§ Mr. Kirkwood (Dumbarton Burghs)
I beg to move, in page 1, line 10, to leave out "four hundred," and to insert "one thousand."
We are moving this Amendment, which stands in my name and those of two of my colleagues, knowing quite well the atmosphere that is being created in our party against our doing anything of the kind, because it is always trotted out to us that, if the party make a move for an advance of Is., there will always be somebody who will want 2S. But in the face of all the criticism we have put down this Amendment, and I want to appeal to Members on the opposite side of the Committee to support us. We are sent here by the working class to represent the working class against the ruling class; we are not sent to co-operate at all. Members opposite always say that we do not represent the working class, that they represent the working class too, and that they have the interests of the working class at heart and all are so very generous in their treatment of us, and act fairly and desire to be decent and to be considered as such. This only affects the working class. 731 Pensions for friends of hon. Members opposite receiving their thousands a year just come automatically. It is only when our class, the workers, are affected that these objections are raised. This sum represents the results of frugality and thrift during a life of 50 years by people who have tried to put into effect the preachings and the lecturings of those who have been telling the people of my class all these years not to waste their substance but to put something away for a rainy day. In many cases, £400 of savings represents starvation. They have not only starved themselves but they have starved their families to save it. Instead of buying boots for their children, even in the dead of winter, they have put the money aside. That is in my country, which is a different country altogether from England—and, as you see, I am different from you. We are a hardier race, a race that could live on porridge and the children could go barefooted even in the dead of winter. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where?"] In Scotland, but that is a Scotland about which the hon. Member for Central Aberdeen (Sir R. W. Smith) knows nothing. My folk were led to believe that it was advantageous to their well-being to bring up hardy children, and when they should have spent their money and put their money into circulation, buying boots and other necessaries, they were prevailed upon to save for a rainy day or for their old age. Now, when they have scraped and saved every penny they could and have accumulated this sum of £400, it is to be taken into account in the determination of need under this Bill. I ask the Committee to remember that it is the best section of the working class that it is here proposed to penalise. Do not forget that. We say that you ought to extend this limit up to £1,000. It is difficult, I know, for a Member on these Benches to deal with this matter, because so few of them have that amount of money to deal with.
§ Mr. Kirkwood
—and that is why she is such,an opponent of the Communists. 732 She is afraid that they will take the millions away, and I would support them in doing it. However, this is a very serious matter for the people on whose behalf I am now appealing. It is a terrible responsibility to place on Members of Parliament to ask them to penalise individuals, especially when we remember that it is only the workers with whom we are dealing in this way. They have had the misfortune to have been born into working-class homes. They have worked all their lives with nothing before them, from the cradle to the grave but the prospect of plenty of hard work, and they have counted themselves lucky in being able to get it. The people with whom we are now concerned are those who have been fortunate enough, as a result of hard work all their days, to have got a sum of money— £500 or £600 or in some cases up to £1,000and it is now proposed to penalise them under this Clause. We ask you not to do so. We ask you to raise this limit up to £1,000, and that is the Amendment which I have much pleasure in moving.
§ Mr. Gallacher (Fife, West)
I support the Amendment so ably moved by the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood). I do not think any Member opposite would dare to get up in this Committee or before any body of people in the country and argue that the working man or woman who had laboured in factory or mine for 50 years, or the mother who had maintained a home for 50 years, because he or she had a sum of £400 in the bank should be refused consideration in the matter of supplementary pensions. I know that some hon. Members opposite if they woke up one morning and discovered that all their worldly possessions had been reduced overnight to the sum of £400, would think the world had come to an end. Guards would be required on Westminster Bridge to prevent them attempting a nose dive and thus ending it all. Yet people are to be penalised in this way because, after 50 years of arduous toil, they have managed to get together that amount of money.
The hon. Lady the Parliamentary Secretary, who has the onerous task of trying to maintain and uphold the views of the Minister of Health, has on many occasions rhapsodised about the value of the home in British life and the great and noble part which the mother plays. Yet 733 she is prepared to say that such a mother, after 50 years of hard work—not three days a week or six or seven hours a day, but day in and day out, every day, including Sunday—should be penalised if she has been saving. The other side have used the platform and the Press and the pulpit, which the Minister of Health so often adorns, to encourage thrift among the people. I once saved a sum of £10 7s. 6d.. After regular visits to the bank that was the amount to my credit. Then an impecunious pal decided to get married and borrowed the £10 from me, and my wife borrowed the 7s. 6d., and I never saw a penny of it. It was a lesson to me, because I have never put a deposit in a bank from that day to this. But other people took the advice of the Minister and the young Tories of the day, the young, vigorous progressives who say they intend to lead a new crusade. Where are they? My hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton Burghs claimed to represent the working-class, but Members on the other side said, "We represent the working class." But those hon. Members do not; they only deceive them. When there is any question affecting the health and well-being of the working class, Members on the other side always consider first how it will affect their property and their bank books.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I was just giving an illustration. Members on the other side have friends and acquaintances, whom they meet in clubs and such places, drawing pensions of £1,000, £1,500 or £2,000 a year. Can they conceive the Minister coming along and saying, "We have decided to make a change; we intend to stop your pension, and if you have £400 in the bank you will not get more than 10s. a week"? Let hon. Members on the other side put that to some of their friends, but if they do, let them see that there is an ambulance standing by. I know the Minister will be well aware of the warning in the Scripture:Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt,"..I hope that moth and rust will not get at the Minister. It is not moth and rust which is getting at the old folk in this country; the menace to them is the Minister, and when he goes into the pulpit next time I hope he will take that as his text 734 and explain where he stands in relation to these old people who happen to have saved a little money. If the Minister gives the matter the consideration it deserves, he will see that he cannot justify the penalisation of these people. I ask him to accept the Amendment and make the capital sum £1,000.
§ Mr. Quintin Hogg (Oxford)
I trust that the affection with which the Committee rightly regards the two hon. Gentlemen who have proposed and supported this Amendment will not persuade the Minister to give in to them. The hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) claimed that he had been sent here by the working class to represent them against the ruling class and not to co-operate. The trouble is that in moving this Amendment he was not representing the working class; he was representing small capitalists, and he was not representing that class of small capitalists against the ruling class but against the working class, and on these grounds, therefore, I regard the Amendment as totally unjustifiable. Members of the working class in this country do not, for the most part, possess £1,000 capital. The hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs has not yet fully appreciated that the people who would pay for the concession for which he is asking for the small capitalists are, in the main, people who have not £1,000. In the name of the working class—and the young Tories, as the hon. Gentleman rightly reminded us, have always claimed, rightly, to represent their genuine interests—I protest against this Amendment. If I had proposed a counter-Amendment to raise the sum to £20,000, could not every argument proposed on the opposite side have been equally well adduced in support of such an Amendment? The point is that there must be a limit somewhere.
§ Mr. Kirkwood
The reason why we fixed the limit at £1,000 was because it is so rare for a member of the working class, because of privation, to acquire £1,000. That is why we did not go beyond that figure. If we had, we would have gone into the ranks of the small capitalists.
§ Mr. Hogg
I think we are all agreed that it is quite wrong to do what originally was the principle, namely, to say to a man who has saved a little money during his working life,". You have to spend the whole of this before you can get a supplementary pension." To say that discourages thrift. Although we agree that on the whole children should support their parents, we also think it wholly wrong that children who cannot afford to do so because they have children of their own should be made to contribute to their parents. I think we are all agreed that there does come a point when, in the interests of the taxpayers, which is the working class as a whole, you have to say that money which has been put aside for a rainy day must to some extent be spent when that rainy day comes along. That is not unreasonable, but what is unreasonable is to say, "You can continue to preserve intact your block capital of £1,000 for your children without benefiting from it yourself, and you can ask other working people to support you while you do it." This Amendment is not conceived in the interest of the working class; it is conceived in the interest of small capitalists, and what is worse from the Socialist point of view, although better from mine, is that it is conceived in the interests of heirs of small capitalists and not the man who has earned it. If the Amendment was agreed to, it would assist heirs rather than old people.
§ Mr. McGovern (Glasgow, Shettleston)
I rise to support the Amendment, because I think it is generally conceded by all Members that there should be some limit. The only question in the Committee at present is whether it should be £400 and then a part of the money taken by an allowance each week of 6d. upon each £25 that exceeds £425. I think it is reasonable to assume that any person who has saved £1,000—and I agree that it must be a very limited number indeed—should be allowed to benefit in any way he desires by that money. If they have earned the money, if they have even hoarded the money, there might be other people with larger incomes who have spent money in a reckless manner, and therefore we may say they benefit by the fact that they were not thrifty and that those who were thrifty are being penalised to a certain extent.
What amazes me in connection with a number of Conservatives in this House 736 is that they have quite a different attitude, towards what they term the small man with £1,000 from what they have towards people who are higher up in society. We never hear these arguments trotted out when pensions are being paid to members' of the Royal family. We do not hear it said that the father and mother should provide for them and that they are not to be given £1,000 a year income or a very substantial salary. We do not hear it in regard to ex-Cabinet Ministers when they are given two-thirds of their serving salary. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] What have they? They only require to declare that they are in need, and they are given an allowance. [Interruption.] It is true that Members who have served on that front bench have drawn an allowance. It may not be an important point, but we are entitled to have the truth. We may have raised the point continually in regard to the very substantial pensions paled to the heirs and successors of people like Lord Nelson. But we discover that a different attitude is taken by the Tories. They are prepared to pay these substantial pensions in perpetuity, without inquiring into their assets in any way, but, when it comes down to small men, the microscope is applied.
I am amazed at the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher), who continually gets up and castigates the Tories for their misdeeds and then he and his friends go outside the House and, on platforms and at street corners and hoardings with his Communist circus going round the country at by-elections, he asks the workers in the name of national unity to vote for and return these enemies of the working class. I cannot understand that line of policy. These Communist-backed Tories come here and vote down the working class, and he says they are the enemies of the working class. If they are the enemies of the working class, it would be better if they adopted his line of conduct outside the House rather than the line of conduct that he attempts to indulge in in the House. I am bound in political honesty to say that that sort of thing, which is going on continually around the country should not be tolerated in any political assembly.
To get back to the question of pensions I approve of this£1,000 limit, and I think 737 the Labour Party should have a great deal of sympathy with it because most trade union leaders would come under it. I think £400 is rather a niggardly limit and, while not attaching tremendous importance to it, there are other snags in the Bill which are much worse- than this. I think we should set that limit, and the Conservatives should also preach a policy similar to that which they preach in the country by encouraging them to be thrifty. If they listen to the advice and save up a sum of money, they should be able, on top of their old age pension, to extend that money over a period of years, whether its for a holiday, for a pension for members of the family or for education. I certainly support the. proposal and shall support it in the Lobby.
§ Mr. Silkin (Peckham)
We have heard a great many debating speeches and have had a good exhibition of the laundry process in public. I listened with great interest to the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg). I think he proved too much, which is always the danger of making a debating speech. I imagine that when Clause I comes to be called he will support it. He will support the increase from £300 to £400. On his argument he will be supporting the passing of £400 more than was formerly the case at the expense of the working classes, whom he is alleged to represent. I do not understand that attitude. Why does he increase it to £400? Ought he not rather either to have moved an Amendment to cut out the whole of the£300 and make every penny of capital accountable, which would be logical according to his argument, or at least to oppose the raising of it from £300 to £400?
§ Mr. Silkin
I do not know what is in the hon. Member's mind. I am merely addressing myself to the argument that he put forward. On that argument he would have no justification for supporting an increase from £300 to £400. Indeed, he would have every justification for not supporting any figure at all. But I want to ask the Minister, assuming that he cannot agree to £1,000—I agree that £1,000 is quite as arbitrary as £400— 738 whether he could not see his way to increasing the figure of £400. I know something about the kind of amounts that working-class people leave. It is part of my professional business to deal with their estates. It is fairly common to find a working-class estate of £1,000 or less. It is not as uncommon as my hon. Friend suggests, and, if it were, there would not be much point in the Amendment. It is fairly common though by no means the rule.
§ Mr. Silkin
I do not presume to talk of Scotland. I am bound to admit that my own experience relates to London and the neighbourhood. I also admit that the £1,000 would also possibly include the value of a house, which is already covered. Nevertheless, I think that £400 does not really cover the working-class position. I should think £750 would be a reasonable figure. Whatever figure is agreed upon, a certain income is assumed for the owner of the capital. If the figure is greater, the owner will be assumed to be in possession of a larger income, and in that way he will get a smaller allowance. If the right hon. Gentleman were seeking to do justice to the worker and not to penalise thrift—I am sure he would be the last to wish to do that—he would see his way to accept some higher figure than £400. I do not put it higher than that, because £1,000 is probably too high, just as £400 is too low. I hope he will see his way to make some concession on the point.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall (Comm Valley)
I support what my hon. Friend has said. It appears to me that £1,000 is possibly much too high a limit and that £400 is too small. I think that will be generally agreed by everyone who realises how money values have changed and how the standard of living of the working classes has gone up. I do not know whether the Minister will agree to a higher figure or whether he thinks that £750 is much too high. But I should be pleased, seeing that he has gone from £300 to £400, if -he would be willing to go a little more and make it £500, or even £600. We are dealing with people who are worthy of support. They are people who, often at some sacrifice, with an eye to the future and with the desire not to make themselves a burden on the community, have put 739 money by, and it is a pity to penalise them if we can help it. During the war a great deal of propaganda has gone on for the saving of a large proportion of the wages that are now earned. Some of these savings have gone into War Loans and are being taken care of, but quite a number of people have put money into investments of another kind, and it would appear to me, in the light of modern circumstances and the differing values of money, and for a number of other reasons which are familiar to hon. Members, that £400 is too small. If £300 was thought reasonable 20 years ago, surely something more than a £100 advance is necessary now if even bare justice is to be done. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to making some increase, even if it cannot be the £1,000 proposed.
§ Mr. Ralph Etherton (Stretford)
The two hon. Members who spoke last seem to be agreed that the figure of £1,000 is too high. Surely the test is, What is the correct and proper figure in all the circum-stances? There must be a ceiling. Everyone will probably agree that a fantastic figure, for example £10,000, is too high. The hon. Member for Peckham (Mr. Silkin) himself agrees that it is too high.
§ Mr. Gallacher
Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that the Government are paying out pensions to people with £10,000? It is only when it comes to the workers that there is a limit.
§ Mr. Etherton
That is quite irrelevant to the point under consideration. The question is, What is a reasonable figure in all the circumstances? The Clause proposes an increase of no less than 33⅓ per cent. There has been an increase in the cost of living over the last 20 years, and I would have thought that an increase of 33⅓ per cent, more than met it. One could argue that another £50 would be proper or that £50 less would be proper. One can always argue either side of a figure which is thought to be reasonable, but I suggest that the figure in the Clause does in all the circumstances do justice to the case.
§ Mr. David Adams (Consett)
I am strongly inclined to support £1,000. After all, it merely represents the savings of a lifetime at the rate of £20 per annum. In the mining areas relatively few ex-workers 740 will have that amount, and the liability upon the State will not be as great as it would be if the whole country were London. The notion that a person reaching pensionable age aught to feel satisfied with mere living conditions without the possibility of holidays, or of assistance to their dependants in need, or of entertainment in their declining years is unreasonable. Under ideal conditions provision for that character would be made. If our industrial conditions are such that opportunities for making this provision are very rare among the working class, pending a much higher remuneration and a greater proportion of its share of the national income to labour, it is an obligation upon the community to make this additional provision. It has been suggested that £750 might be considered fair and reasonable, but I am at a loss to understand why we should make this discrimination between that and £1,000. The whole argument is in favour of the improvement where necessary of the status of the old age pensioner who has exhibited commendable frugality, and his position ought to be met by the concession asked for in the Amendment.
§ Sir Robert Young (Newton)
I am not so much concerned about the amount of the sum as about the amount that it will return. In all these alterations of law the amount of the income from the capital sum should be the same. I know people who invest their little savings in building societies. If they had £300, it brought in 5 per cent. before the war, which came to £15 per annum free of Income Tax. The return from many building societies is now reduced to 2⅓ per cent., so that £400 will bring in only iro. The Minister should reconsider the matter from that point of view. If he did, he would arrive at a sum between the £400 and the £1,000.
§ Mr. Storey (Sunderland)
I hope the Committee will not agree to the Amendment. We all want to encourage the man who has been thrifty, but what does this Bill do for him? A man may own his own house. He may have superannuation of ros. a week which is disregarded. He may have £400 in ordinary savings and £375 in war savings, which are disregarded.
§ Mr. Kirkwood
Suppose he has £375 in war savings, that is no use to him at the moment, as there is no income coming in from it.
§ Mr. Storey
If he puts his money in National Savings Certificates, he can draw it out at any time. A man in such a position has had some measure of prosperity during his working life, and we are entitled to expect that he will use some of his savings to maintain him during his retirement and not call upon his neighbour, who may be a man with a moderate wage and large family responsibilities, to contribute through indirect and direct taxation to his maintenance. I do not believe that the demand for this concession comes from the thrifty man who has saved. A man in that position is usually able to maintain himself without asking his neighbour to contribute to his support. This is, as my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg) pointed out, something that will benefit the relations. It is a relations' racket, and I hope that as such the Minister will resist it.
§ Mr. S. O. Davies (Merthyr)
Invariably we get allegations about the thrift of the working man when a Bill of this kind is before the House, and it is time for somebody to protest. It comes very badly from those who know nothing about thrift. We are dealing here with working people subject to working-class conditions and wages and all the appalling upsets that characterise working-class life. I am sure that the thrifty working man, as well as perhaps the more indifferent working man, would not thank anybody for such speeches as we have heard to-day and when the Bill was last before the House. We are dealing here with miners, railwaymen, blast-furnace workers, engineering workers and so on. I have spent my life among the coalminers of South Wales and worked for a number of years with them in the collieries. What ghost of a chance has a decent, intelligent, working miner to accumulate by means of any rational thrift big sums of money? For several of the years between the two wars when that appalling depression displaced millions of men and women from industry the right hon. Gentleman was Minister of Labour, and he has a great deal, of knowledge of the conditions that obtained then. Let me cite a case that could be multiplied a hundredfold. A working man receives an injury at his work and is in receipt for many months of weekly compensation payments. He ultimately settles up for a lump sum. He might be permanently incapacitated in some degree or other. 742 After the first £25 of his lump sum the right hon. Gentleman proposes to assess the remainder at is. per £25.
There are cases of serious injury where the lump sum might be £600 or £700. Why not cover men with that amount and do so by increasing the figure in the Bill from £400 to £1000? It has been admitted that £1,000 would be the exceptional case in working-class life. During the depression it was a commonplace in mining areas for an injured or unemployed workman to have two children in a secondary school, I remember the case of a workman who lost an eye in his employment and who had three girls in a secondary school. He recovered and became fit to do light employment. He wanted to settle for a lump sum, because he wished to spend the money on his three girls. He ultimately did settle. Will not the Minister increase the figure to £1,000 to cover such a case? It will cover admittedly only the exceptional case, but that case should be given protection, because if the man has been thrifty he will know how to handle the money reasonably well. The, right hon. Gentleman will not lose a great deal by making this concession, but it will be a gesture and an improvement on the mean gestures that are made so frequently in miserable Bills of this kind.
§ Mr. Price (Forest of Dean)
I also want to appeal to the Minister to reconsider this figure and raise it above £400. I have much sympathy with the movers of this Amendment, although I would not commit myself to the figure of £1,000 which they recommend. I know, from experience in my own constituency, of large numbers of workers who have little holdings of their own, who have probably inherited a small cottage and a small orchard and have grazing rights in the forest, and it is very hard on them when they come to retire on a pension, having lost their full working wage, to have anything above £400 taken into consideration. Prices have all gone up; the price of stock on their small holdings has gone up, and the cost of repairs has risen. Therefore, I think the figure of £400 deserves reconsideration, because it would result in people who have retired having to stint themselves and to suffer more than is necessary. I am not tied to any actual figure, but I hope the 743 Minister will reconsider the £400 because I think that is not enough.
§ Mr. Buchanan (Glasgow, Gorbals)
I have been tempted to intervene by the speech of the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Storey). He was slightly wrong in one of his statements. He spoke about a man having £400 and then £375, but at £400 the man get nothing at all.
§ Mr. Buchanan
He cannot have £400. It must be something less than £400. I am not going to argue the general merits of the Amendment, because if ever there was an Amendment that I could feel easy about, it is this one. The number of people in the Gorbals Division affected by it is practically none at all. Some years ago, before the war, the Assistance Board published a statistical table, and it blew sky high the views as to the great numbers of people covered by the contributory scheme—and the only people who will be assisted in this way are people, in the main, who are covered by the contributory scheme. The numbers of people with large sums of money are comparatively small. I wish to put forward two considerations, and I hope that the hon. Member for Sunderland will see on reflection what an indefensible position will arise in a normal state of affairs, leaving out war-time conditions. As I have said, the person who touches £400 gets nothing, but the person with £399 gets 7s. 6d, a week. Therefore, on a difference of £1 in capital, there is a difference of 7s. 6d. a week. Nobody could defend that, and that is one reason for reconsidering the sum. He gets nothing if he touches £400, and he loses something on every £25. His basic scale in the winter time is 24s. 6d.—that is on the lowest rent—and-therefore his income is 10s. plus 7s. 6d., leaving the balance that he gets of 6s. 6d. a week; but the lowest rent scale is not the average; the average is something between the lowest rent and the high rent, and so the average is at least 7s. 6d., if not more. There is all that difference over Who can defend that?
This figure of capital causes me less qualms than almost anything, because there are so few people with capital in my division. If ever there was a de 744 pressed area, it is that area. I was born in it and have seen nothing but depression all my life. I hate to see us making laws which tempt people to descend to little tricks to get shillings, but what are we doing here? We are saying to the man with £405, "Scamper so much of it away, and then you will be able to come in." For that reason the Minister ought to reconsider making the £400 figure higher. After the war the position will prove an utterly indefensible one. Take the case of a man and wife, old age pensioners, living together at home. They may have a grown-up family, all reserved, living at home and working in a shipyard or a steel works, and the old man himself may now be working. If money is good the man and his wife can possibly save now £375 each, and. so when they retire they will have together £750.
Then take the case of the person who before the war was thrifty and saved some money but whose family have all gone into the Army, where they do not earn big money. He cannot put the money he has saved into War Loan, because he possibly tied it up in a building society, or in the Co-operative movement long before the war was thought of. The poorer people are, the more anxious they are about the safety of their money. The amount of interest they get on their money does not concern them so much as knowing that it is in safety. It may be said that those who have saved money and have £400 tied up in what they regard as a safe investment could realise the money, but that is not always true. Take the Clyde Navigation Trust; the money there is tied up for life in many ways, and the only way to realise it is to go into the open market and sell it, which poor people will not do. It comes to this, that there will be people who before the war saved, and whose children are now in the Army, so that they cannot save any more, who will be allowed only the maximum of £399, whereas another family whose children happen to be in callings where they have all been retained at home are able to save money now and put it in War Loan, and they are rewarded by having £750 allowed. The position is really indefensible. Side by side in a Glasgow tenement you will have Mistress A and Mistress B, one with all her sons away in the Army and no chance of saving, and the 745 other with all her sons at home and a chance of saving. At the end of the war Mistress A, whose sons were all away, will be treated as being on a maximum of £400, and next door will be her neighbour treated as having a maximum of £1,150. Who can defend that?
§ Mr. Storey
Will the hon. Member carry the parallel a little further by taking in Mistress C, a hard-working woman who has not had the opportunity of saving at all and yet would be called upon to contribute to the supplementation of the woman—or the man—who has been so prosperous that he can save?
§ Mr. Buchanan
I am not going into that. I say nobody could defend the position which I have outlined, once we have embarked on the policy of exempting a capital sum, in which B, who has been able to save since the war because fortune favoured him by his sons being retained at home, is allowed £1,150, and A, whom the war penalised, is allowed only £400. That is an indefensible position, argue round it as you may. I say to the Minister that he ought to take back this figure. I do not ask him to accept the Amendment, but he should take back this figure for reconsideration and try to face up to the position. I do not think it is fair to talk about some other man having to contribute to supplementation because that is not the issue. The Government have earmarked capital exemption. Let them not differentiate between the person who has been unable to save because the war has penalised him by taking his family away and the person whose family has been retained at home. I tell the right hon. Gentleman that he will find in peace-time that the nation will not stand for the position in which the person who was favoured by the war is favoured to the extent of £750 more than the person whom the war penalised. It will be better for the Minister to face the issue now and even things out.
§ Mr. Mack (Newcastle-under-Lyme)
I hope that the Minister will give this matter consideration: Although I am fully in favour of the principle of £1,000, perhaps a more modest sum suggested from these benches might be considered. It is amazing, when we are asked to institute thrift throughout the country, that those who do so are penalised. The sum of £750 is probably worth little more 746 than about £300 in pre-war real purchasing power, and there are few instances among the working class where people are able to save such sums. Workers save largely because of the fear of unemployment, and they often deprive themselves of the elementary necessities of life in order to do so. By so doing they will be assisting the war effort by not consuming commodities, but if they had consumed those commodities they would have been treated preferentially in the Bill. There is an old song which said:Tho' there's nothing in the larder, Ain't we got fun?Times are hard and getting harder; Still, we've got fun.There's nothing surer. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer,But in the meantime and between time, Ain't we got fun?A working man or women tries by the use of labour to secure some purchasing power in the form of wages, by contrast to the Noble Lady who asked for a definition of a capitalist. A person who is a capitalist employs a number of other people in order to exploit their surplus value for the purpose of accumulating wealth. About 95 per cent, of the people of this country live in fear of economic consequences, particularly after the war. If we were to institute a system by which the workers were entitled to the full fruits of their production there would be less incentive among them to save by refraining from purchasing commodities.
§ Mr. Mack
I am sorry, Major Milner. If I am not allowed to expatiate on that point, I will leave it. At any rate, it is regarded as a virtue if workers can save out of their meagre earnings. The war may be regarded as a heyday in the workers' life because they can sell their labour.power at a better price and may be able as a consequence to save a little money. There is something extra coming into the house, and there is a dearth of commodities to purchase with it. Because of that, is the worker to be unduly penalised and placed in this difficult position? The right hon. Gentleman might well give careful consideration to this matter. The number of workers involved would be small, but they would particularly appre- 747 ciate the small concession which would come to them if the right hon. Gentleman were to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards (Caerphilly)
I would ask the Minister to look at this position again. I am hot enamoured of the Amendment, which proposes to do something which it cannot do, to bring within the ambit of supplementary pensions people with £800 or £900. The contribution from available resources is already fixed at a limit much lower than that proposed in the Amendment, and it would create a false impression among old age pensioners to tell them that we had passed a Measure enabling people with £900 to obtain a supplementary pension. Take the case of a single man needing a supplementary pension. What are his economic resources? They cancel out his needs at about 12s. equalling £300. If he has £300, he is automatically cut out. What is the good of our fixing a new maximum? An effective limit is imposed by the scale on which you treat available resources. If the limit is £1,000, it means that the man with £999 will be persuaded that he has a title to a supplementary pension. I have every sympathy with the desire to give the best treatment to our people, but you have the anomalous situation that a person may acquire £750 from somewhere else—someone may leave it to him—and it will be taken into account, while if the person next door has left £750 in War Loans, that will be solely ignored. The treatment of capital resources must be looked at completely afresh. Let us try to have some equity as between one pensioner and another. For these reasons I ask the Minister to look at the matter again.
§ The Minister of Health (Mr. Ernest Brown)
I am sure the Committee will agree that this has been a very interesting discussion, and it shows that when you touch upon these subjects there is always more than one point of view to be discussed. I will not be drawn into the issues which arise on later Amendments, but will deal with the Amendment before the Committee. It is easy to construct a series of debating points upon it, on one side or another, and all those who have followed the long history of the development of these arrangements under various Acts will know that it is easy to get particular cases and draw comparisons sharply, as the hon. Member for 748 Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) drew his comparison just now. Let me come dawn to the origin of this attempt in war-time to deal with capital.
The war savings point arose, of course, not upon supplementary pensions at all, but upon unemployment assistance, because of the demand made by the Trades Union Congress that if they and the Labour Movement as a whole were to join with all the rest of the country in a big campaign to foster war savings, there should be an arrangement whereby war savings were either partially or wholly ignored, up to the permitted amount. We are not now dealing with a 20-year issue, but with a three-year issue, dating from 1940. Hon. Members will see in the Debates on the Bills at that time, speech after speech making the case of the thrifty person who was saving War Savings Certificates, but not of the thrifty person who saved in other directions. What happened? The point was made, considered and met, on the basis that it would be a reasonable settlement. There is no logic in this—you can put your decimal' points where you will.
Having in mind that every concession in these matters means a contribution from the taxpayer, the figure of £375 of war savings, or £750 for two persons, was considered to be a reasonable concession. With regard to those persons whose savings did not happen to be in war savings, I should say that the value of the house they are living in is not taken into account, and after discussion the House decided that £300 was a reasonable sum, in drawing the balance between the taxpayer who would have to pay, on the one hand,. and those who would receive the money on the other.
Since then, the case has been made in this House in open Debate that £300 was rather on the small side. The Government promised to consider it and have considered it, and they have come to the conclusion that, taking all the other arrangements into consideration, it would be reasonable to say £400. There will be cases of persons having both Savings Certificates and other income, and the matter will not always be as sharply defined, as between one house and another house, as hon. Members have suggested. I therefore cannot accept the Amendment, which goes further than that figure. 749 Question put, "That the words "four hundred" stand part of the Clause".
|Division No. 22.||AYES|
|Agnew, Comdr, P. G.||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Owen, Major G.|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Greenwell, Colonel T. G.||Paling, W.|
|Apsley, Lady||Gridley, Sir A. B.||Peat, C. U|
|Assheton, R-||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Grimston, R. V.||Polo, Major B. A. J.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Sir D. H.||Plugge, Capt. L. F.|
|Beattie, F. (Cathcart)||Ha[...]bro, Capt. A. V.||Pym, L. R.|
|Beaumont, Major Hn. R. E. B. (P't'sh)||Hammersley, S. S.||Radford, E. A.|
|Beechman, N. A.||Hannah, I. C.||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Beit, Sir A. L.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Bennett, Sir P. F. B. (Edgbaston)||Hayday, A.||Read, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)|
|Benson. G.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)|
|Bevin, Rt. Hon. E.||Henderson, J. J. Craik (Leeds, N.E.)||Ritson, J.|
|Blair, Sir R.||Higgs, W. F.||Roberts, W.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C.||Hill, Prof. A. V.||Robertson, D. (Streatham)|
|Bower, Norman (Harrow)||Hinchinbrooke, Viscount||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)|
|Brocklebank, Sir C. E. R.||Hogg, Hon. Q. McG.||Ross, Major Sir R. D. (Londonderry)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Holdsworth, H.||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.|
|Burden, T. W.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|Butcher, Lieut. H. W.||Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Savory, Professor D. L.|
|Campbell, J. D. (Antrim)||Hughes, R. Moelwyn Jeffreys, Gen. Sir G. D.||Scott, Donald (Wansbeck)|
|Cary, R. A.||John, W.||Selley, H. R.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Jones, L. (Swansea, W.)||Shakespeare, Sir G. H.|
|Channon, H.||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.)||Kerr, Sir John Graham (Scottish U's)||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Key, C. W.||Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir D. B.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||King-Hall, Commander W. S, R.||Southby, Comd. Sir A. R. J.|
|Cobb, Captain E. C.||Lakin, C. H. A.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Colegate, W. A.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Storey, S.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G.||Stuart, Lord C. Chrichton- (Northwich)|
|Conant, Major R. J. E.||Lawson, J. J.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Cook, Lt.-Col. Sir T. R. A. M.(N'flk, N.)||Lees-Jones, J.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Summers, G. S.|
|Critchley, A.||Leslie, J. R.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Crooke, Sir J. Smedley||Levy, T.||Taylor, Major C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Crowder, Capt. J. F. E.||Lewis, O.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'd'ton, S.)|
|Culverwell, C. T.||Linstead, H. N.||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Lipson, D. L.||Thorne, W.|
|De Chair, Capt. S. S.||Lloyd, Major E. G. R. (Renfrew, E.)||Thorneycroft, Major G. E. P. (Stafford)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lucas, Major Sir J. M.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Denville, Alfred||Mabane, W.||Touche, G. C.|
|Doland, G. F.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Comdr. R. L.|
|Douglas, F. C. R.||McCorquodale, Malcolm S.||Turton, R. H.|
|Dugdale, John (W. Bromwich)||Macdonald, Captain Peter (I. of W.)||Ward, Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Dunoan, Rt. Hon. Sir A. R. (C. Ldn.)||McEntee, V. la T.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Ede, J. C.||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Watt, F. C. (Edinburgh, Cen.)|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||McKie, J. H||Webbe, Sir W. Harold|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Makins, Brig.-Gen. Sir E.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Manningham-Buller, R. E.||Westwood, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Marlowe, Lt.-Col. A.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W. (Blaydon)|
|Etherton, Ralph||Mathers, G.||Wickham, Lt.Col. E. T. R.|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Medlicott, Colonel Frank||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Fox, Flight-Lieut. Sir G. W. G.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P.||Willink, H. U.|
|Frankel, D.||Mills, Colonel J. D. (New Forest)||Womersley, Rt. Hon. Sir W.|
|Fraser, Lt.-Col. Sir Ian (Lonsdale)||Molson, A. H. E.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir K. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Montague, F.||Wootton-Davies, J. H.|
|Fyfe, Major Sir D. P. M.||Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.||Wright, Mrs. Beatrice F. (Bedmin)|
|Galbraith, Comdr. T. D.||Morgan, R. H. (Stourbridge)||York, Major C.|
|Gammans, Capt. L. D.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Gates, Major E. E.||Mort, D. L.|
|Gibbins, J.||Nicholson, G. (Farnham)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Gibson, Sir C. G.||Nield, Lt.-Col. B. E.||Mr. Adamson and Mr. Boulton.|
|Gallacher, W.||Reakes, G. L. (Wallasey)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Gruffydd, W. J.||Sloan, A.||Mr. Kirkwood and|
|Maxton, J.||Stephen, C.||Mr. McGovern.|
|Pritt, D. N.||Stokes, R. R.|
§ The Deputy-Chairman (Mr. Charles Williams)
Before I call upon the hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Glenvil Hall), perhaps it may be as
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 186; Nose, 8.
§ well, with the agreement of the Committee of course, to have the general discussion on this Amendment and on the following Amendment standing in the name of the 751 hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr.. Kirkwood). They can both be taken as separate Amendments if it is wished to move them both.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
I beg to move, in page r, line 12, to leave out "sixpence," and to, insert "fourpence."
The reasons why some of us are trying to get this alteration are, I think, well known to the Committee. As the law stood before this Bill was brought in, an individual was allowed to have up to £300, or rather £299 19s.11 ¾d., without having any part of that capital touched. At the same time the Government decided that although the capital itself should remain intact, what should be regarded as interest on that money should be taken into account when determining the means of any applicant for old age pension. The first £25 was to be exempt, and every £25 thereafter was to be considered as though it was bringing in 1s. per week. The effect of that was that there was an assumption that the old age pensioner who had money of this kind invested was receiving something nearly approaching 10 ½ per cent. per Annum. It may be that certain investments have in the past brought that amount in, and it is possible that some fortunate people even -to-day can find investments which will bring them in a like amount or even more, but it is very unreasonable to suppose that ordinary working-class people have money invested which at any time can bring in any sum approaching that figure.
Time and time again in this House approaches have been made in order to try and get the is. lowered to some more reasonable figure, and in the past all our efforts were in vain until the Minister of Health introduced this particular Bill. As we all know, when he introduced it he raised the capital sum to £400, and reduced the amount which it was supposed that the money would bring in to 6d. per week. Sixpence per week means that it is supposed that the capital sum will bring in nearly 5 ¼ per cent. That, of course, is more like reality, but it is still far above what most people find they can get from an investment. When we were engaged on the Second Reading of this Bill the Minister of Health referred to this matter, and I intervened to ask him how he arrived at the proposed figure of 6d. In reply he expressed surprise that anyone 752 should think that was an inadequate concession and thought that, all things considered, it was reasonable. In the interchange that followed quite a number of Members took part, including Members on the other side of the House. That indicates that support for the change which I propose is not confined to these benches. The hon. and gallant Member for Accrington (Major Procter) asked the Minister of HealthWould the right hon: Gentleman tell us what investment there is in the whole country which would produce that?—that is, an amount equal to 3s. 6d. per Week on up to £224 19S. 11d. The Minister of Health replied:These questions, of course, beg the issue. I am rather surprised at them, because I thought the House would regard this as a very generous concession, having regard to the. point of principle."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th May, 1943; col. 1264, Vol. 389.]I have tried hard to discover what point of principle is involved, and why if something more reasonable is suggested it should be looked upon as begging the issue. As we heard upon a previous Amendment, it is to-day extremely difficult to get more than three per cent. or 3 ½ per cent. on money that is invested. If, as we assume, the Government desire to encourage people to save, it seems only right and proper that the amount taken into account as accruing from investments should be more in accordance with facts than a figure of 5 ¼ per cent. This is, in my view, a very reasonable Amendment. A figure of 4d. a week works out at nearly 3½ per cent. By accepting that, the Government would be acting more in accord with the facts. It may be, said that the difference between 4d. and 6d. is not much. It may not be much to most Members of this House, but on the amount involved it approximates to 2S. 6d. a week, which represents a considerable difference in money to an old age pensioner's budget. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to accept the Amendment, which is a reasonable one, which brings the rate of interest into accord with what is going on at present, and which will, I think, end a controversy that has persisted in this House for many years.
§ Mr. Tinker (Leigh)
I want to support the Amendment which has been moved by my hon. Friend, and also the other Amendment which we are discussing, in 753 the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood). When the figure of Is. per week on the second and subsequent amounts of £25 was brought in, everybody recognised that it was much more than would be got by investment. I think the idea was that the applicant for a supplementary pension should spend some of his savings. I have never been able to work out the figure, but I am told that it came to about II per cent. That was out of all proportion to what could be got by investing money. At that time interest rates were better than they are now, because the trend has been to reduce the value of investments. I have always argued that the Government borrow at a less rate than ever they did before. We have now got interest rates for Government stock down to three and 2 ½ per cent. We should bring this figure into some sort of accord with that rate. The Government themselves brought the figure down by a half because they realised that it was too high. My hon. Friend now says that we should cut it by another third, so that it will be about 3 ½ per cent. My hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton Burghs says also that the capital figure should be £50, instead of £25, so that we may allow better conditions for people who have a little money saved. The Government ought not to object to this. It is well known how we on this side feel on these matters—I would do away with all consideration of capital assets and bring in a flat rate pension, but I have been defeated on that. Government supporters all say they want thrift instilled into people, but they are going the wrong way about it if they reject these two Amendments. I shall support both Amendments, as being fair and reasonable.
§ Mr. Storey
I believe that the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Glenvil Hall) was recently a candidate for the treasurership of the Labour Party. I do not know the fate of his candidature, but I do know that if in that office he followed the same policy as he is proposing under this Amendment it would enable his party to live at the expense of the taxpayer and to maintain their capital for their political heirs. Who their political heirs will be, the Common Wealth Party or the Communist Party, I leave to others to decide.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
I do not know whether this is relevant, but it is quite obvious that my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland (Mr. Storey) knows as little about economics as he does about what is going on with regard to the Labour Party treasurership.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I think the hon. Member was giving an illustration, and I accepted it as a short illustration. I hope it will not lead to any others.
§ Mr. Storey
If my hon. Friend had not interrupted me, I was going to show that his proposal would mean that no savings would be taken into account at all. To be exact, to take the worst possible instance, a man with £375 of savings would under the Amendment have a notional income of 4s. 8d. a week. His actual income at three per cent. or, as the hon. Member admitted, possibly 3 ½ per cent., would be about 5s. Therefore, he would have to use up only 4d. a week of his capital for his own maintenance. When he had used that, his capital income would be equal to his notional income. Therefore, under these proposals he would not have to use up any of his capital, but would call upon the taxpayer to supplement his pension. In the last Debate I sought to show that this Bill was generous in its proposals to deal with savings, and that under it savings were almost inexhaustible. Indeed, I understated the facts. I suggested that a man with £100 would have to use up his savings at the rate of only 9d. a week. The right figure is only 4d. a week, and after he had used that his notional income would drop and he would not have to draw on his savings at all. Under the Bill, assuming an interest rate of 3 per cent., the worst that could happen to a man with up to £400 is that he would have to use 2s. 8d. a week of his savings for his own maintenance. I submit that a man who has been able to save, who has been thrifty, should be encouraged to be thrifty but that there is no reason why, because he has been thrifty, he should not use up part of his savings, just as a man who has put his money into a superannuation scheme has had to. It is reasonable that he should use part of his savings for his maintenance and not come upon the taxpayer, who may have been in a worse position 755 than he all his life, to contribute to that maintenance. I hope, therefore, that the Committee will reject the Amendment.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
We have listened to a statement which is completely divorced from practical experience and which is based, apparently, upon purely theoretical study. The assumption is that the supplementary pension is sufficient in itself to maintain the ordinary standard of life to which the pensioner has been accustomed, and that the supplementary pension is adequate to meet every need of the old age pensioner. That is more than the Assistance Board itself claims. The Board has never claimed to deal with medical needs in a case where there are resources; it has never claimed to meet special needs, higher rent adjustments, winter conditions, or clothing allowances where there are resources. How is the hon. Gentleman able to talk in the glib way he does? Surely it is by ignoring the actual position of these people. Let me give a concrete instance. I had a letter last week from a supplementary pensioner in Wales whose husband recently died and left her some War Savings. She is drawing £3 a month to maintain herself in her own home and to supplement her supplementary pension. Again, the hon. Member ignores the fact that the resources which a person has when the first determination is made remain all the time the alleged capital resources of that person, although it has been diminished, even on his own reckoning, at the rate of 4d. a week. In 12 months' time it may be £100 less, but it will still be treated as the original figure. The hon. Member is wholly astray in his analysis of the position.
In my view the Amendment does not go far enough. Hon. Members who were in the Committee when the Minister replied to the last discussion will remember that he stated that £400 in War Savings was wholly disregarded, but this money is taken into account. The intention apparently is that, when you have disregarded £375 of War Savings, it is reasonable that people who have £400 of invested capital should eat their capital away little by little. Why should a person with £400 in the bank be treated different from a person with £400 in War Savings? If you disregard the one, why 756 take into account the other? If the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Storey) is agreeable to £375 of War Savings being wholly ignored, why take into account £400 of any other type of savings? Such savings go into the National Exchequer just the same as all the rest. In a person acquires £375 of War Savings, it is wholly ignored, but if he acquires £375 in a house in which he is not living, that money is taken into account. The Amendment is a reasonable attempt to arrive at a compromise and I hope that we shall try in these matters to get equity as between one pensioner and another. In this matter, we are not getting equity and I hope that the Minister will reconsider the position.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Miss Horsbrugh)
The hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment put to the Committee clearly that he thought that under this Bill capital up to £400 belonging to an old age pensioner was to be kept entirely by the old age pensioner and that we looked upon it only as producing interest. We have to make the explanation again, as I think it is not fully understood by hon. Members, that it is not the intention of the Clause that the applicant should be wholly relieved from using some part of his capital.
§ Mr. Gienvil Hall
Supposing the capital is locked up in a house in which the pensioner is not living and he cannot realise on it without loss or perhaps not at all, that means that he will be eating into a supplementary pension because of the idea that he is getting 5 ¼ per cent.
§ Miss Horsbrugh
I would like to reply to all hon. Members, and I will do so, if I can. This matter is intricate and has come up in this House over and over again, and if hon. Members will allow me to state the case we can then answer further questions upon it. If I state the case, it will be understood whether we agree or not. The first point is the interest that the pensioner receives from investment. It has been suggested he should be relieved from using any of his capital, but that is not the intention of the Clause at all. I am asked, also, how we work 757 out the rate at which capital will have to be spent in order to bring actual income derived from it up to the notional income. It, for example, the sum of £200 were invested at 2 ½ per cent., it would take 18 years to reduce it to £150, and after 25 years there would still be £139 of the original £200. I give that example to show that only a small amount of the capital would be taken.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
What would happen if the capital was not liquid capital? The assumption of the argument of the hon. Lady is that it is liquid capital and therefore the proportion can go on.
§ Miss Horsbrugh
In most of the cases the capital is liquid capital, but it is no use simply giving examples and then putting up others of a different type. I will try to deal with them all but I must deal with them in turn. If the pensioner is living in the house, the capital value of the house is not taken into account at all. There is the case of the pensioner with capital invested, and that is the most common case. I have given the case where £200 was invested, giving the interest at only 2 ½ per cent., and I have shown that in 18 years it would be reduced to £150, and after 25 years, to £139. It is clear that taking this sum does not mean taking more than a very small part of the capital. It is laid down clearly, as I have said, that it is not intended wholly to relieve a pensioner from the necessity of using any of his capital. That is the principle upon which we stand. The old age pensioner has saved a certain amount of capital and comes to the time of life when he retires, and the principle we are discussing is whether or not the old man is to keep all his capital intact and be able to leave it to relations who come after him.
§ Miss Horsbrugh
We want him to have a good time while he is living. I had a case brought to my attention recently of a pensioner who was over 80 years of age. His son said that his father had about £900 and had been refused a supplementary pension, and he thought that he ought to get one. But my answer to 758 that case, and to any hon. Member, is that either the son should give his father a small sum during his remaining years and so get the £900 intact when his father dies, or suggest to the father that he should use a small amount of that £900, and then the son would get rather less. I am certain the Committee will agree that, if. an old age pensioner has capital, it is right that we should expect him to use a small amount of that capital. The case I have given of the £200 makes it clear that the Clause takes away a small amount —nothing like all of the capital.
Let me deal next with the rate of interest of the notional income. Hon. Members have worked it out. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment and my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland (Mr. Storey) have worked out percentages. In working out these percentages people sometimes do not take into their calculation the first part of the capital, which is free. If you take anything less than £50 it is treated as yielding no income at all. If you take the income of estates from £50 to £400, it varies between 15s. per cent. and £4 18s. per cent. Up to the first £50 is free but when you consider the larger amounts the interest naturally increases. I do not think that the hon. Member opposite will deny that.
§ Miss Horsbrugh
If the hon. Member works it out he will find that I am correct. Let me repeat—the principle is that a small portion of the capital should be used. We do not say that the pensioners should be able to keep the whole of their capital. A small portion is to be used and we think that that is right. I have explained how the portion works out and shown that the percentage rate of interest assumed is not as high as is stated. Under this Bill the figure is raised from £300 to £400 and the notional income taken into account is reduced from is. to 6d. for each complete £25 after the first. Hon. Members might have said that this is a goad step—fifty-fifty—but one can see clearly that certain hon. Members might say that, if you give up to £400, why not £500 or £1,000. We come back to the principle on which we stand, and that is, that where there is capital, some portion of it must be used and the rest can be used as the old person 759 wishes, either for himself or herself during lifetime or left to relatives.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I had not intended to intervene but it is impossible to let such a mendacious statement pass. The Minister says that it is a principle that part of the capital must be used up before the old people get a pension. This is no principle but a deliberate discrimination against the working class of this country. We discussed on a Question the other day the case of a civil servant retiring on a pension of £2,450. I ask the Minister or anyone else: Have such people to use up pare of their capital before they get their pensions, or is the pension in any way related to the using up of part of the capital? Is it not public money which is being handed out to the big pensioners as well as to the working-class? How dare the Government say that this principle applies to one section of the community and not to the other? I am not a mathematician but 6d. for each £25 after the first, is, in respect of the first £100, is. 6d. a week; the second f too adds 2s.; the third £100 adds another 2s. and the fourth £100 adds a further 2s. If a man has £400 he gets 10s. a week pension and is credited with 7s. 6d. income from his £400, that means that he is credited with only 17s. 6d. of an income. Yet the £400 rules him out of supplementary benefit. Is that right?
§ The Deputy-Chairman
The hon. Gentleman has asked if that is correct. He can ask the Minister but I hope he will not start a discussion between Members on both sides.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I would like the Minister to explain how 6d. on £25 works out. The argument has been put forward that the savings of an old age pensioner must be gradually used up but the fact that the Minister has come forward with 6d. instead of 1s. is an indication that that is an untenable position. I support the Amendment.
§ Mr. Tinker
There is a misunderstanding between the Parliamentary Secretary and myself on the question of the first £50 The first £25 is clear but the next complete £25 comes into calculation. If anyone has a complete £100 it means three sixpences. I admire the candour of 760 the Parliamentary Secretary in telling us that,. in the Government's view, savings must be used. She has been straightforward and it is just as well that the country should know the mind of the Government on this matter.
§ Mr. George Griffiths (Hemsworth)
The Parliamentary Secretary has been definite with us. Twelve months ago the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the Budget Debate, stated that the Government expected old age pensioners to spend a portion of their capital. That was the reason why there was a 1s. for each £ 25 after the first £ 25. In North Wales recently I met my uncle, who is 85 years of age and has worked in the pits for 64 years. He told me that he was getting no supplementary pension and when I asked him why, he said the young lady had inquired how much money he had and that he had refused to tell her. I told him that if he did not tell her, he would not get anything. It took me over half an hour to explain the position to him and I am not quite sure even now whether I succeeded in putting it across. Suppose you have two men working side by side in the same pit. One invests his money in the Co-operative Society and the other in Sam Smith's Brewery at Tadcaster.[An Hon. MEMBER: "Liquid capital."] Supposing one man saves £400.and the other man saves nothing. When he is sick the man who has not been thrifty gets 15s. from National Health Insurance and has to go to the public. assistance committee as well. Now we are to say to him, "Having spent all your money, you can have a supplementary pension." [An HON. MEMBER: "The prodigal son."] Yes, I know, it is the case of the prodigal son, but what about the elder brother? [Interruption.]
§ The Deputy-chairman
We have been through liquid capital to the prodigal son. This discussion is about 6d.; let us get back to the 6d.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
Perhaps the Minister might set an example and not interrupt as well as other Members.
§ Mr. Griffiths
Yes, he knows that this is almost my maiden speech and that I am a little nervous about it. The Parliamen- 761 tary Secretary has told us that the man who has saved money is to be penalised. The hon. Lady must know scores of men who have said, "I will not save another penny as long as I live because if I do, I have no chance of getting anything over 10s."All eyes are on this Committee to-day and I hope the Press, as well as the OFFICIAL REPORT, will: publish the statement that the Parliamentary Secretary has made. When my uncle has eaten into his £200 the undertaker will be ready to measure him. So I ask the Government to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. Molson (The High Peak)
I had not intended to intervene in the Debate until I heard the speech of the hon. Member for Hemsworth (Mr. G. Griffiths). There is nothing new about the general principle that when an individual has a certain amount of savings, and before he can come to the taxpayer for supplementation of his old age pension, some contribution has to be made out of the capital which has been saved. The hon. Gentleman spoke as if this were something completely new.
§ Mr. Griffiths
The hon. Gentleman has misunderstood me. I did not say it was something completely new. I was talking about the statement which has been made by the Parliamentary Secretary.
§ Mr. Molson
But the hon. Gentleman emphasised the frankness and candour of the Parliamentary Secretary. This is a Bill to amend legislation that exists at the present time. I am prepared to defend in the country the general principle that before the taxpayers are called upon to pay supplementary pensions to those who have savings the latter must be expected to make some contribution.
§ Mr. Molson
This brings us back to the principle that where contributions have been paid, and where either benefit in the case of unemployment or pensions for old age pensioners are based on the contribu 762 tory principle—in that case, whatever savings the person concerned may have, he is entitled to receive full payment. I will always be prepared to defend the principle that when it is not a contributory pension and it is necessary for need to be established, some savings must be used. Hon. Members opposite ought to be grateful for the concessions the Government have made to them and should not be criticising a principle which is widely understood and accepted throughout the country.
§ Mr. Logan
I should have not intervened had it not been for hearing statements about economy and the question of principle. With regard to principle, why should we say to those who are at the close of their lives that their savings should be frittered away in threepences and sixpences a week? We are told that when a person has saved money he must be mulcted to the extent of 4d. or 6d. I admit that the Parliamentary Secretary has been quite honest but we expect honesty from the Front Bench, though unfortunately, we have not had it on some occasions in the past. It has been admitted that at least one Election was won by being dishonest. There would not be any Election won honestly or dishonestly by this statement in regard to the poor. We are told we always have the poor with us—and the rich are always able to manage the affairs of the poor better than they can manage their own. Therefore we get them stepping in and saying, "When you are thrifty we will penalise you and there will be no question of your getting full relief." I admit that it is a very difficult proposition but surely in 1943 it should be possible for the Government to understand that proper provision ought to be made. The income produced by these savings is an unknown quantity. It may fluctuate between 1¾ and 5 per cent. I do not know where you can get an honest 3½ per cent. in- vestment to-day. It would be best for the ordinary man and woman to deal with the Post Office where they would get 2 ½ per cent. There may be a little clothing wanted, but that is not taken into account. With the exhorbitant price of clothing and furniture and essentials for the home, £400 savings would soon be frittered away.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
To go into the whole question of the price of goods is 763 going rather far away from the Amendment. These Amendments are on a narrow point.
§ Mr. Logan
I do not understand how one can argue about investment accounts and money lying in the bank without taking into consideration that so much per week of the money must be spent on subsistence, or why. I cannot bring in the cost of living compared with what it was a few years ago. I must obey your Ruling, Mr. Williams, but the ordinary pensioner, living as the Government wishes him to live, must take so much each year from the capital account, so that it is a diminishing quantity. Not a word has been said in regard to the relative value of the diminishing quantity. Can any hon. Member say that he lives exactly according to the law of averages, on so much week by week for 52 weeks in the year without making any emergency call on his capital? I have dealt with all classes of people in all walks of society. I have had to hand out money over the counter and deal with the problems of the people. In the locality in which I have lived all my life I can assess the growing wants and demands of the people. The argument that has been used is all bunkum from the point of view of making provision. We are not dealing with this question as we ought to. The improvident can have the full extent of the grant that the Government can give, while the provident must be penalised. In other words, you can spend as much as you like and, having spent it, the Government will meet the highest demand that it is possible to make under the Act. Whereas if you are provident, you get less, and the amount can be reduced week by week. Our thrifty population will not stand for this policy. It is ridiculous to talk of the poor having £1,000. No one in my area has 1,000, or £400.
|Division No. 23.||AYES|
|Adamson, W. M. (Cannock)||Benson, G.||Campbell, J. D. (Antrim)|
|Agnew, Comdr. P. G.||Bevin, Rt. Hon. E.||Cary, R. A.|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Blair, Sir R.||Castlereagh, Viscount|
|Ammon, C. G.||Boles, Lt.-Col D. C.||Channon, H.|
|Apsley, Lady||Boulton, W. W.||Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Assheton, R.||Bower, Norman (Harrow)||Charleton, H. C.|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton).||Boyce, H. Leslie||Clynes Rt. Hon. J. R.|
|Baillie, Major Sir A. W. M.||Braithwaite, Major A. N. (Buckrose)||Cobb, Captain E. C.|
|Barstow, P. G.||Broad, F. A.||Colegate, W. A.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P.||Brocklebank, Sir C. E. R.||Colman, N. C. D.|
|Beattie, F. (Cathcart)||Brooke, H. (Lewisham)||Conant, Major R. J. E.|
|Beaumont, Maj. Hn. R. E. B. (P'ts'h)||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S)|
|Beechman, N. A.||Burden, T. W.||Courthope, Col. Rt. Hen. Sir G. L|
|Beit, Sir A. L.||Butcher, H. W.||Craven-Ellis, W.|
|Bennett, Sir P. F. B. (Edgbaston)||Campbell, Sir E. T. (Bromley)||Crooke, Sir J. Smedley|
§ The Deputy-Chairman
We have decided the £1,000 matter already. The hon. Member is going very wide. I would ask him to realise that this is a narrow point.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
That has been dealt with. It is sixpence and not £500 with which we are dealing now.
§ Mr. Logan
It is the question of sixpence and fourpence that we are dealing with, is it not? If I am to be told that I do not know what I am talking about, I think I am justified in leaving the matter alone. If the Chairman has to consult with the Clerk to know whether I am in Order, I have said enough.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
Remarks of that sort should not be made. If I may explain, I did not catch the word "four-pence" used by the hon. Member. I am sorry from that point of view, but I am sure the hon. Member would wish, as he always does, to keep within the Rules.
§ Question put, "That the word "sixpence" stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee proceeded to a Division.
|Crowder, Capt. J. F. E.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Richards, G. W.|
|Culverwell, C. T.||Jennings, R.||Roberts, W.|
|Davidson, Viscountess (H'm'l H'mst'd)||John, W.||Robertson, D. (Streatham)|
|Davies, Major Sir G. F'. (Yeovil)||Jones, L. (Swansea, W.)||Ross Taylor, W.|
|Davison, Sir W. H.||Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Comdr. Hn. L. W||Royds Admiral Sir P. M. R.|
|De Chair, Capt. S. S.||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Russell, Sir A. (Tynemouth)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Kerr, Sir John Graham (Scottish U's.)||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|Denville, Alfred||Key, C. W.||Scott, Donald (Wansbeck)|
|Dodd, J. S.||Kimball, Major L.||Selley, H. R.|
|Douglas, F. C. R.||King-Hall, Commander W. S. R.||Shakespeare, Sir G. H. Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Lakin, C. H. A.||Silkin, L.|
|Edo, J. C.||Lees-Jones, J.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Smith, E. P. (Ashford)|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Lewis, O.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Liddall, W. S.||Southby, Comdr. Sir A. R. J.|
|Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Linstead, H. N.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Etherton, Ralph||Lipson, D. L.||Storey, S.|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Lloyd, Major E. G. R.(Renfrew, E.)||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Everard, Sir W. Lindsay||Lucas, Major Sir J. M.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (Northwich)|
|Fox, Flight-Lieut. Sir G. W. G.||Mebane, W.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Frankel, D.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Summers, G. S.|
|Fremantle, Sir F. E.||McCorquodale, Malcolm S.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Galbraith, Comdr. T. D.||Macdonald, Captain Peter (I. of W.)||Sykes, Maj.-Gen. Rt. Hon. Sir F. H.|
|Gammans, Capt. L. D.||McEntee, V. La T.||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Gates, Major E. E.||Makins, Brig.-Gen. Sir E.||Thomas, Dr. W. S. Russell (S'thm'tn)|
|Gibson, Sir C. G.||Manningham-Butler, R. E.||Thorneycroft, Major G. E. P. (Stafford)|
|Gledhill, G||Markham, Major S. F.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Glyn, Sir R. G. C.||Marlowe, Lt.-Col. A.||Touche, G. C.|
|Graham, Captain A. C.||Marshall, F.||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Greenwell, Colonel T. G.||Medricott, Colonel Frank||Tufnell, Lieut.-Comdr. R. L.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P.||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Gridley, Sir A. B.||Mills, Colonel J. D. (New Forest)||Ward, Cot. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Molson, A. H. E.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Montague, F.||Watt, F. C. (Edinburgh Cen.)|
|Guy, W. H.||Morgan, R. H. (Stourbridge)||Webbe, Sir W. Harold|
|Hambro, Capt. A. V.||Morris-Jones, Sir Henry||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Hannah, I. C.||Mort, D. L.||Westwood, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Naylor, T. E.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W. (Blaydon)|
|Harvey, T. E.||Nicholson, G. (Farnham)||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Hayday, A.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G. (Leicester, W.)||Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Nield, Major B. E.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Henderson, J. J. Craik (Leeds, N.E.)||Owen, Major G.||Witlink, H. U.|
|Higgs, W. F.||Palmer, G. E. H.|
|Hill, Prof. A. V.||Perkins, W. R. D.||Windsor, W.|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Petherick, Major M.||Womersley, Rt. Hon. Sir W.|
|Hegg, Hon.Q.MCG.||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Woodburn, A.|
|Holdsworth, H.||Pets, Major B. A. J.||Wootton-Davios, J. H.|
|Holmes, J. S.||Piokthorn, K. W. M.||Wright, Mrs. Beatrice F. (Bodmin)|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Plugge, Capt. L. F.||York, Major C.|
|Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Pownall, Lt.-Col, Sir Assheton||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Hughes, R. Moelwyn||Price, M. P.|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hurd, Sir P. A.||Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)||Captain McEwen and Mr. Pym.|
|Jeffreys, Gen. Sir G. D||Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)|
|Buchanan, G.||Maxton, J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.|
|Chater, D.||Reakes, G. L. (Wallasey)||Mr. McGovern and Mr. Stephen.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Salter, Dr. A. (Bermondsey, W.)|
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
I beg to move, in page 2, line 6, after "needs," to insert:including need of a winter addition or rent adjustment.This Amendment deals with that portion of Clause which proposes to disregard the first 10s. 6d. of superannuation payment and its intention is that this disregard shall apply to all the needs of the applicant. The matter is rather technical. Under Section 38 of the Assistance Act, 1934, it has been laid down that the needs of an applicant shall be assessed in a certain way but that in assessing that need certain items shall be disregarded. These items are known as statutory disregards.
766 The Assistance Board's practice has been to look on those statutory disregards as applying only to the assessment of need in the way of the scale, but in the field of discretion, which relates to winter allowances and high rent adjustments, it is the contention and practice of the Board to take into account that which by Statute has to be disregarded. When the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Health in the Second Reading Debate made the announcement about this increase of the superannuation disregard from 7s. 6d. to 10s. 6d. they made no qualification at all. All they intended in their statement was that for the purpose of 767 assessing the needs of an applicant for supplementary pensions the net disregard would be 10s. 6d. We are concerned that the intentions of the House of Commons shall not be overridden by the Assistance Board and we want to make it clear in the Clause that this disregard applies to all the needs of the applicant. The need of the applicant for a scale allowance is, in principle, no greater than his need for a winter addition or a high rent adjustment. We say that it ought not to be within the powers of the Assistance Board in this field of discretion to take into account those sums which Parliament has said should be disregarded. I ask the Minister to give us an assurance that the increase in this disregard shall be effective for all purposes under the administration. If we can have that undertaking I am prepared to withdraw the Amendment. We ought to have it clearly from the Government that there is no intention to deceive the recipient of a pension that the amount will be disregarded when in fact that very amount is taken into account to prevent him getting a winter addition or a high rent adjustment.
§ Mr. Foster (Wigan)
The hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Edwards) has so well explained the purpose of the Amendment that I do not propose, to take up the time of the Committee in supporting it. He is an expert in these matters and the Minister will fully understand the point from his speech.
§ Mr. E. Brown
My hon. Friends have raised a point which has been an issue throughout all stages of the various Acts, namely, that there is a distinction between the allowances. The hon. Member put it clearly when he said that there were certain disregards which were statutory and others which were not. Those Members who were in the House of Commons in the days when the first winter allowances were given will know that from the beginning they were given, as were rent allowances, on the basis that they were to be determined in terms of the facts, not by statute but by the discretion of the Board. Throughout the whole of the administration of the successive Acts, Parliament has stood by that distinction between what it laid down in the Statute and what it laid down as being in the discretion of the Assistance Board. The Committee will see that if, at any time, 768 Parliament determines otherwise, as it would be free to do, it would have to do it by surveying the whole field. It would be unwise to alter that fundamental distinction between the Statute on the one hand and the discretion on the other, with regard to one particular thing, while leaving others under the old law and under the discretion of the Board. The question whether a high rent addition or a winter allowance will be given in a particular case is a question which Parliament by Regulation has left to the discretion of the Assistance Board, and I cannot think that the Committee would want to deal with this one element in the whole field because it is a point that must be decided over the wider field.
§ Mr. Messer (Tottenham, South)
The Minister surely recognises that by refusing to make this Amendment he is creating additional difficulties. The recipient who is entitled to have part of his superannuation disregarded is, when some special need arises, placed in a different position from the ordinary applicant. The ordinary applicant can get a clothing allowance or a coal allowance or a special winter grant. He can get special recognition of special needs. In this case we are giving discretion. Those of us who handle comparable public assistance cases know that in some instances public assistance committees are more generous than the Assistance Board, and we want that to be made known. Will the Minister give us some indication of how he can ensure that the benefit which he desires to give shall reach those to whom we are making some concession, by disregarding part of their superannuation?
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. Tom Brown (Ince)
I beg to move, in page 3, line 2, at the end, to add:Provided that the further determination may include such sum as is calculated to meet any accumulated need.
§ I move this formally.
§ Mr. E. Brown
Since the hon. Member has graciously met the desire of the Committee to get on, perhaps I may put the position as I see it in the light of the Amendment. As I said on Second Reading we inserted Sub-section (4) in order to allow the Assistance Board a little more latitude in making the arrangement than was the case under the original Bill. It was then 769 two months, and I warned the House that it might be three months in this case. I think the Committee will agree that the Amendment is not necessary, for this reason: Supplementary pension is granted at a rate adequate to meet current needs, and there cannot therefore be any question of hardship arising from a short postponement of the provisions.of the Clause, which are of advantage to the applicant. When the provisions of the Determination of Needs Act were brought into operation a period of two months was given, and there was no provision for ante-dating then. Not having heard the hon. Member speak about it, I do not know how strongly he feels on the matter, but if after the Committee stage he or his friends would meet me so that I could ascertain what their feelings are, I would see whether anything can be done by administrative arrangement after consultation with the Assistance Board.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
I think the Minister might be a little more generous. The Amendment provides only for increasing the discretion of his officers to meet any accumulated need. We merely say that where an applicant has had to wait three months for the rectification of what Parliament has now considered to be an injustice he shall be given such a payment as will meet the consequences of that injustice. The Minister speaks of it as conferring an advantage. Very well; but let us have equity among pensioners. If it is an advantage, let all, as far as possible, have an equal measure of that advantage. Why should one pensioner have to wait three months longer than another? I know there is a technical administrative reason, but there is no administrative reason for refusing to give the assistance officer discretionary power to meet an accumulated need. I press the Minister to give us something a little better than he has offered.
§ Mr. E. Brown
I can only say that in view of the fact that no case was made out, I had rather to forecast what was in the hearts of my hon. Friends, and I think they really must leave it to me.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."770
§ Mr. Tinker
One of the Amendments on this Clause dealt with capital assets. I am told the reason why some capital assets were excluded is to be found in representations from the Trades Union Congress. That refers to war savings. Has not the time now come when those who saved money before the war should be put on the same footing as those who are saving money now? It is a well-worn theme, but I think consideration ought to be given to that point of view and all the aged people put on the one footing.
§ Mr. E. Brown
While certain things have been done to-day it has been also recognised that the whole vast and complicated range of our social services is now under expert examination with a view to the future, and in doing the limited thing I have done I really cannot undertake to cover every anomaly that may be pointed out or every difficulty that will arise merely because it happens to be related to the particular thing we have done, which everybody agrees is an improvement.
§ Mr. S. 0. Davies
Is not the Minister fully aware that from the moment this subject was introduced, about three years ago, the point raised by the hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker) has been stressed over and over again? Constant appeals have been made to him about it. As things stand those who had reached the pensionable age before the war and who had some little savings are deprived entirely of this benefit. I had hoped this anomaly could be corrected Without creating another bunch of anomalies such as this Bill creates in every Clause. I would reinforce the appeal which has been made, and which has been made on every occasion when Parliament has had an opportunity of discussing the matter.
§ Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.