§ 9.13 p.m.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Fuel and Power (Mr. Robens)
I beg to move,That the Draft Electricity (Staff Compensation) Regulations, 1949, a copy of which was laid before this House on 16th February, be approved.I should like first to draw the attention of the House to two slight printing errors in this Draft, which can be put right in the final printing. The first is on page 4, in Regulation 4 (4), at line 3, where the word "regulations" should be "regulation." All that is required here is the deletion of the final "s." Then, in page 5, Regulation 7 (2), the last line begins: "which the person concern. …" Obviously, to be grammatically correct, this should read, "which the person concerned. … "
1296 These regulations follow very closely indeed the Transport Regulations and those issued in connection with the new Health Service. When discussion took place in the House on the Transport Regulations, which were almost identical with these, the hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. P. Thorneycroft) said that, broadly speaking the regulations were reasonable and fair. I think the same words are quite applicable to the regulations which I now move. The House is aware, of course, that these regulations are laid under Section 55 of the Electricity Act, 1947, providing for compensation to officerswho suffer loss of employment or loss or diminution of emoluments or pension rights or whose position is worsened in consequence …of vesting. That wording is exactly the same as was provided in the Transport Regulations. There may be some doubt as to what "officer" means and I direct the attention of the House to the Act. It will be seen that in Section 67:'officer' includes a managing director and a director whose functions are substantially those of an employee but not any other director, and also includes a servant.These regulations cover all those persons who are in the employ of the industry, some 130,000. All the same, it is our view that there will be very little need for the regulations for the great bulk of those employed in the industry. I believe that on Monday this week Sir Henry Self said that, as far as the generating programme is concerned, and not taking into consideration the distribution programme at all, in the next five years something in the nature of 3,000 staff would be required and an additional 25,000 manual workers. Clearly the staff generally are fairly comfortable in the knowledge that they are not likely to require these regulations. All the same they are here to cover them if they are needed.
§ Mr. Brendan Bracken (Bournemouth)
I am sorry to interrupt, but I only do it to help the Debate. When did Sir Henry say this?
§ Mr. Robens
I understand that it was at a public function on Monday, a luncheon or dinner, or something of that character. In any case in looking at these regulations, we must have regard to the background of Government policy, the maintenance of full employment, and the 1297 fact that it is Government policy to ensure that any person displaced by reason of vesting should be found some alternative employment. So far as diminution of emoluments is concerned, a very large proportion of the staff is covered by the normal trade union and association agreements and will be catered for by normal trade union machinery and wage agreements. It is our view that any redundancy there is likely to be will only affect two classes of persons—those will be certain directors not employed after vesting day and secondly, a few exceptional cases mainly of the higher paid staff.
§ Mr. Robens
No, I am speaking of certain executive directors who will not be employed after vesting day. These regulations, in common with the transport regulations, put a limit of compensation on earnings of £4,000 per annum so that the limit which, in accordance with the regulations is two-thirds of the sum, would mean that the maximum compensation for the highest paid would be £2,666. There may be some argument about that. Indeed, it was raised on the transport regulations and I think it should be said again, as it was said then, that one should be reasonable about compensation, but one should also have fair regard to the consumers, and it is not unreasonable to fix a maximum of £4,000 as the earnings upon which the two-thirds is to be based. That seems fair to the higher paid individual and to the consumer and it must be borne in mind that, after two years, that individual is in a position, if he desires, of earning other income without affecting his compensation.
It is not intended that there should be any provision in these regulations for compensation for any person with employment of less than an average of 30 hours weekly. There is here a slight change from the previous regulations in connection with matters of compensation in relation to a director who has executive functions occupying less than 30 hours a week but who is a director for some hours a week. In these regulations we permit the aggregation of his functional directorship and his normal directorship, and if the weekly hours exceed 1298 30 on the average he will be entitled to compensation within the terms of the regulations.
We also repeated in these regulations what was done in the transport regulations to the effect that no person can receive compensation unless he was employed prior to vesting for a continuous period of not less than eight years after attaining the age of 18. The Government's first view on this matter was that 10 years was the right period to fix. We ought to be sure that an individual who is to be compensated has his roots in the industry. As I say, the Government's view originally was that the number of years ought to be 10, but after consideration and discussion the period was brought down to eight years. Eight years is common both to the transport regulations and to the National Health Service Regulations.
§ Mr. Robens
No, there is not an age limit in one respect. In assessing the compensation for loss of employment we must have regard to the terms of a man's employment or the terms of any other employment he has obtained or might have obtained since the date of the loss. We have also to take into consideration the extent to which he has sought alternative employment, and other relevant circumstances. That is because the main objective of the regulations is to compensate the individual for something which he has lost. It would obviously be quite unnecessary to compensate an individual for a loss when he has not or need not have suffered any loss. That is common to the transport regulations.
§ Mr. Bracken
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but he has made a very sweeping statement. Do I understand that officials now serving under the British Transport Commission who have, I believe, received high pensions from their former railway employers have given those up? That is a matter of high consequence. I believe that there are people serving the Transport Commission who are, with the approval of the Minister of Transport, also drawing large pensions from the railways.
§ Mr. Robens
No, that has nothing to do with the regulations, which are to provide for compensation for loss necessarily incurred on vesting. What the shareholders of the railway companies did for their people was something that they were entitled to do, and some of them did do something in that respect.
I am concerned here not with arguing the transport regulations. I am trying to show that this matter has been discussed in principle on two other occasions. This is important because other similar regulations will come along later on in connection with other nationalised industries, and I hope that with the full discussion we are having tonight the approval of the regulations that we have in the future will be found to be much easier.
§ Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre (New Forest and Christchurch)
When the hon. Gentleman says that these regulations are similar to the transport regulations, is he aware that under Section 21 (1) of the Transport Act certain payments can be made to directors which are forbidden under the Electricity Act, and that therefore his whole case falls to the ground?
§ Mr. Robens
I know that, but it does not fall to the ground at all. I have not at any time said that these are identical with the Transport regulations. I have said that they are very largely similar to the Transport regulations and they are similar to the Health regulations. I have been indicating where they are similar and if the hon. and gallant Member looks at HANSARD he will see that that is so.
We are also taking into account the compensation or damages paid to an individual for breach of contract. The House would agree that it would be clearly unreasonable that an individual should be compensated twice for a loss arising out of the same event.
The similarity with the Transport regulations appears once again when we look at the amount of compensation. There is the immediate compensation which is confined entirely to loss of employment. That is payable at the rate of two-thirds of the former earnings after allowing for unemployment benefits, two-thirds of which are taken into account. I hope 1300 that I have made myself clear. Two-thirds of his earnings, less the two-thirds of the unemployment benefit that he would or might receive.
Then there is the substantive compensation which is payable after three months, or in the case where immediate compensation has not been paid, from the date of the loss. This substantive compensation is not to exceed one-sixtieth of the loss for each year of service, except in so far as an individual is over 45 years of age, when it receives an addition for added years. It is fairly obvious that as a man gets older the possibility of re-employment is lessened, and it was felt that he should have something added for that reason. Again the overriding principle will apply that the maximum must be two-thirds of the loss and again there is the similarity with the transport regulations.
With regard to the residual compensation I do not need to spend too long upon it. That is providing for the pension which the man would otherwise have received had he remained in the employment of the previous company.
As regards the method of payment compensation will be an annual sum paid weekly or monthly according to the custom or practice that has been operating. There are two exceptions to that. At the discretion of the Board the sum can be commuted to a lump sum payment, if the annual value does not exceed £26. Clearly that is worth while as there does not seem much point in having payments of very small amounts. The other exception is in relation to the individual himself. If the person concerned so requests, a quarter of larger sums than £26 may be commuted. That is in cases where there is no lump sum benefit.
In the making of these regulations consultations have taken place with the various interests concerned. I am not saying that all the various interests have welcomed and agreed to every point, but there has been consultation. They have known about them and they have known our views. In any case, if there is disagreement on any of these matters, the individual has the right to go before the tribunal who will consider his case. The Ministry of Labour and National Service will be responsible for the tribunals. Whilst no regulations will be issued in connection with the tribunals, it may 1301 interest hon. Members to know that the arrangements will provide that, subject to the formal agreement of the tribunals, the appellant will be able to be represented by any person he desires—by a representative of his trade union, or by counsel or solicitor. Reasonable expenses for travelling and subsistence will be paid to appellants, and also to witnesses if their presence is regarded by a tribunal as necessary. In that matter I think that everything reasonable has been done to enable an aggrieved party to put his or her case without much difficulty. We feel that the regulations will provide a fair basis of compensation and that they carry out the promises made during the Committee stage of the Electricity Bill.
§ Mr. Bracken
The hon. Gentleman has compared these regulations with those adopted by the Transport Commission. It may be a fair comparison for all I know, except that I think that the hon. Gentleman ought to answer the question which I now put to him. A member of the London Transport Board, which is Government controlled, was invited to become a member of the Transport Commission of the country under the chairmanship of Sir Cyril Hurcomb. It was a transfer from the London Transport Board to the Transport Commission. He received a very large salary as a member of the Transport Commission, but with full Government approval he was paid a large compensation for loss of office from the London Transport Board when he transferred himself to the Transport Commission. Is it fair to compare the regulations which the Minister is trying to persuade us to accept tonight with the Transport Commission's generous arrangement for people who serve them well?
§ Mr. Robens
Yes, I think that it is perfectly fair. I am rather amazed that the right hon. Gentleman should put that question to me, because I have read very carefully the Debate on the Transport regulations. None of the right hon. Gentleman's friends thought it was a worthwhile point to raise with the Minister of Transport.
§ 9.33 p.m.
§ Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre (New Forest and Christchurch)
I must admit that when I saw these regulations I was very worried. I thought that a great number 1302 of things had been laid down which could not be substantiated. I am afraid that I must say, with deference to the Parliamentary Secretary, that what he has said tonight has not helped me in the least to dispel the fears that I had. He appeared to make his case on three main points. He started by saying that these regulations are comparable, or similar, to the Compensation regulations of the British Transport Commission. That appeared to be his main argument. I ask him to consider one matter to which I shall have to refer later, and that is the definition of war-time service. Will he look at that definition in the regulations of the Transport Commission and compare it with these regulations? Which is the better? Which is the wider? Is it not a fact that these regulations cut down completely the very liberal provisions made by the British Transport Commission?
Secondly, the hon. Gentleman said that all the trade union agreements would be recognised, and therefore we could dismiss from our minds any consideration of anybody except a director. I am paraphrasing, but that is what I understood him to say. If one looks at the regulations, there is not one word anywhere to say that any trade union agreement must be accepted, and the hon. Gentleman would be hard put to it to find one single phrase in the regulations to support that. Thirdly, the hon. Gentleman finished by talking about directors, and I shall return to that later, but I do suggest that it is very hard for him to stand at that Box tonight and try to say that he has carried out the undertakings which were given in the Standing Committee.
Before we come to the main issue, I think it is right to protest at the length of time which it has taken to produce these regulations. If one looks at the timetable, one finds that the Royal Assent was given on 13th August, 1947, that the vesting date was 1st April, 1948, and that the first draft of regulations was produced on 10th July. They were quite rightly and hastily withdrawn, and it was not until February of this year that new regulations were produced for this House to consider. And these are regulations which vitally affect a number of men. It may be that the Parliamentary Secretary will say that there is only a 1303 small number concerned. Personally, I do not care whether there is one, 100 or 1,000. It is the task of this House to look after the interests of all sections, big or small, and to see that justice is done impartially. [Interruption.] If hon. Members say "The Big Boys," I think they will find that I am going to talk about meter men, fitters and others who could not be called big people, even by the hon. Member for Western Renfrew (Mr. Scollan). It may be that to him a fitter is a big man, though I do not think that is so to the House as a whole.
We have now waited 18 months since the Bill became law to see these regulations, and even 10 months since the vesting date. The Government have said that they will be a model employer, and will produce something which will be a criterion to private enterprise. If ever a mountain travailed in labour to produce a lean mouse, that is the case tonight with these regulations. They will do nothing to improve the lot of an individual; in fact, they lessen the rights of the individual. I was very surprised that the Parliamentary Secretary made no reference to the position which existed before, when private enterprise was in the field and was controlled by Statute as to what could be done. Perhaps I could refresh his memory as to their obligations:Where any man for any reason in any of the following conditions felt he had suffered a loss, he had a right to compensation.These conditions were:The transfer of the whole or any part of an undertaking, the cessation of operations or change in the method of operations in the whole or part of an undertaking, the closing of a generating station, the imposition by the Central Electricity Board by or under a scheme of restrictions upon the working or use of a generating station, the acquisition of a generating station, the acquisition of main transmission lines or part thereof.and so on. In fact, everything was covered, and that was the basis on which a man could claim.
§ Mr. Palmer
The hon. and gallant Gentleman will agree that that would cover the situation brought about on the 1304 amalgamations under the 1926 Act, but that it would not cover the normal business amalgamations of utility companies.
§ Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre
As I understand it, it would, but I am perfectly prepared to hear any argument on that point. I have taken this list not from the Act but from the handbook called "Electricity Practice" which was issued for the guidance of all electricity companies. Therefore, I would say, subject to any correction, that all cases were covered, and that, in fact, any man could claim for any of these things, which actually covered his normal life. Not only that, but, if we look further, the amount of the compensation that is payable in any such case is at the discretion of the referee, who is not asked to consider whether a man has put in 30 hours or worked eight years or any of these other conditions which are put into these regulations. Under private enterprise the referee was given a completely free hand. He merely had to consider the loss, assess it, and then the company concerned would pay. But now we are asked to consider something else. We are asked to consider, not a model employer, but an employer who is deliberately whittling down not only the scope but the rights which a man may have.
In the first case, we are told that a man cannot have compensation unless he is 26 years of age. As I understand it, that is based on the parallel of the Transport Commission. What a weak reason to give. What is the justification for that? All the Parliamentary Secretary is saying is, "Somebody has sinned before me, and, therefore, you cannot accuse me of sinning if I carry out the same procedure." What is the magic in this age of 26? I suggest that if we adopt this procedure we shall be denying the very thing which compensation is designed to do, which is to protect the young man. Very often, a man of 26 may have married, and married because of the job he has got. He may possibly have children, and may have embarked upon buying his own house. He may even be buying his furniture by hire purchase. One thing which is absolutely certain is that a man of 26 in such circumstances will demand security, and he must have security if he is to lead a normal life and bring up his family in the proper way.
1305 I should like to read a small portion of a document issued by the Ministry of Fuel and Power. In it they say, in regard to this particular position:Normally, it will be the older man who will have difficulty in finding other work, and the regulations are, therefore, more sympathetic to his claims than to those of the younger man who may be expected to find alternative employment.I can think of nothing more dangerous. Of course, I admire the Ministry in their desire to help the older man, but surely the real thing is to help the younger man, the man who finds his career terminated for one reason or another, and who has difficulty in finding alternative employment. It must be remembered that in a great number of technical occupations, the Ministry is now a monopoly employer. If it dismisses a man, he has no alternative employer to whom to go for a job. It is a great responsibility for the Minister, and he has to remember that if a young man engaged in a technical occupation, particularly in connection with the distribution of electricity, is dismissed, there is no other employer to whom he can go to get similar employment.
§ Mr. Scollan
There are two points with which I should like the hon. and gallant Gentleman to deal. The first is that, with the development of electricity supplies in this country, is it not very likely that all these young men will be found jobs connected with that development? Secondly, can the hon. and gallant Gentleman say whether at any time in the whole of his Parliamentary career he has ever raised the question of the thousands of ordinary working men who were discharged from their employment without compensation, and with nothing but the dole?
§ Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre
I cannot answer the second question because I have been a Member of this House only since 1945, although I did say it, for instance, on the Gas Bill. With regard to his first point, the hon. Gentleman has anticipated my argument, because that was exactly the point I was going to make.
If I understand the Minister correctly, the Ministry have nothing to fear. In that case, for Heaven's sake admit them to compensation, because the Government cannot lose either way. If they are to 1306 continue in the occupation, the Government pay nothing. If there is some odd case which slips through the net—and I stress that if it is one we are just as much concerned as if there were a thousand—let the Government pay. What is wrong in that?
I next come to the point that people must work for eight years? What is the magic of eight years? Where does the figure come from? On what is it based? I had no idea, and I must admit that the Parliamentary Secretary did not add to my knowledge. Again, I think he merely said it was based on the British Transport Commission's Regulations, or perhaps he did not base it on anything. We are in a complete fog as to where that figure has come from. Is it not very hard on all those who joined the industry during the war? What is to happen to those people? They are people who may have been directed, or they may have thought it was their part of National Service to join the electricity industry. They will now be thrown out and have absolutely nothing with which to start their future life. Where do they come in? Let me remind the hon. Gentleman again that the Ministry is a monopoly employer and for many of those people, who may have been directed into the industry in 1941 or at some date like that, there is no alternative employer to whom they can go if they are now dismissed. They are being left without anything with which they can build their future.
I want to ask the Minister a few questions about his definition of war service. Personally, I think it covers most of the eventualities, but I am not at all clear whether it covers whole-time service done prior to 3rd September, 1939. We must remember that a great many people were called up for Anti-Aircraft Command in the middle of August of that year. Does that service count under the regulations as at present drafted? I find it difficult to decide whether it does or not, and I should like the Minister to give us some information on that point.
The only definition of war service given in these regulations is hopelessly narrow by comparison with the British Transport Commission's regulations. Under those regulations a man who might have been interned, who might have been in enemy occupied country, was entitled to count that service in connection with any com- 1307 pensation he might expect to receive. Under these electricity regulations the man who was interned, who might have been sent abroad by the electricity authority, say to Rumania or some other country and was subsequently interned, would not be able to count that service for anything. That seems to me to be wrong.
Above all, there is no freedom given to the Minister such as there is under sub-paragraph (vi), of the regulations of the British Transport Commission where:Such other employment as the Minister may in writing approveis considered to be war-time service. There is nothing of that in these regulations.
§ Mr. Robens
I presume the hon. and gallant Gentleman is speaking of civilian technicians still in the employ of the company?
§ Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre
As I said, there is nothing in these regulations like there is in the British Transport regulations which say "such other employment as the Minister may in writing approve." There is nothing like that in these regulations which would enable the odd case to be dealt with.
Having dealt with those points, let us consider what are the exclusions which are made under these regulations, of people who may receive compensation. The first one—I think the major one—is that, whereas the joint and local authorities managed two-thirds of that industry, nobody may now claim compensation unless he can prove that he was wholly or mainly employed in the undertaking of that local authority. How on earth does the Minister expect that proof to be made? Let us consider, for example, a simple case, that of a clerk in the accounts branch of the local authority. That branch is probably dealing with rates, certainly with gas, certainly with electricity. How is any single person in that branch to prove he was wholly or mainly on one or the other? It cannot be done. What is happening is this, that as gas and electricity are taken away from the local authority, there will probably be considerable cuts in that department. The people employed in it, as these regulations are drafted at the moment, will have no claim—none whatever— 1308 because none of them can say that he was wholly or mainly on this job. They were all occupied and some will be sacked, but there is no compensation.
§ Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre
Certainly if responsibility for this work is taken from the local authority the local authority will not need so many clerks. It is obvious. During the war years, particularly, there was great shortage of manpower, and the staffs of local authorities—as staffs elsewhere did—made every effort to "muck in," to divide the work amongst themselves as best they could. There was no question of one man's saying, "I want to work on gas," or of somebody else saying, "You will do nothing but electricity." Everybody buckled down to do all he could. The more the staff buckled down, the more they pooled their jobs, and tried to make the local authority administration run proficiently, the less now they will be able to prove their own cases under these regulations. That seems to be a most disastrous thing.
Again a man who has served a local authority for 30 years in electricity may be moved to another department three months before the vesting date. Perhaps, the rating officer calls him to help. Let us assume, for the sake of my case, that the rating officer's immediate assistant goes down with appendicitis. He needs somebody with long experience and good knowledge to do his assistant's job, and the head of the electricity accounts branch is transferred for six months to help carry the rating officer's department. Under the regulations, as they are framed at the moment, that man would not get a penny, despite the fact that he had spent 30 years serving the local authority. The very fact that he had been three months before the vesting date outside his own department would debar him from receiving any compensation at all. The hon. Gentleman shakes his head. If he will tell me under what part of the regulations that man will get compensation, I shall withdraw my remark.
§ Mr. Robens
I was only shaking my head at the thought that a clever accountant, so smart as to be able to do two or three jobs, and to be transferred to another job, would be sacked.
§ Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre
I am trying to make a serious case, and I am sorry the hon. Member has deliberately tried to make fun of it. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I hope that hon. Members will listen, because this is an important point. Here we have the possibility that a man has been serving 30 years in one department of a local authority. It may well be—we all know it—that another department, because of illness, needs temporary help, and that the trained, tried, proved servant of 30 years' standing is moved temporarily from his department to the other. There is no harm in that; it is done every day; but under these regulations, if that man is moved I said for three months or for six months—but if he is moved even 24 hours before the vesting date he will lose every penny of compensation to which he is entitled. He may be moved for only three days, before the vesting day and two days after. He would still lose every penny of compensation to which he is entitled.
§ Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre
But that is the whole point. That is the point I have been trying to make. I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has reinforced it for me. Let us look at the proviso to Regulation 1 which says that a person must have an average weekly aggregate of 30 hours or more before he can make claim to compensation, and, moreover, has to prove that during that period he was restricted from taking other employment in consideration of emoluments. Of all the fantastic provision that could be put in any Regulation, surely that must have first prize.
On the controversial point of directors, I will quote what the present Secretary of State for War said when he was Minister of Fuel and Power:It appears to me that, if there are directors, as no doubt there are, of undertakings who occupy a fair part of their time—it may be four days a week or only two days—sitting on a board of directors and for some part of the rest of the week undertaking activities associated with a particular undertaking, they are included in the definition of officers."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E, 15th May, 1947; c. 1421.]When one takes that statement of the late Minister of Fuel and Power and considers it in relation to these regulations tonight, one can only say that the pre- 1310 sent Minister has completely repudiated his predecessor and gone back on what was said then. I myself would say that from information available not only in the Standing Committee, but on the Third Reading and in another place, that it really is a tragic thing when undertakings are given, which are accepted, that they should be now absoluely repudiated when it comes to their implementation.
How can the secretary of a company or a meter fitter prove these conditions? How can he prove that he has served 30 hours a week on a particular job and that he has been restricted during that period from taking other emoluments? It seems to me that he can only do that on the assumption that all the records of individual engagements are kept in the minutes book of the company. Let us assume that that is so. I think that it is, because it is borne out by Regulation 15 (1), which says:Any person claiming to be entitled to compensation shall give notice thereof to the Board as soon as may be after the date of loss; and shall furnish therewith full information, verified by a statutory declaration made by that person, as to the matters specified in the Schedule to these Regulations.In other words, the onus of proof is on him. It is not for the Board to disprove it; but he has to prove it. He can only do that by having access to the minutes book and to all the other records of the company. Where are these records at the moment? They were passed over to the stockholders' representative; they may now be with the stockholders' representative; they may be with the Electricity Board, or still with the local authority. How has anyone the right to ask those authorities to produce the necessary evidence? It simply cannot be done.
§ Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre
I hope that the Minister who is to reply will be able to satisfy the hon. Gentleman. Perhaps he will tell me how it can be done, and how the small man is even to know where to start to look for the documents which will enable him to qualify under Regulation 15 (1) before he can claim his compensation.
Lastly, I come to the question of the £4,000 limit. I am told by the Parliamentary Secretary, as I understood it, that this £4,000 limit is something which applied under the Transport Commission 1311 Regulations, and which he thinks are fair and reasonable. That is, I think, a fair summary of his argument. But on what is it based? As I understood it, simply because this is the maximum sum he thought a consumer should be called upon to pay in compensation. That seems to me a most extraordinary doctrine. What is the basis of compensation? It is for loss. If once it is said, "We shall assess the loss before we give the compensation," we might as well have no regulation for compensation at all, because the whole basis of compensation is destroyed.
During our Debates on the Gas Bill last year we discussed two members who had to be appointed to the Gas Board, who were receiving more than £4,000 a year before appointment, and the Minister of Fuel and Power said, during those Debates, that he would make up their pay to what they were receiving over the sum of £4,000. I think I am also right in saying that there are at present two members of the British Electricity Authority whose nominal salary is £4,000, but whose salary has been made up to what they had before, by what I believe the Minister is pleased to call "personal allowances." Therefore, there seems to be no magic in the sum of £4,000 when it comes to the boards of nationalised industries. Suppose any member of the National Coal Board in receipt of more than £4,000 a year—and there are a number—were sacked tomorrow, for one reason or another, in any of the circumstances envisaged under these regulations. Would he be content to have his emoluments cut down to £4,000 before receiving compensation? Would the Minister think that fair?
§ Mr. Robens
This is rather important. It is difficult for hon. Members on this side of the House to find out what the Conservative Party's policy is. Do I understand the policy the hon. and gallant Member is now putting forward on behalf of his party is that the compensation should be something greater than £2,666 a year?
§ Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre
I only want to raise the broad issue. If compensation is given, then that compensation is based upon loss; that loss is known, and to be fair the compensation must be based upon the known loss, whether it be £500 or £50,000.
§ Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre
Let us stick to these regulations, if we may, for the moment. It is quite easy to introduce extraneous thoughts and arguments.
I put this to the Parliamentary Secretary, and I hope he will consider this example, which is very relevant to the argument I have just made. Consider the case of a senior executive, who is over 65 years of age, who for one cause or another—nationalisation, change of Government, integration, whatever you like—may be deprived of his office. As these regulations stand at the moment, the managing director, say, who is receiving £6,000 a year would receive, I think the Parliamentary Secretary said, £2,666 provided he was under the age of 65; but if he were over 65 he would receive only half that—£1,300.
§ Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre
Any Member of, for instance, the National Coal Board who was in similar circumstances would now receive the sum of £1,300 instead of his emoluments. It is even worse for a man in the same position, who for some reason or another—assuming he had worked his way up from the bottom—maintained a pension policy, who at the age of 65 was receiving £6,000 a year: he would find that because of his pension of, say, £500 he would lose the whole of his right to compensation; he would get nothing at all. Instead of £6,000 a year he would be left with merely £500 a year.
Therefore I think it can be summed up in this way: that if it is the intention of the Government to start well with nationalisation the one thing they want to avoid is strewing the countryside with people who are disappointed, with people who have just cause to complain. What they have done is very much out of tune with what private enterprise has done before. I have fought nationalisation as fiercely as anyone——
§ Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre
—but once an industry has been nationalised, then surely it is the essence of the duty of the Government to see that they start well and that they carry the whole of those in the industry with them? To produce regulations like these, which are mean, which deprive many people of rights they have enjoyed previously and which deny future rights to many people, do none of those things, and it is for that reason that I hope the regulations will not be passed tonight.
§ 10.6 p.m.
§ Mr. Palmer (Wimbledon)
There are, in my view, certain objections to some parts of these regulations, but I am not sure that the hon. and gallant Member for New Forest and Christchurch (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre) has succeeded in finding them. For instance, he objected to the regulations because he said that existing trade union agreements were not carried out by them. He should know—because he served on the Standing Committee—that existing trade union agreements are covered in the Sections of the Act and all the trade union agreements in existence before vesting day have been carried over under the new order. As far as I know, no trade union in the industry has had any difficulty of any kind.
The hon. and gallant Gentleman also made a completely false point when he quoted from what turned out to be the 1926 Act, because he seemed to think that the quite generous compensation provisions in that Act were something on which private enterprise deserved to be congratulated. But, of course, the 1926 Act set up a public statutory body and it dealt with any losses of employment brought about over a quite limited section of the industry, the wholesale side; hardships brought about because of the shutting down of generating stations. It had nothing whatever to do with that great part of the industry over which private enterprise operated.
I think the House will agree that I have some practical experience of the electricity supply industry. There have been numbers of amalgamations over the last 30 or 40 years between companies, 1314 and these normal commercial amalgamations have sometimes resulted in the displacement of engineers and employees of every grade without a penny of compensation. In a company by which I was once employed, an engineer who had given long years of service was telephoned one morning quite early after the amalgamation, after another company had stepped in, and was told that his services were no longer required and that he could have one month's money, and he went——
§ Mr. Bracken
I must interrupt the hon. Gentleman because he has made the gravest of accusations. An engineer—the House must listen to this—who had spent a long time in the employment of an electricity company was dismissed on the telephone one morning—this is the tale. Let us have his name and the name of the company. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Yes, it is quite important. I am asking the hon. Gentleman a question. It really is quite surprising. First of all, this gentleman would have recourse to law. Let the hon. Member be fair and tell us the name of the company which dismissed him.
§ Mr. Palmer
I am prepared to give the name, at my own time. I am not proposing to give it to the House tonight. I am saying that this kind of thing was not unknown. I do not suggest it was common practice. Some companies were extremely generous in these matters, but it was a question of private generosity. The point I am making is that the 1926 Act, which the hon. and gallant Gentleman quoted, had nothing whatsoever to do with the normal commercial amalgamations of private enterprise.
§ Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre
I should like to ask the hon. Gentleman this question. Is there, under the terms which I read out—I tried to do so slowly—any specific case which he can mention which is not covered? And is the hon. Member willing to give the name of the man, or is he willing to give the name of the company concerned?
§ Mr. Palmer
—as a matter of normal commercial amalgamation, was not unknown in the electricity supply industry in days gone by.
The hon. and gallant Member for New Forest and Christchurch has put a question to me about the 1926 Act. That Act, of course, covered the setting up and operations of the Grid and any closing down of stations brought about by the operations of the Grid. It did not cover commercial amalgamations outside, by statutory undertakings. The hon. and gallant Gentleman also talked about there being just one monopoly employer at present and said that, therefore, if a man left the electricity supply industry it was impossible for him to find alternative employment. Let me point out, then, that in the electricity supply industry there are various grades. A fitter is a fitter, whether he works in electricity supply or electrical manufacturing. There is plenty of alternative employment as long as full employment is maintained generally in the country. The point is a false one.
I want to come now to one or two criticisms. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary said, quite rightly, that there had been consultations with trade unions and associations in the industry on the regulations. I have some personal knowledge of those consultations and I think it is right to say that the unions and associations concerned are grateful to the Minister for the opportunities he has given them to discuss the draft regulations with him. He will, however, appreciate that trade unions cannot negotiate on terms of equality with the Government. It would not be right that they should do so. Simply because there have been consultations, it would be wrong to say that the unions are absolutely satisfied with the regulations as they stand. Even if they were satisfied, that should not take away from the right and, indeed, the duty of Members of this House to look at these regulations extremely carefully.
The trade unions which have been consulted in this matter cover pretty well every grade of employee. They include 1316 unions such as the Association of Managerial Electrical Executives and the Electrical Power Engineers Association, for the technical staff, the National Association of Local Government Officers and the Clerical and Administrative Workers' Union, for the clerical and administrative staffs, and, I think, five of the unions representing manual workers. The industry is fortunate in having such a representative committee.
It seems to me that one of the difficulties in regard to these regulations—and here perhaps I shall have some agreement from hon. Members opposite—is that they are modelled on a standard form set up for nationalised industries generally. I think that somewhat of a weakness, because they do not necessarily take into account the special conditions and peculiar circumstances of the electricity supply industry. One of the features of the industry is that it has always had a very close contact with the manufacturing side. There has been a constant flow of staff, especially technical staff, from the manufacturing companies to electricity undertakings. For example, an engineer, after many years contracting work for a manufacturing company on construction of power stations, when he is 40 or 45 may he taken into the employment of a supply undertaking. He may be taken into an extremely good position and he gets that position because of his vast experience on the manufacturing side. Suppose that five years after vesting day it is found that there is no work for him. He will get no compensation because he has not had the necessary number of years in the electricity supply industry. I suggest that the Minister might look at the regulations to see if it is possible for genuine experience in the electricity manufacturing industry as such, which has resulted in a man being brought into a position on the supply side of the industry, to count for some compensation should he later lose his employment as a result of vesting.
I do not very much like the provision for no compensation after 10 years. I think compensation should be payable at any time, provided the applicant can show that his loss of office or emoluments is a consequence of the Act. The suggestion that we should leave out of account altogether any diminution in emoluments under 5 per cent. is a rather 1317 unfortunate feature of the regulations. I suppose this provision is intended to prevent a multiplicity of small claims, but a £30 loss on a salary of £600 is no laughing matter and I think the Minister might look into that. Unlike the coal industry, or the transport industry, payment in kind was not really a common feature of the industry, but, free electricity, or electricity at reduced rates for employees, is not unknown. Because of this provision it is possible for that concession to be taken from employees and they cannot claim any compensation. It may be that the trade unions would have something to say on it, but, nevertheless, it is an objection. Then the eight-year qualifying period is unreasonably long.
§ Mr. Palmer
I am not against a qualifying period, but I suggest that this is unreasonably long and it might be shortened. It might be five years, or shorter.
§ Mr. Palmer
During the Committee stage certain undertakings were given by my right hon. Friend that directors with executive functions should be compensated. To enable this to be done a minimum of 30 hours full-time service is laid down as an essential requirement for the payment of compensation. The danger now is that some local authority or holding company staff may be excluded from receiving compensation precisely because of this provision. For example—[Interruption.] These matters are of some interest to those who work in the electricity supply industry. The average member of the staff of a local authority at present works about 38 hours a week. Thirty hours of that is a fairly good proportion; it represents nearly 80 per cent. of his time. It may be that the local authority employees may be transferred; they may go over to the new electricity boards, and yet in 1318 the past they may not have spent the full 30 hours on the work of the old electricity undertaking. If found redundant later they may get no compensation.
I come to the provision which deals with the seeking of alternative employment. There is the provision, in Part 11, on page 4 of the regulations, in which the boards are asked to take into account when assessing compensation the extent to which the applicant "has sought alternative employment." I do not like that provision very much. The words have a certain ominous ring about them. There is also reference to—emoluments which he … might have secured by accepting any suitable and reasonable employment … offered to him …These phrases are extremely difficult to define.
Employment by another electricity board is apparently always regarded, from the way the regulations are drafted, as being suitable. Let us take the case, for instance, of a man of Kent or a man of Devon, a man in the Southern part of England, who is working in a small thermal power station, a steam station. Let us suppose that once we have overcome our present electricity difficulty that station is closed down and the staff are out of employment. The man to whom I am referring may be between 40 and 50 years old, and it may be discovered that there is no work for him in the South of England. Suppose it is suggested that there is work for him with the Scottish Hydro-Electric Board, which is a board under the definition of the Act. It is a considerable matter for that man to move his home in Kent, or wherever it may be, to take up employment with the Scottish Hydro-Electric Board, the alternative if he does not being that his compensation will be substantially reduced.
Those are the main points I wish to make. I agree with my hon. Friend that the electricity supply industry is an expanding one, and that we are fortunate in having in power a Government which is pursuing a policy of full employment. None the less, I should not be doing my proper duty to the electricity supply industry, or my duty as a Member of Parliament, if I did not mention the doubts which I feel about certain provisions in these regulations. I hope that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposites 1319 will not suppose that I am proposing to vote with them if they decide to divide the House. That would be going much too far. I am very anxious that these regulations should be made and that they should come into effect fairly soon. I hope, however, that my right hon. Friend will pay some attention to the points which I have made, because I can assure him that they represent the doubts of a great number of employees in the industry, who, in general support the 1947 Act, and expect great things for the industry arising out of it.
§ Mr. Scollan
I would like to ask my hon. Friend to clear up this point. He supported the Government in the regulations that enabled the Coal Board to close down uneconomical pits and transfer the miners to other coal fields without compensation. I would like to know how he reconciles that attitude with his demand for compensation for a man who lives in Kent who might have to go to the Hydro-Electricity scheme in Scotland.
§ Mr. Palmer
I do not think that my hon. Friend has made a point at all. I am proposing to support the Government on these regulations, but since I have some knowledge of the industry I think I am entitled to voice my objection to parts of them.
§ 10.27 p.m.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd (Wirral)
I thought I should find myself in violent disagreement with the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Palmer) when he indulged in the usual sort of smear campaign against private enterprise in the past and then failed to produce the necessary evidence. However, my antipathy to him on that ground was somewhat lessened later on when he subjected the regulations to a critical analysis. I do not think that he came to a very logical conclusion when he said he would not vote against them, but I think he has put forward a number of points which, added to those of my hon. and gallant Friend, should make the right hon. Gentleman feel very uncomfortable about his regulations.
The first point we have to make is with regard to inordinate delay. I agree it would be a great pity if what is said to- 1320 night should cause further delay. On the other hand, are we to let go through regulations which will not provide justice for the appropriate cases? There are no provisions in these regulations for discretion except on minor matters of procedure. All hon. Members know well the kind of reply which comes from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury that there is no power to make such-and-such a payment because the Act or the regulation does not provide for them. Therefore, it is necessary in considering these regulations to make certain that they do cover the appropriate matters.
I wish first to deal with the grounds of entitlement under the regulations. Regulation 2 says:Subject to the provisions of paragraph (3) of this regulation, any of the following occurring to a person to whom regulation one applies shall be a ground of entitlement to compensation …." and then it goes on to define those matters as:If we look at paragraph (4) that does not carry the matter very much further.
- "(a) loss of employment, with or without any loss or diminution of pension rights;
- (b) loss, or, in the case of a person for the time being employed by an Electricity Board, diminution, of emoluments;
- (c) the worsening of a person's position with respect to his conditions of service as a whole, as compared with his conditions before the date of loss as defined in paragraph (4)."
The Parliamentary Secretary repeatedly asked us to approve these regulations because they were modelled on the Transport Commission Regulations. If we look at the Transport Commission Regulations dealing with that matter, we find, in Regulation 2, that the events which are to entitle a man to compensation are (a) that his office or situation is abolished, and he is not offered by the Commission a reasonably comparable office or situation, or (b), having been required to perform duties such as are not analogous, or are an unreasonable addition, to those which previously he performed, then he relinquishes the office or situation. Then there are four other conditions concerned with the dispensing of service reduction of emoluments, etc. But the two matters I want to put to the Parliamentary Secretary are those which I mentioned first.
A person who has not been offered a reasonably comparable job or has been 1321 required to perform duties such as are not analogous or are an unreasonable addition to his previous duties, and has, therefore, relinquished his appointment, is entitled to compensation under the Transport Regulations. At least, that is as I read it. May I ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether he accepts that? Personally, I do not think that there is any doubt about it. Such a person is not covered by these regulations, although the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor said, on the Report stage of the Bill, when an Amendment was moved from this side, that if, within five years of the vesting date, any existing officer relinquished his appointment on the grounds that his duties were an unreasonable addition to, or not comparable with, his former duties, he should be compensated.
The right hon. Gentleman, now the Secretary of State for War, then said that he could not accept the, Amendment in its existing form, although, in principle, he took no exception to what was there presented. There were, he said, exceptions, but the principal reason why he could not accept the Amendment was that he thought the provisions would he more appropriately dealt with by regulations. The right hon. Gentleman ended:—So I agree, with certain modifications and adjustments which are appropriate to the particular circumstances of this industry, to provide Regulations which will cover substantially the proposals contained in the Amendment."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th June, 1947; Vol. 439, c. 490.]That undertaking has not been carried out in the regulations before us tonight.
If I may continue with the invitation of the Parliamentary Secretary to compare these regulations with those concerned with transport, the next matter to which I would refer is the definition, or, rather, the fact that there is no definition, of emoluments. This affects something which the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Palmer) also mentioned. In these regulations, in paragraph 6 (3), there is a reference to emoluments. It mentions the following matters:—In the determination of the emoluments received by any person in respect of employment—That is as near as we get in these regulations to a definition of emoluments. What I want to know is why, if the Transport Commission Regulations are the model for these regulations, we have departed from the more satisfactory and complete definition of emoluments in those regulations. "Emoluments" are there stated to mean, and I am reading from paragraph 2 of the Transport Regulations:
- (a) the amount of any fees or other variable payments included …
- (b) the money value of any accommodation …
- (c) there shall be excluded any sum paid to that person in respect of—
- (i) expenses incurred by him in the course of his employment;
- (ii) overtime not being a sum paid as a regular increment to his wages or salary."All salary, wages, fees including directors' fees, and payments of a similar nature, paid or made to an officer or servant as such for his own use; all bonuses, allowances, commissions, gratuities, special duty and overtime pay that are of a recurrent (whether seasonal or otherwise) nature; and the money value of all travel privileges, free accommodation, and any other allowances in kind, privileges or benefits, whether obtained legally or by customary practice. It excludes all payments for travelling, subsistence, accommodation, engagement of assistance and other expenses incurred in the course of employment, and all overtime and other payments that do not reflect a permanent state of affairs.I do not want to worry the House by going at great length into that definition, but I submit that it is a much more satisfactory definition than the rather vague and loose words contained in the regulations which we are now considering. Also under paragraph 6, my hon. and gallant Friend referred to the question of the £4,000 limit. I was present the other day at a meeting of the Standing Committee at which one hon. Member moved that the maximum salary payable to any member of the Iron and Steel Corporation should be £5,000.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Mr. Bowles)
It is out of Order to refer to what is going on in a Standing Committee which has not yet reported to the House.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
I appreciate your Ruling, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I was only going to make a passing reference. I think that I would be in Order in putting the argument in this way, that it seems to me highly illogical for a Government, the members of which refuse to fix limits for the remuneration of members of public corporations, and refuse any sug- 1323 gested limit on the ground that they must pay the rate for the job, and must pay these high salaries whatever they may be, whether £7,000 or £8,000, to come along to fix a limit to compensation. It seems to me the depth of meanness for people to use that argument when it comes to a question of compensation and not to keep to the same criterion of the rate for the job.
I do not think I need add anything to what has been said by other hon. Members on the question of 30 hours. It seems extremely difficult in logic for the Minister to defend that limitation. I also agree with hon. Members who have spoken already on the question of the phrase "wholly or mainly." I reinforce the point of the hon. Member for Wimbledon about the limit of 10 years. I think it is clear, under these regulations, that if a man becomes redundant after a certain period of time, he gets no compensation. It seems to me that that might be the cause of injustice.
Perhaps I might deal with some rather similar points of detail on these regulations, starting at Regulation 9 which deals with residual compensation. Sub-paragraph (3) states:For the purposes of the payments afore-said—Who decides that? Is it a matter for either party to decide, or can it be decided only by the Board or the Minister, or by whom? Continuing with the same sub-paragraph, there is a reference to
- (a) the said person shall pay to the Board a sum equal to the amount of any return of contributions made to him under the said scheme, or the compensation shall be reduced by an amount the capital value whereof is equal to the said sum."actual length of service completed by that person.What is the difference between "actual length" and "length of service "? Subparagraph (3) (b) reads:The amount of pension or benefit to he satisfied shall be determined in relation to any person as if every condition had been fulfilled qualifying him to receive such a pension or such benefit, but (where relevant, and subject to any customary addition) by reference to the actual length of the service completed by that person before the date of loss.Then paragraph 4 reads:If a person to whom paragraph 2 applies had at the date of loss attained the age of 45 years, an assessment of compensation may require the Board to ensure that a sum is paid 1324 by way of addition to his pension and benefit, as if for an added year of service, in respect of each completed year of service, whether before or after the vesting date, after attaining the age of 45.Why should that only be permissible? Why should it not be peremptory? I ask the right hon. Gentleman to be good enough to attempt to explain to the House the meaning of the two provisoes at the top of page 8, because I have studied them and failed to decide what they mean. I think there is a great obscurity about them.
Then there is paragraph 10 (3), dealing with the assessment of compensation and discharge of the onus of proof, which reads:(3) Where any person alleges that he has lost his employment in consequence of the vesting, transfer or disposal, as the case may be, of any property, rights, liabilities or obligations, he shall (unless the contrary be proved) be deemed to have lost his employment accordingly if, before the expiry of ten years from the vesting date, being a person employed in any capacity mentioned in paragraph (2) of regulation one connected with the property. rights, liabilities or obligations, he loses his said employment on any ground other than his own request (including acceptance of membership of an Electricity Board) or the attainment by him of retiring age, or his own misconduct or incapacity to perform any duty which he was, or reasonably might have been. required to perform in the course of the said employment.It appears to me that a man is going to be deprived of his rights of compensation for failing to do something which he was never asked to do. That seems to me a little odd, to say the least of it.
Paragraph 12, which is the regulation which the Parliamentary Secretary referred to with some degree of satisfaction, deals with the right of appeal from the decision of the Board. In it there is a reference to a re-hearing. I imagine that there can only be a re-hearing when there is a preliminary hearing. Where is the preliminary hearing provided for? If we go further and look at later provisions with regard to the hearing of claims by the Board, and the dealing with claims by the Board, there is no provision at all. as far as I can see, for a man to be heard, or to bring his representatives, or in any way to put his case before the Board in the normal manner.
Then we come to paragraph 15—procedure on claims. It is there stated that:Any person claiming to be entitled to compensation shall give notice thereof to the 1325 Board as soon as may be after the date of loss; and shall furnish therewith full information, verified by a statutory declaration made by that person, as to the matters in the Schedule to these Regulations.If any hon. Members have taken the trouble to look at the matters specified in the schedule, they will have seen that they cast an enormously onerous burden of proof upon the individual applicant. There are many matters which the individual man would not be able, in fact, to produce to the Board without a very high degree of collaboration from the Board, because many of the documents would be in the custody of the Board itself. Therefore, I should have thought that paragraph 15 should have included some qualifying phrase such as—" so far as a man is able." If the Minister will give some undertaking regarding the interpretation of this provision, he will give satisfaction on that point.
Then we come to paragraph 16, dealing with extension of time. It seems quite wrong that only the Minister should be able to extend the time. I should have thought that either the Board or the tribunal ought to have the right to extend the time. It is gross over-centralisation to allow only the Minister to do that. Paragraph 17 describes the method whereby the Board deals with claims. I should have thought that there should be a provision entitling a man to have a representative with him, or to be represented by someone else if he is not there, to enable his claim to be put properly. These are serious points, or may be serious points, for the people who have to apply for compensation.
Paragraph 18 deals with interpretation, and gives certain definitions. I agree that the definitions of pensions, pension rights, and pension schemes are fairly wide, but I do not believe that they include any discretionary cases. They do not include the class of case where, within the discretion of the Board, a man might be expected to receive a gratuity or pension of some sort. [Interruption.] Does the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Tiffany) wish to say something?
§ Mr. Tiffany (Peterborough)
I was referring to the definition relating to any person who has a pension, whether of a contributory or any other kind whatsoever.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
My point was rather different. If the hon. Gentleman will consult with a certain colleague of his, he will find that that matter is worthy of reconsideration. The only other matter on the definitions is that of war service. If we look at the Transport Commission Regulations again—and this really is a matter which may affect many individuals—war service means:(i) Service in any of His Majesty's forces; (ii) any employment in the merchant navy or fishing fleets; (iii) any full-time employment in the Civil Defence Services (including the National Fire Service), the Royal Observer Corps, the Police War Reserve, the Nursing and First Aid Services, and the Women's Land Army; (iv) any full-time employment into which the officer or servant entered by direction of the Minister of Labour and National Service"—the right hon. Gentleman will notice the alteration in sub-paragraph (f) of these regulations, which are more restricted and—(v) detention by the enemy as a prisoner, military or civil, in any enemy or enemy-occupied country, or internment in any enemy or enemy-occupied or neutral country in consequence of that war;"—and, this is very important—(vi) Such other employment as the Minister may in writing approve.If hon. Members will look at the definitions in the regulations before the House, it must be obvious that they are very much narrower.
I suggest that, on all these grounds of principle and detail that regulations can be riddled. They are unsound in many respects, and in detail are thoroughly bad. They should be taken away and looked at again—and looked at quickly.
§ 10.50 p.m.
§ Colonel Clarke (East Grinstead)
It is rather unfortunate that we should have to discuss a matter of this importance to a great many people in the way that the bringing in for approval of a Statutory Instrument entails. I think it should be done, as ordinary legislation is gone through, by putting down Amendments. We have tonight tried to raise as many points as possible more or less in amendment form, but it is a difficult thing to do, and I expect it will be a very difficult thing for the Minister to give satisfactory answers on all the points we have raised. We come back to the point we made time and time again when we were considering the Bill in this House.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The hon. and gallant Gentleman cannot discuss the Act under which the regulations have been issued. They have been issued in accordance with legislation which this House has approved and passed. The hon. and gallant Gentleman cannot refer to the Act.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The hon. and gallant Gentleman cannot discuss the Bill, which is now an Act of Parliament. He should confine his remarks to the regulations now before the House for approval.
§ Colonel Clarke
May I next refer to a point that has been raised before, that is, the delay that has taken place in the presentation of these regulations. That delay may be further lengthened if, as I hope, amending regulations are brought in. I believe that they are absolutely necessary. As has been said, it is 11 months since the vesting day, but there has been increasing alarm and despondency among many of those affected at there being no answer given to their questions as to what is going to happen to them financially. It has not been for lack of pressing. There have been at least three Questions asked in this House, and there have been Questions in another place as well.
I feel that the Parliamentary Secretary was a little over-hopeful when he said he thought these regulations would serve as a model. In the way in which they have been presented, and the time it has taken, they are no model at all. He was also a little over-hopeful in saying that they would not be necessary, and that no one was likely to be redundant in this nationalised industry, in spite of the fact that much of the idea of nationalisation was to save manpower. I would remind him that in one nationalised industry—civil aviation—over 5,000 men were dismissed a few weeks ago from B.O.A.C. I hope it will not happen in this industry. I do not think we have any right to legislate on the principle that no one will be dismissed.
I should like also to ask what answers were received from those organisations of employees who were consulted with regard to these regulations. I understand 1328 those answers were not all favourable. I think the modern definition of consultation between the Government and organisations of employees, or even any other organisation for that matter, is rather of a dictatorial kind, consisting of asking the body what they want, and, whether they agree or not, telling them what to do.
I do not believe that the British Electricity Authority are responsible for all the mistakes and omissions in these regu lations. I believe that the principles have been determined in the Ministry, and that it would have been much better if more had been left to the British Electricity Authority, and less had been settled over their heads in the Ministry. I think the British Electricity Authority have much more knowledge of the conditions of those they are taking over, and could have done this thing much better.
I should like to raise three specific points which have not yet been touched upon. In paragraph 6 (7) the limitation period in which anyone can claim against the Electricity Board is two years. But the Act gives a special limitation of three years for all other types of claimant against the Electricity Board, and I believe it would only be fair that the employees of the Board should also he allowed three years.
The second point arises under paragraph 6 (d), to part of the regulation which deals with the offer of employment in a place other than the place where a man was employed immediately before the vesting day, or the date of the loss, as it is described. That will not provide a ground for a man to refuse the alternative employment, for if he does so he will be liable to forfeit compensation. That seems exceedingly hard. I think it was the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Palmer) who mentioned the case of a man who was offered employment with a hydro-electricity company in Scotland and who at the time was living in the South of England. I do not know the details of that case, but I have heard of similar cases of men with young children at school, perhaps of a man with a delicate wife who does not want to leave the neighbourhood in which she is living and the doctors upon whom she has been relying for a long time. It may cause great hardship if such a man has to move from one end 1329 of England to the other, or from England to Scotland.
However, I know that it is a thing which to a certain extent is inevitable in nationalised industries, and it will be one of the great disadvantages for the employees of nationalised industries. In the past a man went into a county electricity company and could more or less rely, if he were good, ambitious and hard working, on being promoted eventually to a managerial or sub-managerial position in that company. That has all gone. In the future, if a man wants promotion, he will have to go where he is told to go. That will be found more and more to be a great disadvantage to the employees in these nationalised industries. They do not realise it yet, but they will realise it. A great many of them will have to give up promotion in order to remain near where their children are at school, or to remain where they are for the good of their family.
The last point I want to make is about paragraph 17 (2). I should like to suggest that after the word "such," in line 2, there should be inserted the words "time, date and." It appears to me that if we insist that the place where a man is to go is reasonable, the time and the date should also be reasonable. As the regulation stands at present, I read it to say that a man might comply with it if he turned up at the right place on the wrong day. That does not seem to make sense. I suggest that the drafting of that part of the regulation should be reconsidered.
§ 10.59 p.m.
§ Mr. I. J. Pitman (Bath)
I think there are three reasons why the amount of the compensation payable under these regulations is expected, or may be expected, to be on the small side. In the first place, as the Parliamentary Secretary said, the absorption of the people into the industry by the central staff, the regional staff, and the undertaking will be of a high order. There is, therefore, great expectation that anybody can be employed in alternative employment. Secondly, the Minister made the point, quite rightly, that in a period of high and stable employment there are alternative vocations outside the electricity industry also open to these people.
I do not think the third point has yet been made. I think it is a worthwhile 1330 point. It is that the electricity industry is a fine industry with a fine history. There are a lot of good men in it at all levels. We can rely on it that if they are in such a position that their service has to be terminated they rightly will seek to employ themselves. They are not the type of people who batten on the community. For that further good reason we are saying that the amounts likely to be required under this regulation may be expected to be small.
The hon. Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Palmer) made a very reasoned point, and it has been also made by hon. Members on this side, that the Government are rightly saying that they wish to be generous and not skinflint and pinching over this matter. It works both ways. If the expectation is to be light there is all the more reason why they should be generous. But as the hon. Member for Wimbledon has pointed out, they have not approached it in a generous spirit. Both the hon. Member for Wimbledon and my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd) indicated that there are points of detail in which these regulations are bad, as welt as in the whole point of policy and approach.
A number of details were mentioned, and I would like the Minister to consider one. Regulation 13, paragraph (3) states:Compensation shall not be assignable.I think also that that compensation ought not to be alienable. That is to say that no employee of an electricity undertaking should be presented with the alternative of accepting, shall we say, a rise of five shillings only on condition that he agrees to surrender his rights of compensation under Section 55 of the Act. It may well happen, and in many cases the public may say that it ought to happen, that anybody running the undertaking ought to take every opportunity to get his people to contract themselves out from the protection which this House is trying to give them. It may be that the Minister can give us an undertaking on this point. I think it is a very valid point. If anyone offers a rise of salary to an employee, the undertaking can at that stage say: "I am offering you this. You can take it if you like, but if you take it you will have to surrender your rights of compen- 1331 sation for the next 10 years under the Act."
To pass in this House regulations which make such an, immoral bargain possible is wholly wrong. For that reason, as well as other reasons which have been advanced, and on the grounds that it is an ungenerous Act and full of blemishes, I ask the Minister to withdraw these regulations now and present them again in a more perfect form at a later stage.
§ 11.5 p.m.
§ Mr. Peter Roberts (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
I feel very strongly on one point which has been brought out during this Debate, and I hope that the Minister will be able to satisfy me about it. I refer to the statutory obligations under Section 16 of the 1919 Act and Section 25 of the 1926 Act. Whether they were wider or narrower than the present regulations does not make any difference. There were those statutory regulations to certain employees.
An Amendment was moved by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for East Grinstead (Colonel Clarke) which I seconded. The words of my hon. and gallant Friend were that it was a straightforward and simple Amendment which was a simplified substitute for the provisions in the existing law. As a result of our bringing that Amendment forward, the then Minister of Fuel and Power gave an undertaking. We have built up a great tradition of equity and justice in Parliament. I feel tonight, from the interjections that have come from the other side, that there seems to be some whittling down of that equity and justice. It is intolerable to me that injustice should be regarded as wrong when there are a large number of people affected, but right when there are only one or two. That is against all our principles. It is wrong that injustice should be looked up on as wrong for a poor employee, but as right for a rich one. If there is injustice at all, it does not matter whether there is only one person concerned, and he a rich one, it is wrong. Unless the Minister can assure the House that there will not be injustice, I shall go with confidence into the Lobby against him. If it goes out from the House that we are tolerating injustice, even to one or two 1332 people, it means that we are beginning to go down the slippery slope that leads to totalitarianism.
§ 11.7 p.m.
§ Sir Arnold Gridley (Stockport)
It is with some hesitation and diffidence that I intervene in the discussion of these regulations. There can be few hon. Members who are unaware that for the greater part of my life I have been associated with electricity supply undertakings. Therefore, I may have some interest in the outcome of these proceedings. I want to look at the matter from the point of view of a former employer of a great many people in the industry, whose subsequent welfare—now that they have become employees of the area boards—it is the duty of their former employers to safeguard. as far as may be necessary and right.
It seems to me that some of the conditions attached to qualifications for pension or compensation are very restricted and unreasonable. To deal, for example, with the question of the 30 hours; what may be included in the 30 hours work a week? Has that to be done in an office? Is one to be precluded from including the amount of work one does in a train or sitting in an hotel? If that is so, how many hon. Members are there who would deny that they would be entitled to say that after they leave this House their work is not finished? They write, and study Bills, on their journeys in the train; during the week-end they may spend a great many hours on the work they may be called on to do here on Bills some days later.
So it is in industry. A man's work does not finish when he leaves the office. There are a great many who cannot get on unless they take work home with them, and spend many hours on it. I speak from considerable experience. I work 12 to 13 hours a day, seven days a week. I have no time to idle on Saturdays and Sundays, and seldom put my papers down till after midnight. I am not alone in that respect. There are many, Ministers of the Crown among them, who have to work very long hours, and it is very absurd to have a limitation of 30 hours; it is quite indefinite unless one makes it perfectly clear how the time is spent. If it is spent in the train, or in an hotel where one happens to be staying, that ought to count as part of the 30 hours of work. I doubt 1333 if any hon. Member on the other side will disagree with that argument.
May I ask the House to look at the factors affecting compensation? On page 4 of the Regulations, section 6, it is laid down that a man has to seek alternative employment, and it is stated that regard shall be paid to:the extent to which he has sought alternative employment; and whether he has been registered for employment at an employment exchange, or with the Appointments Department of the Ministry of Labour and National Service.We had a statement earlier from the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Palmer) that he thought the Parliamentary Secretary was a little optimistic when he said everybody would be absorbed and few men would be thrown out of their jobs because industry was going to expand—as one expects it will. But, in this connection, it might interest the House to hear that during the past week, one of my former employees came to me and said he had been dismissed by an area board. He could not be found employment, and he asked if I could help him; his age is 65. Now, has that man to register at an employment exchange, and seek other employment in accordance with the instructions at the end of this long paper? He has to give particulars of the efforts he has made to obtain employment, to explain whether any offer of employment has been made, the terms of the offer, and the grounds on which he rejected it. That, surely, is an undignified position.
Is it reasonable that a man should be expected to undergo this sort of thing? There may be cases where it is reasonable, but there is a very large number in which it would be an insult for an experienced man to be cross-questioned in this way. If this particular man of 65 years were to go to a prospective employer, and if during the interview he said what his age was, he would be old. "Oh, we're afraid you are too old." This man was one of the best men we had in my group of companies, and was responsible for managing an electricity supply undertaking. I should be only too glad if I could find work for him in one of my manufacturing concerns; but his knowledge is not in that direction. It is in supplying consumers with electricity, and on the distributing side. His qualifications do not enable me to find him a job 1334 in a manufacturing concern. I would gladly do it, if possible, and I have made inquiries of my managers to see if he can be placed; they know what an excellent man he is, and say they would like to fit him in, but it is a matter of extreme difficulty.
There is one other point, mentioned by the hon. Member for Wimbledon who, like myself, has spent many years in the industry; the advantage lost by some people if they lose a privilege which, in the past has been enjoyed by them—having electricity supplied to their homes on especially low terms. Why did we do that in many cases? Because we wanted to encourage the men managing our undertakings to make the greatest possible use of electricity-consuming devices so that they could speak from first-hand experience of handling such devices in their own homes. In that way we encouraged them to electrify their homes to the greatest extent. That is an advantage. It is like free coal to the miners, or coal on special terms for the miners, whatever the terms may be, to which they rightly attach importance. Men who have been accustomed to having electricity at very low prices will find it a very serious matter, in these hard times, if they have to take other employment in which they will not enjoy that particular advantage.
I am not going to say anything about the possible terms, the emoluments, which might arise under the Bill. I do not think it would be proper or appropriate for me to do that. But I do say to the Minister that I know he desires to be fair and just, if not generous, in these terms. I do not know whom he has consulted about these regulations. If he had thought fit to ask me, after 50 years of experience in the industry, to go along and have a look at them. I should have been very glad to consider them as carefully as I could, and to have given him the best advice which I could. But I do say that these regulations are causing a great deal of heartburning as they are at present drafted.
If it is his desire that the British Electricity Authority and the area boards shall have a contented body of work-people, then provisions with regard to their future must be made which are just and fair, if not generous. There are some conditions hedged about here to which I think exception can be taken, 1335 and on very reasonable grounds. Therefore, I do appeal to the Minister not to force the issue tonight, but to take back these regulations. Let us have further consultation. If he will meet us on points which we consider we can, in all reasonableness, press, I feel sure it will redound to his credit. I make that appeal to him.
§ 11.18 p.m.
§ Mr. Bracken
I spoke so long last night that I am as bored by the sound of my own voice as hon. Members opposite. Nevertheless, the call of duty cannot be neglected. I must say to the Parliamentary Secretary, that I have great regard for him. We have sat opposite each other on many Committees—to our mutual disadvantage, because we have paid slight tribute to each other. I know he desires to do justice. But he was doing justice neither to the people in the industry nor to himself tonight, when he opened this Debate. He struck me as being casual, unsure of the moral grounds on which he based his case—and certainly I cannot blame him for that, because, of course, there are no moral grounds. So he fell back on a civil servant, of all people—a former civil servant. I do not know what his status is now. I think he is Deputy-Chairman of the British Electricity Authority—Sir Henry Self. He fell back on him to justify these regulations, which was a very remarkable performance, if I may say so. When I asked where this declaration that was going to comfort the dispossessed—whether they are humble workers or working directors—was made, he said it was at a lunch or dinner, or at any rate on a social occasion.
§ Mr. Robens
I think I can put that matter right. It was not at a lunch, it was not at a dinner; perhaps it was a social occasion. It was at a lecture in the London School of Economics.
§ Mr. Bracken
I am glad that the Parliamentary Secretary has withdrawn his statement that it was made at a lunch or a dinner or on a social occasion. Certainly the London School of Economics cannot be fitted into any of those categories. However, I do think it very strange that Government policy should be defined on the basis of a speech made even in the London School of Economics, which has had the advantage, I am told,—I hope I am not incorrect— 1336 in the past, of an opportunity of being lectured by the Minister. I may be incorrect, but it certainly is a foster father in politics, for the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has played a large part in that strange institution. I protest that it is wrong for a Minister of the Crown to get up and refer us to a lecture at the London School of Economics, or, as he put it originally, some social occasion.
I feel strongly that the maximum recognised salary of £4,000 a year is quite silly when one considers the policy of the Government at the present time in deciding or fixing salaries. The Chairman of the British Electricity Authority is paid a salary—I hope I am right—of £7,500 a year. If the Minister really believes that £5,000 should be the recognised salary, why give Lord Citrine £7,500 a year?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bowles)
May I ask whether Lord Citrine's salary comes under these regulations or not? If it does not, it is irrelevant——Order, order.
§ Mr. Bracken
I am very glad. I apologise when I am called to Order. I am not exactly trained on the parade ground and I could scarcely sit down——
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The right hon. Gentleman has surely been in the House long enough to know that when the Chairman rises, he should resume his seat.
§ Mr. Bracken
Let me assure you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that I was making the most rapid attempt to resume my seat. If I was not fast enough I apologise. The salary of Lord Citrine must come under these regulations, because we have been told by the Parliamentary Secretary that they will be interpreted by him with great justice not to say generosity. If he is in a position to interpret these regulations with great justice and generosity, I presume that he is in some way connected with these regulations.
§ Mr. Bracken
I should have thought that mention of his salary in passing was illustrative, at any rate, of the point we are trying to make that the maximum salary is unreasonable. In the past in 1337 this House people better qualified as speakers than I, like the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) or the Prime Minister, have been allowed occasionally to make illustrative remarks. If it is out of Order now, I shall forget Lord Citrine and forget his salary, too. Nor will I even ask if he has any pension rights. I make this appeal to the Minister. He has listened to the speech made by the Parliamentary Secretary, who told us that these regulations were based on the Transport Act arrangements. I do not know whether he was in Order in saying that, because I would like to follow up the point. If it is true that the regulations are copied from the Transport regulations, then the Government are doing a serious injustice to those employed in the electrical industry in not faithfully carrying through those regulations.
In reply to an interruption by me, the Parliamentary Secretary said that he could not explain to me or to the House why there was such flexibility in the Transport Act and that regulations under it and the regulations which we are discussing. I reminded him that the Government, which controls the London Transport Authority, agreed that a member of the London Transport Authority should be appointed to the Transport Commission at a very large salary. I told the Parliamentary Secretary that the member of the London Transport Authority was paid a large sum by way of compensation for loss of office when he joined the Transport Commission. I said that that showed that Ministers have the right to show some generosity to people affected under various nationalisation Acts. If the Minister will accept that as a precedent, as I hope he will, I do not think that he should be as lavish as his colleague, the Minister of Transport. I feel that he has certain discretionary powers in relation to these regulations. I had hoped that he would reply to the many speeches from this side of the House and would agree to ask the House to postpone consideration of these regulations, and bring them forward in, say, a month's time—after he has had an opportunity of reconsidering them.
My hon. and gallant Friend, the Member for New Forest and Christchurch 1338 (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre) rightly complained about the procrastination which has surrounded these regulations—a wait of a year and a half. Is that fair to people whose livelihood is dependent on electricity? I do not think that any hon. Member opposite would think it fair to keep men, who have to live on such income as they earn by hard work, waiting for one and a half years to know what are their pension rights under these regulations.
I notice that the Home Secretary is gazing at me somewhat distastefully. He is quite right in doing so: I was about to remark that one of the slogans of the party opposite is, "Labour gets things done." I wish that Labour could have got things done, say, about a year ago, and I complain strongly about that procrastination which the Government have shown in dealing with this matter. So far as I can discover, the only thing to do after this long period of meditation by the Minister is to find referees to judge between the victims of these regulations and the Minister—referees who are willing to be put in the stocks.
I was greatly impressed with the legal acumen of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd). He has shown quite clearly that the Government have clearly weighed the dice against the unfortunate persons who are affected by these regulations.
§ Mr. Bracken
The authority on spelling whose opportunity is coming on Friday next really ought not to anticipate his speech. Such an opulent Socialist should not butt in and spoil a great chance that lies before him on Friday. He might easily lose a possible, a very possible supporter.
§ Mr. Bracken
I think it is very unfair to a comrade to prejudge that issue.
Hon. Members must have heard with some astonishment that these regulations contain the phrase "a 30-hour week test." It is very hard to estimate how a director, who has many duties to perform—[interruption.] I am glad of the risibility of hon. Gentlemen opposite because it is 1339 hard work. Most directors take a bag of work home—[Interruption.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite do not like that metaphor, but I actually took it from the mouth of the Attorney-General when he was recently giving an interview about the responsibilities of his office. It is quite right that directors do take their work home.—[AN HON. MEMBER: "They never do any."]—I do not mind jeers, but in fact, most directors of important companies ought to take their duties seriously, and most of them really do. They have to consider their business almost every day of the week, and sometimes when things are difficult, at night. I hope the hon. Gentleman the Member for Jarrow (Mr. Fernyhough) will recognise that fact: certainly it is recognised by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and even by the Minister of Fuel and Power.
§ Mr. Fernyhough (Jarrow)
I was only thinking of those directors who hold directorships of 20, 30, and 40 companies. They must have a terrible lot of work to take home.
§ Mr. Bracken
Unfortunately they have. There is an hon. Gentleman sitting opposite, representing a northern constituency, and one of the most respected Members of this House, who is chairman of a number of committees and was the chairman of the Gas Committee upstairs. He has to work overtime, and is a director of many companies. It is a mistake to believe that because a man holds a lot of directorships, he takes his duties without seriousness. Most directors work very hard, but I do not like this red herring to be drawn across my path. I want to get on with this 30-hour test. I consider that it is thoroughly unfair. It is impossible to assess the work done by a dutiful director, or even by a dutiful Minister. If a check were kept on the hours' spent by Ministers in their offices they sometimes might fall below the 30-hour week standard. Even the right hon. Gentleman opposite might fail, and I know how hard he works at night, and so do directors.
Now the hon. Gentleman the Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Palmer) told us a story, and I do really think he ought to provide us with the missing clue. He said that a long-serving and experienced engineer working in an electricity company was sacked without notice. He said he 1340 was rung up on the telephone and dismissed. To an ignorant House of Commons which had not the advantage of the presence of the Attorney-General, it would be clear that this man had suffered a terrible misfortune, but even the most experienced engineer cannot be dismissed by a wicked director merely because he lifts up the telephone and tells him to go. All conditions of employment are determined by one law or another or by one agreement or another. I thought that story was introduced to prejudice, and to prejudice in what We might call a class warfare way, the regulations we have been discussing tonight, and again I make an appeal—
§ Mr. Palmer
I did not suggest that the man in question was dismissed illegally. I did not suggest that for one moment. My point was that he was dismissed without compensation, and I was also trying to make the point that that kind of case was not covered by the 1926 Act, as the hon. and gallant Member for New Forest and Christchurch (Colonel CrosthwaiteEyre) seemed to suggest.
§ Mr. Bracken
Like most authors of fiction, the hon. Member for Wimbledon forgot the embroidery which surrounded his statement. He said this gentleman was rung up on the telephone by a brutal director—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—the adjective seems to hurt hon. Members opposite. They consider that it is not brutal to ring up a man on the telephone and tell him to get out. I consider it brutal, even if they do not.
This illustration was the main basis of the arguments of the hon. Member for Wimbledon. I feel that he ought to tell the House what was the name of the company, because it would affect the Minister's judgment if the story were accurate. The company must now be in the charge of the Ministry of Fuel and Power. It has been wound up. No harm will be done to anyone by the hon. Member disclosing the name of this company containing such brutal employers. I am more than willing to sit down if the hon. Member will give us that name. I think it is a pity that an hon. Member should come to this House and give us a case in great detail of brutality shown by electricity companies in the past and, when invited to produce proof, should sit silent. He is silent because he cannot prove his facts.
§ Mr. Palmer
I have very good reasons—and the right hon. Gentleman must accept those reasons—for not wishing to give the name.
§ Mr. Bracken
This is a most extraordinary statement. The hon. Member says he has good reasons, but the Minister knows perfectly well that the electricity companies are now under his control and that no harm could possibly be done to anybody by the hon. Member giving the name of the company which perpetrated this brutality.
§ Mr. Carmichael (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
What would be the advantage at this time of night in giving the name?
§ Mr. Bracken
If the hon. Member, who has been so recent a convert from the late Mr. Maxton's party, wants to interrupt, he should rise.
§ Mr. Carmichael
The right hon. Gentleman is not now worried about the time and neither am I. All I want to know is, what advantage would it be to the right hon. Gentleman, in his rambling speech, if he got the information regarding somebody who was dismissed by a company that is now dead?
§ Mr. Bracken
It was brought forward as an illustration to sustain the Government's case for bringing forward these regulations.
§ Mr. Bracken
If the hon. Member will forgive me, it is necessary for me to make a rambling speech, in view of this Debate, just as it was necessary for the hon. Gentleman to become a rambling politician. [Interruption.] There is interference from Hammersmith?
§ Mr. Pritt (Hammersmith, North)
Is there any greater or more cowardly ramble than the ramble from Paddington to Bournemouth?
§ Mr. Bracken
I must say that it was not a ramble. It was a case of getting the boot good and proper, as the hon. and learned Gentleman will get it at the next Election.
§ Mr. Bracken
I should have thought that a fellow-traveller should write more 1342 letters to Paris. You see, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, how difficult it is for a man anxious to make a moderate speech who is being constantly baited by hon. Members opposite, who seem to have no desire to go to their couches. I have done my best to extract the evidence on which the hon. Member for Wimbledon based his speech. He would not give it to us. I daresay that in good time the people of Wimbledon will take some notice of that fact.
My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Wirral made a devastating speech. I was sorry that no Law Officer was present. The Minister of Fuel and Power is a very hard-working man, and it is very difficult to follow these intricate legal points. I am unable to follow most of them. My hon. and learned Friend made an accusation of a dishonoured promise, which must be answered. If the Minister is convinced by what my hon. Friend said he will fulfil the promise made by a Government Department. So long as he remains in the Government, I feel perfectly certain that he and his colleagues would not consciously dishonour a promise. I ask him to consider carefully what was said to him by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Wirral.
Looking at the regulations, with all their cramping and mean clauses, may I ask the Minister if all the contracts of service entered into by the British Electricity Authority, or even the Coal Board, are modelled on these regulations? Because this is a point of high importance. In our judgment, old servants of the electricity industry are treated very badly under these regulations. Now let us know if the new servants of the industry are subject to the same limitations imposed by these regulations. That is a perfectly fair question and I hope that the Minister will answer it, more particularly in relation to the point about pensions.
I do not suppose that there is anyone in the British Electricity Association who is paid more than the statutory limit of £4,000 a year. It would indeed be shocking if there were. And what a position the Minister would be in if anyone could prove that there were people paid more than the statutory limit. But he will reassure us on this point I feel fairly sure—the accent is on the "fairly". The people affected by these regulations are very worthy people who have worked their way upwards in life, like most of the hon. 1343 Members of this House. They feel that after long and faithful service they are being skinned. If I may use a milder word, they feel that they are being bilked. I appeal to the Minister to do justice by these people.
I have had a fairly extensive experience of the Minister, which he does not at all enjoy, but I have learned one or two things about him which I wish to mention. I think that he has a sense of justice. I think that he has no sense of urgency, and most Ministers I have known also suffer from that limitation. But above all I think that he understands the hardships of particular professional classes in this country and the skilled artisan over a certain age. My hon. Friend the Member for Stockport (Sir A. Gridley) gave the House an illustration of what happens to a man over the age of 60 or 65 who tries to find another job. If any hon. Member of this House, having exceeded the age of 65, were to go into the labour market at the present time does he really believe that he could get a job? It would be very hard indeed.
§ Mr. Bracken
I do not think I should be stimulated to take any party point on this matter. I am anxious to deal with it on a broader basis. Does anyone really believe that a man over 65 could get a job? We are constantly being told by Ministers, from the Prime Minister down, that what we want is more work out of our people, and that it is highly desirable that people over the age of 60 should be encouraged to take work. But they are completely discouraged under these regulations, and the Minister knows it. That is not done to most of the people who serve the State.
I do not know whether it is in Order or not to mention this—you are the best person to rule on this, Mr. Deputy-Speaker—but in fact if anyone were appointed Speaker of this House and held the post for a few days, he would be entitled to a pension of £4,000 a year, and quite right, too. I have known ex-Speakers, both Liberal and Conservative, in receipt of that pension who have done other work, and 1344 very useful work indeed, at comparatively small fees. There was one of the greatest Speakers of this House who went on pension and then proceeded to serve the State greatly for years to come.
I do feel that it is very unfair to include in these regulations something which debars a man who has worked hard in the electricity industry, whereas we consciously pay pensions to thousands of persons in this country, without putting any limitations on what they do after they receive their pensions. If a man has earned a pension, let him have it; what he does afterwards is nobody's business, and if he has the good sense to help the country by working, we ought to praise him and not do as the Minister says, and take away his pension. It is a very wicked thing, and it will shake to the core any sense of permanency which the Lord Chancellor may have. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] The hon. Gentleman asks me "Why?"; because he is paid £5,000 a year pension if he holds the position of Lord Chancellor for one day.
I would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, in fact, he has imposed the same limit as is set forth in these regulations on those who will retire from the British European Airways, or the National Coal Board, or any other board under Government jurisdiction. I know that last night he delivered himself of a speech which can only be described as a capital levy—an extension of the "once for all" levy introduced by his right hon. and learned Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He has every right to do that. He was speaking to undergraduates, but now he is talking to the House of Commons; and whatever he wishes to do to the so-called millionaires—and, believe me, in a short time they will be in shorter supply than Loch Ness monsters—I do not think he wishes to do an injustice to hard working directors or employees of electricity companies who have not put in a recognised 30 hours of work. It is impossible to determine the quality or quantity of a man's work merely by clocking him in; I have always felt that very strongly. Few politicians in this State would stand the test of 30 hours' hard work every week; and I do not call "hard work" listening to speeches by a person like myself.
I do think, to be serious, that the Minister has acted justly by the gas in- 1345 dustry, and I think that he is doing his best to do justice by the coal industry. I do not think, when we come to electricity, that these regulations were drawn up by himself; they were probably lying around in the office when he got there. When I was a Minister I found I had to deal with stuff left by worthy servants of the State—people who had not had the same contact with the public as we brutalised politicians who have to stand for election before the public. I do ask the Minister to look at these regulations again. There is no tremendous hurry—[Interruption]—well, there can be no great hurry. He has allowed one and a half years to go round without producing them, as my hon. Friends have pointed out.
I do suggest that he should take them away and think about them in a quiet way. Let him bring them forward a week later, and then he will understand the truth of the criticisms made on this side of the House, and he will also want to pay some tribute of respect to his hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon who, hitherto, had followed him with malignant fidelity.
§ 11.55 p.m.
§ The Minister of Fuel and Power (Mr. Gaitskell)
It is a remarkable fact that when the National Health Service Compensation Regulations were being discussed, when the National Insurance Compensation Regulations were being discussed and when the Transport Compensation Regulations were being discussed, the Opposition took not the slightest interest, and the whole of the proceedings were brief, the regulations being approved almost without debate. Yet tonight, in the case of these regulations, we have been listening to animated speeches. The last speech was slow, I thought, compared with some I have heard from the right hon. Gentleman. There was not much sense of urgency about his speech tonight. But we have been listening to passionate appeals to my sweet reasonableness on behalf of the workers in the electricity industry. What is the reason for this? Is it that the workers in this industry have some magic quality which entitles them to more attention than the workers in the Health Service, or in insurance or transport? Or can it be merely that the right hon. Gentleman is with us again and his circus with him?
§ Mr. Bracken
I am sorry to interrupt what is a hopefully humorous speech, but these regulations are very different from those to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred.
§ Mr. Gaitskell
In all matters of essential principle they are the same. If indeed we had listened to a series of speeches from the right hon. Gentleman and hon Members opposite pointing out exactly what the differences were, and asking why we did not follow the original regulations, that would be a different matter. Only one hon. Member, I concede, did take the Transport Regulations and go through them. That was the hon. and learned Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd). I shall deal with the points which he raised. All of them were of minor importance, and none of them dealt with essential points of principle.
What are the points of principle in the regulations? The qualifying period. Do hon. Members suggest that there should be no qualifying period for the payment of compensation? Certainly not. There must be a qualifying period for payment of compensation. It is a matter for discussion with the unions concerned, and has been discussed with them. As my hon. Friend pointed out, the Government started out with the idea that a qualifying period of 10 years would be appropriate. In fact, the unions said that they thought that was an unnecessarily long period. I am being frank. Finally we compromised on eight years. It seems a reasonable period. What reason would there be for picking out the workers in this industry and giving them a shorter period of qualification than anyone else? If we did that, and the Opposition did not criticise us for it, they would be failing in their duty.
§ Mr. P. Roberts
Will the Minister refer to the statutory compensation figures which appear in the Acts of 1919 and 1936?
§ Mr. Gaitskell
We must approach these problems from a common basis. There are certain provisions in the Transport and Electricity Regulations. Later on we shall have to introduce similar regulations for the gas industry. I do not say that every single sentence of the regulations should be the same; there might be good reasons for differences in 1347 drafting, as there are; but on the essential points of principle it would be difficult for the Government to have different principles
Another point of principle is the length of time which can be allowed to elapse after the loss sustained before application has to be made. It is a period of two years. That seems reasonable; I do not think that has been criticised. Again it is a common feature of the regulations for the other industries as well. Take the method of calculating substantive compensation. Again it is the same, and again if it were different we should be open to criticism. Take the highly controversial point about the £4,000 a year limit. The same limit was fixed in the Transport Regulations, so the Government take their stand on that limit. We do not think it right that there should be payment of compensation on the basis of salary above that level. The right hon. Gentleman keeps on confusing two different things—compensation which an individual may be entitled to under these regulations and any rights he may have as a result of breach of contract. If he has a contract, he is entitled under that contract to go to the Board and say, "Either you honour the contract, or pay me compensation." But we are not touching that point. We are concerned with cases where, for one reason or another, a man is not fully protected by his contract. We have provided that there should not be double compensation, and I am sure I carry my hon. Friends behind me in that.
§ Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre
Where there is this case under contract, and compensation outside these regulations is payable, is it not a fact that that compensation has to be taken off any other compensation he may receive?
§ Mr. Gaitskell
The whole of the right hon. Gentleman's remarks about people receiving over £4,000 a year do not bear investigation, because they do not cover this point. We thought it would be quite wrong to pay compensation twice for the same thing—call it compensation or not in the other case, as you wish. The fact is that the British Electricity Authority, or an area board, if it did not in fact employ an individual with a contract, would have to compensate him, and he could take them to court if they 1348 did not. These regulations are primarily to deal with people who are not protected in that way and they are to that extent more a method of dealing with hardship than with rights as expressed under retained contracts.
Another thing about which I really must correct the right hon. Gentleman is this. He kept comparing the maximum for compensation purposes under these regulations with the actual salaries paid to members of boards. Of course, it is a completely different thing. In one case you are fixing a limit to the amount of money payable to someone for doing nothing and in the other case to someone for doing a full-time job. It may be relevant for the right hon. Gentleman to say "Look at the enormous salaries paid in the industry beforehand —£20,000 a year."
§ Mr. Bracken
I suppose the £7,500 paid to Lord Citrine was a transfer fee from the Coal Board, where he was intransigent, to the British Electricity Authority, of which he knows nothing?
§ Mr. Gaitskell
It is the salary of the Chairman of the British Electricity Authority. If the right hon. Gentleman wishes to say that he thinks it is a very excessive salary, will he explain how the Conservative administration in prewar days paid £12,500 as a salary for Lord Ashfield as Chairman of the London Passenger Transport Board—and at a time when the value of money was greater than it is now?
§ Mr. Bracken
I think it is a mistake to drag in the name of the late Lord Ashfield, but as I have been asked a question, I say that a Socialist Government gave him far greater compensation than any Conservative Government could have given him, when they transferred him from the London Passenger Transport Board to the Transport Commission.
§ Mr. Gaitskell
The right hon. Gentleman evades the issue completely. I am content to leave it at that because it is a side issue. What are the other major principles which we are applying in these regulations? We are saying that you should take into account whether or not a man has got alternative employment; that you should take into account when he is employed by the Electricity Board whether he is receiving more or less 1349 than he was before. We take the view that is a reasonable thing to do because we cannot approach this problem in the reckless and irresponsible manner of hon. Members opposite, who have little hope of becoming members of a Government for a long time to come. Because of that, they are quite content to put forward these reckless and completely irresponsible points of view, knowing that there is not the slightest danger of anyone ever asking them to carry them out. We can leave it there—with them having their little fantasies and carrying on in that way.
I am even accused of breaking a pledge which the Secretary of State for War gave during the passage of the Bill through the House. I must at once declare that that is not so. Nothing has been quoted from what my right hon. Friend said which indicates that in his opinion large sums should be paid in compensation to part-time directors, whether executive or not. On the contrary, I could quote, if there were time, passages from statements he made during the passage of the Bill which made it perfectly plain that he identified executive directors with full-time directors. There is not the slightest doubt that at that time the opposition took that view. I am not criticising them for it, but make the statement so as to be absolutely fair in this matter.
We have, in fact, gone a long way towards enabling compensation to be paid to executive directors—even if, so far as their executive directorships are concerned, they are far from being in full-time employment. Some would not regard 30 hours as being a very heavy week's work. Nevertheless, we are enabling executive directors to aggregate, for the purpose of calculating the 30 hours, the whole time spent whether as executive directors or ordinary directors. They cannot claim compensation under the Act as ordinary directors but we say: "We will let you count the period of time spent as ordinary directors in the total amount." That is what was implied in my right hon. Friend's statement. That is the interpretation of it.
§ Mr. P. Roberts
Under the old regulations an employee had a protection which was much wider than that which he is getting now. The pledge was that the protection should be carried into the 1350 regulations. That protection has not been carried through.
§ Mr. Gaitskell
The hon. Member for Ecclesall (Mr. P. Roberts) does not seem to be talking about the same point as I am—the compensation of directors and the explanation of the period of 30 hours. There is nothing in the regulations to say that the 30 hours shall be spent in an office. It is for the individual concerned to make his case to the British Electricity Authority, and if he is not satisfied with the compensation he can appeal to the tribunal.
I was asked also about the position of those employed by local authorities. I will be perfectly frank. We do not concede it as any part of our duties to make provision for compensating part-time employees. I must be quite clear about it. This has not been provided in any other of the regulations. We do not think that it would be right. We say with regard to those employed by local authorities, partly on electricity and partly on other matters, that if in fact the greater part of the time has been spent on electricity, well and good, we take the responsibility and they are covered, but if, on the other hand, most of their time is spent on other business, the local authority should take care of them. That seems a reasonable and sensible point of view.
The hon. Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Palmer) and others referred to the provisions by which the applicant could be required at least to try to find some other employment, and I think he particularly objected to the possibility that a man might be offered a job in the North of Scotland whereas he lived in the South-West of England. It is possible that he might be offered such a job, but if he did not think it reasonable he could object, and if agreement could not be reached with the Authority the whole matter would go before the tribunal for them to decide. All that is provided here is that the tribunal may not say it is unreasonable merely because he has to change his position, his employer or place of work. We should surely agree with that. If he were sent from one side of London to the other surely that would not be unreasonable. It is not for me to interpret the regulations, still less to give advice on what the tribunal should do, but in the extreme sort of case mentioned obviously 1351 I should have thought the man would have a pretty reasonable case.
§ Mr. Bracken
The right hon. Gentleman is laying down pretty severe commandments about part-time employees. One of the most distinguished of his colleagues opposite has spent a good deal of his life in the trade union movement and politics. He is now in receipt of a good pension from the trade union. He has fully earned it, but surely they did not take into account the fact that he was in politics, and whether or not he was working a 30-hour week?
§ Mr. Gaitskell
I do not understand what the right hon. Gentleman is talking about. We are talking about men displaced by a particular Measure. He is comparing that with a man earning his pension in the ordinary way and then going into politics. There is no reason to draw that comparison.
§ Mr. Gaitskell
That is where the matter rests. I was asked a number of questions by the hon. and learned Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd). I do not think myself that they raise very difficult legal points, and I hope to be able to satisfy him, at any rate, that the provisions in the regulations are reasonable. He asked me, for instance, the meaning of the word "actual" in paragraph 9 (3, b). Let us assume that a man has not had an opportunity of fulfilling all the conditions for a particular pension. We say, in the main, "We will assume you have done so and so far as pension is concerned, residual compensation will be based upon the actual length of service completed." That is the reason for the words.
He asked me why we had the word "may" in the following paragraph instead of the word "shall". Why, he asked, should the Board only be permitted to add additional years service to the compensation instead of being forced to do so? For the reason I have already given, we think the Board should be 1352 entitled, where it is not a question of pension rights but is really an ex gratia payment, to add additional years of service if they think necessary. We say they may do that if they think it will otherwise cause a hardship. In contrast with hon. Members opposite, we want to do something for the older men. I noticed that the hon. and gallant Member for New Forest and Christchurch (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre) seemed very much opposed to that view. Does he want to take away that particular provision? I take it that he does not. In that case there must be discrimination between the older and younger men. If, for instance, a man aged 45 goes and gets another job at a perfectly reasonable salary, to give him added years of service gratuitously would be quite unnecessary. Therefore, we think the provison should be permissive and not mandatory.
The hon. and learned Member then asked about the interpretation of the two provisos. I am sorry if I weary the House with this, but I have been accused of not knowing what the regulations are, so perhaps I should explain that I do know what they are. The proviso at the top of page 8, at any rate, is clear enough; it is a proviso which lays down that the number of additonal years service which may be added shall not exceed ten or the difference in time between the date of the loss and the man's retiring age. In other words, if a man were aged 58 and the retiring age were 60, you would give him an extra two years benefit—the difference between the date on which he was, in fact, forced to give up the job and the date on which he would have given it up anyhow. That seems reasonable enough. One could hardly suggest that in a case where a man lost the job at 58 instead of carrying on to 60 he should get 10 years added service.
In the case of the second proviso, very much the same point arose in connection with the case for which we specifically provided under the previous regulation, that if a man on substantive compensation becomes ill he may claim residual compensation—that is, in effect, a pension—if it is bigger than the compensation he is already getting; in other words, to help him out. I do not think there can be anything wrong in these two cases.
The hon. and learned Member also asked me a lot of questions about the way 1353 in which the Board would do these things and suggested that we should put into the regulations just how they should hear the various individuals concerned. We do not think that is necessary. I can assure the House that the Board will handle these things in a perfectly reasonable way. If there were no appeal there might be a case, I agree, for laying down rather stringent and exact conditions which would have to be observed. But there is an appeal—an appeal to the tribunal. My hon. Friend has already explained to the House exactly how the tribunal will work. The House can be assured that the interests of the applicants will be fully protected in that way.
Finally, the hon. and learned Member spoke about the definition of pension. He said that he thought that a customary gratuity would not be covered. With great respect, I beg to differ. If he turns to the definition of pension he will see that it "includes a gratuity so payable." If he turns to the definition of pension rights he will see that it refers to a pension "under any customary practice." It is fairly obvious, since gratuities" is covered by the word "pension" and "pension rights" covers "under any customary practice," that if the customary practice is to pay a gratuity then obviously it will be covered by the regulations.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
My whole point was to try to cover the case where it was not the customary practice.
§ Mr. Gaitskell
If it is not the customary practice, I cannot see that there is any case. I really do not understand the hon. and learned Member. We cannot just give away money, even if the Opposition are always wanting us to do so. I have covered most of the points that were raised——
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
The right hon. Gentleman has made no attempt to deal with the first point I put, the question of entitlement. The regulations are definitely
§ much narrower than the Transport Regulations. It was in that connection that I read out the pledge made by the Secretary of State for War. In my view, there has been a definite breach.
§ Mr. Gaitskell
I can only say that I differ in my interpretation of that part of the regulations. We must adopt a balanced and sensible attitude in this matter. We cannot approach these problems in an irresponsible manner. We have to have regard to the rights of individuals, and some regard to hardship; but equally we have to bear in mind the interests of the consumers; they also have a stake which has to be looked after. We say that, taking it all in all, these regulations are fair. They follow a pretty well defined pattern, which the Government have laid down in a number of different cases. The unions and associations have been consulted. I do not say they are satisfied with every detail, but broadly speaking they are satisfied. They want them brought into effect, and I hope the House will pass them tonight.
§ Mr. Bracken
I hope the right hon. Gentleman will correct an inaccuracy, which affects a former Member of this House who was translated to another place, a man who rendered great service to transport in London and elsewhere. The right hon. Gentleman said Lord Ash-field was paid £20,000 a year by the Government. He would agree that he was entirely worth it.
§ Mr. Gaitskell
I am not discussing that. I am glad to hear that the right hon. Gentleman takes the view that some people on nationalised boards are worth high salaries.
That the Draft Electricity (Staff Compensation) Regulations, 1949, a copy of which was laid before this House on 16th February, be approved.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 133; Noes, 58.1355
|Division No. 78.]||AYES||[12.25 a.m|
|Adams, Richard (Batham)||Bechervaise, A. E.||Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)|
|Albu, A. H.||Bing, G. H. C.||Corlett, Dr. J.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.||Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl. Exch'ge)||Cullen, Mrs. A|
|Alien, A. C. (Bosworth)||Brook, D. (Halifax)||Davies, Edward (Burslem)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)||Deer, G.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Carmichael, James||Diamond, J.|
|Baoon, Miss A.||Champion, A. J.||Dobbie, W.|
|Balfour, A.||Coldrick, W.||Dodds, N. N.|
|Barton, C.||Collins, V. J.||Dumpleton, C. W.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Lang, G.||Scollan, T|
|Evans, John (Ogmore)||Lavers, S.||Segal, Dr. S.|
|Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)||Sharp, Granville|
|Fairhurst, F.||Logan, D. G.||Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)|
|Farthing, W. J.||Lyne, A. W.||Silverman, J. (Erdington)|
|Fernyhough, E.||MoKay, J. (Walisend)||Simmons, C. J.|
|Forman, J. C.||McKinlay, A. S.||Skeffington, A M.|
|Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Smith, S. H. (Hull, S. W.)|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Mann, Mrs. J.||Snow, J. W.|
|Gibbins, J.||Mathers, Rt. Hon. George||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Gibson, C. W.||Middleton, Mrs. L.||Swingler, S|
|Gilzean, A.||Mitchison, G. R.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Grey, C. F.||Monslow, W.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Grierson, E.||Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)||Thomas, D E. (Aberdare)|
|Gunter, R. J.||Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)||Thomas, I O. (Wrekin)|
|Guy. W. H.||Nally, W.||Tiffany, S.|
|Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.||Oldfield, W. H.||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.|
|Hannan, W. (Maryhill)||Paling, W. T. (Dewsbury)||Warbey, W N|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Palmer, A. M. F.||Watkins, T E|
|Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Peart, T. F.||Weitzman, D.|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Popplewell, E.||Wells, W. T. (Walsall)|
|Hobson, C. R.||Porter, E. (Warrington)||Wheatley, Rt. Hn. John (Edinb'gh, E.)|
|Holman, P.||Porter, G. (Leeds)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W|
|Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Price, M. Philips||Wilkes, L.|
|Hoy, J.||Pritt, D. N.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Proctor, W. T.||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Hutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme)||Pryde, D. J.||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Randall, H. E.||Williams, W R. (Heston)|
|Janner, B.||Ranger, J.||Willis, E.|
|Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)||Rankin, J.||Wills, Mrs. E. A|
|Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)||Rhodes, H.||Woods, G. S|
|Jones, Jack (Bolton)||Robens, A.||Yates, V F|
|Keenan, W.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Younger, Hon Kenneth|
|Konyon, C.||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Kinley, J.||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)||Mr. Pearson and Mr. Bowden.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||George, Maj. Rt. Hn. G. Lloyd (P'ke)||Mullan, Lt. C. H.|
|Amory, D. Heathcoat||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Odey, G. W.|
|Barlow, Sir J.||Gridley, Sir A||Orr-Ewing, I L|
|Beamish, Maj. T V. H.||Grimston, R. V.||Peto, Brig, C. H. M|
|Bennett, Sir P||Harvey, Air-Comdre, A V||Pitman, I J|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)||Headlam, Lieut -Col Rt. Hon. Sir C||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.|
|Bracken, Rt. Hon. Brendan||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Price-White, Lt -Col D.|
|Braithwaite, Lt -Comdr. J. G.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Roberts, P. G. (Ecclesall)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.||Hogg, Hon. Q.||Robinson, Roland|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G T.||Hurd, A.||Smith, E. P. (Ashford)|
|Channon, H.||Hutchison, Lt.-Cdr. Clark (Edin'gh, W.)||Spence, H. R.|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Keeling, E. H.||Strauss, Henry (English Universities)|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E||Lancaster, Col. C G||Thorp,[...] Brigadier R. A. F.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Crowder, Capt John E.||Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)||York, C.|
|Digby, S. W||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.||Young, Sir A S L (Partick)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.|
|Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)||Manningham-Buller, R. E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Foster, J. G. (Northwich)||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||Mr. Studholme and|
|Gage, C.||Mellor, Sir J.||Colonel Wheatley.|
|Galbraith, Cmdr T. D. (Pollok)||Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)|
Question put, and agreed to.