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Workmen's Compensation

Volume 389: debated on Tuesday 11 May 1943

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34.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will give time for a discussion on the Motion standing in the name of the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards) and other hon. Members, calling upon the Government to take steps to raise the rates of workmen's compensation provided for in the 1925 Act by 50 per cent., and to adjust the method of calculating pre-accident earnings so that the injured workmen may be compensated on an equitable basis?

[ This House is of opinion that the scales of payment to injured workmen under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1925, deny a reasonable standard of living to the injured workman and his dependants and delays his restoration to full industrial employment, and calls upon the Government to take steps to raise the rates provided for in the 1925 Act by 50 per cent., and to adjust the method of calculating pre-accident earnings so that the injured workmen may be compensated on an equitable basis.]

I regret that in view of the state of Business I can hold out no present hope of an opportunity being afforded for a discussion of this subject.

Does that reply mean that there is a private arrangement between the T.U.C. and His Majesty's Government, and that Parliament is not to be given an opportunity to discuss and decide the vital question of the future of workmen's compensation?

No, Sir, it does not. It means that there is no present hope because there is more pressing business.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many industrialists and insurance companies are very favourably disposed to the scaling-up of these rates of workmen's compensation?

I am only dealing at the moment with this Question. I said I regretted that there was no possibility of time being given now. It may be possible later on.

Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House an assurance that there is no arrangement with the T.U.C. to prevent this matter being discussed in the House?

I can give the hon. Member the assurance that the Government are free agents in their decisions.