§ Miss Herbison
I beg to move, in page 13, line 27, column 4, to leave out "115 shillings" and to insert "120 shillings".
§ The Chairman
I think that it would be convenient to the Committee to discuss, at the same time, the following Amendments:
§ In line 30, column 4, leave out "86 shillings and 3 pence" and insert "94 shillings and 2 pence".
§ In line 34, column 4, leave out "57 shillings and 6 pence" and insert "62 shillings and 9 pence".
§ In line 37, column 4, leave out "Three hundred and eighty pounds" and insert "Four hundred and eleven pounds eight shillings".
§ In page 14, line 8, column 4, leave out "115 shillings" and insert "120 shillings".
§ In line 10, column 4, leave out "103 shillings and 6 pence" and insert "110 shillings and 3 pence".
§ In line 12, column 4, leave out "92 shillings" and insert "101 shillings".566
§ In line 13, column 4, leave out "80 shillings and 6 pence" and insert "88 shillings and 3 pence".
§ In line 15, column 4, leave out "69 shillings" and insert "75 shillings and 6 pence".
§ In line 17, column 4, leave out "57 shillings and 6 pence" and insert "62 shillings and 9 pence".
§ In line 19, column 4, leave out "46 shillings" and insert "51 shillings".
§ In line 20, column 4, leave out "34 shillings and 6 pence" and insert "37 shillings and 3 pence".
§ In line 22, column 4, leave out "23 shillings" and insert "25 shillings and 6 pence".
§ In line 29, column 4, leave out "67 shillings and 6 pence" and insert "80 shillings".
§ In line 32, column 4, leave out "38 shillings and 6 pence" and insert "42 shillings".
§ In line 48, column 4, leave out "50 shillings" and insert "52 shillings".
§ In line 52, column 4, leave out "100 shillings" and insert "103 shillings".
§ In page 15, line 9, column 4, leave out "20 shillings" and insert "22 shillings and 6 pence".567
§ In line 12, column 4, leave out "12 shillings" and insert "12 shillings and 6 pence".
§ In line 16, column 4, leave out "41 shillings and 6 pence" and insert "45 shillings".
§ In line 26, column 4, leave out "95 shillings" and insert "102 shillings and 6 pence".
§ In line 31, column 4, leave out "75 shillings" and insert "90 shillings".
§ In line 35, column 4, leave out "20 shillings" and insert "22 shillings and 6 pence".
§ In line 38, column 4, leave out "12 shillings" and insert "12 shillings and 6 pence".
§ In line 43, column 4, leave out "10 shillings" and insert "10 shillings and 6 pence".
§ In page 16, line 6, column 4, leave out "115 shillings" and insert "120 shillings".
§ In line 19, column 4, leave out "30 shillings" and insert "32 shillings and 6 pence".
§ In line 39, column 4, leave out, "115 shillings" and insert "120 shillings".
§ In line 43, column 4, leave out "86 shillings and 3 pence" and insert "94 shillings and 2 pence".
§ In line 45, column 4, leave out "57 shillings and 6 pence" and insert "62 shillings and 9 pence".
§ 10.15 p.m.
§ Miss Herbison
As the Committee will have noticed, with this Amendment we are discussing a great number of others. I will speak as briefly as I can, as there are still a number of Amendments on which, if we do not get satisfaction from the Government, we want to register our vote. I should like to take this opportunity of adding my thanks to the Minister for the way in which he reacted to our Amendments on the old workmen's compensation cases and the time-barred pneumoconiosis cases. The Minister will know that this subject has been very close to my heart for many years, and I am most grateful that something is now to be done.
568 This Amendment seeks to bring the basic industrial injury rate for the adult worker from 115s. to 120s., and all the other Amendments deal with payments for industrial injuries. I want to make it quite clear that we realise only too well that if what we are asking for is granted the same increases will occur in war disablement pensions, because ever since 1948 the two have moved side by side.
The Bill proposes to increase the industrial injuries payment from 97s. 6d. to 115s., but we feel that the increase is not large enough and seek another 5s. The sum of 115s. is little more than one-third of the average male workers earnings today. A worker at one moment is healthy and strong—the next moment he may be seriously disabled. Not only has he sometimes to go through a very long period of physical suffering but, because of the drastic reduction in his income, he very often goes through a great deal of mental suffering, too.
That is something over which the man has no control at all. The accident has happened in the course of his work, or the industrial disease has happened as a result of his work. Although we know that the other benefits, such as the unemployability supplement, which is being increased, and the special hardship allowance later take care of some of these cases, there still remains a very big gap between a full wage and one-third of a full wage. We believe that the basic rate should in all cases be increased.
I know of men in this position—men who have been disabled after 1948, who are in receipt of these benefits and will get the proposed increase. Many of them are so seriously disabled that they need continual medical care. The prescription charge is now 2s. per item, and as they may need a number of items in one week quite a considerable amount of their industrial injury benefit goes in this way. Very often, these people are so far above the National Assistance Board rate that they are not entitled to a refund of the prescription charges. They must pay—as a result of an accident that they have suffered in industry.
I also remind the Minister that some of these people who have been earning good money, and are thrifty and careful, 569 have been trying to buy their own homes. They are put in very great difficulty when their income is cut by almost two-thirds.
We say that the 5s. increase and the relative increases in the other cases are very little. The Minister may tell us that the cost of these Amendments would be so great that the Industrial Injuries Fund would not stand it, but the Fund is in very good heart. We are increasing it now by 1d. from the employer and 1d. from the worker, and only about a year ago we decreased it by the same amount from both. I ask the Minister to consider carefully the 100 per cent. industrially disabled man and all the physical and mental suffering which he faces, taking into account the great financial hardship which he falls into when an accident takes place. I am sure that if he takes all these matters into account he will be most willing to grant this very modest increase over and above the increase proposed in the Bill, particularly in view of the present state of the Fund.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance (Lieut.-Commander S. L. C. Maydon)
The hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison), who has so ably put forward this long list of Amendments, has done so with her accustomed civility and reasonableness. She has lumped together both the short-term and the long-term benefits. The total cost of doing what she proposes would be over£4 million a year. She has contended that with the increase proposed in the Bill the standard benefit will approximate to slightly more than one-third of average present-day earnings. That is perfectly correct, but we must not forget that in addition in certain cases there are the supplementary allowances and, where there are dependants, there are generous allowances for them and each of these are being increased by the Bill.
The hon. Lady has argued that a rise of 5s. on the Government's proposals, that is 5s. on the main rate which we are considering and proportionate rises on the other rates would make a great difference to these unfortunate people. No one would deny that it would make a difference, but we are not convinced that it would make that great difference.
§ Lieut.-Commander Maydon
I certainly did not suggest that, though I think that we all agree that this sort of misfortune cannot and should not be measured in terms of money. Our duty is to try to compensate in a small degree for what these unfortunate men and women have suffered.
§ Lieut.-Commander Maydon
The Amendments are a logical progression of the Amendments on the National Insurance schedule of benefits. I take the Amendment which has been moved, with its National Insurance counterpart amended as desired by the Opposition, as an example. It reduces the differential so long enjoyed by the industrial injury benefit scheme.
The Bill makes the standard rate of National Insurance benefit 67s. 6d. and the industrial injury benefit and full rate disablement benefit 115s., giving a lead of 70 per cent. in favour of the man or woman who is injured in an accident at work. This is roughly the same differential which the Industrial Injuries Scheme has for long enjoyed.
If the Amendments were accepted, the National Insurance standard would become 80s. and the industrial injuries standard would become 120s. Despite the addition of 5s. on the standard rate which the Opposition suggest, this reduces the lead in favour of those industrially injured to only 50 per cent., upsetting a differential which has been much the same for 15 years and has only varied between 69 per cent. and 73 per cent. What the Government propose is that it should remain within those limits giving about a 70 per cent. advantage to the industrially injured.
We do not consider that the upsetting of this preference would be justified by so very small a rise of 5s. a week on the standard rate and the related rises in all the following Amendments would, as I have said, amount to a total of over£4 million annually. For this reason, we cannot recommend the Committee to accept this series of Amendments.
§ Question put, That "115 shillings" stand part of the Schedule:—572
§ The Committee divided:Ayes 151, Noes 118.573
|Division No. 45.]||AYES||[10.27 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Goodhart, Philip||Percival, Ian|
|Aitken, W. T.||Goodhew, Victor||Pilkington, Sir Richard|
|Allason, James||Gower, Raymond||Pitt, Dame Edith|
|Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham)||Green, Alan||Pott, Percivall|
|Balniel, Lord||Gresham Cooke, R.||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch|
|Barter, John||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Batsford, Brian||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Pym, Francis|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Hastings, Stephen||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Bidgood, John C.||Hay, John||Rawlinson, Sir Peter|
|Biffen, John||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Rees, Hugh|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Renton, Rt. Hon. David|
|Bishop, F. P.||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Hocking, Philip N.||Robinson, Rt.Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.)|
|Box, Donald||Holland, Philip||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P.||Shaw, M.|
|Braine, Bernard||Howard, John (Southampton, Test)||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Brewls, John||Hughes-Young, Michael||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)|
|Bullard, Denys||Iremonger, T. L.||Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Carr, Compton (Barona Court)||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S)||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Tapsell, Peter|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence(Portsmth, W.)||Kirk, Peter||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|Cooke, Robert||Leavey, J. A.||Teeling, Sir William|
|Cooper, A. E.||Leburn, Gilmour||Temple, John M.|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Lilley, F. J. p.||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Costain, A. P.||Linstead, Sir Hugh||Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||Litchfield, Capt. John||Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)|
|Curran, Charles||Loveys, Walter H.||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||McLaren, Martin||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F.||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Turner, Colin|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Doughty, Charles||McMaster, Stanley R.||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Vane, W. M. F.|
|du Cann, Edward||Macpherson,Rt.Hn.Niall (Durnfried)||Wakefield, sir Wavell|
|Eden, John||Marten, Neil||Wall, Patrick|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Matthews, Gordon (Merlden)||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Elliott,R.W.(Nwcastle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Mawby, Ray||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Emery, Peter||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Farr, John||Mills, Stratton||Wise, A. R.|
|Fell, Anthony||Miscampbell, Norman||Woollam, John|
|Finlay, Graeme||More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Worsley, Marcus|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Neave, Airey|
|Gammane, Lady||Osborn, John (Hallam)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)||Mr. Ian Fraser and|
|Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)||Mr. MacArthur.|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||Peel, John|
|Abse, Leo||Deer, George||Harper, Joseph|
|Ainsley, William||Dempsey, dames||Henderson, Rt.Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Diamond, John||Herbison, Miss Margaret|
|Awbery, Stan (Bristol, Central)||Dodds, Norman||Hill, J. (Midlothian)|
|Beaney, Alan||Driberg, Tom||Holman, Percy|
|Bence, Cyril||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John||Holt, Arthur|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Hooson, H. E.|
|Blyton, William||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Houghton, Douglas|
|Boardman, H.||Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Fernyhough, E.||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Finch, Harold||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)|
|Callaghan, James||Fitch, Alan||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)|
|Carmichael, Nell||Fletcher, Eric||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Forman, J. C.||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Cliffe, Michael||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)|
|Collick, Percy||Galpern, Sir Myer||Kelley, Richard|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||George, LadyMeganLloyd(Crmrthn)||King, Dr. Horace|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Gourlay, Harry||Lawson, George|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Greenwood, Anthony||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Hannan, William||Loughlin, Charlee|
|Lubbock, Eric||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|McCann, John||Probert, Arthur||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Redhead, E. C.||Thornton, Ernest|
|Manuel, Archie||Rhodes, H.||Tomney, Frank|
|Mapp, Charles||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Wade, Donald|
|Mason, Roy||Rodgere, W. T. (Stockton)||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Mendelson, J. J.||Ross, William||Warbey, William|
|Millan, Bruce||Short, Edward||weitzman, David|
|Milne, Edward||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)||Whitlock, William|
|Mitchison, G. R.||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Morris, John||Small, William||Williams, Ll. (Abertillery)|
|Neal, Harold||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Spriggs, Leslie||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Oswald, Thomas||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)||Woof, Robert|
|Peart, Frederick||stones, William||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Pentland, Norman||Taverne, D.|
|Popplewell, Ernest||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mr. Grey and Dr. Broughton.|
§ Mr. Finch
I beg to move, in page 14, line 35, column 4, to leave out "46 shillings" and to insert "60 shillings".
This important Amendment relates to special hardship allowance under the Industrial Injuries Act. I should explain to the Committee, as briefly as I can, that this special hardship allowance was put into the Industrial Injuries Act for the purpose of compensating a man, to some extent at least, for the loss of earning capacity. It has some relationship, in a way, to the old workmen's compensation system, and its importance has increased with the years having regard to the fact that for the most part it is the skilled workman, the higher-paid workman, who finds that as a result of an accident or industrial disease he is fit only for light work and has thus lost a considerable earning capacity.
Let me put to the Committee the case of the skilled engineer, or collier, or such people as those who have been trained in industry and who get fairly high remuneration. Take the case of a man getting£20 or£25 a week. He may have been apprenticed for some years and, consequently, is highly trained. As a result of an accident—it may be only a minor one—he is no longer able to carry out his skilled occupation.
I think my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) will remember that when this hardship allowance was introduced we raised the case of the engine driver who loses an eye. It has taken him years to reach his position.
Loss of faculty through losing an eye might not be assessed very highly. The man might receive 10–20 per cent. as a disablement pension, which would represent 10–15s. per week. But he would have lost his skilled occupation and would have to take a light job, such as a ticket collector. After spending years in the railway service in a skilled occupation he may have to take very light grade work, and the difference in wages may be considerable.
As I say, in industry today we have skilled engineers earning£20–£25 per week. As a result of an accident, perhaps losing two or three fingers, the man may no longer be capable of continuing in his very skilled occupation and 576 have to take on a light labouring job at£10–£12 per week. He may lose£8–£9 per week.
The proposed figure of 46s. does not keep pace with the changing position in industry where wages, particularly for skilled men, have increased; it does not adequately meet the position of loss of earning capacity. With mechanisation in the mining industry today, a skilled collier may earn£20–£25 per week. If as a result of an accident or pneumoconiosis he has to take a light job, he may earn only£10–£11 per week, in some cases the loss may be£8—£9 per week. If we take it at a lower level, it may be£3–£4 per week.
We submit, therefore, that such men should at least be able to have£3 a week for loss of earning capacity. There is a ceiling to this. The amount paid for total incapacity hardship allowance plus disablement pension must not in any event exceed£5 15s. So there is a restriction. We are not asking the right hon. Gentleman to agree to a proposition whereby hardship allowance can be paid without restriction.
The Parliamentary Secretary and others have on many occasions heard me talk about the hardship allowance, and so I will not take up more time. But I would just submit that there is considerable justice in our case on this Amendment for a special hardship allowance. Today we have to have in mind skilled men, men who have learned their trade, technicians and scientists, who have gone into these occupations full of ambition after training at technical colleges and elsewhere. Such a man may suffer an accident and be assessed at 10–20 per cent. loss of faculty. The financial loss to such a skilled man may be considerable. Under the Bill the most he can get for loss of earning capacity is£2 6s. We are very moderate in submitting that in present circumstances the hardship allowance should be increased to£3 per week. Also, as I have said, there is a limit to the total amount the man may receive.
These days when we are encouraging young men to undergo technical education and other training, it is not too much for us to be able to tell them "Should you meet with an accident and have to 577 give up your skilled occupation, there is a guarantee that you can get at least£3 per week." The£2 6s. proposed in the Bill does not meet the present position having regard to the changes which are taking place in industry.
§ 10.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Charles Doughty (Surrey, East)
I apologise for intervening, not having taken part in the debates on this Bill before. But the words used by the hon. Member are the very words I myself have used in this House many times, to the derision of hon. Gentlemen on both sides.
Under the old Workmen's Compensation Act, which has been so often criticised and yet was one of the best Acts ever passed, with subsequent amendment, the very errors and faults he has complained about were dealt with. [HON. MEMBER: "No:] Yes, they were. Of course, the figures for the olden days were smaller, but if the Act had been continued the figures would have been adjusted.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
Very often, because of the doctrine of the notional income, men who were partially disabled did not get anything at al.
§ Mr. Doughty
That is a different position. The right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends are accurate in saying that even though a man has only a small disability he may be unable to carry out a skilled occupation and will suffer a serious loss of earning capacity. But that position was fully covered under the old Act. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] That principle was fully provided for.
When I have raised this principle before, hon. Members on both sides have told me that the present principle is much better. It is that a man with only a very small injury, with very small loss of faculty, gets only a small amount of compensation increase, while there is provision for such things as special hardship allowance. Hon. Members opposite cannot have it both ways. The hon. Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Finch) suggests that under the present system the man should have loss of faculty taken into account and, in addition, the very considerable advantage given under the old Act. I am astonished that hon. Members opposite do not appreciate the very considerable advantages there were under the old 578 system, which certainly would have provided for the type of hardship to which the hon. Member has referred. He cannot both support the present system, whatever the figures may be, and say that the old system was the right one. I say, and will continue to say, that the old system was the better one.
§ Mr. N. Macpherson
I agree with my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Surrey, East (Mr. Doughty) to this extent—that the basic principle of compensation under the Industrial Injuries Scheme is loss of faculty and that when this principle was adopted it represented a deliberate shift away from the loss of earnings of the old workmen's compensation. I think that was generally welcomed at the time. In all schemes of this kind there are advantages and disadvantages. Of course, it was recognised at the same time that a fairly minor injury could, in some cases, have a disproportionate effect on earning power and, for that reason, the special hardship allowance was introduced.
But I think the Committee will appreciate that we are put into rather a difficult position if a man with a relatively small injury nevertheless receives the special hardship allowance, bringing him up to the 100 per cent. disablement rate. That is one of the difficulties which arise. The rough percentage for the special hardship allowance has been about 40 per cent. The suggestion by the hon. Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Finch) might mean that the man would get the full 100 per cent. disablement rate, taking into account his special hardship allowance, even if he had only a 50 per cent. disablement rate. I think that we have to keep the special hardship allowance in line with the general principles of the Act. For that reason I am afraid that I must resist the Amendment.
§ Mr. Wainwright
The hon. and learned Member for Surrey, East (Mr. Doughty) is wrong on this issue. When it comes to comparing the old Workmen's Compensation Act with the present Industrial Injuries Scheme, he should read the history of what happened under the old system in the coal mining industry. He would then take a different line from what he did. To try to compare the two schemes shows that the hon. and 579 learned Gentleman knows nothing about the old one.
The Workmen's Compensation Act was an evil one. It meted out to the men and women of this country an injustice which is unbelievable unless one examines the cases to see what actually happened. To talk about it as a good Act shows that the hon. and learned Gentleman is either blind to the facts, or he does not want to be fair to the employees.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
It suited the profession.
Mr. Wainwright: There are only a few people who are better off under the Workmen's Compensation Act than they would have been under the Industrial Injuries Act. Perhaps I might discuss one or two of them with the hon. and learned Gentleman on some other occasion.
If a skilled man in the mines, earning about£25 a week, has the misfortune to lose two phalanges on one hand, his wage drops down to the minimum of about£10 a week. He is unable to do any other job, because in the mining industry it is very important to be able to grasp a thing with both hands. For instance, a
§ fitter would find it extremely difficult to do his work if he was unable to use both hands. He would probably have to take a lower paid job.
§ I think that the Minister ought to look at this again. There are men in the mining and other industries who are suffering a loss of about£10 in wages through no fault of their own. If they have been able to obtain damages for the injuries sustained, that is some compensation to them. The man who suffers most is the man who has not been successful in claiming damages.
§ If we want to encourage boys, and men, to go into the mines, we must give some consideration to the wages they will be able to earn. If they are unfortunate enough to meet with an accident, we must ensure that they are fairly treated. This is the least that we can do. I hope that the Minister will consider this further, because this is extremely important. Every trade unionist in the country is behind us on this issue and I think that the Minister ought to agree to provide something more than is provided in this Bill.
§ Question put, That "46 shillings" stand part of the Schedule:—
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 148, Noes 113.581
|Division No. 46.]||AYES||[10.54 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Drayson, G. B.||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S)|
|Aithen, W. T.||du Cann, Edward||Kerr, Sir Hamilton|
|Allason, James||Eden, John||Kirk, Peter|
|Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham)||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Langford-Holt, Sir John|
|Balniel, Lord||Elliott, R. W. (Nwcastle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Leavey, J. A.|
|Barter, John||Emery, Peter||Leburn, Gilmour|
|Batsford, Brian||Errington, Sir Eric||Lilley, F. J. P.|
|Bidgood, John C.||Farr, John||Linstead, Sir Hugh|
|Bitten, John||Finlay, Graeme||Litchfield, Capt. John|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Loveys, Walter H.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Gammans, Lady||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Gibson-Watt, David||MacArthur, Ian|
|Box, Donald||Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)||McLaren, Martin|
|Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John|
|Braine, Bernard||Goodhart, Philip||McLean, Neil (Inverness)|
|Brewis, John||Goodhew, Victor||Macleod, Rt. Hn. lain (Enfield, W.)|
|Bullard, Denys||Gower, Raymond||MeMaster, Stanley R.|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Green, Alan||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)|
|Carr, Contpton (Barons Court)||Gresham Cooke, R.||Macpherson, Rt. Hn. Niall (Dumfries)|
|Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Marten, Neil|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Mawby, Ray|
|Cooke, Robert||Hastings, Stephen||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Cooper, A. E.||Hay, John||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Mills, Stratton|
|Costain, A. p.||Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Miscampnell, Norman|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||More, Jasper (Ludlow)|
|Curran, Charles||Hocking, Philip N.||Neave, Airey|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Holland, Philip||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P.||Panned, Norman (Kirkdale)|
|Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F.||Hughes-Young, Michael||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Iremonger, T. L.||Peel, John|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Percival, Ian|
|Doughty, Charles||Johnson, Smith, Geoffrey||Pilkington, Sir Richard|
|Pitt, Dame Edith||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Pott, Percivall||Storey, Sir Samuel||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch||Studholme, Sir Henry||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Prior, J. M. L.||Tapsell, Peter||vane, W. M. F.|
|Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell|
|Quennell, Miss J. M.||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)||Wall, Patrick|
|Rawlinson, Sir Peter||Teeling, Sir William||Welle, John (Maidstone)|
|Rees, Hugh||Temple, John M.||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Renton, Rt, Hon. David||Thatcher, Mre. Margaret||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Ridley, Hon. Nicholas||Thomas, Sir Leslle (Canterbury)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.)||Thomas, Peter (Conway)||Wise, A. R.|
|Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)||Woollam, John|
|Shaw, M.||Thornton-Kemsiey, Sir Colin||Worsley, Marcus|
|Skeet, T. H. H.||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig Sir John||Turner, Colin||Mr. Ian Fraser and Mr. Pym,|
|Abse, Leo||Greenwood, Anthony||Oswald, Thomas|
|Ainsley, William||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Peart, Frederick|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Hannan, William||Pentland, Norman|
|Awhery, Stan (Bristol, Central)||Harper, Joseph||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Beaney, Alan||Henderson,Rt.Hn.Arthur(Rwly Regis)||Probert, Arthur|
|Bence, Cyril||Harbison, Miss Margaret||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow Bridgeton)||Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Redhead, E. C|
|Blyton, William||Holman, Percy||Rhodes, H.|
|Boardman, H.||Holt, Arthur||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Hooson, H. E.||Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Houghton, Douglas||Ross, William|
|Callaghan, James||Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)||Short, Edward|
|Garmichael, Neil||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Cilffe, Michael||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Small, William|
|Collick, Percy||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Kelley, Richard||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||King, Dr. Horace||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Lawson, George||Stones, William|
|Davies G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Taverne, D.|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Deer, George||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W,)|
|Dempsey, James||Loughlln, Charles||Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Diamond, John||Lubbock, Eric||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|Dodds, Norman||McCann, John||Thornton, Ernest|
|Driberg, Tom||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Tomney, Frank|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John||MaCMillan, Malcolm (western Isles)||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Warbey, William|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Manuel, Archie||Weltzman, David|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Mapp, Charles||Whltlock, William|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mason, Roy||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Finch, Harold||Mendelson, J. J.||Williams, Ll. (Abertillery)|
|Fitch, Alan||Millan, Bruce||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Fletcher, Eric||Milne, Edward||Woof, Robert|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mitchison, G. R.||Yates, victor (Ladywood)|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Morris, John|
|George, L adyMeganLloyd(Crmrthn)||Neal, Harold||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Gourlay, Harry||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Mr. Grey and Dr. Broughton.|
§ 11.0 p.m.
§ Miss Herbison
I beg to move, in page 15, line 22, column 4, to leave out "75 shillings" and to insert "90 shillings."
The Amendment deals with the position of the widow who loses her husband through an industrial accident Or an industrial disease. The Bill proposes that she should receive a weekly benefit of 75s. We ask that she should be given a weekly benefit of 90s. There is a sound and logical case for the Amendment. On previous Amendments I said that most of the benefits of those who receive industrial injuries are in line with the benefits of the war disabled. 582 In arguing the case for the Amendment I compare the widow of a man who loses his life through an industrial accident or an industrial disease with the widow of a man who dies through war service. My understanding is that the widow who loses her husband through war service will receive 90s. a week.
As we have tried with all the other benefits to give to the industrially injured the same amount as is given to the war disabled, the widow of a man who dies as a result of an industrial accident or an industrial disease should be treated in exactly the same way as the widow of a man who loses his life whilst serving in the Forces. The one man loses his 583 life while serving his country in one of the Services and the other man also loses his life serving his country perhaps working in one of our dangerous industries. It would only be justice to ensure that the widows of these two men receive the same treatment.
It should be remembered that we are not asking for parity in every way because I understand that the war widow gets a higher rate of children's allowance, a rent allowance and, in certain cases, an education allowance. We are merely asking that the industrial injuries widow should receive an equal benefit to that of the widow who has lost her husband through his being on active service.
§ Lieut.-Commander Maydon
Successive Governments have accepted the principle of preferential treatment for war pensioners and their widows. The rate has always been substantially higher for those widows. Even when the Industrial Injuries Scheme started in 1948 there was a differential; the industrial injuries widow received 30s. and the war pensioner's widow 35s.
Many war widows are now very advanced in years and it is more appropriate to compare the widows' benefits of the Industrial Injuries and the National Insurance Schemes; and often the borderline between an accident which counts as industrial and one which does not is very narrow indeed. For instance, I have heard the case argued of a policeman who was travelling to his work and received an injury. That is the sort of case I have in mind. Was he on duty while in a vehicle going to his work, or was he not? It all depends on what time in the morning he has to start to get to his place of
§ duty. That gives an illustration of the sort of narrow margin between these sort of cases in which we have the most difficult task of differentiating.
§ In view of all these circumstances, it would be wise to leave this small differentiation as it is. Any alteration in matters like this are always liable to upset the balance in other directions. I must, therefore, recommend to the Committee to oppose the Amendment.
§ Miss Herbison
The Minister says that the proper comparison is that of the industrially injured and the widow of the man who dies from natural causes, but he cannot ride off with that comparison. The industrial injuries benefit is not relevant to that of the man who gets his benefit through sickness, but is to the man who gets his benefit because he is war disabled. That is the proper comparison. We have other Amendments to move and, because of the time factor, we cannot deal with this matter as fully as we would have liked.
§ Lieut.-Commander Maydon
If I made the hon. Lady think that, then that was certainly not my intention. I was trying to point out that there is a closer parallel between the industrial injuries widow and the National Insurance widow than there is between the industrial injuries widow and the war pensioner's widow.
§ Question put, That "75 shillings" stand part of the Schedule:—
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 138, Noes 96.585
|Division No. 47.]||AYES||[11.10 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Eden, John|
|Altken, W. T.||Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Elliot, Capt, Walter (Carshalton)|
|Allason, James||Clarke, Brig, Terence(Portsmth, W.)||Elliott, R. W. (Nwcastle-upon-Tyne, N.)|
|Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham)||Cleaver, Leonard||Emery, Peter|
|Balniel, Lord||Cooke, Robert||Errington, Sir Eric|
|Barter, John||Cooper, A. E.||Farr, John|
|Batsford, Brian||Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles|
|Bidgood, John C.||Costain, A, P.||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)|
|Biffen, John||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||Gammans, Lady|
|Bigga-Davison, John||Curran, Charles||Gibson-Watt, David|
|Bishop, F. P.||Currie, G. B. H.||Goodhart, Philip|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Dalkeith, Earl of||Gower, Raymond|
|Box, Donald||Deeds, Rt. Hon. W. F.||Green, Alan|
|Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Gresham Cooke, R.|
|Braine, Bernard||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Doughty, Charles||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Drayson, G. B.||Harvey, John (Walthamatow, E.)|
|Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||du Cann, Edward||Hastings, Stephen|
|Hay, John||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Tapsell, Peter|
|Hill, J. E B. (S. Norfolk)||Mills, Stratton||Taylor, Frank (M'eh'st'r Moss Side)|
|Hocking, Philip N.||Miscampbell, Norman||Teeling, Sir William|
|Holland, Philip||More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Temple, John M.|
|Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P.||Neave, Alrey||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Hughes-Young, Michael||Osborn, John (Hallam)||Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Thomas, Peter (Conway)|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Panneii, Norman (Kirkdale)||Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)|
|Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Jones, Arthur (Northants, S)||Peel, John||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Percival, lan||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Kirk, Peter||Pilkington, Sir Richard||Turner, Colin|
|Langford-Holt, Sir John||Pitt, Dame Edith||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Leavey, J. A.||Pott, percivall||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Leburn, Gilmour||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|LinBtead, Sir Hugh||Prior, J. M. L.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Litchfield, Capt. John||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho||Wakefield, Sir Wavell|
|Loveys, Walter H.||Pym, Francis||Wall, Patrick|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Quennell, Miss J. M.||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|MacArthur, Ian||Rawlinson, Sir Peter||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Reos, Hugh||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Macleod, Rt. Hn. lain (Enfield, W.)||Renton, Rt. Hon. David||Wilson Geoffrey (Truro)|
|McMaster, Stanley R.||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas||Wise, A. R.|
|Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.)||Woollam, John|
|Macpherson, Rt. Hn. Niall (Dumfries)||Shaw, M.||Worsley, Marcus|
|Marten, Neil||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||Smith, Dudley (Br'nt'fd & Chiswick)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mawby, Ray||Storey, Sir Samuel||Mr. Finlay and Mr. McLaren.|
|Abse, Leo||George, LadyMeganLloyd (Crmrthn)||Peart, Frederick|
|Ainsley, William||Gourlay, Harry||Pentland, Norman|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Greenwood, Anthony||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Awbery, Stan (Bristol, Central)||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Prohert, Arthur|
|Bence, Cyril||Hannan, William||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Harper, Joseph||Redhead, E. C.|
|Blyton, William||Herbison, Miss Margaret||Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)|
|Boardman, H.||Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Ross, William|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Holman, Percy||Short, Edward|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Holt, Arthur||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Hooson, H. E.||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Callaghan, James||Houghton, Douglas||Small, William|
|Carmichael, Neil||Howell, Charies A. (Perry Barr)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Snriggs, Leslie|
|Cliffe, Michael||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Gollick, Percy||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Taverne, D.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford. S.)||King, Dr. Horace||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Lawson, George||Thomas, lorwertti (Rhondda, W.)|
|Daiyell, Tam||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Thornton, Ernest|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Tomney, Frank|
|Dempsey, James||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Diamond, John||Loughlin, Charles||Warbey, William|
|Dodde, Norman||McCann, John||Weitzman, David|
|Driberg, Tom||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Whitlock, William|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John||Manuel, Archie||Wilkine, W. A.|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Marsh, Richard||Williams, Ll. (Abertillery)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mason, Roy||Willie, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Finch, Harold||Mendelson, J. J.||Woof, Robert|
|Fitch, Alan||Millan, Bruce||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Fletcher, Eric||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Morris, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Oswald, Thomas||Mr. Ifor Dayies and Mr. Grey.|
§ 11.15 p.m.
|Section 19 (3)||…||Weekly rate of pension payable to a widow in cases other than those provided for in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of that subsection.||20 shillings.||40 shillings.|
|Section 22 (4)||…||Weekly rate of pension payable to a parent—|
|(a) for period for which parents are living together and are both entitled to pension.||15 shillings.||30 shillings.|
|(b) for any other period||20 shillings.||40 shillings.|
|Section 23 (4)||…||Gratuity and weekly rate of pension payable to a relative—|
|(a) weekly rate of pension payable in circumstances specified in the subsection (2) of this section,||20 shillings.||40 shillings.|
|(b) amount of gratuity payable under ubsection (3) of this section,||52 pounds.||104 pounds.|
|(c) weekly rate of allowance payable under subsection (3) of this section.||36 shillings.||72 shillings.|
|Section 24 (3)||…||Weekly rate of allowance payable to women having care of a deceased's child.||20 shillings.||40 shillings.|
Thank you, Sir Robert.
The two Amendments relate to industrial injury scheme beneficiaries who have lost either a husband, a son or a daughter. It is well known that these benefits can be paid to some beneficiaries in the form of a pension or to others as a gratuity. One significant feature is that the benefits paid to these people have not been increased since the inception of the scheme in 1948, although there have been many increases in all the other benefits during the past 15 years.
The first class of people affected by the Amendments are parents who have lost a son or daughter as a result of a fatal accident. As the son or daughter was the supporter of the home, the parents have received either a pension or a gratuity. Another class of beneficiary is the wife who loses her husband. This industrial injury widow, like the 10s. widow under the National Insurance Act, has had no increase in benefit since 1948.
The value of money has changed during the last 14 or 15 years and, if for no other reason, there is substance in the argument that these benefits should be raised. Nobody, on either side, can argue that the 20s. paid to the widow under the age of 40 has the same value today as it had in 1948. Neither does the 15s. or 20s. pension to parents, nor the£52 gratuity, have the same value as when first granted.
The Minister has been forthcoming and generous today concerning the old compensation cases and I hope that he will be equally forthcoming and generous towards these beneficiaries. Let us not hide the fact that although, during the past 15 years, all other beneficiaries have had their benefits increased, these beneficiaries 588 cuss also the Amendment in page 16, line 29, at end insert:
§ have been forgotten. I hope that we will remedy that position and that the Minister will say clearly and candidly that it is time to do something to increase the benefits for these people.
§ Lieut.-Commander Maydon
The first of the two Amendments would double the 20s. pension payable to the young, childless, able-bodied industrial injuries widow. No change in this rate is proposed in the Bill. The Industrial Injury Scheme provides a pension of 64s., to be increased under the Bill to 75s., for the widow who is over 50 when widowed or has a child or is for health reasons incapable of self-support. This is in accordance with modern ideas as to the appropriate provision for widows, but the younger, childless, able-bodied widow can and does earn her living. In this context the 20s. pension is somewhat of an anomaly. It is not, of course, a subsistence benefit; it was provided in the 1946 Act partly as a replacement of the£400 lump sum payable under the old Workmen's Compensation Acts and partly as compensation in the same analogy as war pensions which make provision for a 20s. rate for the similar young widow of a Service man.
This rate has never been increased, but, even so, the actuarial value of the 20s. pension is at present estimated to be£800 for a woman widowed at the age of 49. The war pension's 20s. rate is not being increased and has remained unchanged since 1919. Any increase in this rate for the industrial injuries widow would bring it into contrast to the corresponding widows under the main National Insurance Act who receive nothing if they have no underlying title to a 10s. pension. When I say that they receive nothing, I mean, of course, at a comparable age and with comparable status.
589 Moving now to the second Amendment, what it proposes would double present rates of industrial death benefit payable to parents, relatives and women having care of a deceased person's children. No change is provided in the rate of these benefits under the Bill. There is a similarity between this Amendment and that connected with the 20s. young widow's pension with which I have just dealt. Entitlement to the benefits depends principally on the ex tent of maintenance by the deceased man.
The relatives allowance under Section 23 (4, e) is payable only for thirteen weeks. This Amendment overlooks the parent's gratuity payable in certain circumstances where the parent fails to qualify for a pension for which the maximum is£52. The rates of these benefits, like the 20s. rate of Industrial widow's benefit, have never been altered since the inception of the Industrial Injuries Scheme. They were never intended to be subsistence payments, but, again, derive from the old Workmen's Compensation Acts and certain provisions of the War Pensions Scheme which originated long before there was a comprehensive scheme of social insurance in this country.
§ Mr. Finch
I must put this to the Minister. For relatives of parents who have lost a son there has been no increase in the gratuity or pension since 1948—parents who have lost a boy on whom they are partly dependent, a matter which was recognised under the old Workmen's Compensation Acts for many years. It was put into the Industrial Injuries Act. I cannot see the justification, in the case of parents and relatives, for that payment remaining as it has been since 1948. Some consideration should be given to parents who lose a son, having regard to increased costs and changes that have taken place since 1948.
§ 11.30 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Commander Maydon
Indeed, I recognise that fact, up to a point, but I do not think that that justifies the raising of the allowance under the present conditions. We are trying here to preserve differentials and balances which have been built up in this scheme, and to make alterations of the sort proposed in the Amendment would tend to put the scheme out of balance, cause further anomalies, and, in due course, lead to further dissatisfaction in other directions.
Mr. B. Taylor
On this question of differentials, as all the benefits, with these exceptions, have been increased since 1948, the differential today is much wider than it was in 1948. The Parliamentary Secretary has put forward a good case for accepting the proposed increase.
§ Lieut.-Commander Maydon
I am afraid that I cannot accept the hon. Gentleman's contention. These rates have never been recognised to be anywhere near subsistence level; they were in some degree making up for the compensation that was there under the old Workmen's Compensation Act.
The hon. and gallant Gentleman talks about subsistence. There was a measure of dependency and the benefits were granted not on the grounds of subsistence but on grounds of dependency.
§ Lieut.-Commander Maydon
Naturally, they are dependency allowances. Their very name means that. But that does not necessarily mean that they should be raised under a rates Bill of this nature. These are, as I have said, a left-over from the old Workmen's Compensation Act, and therefore we should not, in a Bill of this nature, be concerned with raising these levels.
§ Miss Herbison
If we should not be concerned about this matter in a Bill of this sort, where should we be concerned about it? Is the Minister telling us that perhaps in some other Bill we might raise this matter, or is he telling us that because these are left-overs, as he calls them, never at any time in the future can these dependants' allowances be increased? The very name "dependants' allowances" indicates that they were given to help dependants—not to keep them fully, of course, but to help them. If this amount was considered necessary in 1948, surely in all justice the increased sum for which we are now asking would only be the equivalent—if it is even that—of what was granted in 1948.
§ Lieut.-Commander Maydon
The hon. Lady, as always, is very eloquent in support of her case, but I still cannot accept this Amendment. I will make the same argument again. I cannot put it any plainer than I have done already. Here 591 are dependants' allowances which were made in 1948 as some compensation for what was being lost under the old Workmen's Compensation Act which was then to be repealed. The level then was considered to be a help. It was not considered to be subsistence. It was not considered to be based on any other figure; it was given as a help for these dependants, parents and other relatives.
Admittedly, one can suggest any figure that is considered to be a help to unfortunate people in these circumstances, but I must insist that this is not the proper course to take in this Bill. It is irrelevant to the Bill.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths rose—
§ Lieut.-Commander Maydon
If I may be permitted to continue, I will give way to the right hon. Gentleman in a minute. If hon. Members opposite feel as strongly as this about it, there are, as they know ample opportunities by Private Member's Bill procedure to bring forward a Measure of this nature which stands on its own, and that could be dealt with at the appropriate time and place. But I must insist that I cannot accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
I regret very much that the Minister has used such words. I believe he will regret them when he ponders on them.
The point is that where a man or woman met with a fatal accident arising out of employment and there was a dependency, the dependency was always recognised as a matter of principle under the old Workmen's Compensation Acts. It was never our intention—it was never mine—that the Industrial Injuries Scheme, to which for the first time workers were contributing, should be less favourable than the workmen's compensation procedure.
What is being said today is that if a parent loses a son, the amount of the dependency is exactly what it was in 1948. But everybody knows that that is not so. One measures dependency by relation to the standard of living. What does the loss of a son represent to a parent so far as it can be measured in money? If it was assessed as£52 in 1948, what should it be in 1963? It should not be£52 surely. The question is: If in 1948 in certain dependency cases the appro- 592 priate amount was judged to be£52, should we expect it to be the same amount today? I am sure the Minister would not want to say "Yes" to that.
I do not favour doing this by means of a Private Member's Bill or a Ten-Minutes Bill. If the Minister cannot accept the Amendment—I am sorry he cannot—why should he ask us to do what we want in some other way? He has the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council, I should be disappointed—indeed, I should be absolutely shocked—if that Council, composed of men drawn from both sides of industry, and knowing that the principle of dependency is accepted, said there should be no change from the 1948 assessment. I ask the Minister to do what the Act provides for; I urge him to ask the Advisory Council as soon as possible whether, on the basis of its experience, whether we ought not to change the amount since the principle is accepted.
Mr. B. Taylor
As the Minister has said that this is not the appropriate way to do what we seek to do and that the best method would be to put forward a Private Member's Bill, will he give an undertaking that such a Bill would be accepted by the Government?
§ Lieut.-Commander Maydon
Naturally, I can give no undertaking about a hypothetical Bill. Hon. Members, as hon. Gentlemen well know, have to take their chance in this House. But I wish the hon. Member luck with his chance.
With regard to what the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) said, naturally I take note of it. I will inform my right hon. Friend of what he has said, and I am sure that he will take note of it.
§ Mr. J. J. Mendelson (Penistone)
The Joint Parliamentary Secretary made two points, neither of which is relevant to our present discussion. I was amazed to hear him make them. First, the hon. and gallant Gentleman said we should not ask for a subsistence level for this payment. But no one has asked for it.
§ Lieut.-Commander Maydon
I do not think I said hon. Members should not ask for a subsistence level. What I intended to say, at any rate, was that this allowance never was, nor was intended to be, at subsistence level.
§ Mr. Mendelson
My hon. Friend, in moving the Amendment, did not refer to that at all. We are asking the Government to have regard to two important principles. The first is that the Government should reconsider these amounts in view of the increases in other benefits and allowances and the fall in the value of money. The second concerns this legislation. The hon. and gallant Gentleman referred to Private Members' legislation. But we are dealing now with a Government Bill, and it is the doctrine of the House of Commons that it is the Government's duty to bring in legislation on these matters.
I was a member of a deputation which saw the present Minister's predecessor to discuss legislation on this matter. He told us, "I have to take my place in the queue. I have to fight for new legislation and only very rarely will the powers-that-be let me introduce such legislation." Now we have our opportunity, yet the hon. and gallant Gentleman brings up the extraordinary argument that this is not the time and place. Lt is absurd. The best thing he can do is agree to reconsider and ask the Government to accept the principle behind the Amendment.
§ Mr. Doughty
The Government will do nothing of the sort. Right hon. and hon. Members are wrong in saying this was left over from the old Workmen's Compensation Act. [Interruption.] I know they do not like this, but they cannot have it both ways. This was the kind of thing left over from the old Act so as not to be too harsh in the transitional period, and it has remained a long time. If we are to have compensation, as under the present legislation, for loss of faculty, then let us forget about loss of earning power and dependency and matters of that sort, which are out of date.
This provision was merely a transitory scheme brought in in 1947 and 1948, and it has remained for a long time in the transitory stage. It should not, therefore, necessarily be part of this legislation and increased pail passu. I hope the Government will reject the Amendment.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
It is a complete mistake to say that this was a transitional provision. It was a permanent provision.
§ Mr. Wainwright
It is important that we should understand what happened in the past and what is happening now. Probably hon. Members opposite cannot appreciate the position that might exist in a working class home. I am not saying that in any spirit of animosity about the difference in standards between the two sides of this Committee, because those standards do not vary as much as some people think. But in certain instances they vary greatly.
When a boy or girl in a working class home dies, a contribution to the household is suddenly taken away. This does not have the impact on middle class or upper class homes as it does on working class homes. I detest using these terms, but they do describe the different stratas of our society. In such circumstances, there is a huge drop in the household income in a working class family and it was because of this that this provision was brought in. In many working class homes the father, through age or sickness or injury is not making as big a contribution to the income as he once did. It is important, therefore, that consideration should be given to the decreased contribution to the household income, and as the Minister has promised to look at again at an earlier Amendment he should undertake to look at this one too.
Because of the blunt "No" that we have had on so many occasions, I do not expect the Minister to promise to look favourably at this Amendment, but I hope that he will at least promise to look at it again to see whether the Government can do something to improve the position instead of suggesting that this matter should be dealt with by a Private Member's Bill. This is too important an issue to be dealt with in that way, and I repeat that I hope the Minister will look at this again.
§ Lieut.-Commander Maydon
Since the return of my right hon. Friend into the Chamber I have naturally had a few words with him. He has heard what has been suggested, that this matter should be referred to the Advisory Council. That will be done, and of course we shall look at it.
Hon. Gentlemen opposite may think that we only look at these things when 595 a Bill is on passage through the House. As the right hon. Member for Llanelly must know from his long experience, the Ministry is continuously looking at and reviewing these matters, and we shall see that it continues to do so.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Schedule agreed to.