§ (1) Until Parliament otherwise determines, the following provisions shall apply in the case of insured persons (in this Act referred to as deposit contributors), who being employed contributors, have not joined an approved society within the prescribed time, or who, having been members of an approved society, have been expelled therefrom and have not joined another approved society:—
- (a) Contributions by or in respect of a deposit contributor shall be credited to a special fund to be called the Post Office fund:
- (b)The sums required for the payment of any sickness, disablement, or maternity benefit payable to a deposit contributor, except so far as they are payable out of moneys provided by Parliament shall be paid out of the money standing to his credit in the Post Office fund, and his right to benefits under this part of this Act shall be suspended on the sums standing to his credit in that fund being exhausted, except that his right to medical benefit and sanatorium benefit shall continue until the expiration of the then current year:
- (c)A deposit contributor shall not be entitled to sickness benefit unless at least fifty-two weekly contributions have been paid by or in respect of him:
- (d)Such sum as may be prescribed shall in each year be payable in respect of each deposit contributor towards the expenses incurred by the local health committee in the administration of benefits:
- (e) Such sum as the local health committee may, with the consent of the Insurance Commissioners, determine shall in each year be payable in respect of each deposit contributor for the purposes of the cost of medical benefit:
- (f) The sums payable in respect of a deposit contributor for the purposes of medical benefit and sanatorium benefit, and towards the expenses of administration, shall, except so far as they are payable out of moneys provided by Parliament, be deducted at the commencement of each year from the amount standing to his credit in the Post Office fund:
- (g) The amount standing in the Post Office fund to the credit of any deposit contributor shall, upon his dying, be forfeited.
§ (2) A valuation of the Post Office fund shall be made by a valuer to be appointed by the Treasury at the expiration of every three years dating from the commencement of this Act, or at such other times as the Insurance Commissioners may appoint, and if the valuer certifies that the fund shows a disposable surplus the Insurance Commissioners may carry the surplus to the credits of the deposit contributors in proportion to the number 880 of contributions paid by, or in respect of, them respectively:
§ Provided that if the local health committee for any county or county borough in which more than 20 per cent. of the insured persons resident in the county or county borough are deposit contributors-makes an application for the purpose, the Insurance Commissioners shall make provision—
- (a) for crediting and debiting to a separate account the sums to be credited or debited under this part of this Act in respect of deposit contributors resident in the county or county borough; and
- (b) for a separate valuation being made of such account and for distributing any surplus found on such valuations to be disposable amongst the depositors resident in the county or county borough, who shall not be entitled to participate in any distribution of any surplus in the general Post Office fund.
§ Amendment proposed [31st October]: In Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "Parliament otherwise determines," and to insert instead thereof the words "the first day of January, nineteen hundred and fifteen."—[Mr. Sherwell.]
§ Question proposed, "That the words, proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd George)
I think that all those who had the pleasure and privilege of listening to the Debate yesterday afternoon must have come to the conclusion that it was one of the best and most instructive Debates that we have had in the course of the discussion on this Bill in Committee. There were three or four speeches of singular power, and I am sorry to say one or two of singular futility. I am afraid that I cannot accept the speech of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lyttelton), who spoke last night. I do not know where he got his notion of the Bill. During the whole of the time he was speaking I was endeavouring to cudgel my brains to find out how he had got that notion about the Bill. Certainly not in the Bill itself. Take one of the last things he said. He seemed to be under the impression that the young Post Office contributor in some sort of way pays for the old Post Office contributor.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I am fortified in what I say by the OFFICIAL REPORT. He was talking of the arrangement which was made in approved societies in order to equalise the ages, and I interrupted him.
I daresay it was my fault. My reading of the Bill is that the administration expenses are spread over it, and inasmuch as the Post Office contributors are under the Bill extremely likely to forfeit their deposits, the deposit contributors are in that way paying for those who are richer than themselves.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Oh, no, that is not so. Let us first of all deal with the point which the right hon. Gentleman made last night. I am not going to be taken away from that. The right hon. Gentleman seems to have forgotten, not only what he has read about the Bill, but what he said in his own speech. He was dealing with the unfairness of making the younger Post Office contributors pay in order to equalise ages. That is the point which he was making.
§ Mr. LYTTELTON dissented.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I will read the passage to the right hon. Gentleman if he likes:—It means that the man between thirty and sixty-five who has not for some reason or another been a contributor, is by this Bill placed in the same position as if he had originally contributed.He was dealing with that problem, and he said that it was very unfair that the young contributor should pay to equalise the ages. I then told the right hon. Gentleman that we had considered arrangements for equalising the ages. His answer was:—My point is that the deposit contributors who are making certain contributions by compulsion under this Bill are contributing to give benefit to people who really do not need it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 31st October, 1911, col. 832.]I really do not know what he was driving at; all I can say is that he expressed himself in an extraordinary manner. If anybody reads it, they will find that he was dealing with the problem of age. Everybody in the House and anybody who reads it will find that he is under the impression that there were the same means of equalising ages in the case of Post Office contributors as in the case of insured persons in societies. But in the Post Office each man stands on his own merits, and the young Post Office contributors do not pay for the old. The State 2d. is not 882 used for the purpose of equalising ages, the young contributor does not pay for the old, and therefore there is absolutely nothing in the point of the right hon. Gentleman. To come to his second point, which is equally inaccurate. He is under the impression that some new expenses are to be incurred under this Bill, and unfortunately he mentioned them. He said there would be the expenses of the Insurance Commissioners and the expenses of their staff. He is under the impression that all that is to be deducted from the Post Office contributors.
Not solely. I did not say that; the right hon. Gentleman must not misrepresent me. I said there would be heavy expenses which will be charged under this scheme, and of that scheme the deposit contributors will be part.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
That again shows that the right hon. Gentleman does not know the Bill. That is exactly the point I am making—that not a penny piece off the cost of the Insurance Commissioners or their staff will come out of the funds of the Post Office contributors or of the others.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Under one of the Clauses of the Bill. Does the right hon. Gentleman challenge me?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Very well, that shows the right hon. Gentleman knows absolutely nothing about the Bill; and if he only consulted his colleague who sits by his side he would have known that the cost of the Insurance Commissioners and their staff is charged only upon the 9d. which we have been talking about. The right hon. Gentleman and the Leader of the Opposition have been criticising the Bill for six months without knowing the elements of it. That is the second point. There is another fundamental error the right hon. Gentleman made. He is under the impression—I read his speech, and listened to it last night—that those who join friendly societies will be higher-waged persons, and that those who join the Post Office will be persons with low wages. There could not be a more fundamental error than that. It has nothing whatever to do with wages. For instance, the man who is earning £3 a week, and who may have money in the savings bank, can still be a Post Office contributor; and, on the other hand, a woman earning 9s. a week 883 can be a member of a friendly society. It has absolutely nothing whatever to do with the amount of wages. That is a piece of information which may be useful to the right hon. Gentleman next time he speaks on the Insurance Bill.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Certainly. The right hon. Gentleman said that those who were poor and those who had a low wage—[HON. MEMBERS: "Read it,"] I will find the actual words.
I quite agree what I said generally was that the Post Office contributors would be of the poorest classes. We are all fallible. Even the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made a great many mistakes. I think, broadly speaking, I am accurate.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
What I mean by "poor" is the man who is earning 9s. to 15s. a week. He is a low-waged person. If the right hon. Gentleman says that that is not what he means by "poor"—[HON. MEMBERS: "NO, no."]—I am asking the right hon. Gentleman, who is quite capable of answering for himself. If the right hon. Gentleman tells me that is not what he means by "poor" I am quite willing to accept it, and I am very glad of the opportunity to make the point clear. What the right hon. Gentleman said in his speech is what they have said all over the country. The impression was given by the speeches of the Leader of the Opposition, whose sources of information I have now discovered. The right hon. Gentleman had read an anonymous pamphlet. I know that pamphlet, a sort of cheap pamphlet in more senses than one. He gave us a sort of crude résumé of that last night, and a very inaccurate one at that, because he read it in a great hurry. The Leader of the Opposition seems to have heard from him the impression which he gathered from that pamphlet during perhaps the companionable time of the foursome. Anybody reading the speeches of the Leader of the Opposition would gather exactly the same idea of the Bill as was gathered on listening to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman last night. As a matter of fact, the worst paid men in the country are the agricultural labourers. The agricultural labourers belong to those societies, and, as a matter of fact, a larger proportion of agricultural labourers now belong to those 884 societies than almost of any other class in the country. If you go to the districts where they are paid even 12s. a week, you find a very considerable proportion of them belong to those societies.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
That mean that now they are paying 6d. they therefore join, but in future when they only pay 3d. they will not join. And that brings me to consider another misconception under which the right hon. Gentleman seems to be labouring very heavily.
Before the right hon. Gentleman reaches that, may I draw his attention to Clause 32. upon which I founded myself in the opinion which I have just now expressed, that the deposit contributors would bear the expense of administration—at any rate a large part. Paragraph (f) of Clause 32 says:—The sums payable in respect of a deposit contributor for the purposes of medical benefit and sanatorium benefit, and towards the expenses of administration, shall, except so far as they are payable out of moneys provided by Parliament, be deducted at the commencement of each year from the amount standing to his credit in the Post Office fund.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I was really charitably inclined to say that the reason why he did not know his Bill was because he had not read it. Now I come to the conclusion that even when he does read it he does not understand it. If he had read the Bill a little more carefully, he would have discovered that it has nothing whatever to do with the expenses of the Insurance Commissioners.
I spoke of the expenses of administration. I have heard the Chancellor of the Exchequer so often misrepresent our side that it really does not annoy me at all. But I will point out to many who may not have heard my speech last night, that the cost of the Insurance Commissioners is not the only one. I enumerated about six heads of cost, of which the Insurance Commissioners is only one. The right hon. Gentleman has endeavoured to misrepresent me to those who were not present last night by accusing me of referring only to the cost of the Insurance Commissioners. He misrepresents me in that.
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Hon. Gentlemen opposite cheer, although they have never read a line of the speech and did not hear it. I did both. I am in the presence of the Committee, and I never said that the right hon. Gentleman had not enumerated items of expenditure which would fall on the insured. What I did say was that he did enumerate the cost of the Insurance Commissioners. Does the right hon. Gentleman admit that?
§ Mr. LYTTELTON indicated assent.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Well, I say that is not true. The right hon. Gentleman has based on this a general charge of misrepresentation, and therefore I mean to have it out. I say that I said that the right hon. Gentleman last night conveyed the impression that the cost of the Insurance Commissioners would fall upon the Post Office contributors. He did that, and what more did I say than that? I say that is not correct. Not a penny piece of the cost of the Insurance Commissioners falls on those contributors. I hope that the next time—
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The specific statement is made that the costs are enormous and five different heads are enumerated, and if I chose one of those and say that the fifth is not on the fund at all, is that an accurate statement or not?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
That is not the point that was put. [Laughter.] I am utterly at a loss to understand that laughter. The statement made is this:—Then there is the institution of Insurance Commissioners, and further, the cost of the Post Office.What does that mean—that the cost of the Insurance Commissioners and the cost of the Post Office are on those contributors. 886 Neither of the two is on the Post Office contributors, and that is the notion of the right hon. Gentleman of what is an accurate statement. I am quite willing to leave it to the Committee at that. I do hope that the next time the right hon. Gentleman or his colleagues address meetings in the country upon this subject that they will take the trouble, first of all, to ascertain what the facts are, and, next, to state them accurately. That is all I want under this Bill, and the moment that is done I have not the faintest doubt that the same thing will happen as happened after the right hon. Gentleman's speech in Kilmarnock. I turn to another point. I have dealt now with three of the glaring fundamental mistakes made by the right hon. Gentleman in the course of a not very long speech upon this Bill. Let me point another thing out to him w-hen he comes to the low-wage contributors, and this applies to the observations made by one or two other Gentlemen in the course of these Debates, and that is, the lower a man's wages the less he pays. That has never been acknowledged either by the right hon. Gentleman or by the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury).
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I have over and over again stated in this House that the rate is a flat rate from 15s. and upwards. That is all I have protested against, and I challenge the right hon. Gentlemn to quote from any speech of mine which has been reported in which I have not made that perfectly clear.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I am not complaining that the hon. Member said it was a flat rate from 15s. What I am complaining of is that he did not go a little further and say that under that it was not a flat rate.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I must ask the right hon. Gentleman to allow me to explain. I challenge him or any other Member to show that in any address I have given on this Bill I have made any statement that I am not prepared to substantiate here or anywhere else. I have never made a speech without telling the people the actual Schedule and reading the actual Schedule of the Bill as to what the payments were, and the right hon. Gentleman has no right to say I have done anything different.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I can only judge of what the hon. Member said by what is reported in the Press. If he tells me that 887 he made it perfectly clear that under 15s. there is a Schedule by which the payments come down from 4d. to 1d., and now not the penny, I shall accept his statement at once.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I have done that over and over again, and the only difference between us probably is that I have said the payment is based on a daily wage instead of a weekly wage, as laid down in the Schedule. That is all.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
As long as I clearly understand I accept the hon. Member's statement at once. I am only dealing with what I have seen in the Press, and I have not seen that statement in his speeches. I only want to make it clear that this has nothing whatever to do with low wages or high wages. The agricultural labourer will be in societies. Hundreds of thousands of women only earning 9s. per week will be in societies, and in future will be paying nothing, as the whole expenditure will be divided between the employer and the State. It is right that the Committee and the country should really understand what the Post Office contributor problem is. It is not a problem of high and low wages at all. It is a totally different one. I will come to the question of what the problem really is. What is the problem? The problem is that you have either got to work this Bill through the existing societies or with out them. If you work through the societies everybody in this House who understands the Bill, and, as was said by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for St. Pancras (Mr. Cassel), everybody knows that the Post Office contributor is inevitable if you work it—
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
If the hon. and learned Member says that I am not properly quoting it, I will accept his statement on the spot.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
What the hon. and learned Gentleman said was this, and I think he will agree, if you are going to work through the friendly societies at all, then the problem of the Post Office contributor is inevitable. I never said that he ever said that this was the only way of settling that problem. What I said was that the problem of the Post Office con- 888 tributor is inevitable once you begin to recognise the societies. The second point I put is this, if you do not recognise the societies and work through them you destroy them. Is there any man in the House who will deny that. I am not asking them at this moment to accept the proposition that this is the best way of dealing with the residuum, but the problem of the Post Office contributor is inevitable once you begin to work through the societies. Why? Because if you work through the societies you must give them the right of choosing and refusing their members. My right hon. Friend the Member for the Spen Valley Division (Sir Thomas Whittaker), in his very able speech last night, gave the reasons. Take, if you like, a Church of England society. Are you going to say to a Church of England society, "You must accept any man who chooses to apply for entrance to your society"? And so with the Wesleyan society or a temperance society. If you do not do that it means that you compel the affiliated societies and the collecting societies to take everybody who is refused by these selecting societies. All the societies have to do will be to put up some sort of special test; it may be a sectarian test; it may be political; it may be a test of temperance, but they may put up some test which would really have the effect of excluding all the undesirable lives. Then the societies without tests would have to take them all in.
The moment therefore you begin to work through the societies you are bound to give them full rights of admission and exclusion. I considered that problem round and round, and I could not come to any other conclusion. You may say that that does not involve a medical test. It really does involve a medical test; it necessarily involves really a medical test, and for this reason. Suppose you put it into the Act of Parliament that there should be no medical examination, it does not help you one whit. That is really not the way the friendly societies work. Take rheumatism, for instance, which I am told you cannot tell by any sort of medical process in some forms. They discover a case, and they happen to know that a man suffers from rheumatism, which is one of the most costly things for a friendly society; and, although there is no real medical test, that man's name is never submitted to the society, and he does not come in. So it is no good saying you should have no medical test. They can reject a man for other reasons unless you 889 say, "You must take in everybody," which would be grossly unfair to the society. The moment you give the right of exclusion there is a residuum that remains, and has got to be dealt with. That creates the problem of the Post Office contributor. Who will be the Post Office contributors? I think my hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sherwell) in his speech, which impressed the Committee very much, in moving this Amendment stated the problem very fairly. He gave three, and possibly four, classes. I will not accept the last class, but I accept the first three.
What are the three classes of Post Office contributors? I really ask the Committee to consider these three classes because it is too generally assumed that the Post Office contributors will be poorly paid people who have been rejected on the ground of health or because they are casual labourers. That is not the case at all. They will be first of all those who are rejected through bad health, then there will be the second class, the "thriftless, shiftless, feckless class"—and I accept the words of my hon. Friend because he described that class fairly—those whose character and local reputation prevent their admission to the society, and they are left outside. There is then the casual worker, and, let me point out to the Committee, that the casual worker can be divided into two classes. When you come to consider the question there is the casual worker who cannot find work, and there is the casual worker who will not find work, and there is the third class of those who deliberately choose to work during a season and then for the rest of the year prefer to stay at home. That very often happens upon our coasts. We have people who enter into service for a short period of three or four months at seaside resorts. They go down there, and are paid high wages. They come from the country — generally they are peasants' daughters. They work for those three or four months for high wages, and for the rest of the year they do nothing. Those will be very foolish to join any society. The best thing they can join is to join the Post Office, and they will join the Post Office, because it has the effect of saving up money for them, of securing medical attendance and sanatorium treatment, and the rest of the money will be available for sick pay and maternity benefits. My hon. Friends added another class, those who join late in life. But that is not the same 890 sort of case, because an aged man can join a friendly society and get reduced benefits. Therefore, for the purpose of my argument, I rule that out.
What is our proposal? There is a great deal of misconception about what is proposed in the Bill. I should like the Committee and the country thoroughly to realise what the proposal is—to realise in the first place to whom it applies, and, in the second place, what it is—before they criticise and condemn it. I have already pointed out that it does not apply merely to the unhealthy. It applies to the shiftless, to those who will not work as well as to those who cannot work. Therefore, when there is a great scheme of State charity for the Post Office contributor, the Committee must bear in mind that they are helping not merely the unhealthy, but others as well who do not deserve aid from the State. What is the proposal? First of all, on the face of it, it is purely an experiment "until Parliament otherwise determines." I will give the reasons presently why we are making it an experiment, but I may say generally that it is because I accept the argument which underlines every criticism of this Clause, namely, that the first thing we have to do is to sort out the Post Office contributors. We realised that at the start. We knew that this would not be a final solution of the problem, and we do not put it forward as such. We put it forward as a temporary method of dealing with the difficulty—a difficulty which is very largely temporary, as I shall point out—until we are able to sort out those who are permanent from those who are provisional and temporary. In the meantime those who join this fund are better off than they were before. That is the first thing the Committee should realise. Does anyone doubt that? They pay 4d. themselves — and not necessarily 4d. They may be people earning 15s. and under, 12s. and under, or 9s. and under; they may be paying only 2d. or 3d. But assume they are paying the full 4d. They get in addition 3d. from the employer and 2d. from the State. What do they get in addition to that? Out of that amount, which is placed to their credit with interest, they are able to draw their 10s. and their 5s. a week as long as it lasts. What more do they get? They get sanatorium benefit, which, except to the extent of 1s., is not deducted from what they pay. They get medical benefit right to the end of the year. There is a 891 suggestion that the local health committees should have power to extend that period at their discretion. That I think is a very good Amendment and a considerable improvement. When that is carried, they will have full sanatorium and medical benefit as long as the local health committee think it desirable. Does anyone say that that is not a great improvement upon their present position?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I thought I said distinctly that, at the present moment, it is up to the end of the current year, but that there is a proposal that it should be extended at the discretion of the local health committee, that I thought that that was a great improvement to the Bill, and that I was prepared to accept it. See what that means. Fifteen million shillings will be paid in to maintain the sanatoria. There is £1,500,000 coming from the State towards buildings. Hundreds of thousands of these people will be suffering from tuberculosis. They will get the benefit not merely of their own contributions; that will be a very small part of the whole; they will get the benefit of the whole of the contributions of all the 15,000,000 people who have paid in. They will get the benefit of the whole contribution of the State. Beyond that, if there is a deficit on medical benefit in the case of the local health committee, or on sanatorium benefit, they can resort to the State and to the councils, and, if they assent, half the balance can be paid out of the rates and half out of the Exchequer. The Post Office contributor will have the full benefit of the whole of that. When we are considering a proposal like this, let us see what it really is. It is no use talking generalities and saying that it is no good, or that it is worse than worthless. Let us see what it is. Go to any Post Office contributor and ask if he would not infinitely prefer it to the condition in which he is at the present moment.
Another suggestion has been made with which I must deal—namely, that the balance standing to the credit of a Post Office contributor at his death should be paid over to his next-of-kin. Before the Committee commit themselves to that, let me ask them really to consider what it means, and what its effect would be upon friendly societies. If I may say so respectfully, the proposal is the fruit of rather immature criticism. If it were 892 added to the Bill it would be to the advantage of every healthy person to become a Post Office contributor rather than a member of a society. I want the Committee to follow that. A fairly healthy man at twenty years of age, of good habits, would consider whether it would not be better for him to join the Post Office than to join a friendly society. If he goes to a friendly society, at best he will get nothing unless he is ill—except the maternity benefit. If he joins the Post Office, if this Amendment were carried, what would happen? His 4d. would be paid in, and the 3d. of the employer. These sums would roll up with interest until, say, he was seventy years of age. If he were ill he would get the 2d. of the State also. In any case the 4d. and the 3d. would roll up with interest until, by the time he was seventy years of age, it would amount to £100. If you do that, it means that every healthy person would think it better worth his while to join the Post Office system than to become a member of a friendly society. It would just reverse the order. Instead of the Post Office contributor system being the resort of the unhealthy, the societies would simply become aggregations of the unfit.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
If the societies would not take them, then the societies would die. There would be nobody left for them to take. It would be to the interest of every man with a good constitution, who is looking forward to a fairly healthy life, to put his money into the Post Office rather than to go to a friendly society, and you would not get the benefit of the healthy lives in order to average the risks over the whole community. It is the one way to destroy the friendly societies, and if it is done it must be the responsibility of the Committee and not mine. I am in honour bound to oppose that Amendment, because I know the destructive effect it must have upon the societies. Therefore I must leave the responsibility to the Committee, because it would be setting up the Post Office system as a very effective rival to the friendly societies in the country. What happens to the balance now? I have heard a good deal about forfeiture, as if it were confiscated to the State. What happens? The only thing that happens is that a man can draw as long as he lives, and if there is a balance to his credit at the end of his days it merges in the whole volume of the Post Office contributors' fund and increases it 893 for the benefit of the rest. It is a kind of tontine arrangement. It is a very well-known process in insurance. What the Committee have to decide is whether that balance shall go to the benefit of the rest of the contributors' fund or whether they mean to hand it over to the next-of-kin. That would be introducing a new kind of savings bank, such as we have never had in this country before—a savings bank where you added 2d. to every 4d. paid in, where the same interest would be paid, and where a man would have by the time he was seventy years of age £100, which would be handed over to his next-of-kin. Once you offer that inducement, I say, without fear of contradiction, that the cream of the healthy working people of this country would probably resort to the Post Office, and leave the unhealthy and unfit and those who are afraid of ill-health to crowd into the trade unions, friendly societies, collecting societies, Holloway societies, and so forth, making them bankrupt in a few years. It would have been far better and more straightforward for us to have said at the outset that we would not recognise these societies. It would have been better to have done that, and to have set up a purely national system, sweeping the societies on one side, rather than by this insidious method gradually to starve them into bankruptcy. I shall certainly, on the part of the Government, resist that Amendment, and if the Committee accept it it will be entirely the Committee's responsibility.
I come to another point, which has not been dwelt upon at all, and, if I may say so, one the effect of which is not generally appreciated. My right hon. Friend the Member for Spen Valley (Sir T. Whittaker) said, "You cannot compel 'societies to take these people, but you can make it worth their while. You might offer them some inducement." We are offering them an inducement to take these people. I want the Committee fully to realise what is in the Bill. Every man over sixteen has a reserve value, and every man who joins a friendly society carries that reserve value with him to that society. Take a man between forty-five and fifty years of age. What has he got? He has got a reserve value of £8 13s. Any society that takes him takes him with a sum of £8 13s. placed to his credit before he pays a single penny. If he is an invalid at the time, of course they will not take him, but if he is merely in fragile health, and may last some time, it is worth that society's while to take him in, because you have 894 got a waiting period of two years, and he cannot come for an invalidity pension until after he has made 104 payments.
As a matter of fact, if anybody works this out for himself, it is a very open question whether with a man of that age it is not worth the friendly society's while to take him, and to take their chance with him, although his health is not perfect. It would be a very good speculation for the friendly society. At any rate, we cannot go beyond that. The reserve value of a man between forty-five and fifty is £8 13s. That is an inducement to the society, even if a man comes there in a bad state of health. Between thirty-four and forty the reserve value is £5 18s. Between forty and forty-five the reserve value is £7 3s. Between forty-five and fifty, as I have already said, the reserve value is £8 13s. It is worth the societies' while to consider that—unless a man is an invalid at the time, when they will not take him—whether they will not take him as a member with that reserve value placed to his credit. That is the scheme as it stands at present, dealing with a problem purely temporary in its character,, and I think I am entitled to ask—as I have asked all those who realise the work of the societies—what is your suggestion?
I asked it in August last. I did it deliberately. Just at the end of the Committee stage I invited every Member of this House to consider the whole of these difficulties of the Post Office contributor. I asked hon. Gentlemen to help me with practical suggestions as to the best method of dealing with them. What has-been the result? I listened very carefully last night to this Debate. Not a single suggestion did I get except that really rather fatuous suggestion from the right hon. Gentleman opposite, that you should offer to the consumptive, instead of sanatorium treatment which we give as part of this scheme, and medical benefits as far as we can, that we should say to him, "We will give you a pension when you are over sixty years of age." What on earth use is that—a pension scheme for the Post Office contributor? This is an immediate problem, and to offer consumptives a pension is really to insult them! It is really not a rational attempt to solve the problem. I have invited every Member of this House to give me the best of his thought in some practical form. I did not get one suggestion last night. I got one or two suggestions from the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for St. Pancras (Mr. Cassel). One about interest 895 is already covered by the Bill. The other is with regard to payment upon death. I told him why we could not accept that suggestion. The hon. and learned Gentleman was quite fair about it. Then comes the only practical suggestion—I frankly admit it—a suggestion which has been put on the Paper by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Colchester (Mr. Worthington-Evans). He put it on the Paper, and in time, and it has been submitted to the test of thorough criticism.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I am saying so. I have considered it. I say frankly I considered it for a long time. It is by no means an alternative to be dismissed without thought. I know how thoroughly the hon. Gentleman understands the Bill. If I may say so, he applies his mind not merely to criticism but to Amendments. Therefore I feel grateful to him for his real practical contribution towards the solution of this problem. I have considered his suggestion. I have considered it again in the light of the advice tendered to me by my advisers. I will tell the Committee why I cannot see my way to accept it. The hon. Gentleman will correct me if in summarising his proposal I appear to do him an injustice. So far as I can see his suggestion, it is one of mutual insurance within the four walls of the Post Office contributors' scheme. I do not think that would be the slightest use. That is simply really putting the halt, the lame, the blind and the consumptive, the casual and the loafer to insure each other. That is no good, for it does not meet the problem. If it is to the advantage of the loafer and the casual, then it is not to the advantage of the sick. If it is to the advantage of the sick, then the casual will suffer. What you want is something that will help all these people in so far as it is possible, and this suggestion will not do that. It raises false hopes. If you give them the idea that you are able to pay national benefits, unless the State is prepared to guarantee these benefits and to pay as much money in as is necessary, it is of very little use. I should certainly oppose any scheme of the State paying any money indiscriminately to insure the loafer as well as the sick. The first thing you have to do is to discriminate between them—to sort and to separate them, and then to pick out those who really deserve help, and help those to the uttermost. 896 That is the reason why we cannot accept the scheme of the hon. Gentleman, although I have given it every available consideration.
There are two or three main criticisms which have, been passed upon these proposals. We are told that we are insuring the healthy and neglecting the weak. We are told that our scheme is not preventive in its character. I think my hon. Friend the Member for Hoxton completely disposed of that last night. What, by this scheme, we are really doing is preventing the strong from degenerating into the weak. If anyone will look at the statistics of pauperism he will find for himself what really happens. In one union 40 per cent. of the paupers were there because of sickness. At Gloucester between 50 and 60 per cent. of the paupers there were pauperised through sickness. The Majority Report of the Royal Commission said:—There are at present in England and Wales over 200,000 men afflicted with tubercle, the majority of whom will ultimately have to resort to the workhouse, unless released by death.What do we do? We deal with these people before they reach the stage when it will be necessary for them to be sent to the workhouse. Those who are invalids at the present time, I agree, are a problem which fills one with despair. What we do is we prevent this process of development. We get these poor people before the tubercule develops, when the first symptoms appear. We send them for treatment at the expense of the National Insurance fund, the State, and the rates. That saves them from ever falling into that state of degradation and despair that was so picturesquely referred to last night by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bow and Bromley. What do we do with the sick? We give the sick medical treatment. We give them something which will maintain them during their weeks of sickness, so that they will not fall into the ranks of the pauper. We give them good treatment so as to cure them, and to restore them to health, and, if you cannot restore them to health, at any rate we keep their families from starvation. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Bow and Bromley referred last night to the slums. Let him or anyone go to the slums and ask how many members of friendly societies there are there? Let him go to the workhouses of this country and find out how many members of friendly societies are there? This provision against sickness saves them from those conditions, and that is why, in the real sense of the term, it is preventive.
897 I agree with the hon. Gentleman that in the existing invalids you have a great problem which is difficult, and may be insuperable, may be impossible of solution in time. But the sick portion of the Post Office contributor section are a vanishing number. After this men will join as boys of fourteen, fifteen, or sixteen, before ill-health has developed. They will become members of societies. By the time they are afflicted with sickness the whole strength of the societies will be behind them, to rescue, to redeem, to assist. So far as the health portion is concerned the Post Office contributor is purely a temporary problem. The problem that matters is the problem of the casual, the problem of the dosser, the problem of the man who has not the physique to discharge the duties of life, who has not got the strength necessary to do his work. That is the problem that will have to be dealt with by something much more drastic than insurance. I never concealed that point. I have never claimed that this Bill is going to deal with all the evils of sickness, of unemployment, of physical failure. On the contrary, you have got to cut deeper. I said that in the speech in which I introduced this Bill. I have never concealed from my mind that this is a much deeper problem. You cannot insure existing invalids. They are not an insurable proposition. I said, and I venture to repeat what I said, such an idea is to insure a house on fire, is going to the insurance company when the rafters are crackling, and the flames are leaping from the roof. What is the good of trying to insure a proposition like that? It is not a problem for insurance. [A laugh.] An hon. Member laughs. Does he imagine that it is an insurable proposition? [An HON. MEMBEB: "I did not laugh at that."] It is not a laughing matter.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I should not have thought that this was a laughing matter. It is one of the most serious problems that could possibly confront the House of Commons. We should be face to face with this more permanent problem of physical failure. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Huddersfield said last night you must start with the child. I quite agree. I am considering, as he knows very well with his assistance, and the assistance of the medical officers of the Board of 898 Education, whether something cannot be done in this Bill to assist in the solution of that great problem, and I hope to do something. You must begin early; the germs of physical weakness, debility and destitution are sown early in the child. You have got the line of destitution and despair in the very marrow of some of those poor little children, and you have got to deal with that. And that is one reason why I want to make this temporary, and I shall certainly accept the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman, although, on the face of the Clause we have already made it temporary. He wants to go beyond that, and he wants a statutory guarantee on the face of the Act of Parliament that this Parliament will not separate without facing the problem when it conies on. That guarantee the Government are perfectly willing to agree to. The problem of the Poor Law and of other sickness and debility are problems that have got to be faced. They are essential parts of the whole of this great social difficulty, and it is because I agree with the hon. Gentleman that after we are able to collect and collate the facts we should deal with them. I am a hearty supporter of the proposition he makes, that we should go on, not merely by this Bill, but by other measures—measures which will improve the housing of the people—we shall go on to uproot pestilence out of the soil of Great Britain.
§ Mr. FORSTER
We have seen the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his two styles this afternoon. We have seen him in his most polemical mood wrestling in anger with political opponents, we have seen him in his other style, addressing himself in all seriousness to grave and urgent problems that lay close to his heart. I confess I prefer him in his latter ròle rather than the former, but I cannot pass over in complete silence the attack he has made on my right hon. Friend. I think it was very largely the result of misunderstanding. But the Chancellor went out of his way to dig out of my right hon. Friend's speech one particular point with which he wrestled for something like twenty minutes. I venture to say he did his case no good whatever, but what he stated in that part of his speech, when, having to his own satisfaction, demolished my right hon. Friend, he said that the next time my right hon. Friend went to the country he should be careful to describe this Bill with accuracy. I am altogether in favour of describing this Bill with accuracy, and I 899 hope the next time the Chancellor of the Exchequer comes to make a speech in a place of worship he himself will describe the provisions of his own Bill which he himself ought to know if any man knows them, with that degree of accuracy which he demands from his opponent.
§ Mr. FORSTER
If I should be in order, I would be very happy to take up the challenge which the hon. Member throws out. I could lay my finger upon three points of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, which is represented to have lasted for shortly over two hours, in which he was wholly and fundamentally wrong. I pass from that early portion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's speech, and I come to the serious portion which he devoted to the consideration of the problem of the deposit contributors. He very truly said last night, we had last night an instructive Debate. I think it was instructive. It brought out three things quite clearly. It brought out the fact that everyone was dissatisfied with the proposals in the Bill as they stood; it brought out the fact that everybody thought it an unfair thing to confiscate wholly a sum that stood to the credit, of a depositor when he died, and it brought out the fact that this proposal was not an insurance proposal at all. On these three points there was general agreement in the speeches made last night. The hon. Member for Huddersfield in the very interesting speech he made addressed himself to the subject of the deposit contributors. The Chancellor followed suit this afternoon, and I think the Chancellor was absolutely right when he said the problem of the deposit contributor is the practical outcome of giving a free choice to the societies to select their own members. I think there the Chancellor is perfectly right. It is the natural and inevitable outcome of grafting on a purely voluntary system a new system of compulsion. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said if you give free choice to the friendly societies you must allow them to make choice.
A free choice has other consequences beside the creation of the problem of deposit contributors. It has the consequence present to the mind of my right hon. Friend last night in the speech he made. It has this consequence, that when you allow free choice to the societies to select 900 their own lives so you inevitably strengthen the societies that are strong and weaken the societies that are weak. That was the thought that underlay most of my right hon. Friend's argument in his speech last night, and to my mind it is absolutely beyond controversy that that will be the effect. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say who are the people who are going to be brought into the ranks of the deposit contributor. Men of bad character, men of bad health, the casual worker. These broadly speaking said the right hon. Gentleman are the three classes of persons who are going to come into the so-called deposit insurance. But there is another category of men that the right hon. Gentleman has left out, the men who will join friendly societies when this Bill comes into force or who are members of the friendly societies at the present time, but who will drop out of the friendly societies' part of the Bill owing to unemployment. That, to my mind is a particularly deserving class on whose behalf the hon. Member for Huddersfield put in a plea last night when he asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he could see his way to give him greater concessions in connection with the payment of the arrears due in periods of unemployment. I think that is a class of persons we ought to keep in mind when discussing the problems of deposit contributors. It is not a small problem, it concerns a large number of people; the actuaries estimate it at 880,000 odd, and they confess themselves utterly unable to forecast the number by which those individuals may be swelled and increased during the first years of the operation of this Act; so all we can do when considering whether it is to be a large or a small body of persons is that we are driven to the conclusion that it will be even larger than we have in view at the present time. These people are brought under the operations of the Bill, and they are all to pay precisely the same contribution as the men who join the friendly societies. What will they get?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has told us in picturesque language the benefits that the Bill is going to confer upon them. He told us that they will pay their 4d. or 3d., or 2d. or 1d. a week, or nothing a week if their wages are below a certain proportion, and they are to get the full 9d. when their payment out of the funds become due. They have also to get medical 901 and sanatorium benefits, as I understand him, so long as the health committee consider it desirable to continue these benefits. Of course, the Bill says they shall only get medical and sanatorium benefits to the end of the current year after their credit has been exhausted. I am bound to say I think the acceptance which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has signified of the Amendment is a great improvement upon the Bill, but it does not make this a scheme of insurance at all. Nothing that the right hon. Gentleman said this afternoon leads me to believe he is going to give these people any form of insurance whatever. Their contributions are paid through the Post Office funds, and how much is going to be available for the payment of benefits when they fall sick. I want to know what is the priority of the charges upon the credit which will stand at the Post Office against each of these persons named. A certain amount has to be deducted for the cost of the medical benefits, and none of us know what the cost of medical benefits for the deposit contributors is going to be.
We do know that the medical profession uphold the view that they could not reasonably be expected to give medical attendance to the deposit contributors at the same flat rate as they would serve members of friendly societies. I know a great many members of the medical profession in various parts of the country are quite frank in saying that they would require a very much higher payment to attend the deposit contributors than they would in the case of the other insured persons. So that we do not know how much is to be deducted from the credit of the contributor on this account. When is the deduction to be made? Under the Bill I under stand the deduction is to be made at the end or the beginning of each year. A certain amount has to be deducted from a man's credit for the expenses of administration of the local health committee, but we do not know how much that is going to be. It may be 1d. or it may be 2d., but if it is going to be 2d., when that is added to the amount deducted for medical benefit, it is going to leave a comparatively small margin to the credit of the depositor. Another 1s. has to be deducted on account of sanatorium benefit which will not play a very important part in the consideration I am going to urge now.
Take the case of a man who has contributed for fifty-two weeks and who finds his credit nearly exhausted at the end of 902 the year and finds himself with a small balance say of 20s. standing to his credit, or about enough to pay for two further periods of sickness benefit of which he stands in urgent need. On the first day of the new year there is a risk that the whole of that credit may be taken for the charges of the cost of administering medical benefits and the administration of the local health committee and the cost of sanatorium benefit. I know that only amounts to 1s., but it has to be deducted, and the other two certainly have to be deducted at the beginning of the year. Here is a man in urgent need of the sickness benefit at the very moment he has a credit standing opposite his name in the Post Office fund, and yet that credit may be exhausted by payments for administering benefits that he is not going to get in the next twelve months.
§ Mr. FORSTER
Then I will say that the whole of his credit is exhausted for benefits only one of which he gets during the ensuing twelve months. Surely it is exceedingly hard upon a man to make him pay for administration of benefit when he knows that he is not going to get the value of those benefits. That is the case which the right hon. Gentleman has got to meet and reconsider. Then the Chancellor of the Exchequer came to the question of the payment to the widow or representatives of the amount standing to his credit at death. I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman that you would ruin the whole scheme if you paid over to the man's representatives all that stood to his credit when he died. I cannot, however, see why you should not pay to the man the amount which he has himself contributed, and I should like the Chancellor of the Exchequer to consider that point.
§ Mr. FORSTER
I do not ask that any of the money contributed by the State should be paid over to him, and I do not ask even that the employers' contribution should be paid over, but I do ask that what the man himself has paid in should be paid over.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I am only thinking of the effect this will have upon the society. You must not offer inducements for a man to choose the Post Office in preference to joining a society. The hon. Member puts this point to me, and I will consider it, and I am not rejecting it in my mind. I admit there is much to be said for it, but I want to be quite clear what it is the hon. Member proposes. He proposes that the man should simply get his own 4d., after you deduct all the benefits which he has received, including the shilling for sanatorium benefits.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
These benefits are chargeable against his contribution, plus the employers' contribution, plus the State contribution. You have to set against the amount he has paid in the proportion of the expenditure chargeable to him.
§ Mr. FORSTER
The question of interest, although it is important, is a subsidiary point. If you accept the broad outline as ground which you may explore, then I think the question of interest is really a subsidiary question which will have to be considered. I am throwing this out as a suggestion for the consideration of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I will give one or two reasons why it is difficult to frame Amendments on this point. I am following the right hon. Gentleman's speech and the points he has dealt with, and I suggest that he may fairly consider the proposal which I have made. I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman that you must not do anything which will induce men to come into the Post Office fund rather than join the other brother branch which is the real insurance branch of the scheme. I think the last definite point to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer referred was the proposal put forward by the hon. Member for Colchester, and he said that you cannot take a group of Post Office contributors and get them to insure one another; and you cannot put the wastrels, the consumptives, 904 and the casuals in the same group and get them to go in for a system of mutual insurance. He said what you ought to do and what you will do in consequence of the medical test will be to separate the deserving from the undeserving. But the right hon. Gentleman does not do that in his Bill, for he herds them all together, deserving and undeserving, man for man receiving precisely the same treatment. I entirely agree that you ought, if possible, to pick out and separate in this scheme as it stands, the deserving from the undeserving, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman may find himself able to do that. I am driven to the conclusion, from what I have heard the Chancellor of the Exchequer state, that—if we can free ourselves from the magic of his eloquence—he has been driven to admit that the criticism directed against this part of his Bill are founded upon facts and are criticisms of substance which he is bound to meet.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer complained in the course of his speech that no real suggestions had been made for the improvement of this part of his Bill. I must remind the right hon. Gentleman that it has been exceedingly difficult for those who have given attention to the position of the Post Office contributor to frame Amendments within the scope of the finance laid down by the Financial Resolution. The hon. and learned Member for Huddersfield pointed out this difficulty in his speech last night, and he said that as long as you are compelled to deal with this class of person within the framework of this Bill and the financial Resolution, I doubt very much if you can give them better treatment than you give them now. My hon. Friend the Member for Colchester and others have given great attention to this question, and nearly every suggestion that we have made has been rendered more difficult, if not impossible, by the fact that we have got to fit it into the corners of the Bill as it stands. I do not say that it would be impossible to find a scheme which would give these people real insurance, and I believe it is well worth while making an effort to find a scheme which will give them real insurance. I believe one of the reasons why this particular branch of the subject has not occupied more attention is that there is no organised body to speak on behalf of this class of persons. It has not been possible for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to hold conferences at the Treasury with these persons, and no organised body has 905 taken up the case of the deposit contributor in the columns of the newspapers. Members of Parliament have not been bombarded with communications from any organised body representing the deposit contributors in the same way as the case of friendly societies and other interests have been represented. That, however, is no reason why we should not give the matter our most scrupulous and most minute attention. I think we ought. It seems to me that the ultimate effect of the scheme incorporated in this Clause is that when people reach the age at which they most stand in need of assistance that assistance will not be forthcoming. This Clause will give them a certain amount of help at the time when they are best able to help themselves, but at the time when they most need assistance their credit will be gone, and they will be unable to get help.
The right hon. Gentleman referred to the fact that many of the deposit contributors will be wastrels. I am not at all sure the treatment you are giving under this Bill is not too good for wastrels, but I am quite certain it is not good enough for that other and much more deserving class of persons for whom the right hon. Gentleman has so real a sympathy—those suffering from the curse of consumption and other fell diseases. The right hon. Gentleman, in a speech made in August, referred to the question of the medical test. He said that in some shape or another, at any rate, there will be some medical test, and, as the result of it, you will have practically a medical examination of something like 15,000,000 of the poorer members of the community, and you will be able to put your finger upon 200,000, 300,000, or 400,000, and say, "Here are people cursed with a definite curse—the curse of consumption." Many of those are going to be brought into the ranks of the deposit contributors. They come in with a medical certificate certifying they are suffering from consumption, and they stand in a wholly different category from the wastrel, the casual, and the man who comes in unemployed. They stand by themselves, branded—if that is not too strong a word—as consumptives by the medical test. Why are we so concerned about consumption? It is not only because we want to hear that particular individual is suffering from it; we want to protect the nation from the risk of the disease spreading to other people. That is a national matter. It need not necessarily be the subject of an Insurance Bill. That is a national con- 906 cern. You ought to give different treatment to the classes of person who are brought into this part of the Bill. You know these people are suffering from consumption. You have all the machinery at your command for giving them treatment. Give it them.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The hon. Gentleman must have forgotten I propose accepting an Amendment that leaves it to the local health committee to treat them as long as the committee thinks it necessary. If the hon. Member will look he will see it is printed and on the Paper. The Amendment is in the name of the hon. Member for Plymouth and of my hon. Friend the Member for Montgomery, and I put it down to ensure it will be adopted.
§ Mr. FORSTER
I admit that for the moment I had forgotten the right hon. Gentleman had intimated his willingness to accept the Amendment. I do not labour the point further. We are both at one. I am glad the right hon. Gentleman is doing so much in the matter. Several speakers last night made the criticism that this part of the Bill had no preventive effect, but only dealt with a certain class of persons who are suffering from a given set of circumstances. It did nothing to prevent the spread of illness. It did nothing to prevent people from swelling the ranks of those who will become deposit contributors. One great blot on this part of the Bill is that there is no inducement for any body, either a society or a public body, to spend a single 6d. in preventing this class of person from increasing in numbers. Nobody has the slightest financial responsibility towards them. The whole community may look on, except in the case of consumptives, without bearing any financial burden in respect of them. I am bound to say I have come to the conclusion, not without a great deal of thought, that the position of the Post Office contributor under the Bill is not satisfactory, and I think the House and the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to take more time to consider the problem of the Post Office contributor. Of course, I believe this Bill is going to pass into law. If it does the Chancellor of the Exchequer will set up a body of Insurance Commissioners. Presumably they will be people skilled in insurance work, knowing a great deal of the problems involved in this Bill, and the 907 suggestion I make and the course I recommend is that the part of the Bill dealing with the deposit contributors should be withdrawn and that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with the assistance of any others who are willing to help him, should continue to consider this problem for the next six months, and that before this Bill comes into law the result of their deliberations should be framed in a short Bill. I believe it could be done in a couple of Clauses, and I believe this House would pass it in the course of two or three days. We might, as a result of that, have a more considered scheme of insurance even for these people who are described as uninsurable. That is the course I recommend the Committee to take, and I hope the Government will see their way to adopt it.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
I think we may take it for granted there is nobody in this House, not even the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself, altogether in love with this Clause. All that can be said about it is that it is the best that can be done under very difficult circumstances. I do not think the very interesting suggestion with which the hon. Gentleman who has just addressed the House wound up his speech is, however, practicable. Even after we had considered it very carefully for six months, however expert we might be in our knowledge of the question, the Post Office contributor would still very largely be an unknown person and an unknown property. He has got to be discovered. This problem is very largely not at all the various aspects of the problem which have been pointed out to the Committee during the last two days. This problem is mainly that we are not quite sure who he is going to be. We are not quite sure what is going to cause him, and we are not quite sure how many of them we have got to meet. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, I think, takes a little bit too optimistic a view about it. I am more pessimistic than he is. I think the Post Office contributor will come from many sources he has not indicated.
The Post Office contributor will come, for instance, from a class of people whose great crime is that they have lost care and heart in life. They are not going to be badly paid altogether, and they are not going to be very sick. They are going to be that extraordinary mixture of marginal humanity that takes interest in just as little as it can help. You are not going to be able to trace them, and, as a matter 908 of fact, there is going to be a tremendous leakage in the administration of this Bill. That is the problem, a big problem, a difficult problem, and a very intricate problem. It can only be properly visualised after this Bill has come into operation. That is the view I have taken all along, and that view I hold more firmly now after listening to as much of the Debate as other business has allowed me. I for one, therefore, cannot support the hon. Gentleman in his advice. Let us have this Clause with all its defects. Let us make it as good as we can whilst the Bill is before us, and then let us charge the Chancellor of the Exchequer to appoint a committee of experts, if you like, to watch carefully its working, day by day and year by year, so that at the expiration of 1912—[HON. MEMBERS: "1914."] Well, so that at the expiration of whatever time it is—and I am glad the Chancellor of the Exchequer is going to put that in the Bill—we may be in a position to walk by sight and not merely by faith, guided by the result of experience.
There are one or two considerations which have always guided me in my criticism of this Bill, and I think some improvements may still be made in this Clause. The real problem we have got to face is not the problem of the casual labourer. If a man becomes a deposit contributor because his labour is intermittent, we are not going to help him by giving him free medical advice. The sooner we disabuse our minds of that fallacy the better. The casual labourer is going to be helped by being made something batter than a casual labourer, and there is no use in deluding ourselves into the belief that we are going to solve poverty problems of an economic kind by giving some sort of special benefits in an insurance Bill such as this. I take my stand upon that, and am prepared to abide by it quite firmly and quite decisively. We are not going to help the casual labourer by making it easier for him to get certain benefits under this Bill than if he were not a casual labourer. He has got to be dealt with on totally different lines by totally different legislation, and from a totally different point of view. The problem which the Post Office contributor really presents to the Committee is this. I do not care whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer is going to insure through approved societies or on a national scale. He has got to discover the average sickness risk. If he is going to 909 allow a body of men to segregate themselves so that the average sickness risk of their society is above the average sickness risk of the nation, then he is unduly subsidising those men. That is the gist of the whole problem. If he allows certain societies to carry on their operations upon a sickness risk higher than the general average, then it follows as a necessary consequence that there must be a residuum, the sickness risk of which is worse than those other societies. That is the Post Office contributor.
Therefore, we made certain proposals—for instance, the proposal to distribute the surplus. I know that that was unpopular, but, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer said, surely we have enough backbone to do unpopular things when we think they are right. I, for one, do not care whether the friendly society members in my Constituency praise me or blame me; they may vote for somebody else if they like; but if they are going to run their societies on a sickness risk which is better for them than the average sickness risk, I am not going to help them, and I shall try all I can to prevent them doing it. I do not think the Chancellor of the Exchequer has met us in this matter. We are trying to raise the Post Office contributor's risk until it reaches the level of the general social sickness risk. That is only just and fair. The right hon. Gentleman has no business to abandon them to their own bad risks. There have been various proposals to deal with them, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer has intimated that he is going to accept an Amendment later on on the Paper in the name of the Member for Plymouth (Mr. Astor), and of a Welsh Member (Mr. David Davies), and he is going to give medical benefits and sanatorium benefits without limitation at the discretion of the local health committee.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
Who is going to pay for these extra benefits? As I read Sub-section (d) of this Clause the Post Office contributors themselves are to pay it from certain residual funds to be created by levies on members and other ways. What does that mean? It really means that on the back of a man already depressed by a high sickness rate you are going to put an extra burden of a still higher sickness rate.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
What it really means is that the local authority objected 910 to anything in the nature of a compulsory levy to provide the residuum. They said, "If we are going to pay it out of the rates it must be a voluntary act on our part." Acting for the Treasury, I said we were prepared to find 50 per cent. if they would find 50 per cent. without a compulsory rate. We were, therefore, bound to put in the words "if funds are available"; otherwise it would involve a compulsory levy on the local authorities. My meaning is that we should find the balance, dividing it between ourselves and the local authorities.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
So far as medical attendance is concerned the Clause as it now stands limits it to within twelve months from the lapse. I understand the Amendment of the Sub-section enables medical attendance to be continued at the option of the local health committee as long as it so decides. Who is going to pay for that? Fifty per cent. is to come from the State and 50 per cent. from the local authority. That only happens, however, if there should be any balance. But, first of all, they will have to spend the money which they get under various Clauses of this Bill, one of them being Sub-section (d) of this Clause, which reads:—
(d) Such sum as may be prescribed shall in each year be payable in respect of each deposit contributor towards the expenses incurred by the local health committee in the administration of benefits.
I want to make it clear that even this concession is another burden on the persons who have not average health.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I do not want to argue the Amendment, seeing that it is not now before the Committee; but if, when it comes on, my hon. Friend can suggest any form of words which will carry out the intentions that the Government and the local health committee shall extend the medical benefit, I shall be very happy to consider it, bearing in mind the contribution will be compulsory on the Treasury, but not on the local authorities.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
The suggestion I was going to make was that this extended medical benefit should come, not from the ordinary funds, but from funds to be derived under this Bill from insurance. It should come from the extra funds, 50 per cent. of which is contributed by the State and 50 per cent. by the local authorities. In that way you would bring your bad lives under the operation of a 911 genuine public health authority, and it could be financed from public funds, and not from the insurance fund.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
My impression is that it will not work in that way. But the point can be considered when we come to deal with that particular Amendment. I do not want to repeat the very admirable suggestions made by the hon. Member opposite regarding what is to happen to the funds credited to the deposit contributor in the event of his death. I should like to associate myself wholeheartedly with his suggestion. Of course, you cannot get the employer's contribution or the State contribution repaid to the widow or children after death, but I do think they should have the deposit contributor's own personal contribution, and that is justified by the fact that this is not an insurance Clause. There is absolutely no difference in the nature of this transaction so far as the deposit contributor is concerned and a transaction he might undertake if he laid down 4d. every week at the Post Office counter. He would get credit for that in the Post Office Savings Bank, and this transaction is precisely the same. He is putting money to account in his individual name, and if he draws from that deposit the amount withdrawn will be debited against him, and periodically lines are to be drawn across the ledger and certain balances are to be shown. That is not insurance, and therefore when the person dies it is unjust the State should forfeit the amount he has deposited just as it would be unjust for the State to forfeit on the occasion of my death any deposit I had made in the Post Office Savings Bank. If you insure with the State for sickness, and at the end of twenty years find you have never been sick you have no claim on the State for any money you have paid in, because you have been paid for your deposit by having certain risks covered. But these people are having no risks covered at all, they are simply told to set aside from their income a certain sum every week, because it may be wanted in certain contingencies. The State has simply been holding the stakes—it is not insurance at all. Therefore I should like to reinforce in every way I possibly can the suggestion made by the hon. Member opposite that that part of the money, at any rate, should be refunded.
912 Dealing generally with the Clause, I would like to suggest that Sub-section (d) is quite unnecessary. It surely might be left out. It is a Section which charges the deposit contributor with the costs of the local health committee. We must remember that the responsibility which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has to these men is to level down their risks and to put them on an equality with the average man. Consequently, if they can be relieved of any charges for administration, it is only fair that they should be. I admit that that brings in the insurance idea, and somewhat weakens my appeal on the same lines as that made by the hon. Gentleman opposite. But it is an exceedingly small thing, and I think it would be an improvement, having regard to the general spirit and intentions of this Bill. I agree with the Chancellor of the Exchequer our difficulty is that we cannot make this Clause dealing with the Post Office contributor a Clause of which we can be very proud. We are travelling over unknown country. The first thing we have to do is to map out the country and to survey it, so that we may precisely understand what is in it. I have the greatest pleasure, therefore, in supporting the Amendment, which limits the duration of the Clause and which will enable it later on to be built up on scientific lines.
It is admitted by everyone that this Clause does not contain any form of insurance, and that at the best it is only defended because no one has been able to find a better solution of the problem. The first question everyone asks is, What is the problem we are trying to deal with? The Chancellor of the Exchequer on two occasions has made somewhat different statements with regard to that problem. First he treated the deposit contributors as if they were an uninsurable proposition—as if they were houses on fire, which no one could expect him or any Government to find insurance for. To-day he has defended the Clause upon the ground that it is experimental, that it is a temporary expedient, that in a short time the ground will be explored and we shall be better informed and consequently in a better position to deal with the problem. Nevertheless he still relies on the ground that we cannot do anything better, and that this is an uninsurable proposition coming within the category of houses on fire. I submit to the 913 Committee that that is a misconception of the problem we have to deal with. The Bill itself provides in this Clause that those who being employed contributors do not join friendly societies are to come within its operation. We are not attempting to deal with those people who are so ill and stricken down that they cannot work. We are only attempting to deal with the employed contributor, and we proceed in this Clause to enact that he must have been employed, not necessarily continuously, and must have paid fifty-two weeks' contributions before he can receive any sickness benefit at all. We really ought to dismiss from our minds the class who are entirely uninsurable propositions, the class which the Chancellor of the Exchequer considers the equivalent of houses on fire. The Chancellor of the Exchequer referred to one other class. He spoke of girls in Wales going into service for two or three months in the year during the season. I do not think they will ever have any sickness benefit, or infirmity benefit, or maternity benefit, if they require it, under this scheme at all, because the utmost they will contribute for is two or three months, and their contributions for that period will not in any event amount to more than is required to give them medical, sanatorium and administration expenses during the year. I believe at a very low computation the expenses of medical benefit, sanatorium, and administration will, with the Government subsidy of 13s. a year from the Post Office contributor, to which ought to be added 2s. 6d. representing the two-ninths of the Government, represent a total cost of 13s. 6d. If these figures are correct, and I believe they are, none of those who are employed for the short periods like two or three months in the year will ever get any sickness benefit, and the utmost they will get will be medical attendance, really doubled in cost. I think we can dismiss, too, all the classes which the Chancellor of the Exchequer seems to think he was providing for under the Deposit Insurance Clause. He also thought that a number of societies would be glad to get a number of this class, because he pointed out that at the age of forty-five to fifty they were being presented with a reserve value of £8 13s. I think the Committee will be inclined to smile when they consider that statement. The £8 13s. is not an allowance for sickness, but an allowance for age, to be finally settled by the Insurance Commissioners (who, no doubt, will consult the actuaries), and based on the only form of 914 information we have, the Watson Tables of the Oddfellows. These are relatively the picked lives of the population who are in the friendly societies, and, based upon these picked lives, £8 13s. is sufficient to give an age reserve. But there is nothing over for an extra degree of sickness, which is to be attributed to a Post Office depositor, and consequently the Chancellor of the Exchequer either does not understand, which I am sure is not the case, the whole system of reserves, or else he has made a slip in thinking that the society could in that way be induced to take in this class.
There is a large number of people who will come in as deposit contributors. I believe they will be an intermediate class of people who, in the first instance, are not able to get into the friendly societies, not necessarily because they are permanently ill, and they would be the class who, either through early illness shortly after the Bill comes into force, are not able to continue with friendly societies, or who, through a period of prolonged unemployment of some kind or another, having once been in friendly societies, are forced out of them. That class probably will not be able to come back into the friendly societies, at any rate if they are over the age of thirty-five, or indeed any age over twenty or twenty-five, because they will go back at a rate for age contributions much more than is fixed by this Bill. That class will, in my view, come into the deposit contributors. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, while realising the difficulty, put the proposition in this way; we have either got to work through the friendly societies, or we have not got to work through the friendly societies. In friendly societies, of course, I include trade unions. If we work through them, then there must be a residue who are not taken into the friendly societies. So long as we give the friendly societies a right of rejection there must be a residue, and that residue must form the Post Office class. In answer to that I say, it must form a Post Office class as the Bill is drawn, because the Bill is based on a fundamental error. The hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald) has got the point. He realises that the Bill is grouping together some of the better risks in one set of societies, and is leaving the worse risks for the deposit contributor class. He has suggested that part of the surplus coming from the better risks should be paid over to the relief of 915 the worse risks. That is a clumsy way of meeting the difficulty created by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which never need have been created.
I propose to show—because the Bill cannot remain as it is at present—how it has been a self-created difficulty, which, if the Government had paid a little more attention to the Amendments in the earlier days, might have been altogether avoided. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has been very nice in what he said about an Amendment I put down in July, but he misunderstood it, and rejected it. I will deal with that because it will show how that particular difficulty could have been avoided, and how it still can be avoided at any time before the Bill is passed into law. At the same time I must say that if it is passed on the basis it has now, it never can be remedied in a thoroughly logical way. In July I put down an Amendment which had for its object this: there are two funds, the 4d., contributed by the workman, and the 5d., contributed by the employer and the State. I am going to call it 5d., although it is not actually 5d., for the purpose of illustration. The workman has a right, in my view, to have the control of his 4d., his share of the fund, and he ought to take a proportionate part of the risks that are put on his society for the 4d. that he gets. With regard to the 5d. which the State and the employer find, the State has the right to say what it will do with it. It has not, in my view, the right to say what it will do with the 4d., but it has the right to say what it will do with the 5d. It can put it into a central fund, and out of that central fund pay a proportionate amount of the benefits. If that were done the whole of the risks would be spread over the central fund, and there would be no deposit contributor class created at all. The reason why the deposit contributor class is created is that you let the societies choose their risks, and it is the residue that goes into a deposit contributor class. The societies would have the workman's 4d. in their coffers, and they would have to pay out of that about one-third of the benefits. There would be a considerable margin. They would be entitled to that margin. The 5d. paid by the State and the employer represents about two-thirds of the risk. I say let the State pay the two-thirds of the risks to everybody, and let the societies have the 4d. and pay one-third, and let them make what profit they can out of good management. If they manage well they will have 916 considerable profit out of the 4d. The fundamental error here is that you are making not a central fund, worked through the societies, but that you are making each separate society practically a separate fund. The Chancellor af the Exchequer's suggestion to it was that my proposal was to make all deposit contributors insure each other. It was nothing of the sort. It was intended to give a wider basis of risks. When it was proposed in July, the Chancellor of the Exchequer rose on a point of Order, and said:—On a point of Order, it seems to me the hon. Gentleman is advocating a completely different scheme. With all respect, I submit that ought to have been raised on the Debate on the Second Reading. His scheme completely alters the Bill, and it would make it a different, proposal altogether, and I think that ought to be raised by an Amendment on the Second Heading. I do not see how it is possible to put forward an alternative scheme in that way.I pointed out that the actuaries' report had been issued only twenty-four hours before the Second Reading, and that it was quite impossible for anyone, however hard they chose to work at it, to produce an alternative scheme in time for the Second Heading. To-day the right hon. Gentleman dealt with it somewhat differently. He said he would give it consideration, but he did not understand it. To use his own words he said it was mutual insurance, that the halt and the blind were to insure each other in the Post Office. That was not my proposal. My proposal was to spread the risk wider than it has been done by this Bill. The Post Office contributors could have been dealt with by the local health committees, each society taking 4d. of the workmen, and they would have been supported by the central fund, paying two-thirds of the risk against the 5d. of the employer and the State. You would then have had all the friendly societies' co-operation, just as you have it now, but you would have had a basis of all the societies resting on the central fund. You would have had no need then to trouble about complicated Clauses dealing with surpluses, or deficiencies, or their grouping of friendly societies, but you would have had them all resting on the central fund, taking in exchange the employers' and the State contribution. The Chancellor of the Exchequer might have asked me whether I could have recommended that to the friendly societies. Let me anticipate that objection. What the friendly societies wanted was to be left alone. They would have been allowed then to have had their 4d. from their members' contributions, and that could have been done easily. They 917 would have had something more than that. They would have had the employers' contribution and the State contribution paying two-thirds of the minimum benefit. You would not then be under half the restrictions, half the red-tape regulations which are going to strangle the friendly societies under the Bill as it stands now. You would have been able to give them ever so much more freedom, because they were only taking a relatively small portion of the State risk; and you knew in your own central fund, which you could have managed centrally and much more cheaply, you would have had the means of paying two-thirds of the benefit. I am afraid, that Amendment having first of all been ruled out at the instance of the Chancellor in July, and having been to-day again refused, I cannot justly ask the Committee to further consider it, but I thank the Committee for having allowed me, at any rate, to put it before them. We cannot possibly allow this Clause to rest on the Statute Book, and before long one party or the other will have to take some steps to put it right.
There is one other thing I should like to call attention to, and that is the financial position of the deposit contributors' class, because if the Committee is going to consider what ought to be done with regard to the deposit contributors they ought to understand first what this present scheme is going to cost the Government, and then they ought to see whether there is any other way in which that money could be better applied. To start with, I have endeavoured, by questioning the Chancellor, to find out how much the Government imagines the two-ninths of the benefits which they are going to give to the deposit contributors are actually going to cost. The actuaries have given up the problem. They say in their Table X, page 27, that no allowance has been made for the deposit contributors, but you can get at a figure of possible cost, at any rate, in this way. If you calculate that all the contributions paid in by the workmen and the employer are in one way or another absorbed each year—they will not be absorbed each year entirely, but the bulk of them will be—the contribution which will fall to be paid by the Government is £367,000. In addition to that, there will be an enormous expense, which, to some extent at any rate, will fall on the Government, because the whole of the central expenditure will be a Government expenditure and not an expenditure 918 out of the deposit contributors' funds. There will have to be, as far as I can gather, individual accounts with each depositor contributor kept at the head office. I should like to know from the Attorney-General if he knows whether that is right or not. It is extremely difficult to say. There will have to be an individual account with each deposit contributor kept locally; that is clear. Will there have to be a duplicate of that—an individual account—kept at the head office? I do not see how the machinery of the Bill will work unless that is done. The Attorney-General thinks there will; I think there will too. The actuaries think that there will be 882,000 deposit contributors' accounts. I ask the Committee to bear in mind that besides the two-ninths of the benefit, which on the method I have described comes to £367,000, there will be an expenditure on the part of the Government in keeping individual accounts for 882,000 deposit contributors at their head office, besides the local expenditure on the individual accounts and the health societies, which will have to come on the health societies funds.
In addition to that, the Government is proposing to pay, if the local authorities agree, one-half of the additional medical cost and one-half of the extended sanatorium cost. I do not think it is possible to make any forecast of what that will amount to, but it seems to me that this imperfect scheme, this scheme which is not insurance at all, may easily cost the Government something like £500,000 a year to look after 882,000 people. It seems to me that that is a most wasteful method of dealing with a large sum like that, and if the Chancellor had gone to Germany, which he is so constantly calling upon us to admire, he might have found a method much more in keeping with the proposal which was contained in my Amendment. In Germany there are parochial authorities, and they have funds which are a rather separate class of insurance from the general German insurance scheme, and there they can and do give benefits proportionate to wages for a very much lower sum—a lower total contribution than the Government, the employer and the workman will together pay in connection with this deposit insurance—and the Germans have managed to cover all classes of lives because there is no residue of deposit contributors in Germany. The only residue at all is that which we should never pick up, and which is bound to fall 919 upon our Poor Law under whatever scheme we may bring in. The friendly societies, so far as they exist, are working the scheme in Germany, I believe, and where friendly societies have not covered the ground the parochial societies formed by the parochial authorities have come in to supplement their efforts, and broadly that is very much what I am suggesting. Where the friendly society or the trade union will not take a man in because of his health the local health committee should be called upon to form some sort of society and give an insurance benefit, although a reduced benefit. I am dissatisfied with this Clause, even as amended. The Amendment is good to this extent, that it calls upon the House to look at this question again at an early date, but the scheme is so bad as it stands that I, for one, should vote against it even as it is amended.
Mr. CATHCART WASON
There is an aspect of the deposit contributors to which I invite the attention of the Attorney-General. The deposit contributor in the Highlands of Scotland will fare rather badly under the provisions of this Bill because, although they will pay their contribution weekly, they will not in many cases be able to derive any medical benefit whatever from the proposals of the Government, through no fault of the Bill, but simply because of the possibility of getting medical officers at anything like the rate provided for under the Bill. There will be a numerous class of persons of that sort and they will feel it some hardship. I understand the Government have made some little provision for the class of persons in Amendments which appear today on the White Paper with regard to the pooling of county funds. That will be a very inadequate contribution towards those persons. Then, too, with regard to the deposit contributors in the Highlands and islands, there are large numbers of persons who are only employed during a very short period of the year, perhaps two or three months. That is very common in my own Constituency and in Argyllshire. People go away from their homes to work in Glasgow or elsewhere for a certain time of the year and then go back. They are not at all indigent persons in any sense of the word. They are certainly very poor, but, at the same time, they are careful, and I think they would be very thankful if they could come in as voluntary contributors after having paid up as Post Office con- 920 tributors. The deposit contributor, if he can get taken in by an approved society, can cease to become a deposit contributor, and there is provision in the Bill for the transfer of a voluntary contributor to a member of an approved society and vice versa; but as far as I can see, and I am assured on very good authority, there is no possibility under the Bill as it stands of a deposit contributor being allowed to come in as a voluntary contributor on payment of the whole 7d. a week which the voluntary contributor has to pay. That will be an exceedingly reasonable thing for the Government to agree to, though it certainly would be a very heavy tax on the resources of these poor persons, bin in view of the benefits they would get under the Bill I think many of them would be exceedingly glad to pay up the full amount which will be exacted from the voluntary contributors. Their position as it stands now is not very enviable under the Bill. They cannot get that medical attendance which persons living near cities and towns can get. The Government ought to do everything in their power, and I trust the Attorney-General will give us some little hope with regard to this matter. The hon. Member for Staffordshire to-day asked a question in which he assumed that the deposit contributor could become a voluntary contributor. I asked a supplementary to that question, but, on the suggestion of the Speaker, I brought it up again here, and I trust it will receive that consideration from the Government which I am sure it is entitled to.
§ Sir ALFRED CRIPPS
I entirely agree with what was said by the hon. Member (Mr. Worthington-Evans) that the difficulties in which we are now immersed as regard the Post Office depositor really arise, because the whole framework of the Bill is faulty. The real principle is to leave the friendly societies a free hand in dealing with their own funds and then, as regards funds which come in outside the friendly societies altogether, they should be carried into a common central fund and distributed in favour of assurees whether they happen to be members of friendly societies or not. If a scheme of that kind had been adopted the difficulty in which the Committee now stands would not have arisen. But I want to take the other point of view. We have for the moment to take the Bill as it is, and then we have to deal with the proposals made as regards the Post Office depositor. These 921 proposals are pitiably mean at the present time. They constitute a code which, so far as the Post Office depositor is concerned, is a code we ought never to have sanctioned, because it treats them in an unfair way as compared with the other depositors who happen to be members cither of friendly societies or of trade unions. I listened carefully to what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said in his eloquent address, but he did not in any part of it deal with the real practical difficulties of the case. Take the proposal as it stands, and I will add to it the suggestion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Are they proposals which we can fairly offer to the poor Post Office contributors—the very poorest of the poor, although I admit other classes come in? I think the fundamental mistake is this. We introduce into an Insurance Bill proposals as regards the Post Office contributor which are not insurance proposals at all. Of course, the essence of an Insurance proposal is that a large number of people contribute to a common fund, and that common fund is liable to be drawn upon in respect of each contributor. That is the essence of insurance, and, so far as the Post Office contributor is concerned, he is not placed in that position at all. He is placed in the position that he is bound to contribute. That is a new liability placed upon him, but he does not get any recompense for that—any of the advantages which he ought to get under a national insurance scheme.
Let me take an illustration. I do not say that it applies generally. I take the case of a man who is earning low wages, and who at the same time is unfortunately suffering from bad conditions as regards health. What is his position? Under this scheme he will practically get little or no benefit at all. He will have no recourse except against the fund to which he contributes, and to which something is added by the State and the employer. He has no recourse against the fund contributed by any other body whatever. Therefore his position is that if he is ill he can only apply to the fund to which he is a compulsory contributor. He has no benefit whatever under the scheme of insurance of any sort or kind. I am perfectly sure there is no answer to that proposition. It is not an insurance scheme, and I think it is a monstrous injustice when you come to that class of contributor that you deprive him of the whole benefits given to those who come into the scheme by means of friendly societies or trade unions. What is the 922 result of that? This poor man is ill, and he is only in a position to get from the fund to which he has contributed. That fund soon comes to an end. What is his position then? What comes of what the Chancellor of the Exchequer told us as regards national insurance and matters of that kind? That man is immediately brought to the level of a workhouse pauper. There is nothing between him and the position of a workhouse pauper, because where you have real insurance a person who is in distress or ill gets advantage of the fund brought in by his more fortunate neighbours. The Post Office contributor is absolutely deprived of that position, and it is a mockery to say that you are bringing him into an insurance scheme. You do nothing of the kind. You make him, on the one hand, contribute under a compulsory system, and on the other hand you deprive him of the advantages of the insurance scheme altogether.
Let me refer to what was said by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. As the Bill stands, although the man's fund may have run out, he gets the advantage of medical attendance and sanatorium benefit until the expiration of the then current year. The then current year may be only a week or a little longer time, but that is all he gets. The Chancellor of the Exchequer says, "I will extend that at the discretion of the health committee," but the Amendment which stands in the right hon. Gentleman's name does not do that. He says the man is only to have that advantage if the committee have funds available for the purpose. Of course, they will not have funds available if they administer their financial position properly. I have another remark in regard to what was said by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I was a very strong opponent of putting any portion of the expense of this Bill on the rates at all, whether by compulsion or in a voluntary way, and I suggested that in matters of this kind, if you are really going to give assistance, it ought to be a charge upon the National Exchequer. No private Member in this House can introduce an Amendment of that kind. But when we were discussing the question, and when many of us objected to any charge on the rates at all, the Chancellor of the Exchequer refused to listen to the claims we made. He refused to put this as a charge upon the National Exchequer. If he had done that, then his Amendment might be of value, but as it stands it is of no value at all, because he cannot guarantee 923 under the terms of the Bill that there will ever be funds available in order to extend the benefits of this poor Post Office contributor.
I do not want to go into the principle of the matter, but I want to say something about paragraph (g), which says, "The amount standing in the Post Office fund to the credit of any deposit contributor shall, upon his dying, be forfeited." I say that is nothing more nor less than monstrous robbery and confiscation. Remember we are not dealing with insurance. What does the Chancellor of the Exchequer say? He says, "I put that in"—the sanction of robbery and confiscation—"because the friendly societies desire it." I think I am putting that quite fairly. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] At any rate, he brought it in on account of the attitude of the friendly societies. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I do not wish to be unfair. You are comparing entirely dissimilar matters. The members of friendly societies have insurance, but here in the case of the Post Office contributors you are not dealing with an insurance fund at all. You are dealing with a fund provided by the individual, and it is only to that fund the individual can have recourse if he is ill or desires sickness benefit. It cannot be controverted that the Post Office contributor has no benefit from the principle of insurance at all—absolutely none from beginning to end.
Mr. J. W. WILSON
What becomes of those balances the hon. Member is finding fault with is that they are retained in the general fund rather than repaid to the depositors, and therefore to that extent the Post Office contributor benefits.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
It is really not an insurance fund at all. I thought this was common ground. An insurance fund means that people contribute to a common fund and have a claim against that fund. So far as the Post Office contributor is concerned, he only has a claim against a fund to which he individually has contributed. That is the essential difference between the two cases. You cannot gloss that over. There might be £10,000 standing at the credit of those poor Post Office depositors. They would not get the benefit of a penny of that. I am glad the hon. Gentleman opposite has called attention to this matter. It cannot be done, in spite of what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said. The right hon. Gentleman 924 never touched upon this point. The Post Office contributor is deprived of the whole benefit he might get from an insurance fund. He simply has to make a compulsory contribution on the one hand, and he does not get the benefit of insurance on the other. I want to refer to the case of a class I am very much interested in, namely, the agricultural labourers. Agricultural labourers are healthy men, and in many cases they will never make any claim against the fund at all. Perhaps for fifty years he has been making a compulsory contribution of 4d. a week, and, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer very well pointed out, that would become something like £100, which he has saved out of his wages under this system of compulsory contribution. When that man dies, what possible claim can there be that the fund should be confiscated? Supposing he had put 4d. a week into the Post Office Savings Bank the money would be there. If he has made no claim against the fund, I say it is nothing but robbery and confiscation to deprive that poor man of the fund which he has accumulated, and to which he has been bound to contribute. You call that an insurance fund. The more one thinks of it the more unjust it seems.
I hope the Committee will never consent to a proposal of this kind. That will not encourage thrift or anything of that nature. Where a man has contributed out of his own money, and where the money is still standing to his credit, I say it is nothing but robbery and confiscation if at his death that fund is forfeited. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] I want to use terms which will be understood. What else is there? You compel a man to contribute 4d. a week to the fund. I am only dealing with the contribution of the man, and not the contributions of the employer and the State. You compel him to contribute that amount, say, for fifty years, and he never had the benefit of a farthing out of the fund during that period, because he has been a good life and has never been ill. To whom does that money belong? It belongs to the man who made it, and it ought to inure to his benefit or the benefit of his children. I cannot see any principle upon which you can justify the confiscation of that money. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about friendly societies?"] In the first place, in friendly societies, you have the principle of insurance, and that is entirely different; and, secondly, I can tell the hon. Member that there are two friendly societies of which I am a member—one a Holloway society and the other a 925 society in my own agricultural district—in which that is not done. There is a difference. I hope the Committee will understand that when a member joins a society it is a matter of voluntary bargain. He may bargain to have the amount restored at his death, or he may say, "I will rather forfeit the amount at death, and have larger benefit while a member." This is an entirely different transaction. You are bound under the deposit scheme to make a contribution by law, and having made it for a series of years, the fund is standing to your credit, and yet at your death you or your descendants are deprived of the advantage of it. What possible justification is there for that? I hope the Committee will never make the mistake of supposing that the position of the Post Office contributor is in any way analogous to that of a member of a friendly society. If he is to be put in the same position, let him take the same risks and get the same advantages. You are making the Post Office contributor pay money out of his own pocket, whether he wills it or not, and after paying for fifty years the fund to his credit is forfeited. I call that nothing more nor less than State robbery.
I rise to a point of Order. We have been told at least four times by the hon. Gentleman that this is State robbery and confiscation. Is he not contravening the rule against needless repetition?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I would ask the hon. Member not to repeat. I will have a careful watch on that point.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
I am sorry the hon. Member opposite is so sensitive on a point of this kind, but to my mind it is an extremely important one. It is a point which has been brought to my notice through having to deal with societies in the agricultural districts. The attack made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer upon the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hanover Square was wholly unjustified if one looks at what is said here. These so-called administration expenses are thrown upon the fund of the Post Office depositor, subject to the exception of those portions of it which are made payable out of moneys provided by Parliament. Those portions are quite infinitesimal, and in substance the whole of the administration has to be paid out of the contributions paid by the Post Office contributors. When you make a man contribute under compulsion and give him no advantage 926 under an insurance scheme you ought at least to provide that the money he so gives is not dissipated or wasted in a way which, gives him no benefit and which he does not desire. If you are to have this distinction, which, I agree with the hon. Member for Colchester, is a most unfortunate one, we ought to make certain in this House that the Post Office contributor is not unduly burdened as regards contributions paid and is not deprived of benefits because he happens to be a member neither of a friendly society nor of a trade union.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The general discussion has now gone on for six and a-half hours, and I would suggest to the Committee that it might be time to approach the Amendment. The speech of the hon. and learned Member who spoke last was directed largely to an Amendment which is on the Paper, which could be discussed when it is reached. I hope that hon. Members will be agreeable shortly to take the Amendments on the Paper.
§ Mr. AMERY
I think my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester went to the root of the matter by pointing out that this is a self-created difficulty, created entirely by the peculiar way in which the financial framework of the Bill has been handled. It is due to three or four factors. First, the State contribution instead of being a flat rate is given in the form of proportional contributions, will make a cumulative addition to the benefits for the future, and therefore accentuates acutely the competition among societies for the selection of lives for the forcing up of benefits at the earliest date possible. Then the scheme of rejuvenation of age values undoubtedly puts certain societies in a very good position, and gives them an initial advantage. It puts them into the position of being able at a later date to get an undue share of the two-ninths. Further, as my hon. Friend explained, the reserve values scheme does naturally encourage societies to reject all older men with regard to whom their individual liability is liable to exceed the average liability expressed by the reserve value. Still further, the shortness of the period within which the loan is redeemed, by taking money out of the approved societies and lowering initial benefits, does undoubtedly lower the general amount of original contribution to benefits, though it means a larger contribution afterwards. All these factors accentuate enormously the competition, the result of 927 which is the residuum of deposit contributors. I think the fact that the position of deposit contributors is so unsatisfactory in itself accentuates the competition.
I agree with the conclusion of the right hon. Member for Spen Valley Division (Sir T. Whittaker) that if you gave a somewhat better benefit to deposit contributors, a tolerable form of insurance, larger numbers of people would join, and on that basis they would form an insurable proposition. I believe that even on the present basis, these people are an insurable proposition, but not for the benefits which this Bill pretends to give. You need not pretend to give them 10s. a week for sickness; yon need not pretend to give them maternity benefits which they will hardly ever draw. You could give them some moderate benefits which would be a real insurance. This Bill professes to give sick insurance. I think the Committee are agreed that as regards sick benefit they will not be insured. Take maternity benefits: It requires fourteen months' contribution with complete employment the whole time and not a single week's sickness to be able to get maternity benefit. Take disablement. Benefit begins after six months' sickness. I have reckoned up that a contributor who contributes for seven-and-a-half years without being unemployed for a single week or drawing sickness or maternity benefit for a single week would be entitled to one week's disablement benefit. But the great majority of these people the Committee will agree are people in indifferent health. They are people who are likely to draw out two or three weeks' sickness at least in the year. By a further calculation I find that the man who draws sickness benefit for two weeks in the year on an average, and on two occasions draws maternity benefit, would have to wait for thirty-nine years before getting one week's disablement benefit. I have further tried to calculate what is the maximum number of weeks' disablement benefit that a deposit contributor could get. If he began at the age of fourteen and drew on the average two weeks' sick benefit in the year and maternity benefit on three occasions the maximum disablement benefit that he could possibly draw if he contributed for fifty-six years would be one month.
I think that these figures are very striking, and indicate that what is wrong with this Clause is not that it does not do something for these people, but 928 that because of the need of pretending that you are doing more than you are doing, you are not treating these people as well as you might treat them. The fact is obvious from the very way in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has kept this deposit scheme in the background. A little while ago he went out of his way to make a wholly unnecessary attack on my right hon. Friend on the ground of misrepresentation on this very point about the Post Office contributors. May I remind the Committee that in the speech already alluded to, which extended to six and a-half columns, there was not a single reference to the deposit contributors. That speech fell into two parts. In three columns he said, "I am dealing with the people who are not in friendly societies," and in the rest he dealt with the people who are. There must have been hundreds of people in that audience who would fall into the ranks of deposit contributors. During these three columns of reference to people not in friendly societies there was not even a single suggestion that any one of them would do anything else but come into approved societies and get those benefits, and there were concrete instances where the Chancellor of the Exchequer did suggest that people who would evidently fall into the deposit contributors' scheme would have got the benefit not of that scheme, but of the approved society scheme. He gave the case of a family of three men—a father and two sons—who were unemployed for years, permanently broken in health and owing a large sum, £87, to the doctor, and he suggested that under the Bill those three people would each get 10s. a week. It is perfectly obvious that they would not. They would be deposit contributors with 10s. a week for two and a-half weeks, and afterwards they would get nothing.
In the same way he referred to consumptives with their wives and families getting 10s. a week. But the bulk of the consumptives would be deposit contributors, and they would only get the 10s. for two and a-half weeks. Take the concessions just made. The medical benefit is to be extended beyond the end of the current year. The sickness benefit is not extended. A man falls ill in January. In three weeks his sickness benefit is out. He may run on for a month. When eventually he goes into the workhouse he gets treated by the workhouse doctor. Extra medical benefit is purely superfluous in his case. Taking the sanatorium benefit, it is by 929 no means certain that the health committee who have got responsibilities to the approved societies in respect of medical sanatorium benefits, as well as to deposit contributors, will be in a position to claim extra money from the rates and State for thorn, and even so it does not meet the case of the wives and families. The position of this Clause is entirely unsatisfactory, for reasons which are wholly unnecessary. It would have been possible to frame a scheme which, without pretending to give the same benefits to everybody, would have found some form of insurance for everybody. As my hon. Friend the Member for Sevenoaks (Mr. Forster) suggests, if you had attempted to classify consumptives and people with certain diseases and segregate them, you might have got conclusions of some value from the point of view of social science; but the hotch-potch way in which you lump all classes together cannot be defended even from the point of view of scientific investigation. If the Chancellor's Clause is carried I trust that it will not be long before both the Clause and the thoroughly unsound financial arrangement on which the Bill is based will be materially altered.
Mr. J. W. WILSON
I am glad that the Government is accepting this Amendment with regard to limitations of the time, because I think if it shows nothing else it will tend to show many of the critics of the Bill, especially those who have spoken this afternoon, including the last two speakers, that there is an element of insurance in this Clause. They start with the proposition that there is no element of insurance in the Clause. The fact is that there is. Paragraph (g) is strongly criticised, because when a man dies he is not able to have his deposits back. They must go somewhere. Sub-section (2) of this same Clause provides for a triennial valuation for carrying the excess surplus to the credit of all deposit insurances under our system. We are told it is estimated at between 800,000 or 1,000,000. Why then, I ask the Committee, is this not a system of insurance? The two chief things which have been criticised this afternoon are that it is simply deposit and not insurance, and, in the second place, injustice and robbery and other very strong words have been used with regard to Sub-section (g), because the depositor is not allowed to draw out the sums, and that when a man dies, not having exhausted his deposits, they are carried into the general surplus and re-assessed among 930 all the other depositors who are living. Is not that insurance? I really think that we have had some very strong expressions, and I hope that before the question comes up for revision in three years' time those criticisms will have disappeared.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I think that to call this insurance is really to mock the poor people who come into it. There is an element, as the Chancellor said, of tontine insurance in it. I admit the survivor is to have the benefit of any-thing that stands to the credit of those who have died. I venture to say that there is no form of insurance so universally unpopular to members of the working classes as tontine insurance. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] None. Anybody who knows about the early stages of old age pensions is aware that the proposal to put it on a contributory basis, and that any balance left by a man who died without having received benefit was to be distributed among the survivors, met with universal opposition. That is not the best form of insurance—
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
Having regard to the fact that you are not offering these men a choice, but are forcing this provision upon them, it is not a fair thing that you should include in the Bill that there is only to be this choice open to them.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
May I suggest that it is about time this discussion on the Amendment, which was only sanctioned to meet a general desire for a Debate on the whole Clause, should come to an end? There has been a very wide discussion; as a matter of fact, hon. Members have gone beyond the Clause, and have debated the Bill over and over. I think it is not an unreasonable request that this Debate should now come to an end and that we should proceed to the consideration of the various Amendments.
§ Mr. HUNT
I really do not see why people who have been waiting here yesterday and to-day should be prevented from speaking on this Amendment. Of course if you, Sir, think that the Debate ought to stop now, I will sit down; but there are other Members who desire to speak, and this is their only opportunity.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I suggested half an hour ago that in my opinion the opportunity for the Debate had been used, and 931 well used. I see no reason why the hon. Member, when we come to the question, "That the Clause as amended stand part of the Bill," should not be able to say something.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ The CHAIRMAN
According to what I said at the beginning of the discussion of this Clause, I propose that the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) should take the decision of the Committee on his Amendment, with its consequential Amendment. In undertaking to put his alternative scheme, it must be understood that, having had wide liberty of discussion already, we cannot have a fresh discussion.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Does that mean, Sir, that you would rather I made no remarks at all in submitting my Amendment?
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I beg to move, in Subsection (1), to leave out the word "deposit" ["in this Act referred to as deposit contributors"] and to insert instead thereof the word "non-society."
I move the Amendment for the purpose of submitting a further Amendment which appears on the Paper. There are only three things which I wish to say. It was remarked yesterday that this proposition of mine only means a kind of qualified Poor Law relief. But that is on the assumption that the people whom I propose that the health committee should take charge of are going to get something entirely for nothing. I intend to call the attention of the Committee, however, to the fact that these people will be contributing, and this proposal is no more in the nature of Poor Law relief than the proposition to give sanatorium benefit or any of the other concessions of which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has spoken to-day. My second point is, that although I have been dubbed a very unpractical person in making the observations I have made in Committee on this matter, yet I submit that, unless the Committee could have adopted some such proposition as that of the hon. Member for Colchester, there is no way by which you can insure that the sick people of this country shall have, adequate treatment at the time they need it except on some such basis as I now put before the Committee. My proposal means simply that the local health authority must provide in some way 932 or other for the persons who are sick, and must provide, what is of infinite importance, money for them during the period of sickness. You may send a man to a sanatorium, but if he has no money at home, it is quite hopeless to expect him to go and stay there unless you keep him there. The last point is that under the deposit scheme, as I understand it, there may be periods when maternity benefits will not be available. I contend myself that the one thing in this country women are entitled to is treatment at the time of maternity—treatment and nursing generally are what they need. These are the reasons why I put this Amendment on the Paper in the form in which it appears. It is really on all fours with the medical evidence laid before the Poor Law Commission, and practically with what the Majority and Minority proposed, namely, that you should give treatment, and settle any other question afterwards.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The next Amendment in order is in the name of the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Booth).
§ Mr. CASSEL
I beg to move, in Subsection (1), to leave out the words "being employed contributors" ["who, being employed contributors, have not joined an approved society."]
The object of the Amendment is this:—As the Bill is drawn the only persons who can become Post Office contributors are employed persons, persons employed within the meaning of the Act. There are certain voluntary contributors who might like to become Post Office contributors. I do not think there will be many of them, but there are some, and the people I have in my mind are the blind. It is the universal practice of friendly societies to reject the blind. They never admit the blind as members of friendly societies. With regard to the blind, as a rule such employment as they get is not of such a character as to be employment within the meaning of this Bill. They are engaged generally on very small jobs.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I have an Amendment immediately following of wider scope. In any case, it is conceivable that persons may seek to be members of an approved society without having been expelled or having resigned.
§ Amendment agreed to.934
§ the words "joined another approved society," to insert the words—
§ "(a) Every local health committee shall as soon as may be after the passing of this Act form a society (in this Act referred to as 'a health society') for the insurance of insured persons under this part of this Act, not being members of an approved society who are resident within the area of such local health committee."
§ This is one of the Amendments leading to a series of Amendments relating to the creation of health committees, which, I regret to say, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not been able to see his way to accept. I propose to move it formally, and to ask the Committee to divide upon it.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 123; Noes, 243.935
|Division No. 359.]||AYES.||[7.2 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Craik, Sir Henry||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Cripps, Sir C. A.||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Dalrymple, Viscount||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Dalziel, D. (Brixton)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (Hanover Sq.)|
|Astor, Waldorf||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Macmaster, Donald|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Dixon, C. H.||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine)|
|Baird, J. L.||Duke, Henry Edward||Malcolm, Ian|
|Balcarres, Lord||Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Middlemore, John Throgmorton|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Falle, B. G.||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Fell, Arthur||Mount, William Arthur|
|Barnston, Harry||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Neville, Reginald J. N.|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.)||Fitzrey, Hon. E. A.||Newman, John R. P.|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilton)||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Forster, Henry William||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Foster, Philip Staveley||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Gardner, Ernest||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Goldman, C. S.||Pole-Carew, Sir R.|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Bigland, Alfred||Grant, J. A.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Bird, Alfred||Gretton, John||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Boyle, W. L. (Norfolk, Mid)||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Boyton, James||Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Harris, Henry Percy||Stewart, Gershom|
|Bull, Sir William James||Henderson, Major H. (Berks)||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, N.)|
|Burn, Col. C. R.||Hills, J. W.||Swift, Rigby|
|Butcher, J. G.||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hoare, S. J. G.||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Cassel, Felix||Hohler, G. F.||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Cator, John||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Cautley, H. S.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Warde, Colonel C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Cave, George||Hume-Williams, W. E.||Weigall, Captain A. G.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Hunt, Rowland||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Ingleby, Holcombe||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Clay, Capt. H. H. Spender||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Clyde, James Avon||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Larmor, Sir J.|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lloyd, G. A.||Mr. Worthington-Evans and Sir R. Baker.|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Armitage, R.||Beauchamp, Sir Edward|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Beck, Arthur Cecil|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)|
|Bentham, G. J.||Haworth, Sir Arthur A.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Bethell, Sir J. H.||Hayden, John Patrick||Palmer, Godfrey M.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Hayward, Evan||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Henry, Sir Charles S.||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Higham, John Sharp||Pirle, Duncan V.|
|Brace, William||Hinds, John||Pointer, Joseph|
|Brady, J. P.||Hodge, John||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Holt, Richard Durning||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Brunner, J. F. L.||Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Hunter, Win. (Lanark, Govan)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)||John, Edward Thomas||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar)||Johnson, William||Radford, George Heynes|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Cameron, Robert||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Reddy, Michael|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Jowett, F. W.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Clough, William||Joyce, Michael||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Keating, M.||Robinson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Kelly, Edward||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||King, Joseph (Somerset, North)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lambert, George (Devon, Molton)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Lansbury, George||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Leach, Charles||Rowlands, James|
|Crumley, Patrick||Levy, Sir Maurice||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Lewis, John Herbert||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Lundon, Thomas||Scanlan, Thomas|
|De Forest, Baron||Lyell, Charles Henry||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Sheehy, David|
|Donelan, Captain Anthony Charles||McGhee, Richard||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Doris, W.||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Duffy, William J.||Macpherson, James Ian||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||M'Callum, John M.||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||M'Curdy, C. A.||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Summers, James Woolley|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||M'Laren, F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Tennant, Harold John|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Thomas, J. H. (Derby)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Falconer, J.||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Masterman, C. F. G.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Meagher, Michael||Ure, Rt. Hon Alexander|
|Ffrench, Peter||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Menzies, Sir Walter||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|France, G. A.||Millar, James Duncan||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Georqe, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Molteno, Percy Alport||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Gibson, Sir James P.||Mond, Sir Alfred M.||Wardle, George J.|
|Gill, A. H.||Mooney, J. J.||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Morgan, George Hay||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Glanville, Harold James||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Watt, Henry A.|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Munro, Robert||Webb, H.|
|Greig, Col. J. W.||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Needham, Christopher T.||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Hackett, John||Nolan, Joseph||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Norton, Capt. Cecil W.||Williams, J.,(Glamorgan)|
|Hardie, J. Keir||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)||Nuttall, Harry||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Harwood, George||O'Dowd, John||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||O'Grady, James|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||O'Malley, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
§ Mr. CASSEL
had given notice of the following Amendment to move to insert at the end of paragraph (a) the words "and there shall be credited to every de- 936 posit contributor in addition to his contributions compound interest at the rate of 3 per cent. per annum on the balance for the time being standing to his credit."
§ Mr. CASSEL
The object of it is to ensure that each man shall get a proper proportion of interest credited in respect of his share. It is simply a question of dealing with the available fund, as, I assume, the Insurance Commissioners will invest the money. It is really only a question of apportionment, and I am not concerned with the precise words.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think I understand exactly what the hon. Member has said. I have examined the proposed Amendment most carefully, and it seems to me that it cannot be brought within the ambit of the Money Resolutions which the Committee have passed. It is clear that the interest on the general fund might be required to meet liabilities—for instance, for sick pay—and the proposal might involve an increased charge. On those grounds I am not able to accept it.
§ Mr. CASSEL
May I move the Amendment limiting it to any surplus which is available. I do it really for the purpose of pointing out what is an injustice which is not intended but created under the Bill. I am not likely to get an opportunity of doing so on the Motion that the Clause stand part of the Bill.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I think I can set the hon. Gentleman's mind at rest. Whatever interest will result from the investments of the money the deposit contributor will get. They cannot debit it every day, but the hon. Gentleman goes beyond that, and his proposal is obviously out of order, as it involves an additional charge, but the interest will go to the fund.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
That is the point of my hon. Friend's Amendment, and clearly it cannot be out of order if, as the Chancellor says, it is already in the Bill. Will the Chancellor say where in the Bill it is provided that the deposit contributor shall have the benefit to his own account of the interest earned by that account? I venture to suggest that the words of my hon. and learned Friend are required in order to carry out the expressed intention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ Mr. CASSEL
Will it be possible for me to move an Amendment with the limiting words, "so far as any surplus arising under Sub-section (2) allows"?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I really could not, allow that without having seen it previously. At first sight I think it is covered by my other ruling. I have given most careful consideration over two days to the hon. Member's proposal. I must be bound by the rules of the House, and I have come to the conclusion that the Amendment is out of order.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
I beg to move, in paragragh (b), to leave out the words "until the expiration of the then current year," and to insert instead thereof the words, "for a further period of twelve months." This is the most extraordinarily drafted Clause I have ever read.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
May I interrupt the hon. Member? I am afraid that if this Amendment is negatived it may rule out my subsequent proposal that the local health committees should allow the medical benefits after the expiration of the year without any limit at all.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
I think that mine is a better Amendment than that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer; therefore I will move it, and if the right hon. Gentleman convinces me that his proposal is better than mine I will withdraw it. The position is really absurd. The man loses his right to medical and sanatorium benefits after the expiration of the then current year. If he fell out of the scheme in January he would continue to get medical benefit for eleven months; but if he fell out at the end of December he would get it for only a few days. Who the author of this extraordinary provision was I do not know; but it suggests that the Bill was drawn in a very slipshod manner. I propose that in any case the deposit contributor should be entitled to medical and sanatorium benefits for twelve months after he falls out. That would give him every opportunity, because if the sanatorium treatment is any good it ought to do its work in twelve months. The Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer leaves it optional in the hands of the local health committee whether the benefits should be extended. I object to that. I think it is infinitely better from 939 the point of view of these poor people that the matter should be certain. It is optional to the health committee if they have funds available for the purpose and think fit to do so. Considering the very bad treatment that deposit contributors get generally under this Clause, the matter should not depend upon whether there are funds available, but the contributors ought to be entitled in any case to get the benefits for, at all events, twelve months. I hope as the right hon. Gentleman is willing to meet us to a certain extent he will meet us altogether.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I have adopted the Amendment of the hon. Member for Plymouth (Mr. Astor) which is an infinitely better one in every respect than the one now moved. It will extend the treatment, if necessary, not merely for twelve months, but it may be for four or five years. The only reason why the words "if it has funds available" are inserted is that I cannot compel the local authorities to supplement the fund, and it is left to their option. The hon. Member for Plymouth has accepted the form of my Amendment; therefore I hope the hon. Member for Dudley will not press this proposal.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer is mistaken in treating this Amendment as an alternative to the proposal standing in his name. That Amendment stands on its own merits. It may be read in conjunction with the Bill as it stands, or in conjunction with the Bill as my hon. Friend proposes to amend it. The Bill as it stands says that a man shall have medical benefit to the end of the year, which may be twelve months, or twelve days, or even one day. Under the Chancellor's proposal he may have it longer if funds are available and the committee approve. My hon. Friend proposes that he shall have it for twelve months certain, and the Chancellor's concession can follow perfectly well upon that. The question between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and my hon. Friend is not to what extent there shall be a permissive authority to extend a man's benefits, but for how long his benefit shall be guaranteed. The Chancellor of the Exchequer proposes that if the man's contributions become exhausted on the first day, the benefit shall be extended compulsorily for the whole twelve months. But if his contributions are exhausted on the last day of the year there 940 is no compulsion to give him benefit for one day longer. My hon. Friend proposes that in all cases he shall have the benefit for twelve months. That is the real point.
§ Mr. ASTOR
With regard to the sanatorium benefit there is no time limit. My objection to the Clause as it stood was that it imposed a definite time limit—a maximum of twelve months and a minimum of perhaps two or three days. My hon. Friend's Amendment has the same inequality. It imposes a time limit which may be twenty-four months or twelve months and a day. The Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the other hand has no limit; it is left to the local health committee in any case to decide. It is quite different in that way from the sickness or invalidity benefit. In the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Amendment I find the words "if it has funds available for the purpose." Subsection (f) says that on 1st January 1s. 3d. shall be deducted from the sum appearing in the name of every Post Office contributor. This is not an arbitrary sum. Obviously it has been worked out, and is intended to cover sanatorium benefit—treatment in a sanatorium or otherwise. The only point I would put is that if a man becomes ill with consumption in December he must have the same right to full sanatorium treatment as if he became ill in February. If he became ill in February he would naturally have two, three, or six months. If he became ill in November or December he ought still to have the same treatment. The money must be there if the scheme is sound, because the 1s. 3d. has been deducted from everybody's fund. I think my hon. Friend's doubt is due to the words "if it has funds available for the purpose." I do not think the words are necessary.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I do not think that that point will arise in regard to the sanatoria. It is not as if the man had to pay for sanatorium treatment during the time he was in the sanatorium, and that therefore his contributions were lowered to that extent. The 1s. entitles him to sanatorium treatment. The reduction would be rather in respect of medical benefit. Therefore these words would not limit his right to sanatorium treatment. It is far better to give the local health committee this power, and let them judge each case on its merits.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
If this Amendment is negatived, will it cut out the Amendment of the Chancellor of the 941 Exchequer? It seems to me that the two might very well go togetner. Whether or not I ask permission to withdraw my Amendment depends on the ruling of the Chair on that point.
§ does shut out that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 214; Noes, 120.943
|Division No. 360.]||AYES.||[7.31 p.m.|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon William (Rhondda)||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Greig, Colonel J. W.||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Nuttall, Harry|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud)||Hackett, J.||O'Dowd, John|
|Armitage, R.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Ogden, Fred|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)||O'Malley, William|
|Astor, Waldorf||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Harwood, George||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George)||Haworth, Sir Arthur A.||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Hayden, John Patrick||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Bethell, Sir J. H.||Hayward, Evan||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Henry, Sir Charles S.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Black, Arthur W.||Herbert, Colonel Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Higham, John Sharp||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Hinds, John||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Brace, William||Holt, Richard Durning||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Brady, P. J.||Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||Radford, G. H.|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Reddy, Michael|
|Bryce, John Annan||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||John, Edward Thomas||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Johnson, William||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Cameron, Robert||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Joyce, Michael||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Keating, Matthew||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Clough, William||Kelly, Edward||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Rowlands, James|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton)||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Leach, Charles||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Levy, Sir Maurice||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on Tees)|
|Cowan, W. H.||Lewis, John Herbert||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Crumley, Patrick||Lundon, Thomas||Sheehy, David|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Davies, E. William (Eifion)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||McGhee, Richard||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|De Forest, Baron||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Summers, James Woolley|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Macpherson, James Ian||Tennant, Harold John|
|Devlin, Joseph||M'Callum, John M.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||M'Curdy, C. A.||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Donelan, Anthony Charles||McKonna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Doris, William||M'Laren, F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Duffy, William J.||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Marks, Sir George Crovdon||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Masterman, C. F. G.||Webb, H.|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Meagher, Michael||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Meehan, Francis E. (Leltrim, N.)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Molteno, Percy Alport||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Falconer, James||Mond, Sir Alfred M.||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Money, L. G. Chfozza||Wiles, Thomas|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Mooney, John J.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Ffrench, Peter||Morgan, George Hay||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Flennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Munro, Robert||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|France, Gerald Ashburner||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Winfrey, Richard|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Murray, Capt. Hon. Arthur C.||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Gibson, Sir James P.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Needham, Christopher T.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Glanville, H. J.||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Falle, B. G.||Malcolm, Ian|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Fell, Arthur||Middlemore, John Throgmorton|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Ashley, W. W.||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Mount, William Arthur|
|Bagot, Lieut-Colonel J.||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Neville, Reginald J. N.|
|Baird, J. L.||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Forster, Henry William||Newman, John R. P.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Foster, Philip Staveley||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gardner, Ernest||O'Grady, James|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gill, Alfred Henry||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Barnston, H.||Goldman, C. S.||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)|
|Barrie, Hugh T. (Londonderry)||Goldsmith, Frank||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilton)||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Gretton, John||Pointer, Joseph|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Pole-Carew, Sir R.|
|Benn, I. H. (Greenwich)||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish||Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Bigland, Alfred||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Bird, Alfred||Harris, Henry Percy||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Boyle, W. L. (Norfolk, Mid)||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Smith, Albert (Lancs, Clitheroe)|
|Boyton, J.||Hill Wood, Samuel||Snowder., Philip|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Hoare, S. J. G.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hodge, John||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hohler, G. F.||Swift, Rigby|
|Butcher, J. G. (York)||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Cassel, Felix||Ingleby, Holcombe||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Cator, John||Jowett, Frederick William||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)|
|Cave, George||Kerr-Smiley Peter Kerr||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Touche, George Alexander|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Lansbury, George||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Larmor, Sir J.||Wardle, George J.|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Lawson, Hon. Harry (Mile End)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Lloyd, G. A.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Dairymple, Viscount||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott-||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Dixon, C. H.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine)||Sir A. Griffith-Boscewen and Mr. Mills.|
Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I beg to move to add to paragraph (b) the words, "and that the local health committee, if it has funds available for the purpose and thinks fit so to do, may allow him to continue to receive medical benefit or sanatorium benefit or both such benefits after the expiration of such year."
§ Sir FREDERICK BANBURY
On a point of Order. The Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer gives power to local health committees to raise certain additional sums of money. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has already told us that he intends that a certain equivalent sum shall be raised by the Exchequer. I maintain that this is an additional charge, and therefore that it is out of order. The Chancellor shakes his head. I do not know whether he is going to defend his proposition.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have considered the point. The hon. Baronet follows these matters closely, and no doubt he will recollect the ruling that my predecessor as Deputy-Speaker gave on the Report stage of the Money Resolution. He ruled that it would be in order to pro- 944 pose additional benefits provided that the two-ninths proportion of the State contribution was not exceeded. I consider this Amendment is covered by that Resolution, and for that reason I propose to allow it.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
My contention is that the proposed amount would be exceeded because there would be additional benefits which were not contemplated.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
On a point of Order, though I am afraid it is a question of fact rather than one of order. As I understand this Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, it is not limited at all by the two-ninths. It deals with circumstances in which the health fund available for making sanatoria benefits would be insufficient to do all that the local health committee wished. In that case it may be supplemented by a contribution, in equal proportions, by the local authority and the State. I think I am right in that that the contribution from the State is not governed in the least by the two-ninths.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think these points are covered by the Resolution, which, in 945 addition to the two-ninths, provides for the Exchequer contributing one-half of the excess referred to.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The point is this: Under the Money Resolution the State was allowed to contribute two-ninths. They might give as much benefit as they desired, provided that their contribution did not exceed two-ninths. Now, under the Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer the contributions by the employer and the employed disappear. Whatever additional benefits are to be going to be given, will be paid as to one-half by the State and as to the other half by the local authority. Therefore I contend the two-ninths does not apply.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I should like the Chancellor to tell me whether I was right in my inference that the local health committee can have no funds available for this purpose unless the local authority and the Treasury agree to make a special contribution for the purpose?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
If the Bill stopped at this point, I agree that the only funds available would be the shilling and the two-ninths. I propose, as I have already said, that there shall be a further extension, and when I come to that I must get an amended Money Resolution. In the meantime this is only "if the funds are available." If it remains here you will only get the shilling and threepence. Later I shall propose an extension. Before I do that the Money Resolution must be amended. It is not necessary to amend it for this purpose.
§ Mr. FORSTER
The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has talked about a new fund. I have not the slightest information as to what fund the Chancellor of the Exchequer is referring to when he says he will have to amend his Resolution in order to provide them. Perhaps he will give us some indication. We do not want to labour the point; we only want to know to what fund he is referring.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I do not want to travel outside this Amendment. I think I said frequently when we were discussing sanatorium benefits on Clause 8, that there was a very general desire that there should be a very wide extension of the sanatorium benefit, and that the 946 extension should not be confined to sanatorium treatment, but to other treatment as well. I say that would involve additional charge, and I said that I proposed later on to introduce an Amendment that would enable us to do so and to provide funds for that purpose. In order to do that, I think it would be necessary to amend the Financial Resolution, but I cannot say so definitely until I consult the authorities of the House.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
The right hon. Gentleman talks of amending the Money Resolution, which really means he will have to bring in a fresh Resolution, which will have to go through all its stages in the ordinary course. If that is so, will the Resolution be taken outside the time-table in the Closure order, or will it be done on an allotted day?
§ Mr. W. THORNE
May I ask if the Government make a contribution and the local health authority refuse the other half, will the local health authority be allowed to use the Government's contribution for that purpose?
§ Mr. W. THORNE
Then it appears to me there is going to be very little chance of the extension of this benefit, because in view of the obligations placed upon local authorities in different parts of the country already, I am afraid the local health committees will refuse to find any additional money, and therefore, as far as I can see, this proposal will be but a mere shadow.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
If my hon. Friend will only make some inquiry as to what the local authorities are doing now, he will see his observations are futile.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The hon. Member may know what is going on in his own local authority, but I am talking of other enlightened authorities. Yesterday I had a local authority before me that comes from a very enlightened part of the country.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Yes, I am very glad my hon. Friend knows the proper distinction, and they told me the way they wore building sanatoriums, and whereas 947 now the whole expenditure falls upon them, in future part of it will come out of this fund and part of it will fall on the Treasury. What the Government are now doing will relieve the local authorities, and half the expenditure will be borne by the State, which will be a direct incentive to them to act.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I beg to move to leave out paragraph (c), "A deposit contributor shall not be entitled to sickness benefit unless at least fifty-two weekly contributions have been paid by or in respect of him," and to insert instead thereof the words, "The provisions of Sub-section (7) (6) (c) and (d) of Section 8 shall not apply to deposit, contributors."
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think the latter part of the Amendment is not in order. It is largely negative of what we have already decided in the general discussion. We must take it that the general discussion and the previous decision of this Clause have affirmed the general views of the Clause, although not amending it in detail. I understand the hon. Gentleman's proposal would take out deposit contributors if he has anything standing to his credit.
§ Mr. CASSEL
No, that is not the proposal. It is to leave out paragraph (c), which provides a longer waiting period for the deposit contributor than for a member of a friendly society. It seems to be absurd that a deposit contributor should have to wait longer than a member of a friendly society, and all this proposes to do is to reduce the waiting period.
§ Mr. CASSEL
With regard to the insertion which I propose, that does not propose that deposit contributors could draw out money, except for the purposes of sick pay, without waiting for the whole waiting period. I do not think there was anything in the general discussion which covers that.
§ Mr. CASSEL
So far as striking out paragraph (c) is concerned, I understand 948 the Chancellor has a similar Amendment, and, therefore, it is not necessary to say much on the point, but I desire also to move the insertion of other words, and upon that point perhaps my Amendment was not sufficiently clear. That Amendment relates back to Clause 8, Sub-section (7), and this Clause provides certain waiting periods for a man before he can draw out any sick pay. He must wait twenty-six weeks. I say that in the case of deposit contributors there is not the same reason why he should wait so long to draw out sick pay. The case of the deposit contributor is a different case from others, because it is his own money he will be drawing from, and not other people's funds. You must have a provision in order to insure other people's funds and to prevent fraudulent withdrawal, and you provide there should be certain waiting periods, but that seems to be wholly unnecessary in the case of deposit contributors. I do not propose to allow him to draw out except he is sick.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is exactly the way I apprehend the proposal, and I think the hon. Member himself last evening put that view forward upon the general discussion, because my object in allowing that wide discussion was that this point might be brought out. I certainly cannot allow what is practically a negative of the Clause to be brought forward as an Amendment.
§ Mr. CASSEL
This would not be a negative of the Clause. The fact that I mentioned it should not prevent me from moving it. I did not apprehend that. I made the suggestion, and I did not hear any one controverting it. [An HON. MEMBER: "Five hon. Members did."] Well, if five hon. Members controverted it, that surely does not prevent me from moving it as an Amendment. If it did it would greatly curtail our liberty of discussion. This is nothing like a negative to the Clause. It only modified it in a small principle. That is, that in the case of deposit contributors they should not have to wait the full twenty-six weeks for sickness benefit, and if that Amendment were inserted it would in no sense negative the Clause, but would leave it as it stands, with a slight qualification. The fact that I mentioned it in the course of a speech ought not to prevent me moving it, even if 200 Members spoke against it.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I ventured, on the consideration of this Clause, to make a 949 suggestion to the Committee, which, I understood, was universally agreed to, to ensure that opportunity of discussion should be allowed upon the first Amendment which should cover all the suggested alternatives to those embodied in the Clause. I am bound to say that the portion of this Amendment which moves the insertion is one of those alternatives, and that is the reason I cannot allow it now on the discussion of details of the Clause.
§ Mr. CASSEL
Of course, I bow to your ruling, Mr. Whitley, but I should like to point out that the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley was allowed to move his Amendment. I do not wish any further to question your decision upon that, although I feel it does preclude me from moving an Amendment that has some point in it. In the circumstances, I will move the omission of paragraph (c), which I understand is acceded to.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
May I venture to remind you, Mr. Whitley, that on previous occasions where a general discussion was allowed, although it was ruled that the discussion should not be repeated on Amendments, still separate items have been voted upon without a discussion. I submit that what has been done on previous occasions may be done on this occasion. I think it was done more than once on the Revenue Bill, although the discussion was taken on one proposition, several others were divided on.
§ Question, "That paragraph (c) stand part of the Clause," put, and negatived.
§ Mr. CHARLES BATHURST
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (f) to add the words,
"if such amount be sufficient for this purpose, and, if not, shall be included in the like deduction made at the commencement of the following year."
I put this Amendment down to ascertain what would happen in case there was not sufficient money to pay the expenses of sickness and maternity at the beginning of the year. I want to know the exact position in this respect. Supposing a member has not sufficient to his credit to pay the sanatorium and other expenses, will 950 he be mulcted in respect of money paid in by him on his own account in the course of that year? I am only moving this Amendment to make the position clear.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I sympathise with the object of the hon. Member and I quite realise why he has put this Amendment down. I am sure, however, that it is quite unnecessary, and it will be all the more unnecessary after we have included the further Amendment dealing with this question to be moved later.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
After the assurance which has been given by the right hon. Gentleman I desire to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. T. E. HARVEY
I beg to more to leave out paragraph (g), and to insert instead thereof the words,
"On the death of a deposit contributor there shall be paid out of the amount standing to his credit in the Post Office fund an amount proportionate to his contributions, with such interest as the Insurance Commissioners may allow, and the said amount shall be paid in such manner as the local health committee may determine, to or for the benefit of his widow and dependents or, failing them, of his next-of-kin or such person as the deposit contributor may have appointed. The remainder of the amount in the Post Office fund standing to the credit of the deposit contributor shall, upon his dying, be forfeited."
While I think the whole Committee must have been convinced by the speech of the right hon. Gentleman in which he stated that it would not be possible without increasing the attractiveness of the deposit contributor section to allow the return of the whole balance standing to the credit of a deposit contributor on his death, that does not apply to the smallest portion of the contribution the man himself has contributed. Supposing the man was never ill during the whole of the three years, and did not withdraw a penny from the fund, he would only have a maximum of some 39s., which would represent his own contribution. Although that would not mean very much, if it could be returned it would remove a great sense of injustice, and it would make a great difference to many poor homes, and I do not think it would be regarded by the insurance companies as insurance against death. It would only mean the return of the contributions of the contributor.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
As I have already said, I am in great sympathy with the object of this Amendment, and I shall be glad to accept the principle. All I want is not to make the deposit contributor class so attractive, and by that means dissuade people from joining the societies. I am afraid the form of words moved in this Amendment will not quite do. I have not prepared other words, but if my hon. Friend will withdraw this Amendment I will undertake to introduce on the Report stage words which will carry out the object which my hon. Friend has in mind, and that is that the 4d. paid in by the contributor shall be at the date of his death put to the credit of his next-of-kin, and the only deduction made will be in respect of sanatorium management and benefits. I will bring in such an Amendment on the Report stage, but it will not do in the form set down in this Amendment.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I have made a rough calculation by which I find, taking the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer with regard to a person between the ages of twenty and seventy years, if he had no illness, and having to his credit at the age of seventy £100, he would have, if only his own payments were taken into account, something between £30 and £35. Persons in this position who suffer from illness and have not been accepted by a friendly society are probably persons who have made no provision for funeral benefit, because they would not belong to a friendly society. It does seem rather hard that whereas a man like this may, through a long life, have been making payments into the fund, the cost of his funeral should fall upon the parish. Many men dread nothing more than the cost of their funeral falling upon the parish, and this proposal would form a fund by which they would be able to pay funeral expenses.
§ Mr. AMERY
As the Chancellor of the Exchequer has consented to accept the general principle of my hon. Friend's Amendment, and has recognised the complete difference between the position of deposit contributors and ordinary insured persons, will he consider the advisability of extending a similar favour to those persons who leave this country and go abroad?
§ Mr. BOOTH
I am afraid the insurance companies will not care very much about 952 this proposal, and in the case of some friendly orders I am inclined to think some opposition will be engendered unless you say that members of friendly societies should also draw something out of this kind. This proposal is lessening the insurance element. This measure is either a Sickness and Invalidity Bill or it is not, and if money is taken for this purpose there must be so much less for the other benefits. I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will consult some of the leaders of friendly societies on this point. With regard to industrial insurance companies I do not think they will take a narrow view of this matter, but the trouble I foresee is that it may often be made the means of men being persuaded to leave trade unions and the friendly orders. When the compromise was arranged between the friendly orders a distinguished and chosen representative of the trade unions was present, and he raised no objection to the inclusion of this provision. I know there will be plenty of time to asecrtain whether the trade unions and the friendly orders will agree to this Amendment.
§ Mr. FORSTER
The hon. Member for Pontefract has uttered a word of warning, and he has reminded us that this is a Bill dealing with insurance and invalidity. I take it that there is no form of insurance, for the deposit contributor, and I want to have his case considered. I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer has taken a wise course in asking for time to consider the point. The matter is not free from difficulty by any means, and I am sure that no one realises that more than the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I hope the Committee will allow the hon. Member to withdraw his Amendment on the assurance the Chancellor of the Exchequer has given.
§ Mr. SANDERSON
I understand from the undertaking given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that Sub-section (g) will go out of the Bill, and that the right hon. Gentleman will substitute something else.
§ Mr. SANDERSON
Many hon. Members would vote against this Clause if paragraph (g) is allowed to remain. I understand it is to go altogether in the present form, and that it will be amended upon the principle that the dependents of a deceased person are to get the proportion of what remains to a man's credit 953 less the expenses. I understand that is the principle which the Chancellor of the Exchequer accepts.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. CASSEL
rose to move, at the end of Sub-section (1), to insert the words:
(h) "The amount standing to the credit of any deposit contributor shall, upon his ceasing permanently to reside in the United Kingdom, be paid out to him."
It seems to me that where a Post Office contributor has accumulated a fund and desires to emigrate he ought to be able at least to draw out that part of it which represents his own contributions. I fully accept the criticism that it ought not to apply to the State contribution, and I am desirous of not doing anything to injure the friendly societies. I wish to make the depositors' position better, but not so good as that it will draw too many from the friendly societies.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
There are considerations applicable in this case which would not be applicable in the case of death, but I will consider them together and put some Amendment down for the Report stage.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
If there be any difficulty about it, I will certainly see the hon. Gentleman before I put the Amendment down.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I certainly think the Committee would wish to have an opportunity of discussing it, but I feel I cannot press it any further at this moment, because I agree this Amendment will not do, and would have to be re-cast, and I am not ready with other words.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I did not put the Question, so that it will not be necessary to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I beg to move, to leave out Sub-section (2). We originally discussed an Amendment treated as a peg on which to hang a general discussion, and the result is we have accepted an Amendment which makes absolute nonsense of Sub-section (2).
§ Mr. CASSEL
If the right hon. Gentleman accepts the Amendment, I have nothing further to say except that the result will be to do away with any interest for these Post Office contributors. I mean interest in the sense of interest on their money. The only way in which the right hon. Gentleman was going to bring in interest for them was through the surplus. I think the right hon. Gentleman, while he accepts the Amendment, will recognise it will be necessary to substitute something for it.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I propose to accept the Amendment, so that the hon. and learned Gentleman need not adduce any further arguments in support of it, but I will give him a reason for the Amendment which does not seem to have occurred to him. This valuation will not be necessary now, because we have accepted an Amendment by the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sherwell), which brings the Post Office contributors to an end on January 1st, 1935. I am sure it is not necessary to introduce some other words, but still I will consider it.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I had fully apprehended the point put by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I thought I had made it clear. I said the Amendment accepted to-day would make nonsense of the Clause.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I did not know it when I put the Amendment down. I then had other reasons for not wishing this Clause inserted. It would be desirable in the interests of the Bill to put something in its place to give interest to the Post Office contributors. I had in mind not merely whether a particular Amendment was going to be accepted or not, but what the right hon. Gentleman invited us to do with regard to giving suggestions to improve the Bill. If you leave out this Clause, I do not see where the Post Office contributor is going to get any interest at all, because there is no provision for dealing with the interest accruing on investments made with moneys which are found by the Post Office contributors.
§ Mr. CASSEL
It would make nonsense. I am speaking in favour of leaving it out, but I am suggesting that in the interests of making sense of the Bill certain other words will have to be put in its place.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I would also ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider this. The Clause as it was framed would have allocated the interest in a rotten way. It would have allocated it without any relation to the money they had found. I hope when he does introduce a substitute for this Clause it will deal fairly with the interest as between the different interests.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I am sorry the Chancellor of the Exchequer has decided to omit this Clause rather than to amend it. It is perfectly possible to amend it, and it affords a grand opportunity for putting a premium on county and other health authorities trying to increase the health standard so as to reduce the number of Post Office contributors. If this Clause had been retained, in any case it would have been an incentive to the local health committees, even in its present form, to do all they could to improve the health of their district, and if it had been amended in the way I should have preferred, that encouragement would have been given specially to local health committees in districts where the number of Post Office contributors was small rather than large. I believe it would have afforded an immense stimulus to local health committees generally to improve housing and other conditions, and to raise the general standard of life. We have had most alarming reports during the last week or two on the subject of the medical inspection of school children. That is, I know, a subject for county committees, and it is not a matter which can be dealt with apart from co-operation with the county committee, but if this Clause had been kept in, and if it had been slightly modified, a premium could have been placed on progressive work on the part of those who administer medical inspection in the county. I am sorry the Chancellor of the Exchequer has decided to omit the Clause rather than to amend it.
§ Mr. FORSTER
What is going to happen about the interest? Before 1914, the 956 date on which the scheme will have to be reconsidered, some of these deposit contributors will have paid into their fund, and will probably not have exhausted their credit. As far as I can see there is no provision in the Bill which would give them credit for anything on account of the interest that their contributions may be presumed to have earned. How is that point going to be dealt with? You must give a man credit for the interest his money has earned, and I cannot see anything in the Bill which does that.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
It makes no difference whether you leave it in or out. There can be no computation of interest until the end of three years.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The valuation is to be made at the end of three years. The Amendment before the Committee has actually nothing to do with the computation of interest, and whether this is in or out it makes no difference.
§ Mr. FORSTER
If it is in we can amend it, so that there may be some provision for crediting the various accounts with interest upon the amounts paid in. If you leave it out of course we cannot do that. I think I am entitled to ask how are you going to give the deposit contributors interest on their money?
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause," put, and negatived.
§ Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. CASSEL
I think, as the result of the Amendments adopted to-day, this Clause is left in a most unsatisfactory, unfinished, and truncated condition. We leave these people in this condition, that for three years they go on contributing to this fund and at the end of that time nobody knows in what position they will stand. We leave them absolutely at sea. If it so happens that the present Government is then in power, we may know what is to be done with them; but so far as the work of the House of Commons is concerned, in regard to this Clause, I think it is work of which we ought to be ashamed. It is the first Amendment which has done all the damage. Hon. Members suggest that I am the offender. I absolutely deny that. The paragraph had to be taken out as a necessary consequence of limiting the duration of the Clause to 1915. 957 The responsibility rests on the Government. I may be the truncator, but the Government ought not to have allowed me to truncate the Clause if it was improper to do so. I absolutely repudiate the responsibility for the mischief that has been done. These people are to subscribe their 4d. per week until the 1st January, 1915, and we have no idea what is to be done with the money when the accumulation has been made. The Clause, I repeat, is left in a most unfinished and most unsatisfactory condition.
§ Mr. FORSTER
I am so dissatisfied with the way in which the deposit contributors are dealt with under this Clause that I shall vote against it.
§ Mr. BAIRD
My hon. Friend had an Amendment down to substitute the word "contributor" for "insurance." We have had it from the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself in a most lucid explanation that this is not insurance and that it is simply tantamount to what might happen if a man endeavoured to insure a burning house. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] That expression has been frequently used in connection with this question of the deposit contributor, and I think it would only be just to the people who will come under this Clause to let them know that they are not insured. We
§ ought to take out that word "insurance." I very much regret the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not see his way to accept the Amendment of the hon. Member for Colchester, which was a very serious attempt to produce a scheme which would have been an insurance. I am loth to vote against any part of this Bill, because it is designed to do a certain amount of good, but between the intention and the carrying out of that intention there is a wide gulf, and, in spite of the benefit in connection with sanatorium and medical treatment, you are asking people to contribute who are not in a position to do so. The immediate effect of this Clause will be to put the people whom it touches in a worse position. I dislike voting against anything which aims at doing good, but I think that this particular Clause misses its aim so completely that I shall have no hesitation in voting against it.
§ Question put, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 187; Noes, 82.959
|Division No. 361.]||AYES.||[8.40 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Daves, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Dawes, James Arthur||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||De Forest, Baron||Haworth, Sir Arthur A.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Dewar, Sir J. A.||Higham, John Sharp|
|Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud)||Donelan, Capt. A.||Hinds, John|
|Armitage, Robert||Doris, W.||Hodge, John|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Duffy, William J.||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)|
|Bentham, G. J.||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H.||Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Falconer, J.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Farrell, James Patrick||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)|
|Bowerman C. W.||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||John, Edward Thomas|
|Brace, William||Ffrench, Peter||Johnson, W.|
|Brady, P. J.||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||France, Gerald Ashburner||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Brunner, John F. L.||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Gibson, Sir James Puckering||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Gill, A. H.||Joyce, Michael|
|Cameron, Robert||Gladstone, W. G. C.||King, J. (Somerset, North)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Glanville, H. J.||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Chapple, Dr. W. A.||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Clough, William||Gulland, John William||Lundon, Thomas|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Lynch, A. A.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Hackett, J.||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.|
|Cowan, W. H.||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)||Macpherson, James Ian|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||M'Callum, John M.|
|Crumley, Patrick||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||M'Curdy, Charles Albert|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Harwood, George||M'Micking, Major Gilbert|
|Davies, E. William (Elfion)||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil|
|Marks, Sir George Croydon||Parker, James (Halifax)||Sheehy, David|
|Marshall, Arthur Harold||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Meagher, Michael||Pirie, Duncan V.||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Pointer, Joseph||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Menzies, Sir Walter||Pollard, Sir George H.||Thomas, J. H. (Derby)|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Mond, Sir Alfred Moritz||Power, Patrick Joseph||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Money, L. G. Chiozza||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Mooney, J. J.||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Morgan, George Hay||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Morrell, Philip||Pringle, William M. R.||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Radford, G. H.||Webb, H.|
|Munro, R.||Reddy, M.||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C.||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Needham, Christopher T.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Nolan, Joseph||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Robinson, Sidney||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Nuttall, Harry||Roche, John (Galway, E.)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Roe, Sir Thomas||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Rowlands, James||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|O'Dowd, John||Rowntree, Arnold||Winfrey, Richard|
|Ogden, Fred||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|O'Grady, James||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Scanlan, Thomas||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Seely, Col., Rt. Hon. J. E. B.||Mr. Wedgwood Benn and Mr. G. Howard.|
|Archer-Shee, Major M.||Courthope, G. Loyd||Mount, William Arthur|
|Ashley, W. W.||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Astor, Waldorf||Croft, H. P.||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Dalrymple, Viscount||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Dixon, C. H.||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Barnston, Harry||Duke, Henry Edward||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Fell, Arthur||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Forster, Henry William||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Gardner, Ernest||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Goldman, C. S.||Snowden, Philip|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Grant, J. A.||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Bigland, Alfred||Gretton, John||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Bird, A.||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Swift, Rigby|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Henderson, Major H. (Abingdon)||Thynne, Lord A.|
|Boyton, James||Hills, John Waller||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Touche, George Alexander|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Ward, Arnold S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Butcher, J. G.||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Campion, W. R.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Winterton, Earl|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Mildred||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Cassel, Felix||Ingleby, Holcombe||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Cator, John||Lansbury, George|
|Cave, George||Larmor, Sir J.|
|Clay, Capt. H. H. Spender||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Macmaster, Donald||Mr. Baird and Mr. Amery|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine)|
Question put, and agreed to.