§ Mr. J. Griffiths
I beg to move, in page 52, line 21, to leave out from "section,"To the end of line z6, and to insert:(a) shall not proceed on any consideration of the financial resources of the applicant or persons connected with him; but(b) subject to the foregoing paragraph, shall have regard—There may be, later, a desire for a wider discussion on this Clause. There will also be a discussion on an alternative to Clause 62 which is being proposed from the benches opposite, so I will content myself, in moving this Amendment, with a brief explanation of it. In referring to Clause 62 on Second Reading I made it clear that the Government's intention was that when the claims of applicants were considered under this Clause by the tribunal, the tribunal was not authorised or entitled or empowered in any way to apply any kind of means test or needs test: I was urged by my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) particularly, and by other lion. Members, to look at this Clause again. They had some fear that the wording of the Clause, as it appeared in the Bill originally, would permit the tribunal to exercise some kind of means test or needs test. I said I would look at the wording of the Clause again, and that if I was advised that there was any doubt, I would make the necessary changes. I made changes in Committee, but there was still some lingering doubts. I do not think that they were fully justified, but to avoid any kind of doubt I decided to change the form of words again, and make it abundantly clear that no means test or needs test could be applied. I hope that we are now all satisfied that the wording of the Clause, as it will be, with this Amendment, puts the matter beyond any kind of doubt.
- (i) to the particular circumstances of the applicant, including the industrial conditions in the district where he ordinarily resides; and
§ Mr. S. Silverman
I should like to say how grateful I am to my right hon. Friend for the great care he has taken in the wording of the Amendment which he has now proposed. The Clause as originally 369 drafted did not merely make it possible but inevitable that the local tribunal would have to apply a means test. The Amendment which my right hon. Friend moved in Committee went far to remove that apprehension, but he did not go quite all the way. I freely acknowledge that the Amendment now before the Committee removes any possibility whatever of applying a means test or a needs test of any kind in those cases in which a recommendation is made by the local tribunal. That does not mean that we have got rid of the means test as applied to unemployment relief under this Bill. I do not want to enter upon that subject now. It is part of a much larger question. I want to express my thanks to my right hon. Friend for having made it perfectly clear that the local tribunal, in considering whether it will make recommendations or not, shall not have regard to any kind of means test or needs test.
§ Mr. Molson (The High Peak)
I am obliged to the Minister for making it quite plain that the whole of this issue will be open for discussion at a later stage where we have put down an alternative Clause. We recognise this is giving effect to a Clause with which we do not entirely agree, but it is an improvement in drafting.
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause,"put, and negatived
§ Question proposed, That those words be there inserted."
§ 5.45 P.m.
§ Mr. Stephen
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment. in line 4, to leave outThe particular circumstances of the applicant, includingI appreciate very much the way in which the Minister has met the objection with regard to the means test in this matter. I ask him to go a little bit further, because I am anxious about the effect this will have in the future in dealing with these cases. There are very serious possibilities in regard to the provision about "not genuinely seeking work."If hon. Members look at the Bill they will see that there are certain qualifications which a person has to fulfil. I ask the Minister what other qualifications he could insert with regard to an applicant for benefit after he has received his 370 180 day's benefit? Capability and availability for work are qualifications which the applicant has to satisfy before he gets benefit. Is anything more necessary than that in considering the circumstances of the applicant? It may he said, "But this person has been unemployed for so long that it becomes an urgent matter to consider whether he should not take training." Already the court of referees could have imposed the condition of training upon the applicant. As far as I can see, with regard to an applicant satisfying conditions, there is nothing whatever that is not already provided for under the old statutory conditions In discussing this matter, the Minister has said:I am trying to decide exactly what form the tribunal will take. It must be a tribunal, of course, that will weed out what I think will be a very small minority of anti-social people.I was here when the 1924 Act was passed. I am basing my appeal to the Minister upon my past experience of unemployment insurance administration. Always there was a good case put up to Members of this House. Nobody wanted people who were not genuinely seeking work to receive benefit. That seems reasonable. Also the statement was made that the court of referees would be people who knew the applicants. They would be people drawn from the same district and nominated by the trade unions. There was every protection. What happened after all that protection? As the Minister himself has said:Whatever may have been the intention of Parliament the thing became a complete farce in operation. I can assure the Committee that calling a man before a tribunal and asking him, "What time did you get up this morning; where did you go to look for work?"In the circumstances of Merthyr or Tonypandy, was complete nonsense, and anyone who has had experience will agree with me. The Chairman of the tribunal and the employers' representatives knew it was a silly farce, and so did everyone else."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee A, 3rd April, 1946; c. 508.]He says they knew it was a farce, and so did everyone else. But thousands upon thousands of people were refused benefit because of that farce.
§ Mr. Stephen
In the consideration of particular circumstances no Committee is going to be in a position where they,can 371 say that a person should not receive benefit under the conditions which applied previously with regard to "not genuinely seeking work." When we abolished "not genuinely seeking work" we put in the objective test that the exchange should have the right to give the person concerned a definite instruction to go to a certain place. If he did that, then he was genuinely seeking work. We had a fearful fight on this matter and all sorts of compromises were made; but the minority Labour Government, in which the present Minister played a very effective part, decided that this matter had to be made perfectly definite by an objective test I appeal to the Minister. I want it to be made plain to the Committee that the Minister of National Insurance has no intention of allowing any repetition of the old position. No one would be more horrified than he at the suggestion that there should be a possibility; but, in the words as they stand, the possibility is there. Speaking from my own experience, I can say that when we give a committee the power to decide, when they can ask an applicant questions as to the state of his mind and so on, there is a danger, unless it depends upon an objective test, as it does with regard to the previous 180 days' benefit. I ask the Minister to take these words out altogether and simply apply the previous statutory qualifications as the condition with regard to benefit.
I know it may be said, "But you have got to consider the particular circumstances of the applicant in relation to the industrial situation in his particular district." After this period during which he has drawn benefit, we have to consider whether, at this stage, training might not be something which is very necessary in the interests of the applicant, but that can be done without putting in the words, "shall have regard to the particular circumstances," which give to the Minister the right to bring in subjective tests. I say to the Minister: "Do not do anything that creates the possibility of giving the tribunals the right to apply a subjective test to the individual—something with regard to his state of mind." I would remind the Committee, in this connection, that, when individuals appear before a committee—and many of these people are poor people who never had very much opportunity in life—they are 372 just in a state of terror when somebody asks them a question. They are practically frightened; they do not know what they are saying. They are almost on trial for their lives, and all of us who have had experience of unemployment insurance administration—and the Minister knows it as well as I do—know that they are just in a dither when they appear before a court of referees and do not know what they are saying, and so out they go.
I want to make it absolutely certain that a statutory power given to the Minister is not also given to the tribunals to enable them to apply new tests in this way. There are those tests which have been proved by experience to have worked in a certain measure of fairness, and which have satisfied the unemployed, to a certain extent, in the past, but, if we are going to impose something else, it will be very unsatisfactory. The training is already there, in the present statutory qualifications which the individual must have, and, indeed, he may have to leave his own district and go to another, and that possibility is also covered in the present qualifications. As the court of referees has also got power to decide in that way with regard to his benefit, what is there that is to be done that is new in this way that cannot already be considered under the old qualifications? I would also caution the Minister, when he is considering this new form of extended benefit, to be very careful about the particular circumstances of the individual. In regard to the movement of people about the country, we have a big housing problem, and I would remind the Minister of the fearful difficulty which arises when an ordinary working class person in these circumstances has to shift from one part of the country to another. As I see it, this is only going to apply for five years, but, in those five years, there will be plenty of difficulties, without adding to them. I therefore appeal to the Minister to accept this Amendment. I know that he has no intention of imposing, through the regulations that will be made by mm, power on the tribunal to consider the particular circumstances of the individual. He is not proposing that, and I take it that he has no intention of giving to the tribunal the power to say, "We do not like the look of this fellow, and do not think he has really been as anxious for work as he 373 ought to have been; we will not recommend benefit at this stage."
I would also remind the Minister that, while one Government may pass a Statute, another Government may have the administration of it afterwards, and that another Minister might give a different interpretation to it. Consequently, I have felt very strongly that the Minister should take a different way of dealing with this matter than by reference to the particular circumstances of the individual. The Government have felt it necessary to introduce extended benefit under this Clause, but I cannot, for the life of me, see why they should have hedged it around in this way. Let their administration, under present conditions, be carried on as it has been carried on fairly with regard to the workers, and let the State take the responsibility for extended benefit during these periods. That, as I understand it, has always been the point of view of the working class movement, and I am moving this Amendment in order to make the plea to the Minister that he should reconsider this whole question, and, in introducing his extended benefit, face the situation by using the powers that have ahead), been given and which have proved, in the administration of them, to have been comparatively fair to the unemployed.
§ Mr. Blyton (Houghton-le-Spring)
I hope the Government will not accept this Amendment. This question was debated at full length in the Standing Committee. when the Minister gave a temporary assurance that this proposal did not mean the resurrection of the old Clause. If we, on this side of the Committee, had though- that it meant that, none of us would ever have supported the Minister in the Committee, and I believe that the Minister himself, who had to deal with this particular issue during his time as a miners' official, would not be prepared to see that old Clause resurrected. But it is necessary that words of this character should be embodied in this Clause. We have in the unemployment market today men who are sick persons, who have been able to get a certificate indicating fitness to do light work, and, because it has meant the difference between getting 16s. a week sick pay, as against 40s. a week unemployment benefit, we find these men signing the unemployment 374 book, although not fit for work in the ordinary way.
If these men are to be fitted into employment under this new Act, and I hope u will try to bring these broken men back into industry, we have to take care that the tribunals, which will be the custodians of the man's safety, will be able to say that the job which is offered by the employment officer is one which they consider the man to be incapable of doing, because of his state of health. There is also the question of the light work compensation men whom the industry have discarded at, may be, a compensation of 225. a week. They are not able to take their place in the labour market. During the war I sat on committees which dealt with hundreds of such men and even when labour was badly needed in this country we could not fit them into any occupation because they were so incapacitated. Therefore, when the men apply for extended benefit and are offered jobs, the tribunals are entitled to take into consideration their particular circumstances and to consider whether the jobs offered are suitable in the light of their disabilities.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Stephen
Under the present statutory conditions, the committees can do that at the present time.
§ Mr. Blyton
The court of referees at the present time can only deal with what is known as "suitable employment." What we are dealing with now is an entirely different matter. We are dealing with men applying for extended benefit and whether they can be fitted into industry or not. The Clause is a splendid safeguard for the man himself when the tribunal has dealt with him because it deals with his physical condition. In addition, there are the soldiers who have come out of this war with disability pensions. They have to be fitted into industry and, if the particular circumstances are taken into consideration, I consider that they are protected far more by the tribunal than they have been in the past by the court of referees who have to decide on the basis of whether it be suitable employment or not for a particular man. It is no use blinking the fact that there are two conditions which will have to be fulfilled in the operation of extended benefit. First, the man will have to prove that he is capable and available for work and, 375 secondly, there will have to be a willingness to work, Knowing what this particular Clause means, I think it is to the advantage of the man himself, when applying for extended benefit, that these particular words should be left in the Clause.
§ Mr. Elector Hughes
I wish to support the argument of the hon. Member for Houghton-le-Spring (Mr. Blyton), and I hope that the Amendment of the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) will not be accepted. The hon. Member directed the whole of his argument to paragraph (b) of the Minister's proposed Amendment. He regarded it in the light of a means test.
§ Mr. Hughes
It seemed to me that he overlooked the words in paragraph (a):shall not proceed on any consideration of the financial resources of the applicant or persons connected with him…I venture to think that had he had regard to those words he would not have propounded the argument which, in fact, he did propound.
§ Mr. Cove (Aberavon)
I have been in this House for about 20 years and have listened to Debate after Debate on unemployment issues and the conditions which govern unemployment benefit. One or two of the speeches made by hon. Members on this side of the Committee remind me of those Debates. I say, quite frankly, that I do not share the blasting scepticism of the ordinary workers which seems to have come from the benches behind me. I have realised, as my hon. Friends realise, the utter futility of trying to lay down any strict conditions and regulations about this matter. The real issue, as a matter of fact, does not lie with the Amendment of my hon. Friends opposite; the real issue is whether we are to have Clause 12 or not, and whether or not an unemployed man is to be continued in benefit. Therefore, I do not think we ought to waste time in discussing the niceties that arise out of this Amendment. I would ask the movers of this Amendment to withdraw it. It will not effect what we want to effect, and it will still leave difficulties. I hope that its withdrawal will facilitate the passage of the Bill so that we may get on quickly 376 with what is the real issue--whether Clause 12 shall stand intact as it is. Therefore, I make my appeal to my hon. Friends opposite to withdraw the Amendment in order to allow us to get on with the major issue.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
I do not propose at this stage to enter at great length into a discussion on Clause 12 and its operation. I do not wish to repeat the same thing all over again. The hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen)—whose sincerity in making his speech I fully acknowledge—has put forward a number of suggestions of what I propose to do. I made it abundantly clear on the Committee stage that I had no intention of doing those things. I hope he will withdraw the Amendment and will appreciate that this Clause is a regulating Clause and that the tribunal will have the regulation before them. Having regard to what I said in Committee I hope the hon. Member for Camlachie is now satisfied that his fears are completely unwarranted and that I have cleared up the point.
§ Mr. McGovern
I cannot claim that the speech of the Minister has satisfied the demand of the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) and myself on this point, and I disagree entirely with the hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove) who suggested that the Amendment should be withdrawn, because its purpose could be defeated and this regulation would be there to be applied in the circumstances. Very often people in this House have shirked one issue and have afterwards said, "We should have divided; we should have opposed this issue. Now we have lost both."I think it is better, therefore, to treat both of them with proper respect. I should be amazed if anybody in this Committee was not prepared to pay tribute to the Minister and Under-Secretary for their desire to do the right thing. But during my 16 years in this House, I have heard Ministers speaking at the Box; I once heard a former Colonial Secretary telling of the great good there would be under regulations dealing with unemployment. When he was warned of what might happen under those regulations, he said, with all the assurance possible, that instead of having money taken away from them, people would receive£4,500,000 in benefit. Then the storm broke loose. The Act had to be altered and the regulations 377 destroyed and rearranged which made fools of the Members of this House—who are supposed to be the custodians of justice—who accepted assurances from Ministers and did not insist on the regulations to be applied being considered by this House.
Therefore, although I believe the Minister means well, I recall that I have heard it said, time and time again, in hardship courts and before umpires, "We are not interested in what the Minister said in the House; we are interested in what is in the Act." It is true that an umpire decides on the point at issue and that it is possible to go to appeal, but the important thing is what appears in the Act, and if something cannot be explained properly then there must be something wrong with it. Why cannot the circumstances of the applicants be explained in simple words? If the intention of the Bill is to give power to legal men to interpret in their own way and say, "Our interpretation is that we have the right to consider all the circumstances, and, in our estimation, the circumstances are that you are not seeking work and, therefore, we disqualify you entirely," and if the Bill places powers in the hands of courts of referees, we in this Committee are entitled to see that in the Act of Parliament the fullest protection is given to the individual, if we are what we claim to be—the custodians of even the lowest person in the country.
On numerous occasions I have heard it said, "The Minister would not be so mean as to do this."It does not depend on the Minister's desire, although I would add that I would place more reliance on the desire of the present Minister than of some of the Tories if they had the same position. But, realising the desire of the Minister to give the utmost protection to the individual, let us be sure that the utmost protection is given and that by no misuse of words in a court of referees shall the Act be interpreted to the disadvantage of the individual.
The hon. Member for Camlachie referred to these people who go before the courts. I have attended hardship committees and courts of referees, and afterwards I have said to some of the applicants, "Why did you give the answer you gave? You completely gave away your case." Very often, they have said 378 something that is not true and they would say to me, "I do not remember saying that."They were in such a state of nervous excitement that they did not know what they were saying. I want this Bill to provide the utmost protection for the individual so that he obtains benefit if he is entitled to it. It must be proved that a person does not desire work. A man should be offered a job; if he is not given a job he has got to have unemployment benefit—[Interruption.] The hon. and learned Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Hector Hughes) did not even know what was being discussed. I hope he will pardon me, as a layman, saying that, but it would have been far better if he had not intervened at all instead of voicing approval of something which he did not understand. If he had more experience of the working of these Acts—
§ Mr. Hector Hughes
I suggest that it is obvious that the hon. Member did not understand my argument.
§ Mr. McGovern
I admit that, and I would be amazed if anybody else understood it I ask new Members not to approve things which they do not understand, and to be very careful in supporting an Amendment merely because it comes from a Member of their own party or in opposing an Amendment because it conies from a minority voice, because very often a minority voice has reason behind it. Knowing the intentions of the Government and believing in the intentions of the Minister, I ask him to take out these obnoxious words, which are not only undesirable but which can be misinterpreted, because it is not wise to insert words which are capable of misinterpretation.
§ 6.15 p.m.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
I do not wish to detain the Committee, but I want to explain why I cannot support this Amendment. I am not speaking as a new Member, although I am not as old a Member as the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) so far as this problem is concerned. I agree with the approach to this question of the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen), the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) and my hon. Friend the Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove), but I would re-echo the appeal to the hon. Member to withdraw this Amendment because even if it were 379 accepted he would achieve nothing. My right hon. Friend can still make regulations, and so could any other Minister who succeeded him. The evil in this matter is not these half dozen words. The evil is that in the very first all-inclusive scheme of social insurance designed to remove freedom from want, the Government have thought fit to introduce discriminations between one kind of genuine unemployed person and another kind of genuine unemployed person. The way to tackle that problem is to tackle the whole of Clause 62 and, ultimately, to tackle Clause 12, because all these matters arise out of the original decision, in conflict with Beveridge and in conflict with the policy of this party for a quarter of a century, to impose a time limit in regard to unemployment benefit and social insurance. Every one of the anomalies, evils, injustices and inequalities of which the hon. Gentleman so eloquently reminded us will either happen under the regulations or they will not. They can still happen or not happen, whether these words are included or not.
The reason why I think the words are better in, subject to what I have said, is that everybody recognises that after a long period of unemployment the community may have the right to call upon the unemployed person to fulfil certain conditions. We are entitled, therefore, to look into the particular circumstances of the applicant after a period of time, provided we do not destroy the statutory right to benefit. That is the crucial point. I ask the hon. Gentle. man to leave out these minor points and let us get on to the main issue as quickly as we can.
§ Mr. Stephen
I am sorry I find n necessary to detain the Committee. However, I would like to say that I think the hon. Gentleman opposite is not quite right in expressing the point of view that ii does not matter if these words are not taken out. If the words are taken out it will limit the power of the Minister in making his regulations. His power to make regulations will have no reference to the particular individual, but will have reference only to the industrial conditions in the district. The hon. Gentleman opposite says that the crux of the matter is Clause 12. Yes, but if the Committee passes Clause 12 we then come on Clause 62. Is not it necessary to make Clause 62, as little obnoxious as possible?
§ Mr. Silverman
Of course it is. When we discuss Clause 62 as a whole many hon. Members will have a good deal to say. All I am pointing out is that even if the hon. Gentleman has his way and gets this Amendment accepted under Clause 62 (2, b) the Minister will still have power to make general directions, and the tribunal would still have to have regard to those general directions. Therefore, the present Amendment, even if it succeeded, would achieve nothing whatever.
§ Mr. Stephen
I still do not agree with the hon. Gentleman when he refers me to Clause 62 (2, b) in relation to general directions issued for the purpose of that Clause. Paragraph (b) will be governed, to some extent, by paragraph (a). Paragraph (a) lays down that the consideration has to be the industrial conditions, and that will be the instruction to the Minister for issuing his directions under paragraph (b). It is really a matter of interpretation. I think my interpretation would be considered sound. What the hon. Gentleman the Member for Houghton-le-Spring (Mr. Blyton) said when dealing with certain cases was very significant, namely, that this tribunal will have to determine whether a person is willing to work.
§ Mr. Blyton
What I said was that there would be two conditions: capable of and available for work, and willingness to work.
§ Mr. Stephen
The tribunal has to determine the willingness to work. How is the tribunal to determine that? I ask the hon. Member: Has he thought of that? He gave no indication as to how the tribunal would determine the willingness to work. That is one of the points of this Amendment. What I claim here is that this is exactly the same formula that was employed away back in 1923, and which came again in a somewhat different form in 1924. On that occasion honest, decent people in the House of Commons did the same as the hon. Member has done on this occasion. He has said that there will be local people on the tribunal who will know the man and be able to decide his willingness to work. We have had the tragedy of all these years, when hundreds of thousands of people were denied benefit. What I am pleading here is that 381 this Committee should not allow that to happen again. If we cannot get what we ought to have, namely, benefit going on and the Government taking power to have special consideration given in certain districts as to how best to help the people, but no restriction on the men's right to benefit, then I say let us make what will probably be the operative
§ Clause as little obnoxious as possible, and do not let us give any opening whereby there could be imposed a restriction such as "not genuinely seeking work."
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Amendment."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 271; Noes, 14.383
|Division No. 178.||AYES.||6.25 p.m.|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Evans, E. (Lowestoft)||Mack, J. D.|
|Adams, W, T. (Hammersmith, South)||Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||McKay, J. (Wallsend)|
|Aitken, Hon. Max||Fairhurst, F.||McKinlay, A- S.|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Farthing, W. J.||Maclean, N. (Govan)|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)||McLeavy, F.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Follick, M.||Macpherson, T. (Romford)|
|Ayrton Could, Miss B.||Forman, J. C.||Mainwaring, W. H.|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Foster, W. (Wigan)||Mallalieu, J. P. W.|
|Baird, Capt. J.||Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Mann, Mrs. J.|
|Balfour, A.||Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford)||Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)|
|Barstow, P. G.||Gaitskell, H. T. N.||Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)|
|Barton, C.||Ganley, Mrs. C. S.||Marshall. S. H. Sutton)|
|Battley, J. R.||Gibbins, J.||Mayhey, C.P.|
|Bechervaise, A. E||Gibson, C. W.||Medland, H. M.|
|Bennett, Sir P.||Gilzean, A.||Middleton, Mrs. L.|
|Berry, H.||Glanville, J. E. (Conselt)||Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R.|
|Bing, Capt. G. H. C||Gordon-Walker, P. C.||Mitchison, Maj. G. R.|
|Binns, J.||Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)||Monslow, W.|
|Blenkinsop, Capt. A||Granfell, D. R.||Montague, F.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Grey, C. F.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir T.|
|Boardman, H.||Grierson, E.||Morgan, Dr. H. B.|
|Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.||Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Morley, R.|
|Bower, N.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)||Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'p't, Exch'ge)||Guy, W. H.||Mort, D. L.|
|Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Haire, Fit. Lieut. J. (Wycombe)||Moyle, A.|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||Hate, Leslie||Nally, W.|
|Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Halt, W. G. (Colne Valley)||Nayler, T. E.|
|Brown, T. J. (Inee)||Hamilton, Lieut-Col. R.||Neal, H. (Claycross)|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Hannan, W. (Maryhill)||Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford N)|
|Burden, T. W.||Hardy, E A.||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)|
|Burke, W. A.||Harrison, J||Nield B. (Chester)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V||Noel-Buxton. Lady|
|Chamberlain, R. A.||Hastings, Dr. Somerville||O'Brien, T.|
|Champion, A. J.||Hollis, M. C||Oldfield, W.H.|
|Clitherow, Dr. R||Holman, P.||Oliver, G.H.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Orbach, M.|
|Cobb, F. A.||House, G||Paget, R.T.|
|Cocks, F, S.||Hubbard, T.||Paget, R. T.|
|Coldrick, W.||Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Collick, P.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Parker, J.|
|Colman, Miss. G. M.||Hughes, Lt. H. D. (W'lverh'pion, W.)||Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T.|
|Cook, T. F.||Hutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme)||Pearson, A.|
|Corlett, Dr. J.||Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)||Peart, Capt. T F.|
|Corvedale, Viscount||Irving, W. J.||Perrins, W.|
|Crawley, Flt.-Lieul. A.||Jeger, G. (Winchester)||Platts-Mills, J. F. F.|
|Daggar. G.||Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)||Popplewell, E|
|Daines, P.||Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)||Porter, E (Warrington)|
|Davies, Edward (Burslem)||Jones, J. H. (Bolton)||Porter, G. (Leeds)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Keenan, W.||Price, M. Philips|
|Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Kenyon, G.||Proctor, W. T.|
|Deer, G.||Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.||Pryde, D. J.|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Kinley, J.||Pursey, Cmdr. H|
|De la Bere, R.||Kirby, B. V.||Ranger, J.|
|Delargy, Captain H. J.||Lang, G.||Reeves, J.|
|Diamond, J.||Langford-Holt, J.||Reid, T. (Swindon)|
|Dobbie, W.||Lavers, S.||Richards, R.|
|Dodds, N. N.||Lee, F. (Hulme)||Ridealgh, Mrs. M.|
|Donovan, T.||Lee, Miss J. (Canneck)||Roberts, Geronwy (Caernarvonshire)|
|Douglas, F. C. R.||Leslie, J. R.||Roberts, Mai. P. G. (Ecclesall)|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Lowis, T. (Southampton)||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)|
|Dumpleton, C- W.||Lindgren, G. S.||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Durbin, E. F. M.||Lipson, D. L.||Royle, C.|
|Dye, S.||Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)||Sargood, R.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Logan, D. G.||Savory, Prof. D. L.|
|Edelman, M.||Lyne, A. W.||Scollan, T.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)||McAllister, G.||Scott-Elliet, W|
|Edwards, John (Blackburn)||MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.||Segal, Dr. S.|
|Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||McEntee, V. La T.||Shackleton, Wing-Cdr. E. A. A.|
|Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)||McGhee, H. G.||Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M.|
|Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)||Symonds, Maj. A. L,||Weitzman, D.|
|Shawcross, Sir H. (St. Helens)||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)||Wells, W. T. (Walsall)|
|Shurmer, P.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)||White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Silverman, J. (Erdington)||Teeling, William||Whiteley, Rt Hon. W|
|Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)||Thomas, I O. (Wrekin)||Wigg, Col. G. E.|
|Simmons, C. J.||Thomas, John R. (Dover)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Skeffington, A. M.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Skinnard, F. W.||Thorneycroft, H. (Clayton)||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Smith, Ellis (Stoke)||Thurtle, E.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S)||Tiffany, S.||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)||Timmons, J.||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingreve)|
|Smith, T. (Normanton)||Titterington, M. F.||Williams, W. R (Heston)|
|Snow, Capt. J. W.||Tolley, L.||Willis, E.|
|Solley, L. J.||Turton, R. H.||Wills, Mrs. E. A.|
|Sorensen, R. W.||Ungoed-Thomas, L.||Wise, Major F. J|
|Soskice, Maj. Sir F.||Usborne, Henry||Yates, V, F|
|Sparks, J. A.||Vernon, Maj. W. F,||York, C.|
|Stamford, W.||Viant, S. P.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Steele, T.||Walkden., E.||Younger, Hon. Kenneth|
|Stewart, Capt. Michael (Fulham, E)||Walker, G. H.|
|Stross, Dr. B.||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Sutcliffe, H.||Warbey, W. N.||M, Joseph Henderson and|
|Swingler, S||Watson, W. M.||Mr. Collindridge|
|Attewell, H. C.||George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Ayles, W. H.||Holmes, Sir J. Stanley (Harwich)||Wadsworlh, G.|
|Beechman, N. A.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)|
|Bowen, R.||Kirkwood, D.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Brown, W. J. (Rugby)||Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)||Mr. Stephen and|
|Byers, Lt.-Col. F.||Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)||Mr. McGovern|
§ Proposed words there inserted.
§ Question put, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
On a point of Order. I understood, Major Milner, that the Question that Clause 62 stand part of the Bill had been put.
I was possibly in error in putting the Question—I had assumed that all the Amendments had been dealt with and the Clause debated.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
I think we were all taken a little by surprise, and I do not think any of us would have any objection to the Minister moving the Amendment now on the understanding that it does reopen the whole Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
As the error was mine I hope the Committee will agree to reopen that Question. I had only just come into the Chair and I assumed that the Clause had already been debated
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
It is, of course, a matter for you to decide, Major Milner, but I think it is somewhat unsatisfactory. It was originally agreed, I understood, that the main discussion should take place on the new Clause which is to be moved 384 from this side of the Committee. We have not interrupted Government business, but have attempted to facilitate it, and a great deal of time has been taken by supporters and critics of the Government, who are covered under one general umbrella, who have occupied the time of the Committee on very important matters. If we are to have another Debate on the Question that Clause 62. stand part, as well as on our new Clause, we shall have a treble discussion on the same subject, and I cannot guarantee that we on this side of the Committee can then restrain ourselves from indulging in double debates. In that case we shall have two Debates on this Clause, which will be unsatisfactory and a great waste of time, and I can give no guarantee whatever that the Committee stage of the Bill, and the Report stage as well, will be finished in two days. We must concentrate our discussions or we on this side of the Committee really cannot play
If desired we may have a general discussion on the Question that Clause 62 stand part—I hope a short one—but we must quite clearly leave the matter raised by the right hon. Gentleman open until the occasion arises.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
It is obvious that the issues raised by Clause 62, assuming that Clause 12 remains part of the Bill, are very much like those raised by the new Clause, as the right hon. Gentleman has pointed 385 out. Would it not be possible to discuss both Clauses together, the question that Clause 62 stand part, and the new Clause?
§ Mr. Lindgren
I beg to move, in page 52, line 34, after "section," To insert:and any increase attributable to this Section in the expenses borne by the National Insurance Fund by virtue of Subsection (2) of Section thirty-eight of this Act.I shall not detain the Committee more than a moment or two in regard to this Amendment. We have, in fact, already decided that the cost of the continued benefit shall be borne by the Treasury. I think, therefore, the Committee will equally agree that the cost of the administration of that continued benefit should also be borne by the Treasury. This Amendment is to give effect to that, so that both the benefit, and the cost of the administration of that benefit, shall be borne by the Treasury.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Lindgren
I beg to move, in page 52, line 36, at the end, to insert:and for the purposes of this Subsection the amount of the said sums and any such increase shall be estimated in such manner as the Minister with the concurrence of the Treasury may determine.This Amendment is almost consequential, except in so far as it does admit that the actual costs of the administration, to which I referred in moving the previous Amendment, may not be able to be, definitely and accurately ascertained. It therefore makes it possible for the Minister and the Treasury to agree upon an appropriation of cost.
§ Mr. C. Williams
I wish to say just one thing on this matter. Here we are definitely adding to expenditure. I in no way dispute the expenditure at the present time, but I do not think it is a good thing that we should add to the costs in the casual way in which this is being done. It is a bad principle, and for that reason I raise my voice in protest. I do not think it is good administration.
§ Amendment agreed to
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."386
§ Mr. S. Silverman
I do not know that I quite appreciate the significance of what was said a moment ago by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. R. A. Butler). I do remember, however, that in the Committee the Party opposite moved to delete Clause 62, and voted against the Clause standing part of the Bill. I could not support them in that because it was quite clear, and it remains clear, that if Clause 62 goes out and Clause 12 stops in, then the Bill will make no provision at all for any unemployment benefit after the 180 days provided in Clause 12. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Saffron Walden then said, "But please do not suppose that if Clause 62 goes out there will be a void in the Bill, because we will be able on the Report stage to provide or propose an alternative." At that time the Bill had been before Parliament some six months. The Beveridge Report had been before Parliament and the country for several years. The Party opposite had been the Government of this country and considering their policy for a long time. It seemed to me then, arid it seems to me now, that if they had had an alternative to Clause 62 it ought to have been on the Order Paper during the Committee stage at an early date. I cannot anticipate, but I see that they have a long new Clause, a long, complicated piece of national and local machinery, to propose.
§ 6.45 p.m.
I am bound to say that I do not see any relevance in the hon. Gentleman's remarks to the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill "—we cannot of course discuss a new Clause.
§ Mr. Silverman
I submit with very great respect, Major Milner, that if I had sought to discuss the new Clause your rebuke would have been deserved, but I did not seek to discuss the new Clause, and I do not. But what I wanted to indicate was, that unless the new Clause is intended as an alternative, no alternative to Clause 62 has been placed on the Order Paper; and I am interested to know what the right hon. Gentleman and those who support him now have to say about Clause 62 standing part. That is all
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman but the Question is 387 whether this Clause, as amended, should stand part of the Bill. We cannot discuss the new Clause yet. It is Clause 62 to which the hon. Gentleman must address his remarks.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
If it would facilitate discussion I can tell the hon. Member for Nelson and Calne (Mr. Silverman) what we think of Clause 62. It is a thorough bad and unworkmanlike Clause. We have a statesmanlike Clause on the Order Paper, and we hope to move it, and the sooner we decide the issue on Clause 62, and come to some constructive discussion, the better.
§ Mr. Silverman
Debate on whether the new Clause is a statesmanlike alternative or not, you, Major Milner, have ruled out of Order, so that I cannot discuss it. What I am interested in now—and, surely, this must 13,. in Order—is whether they want Clause 62 in or out. I agree that Clause 62 is a thoroughly bad Clause. I do not think the Committee realise yet what the scheme of unemployment relief in this Bill really is.
The effect of Clause 62 is to distinguish, for the purposes of this Bill, four different kinds of genuine unemployment, to be dealt with in four quite different ways. We have, first, the man who is entitled to his statutory benefit. That is one kind. There is no comment to be made about that at this stage. Then we have a class of man who has exhausted his statutory benefit, but in whose favour a local tribunal has made a recommendation to the Minister. How that recommendation is to be made, on what principles it is to be made and on what kind of test, and" what kind of yardstick is to be used, when we discriminate between one unemployed man and another, has not yet been disclosed. But it has been disclosed that some discrimination, some kind of test, is to be made, and that two classes are to be created. The first of them will have in their favour a recommendation from a local tribunal. That recommendation is not binding on the Minister. He may, if such a recommendation be made, pay the full unemployment benefit. I concede, at once, that he cannot pay anything less. I concede that, after the Amendments that have been made, he cannot apply a means test in that case, but subject to that he need not accept the recommendation a all. The payment of unemployment bene 388 fit to a man whose statutory right has been exhausted, in the recommendation, under Clause 62, of a local tribunal, is still discretionary. That is the second class. Then there is the third class, also created by Clause 62. That is the class of men who are unemployed, who have been unemployed for more than 180 days and who are genuinely unemployed, but in whose case, again for reasons of which we have had no indication so far from the Government, the local tribunals have made no recommendations at all.
I wonder what hon. Members think will be the feeling among unemployed men. For their first 180 days they all get the same, on the same conditions. After that you divide the sheep from the goats, but not according to means, or according to genuineness. It has nothing to do with genuineness, because that has been taken care of at the first stage. The fact that A. man has had his benefit for 180 days is conclusive proof of his genuineness. Therefore, in dividing the unemployed into those who are to continue to get the statutory benefit, and those who are not, you are discriminating without a means test, and without any reference to genuineness. How do you discriminate? There may be two men living in the same street. One will get his unemployment benefit, although his statutory right is exhausted. But what is to become of the other? What will he get? He has been unemployed for more than six months and is just as genuine, but how does he come into the picture? I asked this question at another stage, and I was told," Oh, the Assistance Board," but the Assistance Board means a means test—there is no question about that—and that is why I said a short while ago, "do not imagine this gets rid of the means test from unemployment insurance."
Clause 62 divides the unemployed into two classes after 180 days—those who will get the same amount of statutory benefit without a means test, and those who will be referred to the assistance board with a means test. I want to know how we are going to justify this to ourselves, to our consciences and to the country after the political and social campaign we have conducted on this matter for 25 years. There are many Members whose political reputations have been based on their contributions to this fight over the many years. The Minister is one of them. There is the Minister of Health, 389 and there is the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland. I am glad to see them all in the Government. I think they strengthen the Government, making it an even better Government than it would be without them. But there are moments when I regret their being in the Government, and I regret it at this moment. I would much sooner hear the Minister of Health or the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland make the case I am trying to make at this moment, than that I should try to do it myself. I do my best, but I cannot do it as well as they could do it; they have done it so often in this House, and have so much more experience in putting this case. I say to hon. Members behind me that they too have a responsibility. I think that the time will come when Members of this party will be sorry about this. They will wish they had not been quite so—I do not want to say complacent, but they will wish they had not followed the smaller loyalty instead of the wider loyalty. There is no justification for drawing this distinction. Sir William Beveridge did not draw it. He imposed no limit on unemployment benefit or on sickness benefit. To be quite fair, the Coalition Government, which the Conservative Party dominated, when they published their White Paper on social insurance policy, were at least consistent and logical, because they imposed a time limit on unemployment and sickness benefit. It has been left to a Labour Government to say, "You can be sick as long as you like, but God help you if you are unemployed for longer than six months."
Those are the three classes of unemployed, but there is a fourth class—the man for whom you cannot find work at all, because he is a misfit. There is no unemployment benefit for him after 180 days, no Assistance Board because he is back on the poor law—the worst kind of means test. I accept what is in the Government's mind. If a man has been unemployed, no matter how genuinely, after a certain time you have to pay particular regard to the circumstances of his particular case. You are entitled to call upon him to submit himself to training in some other occupation, and you may be entitled to call upon him to take work in some other locality. We are entitled to impose conditions if a long period of unemployment is established, and 390 the man is unlikely to be employed in his own district or in his own avocation. We are entitled to impose these conditions, provided the statutory right of insurance continues, and provided that his standard of living is maintained. To take away his statutory right and leave his payments to the discretion of the Minister on the recommendation of a tribunal whose workings we know nothing about, leaving it open to introduce all these anomalies, which may be changed some dav by some regulation, is unjustifiable.
I cannot oppose Clause 62. [Laughter.] Hon. Members opposite are not likely to be unemployed in that sense, and will not be subject, therefore, to these conditions. They may treat it lightheartedly, but I do not. You may be compelled to accept a bad Clause, because a bad Clause is better than no Clause. I cannot vote against Clause 62, because while Clause 12 remains in the Bill, statutory benefit will end after 180 days, and Clause 62 does make some provision for some persons to continue their unemployed benefit beyond that, without a means test. I cannot, therefore, throw that away.
Hon. Members on the other side may throw it away lightheartedly, if they like, but I cannot. That does not make Clause 62 a good Clause. I say that it is a bad Clause, but that the effect created by taking it away would be a worse thing for the unemployed in this country. Therefore, I am not prepared to vote against it. I shall have an opportunity later of dividing on the question of whether there should be a time limit at all, and I hope that I may have the support of my hon. Friends, when we come to that.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
I apologise for having been out of the Committee while the first part of this discussion was taking place, but I took the opportunity of a Division to have some refreshment. We had a discussion on this, as well as on other major matters arising under this Bill, on Second Reading, and we had a discussion in Committee on both Clause 12 and Clause 62, which lasted several days. I believe that everyone who served on that Committee, on all sides, will agree that the fullest opportunity was given for a full and frank discussion on this problem. I explained, in the 391 Second Reading Debate, why the Government arrived at the decision that there should be two provisions in the Bill covering unemployment benefit, first, the provision for 180 days, with certain provisions, which we are carrying from the old scheme into the new, for added days' benefit beyond the 180 days; and, second, the provision which is incorporated in Clause 62.
It was within the right of the Government—it could have been done and my hon. Friend has been complaining because it has not been done—to have made unemployment benefit continuous and unlimited, under Clause 12, and to have the whole cost borne in the way unemployment is borne by the provisions of Clause 12. Unemployment under Clause 12 is borne by the Fund and is a charge upon the Fund, and that could be done now, The cost, of course, would be higher than the cost of the existing charge on unemployment under this Insurance Bill. Perhaps I may be allowed to mention what the additional contributions would be, if the cost of all unemployment, on the actuarial basis upon which the whole of this scheme has been constructed for unemployment purposes, were to be put on the Fund. It would add 3½d. to the contributions of the worker, 3½d. to the contributions of the employer, and 3½d to the contributions of the State. The Government, with the experience of the Insurance Fund in the inter-war years, came to the conclusion that the cost of what we are describing, and what we are defining in the Bill, as long term unemployment could not be borne by the Unemployment Fund, and should be borne by the State. Behind that decision is the experience of the interwar years.
May I remind the Committee of one very important change which is made? From 1922 until the beginning of the war, the Unemployment Insurance Fund of this country was continuously in debt. The interwar experience proved this beyond doubt. If, at any time, over any prolonged period, we had had anything like mass unemployment, that could not have been met by the Insurance Fund, without making it completely bankrupt. That was the position. When the war began, there was a very heavy debt on that Fund. During the six years of war—a tragic commentary—the Unemployment Fund 392 was able to add considerably to its funds, and not only repay the debt, but add a surplus, until now there is a surplus of something like£350 million, which will he handed over eventually to this Fund. During the inter-war period, the Unemployment Insurance Fund, because of the experience to which I have referred, became bankrupt. But there are other funds which are also of importance. The funds for sickness benefit, widows' pensions and old age pensions survived the whole of that period and remained solvent. During that period, and up to now, they have been separate funds. Under this Bill, and by the very structure of the Bill, the whole of those funds become one single fund. It will, therefore, be appreciated that if, by any mischance, we, at any time, experience what happened during the inter-war period, and mass unemployment came back, and was a complete charge on the Fund, the Fund could be destroyed.
Let the Committee be under no illusion about what would happen if it were destroyed. It would destroy the Fund in which all the benefits are brought under this Bill. The Government decided that the cost of unemployment benefit up to a period of 180 days continuous unemployment,plus the added days which are related to the insured worker's own contribution, shall be borne by the Fund, and, over and above that, the charge should rest upon the Exchequer. We, therefore, had to make provision for having unemployment benefit at the expense of the Exchequer beyond 180 days. That is done under Clause 62. It was agreed in Committee, and I think that I have now made it perfectly clear, that when Clause 62 comes to be operated, neither the Minister nor the tribunal nor anyone else is entitled to work any kind of means test or need test.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
It is true that, 'n determining those who are to benefit under Clause 62, the means test has gone, absolutely, beyond any doubt of any kind. But those in whose favour the local tribunal make no recommendation will be subject to a means test under the old Unemployment Act, operated by the Assistance Board.
§ Mr. Griffiths
First there is the unemployed benefit under Clause 12, and extended unemployed benefit under Clause 62. If an unemployed person 393 fails to get unemployment benefit under either of those provisions, then it is true that what remains for him is the Assistance Board. But if he gets unemployment benefit under one or the other, there is no means test or need test. That, I believe, is accepted all round. When an insured person is nearing the exhaustion of his statutory benefit, he will have a right under this Bill, which he does not possess now. Now, when his statutory benefit ends, he has no right to ask anyone for unemployment benefit. It ceases altogether. Under this Bill, he will have the right, when his 180 days' unemployment benefit becomes exhausted, to apply for extended benefit. When a person has exhausted his statutory benefit, he has been unemployed for quite a long time. He has been continuously unemployed for seven months at the minimum, and he may have been unemployed for an even longer period, and when that stage is reached, I believe, quite honestly, that it within the interests of the insured person and the community that special steps shall be taken to examine the whole of the position of a person who has been unemployed for that period.
The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman) made some reference to myself and the experience I have had. Looking back over w years, I can say that I fought continuously against the means test and the harsh treatment of the unemployed. If I have any regrets at all it was that so much of my time and effort—and when I use the word "my" I mean my colleagues from South Wales and myself—was spent in fighting successive Governments to try to get decent benefit and decent treatment. Perhaps it is because of that, that so much less of our time was directed to the real cure for unemployment, and that is the provision of work. If a person has been unemployed so long as to reach the stage at which unemployment benefit is lost, he then applies to a tribunal. I have explained what the provisions are in regard to the tribunal. This tribunal has to examine the case under regulations which I shall make in conformity with Clause 62.
Let me examine that. I think there are three factors which probably are responsible, when we take them collectively, for long-term unemployment. There are personal reasons in some cases why persons are unemployed so long. There are cases where long-term unem- 394 ployment is the responsibility of the person himself, though such cases may not be many. In Committee I said that I believed that there were a number of antisocial people whose unemployment is a result of their own failure to make any effort though they are very small in number. I am sure my hon. Friends will agree that it is our duty to protect the Fund against them. Secondly, long-term unemployment of this kind often comes from what the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne called a misfit. If I understood him correctly, he seemed to indicate that the misfit, who forms one of the important problems of long-term unemployment, had no right to come in under this Clause at all.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I am sorry if I misinterpreted the hon. Member, but there is the problem of the misfit—of the boy or girl who spends his or her adolescence in all kinds of "dead-end" jobs, and then, becoming unemployed, claims benefit which he or she exhausts by continuing to be unemployed. I believe that it is in the interests of those persons to come to this tribunal at this stage, because it is certainly my intention to see that the tribunal becomes a place through which and by which persons of that kind can be guided to work and a new life of usefulness and independence. Thirdly, I think the major problem, with which I have had much experience, is that of long-term unemployment due to the fact that industrial changes have rendered large numbers of people unemployed. That is the biggest part of the problem. Here is an issue where men and women are unemployed, because the industry in which they were formerly employed has now no room for them. We have an example of that in the coalmining industry and in other industries, where the demand for labour is declining and where men are being put out of work. Their skill has been developed over the years in that industry, and now there is no place for them there. This is a problem both personal and communal and we have to help them. Not only must we find work for a man so displaced, but work that will put him in a position comparable with the position he occupied in the industry in which he was previously employed. This is a problem of training and teaching him new skill.
395 I heard the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne refer to Sir William Beveridge and his report. It is very often said that Sir William Beveridge in his report recommended that unemployment benefit should be continuously on the Fund. It is true he did, but he only recommended that it be paid on the existing Fund for a limited period. Beyond that limited period conditions were to be attached. He recommended what the conditions should be. I gave serious consideration to them, and with some experience of this problem I rejected the idea of attaching Sir William Beveridge's conditions for the payment of an unlimited or extended benefit. He proposed that the existing conditions which should apply—
§ 7.15 p.m.
If the right hon. Gentleman will permit me, I would point out that he cannot go over the whole of these matters on the Beveridge plan in that way. The heading of the Clause states:Temporary provision as to unemployment benefitand the discussion must be limited to that.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I do not want to disobey your Ruling, Major Milner, but I did suggest earlier that I might cut my own speeches very short, and if it was for the convenience of the Committee deal with the whole problem on the Amendment. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne referred to Sir William Beveridge.
§ Mr. Silverman
No. I made a reference to the report, but I avoided it directly because I had had it indicated to me that the question was whether there was a time limit on unemployment benefit or not. I was discussing it, assuming that there was a time limit, and that there was discrimination in regard to benefit.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I am entirely within your Ruling, Major Milner. The hon. Member in his speech, part of which I heard, was discussing Clauses 12 and 62 and I certainly heard him make a reference to Sir William Beveridge. That is why I referred to it. All I want to say in regard to the matter is this that when it is said we are not accepting the Beveridge Report and the Beveridge proposition of unlimited unemployment benefit, that is not in accordance with the proposals.
§ Mr. Griffiths
We want to have progress on this Bill and we want to give it due consideration. All I want to say, therefore, is that in our view, Clause 62 can be operated without any of the dangers which hon. Members who have spoken apprehend about this matter, and there may be another opportunity for explaining the Clause.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
If there had been a concerted plot between the Government and their supporters to talk out their own Bill, it could not have been more successfully done than has been the case this afternoon. If I may say so without disrespect to the Minister, I have heard the arguments which he has just delivered to the Committee at great length so often before, that I was not able to follow him with that courtesy and attention which I try to give him in his more constructive moments. It is not the desire of the Opposition to block the passage of this Bill. We have hardly taken any part in the discussions on this Clause. If I may say so, we have not joined in the family quarrels on the other side of the Committee, and, therefore, at this stage I confine myself to putting forward two or three reasons why we should vote against the proposal that the Clause stand part of the Bill.
Our first reason is one of finance. We believe that the operation of Clause 62 would lead to a loose system of administration, that it would lead to something like the sort of abuse which used to exist under the old system of uncovenanted and extended transitional benefit. The early part of the Minister's discourse was devoted to pointing out how very expensive the previous administration of unemployment insurance extended benefit had been to the Fund. But he did not draw attention to the fact that the administration of extended unemployment benefit, through the loose and inadequate machinery of this Clause, is bound to lead to similar laxity in administration, and a similar gross expenditure of public money. Further, he did not mention that this expenditure of money is to fall on the Exchequer, and that it will be the taxpayer who will have to pay. What was the story told by the Holman Gregory report of the previous method of paying this uncontrolled 397 extended benefit? Paragraphs 200–202 state:This costly expedient "—
§ Mr. McKinlay(Dumbartonshire)
On a point of Order. Is there any difference between the right hon. Gentleman quoting the Holman Gregory Report and my right hon. Friend referring just now to the Beveridge Report, for which you called him to Order, Major Milner?
The hon. Member is under a misapprehension. I did not interrupt the Minister solely because of his reference to the Beveridge Report. I interrupted him because I thought that he was going at length into other matters far from the confines of the Motion which is before the House. So far, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. R. A. Butler) has not done that
§ Mr. Butler
Thank you, Major Milner. I was following the Minister's argument, which you regarded as being in Order, namely, that previous expenditure had been extremely extravagant, and I was about to quote from the Holman Gregory Report, which says:This costly expedient brought the insurance scheme into political disrepute and deep financial embarrassment.We think that this Clause 's likely to bring the whole of this scheme into political disrepute and deep financial embarrassment, The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) dislikes the Clause as much as we do. He knows it is as bad as we know it is, and we shall go into the Lobby against the Clause while he is obliged to support a Clause in which he does not believe. What is the reason for that? We on this side of the Committee have a constructive alternative, which we have placed on the Order Paper, and which, if the Government and their supporters will permit us, we should like to explain later to the Committee. Our consciences are very clear. We have an alternative, which I shall describe at length to the Committee later. Meanwhile, my supporters and I have no alternative but to go into the Lobby against this Clause, which we shall do without further ado in order to accelerate procedure on this Bill.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
If we support the right hon. Gentleman and his friends in the Lobby against this Clause there will be no means whatever of paying extended benefit, without a means test, to an unemployed man who has been unemployed for more than 180 days.
§ Mr. Butler
Perhaps I can obtain the hon. Gentleman's immediate support by stating that our proposed new Clause states, in Subsection (5, b):a local employment guidance committee shall be entitled to recommend to the Minister that payment of unemployment benefit at the rate specified in the Second Schedule to this Act, may be made to such a person notwithstanding that he has exhausted his right thereto under this Act…
§ Mr. Butler
Not at all. We want to put forward a constructive proposal for an extension of this type of benefit on certain conditions, and to rehabilitate and assist the unemployed by the aid of guidance committees.
§ Mr. Gallacher (Fife, West)
Is it not the case that the right hon. Gentleman and his friends are against this Clause because it will give the unemployed too much money, and that my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman) is against it because he does not think it will give the unemployed enough money?
§ Mr. Butler
The simplicity of mind of the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) is well known, and his over-simplification of this issue is typical of many of his interventions in our Debates.
§ Question put, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 284; Noes, 127.401
|Division No. 179.||AYES.||7.25 p.m.|
|Adams, H. R. (Balham)||Fairhurst, F||Middleton, Mrs. L|
|Adams, W. T (Hammersmith, South)||Farthing, W J||Mikardo, Ian|
|Allan, Scholefield (Crowe)||Fletcher, E G M (Islington, E.)||Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Follick, M||Mitchison, Maj. G R|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Forman, J. C.||Monslow, W.|
|Attewell, H. C||Foster, W. (Wigan)||Montague, F.|
|Awbery, S. S||Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Morgan, Dr. H. B.|
|Ayles, W. H.||Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford)||Morley, R.|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B||Gaitskell, H. T. N.||Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Gallacher, W.||Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)|
|Baird, Capt. J||Ganley, Mrs. C. 5.||Mort, D. L.|
|Balfour, A.||Gibbins, J.||Moyle, A.|
|Barstow, P. G.||Gibson, C. W||Nally, W.|
|Barton, C.||Gilzean, A.||Naylor, T. E.|
|Battley, J. R||Glanville, J. E (Consett)||Neal, H (Claycross)|
|Bechervaise, A. E||Gooch, E G||Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)|
|Berry, H||Goodrich, H. E.||Nicholls, H. R (Stratford)|
|Beswick, F.||Gordon-Walker, P. C||Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon A (Ebbw Vale)||Granville, E. (Eye)||Noel-Buxton, Lady|
|Binns, J.||Greenwood, A W. J. (Heywood)||Oldfield, W. H.|
|Blackburn, A. R.||Grenfell, D. R||Oliver. G. H.|
|Blenkinsop, Capt. A||Grey, C. F||Orbach, M.|
|Blyton, W R||Grierson, E.||Paget, R T.|
|Boardman, H.||Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Palmer, A. M F|
|Bowden, Flg,-Offr. H. W||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Lianelly)||Parker, J.|
|Bowen, R.||Griffiths, Capt. W. D. (Moss Side)||Parkin, Fit,-Lieut B T.|
|Bowles, F G. (Nuneaton)||Gruffydd, Prof W. J.||Pearson, A.|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'p'l, Exch'ge)||Guy, W. H.||Peart, Capt. T. F|
|Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Hale, Leslie||Perrins, W.|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||Hamilton, Lieut,-Col. R||Popplewell, E.|
|Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Hannan, W. (Maryhill)||Porter, E (Warrington)|
|Brown, George (Belper)||Hardy, E. A||Porter, G. (Leeds)|
|Brown, T J. (Ince)||Harrison, J.||Price, M. Philips|
|Brown, W. J. (Rugby)||Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Proctor, W. T.|
|Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.||Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Pryde, D. J.|
|Buchanan, G.||Holmes, H E. (Hemsworth)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Burden, T. W.||House, G.||Ranger, J|
|Burke, W. A.||Hubbard, T.||Rankin, J.|
|Byers, Lt.-Col. F.||Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)||Reeves, J.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Reid, T. (Swindon)|
|Chamberlain, R. A||Hughes, Lt. H O. (W'lverh'pton, W.)||Richards, R.|
|Champion, A. J.||Hulehinson, H L. (Rusholme)||Ridealgh, Mrs. M.|
|Chetwynd, Capt. G. R.||Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)||Roberts, Sqn,-Ldr. Emrys (Merioneth)|
|Clitherow, Dr. R.||Janner, B.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Jeger, G. (Winchester)||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Cobb, F. A.||Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Panoras, S.E.)||Robertson I A (Berwick)|
|Cocks, F. S||Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)||Royle, C.|
|Collick, P.||Jones, J. H. (Bolton)||Sargood, R|
|Collindridge, F.||Jones, P. Asterley, (Hitchin)||Scollan, T.|
|Colman, Miss G. M.||Keenan, W.||Scott-Elliot, W.|
|Cook, T. F.||Kenyon, C.||Segal, Dr. S|
|Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G||King, E. M.||Shaekleton, Wing-Com. E. A. A|
|Corlett, Dr. J.||Kinghorn, Sqn. Ldr.. E.||Sharp, Lt Col. G. M.|
|Corvedale, Viscount||Kinley, J.||Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)|
|Cove, W G||Kirby, B. V.||Shawcross, Sir H (St. Helens)|
|Daggar, G||Kirkwood, D||Shurmer, P.|
|Daines, P.||Lang, G.||Silverman, J. (Erdington)|
|Davies, Edward (Burslem)||Lavers, S.||Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)|
|Davies, Clement (Montgomery)||Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Davies. Harold (Leek)||Lee, F (Hulme)||Skinnard, F. W|
|Davies, Haydn (St. Paneras, S.W.)||Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)||Skinnard, F W|
|Davies, S. O (Merthyr)||Leonard, W.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke)|
|Dee G.||Leslie, J. R.||Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Smith, S H. (Hull, S.W.)|
|Delargy, Captain H. J||Lindgren, G. S.||Smith, T (Normanton)|
|Diamond, J||Lipson, D. L.||Snow, Capt. J. W.|
|Dobbie W||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Solley, L. J.|
|Dodds, N. N||Logan, D- G.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Donoyam, T||Lyne, A W||Soskice, Maj. Sir F|
|Douglas, f. C. R||McAllister, G.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||McEntee, V. La T.||Stamford, W.|
|Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)||McGhee, H. G||Steele, T.|
|Dumpleton, C. W.||Mack, J. D||Stewart, Capt. Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Durbin. E. F. M||McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Slross, Dr. B.|
|Dye, S||McKinlay, A. S.||Swingler, S.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Maclean, N. (Govan)||Symonds, Maj. A. L.|
|Edelman, M.||McLeavy, F||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. sir C. (Bedwellty)||Macpherson, T. (Romford)||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Edwards, John (Blackburn)||Mainwaring, W. H.||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|Edwards, N (Caerphilly)||Mallalieu, J. P. W.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)||Mann, Mrs. J.||Thorneycroft, H. (Clayton)|
|Evans, E (Lowestoft)||Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)||Thurtle, E.|
|Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||Mayhew, C. P.||Tiffany, S.|
|Ewart, R.||Medland, H. M||Timmons, J.|
|Titterington, M F||Weitzman, D.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Den Valley)|
|Tolley, L.||Wells, P. L. (Faversham)||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Ungoed-Thomas, L||Wells, W T. (Watsall)||Wills, Mrs. E. A.|
|Usborne, Henry||Westwood, Rt. Hon J.||Wilson, J H|
|Vernon, Maj. W F||White, H (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Wise, Major F. J|
|Viant, S. P||Whiteley, Rt. Hon W.||Woodburn, A.|
|Wadsworth, G||Wigg, Col G. E||Yates, V F.|
|Walkden, E.||Wilkins, W. A||Young, Sit R. (Newton)|
|Walker, G. H.||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)||Younger, Han. Kenneth|
|Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Warbey, W. N.||Williams, D J. (Neath)||TELLERS FOR THK AYK5|
|Watson, W. M||Williams, J L. (Kelvingrove)||Mr. Bind and Mr. Coldrict|
|Aiken, Han Max||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Price-White, Lt.-Col. D|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R.||Hollis, Sqn,-Ldr M. C.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Holmes, Sir J. Stanley||Raikes, H. V.|
|Barlow, Sir J.||Hope, Lord J||Ramsay, Maj. S|
|Beamish, Maj. T V H||Howard Hon. A.||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Beechman, N. A||Hutchison, Col. J. R- (Glasgow, C.)||Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)|
|Bennett, Sir P.||Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S C (Hillhead)|
|Birch, Nigel||Jarvis, Sir J.||Renton, D.|
|Bower, N.||Jeffreys, General Sir G.||Roberts, H. (Handsworth)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J A.||Jennings, R.||Ross, Sir R|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.||Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Cdr. Hon. L. W.||Savory, Prof. D. L.|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Lambert, Hon. G.||Scott, Lord W.|
|Butler, Rt. Hon. R A. (S'flr'n W'ld'n)||Lanoaster, Col. C G||Shepherd. W. S. (Bucklow)|
|Carson, E.||Langford-Holt, J.||Smith, E. P. (Ashford)|
|Challen, C.||Legge-Bourke, Maj E. A- H.||Snadden, W. M.|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Lioyd, Selwyn (Wirral)||Spence, H. R.|
|Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G||Low, Brig. A. R. W.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Conant, Mai. R. J. E.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H||Stewart, J. Henderson (File, E.)|
|Corbett, Lieut. Col. U. (Ludlow)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E||MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.||Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)|
|Crowder, Capt. J. F. E.||MacDonald, Sir M. (Inverness)||Studholme, H. G.|
|Cuthbert, W. N||Macdonald, Capt. Sir P. (I. of Wight)||Sutoliffe, H.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Mackeson, Lt.-Col. H. R.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|De la Bere R||Maclay, Hon. J. S.||Teeling, William|
|Digby, Maj, 8. W.||Maclean, Brig. F. H. R. (Lancaster)||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Dodds Parker A. D.||Macleod, Capt. J.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)|
|Donner, Sqn,-Ldr. P W.||Macpherson, Mai. N. (Dumfries)||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Maitland, Comdr J. W.||Thorp, Lt,-Col. R. A. F.|
|Drewe. C.||Manningham-Buller, R. E.||Touehe, G. C.|
|Duthie, W. S||Marsden, Capt. A.||Turton, R. H.|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||Vane, Lieut.-Col. W. M. T.|
|Foster, J. G. (Northwich)||Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)||Walker-Smith, D.|
|Fox, Sqn,-Ldr. Sir G.||Maude, J. C.||Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie|
|Fraser, Maj. H. C. P. (Stone)||Mellor, Sir J.||Wheatley, Colonel M. J.|
|Fraser, Sir I (Lonsdale)||Molson, A- H E.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||Moore, Lt,-Col. Sir T||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Graham-Little, Sir E.||Morris-Jones, Sir H.||Winterton, Rt. Hon, Earl|
|Gridley, Sir A.||Neven-Spence, Sir B.||York, C.|
|Grimston, R V.||Nield, B. (Chester)||Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)||Orr-Ewing, I. L|
|Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V||Osborne, C.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Head, Brig. A. H.||Peake, Rt. Hon O.||Mr. Buchan-Hepburn and|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C||Piekthorn, K||Commander Agnew|
|Henderson, John (Catheart)||Pitman, I. J|
§ Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.