HC Deb 09 June 1943 vol 390 cc812-4

Section seventeen of the Old Age and Widows Pensions Act, 1940 (which provides for compensation to officers of public assistance authorities) shall, with the necessary adaptations, apply to any officer or servant of a local authority which is a public assistance authority who suffers any direct pecuniary loss by reason of the determination of his appointment or the diminution of his emoluments in consequence of the passing of this Act in the same manner as it applies to any officer or servant who suffers any pecuniary loss or diminution of emoluments in consequence of the passing of that Act.—[Mr. Brooke.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Brooke

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

It is for the removal of doubts that I am moving the insertion of this Clause. The Committee will remember that when supplementary pensions were introduced in 1940 a Clause was inserted in the Act to safeguard the position of the staffs of public assistance authorities against being prejudiced by any action we took in this House at the time. This Bill now before us is likely to diminish the number of persons who will be applicants for public assistance, so the same situation will recur on a much smaller scale. I will cut my remarks short in the hope that the Minister will assure me either that he will accept this new Clause, or else that the position of these men and women is already covered under the existing legislation without the necessity for a New Clause to deal with them.

Mr. Burden

I wish briefly to support the case so admirably put before the Committee by the hon. Member for West Lewisham (Mr. Brooke). The principle of compensation for loss of office has been accepted and included in quite a long series of Measures. Therefore I feel it is not necessary to argue the case for compensation as such. However, in administrative changes there is always a risk that people who have rendered excellent service may find themselves redundant or their positions worsened and it is to meet that possibility that this new Clause is submitted to the Committee. I hope the Minister will be disposed to accept the new Clause or give the Committee some assurance which will meet the justifiable apprehensions felt by a number of excellent people in the public service at the present time.

Mr. E. Brown

I can give my hon. Friend an assurance that the new Clause is entirely unnecessary. The only Clause which could conceivably mean loss of office is Clause 3, which reduces the number of persons eligible for outdoor relief and therefore could result in loss of office for some officials. But provision is made in Sub-section (4) of Clause 3 that the Clause shall be construed as one with Part 11 of the Act of 1940, and thus attracts the provisions of Section 17.

Mr. Brooke

I am grateful to the Minister for putting that assurance on record. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Clause.

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.