HC Deb 19 November 1957 vol 578 cc319-48
Mr. Harold Finch (Bedwellty)

I beg to move, in page 7, line 32, to leave out "Thirty-four" and to insert "Forty-five".

This Amendment has reference to hardship allowance which is provided for under Section 14 of the Industrial Injuries Act. Men who sustain accidents arising out of and in the course of their employment can be divided into three categories. First, there are those who, after suffering an accident or industrial disease, recover more or less quickly. They are perhaps ill for two or three weeks and recover within the injury benefit period. Fortunately, they constitute the majority of those who sustain industrial accidents.

The second type is that of men who are totally incapacitated as a result of an accident and who never recover. It is provided in the Bill that so long as they are totally and permanently disabled they will receive £4 5s. a week.

9.15 p.m.

There is a third ctaegory, which is the subject of the Amendment. It is those whom I would describe as totally and then partially incapacitated. For a time they are totally disabled and later they partially recover and become fit for light employment. They constitute the vast majority of men who come under the Industrial Injuries Act. It is fortunate that the totally disabled are in a minority.

We are dealing in this Amendment with the vast number of industrial workers who are partially incapacitated. When a man is partially disabled he becomes, first of all, entitled to his disablement pension. The board will decide how far he is prevented, to a greater or lesser extent, from leading a normal life. If it decides that he has suffered a loss of faculty, he is awarded a disablement pension. He has lost his earning capacity and is no longer in a position to return to his regular employment. That is the tragedy for thousands of men in industry.

We have rightly been discussing today and yesterday the position of retirement pensioners and other pensioners under this Bill. I would remind the Committee that we are here discussing a class of industrial worker who, as a result of injury, loses not £1 or £2, but £8 or £9 a week—the miner who is injured by a fall of a roof, an engineer injured by the slip of a chain. Some untoward incident may result in a skilled man, an engineer for instance, who is earning high wages and who may have been under years of apprenticeship, being thrown back into what can only be described as the labouring class.

One can take a clear example—a man earning £15 a week. He is a skilled worker. Here we want to pause for a moment, because so much has been said about increasing production. A skilled piece worker—a collier, for example—by the effort of his work may earn an average wage of £15 to £20 per week. He has a standard of living. Suddenly there is a fall of the roof, as a result of which he becomes permanently and partially disabled. His only hope is to take a job in the labouring class. Similar circumstances arise in the railway industry. A skilled engine driver with years of experience—there is an old case which is well known—loses an arm. He receives a disability pension based on 10 per cent. or 20 per cent. disablement. He has lost his job. He has to take another job in the labouring class at far lower wages.

I regard this question of hardship allowance as the most important feature of the Industrial Injuries Act. It affects thousands of industrial workers. A man who before his injury has been earning £15 a week may after he has partially recovered from his injury have to take a job at £8 a week. He may be entitled to a pension, declared at 20 per cent., and he then becomes entitled to a disablement pension of 17s. Under the Bill he will be entitled to a hardship allowance because this allowance is based on the principle that if he is permanently incapacitated and cannot return to his regular occupation he will become entitled to a hardship allowance. In addition to his 17s. he will receive £1 14s. a week hardship allowance, according to the Bill. This means that he will have lost £4 9s. a week. Thus, his standard of living has gone; he is on a far lower standard of living than before.

These are skilled men—engineers, engine drivers, skilled colliers, who have worked for years—or they are young men who have served years of apprenticeship but who, because of injury, have had to take up a light job in the labouring class. All their prospects have gone. In those circumstances, we seek in the Amendment to increase the hardship allowance so that this loss will not be so severe.

I regard the Amendment as very moderate. We suggest that in place of the 34s. hardship allowance, the figure should be 45s. That is a very moderate amount when we bear in mind that thousands of men will lose far more than 45s. a week as a result of accidents.

There are one or two aspects of this matter which the Committee should bear in mind. The hardship allowance is limited. A man cannot receive by way of hardship allowance and disablement benefit more than the maximum payment for total incapacity; he cannot receive more than the £4 5s. It is, therefore, not an unlimited liability. He is wedged between the receipt of disablement benefit and the maximum.

When hardship allowance is payable, if the difference between the pre- and post-accident wages are less than the 34s., the man will receive the lower amount. In any event, he cannot exceed the maximum of the difference between his pre- and post-accident wages. If he was paid £10 a week before the accident and is able to earn £9 a week afterwards, then his hardship allowance will be £1. Where the difference is £4, £5 or £6 a week, the maximum will be that fixed in the Bill, which is 34s. We seek to increase it to 45s.

I regard this as a reasonable Amendment, by which we seek to give some redress to those who, as a result of accidents, have had their standard of living reduced. There is a mass of industrial workers in this category. Whether we go into the railway industry, the engineering industry or the mining industry, we see a mass of men who are on light jobs but who previously had been following a skilled occupation. They have lost not only the 10s. which we have rightly been discussing; they have lost pounds. Their careers have finished and their skill or their apprenticeship has been lost. They are in the labouring class and they are receiving low labouring wages. A miner who before his accident was earning £15 or £20 a week may find that afterwards he has to do a job on the surface at £8 a week. Henceforth that is his standard of living.

We are talking about increases in the benefits; but we should remember that these are men who have lost seriously. Their standard of living has gone. In those circumstances, the least we can do is to agree to the Amendment to give them the maximum amount possible, and we say that this should be 45s.

Mr. Prentice

I am glad to support the Amendment which was so eloquently moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Finch). I do so from the point of view that for some years, as a permanent official of a trade union, I have been concerned with giving advice and handling appeals in this field. In saying that, I am aware that my experience is very short compared with that of many of my hon. Friends.

Nevertheless, it has been an intensive experience, and it has led me to this conclusion about the special hardship allowance: to trade union officials and others who are concerned with it, that Section of the Act gives more trouble than the rest of the Act put together. I think it gives insurance officers, the local appeals tribunals and the Industrial Injuries Commissioner more trouble than the rest of the Act put together.

That point is illustrated if one looks at the Commissioner's decisions and all the tortuous distinctions which are drawn about this Section. It does not matter very much whether it causes trouble either to trade union officials or to the authorities under the Industrial Injuries Scheme, but what does matter is the sense of injustice, the anomalies and unfairness which arise out of this Section and particularly out of the very limited amount that is payable as a maximum under the section. If we are to be told, as I am sure we are—it has been repeated so monotonously—that the Government, in 1946, put a limited amount in the Act, let me say at once that I think they were wrong to do so, but we should learn from experience.

Now is the time to put in a higher amount for special hardship allowance. This allowance is based on a different principle from the other benefits under the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act. They are based in the main on loss of faculty. A man is compensated, just as a war-disabled man is compensated, for the loss of physical or mental faculties arising from his accident or disease. This is a special category, because it takes into account his loss of earnings. It is a vital section in the Act, because very often a comparatively small loss of faculty can lead to a large loss of earnings.

Let me take an extreme example. If a famous concert violinist were to suffer a minor injury to one finger which was permanent, and which stopped him from playing his violin, his rate of disablement gratuity under the Act would be very small, but his loss of earnings in the future would be very high. This is an example which, as my hon. Friend the Member for Bedwellty said, applies so often throughout industry.

I have had a number of cases to handle concerning dockers. It was common to find that a man who had suffered a fairly small injury to his back, which was assessed as a 20 per cent. or perhaps less than 20 per cent. disability, was, nevertheless, prevented from carrying on a very wide range of dock work because his doctor said that he must not do too much lifting, bending, or operations of that kind. Instead of being able to work on a wide range of cargoes and to earn special bonuses, he was forced to do comparatively light jobs as a hatchway man, winch driver, or something of that sort, and his earnings may have been halved. That applies to many industries. Therefore, the maximum rate of allowance of 27s. 6d., which the Bill proposes to raise to 34s., bears no relation to the loss of earnings in many cases.

I am surprised to find how often a report from the Minister's Department bears out the arguments of this side of the Committee. The Report to which I referred earlier showed that out of the allowances that were paid at the end of last year, about seven-eighths of them were paid at the maximum rate. The average rate of allowance paid was 96 per cent. of the maximum. That is an illustration of what I have been saying, namely, that the real losses in the majority of cases are very much higher than the maximum rate of allowance which is payable. If that were not so the average allowance would not be so near the maximum figure.

I would like to take this opportunity of asking the Minister not merely to accept this Amendment, but to look as quickly as possible at the way in which entitlement to this allowance is awarded. I think that he should accept the Amendment, but I do not think he will. There are a great many anomalies arising from the wording of this section of the Act. For example, the allowance is payable to a man who is incapable of following his regular occupation and who is either permanently incapable or has been so incapable since the end of the injury benefit period. That means that a number of cases are left out, cases in which the full effects of an accident occur later, but where the inability to follow the regular occupation is not permanent. There are still a lot of cases of that kind not covered by the regulations.

9.30 p.m.

I remind the Minister that there are men who have a disablement of nil; that is, they have recovered from the effects of industrial diseases. I think of such a disease as dermatitis, from which the man has recovered but cannot return to his old occupation because he would get the disease again by coming into contact with the substances that caused it in the first place. Because the special hardship allowance is called an additional disablement benefit, such a man cannot be paid that disablement benefit. There are many men and women in that category who are suffering considerable loss of earnings, but who get no payment of any kind under the Industrial Injuries Scheme.

Another contradiction arises from the fact that comparison is made with the man's regular occupation. To determine whether a man is entitled to special hardship allowance, regard is had to the occupation that he was following before his accident. If he returns to the same occupation though for fewer hours, or cannot work overtime, or works at time rate instead of piece rate, he is said to have returned to his regular occupation and, therefore, cannot have the allowance.

Those are just a few examples, but I could go on—

The Deputy-Chairman

I hope that the hon. Member will not go on, because he is getting rather far from the Amendment.

Mr. Prentice

I am most grateful, Sir Gordon, for your indulgence so far.

I hope that the points I have made will be seriously considered by the Government, in consultation with the T.U.C. and other interested bodies on a further occasion. In the meantime, I hope—it is a forlorn hope, perhaps—that the Government will accept the Amendment and give a more generous allowance to those who qualify.

Mr. Fernyhough

I should like to support my hon. Friend, and in doing so I should, perhaps, declare something of a vested interest in that I have relatives who are affected by this discussion. I want to say to the Minister, not only that this allowance should be increased, but that he should make a recommendation that it should be disregarded when its recipients have to seek National Assistance. What the Minister has to remember is that some of the people on whose behalf we are appealing tonight are unable not only to follow their normal occupation but, because of the employment situation in, for instance, the mining areas, to find alternative employment which they can do. When they are unable to find a job at the end of a period their unemployment benefit ceases and they have to go to the National Assistance Board where their hardship allowance is taken into account.

There is no question about the bitterness that this is causing. A man may have been earning, as is the case in my own family, from £10 to £12 a week and then find himself reduced to between £4 and £5. After eighteen months without a job he has to go to the National Assistance Board because his unemployment benefit is exhausted, and the National Assistance Board takes into consideration his hardship allowance and disregards only £1 of his Industrial Injuries benefit. We must have regard to the feelings of these men who have been injured in the service of their country just as much as has any soldier, and, quite frankly, I believe that there is every reason to ask the Government to reconsider these cases.

I beg the Minister to make some inquiry to find out how many people are suffering, particularly in the mining areas, in the way that my hon. Friends have indicated. I am quite sure that if he came face to face with such cases he himself would feel that up to now justice has not been done to them.

Mr. T. Brown

I want to support this Amendment. For a number of years we have been gravely disturbed, particularly in the mining industry in which I spend most of my life, by the hardships created by what is designated as hardship allowance. To me it has lost its meaning. It is not a hardship allowance because it does not relieve hardship.

My hon. Friends have quoted cases. On Sunday afternoon, I had an interview with a man who was suffering under this penalty inflicted upon him by the limited amount of money—at present 27s. 6d.—paid in hardship allowance. I want to give the exact figures concerning his case. When he was working at the coal face, this man, a skilled collier, earned £1 9s. 4d. a day. If he had not sustained an accident he would have been earning £3 2s. a day. Therefore, the hardship allowance which he receives does not cover the hardship created by the accident. He suffers a loss of £7 16s. a week but he suffers something else as well. He has to accept a job at a much lower remuneration. He has had to come to the surface and work for lower wages. The hardship allowance by no means covers the hardship that he is experiencing.

I hope, therefore, that the Minister and the Joint Parliamentary Secretary will see the force of our argument. I know full well that we cannot bring this man's post-injury earnings up to his pre-injury earnings. We are not suggesting that, but we are suggesting in our Amendment that we should bring those two a little nearer together. After all, this is a comparatively young man. He had served his time in the pit and had gone through all the grades and finally became a skilled collier on the coal face. Under the new scales, the present 27s. 6d. hardship allowance is to be raised to 34s., or by a sum of 6s. 6d., which is equal to almost 1s. a day. We are to give 1s. a day to an injured workman who unfortunately has lost a leg. Surely the Government and the Department should have another look at this matter.

I am not saying that the Government and the Department are indifferent, but it is so easy to sit in an office and say, "We will increase the hardship allowance from 27s. 6d. to 34s.," without asking the very important question of how far the increase meets the situation. There are thousands working in the coalfields today whose wages have come down from a high rate to a low rate and who have no compensation or allowance. The proposed scales reveal that insufficient thought is now being given and insufficient thought has been given in the past to adequate compensation. I say that because in addition to the injury benefits that we have to pay these men in respect of their misfortune in having sustained an accident, they have to be paid un-employability supplement, a special hardship allowance, and a constant attendance allowance.

I have had years of experience of dealing with compensation cases, and again in my judgment we failed, and failed miserably, to give sufficient compensation at the commencement. Therefore, we have been forced into this position: un-employability allowance, hardship allowance, constant medical attention allowance. All these have followed from the fact that originally we did not meet adequately the amount of compensation that an injured workman ought to receive.

I will read what the pamphlet states which the Minister issues to help these men to secure hardship allowance: The maximum allowance is 27s. 6d. a week, and the rate of disablement pension and special hardship allowance cannot together be greater than 67s. 6d. a week. So these things are given but, if a certain figure is exceeded, only part is to be given. The pamphlet continues: Within these limits the rate of the special hardship allowance will be the difference between the standard of remuneration in your former regular occupation and your probable standard of remuneration in any insurable employment which is suitable for you and which you are capable of doing. Here comes a titbit: 'Remuneration' means not only wages but also remuneration of any kind including free board and lodgings. What does that mean? Many of our chaps, after being totally incapacitated for months, have recovered to the point where they are able to take on light work, though not at the pit where they sustained the accident. So they are called on to go farther afield, in these days particularly, and then we take into consideration the board and lodgings found for them when determining their hardship allowances. I cannot bring my mind to accept that this is the right thing to do. When a man has had the misfortune to sustain an accident, as many have done, what we ought to do is to give him the highest possible amount and help him in every conceivable way. So I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary and the Minister will see the force of our arguments and will agree to accept the Amendment.

Mr. Wood

I wish to begin by paying a sincere tribute to the great knowledge, wide experience and deep sympathy with which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Finch) and other hon. Gentlemen who have spoken always bring to this subject. I cannot match their knowledge and experience, but I can match them in sympathy, and I have a certain knowledge of a similar but not entirely identical provision in the allowance for lowered standard of occupation for the disabled soldier.

Hon. Members will not want to hear from me the circumstances in which the special hardship allowance can be paid, because they will be conversant with them. Yet it is worth while looking for a moment at the history of this allowance, and the difficulty which seems to be behind our discussion this evening.

In 1944 the White Paper recommended that compensation should not be based on loss of earnings but on the new principle of loss of faculty. I gather that it was quickly realised that to have compensation wholly on loss of faculty would not begin to meet the situation to which so many hon. Members have drawn attention. In fact, it was obvious fairly soon that the loss of earnings through industrial injury must also be taken into account. So 1946 saw the introduction of the special hardship allowance at a small figure, superseded in 1948 by the figure of 20s.; and in 1948 the Act that changed the amount of special hardship allowance also introduced what I might call the test period of employment, which I understand was later doubled to six months. In the 1954 Act—this is the end of the history—the special hardship allowance was increased to its present figure of 27s. 6d.

9.45 p.m.

From what hon. Members have said this evening, from what I have always heard, and from what we all find whenever we met this problem, it is an extremely difficult one to solve. Its difficulty was well illustrated by the example given by the hon. Member for Bedwellty of the man earning £15 a week who was injured and was afterwards able to earn a wage of only £8. In the example quoted the man had only a 20 per cent. disability, and, therefore, would receive only a 17s. disablement pension.

The difficulty which stares us in the face whenever we consider this matter is that nothing within the framework of the industrial injuries legislation can possibly take account of that catastrophic fall in earnings from £15 to £8. I appreciate that the purpose of the hon. Gentleman's Amendment is to make the subsequent earnings rather nearer the original ones than is proposed in the Bill.

The Trades Union Congress has for a very long time recognised the difficulty of this matter, and I was interested to find that the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton)—I am sorry to take his name in vain when he is not here; I understand that he is several thousand miles away—in speeches which he made in 1953 and 1954—admitted the responsibility, or a certain amount of responsibility, lying on the Trades Union Congress to try to produce some solution to the very difficult problem, the balance between loss of faculty and loss of earnings. I am well aware of the point made by the hon. Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice) that a small loss of faculty can lead to a very large loss of earnings, as was implicit in the example given by his hon. Friend.

As to the difficulties in which we find ourselves, some are relatively unimportant and some relatively very important indeed. The first difficulty is that the Amendment proposes a very much larger percentage addition to the special hardship allowance than is contained anywhere else in the Bill. I am not suggesting that all the difficulties which I shall enumerate are of equal importance. I merely put that one first in my list. The second one is that to restore the value of the special hardship allowance to what it was in 1948 would require a figure of 30s. 2d., but the proposal in the Bill is to increase the figure a long way above that, to 34s.

Thirdly, the further extension of the special hardship allowance would lead to a very large increase in the number of cases where calculations of earnings would become necessary, and, as hon. Members will appreciate, that would naturally lead to a number of administrative difficulties. Again I would emphasise that I am not suggesting that all these difficulties are of equal importance.

Fourthly, there is the question of cost. The proposal in the Amendment would very considerably increase the cost. A few moments ago we were considering the necessity of paying increased contributions in order to meet the cost of the increased benefits, particularly in the years ahead.

The main difficulty, as all hon. Members will recognise, is that the Amendment would upset the balance between loss of faculty and loss of earnings, because the figure mentioned in the Amendment would mean that a man with a relatively small disability, say 40 per cent., but with special hardship allowance, would be receiving very nearly as much as a man who had been 100 per cent. disabled. As hon. Members have pointed out, the special hardship allowance, if raised to that figure, would put the emphasis on loss of earnings rather than on loss of faculty, which was not the intention in 1946. The Amendment would have the effect of giving nothing extra to the man with a relatively high disability and more to the man with a relatively low disability. It was not the intention before and I do not think that it is the intention now that we should move so far from the loss of faculty principle towards the principle of loss of earnings.

The main question which we must now consider and which we shall have to continue to consider in the future, no doubt, is how far any further development of the special hardship allowance beyond the figure we propose in the Bill would undermine the loss of faculty principle contained in the Industrial Injuries Scheme. That is too big a question to discuss on a rates Bill. It is a matter which is fundamental to the whole Industrial Injuries Scheme. I do not believe that the Committee and the country would now be willing to decide in favour of the abandonment of the loss of faculty principle and the exaltation of the principle of loss of earnings.

Miss Herbison

I am sure that we have all listened with the greatest interest to the case which has been made by the Joint Parliamentary Secretary. He has made every attempt to answer the arguments of my hon. Friends, but there are one or two further considerations which I want to put before him. All of us on this side of the Committee are in complete agreement with his statement that in a Bill of his kind we do not want to take any decision about the principle of loss of faculty or loss of earning capacity. That is a matter which will have to be carefully examined and I hope that it is a matter to which the Minister will give great attention and which he will discuss with the Trades Union Congress.

Although we accept the Parliamentary Secretary's last statement as valid, we urge the Minister to consider acceding to our request because in so doing he would not be interfering with the original intention of the 1946 Act of basing pension on loss of faculty. The Parliamentary Secretary said that if the Amendment were accepted, the rate of the hardship allowance would be increased proportionately more than the other rates. The major complaint of industrial workers has been about the amount of hardship allowance, and the difficulty of which the Parliamentary Secretary spoke would not be difficult to overcome.

The Parliamentary Secretary rightly pointed out that proportionately the money value of the increase provided in the Bill is higher than that given in 1948, but it is clear that the part of the 1946 Act which has caused most heartburning among workers has been that dealing with the hardship allowance. I am quite certain that if we had a thorough review of the working of the Industrial Injuries Act—and we have not had it, although the Bill provided for it within five years—it would have been brought out clearly that this hardship allowance is the one that caused most heartburning and the one which most people feel ought to be increased. Again, I would say that the second point made by the Minister should not make him feel tonight that he could not grant our request.

It is said that with a larger number of cases, more calculations would be necessary. Again, that may be the case, but even if it did mean more calculations, surely if it brought greater justice to those who are disabled the Department would be willing to carry them out.

Now we come to what I feel is the crux of the refusal of the Government to accept this Amendment, the cost. The Joint Parliamentary Secretary told us that the cost would be increased considerably if this Amendment was accepted. I feel again that because there is justice in what we are asking, the Minister ought to have given greater consideration to it and ought to have accepted the increased cost. After all, he is raising the contributions to the Industrial Injuries Fund by 100 per cent. as compared with 1948, and if we take the basic amount that is given in industrial injuries benefit we find that it has been raised by 80 per cent. It seems to me that there was sufficient in the

Industrial Injuries Fund to take care of the increase for which we are asking.

There is one final point I should like to make. Those of us who come from mining areas or areas with heavy industries are fully aware of the greatest trouble which this hardship allowance brings in its trail, and this is what I think has caused so much worry about it. It is the low assessments of disability that are given. I had a case in my own constituency, only at my last "surgery," in which the assessment seemed to me to be a shocking one for a man with a broken vertebra. The Minister must realise that that is the case. He himself must be convinced that the assessments of disability are too low. When we consider these assessments of disability with the loss in the earning capacity of the men concerned, it makes much more important the need for a higher hardship allowance.

I wonder whether the Minister, having given a little more thought to the matter, would now rise and tell us that he will accept our request. If he did so, he would bring hope and satisfaction to thousands of disabled men and women, not only the industrially disabled, because if he were to accept this suggestion, as the Joint Parliamentary Secretary knows, it would follow that the same thing would happen for the war disabled.

Question put, That "Thirty-four" stand part of the Schedule:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 241, Noes 208.

Division No. 10.] AYES [10.0 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Braine, B. R. Dodds-Parker, A. D.
Aitken, W. T. Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.
Alport, C. J. M. Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Doughty, C. J. A.
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Brooman-White, R. C. du Cann, E. D. L.
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Duncan, Sir James
Armstrong, C. W. Bryan, P. Duthie, W. S.
Ashton, H. Burden, F. F. A. Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)
Atkins, H. E. Butcher, Sir Herbert Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. (Kelvingrove)
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Elliott, R. W. (N'castle upon Tyne, N.)
Baldwin, A. E. Campbell, Sir David Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn
Balniel, Lord Carr, Robert Errington, Sir Eric
Barber, Anthony Channon, Sir Henry Farey-Jones, F. W.
Barlow, Sir John Chichester-Clark, R. Fell, A.
Barter, John Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Finlay, Graeme
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Cole, Norman Fisher, Nigel
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Forrest, G.
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Cooke, Robert Fort, R.
Bennett, Dr. Reginald Corfield, Capt. F. V. Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale)
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Freeth, Denzil
Bidgood, J. C. Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Gammans, Lady
Biggs-Davison, J. A. Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Garner-Evans, E. H.
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Cunningham, Knox Gibson- Watt, D.
Bishop, F. P. Currie, G. B. H. Glover, D.
Black, C. W. Dance, J. C. G. Glyn, Col. Richard H.
Bossom, Sir Alfred Davidson, Viscountess Godber, J. B.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Deedes, W. F. Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan
Boyle, Sir Edward Digby, Simon Wingfield Goodhart, Philip
Gower, H. R. Leavey, J. A. Pike, Miss Mervyn
Graham, Sir Fergus Leburn, W. G. Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Grant, W. (Woodside) Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Pitt, Miss E. M.
Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Pot[...], H. P.
Green, A. Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Powell, J. Enoch
Gresham Cooke, R. Lindsay, Martin (Solihull) Price, David (Eastleigh)
Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Linstead, Sir H. N. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.
Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Llewellyn, D. T. Rawlinson, Peter
Gurden, Harold Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Redmayne, M.
Hall, John (Wycombe) Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick) Renton, D. L. M.
Harris, Reader (Heston) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon) McAdden, S. J. Robson Brown, Sir William
Harvey, Sir Arthur (Macclesfd) Macdonald, Sir Peter Roper, Sir Harold
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel McKibbin, Alan Russell, R. S.
Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G. Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Henderson-Stewart, Sir James McLaughlin, Mrs. P. Sharples, R. C.
Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. McLean, Neil (Inverness) Shepherd, William
Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty) Spearman, Sir Alexander
Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Macmillan,Rt.Hn.Harold(Bromley) Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)
Hirst, Geoffrey Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Hobson, John (Warwick & Leam'gt'n) Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Holland-Martin, C. J. Maddan, Martin Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)
Hornby, R. P. Maitland,Cdr.J.F.W.(Horncastle) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark) Storey, S.
Horobin, Sir Ian Markham, Major Sir Frank Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Marshall, Douglas Studholme, Sir Henry
Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J. Mathew, R. Summers, Sir Spencer
Hurd, A. R. Maude, Angus Teeling, W.
Hutchison, Michael Clark (E'b'gh, S.) Mawby, R. L. Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Hutchison,SirIanClark (E'b'gh, W.) Medlicott, Sir Frank Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Hyde, Montgomery Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R. Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, S.)
Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon Sir Harry Moore, Sir Thomas Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Iremonger, T. L. Morrison, John (Salisbury) Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Turner, H. F. L.
Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Nabarro, G. D. N. Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam) Nairn, D. L. S. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Neave, Airey Vickers, Miss Joan
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Nicholls, Harmar Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Wall, Major Patrick
Kaberry, D. Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch) Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)
Keegan, D. Nugent, G. R. H. Webbe, Sir H.
Kerby, Capt. H. B. Oakshott, H. D. Whitelaw, W. S. I.
Kerr, Sir Hamilton O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.) Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Kershaw, J. A. Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. D. Wills, G. (Bridgwater)
Kimball, M. Orr, Cap[...]. L. P. S. Wood, Hon. R.
Kirk, P. M. Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) Woollam, John Victor
Lagden, G. W. Osborne, C. Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Lambert, Hon. G. Page, R. G.
Lambton, Viscount Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Lancaster, Col. C. G. Partridge, E. Colonel J. H. Harrison and
Langford-Holt, J. A. Peyton, J. W. W. Mr. Hughes-Young.
Leather, E. H. C. Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Ainsley, J. W. Callaghan, L. J. Fienburgh, W.
Albu, A. H. Castle, Mrs. B. A. Finch, H. J.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Champion, A. J. Fletcher, Eric
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Clunie, J. Foot, D. M.
Awbery, S. S. Coldrick, W. Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)
Bacon, Miss Alice Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Car'then)
Baird, J. Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury) Gibson, C. W.
Balfour, A. Corbet, Mrs. Freda Gooch, E. G.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Cronin, J. D. Grey, C. F.
Benson, G. Crossman, R. H. S. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)
Beswick, Frank Cullen, Mrs. A. Griffiths, William (Exchange)
Blackburn, F. Dal[...]on, Rt. Hon. H. Grimond, J.
Blyton, W. R. Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Hale, Leslie
Boardman, H. Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Deer, G. Hamilton, W. W.
Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan) Delargy, H. J. Hannan, W.
Boyd, T. C. Diamond, John Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Dodds, N. N. Hastings, S.
Brockway, A. F. Dye, S. Hayman, F. H.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Healey, Denis
Burke, W. A. Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)
Burton, Miss F. E. Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Herbison, Miss M.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Fernyhough, E. Holman, P.
Holmes, Horace Mason, Roy Shurmer, P. L. E.
Holt, A. F. Mellish, R. J. Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Mitchison, G. R. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Howell, Denis (All Saints) Monslow, W. Skeffington, A. M.
Hoy, J. H. Moody, A. S. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)
Hubbard, T. F. Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Slater, J. (Sedgefield)
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Mort, D. L. Snow, J. W.
Hunter, A. E. Moss, R. Sparks, J. A.
Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Moyle, A. Steele, T.
Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Mulley, F. W. Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Stonehouse, John
Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Stones, W. (Consett)
Jeger, George (Goole) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.) Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Johnson, James (Rugby) Oliver, G. H. Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Oram, A. E. Sylvester, G. O.
Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Orbach, M. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Oswald, T. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Owen, W. J. Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Palmer, A. M. F. Thornton, E.
Kenyon, C. Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Timmons, J.
Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Pargiter, G. A. Tomney, F.
King, Dr. H. M. Parker, J. Viant, S. P.
Lawson, G. M. Paton, John Wade, D. W.
Ledger, R. J. Peart, T. F. Watkins, T. E.
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Pentland, N. Weitzman, D.
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Popplewell, E. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Prentice, R. E. Wheeldon, W. E.
Lindgren, G. S. Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Lipton, Marcus Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Mahon, Dr. J. Dickson Probert, A. R. Wilkins, W. A.
MacColl, J. E. Proctor, W. T. Willey, Frederick
MacDermot, Niall Pryde, D. J. Williams, David (Neath)
McGhee, H. G. Pursey, Cmdr. H. Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)
McInnes, J. Randall, H. E. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
McKay, John (Wallsend) Rankin, John Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
McLeavy, Frank Redhead, E. C. Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Reid, William Winterbottom, Richard
MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Rhodes, H. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Mahon, Simon Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Woof, R. E.
Mainwaring, W. H. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.) Ross, William Zilliacus, K.
Mann, Mrs. Jean Royle, C.
Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Short, E. W. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. Pearson and Mr. Simmons.
Mr. Finch

I beg to move, in page 7, line 44, to leave out "Thirty-five" and to insert "Thirty-eight".

May I take it, Sir Charles, that the next Amendment, in page 7, line 47, to leave out "Seventy" and to insert "Seventy-six", may be considered at the same time, as it is concerned with the same kind of allowance?

We are here dealing with the most tragic cases under the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act. These are bedridden men, perhaps with a broken spine, and they will never work again. They need constant attendance. Some of them are young men who were in the mining or other industry, and they have been completely and totally disabled.

The right hon. Gentleman can afford to be generous to these men because they are the worst cases. There are others who are not so seriously disabled, but it is necessary for them, like the others, to have constant attendance. If they are able to walk out, somebody must be with them, wife or nurse, all the time. Very often they have to pay for this attendance.

We have not yet had much success with the Government on the Bill. We have been labouring hard today and yesterday, but the Government have not made one concession. Now we have come to the seriously incapacitated men, many of whom are bedridden and all of whom require constant attendance. I am sure that the Government could well afford to give to these men the extra 3s. for which the Amendment asks.

We say a great deal about increased production today; this class of man has helped production in the past, perhaps as a skilled collier, until he met with his injury, perhaps to his spine by a fall of roof. We ask for his allowance to be increased by a few shillings, and we hope that the Amendment will be conceded.

Mr. Prentice

I wish to support the Amendment. I would point out to the Joint Parliamentary Secretary that nothing has been conceded on our Amendments so far, and that this Amendment is in a special category. The actual increases proposed in the Schedule are a smaller proportion of the existing allowance than is general throughout the Bill. When he was resisting our Amendment on special hardship allowance, the Minister said that it would create a larger percentage increase than was general in the Bill, but in this case the Government are proposing a smaller proportion, an increase of one-sixth, whereas in the rest of the Schedule the increase is approximately one-quarter.

Why are these people singled out for a smaller percentage increase? They are the worst cases, which need to have constant attendance to compensate for the effect of their injury. Very often they have, to pay someone to look after them, possibly a man and wife. Some other member of their family may have to stay at home instead of going out to work, as might otherwise be the case.

Therefore, I think that in these cases a concession might be made. According to the report of the Department, the number of people getting the allowance in October last year was 1,260 under the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act and 430 under the old workmen's compensation cases—1,690 altogether. The extra cost would be negligible, and I think the case is unanswerable. I hope that the Government will accept this Amendment.

10.15 p.m.

Mr. T. Brown

All hon. Members of the Committee can reinforce what has been said by my hon. Friends. As a Scotsman would say, we have not got a bawbee from the Government. We tried for pennies, they refused; we tried for sixpences, they refused; we tried for half-crowns, they refused; now we are trying for 3s. and I hope that they will not refuse.

After all, the number of men affected, I am glad to say, is only about 2,000. Surely the Government, despite all the meanness, parsimony and niggardliness which they have manifested yesterday and today, can afford this concession for men who have been bedridden since they sustained accidents. I want to remind the Minister and all concerned of the plight of these men. I wonder whether they have visited such cases in mining villages. There they would see something which would strike a chord of humanity in their hard hearts. These men, who sustained accidents in the pits, often could not go to hospital because there was no room for them there. The hospitals could not accept them, not because they had no sympathy for them but because they would have to remain there for the rest of their lives. So they had to stay in their own homes.

I do not want to be sentimental about this question, but I have seen some of these men in the constituency which I have the honour to represent. I have quoted cases in which they have been bedridden for fifteen or twenty years and they have to be satisfied with a mere pittance. I know that they have a constant attendance allowance and a little hardship allowance, but whatever that amount may be it does not compensate an injured workman or his family for the misfortune he sustained in the pits.

I am sorry that the Prime Minister has now left the Chamber. He and the Home Secretary have been appealing for increased productivity and fuller co-operation. If there is one way in which the Government can help the mining industry to increase production and manifest a spirit of co-operation it is by giving something tangible to injured comrades of men in the pits. Nothing would have a greater psychological effect on those workers than to know that the Government, whatever their political philosophy, were giving consideration to their injured comrades.

I beg the Minister—I am almost tired of begging the Government—to concede what we are asking, a paltry 3s.

Mr. Wood

We all agree with the hon. Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Finch) that these are certainly very tragic cases, but I can assure the hon. Member for Ince (Mr. T. Brown) that our hearts are not hard.

I agree with the hon. Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice) that the increase we propose in the Bill is a smaller increase than the other increases which the Bill proposes. I also agree with him that the number of recipients of this constant attendance allowance is relatively small. But I must draw the attention of the Committee not to this allowance alone, but to the allowance looked at in conjunction with all the other allowances which are available to the very severely disabled men.

I should point out that a married man with two children who is receiving the lower rate of constant attendance allowance will, in fact, receive £11 10s., and the man who is even more seriously disabled and is receiving the constant attendance allowance at the higher rate, which we propose to put up to 70s., will receive £13 5s. He may also have some benefit under the supplementary scheme. Even taken by itself this allowance which we propose to raise to 35s. for the lower—

Mr. Bernard Taylor (Mansfield)

Before the hon. Gentleman leaves the question of the supplementary scheme, may I point out that that applies only to the mining industry and not to any other industry?

Mr. Wood

I appreciate that point. I was merely saying that in some of the cases mentioned there would he a payment above the figure of £13 5s. I do not want to make too much out of it. The main point which I was trying to make was in the figure itself.

Lastly, I was pointing out that even taken by themselves these allowances which we propose, of 35s. and 70s., are considerably more in purchasing power than the allowances introduced in 1948. because the allowances then were 20s. and 40s. which, in terms of today's purchasing power, are 30s. 2d. and just over 60s. I must again advise the Committee to reject the Amendment.

Amendment negatived.

The Chairman

I suggest that we discuss the next Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand), in line 53, to leave out "Fifteen" and insert "Twenty", and the one immediately following, in line 56, to leave out "Seven" and insert "Twelve," and all the Amendments to the Fourth Schedule together, but when we reach that Schedule we cannot have any further discussion, although, of course, there may be some Divisions—I suggest three—if the Committee wishes.

Mr. Marquand

Thank you, Sir Charles, for that suggestion. As the hour is getting late and we want to make progress,

Section 19 (3) Weekly rate of widow's pension in any other circumstances than those specified. Twenty shillings. Thirty shillings.

I would propose at this stage not to move the Amendment standing in my name, in line 53 leave out "Fifteen" and insert "Twenty". This Amendment relates to increases in children's allowances under the Industrial Injuries Act.

As you have just reminded us, Sir Charles, there is a long series of Amendments to the Fourth Schedule, which are also in my name, relating to the children's allowances under the National Insurance Act. I do not propose to move the Amendment in my name in relation to the Industrial Injuries Act, but to take the opportunity when we reach the Fourth Schedule of moving the Amendment which stands in my name and having thereon a debate in which we can discuss the whole question of children's allowances.

I realise that in doing this I am forfeiting legally and technically the opportunity to amend this Schedule, but I am sure that if my Amendment to the Fourth Schedule were carried the Government would accept the will of the House and propose similar Amendments to the Second Schedule on the Report stage. I should therefore not lose anything by not moving this Amendment. I have decided not to move this Amendment in the hope of facilitating the business of the House and of allowing us to rise at a reasonable hour tonight.

The Chairman

I agree, if that is the will of the Committee. When we come to the Fourth Schedule I think there must be about 30 or 40 Amendments, although I have not counted them. I would not expect Divisions on them all.

Mr. Marquand

It would not be for one moment our intention to take up the time of the Committee with a large number of Divisions. Our anxiety is that the Bill shall receive its Third Reading tomorrow so that the increases shall come into effect on the date promised, 28th January.

The Chairman

I beg the Committee's pardon. I have counted too many. There are nineteen Amendments altogether.

Mr. John McKay (Wallsend)

I beg to move, in page 8, line 7, at the end to insert:

I do not intend to take up too much time on the Amendment but, at the same time, I want the Committee to realise that it is looked upon in the industrial world as a very important Amendment. It deals with the widow of a man who suffered a fatal accident in industry, who has no children at the time of the accident or whose children have ceased to be dependent upon her before she reaches the age of fifty. I want to draw the Committee's attention to the fact that the widow who is receiving benefit under those circumstances is being paid today the same amount of money as she was paid in 1946. The payment has remained unaltered all that time. On several occasions we have amended and improved practically all the benefits under the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act, but this Section has remained unaltered.

During the discussions this afternoon, when we were dealing with non-contributory pensions, it was pointed out that these were not established benefits under the Act. The same comment largely applies to the 10s. widow. Here, however, we are dealing with a position where, under the initiation of the National Insurance and Industrial Injuries Scheme, there is a definite and established benefit. This indicates quite clearly that at the passing of the Act it was recognised that the widow of a man who had been injured in the workshops had an established right carried over from the old compensation Acts. In those circumstances, the widow of a man who was killed in industry had in the past and has in the present a recognised claim, just as an Army widow has a recognised claim.

It has been said that the provisions concerning these 20s. widows broadly apply to younger women, but anyone who attempts to make that argument is deluding the Committee. I ask hon. Members to consider the case of a widow whose husband is killed when she is 27 years of age. She may have two or three children. In eighteen years' time she will be 45. As a widow she will have continued for eighteen years to bring up her children. After doing all that strenuous work, at the age of 45, when her children have ceased to be dependent on her, she will be told that because she has not reached the age of 50 she has no right, in justice, to the ordinary pension granted to all other widows.

10.30 p.m.

Therefore, widows at age 47, 48 or 49, who have brought up their children to the age of 15 will, in future, suffer a decrease from 56s. to 20s. That is unfair, because their claim was recognised in the scheme and they should receive at least some improvement, just as will those benefiting under the Industrial Injuries Scheme. The position now is that whereas in 1948, the difference between this type of widow and the widow under the Industrial Injuries Scheme who had full pension was only 10s., next year it will be as much as 36s.

Surely, whatever claim there was in 1946 exists today. That being so, what reason, in justice is there for saying that this benefit to which I refer should remain at its present level? We cannot understand it. If there is any claim that needs to be improved it is this one. I hope that the Minister will reconsider this matter, as it is something that makes the people in the workshops feel that justice is not being done to them. Those receiving this benefit have as good a claim for an increase as anybody else.

Mr. William Blyton (Houghton-le-Spring)

In view of what the Joint Parliamentary Secretary said during the debate on Clause 1, I have no hope of the Minister accepting this Amendment. My reason for speaking now, however, is to challenge the Government's case as put forward by the Joint Parliamentary Secretary when rejecting the plea for those widows under 50 years of age who have lost their husbands as a result of the men's employment.

It is twelve years ago tomorrow since the Minister and I argued this question in Committee. Our argument then, even against my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), was that the age was too high and that the amount was too low, and we were told that this was the rate to be paid to those widows. The then minister said: In this Measure we are providing for injuries benefits and we have to compare these provisions with the Workmen's Compensation Acts."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee A, 20th November, 1945; c. 265.] The workmen's compensation Acts were still in existence when we were arguing. It was quite clear in that Committee, which the Minister attended, that these widows with no children were recognised as being in a category entirely different from that of the widows under the National Insurance Act.

Yesterday, in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Wallsend (Mr. McKay), the Joint Parliamentary Secretary, the hon. Member for Bridlington (Mr. Wood), tried to shelter under the argument that She, I repeat, must be compared with the widow…under the National Insurance Scheme who is not receiving any pension at all."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th November, 1957; Vol. 578, c. 87.] If that is the Minister's attitude, he ought to "come clean." If he wants to put this widow in the same position as the National Insurance widow, he ought to have done that in the Bill, but if he recognises that the principle embodied in the 1946 Act is still right he should increase her benefit by the same amount as he increased every other benefit.

What is the case for putting this widow in a different category? Under the old Workmen's Compensation Act, a widow, regardless of age, whose husband was killed in employment, was given £400. Under the later Industrial Injuries scheme, a husband was a contributor and the widow had to be brought into it because of the carry-over from the old Workmen's Compensation Act. I deplore the Joint Parliamentary Secretary's argument in the attempt to prevent justice being done under the Bill to this widow who is in a category entirely different from that of the National Insurance widow.

The sum involved cannot be very large, because there are not many widows whose husbands have been killed in the course of employment who would be brought within this provision. As long as the principal Act of 1946 operates within the purview of the Bill, the Minister is under an obligation to make the sum which this widow is to receive in 1957 of the same purchasing value as the sum which she received in 1946. That is why, in our Amendment, we seek to bring the £1 which she received then up to 30s. so that she can buy today goods similar to those which she bought in 1946. Not to do that would be a disgrace. It would be an injustice to these widows who have lost their husbands whilst those husbands were following their employment.

These widows have been entirely ignored in two Measures brought forward since 1946 to increase National Insurance benefits. Although I have no hope of getting anything from the Minister on this issue, I want to place on record our protest at an injustice to these widows, who lost their husbands in the course of employment, and at the absolute negation of the 1946 Act, which provided that they should receive £1 a week. To ensure that they receive that £1, the Minister, in all justice, should increase the amount to 30s. so that the purchasing power of the amount shall be equal to that which they received in 1946.

Miss Pitt

The Amendment proposes to increase from 20s. to 30s. the allowance under the Industrial Injuries scheme for the younger, able-bodied widow without children.

Mr. McKay

I think that the hon. Lady emphasises that point too much. Is it not correct that a widow could have had three children and brought them up to independence and, because they are no longer children, this sum can fall from the proposed 56s. to 20s.?

Miss Pitt

If the hon. Member will let me get started, I will come to that point. I was trying to make clear the background against which we should view this matter.

The standard rate for the Industrial Injuries widow under the Bill is to be increased from 45s. to 56s.

Now I come to the points raised by the hon. Member for Wallsend (Mr. McKay). He said that where a woman was widowed by her husband losing his life through industrial injury, she would, if her children were over age, get only 20s. and not the main rate, the proposed improved rate, of 56s. I would assume that in the majority of cases the widow would be over the age of fifty by the time her children had grown up, and under the present conditions she would qualify for the full standard widow's rate.

I now come to the other example which the hon. Member quoted, which is even clearer. He gave as a typical case a widow who was 27 when she lost her husband, and at that time she had three children. The eldest child might be 18 when the widow was still 45—

Mr. McKay

The youngest child might be.

Miss Pitt

Yes, it is the youngest child. That takes them all out of allowance for themselves. The hon. Gentleman then said that the widow would at the age of 45 drop from the main rate of Industrial Injuries widows' benefit to 20s. I am happy to assure him that is not correct.

I will give the Committee the grounds on which the full standard rate of Industrial Injuries widows' pension is now awarded. It is paid for any period when the widow is also entitled to an allowance for a child. That is quite clear. It is paid if the widow was over 50 when her husband died. That covers the first example which the hon. Gentleman cited. It is paid if the widow is permanently unable to support herself at the time of her husband's death; that is, if her physical capacity is impaired. It is paid if she has residing with her a child under 18 who has no allowance because by now perhaps he is at work, being 18 years old, but was in her husband's family. If the widow is over 40 at the time that such a child reaches 18 or otherwise ceases to qualify, perhaps because he has left home, the higher rate still continues. This is where the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act differs from the National Insurance Act.

One of the changes that we made as recently as last year was to enable the widow with a child up to the age of 18 in her family, even though he might be working, to continue to receive benefit. I hope that disposes of some of the worries in the mind of the hon. Member.

I would end by saying that, although I think the present provisions cater for the vast majority of widows who need help, any increase in the 20s. rate would serve only to emphasise the contrast between the National Insurance 10s. widow and the "no shilling' widow of the National Insurance scheme, because a woman widowed at present in circumstances where her children are over age while she is still under 50 would, in the National Insurance scheme, lose her allowance, and if she has no children she gets no allowance whatever.

The whole of this brief discussion has really been centred on the modern conception of widowhood, which came about with the Beveridge Report and the introduction of the 1946 Measures. Whereas in the old days widowhood was regarded as something which attracted compensation whatever the age and circumstances of the widow, whether she had children or not, the modern outlook is that the State, through its insurance funds, accepts responsibility if she has children in her care, if her age precludes her from re-entering the labour market or if there are other special circumstances.

I really think that the grounds on which the higher rate of Industrial Injuries widows' benefit is now available cover the cases which the hon. Member has in mind, and I hope he will be prepared to withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment negatived.

Schedule agreed to.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I beg to move, That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again.

We have made somewhat better progress in the last two hours, and although there is still a certain amount of the Committee stage left to deal with tomorrow and it is, as I think the Committee appreciates, of vital importance that we should leave enough time tomorrow to complete the Third Reading in order that these benefits may be put into payment at the time suggested, I hope that with good will and co-operation on all sides it will be possible to achieve that.

I noted that a few moments ago the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) indicated his and the Opposition's awareness of the importance, and indeed of the necessity, of getting the Third Reading tomorrow. In the light of that and on that understanding I am happy to be able to move this Motion and to avoid keeping the Committee to an uncomfortably late hour.

Question put and agreed to.

Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.