HL Deb 16 August 1917 vol 26 cc523-4

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, I hope not to intervene between your Lordships and the important business that is before us for more than a minute or two. This Bill which I have the honour to introduce is purely a war measure which is to come into force, if passed, on September 1. It is for the period of the war and six months afterwards. The proposal is that during that period any workman totally incapacitated from work and receiving payment under the Workmen's Compensation Act shall be entitled to receive from his employer additional payment equal to one fourth of the compensation allowance. It makes no difference whether the accident happened and compensation was awarded before the passing of the Bill or after, but where compensation is awarded before the passing of the Bill there will be no back payments, the additional payment coming only after September 1. I do not think I need say much to recommend this Bill to your Lordships. We know well the strain and stress there is owing to the cost of the necessaries of life, and great hardship has been inflicted on many of these poor people. The Commissioners who have been lately inquiring into the causes of industrial unrest have in some cases stated that they consider this was one of the contributory causes. The Bill is the result of long negotiations between the Secretary of State and employers' associations of different kinds—I have here a list of them which I can read if your Lordships desire it—and also the Labour Party and the Parliamentary Committee of the Trades Union Council. It is approved by them, and the Bill comes before your Lordships as an agreed measure. I may add that the scheme is quite simple and will work automatically, and that the insurance companies who handle the whole of this business consider that all necessary arrangements can be made without the least difficulty. I think I have said enough to commend the Bill to your Lordships, and I now move that it be read a second time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Viscount Sandhurst.)

On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

Then Standing Order No. XXXIX considered (according to Order) and dispensed with: Moved, that the Bill be committed to a Committee of the Whole House forthwith, agreed to: House in Committee accordingly: Bill reported without amendment, and read 3a, and passed.