§ 12.13 p.m.
§ Mr. Pickthorn (Cambridge University)
I beg to move, in page 1, line 5, leave out from the beginning to "a," and insert:If His Majesty is pleased to appoint any person to be a Minister of the Crown by the name of.I cannot pretend that this Amendment will have any great effect upon our war effort or upon our constitutional liberties when peace returns, but I think it has just sufficient importance to authorise me to ask the Committee to listen to one or two considerations. If I may take together this Amendment and the Amendment—In page 1, line 6, leave out "and," and insert "then"—the effect of passing them would be to make Clause 1 read as follows:If His Majesty is pleased to appoint any person to be a Minister of the Crown by the name of Minister of Social Insurance, then there shall be transferred to that Minister1830 12.15 p.m.
There are two formulæ ordinarily used by the draftsmen in these Bills which set up new Ministries. I think that when a new Ministry is to be presided over by a Secretary of State the formula which I am now proposing has invariably been used, but when the Ministry is not to be presided over by one of His Majesty's principal secretaries the formula in the Bill as drafted is more usually employed, but the formula which I venture to prefer is sometimes employed, and was so employed as lately as 1942. There is not very much of great substance in this, and I would not pretend that there is, but there is this much: First, the formula which I suggest is the politer of the two, and I think for that reason is to be preferred; and, secondly, if there is any effect upon the relation between prerogative powers and statutory powers as between these two forms of words—if there is any difference and I will not pretend that I am sure there is any considerable difference—then the words which I suggest are words which leave the prerogative untouched, and when statutory omnicompetence is beyond challenge it seems to me on the whole useful that the Committee should not accept, except for a very strong reason, anything which might diminish the potential of prerogative, a potential which might come in useful on later occasions.
§ The Chairman
It would I think be for the convenience of the Committee to consider at the same time the following two Amendments standing in the name of the hon. Member for South Croydon (Sir H. Williams)—In page 1, line 5, leave out "it shall be lawful for".In line 5, leave out "to", and insert "may".
§ Sir Herbert Williams (Croydon, South)
I should like to raise a point which brings us into rather a different sphere, and that is the significance of the words "may" and "shall" which come before us from time to time. When in a Bill it says that something "may" be done that confers a power to do something; though it is "may", the Minister has got to do it. That is why we are told that "may" has the same meaning as "shall". That is borne out by the Interpretation Act. Here the words are, "It shall be lawful for His Majesty," and the curious position 1831 is that under Section 30 of the Interpretation Act the Crown is put in the same position as the subject. There is no reason why in the case of something applying to the subject the word should be "may" and when it applies to the Crown the word should be "shall". When those who practise in the courts see in an Act of Parliament words different from those which they are accustomed to see they want to know the reason for the difference. They always ask, "What did Parliament really mean"? For that reason I am rather keen that we should have a uniform code in these matters and not a code which seems to vary from Bill to Bill, and to some extent my Amendment raises that issue in addition to the issue raised by my hon. and learned Friend opposite.
§ Sir H. Williams
Well, my historical friend; I beg his pardon. There is no consistency at all in these matters. When Parliament passed the Ministry of Pensions Act, 1916, a formula was used quite different from any other, because the Act says:There shall be a Minister of Pensions appointed by His Majesty.That is a most curious formula. There should be some coherence in these matters. I support my hon. Friend's Amendment. If his is accepted I do not want mine, but if his is not accepted I want mine.
§ Dr. Russell Thomas (Southampton)
I should like to support both the Amendment of the Senior Burgess for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) and the hon. Member for South Croydon (Sir H. Williams) and to make one or two remarks on the phrase "It shall be lawful." I am not dealing with the precedents in former Acts; I am sure they are of recent date and that they do not go back much farther than the last century. To my mind the phrase "It shall be lawful for His Majesty" is impertinent to His Majesty, because it suggests that His Majesty can also do something which is unlawful, and that is completely wrong. We all know the old maxim which says, "The King can do no wrong." Although the King might appoint a Minister without coming to this House the King would not be doing any- 1832 thing unlawful, but he would be merely misguided. The acts of such a Minister would be unlawful, but not the act of the King in appointing him. This matter has been dealt with by many of our constitutionalists. Long ago a famous judge made it clear that everyone is under the King and that the King is under no one, unless, indeed, Almighty God. Therefore, I suggest that the words "It shall be lawful for His Majesty" are inappropriate. Our Whig ancestors, if they had had any notion of the extent to which the prerogative would have got into the hands of the Executive Government in a generation such as this would probably not have been quite so pushing in their attitude in that particular regard, and I think, although it may be only a matter of phraseology in these days, that the words "It shall be lawful" should be left out of this Bill.
§ The Attorney-General (Sir Donald Somervell)
I am grateful to my two hon. Friends for putting down these Amendments and raising this point, because it enables me to tell the Committee that I agree with my hon. Friend that we ought to be uniform. We did carefully consider the most appropriate formula for a Bill of this kind a year ago, when the drafting of the Town and Country Planning Act was under consideration, and I think I can convince the Committee that, on the whole, this formula is best, though I agree there is not a great deal in it. In the first place, of course, it is a fact, as my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) emphasised, that the Crown has a prerogative right, exercised, of course, under the advice of Ministers, to create new offices and appoint persons to fill them. They cannot, of course, sit in this House unless there is statutory authority for them to do so. The Minister in West Africa, and the Minister in Washington were appointed under the general prerogative powers, but they could only sit in this House by virtue of the certificate under an Act which we are not discussing to-day. That is important, and I agree that that right is preserved and should be preserved.
Now we come to a different type of Minister, the type we are dealing with in this Bill, where the office is created by Parliament. There is a difference here. This office has its source in the Statute. My hon. Friend who moved the first 1833 Amendment drew attention to the fact that in the past a different form of words has been used when making a new Secretary of State from those used when creating a new Minister by the powers of the Bill, as happens here. That is because Secretary of State is an old prerogative office and it has been recognised that the Crown can create new Secretaries of State, which would, of course, need an Act if they were going to sit in this House, but otherwise I think would not need an Act.
The problem which we had to face was what was the appropriate form of words to mark this distinction, that is to say the distinction between the point when an office is created by Statute and when it is the creation of the prerogative power. We considered the precedents. Precedents are not always binding, if they are bad precedents one can depart from them, and, indeed, in one sense in this formula we depart from a precedent. We found, going back to 1756, an Act which set up, I think, the father of the Office of Works. In that Act we found the formula "It shall be lawful," which has been used generally when offices were the creation of Statute. It seemed to us that that had some constitutional importance, and that it would be a pity to depart from a formula which for nearly two centuries had normally been used, when dealing, as here, with an office which was the creation of Statute. We therefore thought it would be right to use that phrase "It shall be lawful."
It is said that there was a more recent case, in 1942, where there was a departure. I agree that we have not been quite uniform, but when we went into the circumstances in more detail we came to the conclusion that it would be better to get back to the old formula which has its roots in the past in order to mark the distinction which I have demonstrated. I hope the Committee will take that view. I am not quite sure what I am dealing with now. My hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon (Sir H. Williams) has an Amendment about the word "shall" in line 6, and I am not sure whether that is before the Committee. It is a rather different point, but I will deal with it. I agree with my hon. Friend and should like to be able to draw up a simple code to say when "may" is to be used and when "shall," but it is not so easy, because of the variety of circumstances which present themselves.
1834 I will tell the Committee why we use "shall" here. There is not a great deal in it but in Clause 6 there is a power to transfer certain powers. There is no definite group of powers which have got to be transferred, and if we had put in the word "may" somebody might have got up and said "You have only an optional power; you need not do anything at all." Therefore, the word "shall" was inserted to make it clear. I will give the reason, although some may think it a bad one. The word "shall" was inserted to make it clear that it was the intention of the Bill that there "shall" be a transfer of powers. I think that is a good example of a rather unusual set of circumstances which leads one to use the word "shall," and I think it is the appropriate word.
§ 12.30 p.m.
§ Sir H. Williams
May I point out that under Section 32 of the Interpretation Act, 1889, it is a duty to exercise the power which is conferred, so that the Interpretation Act says in effect that when the word "may" is used, it has the operative effect of "shall".
§ The Attorney-General
It is rather an exceptional power because it gives discretion as to whether you "shall" transfer. That is precisely the reason why we thought it best to depart from the word "may," and use "shall." If my hon. Friend will look at Clause 6, he will see that there is a power to transfer any of the powers, but it does not say that you are to transfer, as so often happens in these Acts. Anyhow, that is the reason and I think it is a good reason.
§ The Attorney-General
I am sorry. I thought my hon. Friend had moved to leave out "shall" and substitute "may" in Clause 6.
§ Sir H. Williams
No, what I said was that if I carried my Amendment, this would read "His Majesty may appoint."
§ The Attorney-General
I pointed out to my hon. Friend that he had an Amendment down dealing with "shall" in line 6, and he said he had the leave of the Chair to deal with that. If it was a mistake, I apologise, but perhaps later when the Amendment is moved, I will not have to repeat what I have said. On the 1835 main point, I ask the Committee to allow us to keep the words "it shall be lawful for" and if we get a decision of the Committee to that effect, it might save discussions of this kind in the future.
§ Mr. Pickthorn
I am not in the least trying to dispute with my right hon. and learned Friend, but I want to get this matter clear in my own mind. I had a rather vague notion that it was a rule of law—I think established by a leading case about 100 years ago—that where statutory competence enters a field, prerogative competence is, thereby, for the future, excluded from that field. Therefore, I heard with a little dubiety my right hon. and learned Friend say that prerogative should be and is preserved. I ask him to assure me that when he said that, he was speaking deliberately.
§ The Attorney-General
I quite agree that one wants to be careful about how one uses words in this technical field, but, where the office is the creation of a Statute, and not the creation of the prerogative, one is clearly in a different constitutional area from that in which no office has been created by Statute but by His Majesty the King, and all I said was confined to the case such as this where the office was itself a creation by statute.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. Petherick (Penryn and Falmouth)
I beg to move, in page 1, line 6, leave out "Social", and insert "National".
I am sorry that my hon. and gallant Friend the Senior Burgess for Oxford University (Petty Officer Herbert) is not present to move this Amendment. He is busy elsewhere and therefore I am obliged to move it in his place. I am sure that he would have moved this Amendment far better than I can do; I yield to him in mastery of, but not in affection for, the English language. He has been for years drawing attention to various examples of the practice of Government Departments in presenting to Parliament Bills which contain unfortunate jargon such as there is in this one. The object of this Amendment is to change the title "Ministry of Social Insurance" to "Ministry of National Insurance". It seems that there is no possible reason for using the expression "social insurance" at all. It is very 1836 curious how phrases obtain currency, in quite a wrong interpretation. Very often they do not mean in the least what they appear to say. We had such an example —if I may use the analogy—in the expression "collective security". Everybody thought "collective security" meant huddling together for common action, whereas it meant the security one hoped to obtain by common action.
Here we are dealing with another phrase which it is sought to introduce into an Act of Parliament, but which does not mean what it professes to mean. I am glad my right hon. Friend the Minister-Designate is here to-day. I certainly do not like the expression "Minister-Designate". I think it is foreign to the House of Commons and I have never heard it used before. It reminds one of a Crown Prince of a rather unsuccessful principality somewhere in central Europe, although it does mean, to some extent, what it professes to mean. "Social insurance," however, in a Bill of this kind does not mean anything. The insurance is doubtful. The State contributes a large proportion to that insurance, and I think we can accept the title of the present National Insurance Act, but to put the word "social" in here does not mean anything except in so far that all insurance is, to some extent, bound up with society. Any form of insurance means the insuring either of members of society or, broadly speaking, of their goods, but why put it into a Bill of this kind? It seems to me to be pure jargon.
If I may use another analogy to show how entirely nonsensical this expression is, I would remind the Committee that the right hon. Gentleman who is about to become Minister of Social Insurance—we hope "National Insurance"—is at present Minister without Portfolio. I believe it would sound a little odd if we had suggested that a new office should be created known as the "Ministry without Social Portfolio." If you compare that with the expression "social insurance." it seems to me you have a fair analogy, and it shows how idiotic the expression is. I hope the Government will consider this point. This is not a matter of carping criticism; many of us believe that when an expression is used, that expression should mean precisely what it professes to mean, and should not be inserted 1837 merely in order to look nice and agreeable. In other words, it should not be a further example of that from which we have suffered in the past. I hope, therefore, that the Government will change this expression which is, at best, redundant, and, at worst, nonsensical.
§ Dr. Russell Thomas
I beg to support the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Penryn and Falmouth (Mr. Petherick). I too prefer the word "national" to "social." The word "national", for what it is worth, does stimulate some sort of patriotic spirit. If I, as a non-manual worker, have to pay 4s. 2d. a week for the rest of my life and if when I am ill I cannot get my benefit for several weeks and, because I continue to work, I do not get my pension, I would rather think I was suffering patriotically under a national Minister. If by any chance this scheme does not work—and it might not work if the economic condition of our country is not looked after very carefully when the war is over—it may well be nothing less than organised poverty —I would rather bear with that scheme if I knew, as I have said, that it was being run under a national Minister. That would maintain my spirits. I dislike the word "social" intensely. I have always associated the word with those people in and outside of this House who are concerned with the welfare of all men of all nations but seem to have no friends themselves. I dislike it too when applied to Governmental matters because these things, I believe, originated in Germany. The Germans were the past masters—the forerunners—of all this sort of thing. In the last century they established social ministers for pensions, for health insurance, and so on. They did that consistently, because they were so full of charity and brotherly love towards one another.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), who has been recently much extolled, borrowed his scheme from the social aspirations of the Germans, but he did have the decency to call it "national insurance." I remember too that when British doctors were going to refuse to work the scheme because of its obvious injustices he was so impressed by the State sociability of Germany that he even thought of bringing those social-minded German doctors into this coun- 1838 try to take their place. Right up to the beginning of the war the Germans maintained their sociability—they had their "Strength through Joy" movement. They promised motor cars for all. They endeavoured to produce perfect physical health in the workman by sending him to the labour camp at a shilling a day. That social method resulted in the most ruthless totalitarian regime in the history of the world, in the most savage war of all time, and even during the war they still stick to their social methods by winter help campaigns.
§ The Chairman
I think the hon. Gentleman is getting far beyond the Amendment. The question before the Committee is one of changing a name.
§ Dr. Thomas
I am trying to show why the change of name should be made. I dislike the word "social" because it brings up all these associations in my mind. I want to show how much more preferable "national" is to "social." With your permission, Major Milner, I propose to complete this part of my speech very quickly, but I would remind the Committee—I believe this is quite in order—that in the year 1789, a nation which was wishing to become super-social and which wanted to establish sociability among nations for all time, quarrelled with its past history, and destroyed its traditions and the happiness of more than one generation. These people did not foresee, however, the corruption and the disruption and the humiliation of the Third Republic. Those are some of the reasons why I dislike the word "social."
If, therefore, I am to suffer, possibly, under the failure of a scheme of this kind, if I am to become for my remaining mortal years a member of an ant-hill or, a beehive. I would rather do that in a patriotic manner and think that I am suffering under a national Minister however variegated his political coat. I think, perhaps, in saying these things, I have the approval of, possibly, a few of my colleagues. I will not put it too high. I was foolish enough to do this a short while ago and 1 certainly will not do it again unless I have it in writing. But I do not seek the approval of any on this bench or anywhere else who are considering trimming their political sails in a "Jowitical" manner, so as to ensure a safe place for themselves in any provisional Government.
§ 12.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Moelwyn Hughes (Carmarthen)
The mover of the Amendment, and myself, and, I hope, others associated with it, somewhat regret it has obtained support from the hon. Member who has just spoken. If he had not spoken, I think I could say with some degree of confidence that the Minister would accept the Amendment, not only for the reasons put forward by the mover, but for considerations which have already weighed with the Committee this morning and which have been put forward by the Attorney-General in resisting previous Amendments; that is to say, the consideration of consistency of language in Statutes and of attaching recognised meanings to words that are employed. We are here faced with the word "social," which we desire to remove. I have looked up the authorities, as I could not remember having seen that word in an Act of Parliament before. I looked up many books and official indices to the various digests. I have been through them all, and I can find the word used only once. It will be found in the official compilation dealing with statutory definitions. The expression "social insurance" is there to be found, but I noticed that it was printed in italics. On looking at the commencement of the volume, I was informed that words in italics were only cross-reference heads, and not terms actually found in any Act of Parliament. Therefore, the onus is heavily upon the Government to establish some specific reason for introducing a word which has never been found in legislation before.
The good reason would be that the Measure deals with a novel proposal, and a type of insurance that has never been known before, but all Members of the Committee will be aware that insurance for unemployment and health has been found in the law of this country for some time. When one turns to the first Act of Parliament dealing with insurance, the Act of 1911 which, I would remind the Committee, dealt not only with health insurance but with unemployment insurance as well, one sees it is called the "National Insurance Act". Therefore, we already have on the Statute Book an example of the use of the word "national" in a comprehensive sense, dealing with insurance. I therefore put it to the Minister that there is no case and no precedent for the introduction of the word "social", while 1840 there is ample precedent for the word "national" in the sense in which it is implied in the Bill. I therefore support the Amendment.
§ Sir Frank Sanderson (Ealing)
In supporting the Amendment I would like to ask the Minister whether there is any significance in the word "social". My reason for supporting the Amendment is that the word "social" expresses to my mind one particular section of the public, rather than the public as a whole. As I understand this Insurance Bill it is, in fact, national. Every member of the community will make his or her contribution under the Bill, and will derive benefit from it. Surely, therefore, it is national rather than social.
§ Mr. Mander (Wolverhampton, East)
I must say I was somewhat astonished at the definition that has just been given by my hon. Friend. In his eyes, society includes only a limited number of people commonly known as the members of the best or highest society.
§ Sir F. Sanderson
My definition of the word is far removed from that expressed by my hon. Friend. Perhaps, instead of attempting to interpret my views, he would accept my words in the spirit in which they were given.
§ Mr. Mander
My hon. Friend said that society comprised only a limited number of people and that was the remark which I ventured to criticise. To my mind, that is not so at all. Society includes the whole population in this country, high and low, rich and poor. For that reason "social" seems an eminently suitable word to employ in the Bill. Furthermore, the position is complicated by another Amendment which may be discussed later, suggesting that the word "insurance" should be left out. Of course, I cannot deal with that suggestion now, but it has its bearing on our present discussion. Some of the arguments in favour of the Amendment seem clearly swayed by party passion, and feelings aroused in past disputes and battles. My hon. Friend the Member for Southampton (Dr. Thomas) was obviously influenced by them. There is 1841 some sort of feeling too that the word "social" is too near to "Socialist" and might give the idea that this is a Socialist Measure. A good deal might be said, if we are going in for slogans, for calling the whole Measure "The Beveridge Act" and having done with it, but I would not suggest that either. The Government would be wise and right to maintain the word "social" because, as I say, it comprises the whole of the people of this country, whose needs and troubles and difficulties are going to be looked after by the Measure now before the House.
§ Mr. Edmund Harvey (Combined English Universities)
It would be a great pity if the Committee thought that this question was a matter of party differences. It is a question of the right English word to use, and of the meaning to be attached to the word. I believe that the word "national," as has been said already, is historically justified in this connection. This Ministry is the culmination of a long series of Measures, beginning with the great Measure of 1911, which was a national insurance Measure. It will unite under one Minister all forms of national insurance which are at present separated under three Ministers. On the other hand, whatever meaning we may attach to the word "social," the fact remains that not all forms of social insurance will come under the Ministry. There will be admirable forms of insurance, such as insurance for educational endowment, which will not be comprised in any way within the proposals which are before Parliament now. The Minister will have a great and noble title if he is known as "The Minister of National Insurance." It will be understood by everyone, and it will link up his work with all the great work of the past, of which his office is the culmination. I hope therefore that the Amendment may be accepted.
§ Commander Bower (Cleveland)
I hope that the Government will accept the Amendment. I will not go so far as to agree altogether with my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton (Dr. Thomas) but to large sections of the nation there is a little in what he says. The word "social" may be taken as slightly suspect, but there is good precedent for the use of the word "national," which cannot have any political significance attached to it. It seems to me obviously the word to use in this connection. As 1842 other hon. Members have pointed out, the word "national" has been used for years to describe this sort of thing and it would be a great pity if it were thought that the Amendment had been put down with any political object. I am quite sure it was not so, although I did not put my name to it. It seems obvious that "national" is the word that should be used, and I urge the Government to accept it.
§ Mr. A. Bevan (Ebbw Vale)
I was very glad to hear the speech of the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander), although I would point out that if we are going to discuss definitions we may go on for the rest of the day and not make very much progress. The argument that "society" implies all the society within this nation is very foolish. As I understand the matter, "society" is a term embracing all individuals who enter into continuous relationships with each other, in which case we should have to include the rest of the world, because they are in continuous relationship with each other for a large part of the time. Therefore the definition of "social" has a worldwide significance, and no special relation to the nation at all. I, therefore, feel that we must limit the definition, and the limiting definition is the use of the word "national." I should have thought that was self-evident, and I hope that the Government will accept the Amendment.
§ Commander Agnew (Camborne)
I am in favour of the Amendment, which seems to be supported from nearly all sides of the Committee. To me, the word "social" is misleading. It generally connotes some activity of a voluntary kind. There is, for example, the National Council of Social Services, which is quite voluntary. My desire to be associated with this Amendment has nothing to do with any party considerations. May I assure my hon. Friend the Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander) that when I think of the Liberal Social Council I do not think of any particularly dangerous party organisation, because, so far as I know, it is a voluntary body and Liberals have not to attend it, unless they want to. So this word "social" is bad in that connection, because it implies a voluntary organisation. On the other hand, the word "national" means that it is all-embracing and comprehensive. The word con- 1843 veys the idea that the Measure will be compulsory in its effect upon everybody. Just as we have a Ministry of Labour and National Service, where the service arranged by the Ministry is compulsory service, so we shall have a Ministry of National Insurance which will include everybody. We should use the word "national" if the scheme is to be compulsory.
§ Mr. Cocks (Broxtowe)
I have a vague idea, if not a strong suspicion, that the expression "social insurance" is the result of a typical Coalition compromise. I imagine that the Labour Members of the Coalition wanted to call the new organism "The Ministry of Social Security," hoping that after the next Election the scheme of the Ministry could be placed upon a subsistence basis. I suspect that the Conservatives then said: "Oh no, it is not a security Measure at all; it is an insurance Measure. Let us call it social insurance." Then the Liberals, both the Liberal Nationals and the National Liberals, wanted to put in the word "national," because that is the only word on which the Liberals of both sides are agreed, but they were wiped out, as a small minority. As the Conservatives were in the majority in the Government, a compromise resulted, and their suggestion was adopted.
§ 1.0 p.m.
§ The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Peake)
I think it is time the Government stated their view on this Amendment. There are two changes proposed in regard to the name by which my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister-Designate is to be known, after this Bill has passed into permanent legislation. It is suggested on the one hand that we should change the word "Social" which occurs in the Title of the Bill to "National," and there is, as the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander) has indicated, a further Amendment which will be discussed later, changing the word "Insurance" to "Security." It is perfectly obvious that the acceptance of both these Amendments would result in our having a Ministry of National Security, which puts me in mind—
§ Mr. A. Bevan
The right hon. Gentleman, in resisting this Amendment, cannot 1844 take into his purview what might be done on the other Amendment.
§ Mr. Peake
Perhaps the hon. Member will wait to see whether I am resisting or accepting this Amendment. I have not discussed the course which the Government propose to take. I was saying that it is perfectly clear that we do not desire, in any quarter of the Committee, to have a Minister of National Security. I was not much impressed by the argument of the hon. Member for Southampton (Dr. Thomas). His objection to the use of the word "Social" in my right hon. and learned Friend's title, is based apparently on the fact that our enemies in this war used to be known, and are still known, as National-Socialists. It clearly cannot be brought as an argument against the word "social" in the Bill that the word was used by Hitler in National-Socialism, or the objection to the use of the word "national" would be equally strong.
§ Dr. Thomas
The right hon. Gentleman should not use part of my argument only. I spoke of the impression of the word "social" on me, which I endeavoured to convey to the Committee. I did not expect to impress the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Peake
I was indicating to the hon. Member what part of his argument had failed most to impress me. The reason why we included the word "social" in the Bill was that it has been current for many years in international usage. This subject has been discussed at the International Labour Office meetings year after year and for something like 20 years it has been known as "social insurance." Moreover, my hon. Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Sir W. Beveridge) defined it in his Report. If hon. Members look at paragraph 26 of that Report they will see that he says:The term social insurance' to describe this institution implies both that it is compulsory and that men stand together with their fellows. The term implies a pooling of risks except so far as separation of risks serves a social purpose.These seemed to us to be quite good reasons for putting the word "Social" in the Title of the Bill. In deference to my hon. and gallant Friend the Senior Burgess for Oxford University (Petty Officer Herbert), whom I had expected to move the Amendment, I looked up the 1845 definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary. I found there that perhaps the best definition is that "social" meansmarked or characterised by mutual intercourse, friendliness or geniality; enjoyed, taken or spent in company with others.That would seem, on the face of it, to apply admirably to a scheme of insurance which is to cover, not one subject but several departments, to cover industrial injury, to cover employment, to cover health. These seem to me adequate reasons for putting the word "Social" in the Title of the Bill.
At the same time, this is a House of Commons matter. Members on all sides have spoken in favour of using the word "National" rather than "Social". There has not been a single speech, with the exception of that of the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton, in favour of the retention of the word "Social".
§ Sir Percy Harris (Bethnal Green, South-West)
Unfortunately, I was not present during the earlier part of this discussion, as I was called out of the Chamber. I think it would be unfortunate in a small Committee, with few Members present, to assume that the whole Committee is burning to change the word "social" to the word "national." The words "national insurance" suggest something for the defence of the nation. When we talk about insurance against war, or the danger of war, and the necessity for heavy armaments, we talk about national insurance against war. Whatever this scheme may be, it is not a militant scheme; it is a social scheme to raise the general standard of security among the bulk of the people, bringing in for the first time the whole of the community. That is its significance. It would be rather unfortunate if the word "national" should be brought in, changing the tone and temper of the whole of this great scheme. I do not think it is the right word. I think this change 1846 for the word "social" suggests that the Government do not see in this scheme. as we see, a great social contribution to the general welfare and security of the common people.
So far as I am concerned I do not attach too great importance to words. The success of this Bill will depend first on the right hon. and learned Gentleman who is to be the Minister, and secondly, on the various Acts that will follow to carry out the recommendations of the White Paper. That will be the test of this new Department, not its title, not whether it is called the Ministry of "National Security" or "Social Security." I rather see in this change of title a lack of faith, a weakening of enthusiasm, and I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the Treasury shows himself so easily subject to small pressure from half a dozen Members. Even the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Senior Burgess for Oxford University (Petty-Officer Herbert)—
§ Sir P. Harris
Yes. I am not trying to exercise pressure, I am trying to strengthen the Government to stick to their own title. After many months—two years—they have summoned up courage to create this new Ministry, and because of a half dozen Members they throw over half its title. That is the pressure. I want to strengthen their hands. The right hon. Gentleman who has spoken for the Government showed no enthusiasm for the change. He is only giving way because of pressure. I want to support him in sticking to the original title, which was a good title and bad popular support, and I believe that the nation wants to see it functioning. I am sorry he has given way so soon.
§ The Chairman
The hon. Member for East Birkenhead (Mr. G. White) has handed in a manuscript Amendment. I do not know, having regard to the discussion that is taking place, whether he wishes to take part in it or not, because presumably if the present Amendment is passed, he will not wish to move his Amendment to substitute the word "Security."
§ Mr. Graham White (Birkenhead, East)
I should like to make quite clear, that what has taken place has altered the whole possibility with regard to the Amendment which I and some of my right hon. Friends proposed to move at a later stage. I would, perhaps, be in Order now in saying one or two words on the subject now under discussion. If we are to have an Amendment at all to the Title of the Bill at least let it be an accurate one. We seem to have been allowing ourselves and our imaginations to supply various meanings of the word "national" but the important thing, not only for the immediate purpose, is that the Title should be an accurate one.
It is also important because there may be developments. This Ministry may not last for ever. It may be in the minds of some Members of the Government to propose to transfer, at some stage, the whole of these duties which are being transferred to this new Ministry, to some form of Board. We may as well have the Title accurately given in this Bill, which confers on the Minister important functions which have nothing to do with insurance. There is assistance at an estimated cost of £69,000,000, the raising of £39,000,000 for the national health scheme and family allowances and training. It has not yet been explained to the Committee why not social security, but social insurance is to provide the sum of 5s. for the first child in a family, when the wage-earner in the family is unemployed. We have not yet heard the explanation of why it should be done in that way. That an allowance should be made in those circumstances, I entirely agree, of course, but why that small section of family allowances should be granted under the insurance scheme, is a matter which requires consideration. Then there is the sum of £39,000,000 for national health insurance and a grant of £500,000 to the Ministry of Labour training scheme.
The name of "social insurance" is not the right Title for this Bill. The whole question of assistance comes in, which has nothing whatever to do with insurance. The Title of social insurance is in keeping with the lack of enthusiasm about this scheme. The Government have not done justice to themselves or their proposals in this matter. Their statements are all under-statements. With 1848 regard to this scheme they have failed to relate this important advance in social legislation to Article V of the Atlantic Charter wherein we are pledged to co-operate with other nations in promoting social and economic advancement and social security.
§ Mr. A. Bevan
Would it not be a dishonest thing to describe a piece of legislation designed as this is—and indeed the hon. Baronet who spoke on Second Reading, talked of it as an insurance scheme and not a social security scheme —as something which it is not? If it changes, then change the title, but if not, let us, meantime, have the reference right.
§ 1.15 p.m.
§ The Chairman
No. The hon. Member for East Birkenhead (Mr. Graham White) has put in a manuscript Amendment, and I thought it my duty to call his attention to the fact that I should not be able to call that Amendment, in the event of the Committee taking a certain course on the present Amendment. I, therefore, gave him an opportunity to speak now.
§ Mr. Mander
I hope that other Members will be given a similar opportunity. This is not a Social Insurance Measure: there is a great deal more in it besides. I would ask the Minister who replies to explain how it is that the Measure is properly described in his opinion as an insurance Measure, in view of the fact that it includes these other extremely important things, which have nothing whatever to do with insurance.
§ Commander Agnew
On a point of Order. Are we discussing the two Amendments together, or should the Debate be properly confined at this stage to the substitution of the word "National"?
§ The Chairman
No, the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander) was straying from the Amendment before the Committee. We are discussing the substitution of the word "National" for "Social," and not the word "Insurance."
§ Mr. Pethick-Lawrence (Edinburgh, East)
I think, Major Milner, that we are entitled to ask the Minister this question. If, as I am rather sorry to hear, he has accepted this Amendment, does that imply that he is going to accept a change from the word "insurance" to the word "security"?
§ The Minister without Portfolio (Sir William Jowitt)
The answer to that is, No. Although I agree that insurance may not be a very accurate Title, because the Bill includes other things, I submit that security is even more inaccurate.
§ Sir P. Harris
Does my right hon. and learned Friend seriously suggest that this Ministry, which is to be appointed when the Bill becomes law, is merely a Ministry to carry out a scheme of national insurance? If so, with great respect, he will be largely wasting his efforts.
§ Sir W. Jowitt
It is wider than that. It covers children's allowances, which is not insurance, and it covers assistance, which is not insurance. But it does not include a National Health Service and a hundred-and-one other matters which are essential to security. Therefore, we think that "insurance" is the better term.
§ Mr. E. J. Williams (Ogmore)
I suppose we can continue the discussion as to whether "Social" or "National" shall be used. I am sorry that the Minister so readily gave way. The people of this country for the last two or three years have fully understood all the implications of this scheme, and what the Ministry will have to do. To change the word is really confusing the public mind, however meticulous Members may be about getting the right words. I am surprised that some of my colleagues are supporting the change. After all, there are nations within Great Britain, and the term 1850 "national" might apply either to the Welsh nation, the English nation, the Scottish nation, or the Irish nation. But the word "social" is universal: it applies to all the people in the country. To say that the scheme might apply internationally is merely straining the term. From the very inception of the study of social insurance, particularly since the appointment of the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Sir W. Beveridge) by the present acting Leader of the Opposition, the people of this country have understood the term "social insurance" much better than they are likely to understand the term "national insurance." I think that the Government were quite correct in their first thoughts, and I still hope that they will not give way. We have been using the term in all our propaganda for the last two or three years—I am not speaking of my party, but of all the parties in the Government. The B.B.C. have been using the term. It is now a public term, understood by the public of this country, and I sincerely trust that the Government will not give way.
§ Sir William Beveridge (Berwick-upon Tweed)
I have hesitated very much t[...] intervene in this Debate, because I felt quite certain that, sooner or later, I should be out of Order, as it seems to me quite impossible to discuss the issue between "national" and "social" without discussing the subsequent words "security" or "insurance." After all, the title of the Minister is these two words together. I hope that I shall be allowed to go on to suggest that by far the best title is "social security," and neither "national security" nor "national insurance," which are both inaccurate, and contrary to the anticipations of the public in regard to this Measure.
§ The Chairman
The hon. Member is perfectly entitled to say that the title should be "social security," bringing in the word "security," but, of course, he must not discuss the insertion of the word "security." He is entitled to discuss how other matters will be affected if the word "national" is inserted.
§ Sir W. Beveridge
If you will assist me, Major Milner, I will try to keep straight on this matter. Clearly, "social security" is the title in the Atlantic Charter, and is the title understood by 1851 people in this country, and everywhere, as the right title. Therefore I for one shall oppose this Amendment, with a view to making it possible to alter the title later to "social security." I would say only one more word on this question of insurance. "Insurance" does not cover certain things which are definitely in the Bill. Of course "social security" does not cover security of all kinds, but "social security" does cover all the things which are in the Bill, while "insurance" does not.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot (Glasgow, Kelvin-grove)
The Committee are in some difficulty in discussing subsequent Amendments in this Debate. If I were in Order in discussing now Amendments which I have on the Paper later—which I should certainly not be—I would argue on the question of whether this was a Ministry of Social Security or not. I do not think it is. The Solicitor-General, on the Second Reading, said that payment in cash is under this Ministry, but benefits in kind are under other Ministries. The whole hospitalisation of this country is outside this Bill. Therefore, it seems to me that it would be describing it altogether falsely, to call the Ministry a Ministry of Social Security. I will not enlarge on that, because I should be out of Order and because I hope to be able to discuss that particular aspect on an Amendment which I have put down later; but to call this a Ministry of Social Insurance would be following a practice which has been accepted in this country for many years. The Government have agreed to bow to the wishes of the Committee on the matter, and, therefore, I hope we shall be able to go on to discuss subsequent Amendments, which raise great issues, and not take a long time over a matter on which the Committee have given their views and the Government have given theirs. I do not think the matter can be properly discussed further, without bringing in other Amendments which have not been reached.
§ Mr. Rhys Davies (Westhoughton)
My hon. Friends talk about the vocabulary ordinarily in use among the public. Perhaps the Committee will be interested to know that the average man when he falls sick nowadays, and applies for National Health Insurance sickness benefit, talks about "going on Lloyd George." When, 1852 therefore, this new plan comes into operation, the sick will not bother about "national" or "social" insurance; they will simply say, "I want my Beveridge." They will not even mention the right hon. and learned Gentleman apposite; they will quote the name of the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Sir W. Beveridge). Let me say, as one with some experience of this business, that I do not think it matters administratively very much whether you call it "national" or "social." Everyone who has administered the present scheme is accustomed to "National" Health Insurance. I was sorry the hon. Gentleman mentioned the Atlantic Charter in this Debate. I could not understand the relevance of it at all, because the Prime Minister has thrown over the Atlantic Charter long ago. I cannot see the slightest reason for a party political quarrel over these words. All I would say about the word "national" is that it does at any rate distinguish between a State and a Prudential or a Refuge insurance scheme.
§ Mr. Davies
The hon. Member would be surprised how much the industrial insurance companies claim for themselves. If I voted at all—which I hope I shall not be called upon to do—I would support the word "national" instead of "social."
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
No; I very specially avoided discussing subsequent Amendments, because I said that there was an Amendment of my own which I hoped to discuss later.
§ Mr. Cocks
Yes, but he said, without using the forbidden word, that it could not be called a National Security Bill, because it did not cover hospitals. He might just as well have said that the Ministry of Health was not a proper title because the Ministry did not include the functions of the Ministry of Food, which are essential to health. 1853 I think that if that title were used, it would give a stimulus to future Parliaments to bring their Measures up to the standard of the legislation which I hope will be passed here, either before or after the next election.
§ 1.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Greenwood (Wakefield)
I am sorry that I have not heard most of this Debate, having been at another meeting, but I am bound to say that I feel a little distressed at the intention of the Government to accept this Amendment. After all, this term "social insurance" is now part of the ordinary talk of men and women. It represents a new conception. It is an idea of the community, through its various social agencies, pulling together all the various forms of insurance for social objects, and I should have thought myself that, if Amendments were to be Amendments accepted—and I am not asking that any should be accepted—this was the last one which the Government would ever have thought of accepting. I would like to get rid of the term "national insurance." It is not national insurance in the full sense of the term, anyhow. The term "national insurance" is bound up with the old days. Surely, now, the whole idea is of social security, which is not embodied in this Bill, as the Government have admitted, though it is a national aim now. I should have thought the Government very ill-advised to accept the Amendment—although I gather there is a good deal of feeling in the Committee in favour of the term—and, if the Amendment were to be accepted, I might ask on the Report stage for a further opportunity for reconsideration.
§ Sir H. Williams
My name is not down to this Amendment, but I have listened to this Debate. We are not discussing anything novel. All we are discussing, as hon. Members will see if they read the Bill, is the transfer of functions of the Minister of Health and Secretary of State for Scotland, with respect to national health insurance, old age pensions, widows', orphans' and old age contributory pensions and supplementary pensions, and these are all developments of national insurance. There is nothing novel about that. Then there are the functions of the Minister of Labour and National Service with respect to unemployment insurance and unemployment assistance, which was originally called 1854 national insurance in the Act of 1911. Finally, there are the functions of the Secretary of State with respect to workmen's compensation, which is to be changed from an individual insurance to a national insurance. Family allowances, which are the only novel feature of the scheme, are associated with the scheme of the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Sir W. Beveridge).
We have only added a bonus to all the benefits and pulled them about a bit. The only thing that is fresh, legislatively, in the Bill, is family allowances; the rest is merely putting a few more storeys on the old structure, and altering the position of the lavatory and the pantry. Why pretend that you are doing something novel, when all you are doing is to pay out larger benefits and collect larger contributions, and bring all this under one Act? Instead of having these matters dealt with by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labour, the Treasury and the Home Office, you put them all into one and call it social insurance. Let us be truthful about it.
§ Mr. Kenneth Lindsay (Kilmarnock)
I asked the Solicitor-General last week whether this Ministry was to be merely a paying-out Ministry, and the hon. and learned Gentleman said, very carefully, that he would not like me to regard it as any such thing. The description just given by the hon. Member for South Croydon (Sir H. Williams), I think, exactly anticipates what he expects from this Bill.
§ Mr. Lindsay
I know, but there are some things not in the Bill which are to be done. There are certain aspects of rehabilitation in connection with workmen's compensation. I did not hear the speech of the hon. Member who opened this Debate, but I heard the reply from the Financial Secretary, and I think the grounds on which the Government accepted the Amendment were extremely flimsy. The fact that there are to be social welfare committees, replacing those under the old term in the localities, seems to me an additional reason for calling this social insurance.
§ Sir W. Jowitt
My hon. Friend referred to rehabilitation, but that is not to be the concern of this Ministry. It will be the concern of the Ministry of Labour.
§ Mr. Lindsay
I am quite aware of that, but, if my right hon. Friend will read the speech of the Solicitor-General on Friday and the longer one made earlier in the week, he will see that the hon. and learned Gentleman went to great pains to show that, in workmen's compensation, there would be other matters of concern to this Ministry in addition to the mere paying-out of money. I asked the question on this point specifically on Friday. I support the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) for the reasons he gave, and because the people themselves think of this Ministry in terms of a social insurance Ministry. The term has a similar connotation in the Dominions and in the International Labour Office and I think that merely to change it and give it the much less interesting title of national insurance is a retrograde step.
§ Mr. Gallacher (Fife, West)
I have listened with great surprise to the discussion of this question. I cannot understand how any hon. Member of this Committee can have the temerity to support this proposed change. I can understand, of course, how hon. Members on the other side feel about this proposition—
§ Mr. Gallacher
I ask this question: Has the hon. Member for South Croydon (Sir H. Williams) or any hon. Members whose names are associated with this Amendment—
§ Mr. Gallacher
I made it quite clear that there was a distinction between the hon. Member for South Croydon and those hon. Members who have their names down to this Amendment. Have any of them ever, at any time, suggested that there should be a Minister of National Insurance? Has anybody in this House, or in the country, ever suggested that we should have a Minister of National Insurance? I see the Minister without Portfolio is nodding his head, as if in affirmation, or to suggest that he knows of someone. Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman know of anyone who has ever proposed that a Minister of National Insurance should be appointed? 1856 What has been the demand in the country and in this House? It is that we should have a new Minister of Social Security. What is being put across the Committee is a trick upon hon. Members and upon the people of this country, but the trick is being exposed by this discussion. Who wants a Minister of National Insurance? What is the sense of going to all the trouble of issuing all the reports and White Papers, or the promises which the Minister of Labour has time and again repeated, in declaring that social security would be guaranteed to the people of this country? Now, we are offered a Minister of National Insurance. It is playing with the matter and playing with the people of this country. I say that we should have a Minister of Social Insurance and Social Security, and that the Bill should be in accord with what is understood by the people of this country, who ought not to be tricked, as they are, obviously, being tricked now.
§ Mr. A. Bevan
I rather differ from many of my hon. Friends on this side. I think the Government were perfectly correct. The overwhelming weight of argument, and the majority of hon. Members of the Committee, were in favour of this change. I made an almost formal intervention, because I thought the whole thing was finished, but now the Debate is being revived, and by what? By some substantial argument? Not a bit of it, but by political trickery. My hon. Friend behind me makes an attack on this change, but what the change does is to describe accurately the intentions of the Government. What my hon. Friend wants is to deceive the people by words leading them into thinking that they are having what they are not going to get. They are not going to get social security from the proposals of the Government. Then why should the Minister in charge be called the Minister for Social Security?
§ Mr. Bevan
We are discussing the word "national" against the word "social." We are not having a Minister for Social Insurance; otherwise, the whole thing becomes meaningless. Society includes more than the nation. I know the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Sir W. Beveridge) fell into the error of using those words, but why should we follow him? I 1857 know that the word "social" has been used for many years in international conferences, but it has been used very loosely. We are not, in fact, engaged in building up a system of social insurance, but in trying to collect from the poor people of Great Britain, large sums of money to redistribute among the poorer. As a matter of fact, the principal burden of the scheme is going to fall upon the poor people, and we are going to collect money from the poor people to pay the poor people. Then what is the use of trying to discuss a scheme of social insurance? I share my hon. Friend's indignation, but I would ask him how would he describe this Ministry if we had a non-contributory scheme of social security. He would have set such a limit to hyperbole that he would not find a name for it at all.
§ Mr. Lindsay
The Solicitor-General on Friday said:I envisage that this Ministry will be engaged continuously in trying to co-ordinate the services that are provided by other Ministries with the information and experience which this Ministry gains in its work."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th November, 1944; Vol. 404, c. 1702.]
§ Mr. Bevan
My hon. Friend, the other week, made a most modest and impressive speech in describing this proposal. Now, he says it is indeed a scheme of insurance, and the Government have decided, for the reason which the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed gave in his Report, but which I have never shared—that people in this country prefer to pay for things rather than have them for nothing. He believed that the principle of insurance was so deeply rooted in the hearts of the British people that they ought to have an insurance system. I accept that, like my hon. Friends here, under duress, but I am not going to practice deception upon my constituents or the people of Great Britain in trying to persuade them that they are going to have things which they are not going to get, and I am astonished at some of my hon. Friends. I am asking for national insurance and for the use of the term "national insurance," which specifically describes for the people the nature of the scheme.
§ Mr. Gallacher
Will my hon. Friend tell us who wants a Minister of National Insurance? I am not concerned whether this Bill will give social security or not, but with who wants a Minister of National Insurance.
§ Mr. Mander
"Ministry of National Insurance" will certainly be a legislative lie, because it covers a great deal more than insurance.
§ 1.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Bevan
There will be a task in fitting in administration with certain other fragments of administration, but are you going to describe the bulk of this task in the terms of the minor portions of that task? The overwhelming part of his task will be to collect very large sums of money amounting to £600,000,000 or £700,000,000 from agents and contributors and to redistribute that sum. His administration will be concerned with other forms of assistance and help. This will be one-seventh and he wants to turn the one-seventh into the other six-sevenths. An hon. Member says "Rubbish." I have listened with patience to my hon. Friend for some time but I am bound to inform him that I am shocked when Members of the House of Commons try, by altering the language, to change the content of what they are doing and persuade people outside that we are doing what we are not doing. The people in Great Britain have, by the most insidious propaganda for the last two years, been prepared for something they are not going to get. Having used this propaganda and language, my hon. Friends are fixed to this verbal wheel. Let us be honourable and call the thing what it actually is.
§ Sir W. Jowitt
Our great national poet asked, "What's in a name?" I am bound to say that the Committee has discussed this matter pretty fully now. I cannot myself think that it matters whether you call this Minister "The Minister of Social Insurance" or "The Minister of National Insurance." In a sense, the scheme that we are going to adopt is the nation's scheme, and in another sense the words "social insurance" have been well known since the work of the I.L.O.; and in the Report of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Sir W. Beveridge) following his terms of reference, he described it as a "Report arising out of the work of an inter-departmental Committee on social insurance and allied ser- 1859 vices." We want allied services, and this Bill is to establish the Ministry of Social, or National, Insurance, I do not mind which, and for purposes connected therewith.
§ Sir W. Beveridge
Will the Minister make it plain to the Committee that it was the Government and not myself who chose the title "social insurance and allied services"?
§ Sir W. Jowitt
I said that the words were in the terms of reference and I do not think that they were inappropriate or wrong, and there is no reason to apologise for those words. The words "social insurance" would convey something quite definite to my mind on those lines, and equally so the words "national insurance," and I really cannot think why it matters at all.
§ Sir W. Jowitt
We put it in because it was in the terms of reference in the Report and was used by the I.L.O. for the last 20 years. On the other hand, the National Health Insurance Act uses the word "national."
I am unable to become excited on the question one way or the other. I do not think that it matters a bit whether you use the word "national" or "social." It is a technical matter on which the Committee will decide. I agree that we have sat here for a long time and heard supported from all quarters of the Committee an Amendment in favour of "national" as against the word "social," and with hardly an exception, or with one exception that was worthy of note, feeling seemed to be that way. That being so, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury said that he would accept the Amendment. On that I think we ought to stand and I ask the Committee to come to a decision and settle the matter one way or the other.
§ Mr. Pethick-Lawrence
It is not a matter of particular importance, I agree, but the Government seem to be very ready to adopt the change. They adopted a word which has considerable usage and it was assumed in all quarters that the Government would stand by their own decision. But in the few minutes that I was out of the Chamber the Government seemed to alter their mind. They now desire to change the Title of the Bill. 1860 Are the Government going to come down with their Whips and order the whole Committee to go into the Lobby and change their decision, on the ground of a few people speaking in this Committee for this change? If the Government cannot go back on their statement to-day, the least they can do is to leave the matter entirely to a free vote of the Committee, and let Members of Parliament choose for themselves. If the Government allege that the Committee wants the change, let them put it to the Committee, frankly and fearlessly, and see whether it is the case. If that is not so, I suggest to the Government that the least they can do is to allow the matter to be raised again on the Report stage and consider whether the House would not like to reverse the change. I am used to the somewhat lyrical language of my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) but I cannot see any leading of the country "up the garden." The words "social insurance" have become a necessary phrase in this country, and a change would be a grave mistake.
§ Sir P. Harris
I do not take exception to what the right hon. Gentleman has said. I do not want to over-emphasise the importance of the wording of the Ministry; the success of the Department will be judged by results. My hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) read into the position very much more and attaches great significance to the word "national" instead of "social." He has gone out of his way to condemn the whole Department of which the Minister is to be the head, and hon. Members on the benches opposite cheered him vociferously for the interpretation he put on the new scheme and the new Ministry.
§ Sir P. Harris
I heard both speeches of my hon. Friend and I noticed the tremendous applause he received in response to his general conclusion from hon. Members opposite. Some hon. Members have always been critical of the whole idea of social security or social insurance.
§ Mr. Petherick
The reason why some hon. Members on this side of the Committee and some hon. Members opposite were cheering the speech of the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) is because we happen to have a preference for words which mean what they say, and not for words which suggest all kinds of schemes which could not be carried out.
§ Sir P. Harris
If my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale and the hon. Member for Penryn and Falmouth (Mr. Petherick) are right, why set up this new Department, with a new staff, a new building, and perhaps two or three Parliamentary Secretaries solely to collect insurance money from the public?
§ Sir P. Harris
I am glad to see that some of my hon. Friends, the young Tories, have been most vociferous in demanding a Minister of Social Security, and because they want a Minister of Social Security we are going to support this new Ministry. We gave the Bill a Second Reading. In view of the pressure of the character we have had here, and the kind of arguments that have been used, I wish to say that so far as I am concerned, if I am the only one, I shall oppose the change.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I feel that the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) should not be so indignant when he claims that a fraud has been perpetrated on the people of this country.
§ Mr. Gallacher
The hon. Member said that people were going to be led to believe that they would receive something they would not get. That is a fraud.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I think it is time I reminded the Committee that we are discussing the word "national."
§ Mr. Gallacher
I want to deal with that point and then come to the words "national" and "social." The Member for Ebbw Vale made a very wordy argument about the question of national insurance. He says that the word "national" will more correctly describe the contents of the Bill. But the important 1862 thing is that we want this Ministry not to be static, and tied to the contents of the Bill, and that is the danger of tying the Minister down simply to the contents of the Bill as it stands. That is why we should accept the Amendment. We want the Ministry to be something of a character which is continually developing and extending.
§ Mr. A. Bevan
Does my hon. Friend think that we are going to be restrained in what they make the Ministry subsequently by verbal restrictions? We want to describe the functions as they are intended to be applicable now. If we change the functions later, we can change the name later.
§ Mr. Gallacher
The important thing is to start off with the setting up of this Ministry. Certain ideas have been developed in the country and in this House and those ideas have determined that a new Ministry shall be appointed. We do not want the Ministry to be hampered in any possible way. We want it to have the opportunity of reaching up in every direction. That is the importance of not limiting it simply to a question of national insurance, though national insurance may be an essential feature of the Bill. The Ministry, this Committee and the people will be working for a continual expansion of the influence and ramifications of the Ministry. The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale has taken up a very bad conservative attitude on the question of the word "national" as against "social."
§ Mr. Tinker (Leigh)
We have wasted a lot of time and have spent over an hour on a matter of little importance which will not alter the Bill at all. I wish to enter my word of protest.
§ Sir W. Beveridge
This Amendment will make it impossible to call this a "Ministry of Social Security." The White Paper before the Committee is not social security but, by very few changes, it could be made so. Those who are hopeful of making it what the country wants it to be—social security—will, I hope, vote against this Amendment.
Question put, "That the word 'Social' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 89; Noes, 170.1865
|Division No. 44.]||AYES.||[2.0 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir R. T. D.||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Oliver, G. H.|
|Adamson, Mrs. Jennie L. (Dartford)||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Parker, J.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Cannock)||Groves, T. E.||Petherick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Islington, N.)||Price, M. P.|
|Barstow, P. G.||Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)||Reakes, G. L. (Wallasey)|
|Beveridge, Sir W. H.||Harris, Rt. Hon. Sir P. A.||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham- (St. M.)|
|Broad, F. A.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Richards, R.|
|Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Rothschild, J. A. de|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Horabin, T. L.||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A. (Oxford U.)|
|Brown, W. J. (Rugby)||Hubbard, T. F.||Sexton, T. M.|
|Buchanan, G.||Hynd, J. B.||Shinwell, E.|
|Burden, T. W.||Isaacs, G. A.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Burke, W. A.||Jackson, W. F.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Summerskill, Dr. Edith|
|Chater, D.||Kendall, W. D.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Key, C. W.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Cocks, F. S.||Kirkwood, D.||Thomas, I. (Keighley)|
|Collindridge, F.||Lawson, H. M. (Skipton)||Thorneycroft, H. (Clayton)|
|Cove, W. G.||Lawson, J. J. (Chester-le-Street)||Tinker, J. J.|
|Davies, Clement (Montgomery)||Leslie, J. R.||Viant, S. P.|
|Dobbie, W.||Lipson, D. L.||Walkden, E. (Doncaster)|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||McEntee, V. La T.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Dugdale, John (W. Bromwich)||McKinlay, A. S.||White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Foster, W.||Maclean, N. (Govan)||White, H. (Derby, N.E.)|
|Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Mander, G. le M.||White, H. Graham (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Gallacher, W.||Manning, C. A. G.||Woodburn, A.|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Montague, F.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Glanville, J. E.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Murray, J. D. (Spennymoor)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:—|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Neal, H.||Mr. Lindsay and|
|Grenfell, D. R.||Oldfield, W. H.||Mr. E. J. Williams.|
|Agnew, Comdr. P. G.||Fermoy, Lord||Martin, J. H.|
|Apsley, Lady||Fleming, Squadron-Leader E. L.||Mathers, G.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R.||Fraser, Lt.-Col. Sir Ian (Lonsdale)||Mayhew, Lt.- Col. J.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Galbraith, Comdr. T. D.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P.|
|Beattie, F. (Cathcart)||Gales, Major E. E.||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Beaumont, Maj. Hn. R. E. B.(P'tsm'th)||George, Maj. Rt. Hon. G. Lloyd (P'b'ke)||Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.|
|Beechman, N. A.||Gibbons, Lt.-Col. W. E.||Morris-Jones, Sir Henry|
|Bevan, A. (Ebbw Vale)||Gibson, Sir C. G.||Morrison, Major J. C. (Salisbury)|
|Blair, Sir R.||Glyn, Sir R. G. C.||Mott-Radclyffe, Capt. C. E.|
|Boulton, Sir W. W.||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.|
|Bower, Norman (Harrow)||Grant-Ferris, Wing-Commander R.||Nield, Lt.-Col. B. E.|
|Bower, Commdr. R. T. (Cleveland)||Crofton, J. F.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H.|
|Brooke, H. (Lewisham)||Grigg, Rt. Hon. Sir P. J. (Cardiff, E.)||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Grimston, R. V. (Westbury)||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Hammersley, S. S.||Petherick, M.|
|Burton, Col. H. W.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Peto, Major B. A. J.|
|Butler, Rt. Hon. F. A.||Harvey, T. E.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Cadogan, Major Sir E.||Henderson, J. J. Craik (Leeds, N.E.)||Plugge, Capt. L. F.|
|Campbell, Dermot (Antrim)||Hepburn, Major P. G. T. Buchan-||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.|
|Cary, R. A.||Hepworth, J.||Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton|
|Chapman, A. (Ruthergien)||Hill, Prof. A. V.||Pym, L. R.|
|Colegate, W. A.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Raikes, H. V. A. M.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Holmes, J. S.||Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)|
|Cook, Lt.-Col. Sir T. R. A. M.(N'f'k,N.)||Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.||Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Horsbrugh, Florence||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.||Hudson, Sir A. (Hackney, N.)||Robertson, D. (Streatham)|
|Craven-Ellis, W.||Hughes, R. Moelwyn||Robertson, Rt. Hon. Sir M. A. (M'ham)|
|Critchley, A.||Hunter, Sir T.||Ross Taylor, W.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Hutchison, Lt.-Com. G. I. C. (E'burgh)||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.|
|Culverwell, C. T.||Jeffreys, General Sir G. D.||Russell, Sir A. (Tynemouth)|
|Cundiff, F. W.||Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.||Salt, E. W.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Keatinge, Major E. M.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|Davidson, Viscountess (H'm'l H'mst'd)||Keir, Mrs. Cazalet||Sandys, E. D.|
|De Chair, S. S.||Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F.||Savory, Professor D. L.|
|Denville, Alfred||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Scott, Lord William (Ro'b'h & Selk'k)|
|Donner, Squadron-Leader P. W.||Lancaster, Lieut.-Col. C. G.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G.||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Sidney, Major W. P.|
|Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Levy, T.||Smith, E. P. (Ashford)|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.(Kens'gton, N.).||Linstead, H. N.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Eccles, D. M.||Little, Dr. J. (Down)||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Llewellin, Col. Rt. Hon. J. J.||Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir D. B.|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Lloyd, Major E. G. R. (Renfrew, E.)||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Loftus, P. C.||Storey, S.|
|Elliot, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. W. E.||Longhurst, Captain H. C.||Stourton, Hon. J. J.|
|Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Lyle, Sir C. E. Leonard||Strickland, Capt. W. F.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Magnay, T.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Etherton, Ralph||Making, Brig,-Gen. Sir E.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Tasker, Sir R. I.||Touche, G. C.||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Tate, Mrs. Mavis C.||Turton, R. H.||Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'd'ton, S.)||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)||Waterhouse, Captain Rt. Hon. C.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Thomas, Dr. W. S. Russell (S'th'm'tn)||Watt, F. C. (Edinburgh, Cen.)||Wright, Mrs. Beatrice F. (Bodmin)|
|Thomson, Sir J. D. W.||Watt, Brig. G. S. Harvie (Richmond)||York, Major C.|
|Thorne, W.||Wayland, Sir W. A.|
|Thorneycroft, Maj. G. E. P. (Stafford)||Webbe, Sir W. Harold||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:—|
|Thurtle, E.||Wells, Sir S. Richard||Major A. S. L. Young and|
|Tomlinson, G.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W. (Blaydon)||Mr. Drewe.|
§ Word "National" there inserted.
§ Mr. Gallacher
On a point of Order, Mr. Williams. In view of the fact that nobody in this country wants a Minister of National Insurance—
§ Sir H. Williams
I beg to move, in page 1, line 6, after "Insurance," insert:who shall hold office during His Majesty's pleasure.I raised this matter on the Second Reading on Friday, and I had a reply from the Solicitor-General, but I was not as much impressed as I am normally by the hon. and learned Gentleman. Until the present Government came into being, it was almost invariably the case that the words to which I refer appeared in Bills of this kind. The last Bill passed by the predecessors of this Government which created a Ministry was the Ministry of Supply Act, 1939, when it said:It shall be lawful for His Majesty to appoint a Minister of Supply … who shall hold office during His Majesty's pleasure.…I have looked up precedents to the best of my ability and I find that when the New Ministries Act was passed in 1916—it received the Royal Assent on 22nd December of that year—it established a Ministry of Labour, a Ministry of Shipping, an Air Board, and a Ministry of Food, and in all these cases these words appeared. They appeared also in the Ministry of Transport Act, 1919, the Ministry of Health Act, 1919, and in the New Ministries Act of 1916. So here we have a vast volume of precedents. I presume that the various Ministries responsible for drafting these Bills, spread as they have been over many Governments, must have thought the words had a proper significance. The Deputy Prime Minister on Friday, when I asked when it had been discovered that these words were unnecessary, replied that it was shortly after 1939. I hope, therefore, that we shall have from the Attorney-General 1866 or the Financial Secretary to the Treasury some statement as to the way in which this great discovery was made. It is true there is one exception—the Ministry of Pensions Act, 1916. I think it is rather strange, this curious inconsistency with which different people draft these Bills, and I think we ought to do better. There ought to be some common form when you are trying to achieve the same kind of purpose. In the Ministry of Pensions Act it says:In order to unify the administration of such pensions, grants, and allowances as are hereinafter mentioned, there shall be a Minister of Pensions appointed by His Majesty.…without reference to His Majesty's pleasure. That is the only exception I have been able to discover. I tried to find out how the Secretary of State for Burma came into being, but an hour's search in the Library beat me. The index to the Statutes said, "See Secretaries of State." Under that I got to "Burma," which said "See Burma," but there was no answer to the question—a complete cross-reference without any answer, for I could not find the Secretary of State. Although there are many references to him in the Government of India Act, there is no reference as to how he came into being. I assume he was created by the Royal Prerogative without an Act of Parliament. As I say, in all these cases, these words have appeared except in the Town and Country Planning Act, this Bill, and the Ministry of Fuel and Power—I think there was an Act for that purpose—
§ Sir H. Williams
I apologise—Works and Planning—this is the third example since the Government came in of leaving out these words—
§ Sir H. Williams
Yes, the fourth. They were always kept in before, with that one curious exception of the Ministry of Pensions. I therefore hope that the 1867 Attorney-General will be able to satisfy my mind that there is no malicious conspiracy about leaving out these words.
§ 2.15 p.m.
§ The Attorney-General
I entirely agree with my hon. Friend that so far as possible, where you are seeking to achieve the same purpose, you should use the same words. But it is impossible to have complete uniformity of drafting methods because, naturally, each Bill has its particular draftsman and it is impossible to get complete co-ordination as to what may be analogous matters. It was for that reason that I told the Committee just now that in the last three or four years we have given a good deal of thought to what is the best and most appropriate formula constitutionally to insert into a Bill which seeks to create a new Minister. My hon. Friend is quite right in the examples which he gave, but we came to the conclusion—and I think I shall carry the Committee with me—that the words, "during His Majesty's pleasure," were both unnecessary and had better not be in the Bill. It is a fundamental principle of our constitutional structure that those who hold office under His Majesty hold it at His Majesty's pleasure, unless there is some express statutory condition to the contrary. The most obvious examples are His Majesty's judges, who are removed by His Majesty but who can only be removed if there is an Address to His Majesty by both Houses of Parliament. Everybody serves during His Majesty's pleasure unless Parliament puts an affirmative obstruction in the way.
§ The Attorney-General
I cannot be positive about everybody, but it certainly applies to civil servants. Parliament sets up an office but the appointment may be made not by His Majesty but by the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer or another Minister, and sometimes the office is given a definite period of five years. But the category of people I am speaking of are people who are appointed for service under His Majesty 1868 without any statutory period for their dismissal, or a statutory period being assigned to their office. In these cases they can be dismissed at pleasure. When we came to examine past precedents we found that in a number of cases the words, "during His Majesty's pleasure," had been inserted and were unnecessary. It was perfectly obvious that the Minister held office at pleasure whether the words, "at pleasure," were in the Bill or not. I agree that it was patchwork before. It was because we hoped to arrive at a satisfactory formula that these changes were made, and in view of that explanation I hope my hon. Friend will withdraw his Amendment.
§ Sir H. Williams
In view of the definite and clear-cut statement which has been made by the Attorney-General I will do so in a moment, but I think it is as well that the matter should be on the basis—
§ Sir H. Williams
I do not see the relevance of that remark; it is neither courteous nor relevant to the serious Debate in which we are engaged. We are concerned—
§ Sir H. Williams
We are concerned to see what is the express relationship between the head of the State and any servant of the State, whether the head of the State happens to be a monarch or president of a republic or anything else. The meaning of "during His Majesty's pleasure" is perfectly clear. It means on advice to His Majesty, except where His Majesty has to act without constitutional advice, such as dissolution and, possibly, the dismissal of a Prime Minister in exceptional circumstances. There is need for us clearly to understand whether good government or bad is being carried on. I beg to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
I beg to move, in page 1, line 8, leave out "and of the Secretary of State."
It will not have escaped the attention of the Committee that there is still a good deal of haziness in the minds of Members as to what this Bill actually does or does 1869 not do, and I think this Amendment gives us one opportunity of clearing up the matter. During the discussion on the Second Reading of the Bill I asked the Solicitor-General during his reply to the Debate:May I take it that, roughly speaking, services in kind come under the Ministry of Health and services in cash are transferred to the Ministry of Social Insurance?My right hon. and learned Friend replied:
We all remember in Scotland what has recently been done through the inquiry, initiated by the Secretary of State, with regard to treatment in the South-West of Scotland, in Clydeside and in other areas. From that inquiry the country was able to derive great advantage. For instance, it was ascertained from some 50,000 cases, that one of the two main causes of present-day disability was dyspepsia. This was an important point in dealing with the nutrition policy of 1870 the country. There is an opportunity for more of that kind of thing being done in the future. Maybe it can be done properly by a Minister of Social Security or Social Insurance; it is the function that the Minister will carry out that is important, and not the label that we put upon him. A Minister of National Insurance may be able to carry out an analysis of the great mass of statistical detail which has been collected and centralised. A great mass of information has been collected on the health of the country, through the insurance system, but little advantage has been taken of it, to influence the remedial steps which should be taken in future. But a system whereby a man who is sick in hospital comes under one Minister and, when receiving cash benefits only, comes under another Minister is not necessarily an improvement. The new steps about to be taken could be utilised by the existing Ministry—the Secretary of State.
The remedial developments which are now taking place in Scotland are developments which will be more and more closely concerned with the proposed work of the Minister of National Insurance. For instance, there is the great extension of hospitalisation which is taking place there, all available for remedial treatment. Some 7,000 beds have been added to the hospitals of Scotland. The Secretary of State has utilised the Emergency Medical Scheme as a means of wiping out one of the greatest blots in Scotland before the war, namely, the waiting lists of hospital cases—of people who have been waiting anything from one to three years for attention, for rehabilitation. The control of all the great amount of insurance money and the responsibility for it will pass away from Scotland if this Bill goes through in its present form.
There are some 340 employees on the insurance side who fear that if the Bill goes through they, or many of them, will have to move from Scotland to some place in England. All that weakens the power of responsible administration in parts other than London. This is a bad feature in our present life. It took place in Wales. When I was Minister of Health the question of the Welsh Board of Health was of interest to me. I took certain iconoclastic steps, not with the object of weakening authority in Wales but of strengthening it. For instance, we trans- 1871 ferred to Wales its own town planning. Unfortunately, under a later Bill this was later re-transferred to London. Well, Wales will fight its own battle, but until we have stronger reasons than we have had up to now we should not consent in silence to the transfer of this piece of administration out of Scotland, where it is properly used, and where it can liaise completely with other parts of Scottish administration, into England.
§ 2.30 p.m.
§ Mr. McKinlay (Dumbartonshire)
I think every Scottish Member will endorse what the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has said. I do not know what sort of battle may have been on behind closed doors. I cannot see the Secretary of State for Scotland willingly handing a half of his Department away to remote control in London. If we ever have any trouble with the administration of widows' and orphans' pensions, or the old age pension, we have very little difficulty in contacting someone with responsibility. I have had during the war some experience of remote control of the Ministry of Food and of the inrush of the Ministery of Works and Buildings into Scotland. We are not asking to add to our powers but we certainly do not want any of them taken away. This will arouse considerable feeling throughout the length and breadth of Scotland. They do not seem to realise exactly what is taking place.
If the Secretary of State were nothing more than a grafter and did not like work, I could understand him sitting back and permitting half his responsibility being removed to the South, but the present Secretary of State is not a fellow like that. I should like to hear the arguments that convinced him that this change was necessary. I do not want the Minister to give away any stable secrets but, if we are to be asked to give our consent to a change like this, it will take a good deal of convincing before he will get the consent of the Scottish Members. If there had been any maladministration, one could see the sense of it. The administration of National Health Insurance has always been centred in Edinburgh. I have no great regard for Edinburgh, as Edinburgh—my Scottish colleagues will know what I mean—but it is easier to 1872 lift the telephone and get into touch with someone with responsibility at St. Andrew's House than to try to get through the maze not only of the telephones but of corridors in London. I have never been able to contact a Minister in London, other than the Scottish Office, in any Department since I arrived here. We can go to St. Andrew's House and the man at the door knows us all and sees that we get access to the Minister. The prospect of the barrier of flunkeys that we find in a London Department applied to Scotland is too horrible to contemplate. Scottish Members will listen with interest to whatever my right hon. Friend has to say, but I want to warn him in advance. I think Welsh Members are entitled to line up—
§ Mr. Rhys Davies
On a point of Order. Is it not a fact that the Welsh Board of Health administration is under the Minister of Health and that the work of that Department will come to the right hon. Gentleman?
§ Mr. McKinlay
I was not going to discuss Wales, but the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) was permitted to make a passing reference to the fact that the good work for Wales had been undone by a repeat performance of what has taken place here. I was only going to suggest that the Welsh Members are entitled to support Scottish Members on this occasion. I am not in the market place asking them for a quid pro quo, but I cannot, for six months in the year, propagate the idea of the same facilities for Wales as we have in Scotland and then lightly let the facilities depart from Scotland without a protest. I have convinced almost every Welsh Member that a Secretary of State is more desirable for the Welsh nation—
§ The Deputy-Chairman
That is a point that we cannot discuss here. Anything to do with a Secretary of State for Wales is completely out of Order.
§ Mr. McKinlay
Possibly I am at fault for introducing it, but you, Mr. Williams, interrupted me, otherwise I should not 1873 have said half as much about Wales as I have said. I had no intention of discussing Wales at all. I hope the Minister's reply will be satisfactory. We do not want one Minister saying one thing and another another, and loyal Labour Members being compelled to vote against the Government again. I hope that the statement that we get will be one with the authority of the Minister behind it. I am sure my colleages will await what the Minister has to say with some curiosity.
§ Sir W. Jowitt
I hope I can give some reassurance to the Scottish Members, and, incidentally, also to Welsh Members. The object of setting up this Ministry is to make one Minister solely responsible for the various schemes of social insurance, assistance, including supplementary pensions and workmen's compensation. If the Amendment were accepted, we should get a complete division of authority, and this would result. The new Minister would be responsible for health insurance payments in England and Wales, for unemployment insurance payments throughout Great Britain, contributory pensions in England and Wales, assistance other than by way of supplementary pensions in Great Britain, supplementary pensions in England and Wales, old age over 70 pensions in England and Wales and workmen's compensation in Great Britain. That would be a quite unworkable set-up. What I propose is this. In the first place, it seems to me that the main principle upon which the new Ministry must work is devolution. It must decentralise. It must leave, as far as possible, Scottish officers sitting in Scotland to deal with Scottish problems with the very minimum of interference and reference to England. As far as the 340 officers who feared that they may find themselves removed from Edinburgh to London are concerned, many of them may be married people and I can understand that it would be a serious matter for them, but I do not think there is the slightest reason to fear any such thing. My intention, as far as I have anything to do with it, is that Scottish problems shall be settled in Scotland. I think I can do something to improve upon the present lay-out very considerably.
It is so easy to say that these problems all come under the Secretary of State for Scotland to-day but I would ask the Committee to consider in what sense they do. 1874 Let us always distinguish between medical benefit and sickness benefit. They are terms of art and they are defined in the Act of 1936. Medical benefit means treatment and attendance, sickness benefit means, of course, periodical payments which, after a time, give rise to disablement benefit and so on. Both benefits are, in some sense, at present, under the Secretary of State for Scotland but observe in what sense. Medical benefit is, of course, run through insurance committees and the Secretary of State for Scotland has power to give directions and instructions to insurance committees about this, that and the other matter. Sickness benefit to-day is run through approved societies, and the Secretary of State for Scotland has the right to make rules and regulations concerning approved societies, but the link that ought to be provided by the Secretary of State having ultimate control of both these functions fails in its effect altogether by reason of the fact that he has not got control at the critical point of time.
For instance, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) last week referred to the fact that there were shelves upon shelves of medical reports which were not used, and that is true, because these reports belong to 101 different approved societies and there is no system whereby they communicate either to the Ministry of Health in England or to the Secretary of State for Scotland the conclusions that they ought to draw from the vast mass of statistics which they accumulate. If, for instance, an epidemic is breaking out in one of our great cities in England or Scotland there is no means by which the approved societies can communicate with the Ministry of Health. If there is one area of a town which shows a greater incidence of disease, which may point to bad drains or bad housing conditions, there is no system whereby they communicate in any way with the Ministry of Health or the Secretary of State for Scotland. Those Ministers have to rely for their medical statistics on other methods altogether. They have their own clinics and hospitals. In so far as their own doctors are consulted, information filters through but this great source of potential information, which might be of such enormous value in enabling health visitors to carry out their job, is denied them. Under the new dispensation I 1875 hope that this will happen. If you are to have a co-ordinated system of paying these sickness benefits, which, of course, are paid on the faith of doctors' certificates, I hope we will have a department which will see to it that these statistics are analysed and gone through and checked so that useful information can be obtained, and the department will be run in collaboration between the Minister of National Insurance and the Secretary of State for Scotland, so that we shall be able to give him what he has never been able to have before, the mass of information which comes from the payment of sickness benefit, based, as it must be, on doctors' certificates. It may be found that a large number of people in a particular area, at a particular time, are getting benefits. That would be at once a pointer, and the medical officer would look into it to see what is the matter. That is something which you cannot do to-day.
Therefore, without being able to give details—the details have not yet been worked out—arrangements will be made to enable Scottish business to be settled on the spot with the minimum of reference to the headquarters of the Ministry in London, and that the Ministry in Scotland will keep in the closest touch with the officers of the Secretary of State for Scotland, who is the Minister of Health for Scotland. By no means one of the least important results of paying out these monies will be to enable the Secretary of State to have all the possible information to enable him to perform his part of the concern, that is to say, the medical benefits of treatment and attendance. What I have said about devolution to Scotland of course applies to other areas of England and Wales. I am satisfied that it is only on these lines that this Ministry will be able to function properly and well. I need hardly say that I shall keep in the closest touch with the Secretary of State for Scotland in this matter, and I hope that, from what I have said, the Committee will realise that the Amendment would not enable us to carry out our idea of a unified service.
§ Mr. McKinlay
I must confess to disappointment, for the Minister has not said a word justifying the proposed change. The Bill proposes to transfer to London work which is at the moment efficiently 1876 done in Edinburgh. I am satisfied that the machinery existing in Scotland is ample to give the Secretary of State all the information he wants. Nothing has been said against the present system of the Secretary of State being responsible for old age pensions, widows' and orphans' pensions, and health insurance. The bigger scheme may be more comprehensive, but no one will convince me that the capacity of the Department in Edinburgh is not such that it could not cope with the additional responsibility. We shall have to divide the Committee on this matter because we cannot allow it to go without protest. The devolution indicated by the Minister simply means that whoever is responsible in Scotland will hold only a secondary responsibility, and will be able to do nothing without consulting headquarters in London. It is no narrow nationalism which prompts me to take up this attitude. Scotland has at the moment an efficient machine, and we have been given no adequate reason why it should be scrapped. I am not prepared to put a new engineer in charge of that machine or to agree to putting the Secretary of State in the position of a second engineer who is unable to do anything without reference to remote control in Whitehall. Scottish Members are not going to stand for that, and I hope that my hon. Friends will force the Amendment to a Division.
§ Mr. Rhys Davies
The right hon. and learned Gentleman made a statement a few minutes ago to the effect that the 340 members of the Scottish health insurance staff would remain in Edinburgh to carry on under the new plan. That will be satisfactory to hon. Members representing Scotland, and I would ask him therefore whether the same principle will apply to the staff of the Welsh Board of Health at Cardiff?
§ Mr. Davies
I raised the issue because the right hon. and learned Gentleman mentioned it several times. I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will forgive me saying that he is mistaken in stating that the Ministry of Health does not gather information from approved societies about the health of the people. The Ministry of Health and the Scottish 1877 Board of Health from time to time call upon those societies to give information as to the health of their members, especially in relation to certain categories. I suppose that, on the whole, it will be financially beneficial to the Scottish and Welsh insured population to have a unified scheme for the whole country, but there is no doubt that this Bill is a serious blow against devolution for Scotland and for Wales. Whatever may happen regionally, the whole of this vast insurance business will in the end, for good or ill, be centralised in London.
§ Mr. Thomas Fraser (Hamilton)
In resisting the Amendment, my right hon. and learned Friend dealt with medical benefits and sickness benefits, indicating that the first were benefits in kind and the second payments in cash. He also said that medical benefits were in the hands of the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State for Scotland, whereas sickness benefits were in the hands of the approved societies. He said that he could give Scottish Members some assurance and that the new Ministry of Social Insurance would be able, since they would pay out sickness benefits, to gather all the necessary statistics so as to be able to advise the Minister of Health or the Secretary of State as to where the greatest amount of sickness benefits were being paid out, so that new and increased medical benefits could be given. Surely that was no argument against the Amendment. It was merely saying that where sickness benefits were on the increase, the new Ministry would have such evidence before it that it could send a message post haste to the Secretary of State for Scotland, if the increase was in Scotland, and advise him that something ought to be done by way of improved medical benefits. It seems to me that we are seeking to build up far too unwieldy a machine. It would be better if the payment of sickness benefits remained in the hands of the Secretary of State for Scotland and, instead of being paid through the approved societies, should be paid through local insurance officers under the Secretary of State. He would thus have the statistics in his hands much earlier than he could get them from the new Ministry. My right hon. and learned Friend has not convinced us that the centralisation proposed in the Bill is a good thing. Many of us believe that in the days to come, if we are to build up a 1878 better way of life, we shall have to go in for the process of devolution rather than of centralisation.
§ Mr. Watt (Edinburgh, Central)
There were two points in the right hon. and learned Gentleman's reply. The first was that, if he was not the supreme authority for the United Kingdom in all these matters, things would not work very well. We have plenty of instances in Scotland of powers which are carried out by a Minister in England being carried out by the Secretary of State. I see no reason why, under this scheme, the powers which are exercised by the Minister of National Insurance in England could not be exercised by the Secretary of State for Scotland. Second, the right hon. and learned Gentleman seems to think that if matters were all gathered together in his hands, the great quantity of statistical information could be put to better use than if we had matters carried out in Scotland under the Secretary of State. I do not understand that point. Statistics can be got out and sent to Scotland, and I imagine that the Secretary of State is as well able as any Member of the Government to appreciate statistics and to put them to good use.
§ Mr. Kirkwood (Dumbarton Burghs)
I listened to the Minister trying in his suave manner to get Scottish Members to believe that there was no robbery going on here—robbing Scotland of its independence. Scotland is watching this matter to see how the House will handle the situation. This means that Acts of Parliament that are to apply to England are to apply also to Scotland. We have had to pay the penalty many times of trying to make Acts of Parliament that were intended for England, operate in Scotland. The outstanding case was the Rent Act. I am giving this as an illustration. We have laws of our own in Scotland, we have songs of our own and a language of our own. We are a distinct race. We have a Secretary of State, a Lord Advocate and a Solicitor-General of our own, proving that our laws are not the same laws as those of England. The Rent Act which was passed here provided that any increase must be signed by the owner. That is all right in England, but it does not apply in the same way in Scotland.
In my constituency, Sir Robert McAlpine owned 10,000 houses, and the 1879 rents were dealt with by a factor. It was the factor who signed and not the owner. We challenged that. We brought it to the House of Lords, and we won, so that the people in Scotland had the right to retain the rent for nine months because it was illegal and because it had been signed, not by the owner of the houses but by the factor. That is an outstanding instance of how the laws differ between Scotland and England, and I do not want the same thing to happen here. I am not putting in a special plea on behalf of the present Secretary of State; I am putting in a plea for Scotland; and I say we are not going to be relegated to second place to England. That is what is being done to-day. It is being done in a nice fashion, but the same arguments have been put forward time and again over the last 20 years when attempts have been made to tie Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, to London. I hope that the Scottish Members will divide the Committee on the question.
§ 3.0 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
While being very appreciative of the way in which the right hon. Gentleman, the Minister-Designate, approached the question, I cannot say that he has brought complete conviction either to my heart or to the hearts of other hon. Members sitting on these benches. What was his chief argument? It was that we were moving over from the approved societies, which he said had not been affected by the new position. That is to say, the matter has been changed from a functional to a geographical basis. The administration is now to be on a geographical basis. It is true that in the past the Secretary of State has not received all the aid he might have done from the approved societies, though he has the power to call for such aid or information, and, in many cases, has called for it. My hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton (Mr. Fraser) said that when the Secretary of State wishes to do so, he can call on the approved societies for the information he desires, and the fact that he has not done so, up to the present, is not an argument against the machine. We all know that in a change-over of this kind new contacts are picked up and existing channels of information are destroyed. In spite of everything, I think we shall have to register our views. We 1880 cannot accept the explanation given as completely satisfactory.
§ Mr. Gallacher
In Scotland there is a very strong desire for a continual advance in the administration that exists, towards further powers that will give us an opportunity for representation of our own. In connection with this matter it is proposed to take away certain powers from Scotland, instead of giving powers to Scotland. I would particularly call the attention of Welsh Members who are making a fight for a Welsh Department to this position. It is important that they should know it. I would ask them to consider how serious it is, when everybody feels that there should be this development, that, instead of extending the functions of the administration, the opportunity should be taken on a Bill of this kind to limit the administrative powers of the Scottish Department. I would appeal not only to Welsh Members, but to English Members also who have, for a considerable time, suffered as subjects of a sort of dependency of Scotland, or claimed to be oppressed by the Scottish influx into England, to realise the importance, even for England, of the greatest possible measure of administrative power being maintained and extended in Scotland. I am certain the Welsh Members will see the importance of supporting this Amendment, but I would ask the English Members to realise the importance and the value, from the point of view of the whole administration of this country, of ensuring that the greatest measure of administrative power is left in the Scottish Department.
§ Commander Galbraith (Glasgow, Pollok)
I have listened very intently to this Debate, and I think I can claim to be just as good a Scotsman as any other hon. Member who has spoken. I am wondering whether we are not being led astray by this nationalistic spirit of which so many hon. Members have spoken. I think the only criterion by which we should judge this situation is that of efficiency. Is the new set-up going to be more efficient than the old set-up? I cannot see that we are going to get any increase in efficiency by dividing this business in two. I feel also that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State would never have agreed to this scheme if he had not been convinced in his own heart that this was the efficient and proper way. From that point of view, I rather doubt 1881 whether by dividing on this question we should be doing the correct thing in the interests of the country as a whole. Therefore, I ask my hon. Friends to regard the matter more from the efficiency point of view than from the nationalistic point of view.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards (Caerphilly)
I have been induced to rise to my feet by the efforts of my hon. Friend the Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher). His plea to Welshmen has brought me to my feet. The point now being argued is that we are in a reconstructive period of social insurance—national insurace as it may now be called—that there shall be pockets within the country controlled by a Minister other than the Minister responsible. I thought my hon. Friends from Scotland would have been convinced by their past experience. They ought to have known that supplementary pensioners in Scotland under the present system get, on an average, 2s. a week less than supplementary pensioners in England and Wales. I wonder how far that is due to this administration once removed from the general direction. I want to submit that if we are to have one department in Scotland and to have, perhaps, in the dim distant future, some other department in another part, it means that we shall have three departments controlling this national social insurance with, as it well may be, three different standards—three different rates of benefit for the same contribution. All that is bound to arise if we departmentalise this national scheme. I know of no Welsh remedy for poverty and I know of no Scotch remedy for poverty. I am not interested in nationalism of any sort. I am amazed that my hon. Friend should take up such a reactionary point of view.
I take the view that here is a system which places upon every citizen in this country the same obligation, irrespective of contributions. In respect of those contributions, every citizen, whether he is in Wales, Scotland or England, is entitled to the same standard of benefit and to the same efficient service. That can be given only if the scheme is controlled from one centre. If it is to be controlled from three centres there will be three different standards of benefit, three different systems of working the scheme, and three different rates of reward to the people employed. I hope that the Amendment 1882 will not be pressed because, so far as I can see, a case for it has not been made out.
§ 3.15 p.m.
§ Mr. McKinlay
I do not like to hear my hon. Friend from Wales talking about the case not having been made out. One might at least expect that the case should be listened to before it is condemned. I am satisfied that my hon. Friend never heard the case put up for the Amendment and did not hear the Minister's reply. We are not asking for anything in addition, but simply that the administration of pensions and national health insurance in Scotland should remain as it is at the moment.
§ Mr. McKinlay
The case is that it is a more efficient method of administration. If my hon. Friend can find any consolation in remote control by a Government Department, he is about the only Member who can. We are asking that the system which by its efficiency justifies its retention within the framework—
§ Mr. McKinlay
I am not discussing the rates of benefit, and I am surprised that the Deputy-Chairman permitted my hon. Friend to make that intervention. It is not the Scottish Office which determines the U.A.B., which is not under the jurisdiction of the Scottish Office. If there is a disparity, as my hon. Friend suggests, the responsibility does not lie in Edinburgh. One would think, to hear my hon. Friend, that we were asking for something based upon a narrow Scottish nationalism. We are simply asking that the efficient machine in Edinburgh should be utilised for the purpose of administering the new scheme. If my hon. Friend had been in and heard the Minister, he would have heard him make the promise of devolution, of opening offices in Edinburgh or using the existing offices, and of putting a new engineer in charge. All we say is that the people in charge of this service at the moment in Edinburgh, and in Scotland, are the most efficient people to deal with it, without in any way interfering with the autonomy of either England, Wales, or Scotland, or without even postulating that you can cure 1883 poverty by a narrow nationalism. We know all those things, and we do not want to be lectured on them. I certainly object to a Member coming in when a Debate is half-way through and saying that no case has been made out, when he never heard the case. I am satisfied that if he had heard the Minister's reply he is honest enough to have admitted that the Minister-Designate never replied to the case that was put at all.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
On a point of Order. My hon, Friend persists in making the statement that I have not heard the case made out. I want to point out that I have heard five or six hon. Members speak, and that it was at the invitation of one of my hon. Friend's own colleagues, a Member for Scotland, that a Welsh Member arose. Surely he is misrepresenting the position.
§ The Deputy-Chairman (Mr. Charles Williams)
That is not a point of Order; neither is it in Order for an hon. Member, because he complains that another hon. Member has not been here to listen to his previous arguments, to endeavour to repeat them to the Committee.
§ Mr. McKinlay
I am not suggesting that my hon. Friend did not hear my eloquence on a previous occasion. By his own words, he conveyed the impression that he did not know what we were discussing. He implied that we are asking for something new when, as a matter of fact, we are simply asking that the power which we have in Scotland should be left to us. That is all.
§ Commander Galbraith
Is not the hon. Member rather assuming that the whole procedure as it exists to-day will be broken up? Is it not rather the case that the system will remain, but instead of hav-
§ ing two captains to run the ship there will be only one?
§ Mr. McKinlay
I do not think there will be an extra first mate or an extra second mate. I have had sufficient experience of the Department in Edinburgh, and as a member of a local authority, to know that it is a backward step to try to set up an administration without the power to take decisions. The hon. and gallant Member who interrupted me is an old naval commander. He knows that if a sub. took a decision involving the safety of the ship without consulting my hon. and gallant Friend there would be hell to pay. I have been a seaman myself and I know what happens when there are too many bosses. If we have too many bosses administering the scheme the result will be the same. The Minister's suggestion of devolution frightens me if it means that when district or regional complaints have to be dealt with there will be nobody in power to take a decision other than at Whitehall.
I have already said that Whitehall frightens me even by the look of it. If you want to contact the Minister you can do it within two hours in Scotland, but if you want to do it in London—well, one is lucky to find the Minister in London. One may have to go to Paris, Moscow or Washington. If he is in London, by the time one has got all the flunkeys, doorkeepers and side-steppers out of the way, the day is finished. We intend to divide the Committee on this matter, which is not one of narrow nationalism but of sheer, practical politics. I ask for as big a measure of support for the Amendment as we can muster.
Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 221; Noes, 26.1885
|Division No. 45.]||AYES.||[3.20 p.m.|
|Agnew, Comdr. P. G.||Bossom, A. C.||Cadogan, Major Sir E.|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Boulton, Sir W. W.||Campbell, Dermot (Antrim)|
|Apsley, Lady||Bower, Norman (Harrow)||Cary, R. A.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R.||Bower, Comdr. R. T. (Cleveland)||Castlereagh, Viscount|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Braithwaite, Major A. N. (Buckrose)||Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Broad, F. A.||Charleton, H. C.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Brocklebank, Sir C. E. R.||Chater, D.|
|Barstow, P. G.||Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Clarke, Colonel R. S.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P.||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Cluse, W. S.|
|Beauchamp, Sir B. C.||Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Cobb, Captain E. C.|
|Batch, Major F. W.||Bullock, Capt. M.||Colegate, W. A.|
|Beechman, N. A.||Burden, T. W.||Collindridge, F.|
|Benson, G.||Burke, W. A.||Colman, N. C. D.|
|Blair, Sir R.||Burton, Col. H. W.||Conant, Major R. J. E.|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Hynd, J. B.||Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton|
|Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.||Isaacs, G. A.||Price, M. P.|
|Craven-Ellis, W.||Jackson, W. F.||Profumo, Colonel J. D.|
|Critchley, A.||James, Wing-Com. A. (Well'borough)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Crooke, Sir J. Smedley||Jarvis, Sir J. J.||Raikes, H. V. A. M.|
|Crowder, Capt. J. F. E.||Jeffreys, Gen. Sir G. D.||Ramsden, Sir E.|
|Culverwell, C. T.||Jewson, P. W.||Reakes, G. L. (Wallasey)|
|Cundiff, F. W.||John, W.||Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)|
|De Chair, S. S.||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T. (Stl'g & C'gm'n)||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Denville, Alfred||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Richards, R.|
|Donner, Squadron-Leader P. W.||Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.||Robertson, D. (Streatham)|
|Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G.||Keatinge, Major E. M.||Robertson, Rt. Hn. Sir M. A. (M'cham)|
|Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury)||Keir, Mrs. Cazalet||Ross Taylor, W.|
|Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Kendall, W. D.||Russell, Sir A. (Tynemouth)|
|Dugdale, John (W. Bromwich)||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Salt, E. W.|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. (Kens'gt'n, N.)||Kerr, Sir John Graham (Scottish U's)||Salter, Dr. A. (Bermondsey, W.)|
|Dunn, E.||Kimball, Major L.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|Eccles, D. M.||Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F.||Savory, Professor D. L.|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Lamb, Sir J. O.||Schuster, Sir G. E.|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.||Scott, Lord William (Ro'b'h & Selkirk)|
|Edwards Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Liddall, W. S.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||Linstead, H. N.||Sidney, Major W. P.|
|Emmett, C. E. G. C.||Lipson, D. L.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Little, Dr. J. (Down)||Smith, E. P. (Ashford)|
|Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Lloyd Major E. G. R. (Renfrew, E.)||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Etherton, Ralph||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Ladywood)||Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir D. B.|
|Everard, Sir W. Lindsay||Loftus, P. C.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Fermoy, Lord||Longhurst, Captain H. C.||Storey, S.|
|Fleming, Squadron-Leader E. L.||Lucas, Major Sir J. M.||Stourton, Hon. J. J.|
|Foster, W.||Lyle, Sir C. E. Leonard||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Galbraith, Comdr. T. D.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Gammans, Capt. L. D.||McCorquodale, Malcolm S.||Strickland, Capt. W. F.|
|Gibbons, Lt.-Col. W. E.||McEntee, V. La T.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Gibson, Sir C. G.||Magnay, T.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F|
|Glanville, J. E.||Makins, Brig.-Gen. Sir E.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Gluckstein, Col. L. H.||Manning, C. A. G.||Sykes, Maj-Gen. Rt. Hon. Sir F. H.|
|Glyn, Sir R. G. C.||Manningham-Buller, R. E.||Tate, Mrs. Mavis C.|
|Gower, Sir R. V.||Mathers, G.||Taylor, Major C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Graham, Captain A. C.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)|
|Grant-Ferris, Wing Commander R.||Molson, A. H. E||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir T. C. R.||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Gretton, J. F.||Morrison, Major J. G. (Salisbury)||Thorne, W.|
|Gridley, Sir A. B.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Tinker, J. J.|
|Grigg, Sir E. W. M. (Altrincham)||Morrison, R. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Touche, G. C.|
|Grimston, R. V. (Westbury)||Mott-Radclyffe, Capt. C. E.||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Groves, T. E.||Murray, J. D. (Spennymoor)||Turton, R. H.|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Islington, N.)||Nall, Sir J.||Walkden, E. (Doncaster)|
|Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)||Neal, H.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Hammersley, S. S.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Watt, Brig. G. S. Harvie (Richmond)|
|Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Nicholson, G. (Farnham)||Wayland, Sir W. A.|
|Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Nicolson, Hon. H. G. (Leicester, W.)||White, H. (Derby, N.E.)|
|Henderson, J. J. Craik (Leeds, N.E.)||Nield, Major B. E.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W. (Blaydon)|
|Hepburn, Major P. G. T. Buchan-||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H.||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Hepworth, J.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.||Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Pearson, A.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Hogg, Hon. Q. McG.||Petherick, M.||York, Major C.|
|Holmes, J. S.||Peto, Major B. A. J.||Young, Major A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Hudson, Sir A. (Hackney, N.)||Pilkington, Captain R. A.|
|Hulbert, Wing-Commander N. J.||Plugge, Capt. L. F.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:—|
|Hunter, Sir T.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||Mr. Pym and Mr. Drewe.|
|Hutchison, Lt.-Com. G. I. C. (E'burgh)||Power, Sir J. C.|
|Acland, Sir R. T. D.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Thomas, Dr. W. S. Russell (S'thm'tn)|
|Beattie, F. (Cathcart)||Hubbard, T. F.||Viant, S. P.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Kirkwood, D.||Watt, F. C. (Edinburgh Cen.)|
|Cove, W. G.||Lawson, H. M. (Skipton)||Webbe, Sir W. Harold|
|Daggar, G.||Leslie J. R.||White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Davies, Clement (Montgomery)||MacLaren, A.||White, H. Graham (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Maclean, N. (Govan)|
|Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W. (Rochdale)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:—|
|Gallacher, W.||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham (St. M.)||Lieut.-Colonel Elliot and|
|Hardie, Mrs. Agnes||Thomas, I. (Keighley)||Mr. McKinlay.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. Rhys Davies
We have just had a Division on a point in Clause 1, and I hope I may be permited to ask the right 1886 hon. and learned Gentleman one or two specific questions on the Clause itself. I think it is worth repeating that the insured population in Scotland and Wales will be better off financially by being included in a unified scheme rather than if Wales, 1887 England and Scotland were placed in separate sections. But what worries some of us—and perhaps the right hon. and learned Gentleman will be able to enlighten us on this—is whether the administration and determinations on claims, apart from the collection of contributions and the actual payment of benefits, will be dealt with on a regional basis in Scotland, and the same applies to Wales, of course. I would not like, for instance, to see the Scottish region centred in Carlisle or the Welsh region centred in Bristol or Liverpool.
§ 3.30 p.m.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I cannot see how any Minister could possibly answer the hon. Member on this Clause, because the question of Wales does not arise on it, so far as I can understand.
§ Mr. Davies
I do not want to challenge your Ruling, Mr. Williams, but when the right hon. and learned Gentleman takes over the whole of the insurance scheme, including Wales, he must cover the Welsh Board of Health which is now within the Ministry of Health. The whole of the insured population of Wales now come under the Ministry of Health, and the right hon. and learned Gentleman's new Department takes them over in due course.
§ Sir W. Jowitt
The new Department takes over a particular part—sickness benefit and medical benefit—but if the Welsh Board of Health is responsible for medical benefit, the Welsh Board of Health will remain in the position of the Ministry of Health.
§ Mr. Davies
When the right hon. and learned Gentleman's Department takes over some of the functions of the Ministry of Health he is taking over the Welsh Board of Health at the same time.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I must stick to my point. In the general matter, Scotland has a separate administration. Wales may have for one particular benefit, but it is not separate in the same way as Scotland is. Therefore, we cannot discuss Wales as a separate unit for all these things which are being taken over.
§ Mr. Davies
Then I want to raise the case of Scotland—and my arguments will apply equally to Wales. The hon. Mem- 1888 ber for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards) will appreciate the argument in favour of retaining administration in Scotland better if I put it this way. Many approved societies include members from Scotland but their central offices are in England. For illustration nearly all the large friendly approved societies are in Manchester. A large number of trade union approved societies have their central administration in Manchester and London. A great number of these approved societies which the right hon. and learned Gentleman is taking over have members in Scotland, and that in spite of the fact that their offices are in England. When he establishes his new scheme he can, if he wishes, regard Scotland for the first time as a region on its own.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I must remind the Committee that we have already discussed this matter very fully. I am perfectly sure that we cannot discuss devolution again on the question "That the Clause stand part," and particularly not on this Clause.
§ Mr. Davies
All I wanted to know was whether there will be a regional office in Scotland—I think I am entitled to discuss that—and whether that regional office, under the right hon. and learned Gentleman's new Department, will be situated in Edinburgh, as is the case with the Scottish Board of Health at present. I hope that I shall be able to discuss a similar position in regard to Wales at a later stage.
§ Mr. Graham White
I and my hon. Friends very cordially welcome this Bill, and especially this Clause. We particularly welcome paragraph (b), under whichthe functions of the Minister of Labour and National Service with respect to unemployment insurance and unemployment assistanceare taken over by the new Minister. The cordiality of our welcome will be increased if advantage can be taken of this occasion to deal with the anomalous constitutional position of the Unemployment Assistance Board.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
The hon. Gentleman is now trying to discuss an 1889 Amendment which was ruled out because it was out of Order. It is certainly not in Order to discuss the Unemployment Assistance Board.
§ Mr. White
I am not sufficiently new to the procedure of the House not to know that that was a device that one should not employ. But this is a matter to which we attach great importance. Unless there is an opportunity to discuss it, we shall seek the opportunity, on this Bill and on every other occasion which presents itself, to make clear our views.
§ Mr. Tinker
Am I to take it that the Minister will be able to deal with all questions arising from supplementary pensions, and that on such matters we should put our points to him?
§ Sir W. Jowitt indicated assent.
§ Mr. Neil Maclean (Glasgow, Govan)
Are we to take it from that indication that all these matters, in relation to Scotland, pass under the control of the new Ministry, and that that Ministry will take over all such matters, which now have to be taken up with the Secretary of State for Scotland?
§ Sir W. Jowitt
That is so. The Bill enables all these matters to be transferred to the new Minister.
§ Mr. Maclean
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that that is a breach of the Treaty of Union with Scotland? Are the Government going to break treaties as Germany did?
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
What I am anxious about is whether the administration of pensions will be completely under the jurisdiction of the new Minister and will not be dealt with outside his Department. Can I have satisfaction on that point? There is a second point. Are we to take it that in each area a regional administration will be established, and that what the Minister really will do is to expand that regional type of administration to carry out the functions that are delegated to him by this Clause?
§ Sir W. Jowitt
One must be careful in using the word "regional," because it has awkward connotations in some people's minds, but in the sense in which the hon. Member used the word, the answer is, yes. The new Minister will have regional organisations in various parts of the 1890 country. With regard to the other question, on the main Bill we shall have to discuss the position which we cannot discuss to-day, namely, the relationship that the new Minister will have with the Assistance Board. I cannot anticipate that; it is a major matter which will have to be considered then. But, in so far as supplementary pensions are under Ministerial control, they will, of course, come under the control of the new Minister—that is, without prejudice to the question, that we have to discuss, of what the relationship of the Assistance Board and the new Minister will be.
Question, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.