HC Deb 04 May 1871 vol 206 cc151-2

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether, in his answer to the honourable Baronet the Member for Chelsea, he intended to convey that it is the intention of Government to dismiss certain of the junior established Customs Clerks, all of whom, after passing a competitive examination, have served satisfactorily for seven years and more, in order to make room for prospective civil servants, whose efficiency will have to be proved, whose experience has to be acquired, and who have as yet no claim whatever upon Her Majesty's Government?


, in reply, said, it was not his intention to convey any meaning of the kind as that imputed to him. What he intended to convey was that a large number of the clerks in the Customs were not required for the business of the office, and the Government, however unwillingly, found it necessary to get rid of a certain number of those gentlemen, giving them the full pension they were entitled to by the Act of Parliament; but there was no intention of supplying their places by competition or in any other way. There was no work for these gentlemen to do, and the measure became necessary, though he was sorry that these persons should be called upon to suffer for the public good. While these gentlemen had no further claim upon them, the Government wished to mitigate the effects of the act as much as possible. The Government, therefore, desired to allow some of these to commute their pensions, and they had also endeavoured to find room for as many of them as they could, as vacancies might occur from time to time. But this could not be done suddenly or at once. Having once adopted the system of competition, it would not be just to disappoint those whose expectations had been thus raised, and it was proposed, therefore, to give some of the vacancies to these clerks, and some to those who were to be selected by competition. There was no intention on the part of the Government to overlook the claims of these persons, or to treat them harshly.