§ Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Stanmore.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly.
§ [The EARL OF DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]
§ Clause 1 agreed to.
§ Clause 2:
§ General powers and duties of Board in relation to health.
§ 2.It shall be the duty of the Board in the exercise and performance of any powers and duties transferred to or conferred on them by or in pursuance of this Act to take all such steps as may be desirable to secure the effective carrying out and co-ordination of measures conducive to the health of the people, including measures for the prevention and cure of diseases, the initiation and direction of research, the treatment of physical and mental defects, the collection, preparation and publication of information and statistics, and the training of persons for health services.
§ LORD FORTEVIOT had on the Paper, after the words "measures for the protection and cure of diseases," an Amendment to insert "for the homing of the people 683 in sanitary dwellings." The noble Lord said: I thought it a pity that a Bill dealing with public health should be passed without either dwellings or sanitation being mentioned from beginning to end; but I am assured that this is contained in the various clauses—such as this clause, speaking of measures for the prevention and cure of diseases—and in these circumstances I do not propose to move my Amendment.
§ Clause 2 agreed to.
§ Clause 3 agreed to.
§ Clause 4:
§ Transfer of powers and duties to and from Board.
§ 4—(1) There shall be transferred to the Board—
- (a) all the powers and duties of the Local Government Board for Scotland;
- (b) all the powers and duties of the Scottish Insurance Commissioners;
- (c) all the powers of the Privy Council and of the Lord President of the Council under the Midwives (Scotland) Act, 1915;
- (d) all the powers and duties of the Secretary for Scotland under the Alkali, &c., Works Regulation Act, 1906;
- (e) all the powers and duties of the Secretary for Scotland under the Burial Grounds (Scotland) Act, 1855;
- (f) all the powers and duties of the Secretary for Scotland under the Rivers Pollution Prevention Acts, 1876 and 1893, section fifty-five of the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1889, and the Rivers Pollution Prevention (Border Councils) Act, 1898;
- (g) all the powers and duties of the Secretary for Scotland under the Births, Deaths, and Marriages (Scotland) Acts, 1854 to 1910, the Marriage Notice (Scotland) Act, 1878, and the Vaccination (Scotland) Acts, 1863 to 1907;
- (h) all the powers and duties of the Secretary for Scotland and the Highlands and Islands (Medical Service) Board under the Highlands and Islands (Medical Service) Grant Act, 1913;
- (i) all the powers and duties of the Scottish Education Department with respect to the medical inspection and treatment of children and young persons:
§ Provided that for the purpose of facilitating the effective exercise and performance by the Board of the last-mentioned powers and duties the Board may make arrangements with the Scottish Education Department respecting the submission and approval of schemes of education authorities and the payment of grants to education authorities, so far as such schemes and payment relate to, or are in respect of, medical inspection and treatment:
§ And provided also that in such matters of a judicial nature under the National Insurance 684 (Health) Acts, 1911 to 1918. as may be prescribed under those Acts, the powers and duties of the Scottish insurance Commissioners by this Act transferred to the Board shall be exercised by the Board through a special body or special bodies of persons constituted in such manner as may be prescribed.
§ (2) It shall be lawful for His Majesty from time to time by Order in Council to transfer to the Board—
- (a) any of the powers and duties of the Secretary for Scotland under the enactments relating to lunacy and mental deficiency;
- (b) all or any of the powers and duties of the Minister of Pensions with respect to the health of disabled officers and men after they have left the service, so far as those powers and duties relate to Scotland;
- (c) any other powers and duties in Scotland of any Government department which appear to His Majesty to relate to matters affecting or incidental to the health of the people.
§ (3) It shall be lawful for His Majesty from time to time by Order in Council to transfer from the Board to any other Government department any of the powers and duties of the Board which appear to His Majesty not to relate to matters affecting or incidental to the health of the people.
§ And it is hereby declared that it is the intention of this Act that, in the event of provision being made by Act of Parliament passed in the present or in any future Session for the revision of the law relating to the relief of the poor in Scotland and the distribution amongst other authorities of any powers exerciseable by parish councils, there shall be transferred from the Board to other Government departments such of the powers and duties under the enactments relating to the relief of the poor then vested in the Board (not being powers or duties relating or incidental to the health of the people) as appear to His Majesty to be such as would be more conveniently exercised and performed by such other departments.
§ (4) His Majesty may by Order in Council make such incidental, consequential and supplemental provisions as may be necessary or expedient for the purpose of giving full effect to any transfer of powers or duties by or under this section, including provision for the transfer of any property, rights, and liabilities held, enjoyed, or incurred by any Government department in connection with any powers or duties transferred, and may make such adaptations in the enactments relating to such powers or duties as may be necessary to make exerciseable by the Board and the officers thereof, or by such other Government department and their officers, as the ease may be, the powers and duties so transferred.
§ (5) In connection with the transfer of powers and dirties to or from the Board by or under this Act, the provisions set out in the First Schedule to this Act shall have effect.
§ LORD FORTEVIOT moved, at the end of subsection (1) (h) to insert:—"Provided that a consultative council shall be established as provided in Section 5 of this Act for the special purpose of advising 685 the Board in matters affecting or incidental to the health of the people in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and in matters affecting the administration of the Highlands and Islands (Medical Service) Fund constituted by Section 1 of the Highlands and Islands (Medical Service) Grant Act, 1913."
§ The noble Lord said: I think this is rather an important Amendment. We are dealing here with a new authority to administer public health in Scotland, and we are dealing in this clause with a subject which has baffled a good many Public Departments during the last generation. It refers to a part of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, which is a well-defined area and is very inaccessible. The people speak a different language, the inhabitants are more or less different from those of the other parts of Scotland, and it has been found both by the Local Government Board and by other Boards that they have not been able under their ordinary conditions to deal with public health in this district. With the very best intentions the Local Government Board have not been able to make public health in the Highlands what it ought to be, and the Insurance Act, when it was passed, really did not run within the area which I have described. In 1912, therefore, it was necessary to appoint an ad hoc Board to deal with this question, and this ad hoc Board has been at work ever since, This Bill proposes to sweep that away without putting anything in its place, and I think it is an extremely dangerous experiment.
§ The Local Government Board, with all its powers, up to 1911 had allowed to grow up a condition of affairs with regard to public health which was more or less a public scandal. This Board now abolished is gradually putting those things right. It has devised schemes, in some cases in operation; in other eases only on paper as yet; but it would be the greatest calamity if those schemes were interfered with. Some people who know the district well think the Board should not have been abolished. I do not think so at all. I think it was quite right that the work of this Board should have been undertaken by the Board of Health. But if the Board of Health tries to carry it out without taking advantage of all the advice it can get from an experienced Consultative Committee I anticipate that the very worst results 686 will follow, and public health will suffer in these districts, and a great deal of the expenditure which has already been incurred will be lost.
§ I have no special regard for the terms of this Amendment as I have put them down, but I should like an assurance from the Government that a Consultative Committee for this area is to be established, and that it is to be a real Consultative Committee which will take charge of this matter and deal with it for the best interests of the people.
§ Amendment moved—
Subsection (1) (h), page 3, after line 9 insert:
Provided that a consultative council shall be established as provided in section five of this Act for the special purpose of advising the Board in matters affecting or incidental to the health of the people in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and in matters affecting the administration of the Highlands and Islands (Medical Service) Fund constituted by section one of the Highlands and Islands (Medical Service) Grant Act, 1913."—(Lord Forteviot.)
§ LORD STANMORE
I hope that the noble Lord will not press this Amendment. The Government are most anxious that the valuable work inaugurated by the Highlands and Islands Board should be continued; and I am prepared to say, on behalf of the Government, that such a Consultative Committee as has been suggested by the noble Lord will be set up as part of the machinery of the Act should this Bill be passed into law. It appears undesirable to make a special statutory recognition of one Consultative Council when other councils will be required to be set up to deal with other interests.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
LORD FORTEVIOT moved to delete from subsection (3) the words—
And it is hereby declared that it is the intention of this Act that, in the event of provision, being made by Act of Parliament passed in the, present or in any future Session for the revision of the law relating to the relief of the poor in Scotland and the distribution amongst other authorities of any powers exerciseable by parish councils, there shall be transferred from the Board to other Government departments such of the powers and duties under the enactments relating to the relief of the poor then vested in the Board (not being powers or duties relating or incidental to the health of the people) as appear to His Majesty to be such as would be more conveniently exercised and performed by such other departments.
§ The noble Lord said: I have put down this Amendment in order to give the noble Lord an opportunity of explaining exactly what this provision means. It does not seem to legislate at all, and if it should be in anywhere it should have been in the Preamble, where it would at least have done no harm.
Page 4, line 5, leave out from ("people") to the end of subsection (3).—(Lord Forteviot.)
§ LORD MUIR MACKENZIE
I moved an Amendment to this effect in regard to the same words in the English Bill. I was very sorry, for reasons given with great force by Lord Balfour of Burleigh (who is not here to-day), that the House did not accept the Amendment. But as the House decided then against my suggestion, I can scarcely suppose that it will take a different course on this Bill; therefore, although I sympathise with my noble friend, I would suggest to him not to press his Amendment.
§ LORD STANMORE
I admit that this provision in the Bill is a very unusual one, but the explanation is that it is a declaration of the Government's intentions. As Lord Muir Mackenzie has said, the question was discussed at some length on the English Bill, but the House decided to retain the words. In these circumstances your Lordships will no doubt desire to follow the same course with regard to this Bill.
§ VISCOUNT HALDANE
It is absolutely essential that these words should be in. The policy must be declared by Parliament in this Bill in order that executive action may be taken later.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 4 agreed to.
§ Clause 5 agreed to.
§ Clause 6:
§ Staff and remuneration.
§ 6.—(1) The Board may appoint such secretaries, officers, and servants as the Board may, subject to the sanction of the Treasury as to numbers, determine.
§ (2) There shall be paid (out of moneys provided by Parliament) to the secretaries, officers, and servants of the Board such salaries or remuneration as the Treasury may determine.688
§ (3) The expenses of the Board, including payments to members of consultative councils and committees thereof, to such amount as may be sanctioned by the Treasury, shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament; but no such payment shall be made to members of consultative councils and committees thereof other than the repayment of travelling expenses and payment of subsistence allowance, and reasonable compensation for loss of remunerative time.
§ (4) There shall be transferred and attached to the Board the persons employed under the Local Government Board for Scotland, the Scottish Insurance Commissioners, and the Highlands and Islands (Medical Service) Board, and such of the persons employed under any other Government department in or about the execution of the powers and duties transferred by or under this Act to the Board, as the Board and Government department, with the sanction of the Treasury, may determine.
§ (5) The Board may from time to time distribute the business of the Board amongst the several persons transferred or attached thereto in pursuance of this Act, in such manner as the Board think right, and those persons shall perform such duties in relation to that business as may be directed by the Board:
§ Provided that such persons shall be in no worse position as respects the tenure of office, salary, or superannuation allowance, than they would have been if this Act had not been passed.
§ (6) For the purposes of this section a person attached to a Government department, whether as a Commissioner, member of a Board, or otherwise, shall be deemed to be employed under the department.
§ VISCOUNT HALDANE had on the Paper an Amendment to insert, at the end of subsection (l): "Provided that, in the making of any such appointments, no discrimination shall be made for reasons of sex between men and women."
§ The noble and learned Viscount said: I have an Amendment to move here which will put women upon the same footing as men. The Government accepted a similar Amendment in the English Bill, and I do not doubt that they will accept this for Scotland. But possibly it might be for the convenience of the noble Lord to have the Amendment in the same terms as the English Amendment, and if he prefers it I will move it in the form in which the words now stand in the English Bill. Instead of inserting, "Provided that, in the making of any such appointments, no discrimination shall be made for reasons of sex between men and women," I would move to insert, "and, in the making of such appointments, shall give equal consideration to the suitability of persons of both sexes."689
Page 5, line 4, at end, insert ("and, in the making of such appointments, shall give equal consideration to the suitability of persons of both sexes").—(Viscount Haldane.)
§ LORD STANMORE
I shall be very glad to accept the Amendment of the noble and learned Viscount in the form in which he now proposes it.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 6, as amended, agreed to.
§ Remaining clauses agreed to.
§ Schedules agreed to.