§ Resolutions [15th March] reported.
§ First twelve Resolutions read, and agreed to.
§ Thirteenth Resolution read a first time.
§ On Question, "That it be now read a second time."
§ Mr. W. H. SMITH
, in fulfilment of the promise he made to the right hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Childers), when the subject of pensions awarded to retiring officers in the Survey was before the Committee of Supply, said, the Expenditure for the Survey in the year 1875-6 was £136,831; an excess Vote was taken this year in order to make up a deficiency of the ordinary Vote for that year. In the course of 1875 the Treasury called the attention of the Board of Works to the fact that the Vote was exceeded, and the consequence was that 110 persons had been dismissed from the office with the view of reducing the expenditure, and of that number 63 had been pensioned at a cost of £4,000 per annum, the saving effected amounting to £2,831 per annum. He confessed that personally he regretted that such a large number of persons had been pensioned under those circumstances, and thought that it would have been more desirable that the reduction in the expenditure of this branch of the public service should have been effected in a more economical manner. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had taken steps to prevent the reduction and the abolition of such offices in future without ample notice being given to the responsible officers of the Treasury.
§ MR. CHILDERS
said, that the explanation of the hon. Member fully justified the inquiries he had made on the subject. It was a very bad case indeed. In spite of the orders given by the Treasury, the Department of the Works had not kept within their Estimates, but exceeded the Vote by £5,000 or £6,000. They were then ordered to economize, and discharged a large number of persons, 87 and then came a fresh addition to the Establishment Vote, just as if no reduction had been made. He hoped the moral of it would be that the Treasury would be enabled to exercise a proper control in such matters for the future.
§ MR. RYLANDS
thought that this transaction was about one of the worst that had been brought under the notice of the House, and that the explanation offered was altogether unsatisfactory. They were now called upon to pass the Vote on the Report instead of their having been furnished with the necessary information upon it in Committee of Supply, which was a most objectionable course to pursue.
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
contended that the re-organization which had taken place in the Office would lead to a considerable saving.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Resolution agreed to.
§ Remaining Resolutions agreed to.