HC Deb 27 February 1871 vol 204 c938

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether it is proposed, upon the reductions in the Customs staff in London taking place, to offer the same terms of retirement and Compensation as were given in the War Office reductions; and, whether the Customs officials who shall remain are to be paid at the same rate as their fellows in west-end departments?


said, in answer to the first part of the Question, that the Commissioners of Customs had been authorized to offer the same terms of retirement and compensation upon the reductions in the Customs staff as were given in the War Office reductions. With regard to the second part of the Question, he must say that the Treasury received from time to time applications from the clerks in various Departments for increased salaries, and in many cases they accompanied the applications with statements of salaries paid in other Departments; but however much those applications might vary in some respects, they were identical in that the applicants invariably compared their own salaries with those which were higher, and never with those which were lower. Therefore, if Her Majesty's Government were to accept the principle suggested in the Question of his hon. Friend, two things would follow: in the first place, the salaries in each Department would be raised to what is now the most highly paid Department; and in the second, as the equality of payment so arrived at would be entirely artificial and not justified by the labour performed or the qualifications required for its performance, a new crop of applications would immediately spring up. He must, therefore, give a positive negative to the second part of his hon. Friend's Question, and he would add that, in his opinion, the only true principle upon which to deal with public officials and their salaries was to pay them the full market value of their labour, always taking into account rights founded upon contracts expressed or implied.