HC Deb 16 February 1966 vol 724 cc1435-6

Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.

Sir K. Joseph

I had not intended to intervene, but I hope that the right hon. Lady will take the opportunity to look at any other extensions of her approach to these seriously disabled people, such as were indicated by my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. Kenneth Lewis), in the light of advances of attitude towards these people since the McCorquodale Committee reported.

Mr. Charles Doughty (Surrey, East)

I apologise for speaking, and I shall speak shortly, because I have not taken part in the debates on the Bill up to now. But I want to draw attention to the wording of the Clause. Were it in order, I should call attention to the wording of Clauses 5 and 6, too. In the old days, before the Industrial Injuries Act, the old Workmen's Compensation Act, which this Sill follows, was criticised on the ground that it was unnecessarily complicated for the workmen who had to try to understand it. Look at what has happened—and I am referring to Clause 7. Consider the situation of a Member of Parliament who may be approached by a constituent who has suffered an industrial injury—perhaps a serious injury—and who wants to know the assessment to which he is entitled. The hon. Member says to his constituent, "Let us look at Clause 7 of the National Insurance Act, 1966"—and it will be an Act by then. They sit down together and look at this Clause, and perhaps at Clauses 5 and 6, too.

As I came into the Chamber I heard the Parliamentary Secretary talking about Clause 5. I guarantee that the Clauses are quite incomprehensible to anyone in those circumstances who has suffered an industrial injury or to any Member of Parliament who does his best to help his constituent. We are not dealing with the Finance Act, on which we have solicitors and accountants to advise on the meaning of the Act. We are dealing with workmen who may approach a Member of Parliament. All I can say is that since the Workmen's Compensation Act was abolished and this Bill introduced, we have taken a long step backwards. I always try to be constructive. I suggest that as we have a Consolidation Committee of the House of Commons—and it has been perhaps I should say my misfortune to have the duty of sitting on it—which is an entirely non-political body at which we consider consolidation Measures, we might consider consolidating the law on various matters and—

It being Ten o'clock, The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to report Progress and ask leave to sit again.

Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.