§ MR. BLAKE
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Whether Her Majesty's Government will take into consideration the case of the extra Clerks in the Customs with a view to the increase of their salaries; whether practically the extra Clerks are not frequently called upon to perform the same duties as the established Clerks; and, whether the retrospective action of the Treasury Order of 1856 fixing the limit 1091 of age for admission to the service at 25 years, and disqualifying for promotion all Clerks entering the service after that age has not inflicted hardship on some Clerks, of whom only four remain, and whether their case will be considered?
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
Sir, the clerks in question are now only three. None have been appointed since 1868, and no further appointments will be made. There is no reason why the case of these clerks should be taken into consideration apart from that of the clerical part of the Customs generally. Extra clerks are employed in the subordinate duties of the department to which they are attached, and their duties may at times be the same as those performed by some of the junior clerks. These clerks never had any right of succession to the establishment. The Treasury Order of 1856 limited (for general reasons) the age for appointment to the establishment to 25 years, but made an exception in favour of extra clerks up to 40 years, provided they had been appointed to be extra clerks before the 25th year of their age. The former limit of age for appointment to the establishment had been 30 years. When it was made 25 years for all, it was a pure act of grace to make any exception whatever in favour of the extra clerks. There are many questions pending connected with the application of the Play-fair Report to the Customs establishment which are at this time engaging the attention of the Board of Customs and of the Treasury.