§ MR. NORRIS (Tower Hamlets, Lime house)
asked the First Lord of the Trea- 1007 sury, If any system exists in the Public Departments, by reserve, or deduction of pay, or in any other manner, to provide for superannuation allowances; and, if not, whether some scheme can be devised to save such charges upon the annual Estimates; and, whether, in the case of compulsory retirement of clerks in the prime of life and capable of duty, such persons can be transferred to other Departments as vacancies occur or opportunity offers, and thus, by their services being retained in some other sphere, such superannuation allowances be saved to the country?
§ THE FIRST LORD (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
In 1857 the House of Commons carried against the Government of the day a Bill repealing the provisions of a previous Act under which an abatement on account of pension was made from the salaries of Civil servants of the Crown, and since that time no abatement on account of pension has been, or could be, made from the salaries of Civil servants. The question of pensions is, I believe, at present under the consideration of the Royal Commission on Civil Establishments. It is, of course, desirable that clerks in the prime of life, who, through the reorganization of their Departments, have become redundant, should be re-employed; but, as a matter of practice, such re-employment is found exceedingly difficult. A man in the prime of life can hardly be placed at the bottom of his new Department; but if he is placed higher up the juniors in the Office are deprived of the promotion which they might reasonably expect. As a rule, Heads of Departments select for retirement their most inefficient men; and it is, of course, most difficult to persuade the Head of another Department to recruit his staff from such a source; but the Government will lose no opportunity of exercising their proper influence to secure re-employment wherever it can be arranged without detriment to the Public Service.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.)
asked, if there was a single instance in which any substantial efforts had been made to effect the re-employment of clerks compulsorily retired?
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
Yes, Sir; I am aware, from my own knowledge, that there are cases in which substantial efforts have been made by past Govern- 1008 ments, as well as by this Government, to secure this object; but there are extreme difficulties in the way, for the reasons I have stated.