HC Deb 29 May 1946 vol 423 cc1205-7

5.30 p.m.

The Solicitor-General (Major Sir Frank Soskice)

I beg to move, in page 43, line 32, to leave out " employed," and to insert "Insured."

In a sense, this Amendment is a drafting Amendment, because the object of it is to bring the language of this Bill into conformity with the analogous Clause of the Industrial Injuries Bill. I have called it a drafting Amendment, but I should inform the House that it does, in point of fact, make a difference in principle, to a certain extent, because it includes among the people whom the inspector, under the terms of this Clause, can examine, persons who are insured, not merely because they are employed persons, but because they are self-employed or non-employed persons. Therefore, at first blush it does rather widen the powers. I would want the House to know that. At the same time, I would remind the House that the analogous Clause in the Industrial Injuries Bill was very fully and anxiously examined when it was being discussed on the Report stage. The present Clause has also been subjected to a very searching examination during the course of the passage of this Bill through the Committee stage. As a result of that examination the powers of the inspectors have been considerably curtailed, in the sense that, as the Clause now stands, with the Amendments which have been introduced into it, inspectors can only examine a person—never mind into what category that person falls—if it can be shown that they have some reasonable ground for examining him. That very salutary safeguard having been introduced into the terms of the Clause, and the inspector's powers having, by that Amendment, been defined, I ask the House to say that there is no harm in widening the term " employed "Into the term "Insured."The only object of it is to bring this Bill into conformity with the Industrial Injuries Bill.

Mr. Molson

This is entirely in accordance with the general policy of the Bill. It is extending it to include people who were not previously included in the field of insurance. It is absolutely logical and quite right. So far as we on these benches are concerned, we regard it as an improvement.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 43, line 39, after " person,"Insert " and any insured person."—[The Solicitor-General.]

The Solicitor-General

I beg to move, in page 43, line 41, at the end, to insert: for the purpose of ascertaining whether contributions are or have been payable, or have been duly paid, by or in respect of any person, or whether benefit is or was payable to or in respect of any person. An Amendment in almost identical terms as this was put down by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Leeds (Mr. Peake) during the Committee stage of this Bill. The Government then indicated that they were not in a position to accept that Amendment in the form in which it was put down because of a slight defect, with which I will not bother the House now. An undertaking was given that with that defect remedied the Amendment would be put down on the Report stage, and, accordingly, it has been put down. The object of the Amendment is again to limit and define the powers of the inspectors. It is in conformity with the result of the general discussion which took place on the Report stage of the Industrial Injuries Bill and on the Committee stage of this Bill.

Mr. Osbert Peake (Leeds, North)

I should like to express my appreciation of what the hon. and learned Gentleman has done on this Clause.

Amendment agreed to.