HL Deb 03 December 1929 vol 75 cc827-9

Order of the Day for receiving the Report of Amendments read.


My Lords, I beg to move that this Report be now received. With your Lordships' permission I would like to speak, certainly for not more than two minutes, upon a point raised yesterday by the noble Earl, Lord Cranbrook. This is the only opportunity on which it can be dealt with and I think it is desirable that something should be said about it as I promised the noble Earl in Committee. Unfortunately, I think he cannot be here, but no doubt he will read what is said. His point was that under paragraph (b) of Clause 12 (1) of the Bill—it was Clause 11 as the Bill stood when we came to Committee—it might be that there would be an inducement to relatives who were contributing to the expenses incurred by the Poor Law authority in respect of the support of a lunatic—that is, a pauper lunatic—to cease their contributions so that they might be eligible for a share of the pension.

I have to say that that is not the interpretation of the paragraph and that will not be its effect. The position is that the contribution for the support of the lunatic is made under a legal liability. Section 41 of the Poor Law Act, 1927, imposes a liability on persons to maintain relatives who are inmates of Poor Law institutions and some lunatics are in these institutions. Section 43 of the same Act provides the necessary machinery by which maintenance orders can be obtained. Again, Section 296 of the Lunacy Act, 1890, made these provisions applicable to persons detained in lunacy institutions. That being the position, it is clear that it is not in the power of relatives to discontinue their contributions in order that they may get a share of the pension of a lunatic. That was the point raised by the noble Earl. When he reads what I have said, as no doubt he will, I think he will be satisfied. I am obliged to him for bringing up the point, because I am informed that it is desirable that it should be elucidated and the position made plain. I hope that these few words will have that effect.

Moved, That this Report be now received.—(Lord Arnold.)


My Lords, I hope that when my noble friend is present he will agree with the noble Lord opposite. I should like to draw the attention of your Lordships to what would have happened if Standing Order XXXIX had been suspended yesterday as was proposed by the Government. If their Motion on the Paper yesterday had been agreed to—


I might remind the noble Lord that it was not proposed.


—the result would have been that we should not have heard any of this. The Report stage would have been taken then, and the Bill would not have been amended as it is now. That being so, I hope that His Majesty's Government will remember in the future that it is wiser, if they desire that their Bills shall be intelligible, to allow the proper stages to be taken on every Bill.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Clause 9 [Amendment with respect to persons employed in excepted employments]:

LORD PARMOOR moved, at the beginning, to insert as a new subsection:—

" .—(1) If in the case of any person who is employed in an employment which is an excepted employment by virtue of a certificate given under paragraph (b) or paragraph (c) of Part II of the First Schedule to the Insurance Act, contributions under the principal Act either—

  1. (a) cease to be payable; or
  2. (b) become payable at the reduced rates mentioned in Part IV of the First-Schedule to that Act instead of at the ordinary rates;
that person shall be entitled to become a voluntary contributor under the Insurance Act in the same manner as if he had ceased to be employed in such an excepted employment as aforesaid and the provisions of the Insurance Act relating to the continuance in insurance of persons ceasing to be employed shall, subject to such modifications as may be prescribed, apply to him as if he had ceased to be employed, and if he is a person in respect of whose insurance a widows' pension or an orphans' pension is payable statutory condition (b) in Section five of the principal Act shall not apply."

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, although the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, is not able to be here, and we are sorry that he is ill, opportunity has been taken of consulting him in reference to this subsection. He has expressed his perfect satisfaction, and therefore I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Clause 9, at the beginning insert the said new subsection.—(Lord Parmoor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Then (Standing Order No. XXXIX having been suspended) Bill read 3a, with the Amendments, and passed, and returned to the Commons.