HC Deb 10 March 1882 vol 267 cc623-5

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether, in introducing the new warehousing scheme for the Customs Establishment, the Government in- tend so to amalgamate the Clerical and Outdoor Departments as to prejudice the officers of the latter Department, by placing such Custom's clerks in a superior position to such officers, although younger and of shorter standing in service; and, if such scheme be carried out, if it will greatly reduce the present prospects of promotion of the class of examining officers and gaugers; whether it is intended to offer terms of retirement to the officers now composing the Outdoor Department; and, when the proposed scheme is to come into operation?


had given Notice of his intention to ask on Monday next, Whether it is the intention of the Treasury to appoint the clerks rendered unnecessary by the changes in the Customs warehousing system to the posts of examining and other superior officers in the new Outdoor Establishment of the Customs; and, if so, whether this is not contrary to the provisions of the Treasury Minute of the 25th April 1864, which conferred upon the subordinate officers of the Outdoor Department the sole right of appointment of all offices of the Outdoor Department not above the rank of examining officer; and, whether the Playfair scheme, in reference to duty, pay, &c. was intended to apply to members of the Outdoor Department as well as to the clerical staff?


I will answer the Question which the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets has put down for Monday at the same time as that of the hon. and gallant Member for South Essex. I can only repeat what I have already stated—namely, that, speaking generally, the prospects of present members of the Customs Outdoor Department will not suffer by the changes proposed in the warehousing system. There is, therefore, nothing in the circumstances of the case to justify the offer of special terms of retirement to the outdoor officers. The new scheme will be brought into operation as soon as possible; but I cannot at present name the precise date. The Minute of 1864, referred to by the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets, related to vacancies in the ordinary course, and cannot reasonably be held to apply to new appointments arising out of an organic change in the Department. The Play fair scheme does not apply to the Outdoor Department; and so far as the salaries of the transferred clerks are affected by it, it could only be as matter of personal allowance to prevent individuals from suffering by the change. I must now respectfully ask hon. Members not to press me further at present with Questions upon this subject. I have repeatedly stated that it is our desire to introduce these changes so as to prejudice as little as possible the interests of anyone concerned. It will be impossible for the Executive Government to discharge its duty whenever administrative changes have to be made in the public interests if, before its measures are completed, it is called upon to answer for the effect of those changes on every individual interest.