HC Deb 08 May 1840 vol 53 cc1318-9

House in Committee of Supply.

A vote of 90,950l. was moved for allowances and compensation to persons formerly employed in public offices.

Mr. Hume

complained of the power of the Government to superannuate officers upon mere changes or reductions, at their own will, when the same officers were still fit for service. There was an increase of 681 persons in offices this year, of whom 484 were connected with the post-office alone, and there were also many new ones in the Customs and Excise. It was impossible this increase could take place without an increase in the salaries, and they had increased 38,000l. this year. This was not consistent with economy, and he hoped to make the House agree with him in putting a stop to this increase. He would like to know why the services of some of those superannuated could not be made available; and before he would vote one sum, he would require an explanation why George Lead bitter should have a superannuation of 150l. a-year for fifteen years' service, and of 78l. to Thomas Capes for twelve years' services?

Mr. Robert Gordon

said, that the increase arose in some measure from changes to Ireland and the superannuation to Sir Alexander Spearman and others. With respect to the police-officers, Leadbitter and Capes, they were paid out of the old police-fund. They were appointed specially to be in attendance on the court, and when it was thought desirable that the new police-force should be extended to Windsor, they being no longer necessary, were granted a retiring allowance.

Mr. Hume

could not see why they should not be still employed in some branch of the public service.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

stated that he considered the two persons objected to were superannuated too soon, and on the first opportunity they ought to be reinstated in the public employment.

Mr. Hume

stated he would move that 13,077l. 12s. 3d. should be granted instead of the vote proposed—that which he intended to do was, that they should first take the vote for the Treasury. He would afterwards proceed with the votes for the Home, the Foreign, and the Colonial offices.

The Chairman

could not take the vote in the manner proposed by the hon. Member. It was for the Government to withdraw that vote, or for the hon. Member to move for its rejection.

Sir R. Peel

considered, that if persons were capable of employment they ought to be employed, and not superannuated. The police officers objected to might be capable of being employed in the Government or country police; and if they were they ought not to be superannuated. But then, although they were good officers at the palace, they might not make proper superintendents of the police. Inquiry ought, then, to be made into the circumstances. The vote ought to be postponed until the House was put in possession of the explanation of the circumstances of the case.

The sum of 80,000l, was voted on account.