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Orders Of The Day

Volume 244: debated on Tuesday 11 November 1930

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Cunard (Insurance) Agreement Money

Resolution reported,

"That it is expedient,—
  • (a) To authorise the Board of Trade to enter into and carry into effect—
  • (i) an agreement in the terms of a draft agreement which has been settled between the Board and the Cunard Steamship Company, Limited, for the insurance by or on behalf of the Board of two passenger vessels to he built in Great Britain for the company; and
  • (ii) agreements supplementing or modifying the agreement aforesaid;
  • (b) to exempt the agreements aforesaid and any agreements entered into by the Board with persons other than the company, for the purpose of carrying the agreements aforesaid into effect from certain provisions of the Stamp Act, 1891, and of the Marine -Insurance Act, 1906;
  • (c) To constitute a special fund into which there shall be paid all premiums and other moneys received by the Board by virtue of the agreements aforesaid, and out of which there shall be paid all expenses incurred by the Board by virtue of those agreements, and to provide that, if the special fund is insufficient, the balance of any such expenses shall be charged on the Consolidated Fund;
  • (d) To authorise the payment into the Exchequer of any moneys received by the Board in diminution of any loss or expenditure in respect of which a payment has been made under the provisions of this Resolution out of the Consolidated Fund;
  • (e) To provide that, in the event of the Treasury being satisfied that no further moneys will become payable by the Board under the agreements aforesaid, any investments forming part of the special fund (being Government stock) shall be cancelled and the balance of the fund applied in reduction of debt;
  • (f) To make certain provisions ancillary to the matters aforesaid."
  • Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

    Before we pass this Resolution the House ought to bear in mind that we are asked to agree that the financial assistance of the State shall be given to one of the largest and wealthiest shipping companies in the country, one that has over a long period enjoyed prosperity and has put aside profits which in the aggregate amount to many millions. By no stretch of imagination can it be described as a company that is in difficulties. In common with other companies it has received from this House over a period of years a large measure of assistance in the shape of subventions and de-rating, and it has also had assistance from local authorities in the matter of rating. Yet at the same time that it is making this appeal this company, which has had so much public assistance, and has distributed so many millions in dividends, is discharging as many of its old workers of 65 years of age as it possibly can get rid of. In my own area this company is discharging old workers after 20, 25 or 30 years' service without a pension and without the slightest reward for the services they have rendered, and at the same time I am asked, as the representative of that area in this House, to vote that the Government shall assist the company in these new schemes.

    I quite understand that at this stage of the proceedings one cannot oppose the proposal, but I cannot allow the opportunity to pass without urging on the Government the absolute and imperative duty, no matter what company may come to it, of asking, first of all, "How do you treat your workers?" After all, the company would never have become what it is had it not been for the devoted service of those servants who today are being turned adrift on to the funds of local authorities. We have to provide for them out of the public funds while we are at the same time bolstering up the company. I hope, therefore, that in future the Government will not give the slightest assistance to any company until they have a guarantee that their workers, so far as they may be unemployed, shall be adequately provided for and when their working days are over, the company, out of its huge profits, shall make provision for them.

    Question, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution," put, and agreed to.

    Bill ordered to be brought in upon the said Resolution by Mr. William Graham, the Attorney-General, Mr. Pethick-Lawrence, and Mr. W. R. Smith.

    Cunard (Insurance) Agreement Bill

    "to authorise the making of an agreement between the Cunard Steamship Company, Limited, and the Board of Trade for the insurance of two passenger vessels and the making of agreements between the said company and the Board of Trade supplementing or modifying that agreement; and for purposes incidental to and connected with the agreements so authorised to he made."

    presented accordingly, and read the First time; to be read a Second time upon Monday next, and to be printed [Bill 43.]

    The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.


    Resolved, "That this House do now adjourn."—[ Mr. Thurtle.]

    Adjourned accordingly at Twenty-two Minutes after Eleven o'Clock.