many points of view on this matter.

Earl Winterton

In accordance with what I think is the usual practice, can my right hon. Friend say what are the topics which have been submitted to Mr. Speaker as suitable for discussion on the Motion for the Adjournment for the Easter Recess, or will he make an announcement early in the next series of Sittings?

Mr. Eden

I think I am always ignorant of these matters and that they are entirely for Mr. Speaker.

Sir H. O'Neill

Does the Prime Minister intend to make any general statement on the war before the Easter Recess?

Mr. Eden

Not so far as I am aware.

Mr. Granville

In view of the fact that the Prime Minister's Four-Year Plan has been discussed in another place and is to be discussed at the Easter conferences, would it be irreverent to suggest that we might have an opportunity of discussing it in the near future in the House of Commons?

Mr. Eden

I have had no indication that there is a general desire for this, and the present position of Business would not allow it.

Mr. McGovern

Can the right hon. Gentleman give us any information about the proposed Debate on the new legislation concerning old age pensions, as a large number of hon. Members are very dissatisfied on this matter?

Mr. Eden

Progress has been made, and the Bill is now in an advanced stage of preparation. I hope it will be possible to have that discussion fairly soon after we come back after the Easter Recess.

Mr. Ness Edwards

With regard to workmen's compensation, is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that on three previous occasions we were referred to the ordinary channels, and now apparently the ordinary channels have dried up, and another technique has been suggested? Will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider the position with regard to workmen's compensation, which is creating very serious dissatisfaction?

Mr. Eden

I have made such inquiries as are in my power, and I have not found a very wide desire for this discussion. Certainly, I could not make arrangements for such a discussion in the present state of Business, but if there are representations, I will, of course, consider them.

Mr. R. J. Taylor

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is tremendous dissatisfaction in the coalfields about the basic rate of compensation?

Mr. A. Bevan

Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that no representations whatsoever have been made to him by representatives of this party?

Mr. Eden

What I said was that the advice which has come to me, as is quite frequently my experience, is of a conflicting character.

Mr. Bevan

On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. On a number of occasions we have been asked to raise this matter through the usual channels, and the right hon. Gentleman now indicates that he has not been approached through them—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

That is not a point of Order that the hon. Member is making.

Mr. Bevan

It is customary that, as the Leader of the House is Leader of the House, he should not mislead the House in his replies.

Miss Ward

In view of the anxiety of relatives, may we have a statement on the shackling of prisoners before the Adjournment for Easter?

Mr. Eden

I am afraid I cannot say without notice. It is not a question only for me but for the Departments concerned.

Mr. Gallacher

Can we get any information as to when we are going to have the Hydro-Electric Development (Scotland) Bill, or would the right hon. Gentleman consider handing it over to the Scottish Members to operate it during the Recess?

Mr. Eden

I shall announce the business for the week after Easter on the next Sitting Day.