HC Deb 23 June 1857 vol 146 cc302-4

said, that, in accordance with the notice which stood upon the paper in his name, he rose to move the following Resolution:— That it is the opinion of this House that the Salaries of the Scotch Inspectors and Surveyors of Taxes are inadequate for the duties they have to discharge, and as these duties are not less onerous than those performed by the same officers in England, that the remuneration for their services should be placed on the same scale as those of England and Ireland. He wished to point out to the House the difference which existed in individual cases between the salaries paid to surveyors in Scotland, as compared with those which persons occupying similar situations received in England, as he could see no good reason why officers acting under the same Board, administering the same law, and with precisely the same responsibility, should, in the case of Scotland, be remunerated for their services upon a scale so much lower than that which prevailed in this country.


said, it was not a convenient course to discuss in that House the question of the salaries of these officers. He felt assured that if the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, who had carefully considered the relative duties to be performed by the various revenue officers throughout the United Kingdom, had been of opinion that the salaries which the Scotch surveyors received were disproportionate to the duties which they had to perform, they would have long since brought the subject under the notice of the Treasury. Be that as it might, however, he ventured to express a hope that that House would not be induced, without some strong cause shown, to undertake those functions which obviously belonged to the heads of the various departments employed in the collection of the public revenue; for if it were once to interfere in the regulation of the salaries and promotion of the revenue officers, there would be no end to the pressure which would be brought to bear upon hon. Members from all quarters. The proper course for the Scotch surveyors to pursue, if they felt they were labouring under a grievance, would be to address the Treasury through the heads of their respective departments, or to lay their case before the Commissioners themselves, who, if they thought proper, might make a recommendation upon the subject to the Treasury.


said, that the answer of the hon. Gentleman was not satisfactory. The duties discharged by the Scotch surveyors of taxes were most admirably performed, and it became, therefore, a question well worthy of consideration, whether, by reducing the salaries of the English surveyors to the same scale, a large saving in the public expenditure might not, without any decrease of efficiency, be effected.


said, he should support the Motion, in the hope that the subject to which it referred would receive the attention of the Commissioners.


said, that the principle laid down by the Secretary of the Treasury, if carried to its full extent, would deter public servants from addressing the House upon any grievances of which they had to complain; but the hon. Gentleman was quite right in stating that they should appeal to the Commissioners in the first instance. Under the circumstances, he advised his hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh to withdraw his Motion.


said, that perhaps hon. Gentlemen did not sufficiently understand the position of these Gentlemen. They were unwilling to complain to the Commissioners, as the consequence would be that they would be dismissed the service and reduced to destitution.

Motion negatived.