§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR DOMINION AFFAIRS (THE EARL OF CLARENDON)
My Lords, like my noble friend who sits behind me I need not detain your Lordships for more than a very few minutes in moving the Second Reading of this Bill. It is a very small Bill, it is quite non-contentious, and it is promoted in accordance with the wishes of the National Conference, of Friendly Societies. The title of the Bill, as your Lordships will observe, is very tightly drawn. It is "to amend Section eleven of the Industrial Assurance Act, 1923, with respect to the exemption from that Act of juvenile societies": and I can assure your Lordships that no general question of industrial assurance can arise on the Bill.
I will not weary your Lordships by reading Section 11 of the Industrial Assurance Act, 1923, as I can explain in a few sentences what it does and does not do. The section in question exempts juvenile societies and branches employing collectors from the provisions of the Industrial Assurance Act until December 31, 1924. It enables the Industrial Assurance Commissioner to exempt from the Act such societies and branches if they were registered before that date. The reason for this exemption is that juvenile societies' business is of a kind quite different from that of ordinary collecting societies and is not open to the same abuses. Although collectors are employed they do not carry out a house to house collection as in the case of the 956 adult societies. All that happens is that they are sent to collect from particular juvenile members whose parents may be members of the corresponding adult society.
But Section 11 does not permit of the exemption of societies with both adult and juvenile members, who employ collectors for the purpose of juvenile members only. There is no good reason why such societies should not be exempted provided they are branches of, or connected with, friendly societies which were registered at the date of the passing of the Industrial Assurance Act (June 7, 1923), and provided that the receipt of premiums by collectors is limited to the premiums of the juvenile members. These provisos are necessary in order that no society shall be established or set up, which might be the case, for the purpose of evading the general provisions of the Industrial Assurance Act. In some cases it has been possible to surmount the difficulty by forming a separate juvenile society or branch, but as the final date (31st December, 1924) for the registration of juvenile societies so as to entitle them to ask for exemption is now passed, that remedy is no longer open in outstanding cases. The present Bill, therefore, exempts from the provisions of the Act juvenile societies connected with, and juvenile branches of, friendly societies, if such friendly societies were registered before the 7th June, 1923, and employ collectors for juvenile members only. That is the whole Bill, and I beg to move that it be read a second time.
§ Moved, that the Bill be now read 2a— (The Earl of Clarendon.)
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.