HC Deb 01 July 1890 vol 346 cc494-552

Order for Second Reading, read.


The House is aware that it is proposed to refer this Bill to a Select Committee, which will consider its details, and it will, therefore, only be necessary for me now to give a general outline of the measure. It is probably unnecessary that I should vindicate the general principle of superannuation. One of the reasons rendering the establishment of a system of superannuation desirable is the fact that the work of a constable is of a specially arduous nature, and to secure proper efficiency the men must be engaged in it when they are in the prime of life. To attract a good class of men to the Force a current of promotion is necessary. Another point to bear in mind is that the system acts as an inducement to the men to be of good conduct. A man is likely to be careful not to misconduct himself when he knows that his prospects of a retiring allowance depend on his keeping a clean defaulter's sheet. I will not stay now to dwell on general considerations, but will proceed to say a few words as to the existing state of things in Scotland. There, at the present time, there is no systematic pensioning of the Force. In the burghs the Police Authorities have a general power to give something to a man when he leaves, small periodical payments to be made during pleasure, or in some cases spread over a term of years. In the counties there is no power to spread the payment over a period of years, and the donation must take the shape of a gratuity or lump sum down. In the burghs, therefore, there are payments in the nature of pensions, but not in the counties. One feature is common both to burghs and counties—namely, that no man has a right to a pension, under any circumstances at all. It is entirely by the pleasure of the Police Authorities if any payment is made to him on his retirement. The present amounts charged against the rates in Scotland for payments to retired constables reach a total of £4,789. Of this sum, £1,744 is for county payments, and £2,706 for burgh payments. In Greenock there is an organised Pension Fund; the charge is £338 10s. 9d. It is an argument in favour of the establishment of a statutory system of pensions that some of the counties have found pensions so necessary for the due maintenance of the Force that they have stretched the existing law, and, in lieu of only giving gratuities, have made payments in the nature of pensions, terminating after a period of years. The legality of this proceeding I greatly question. In Lanarkshire, the Police Authorities have found themselves compelled to rely upon a voluntary assessment in order to provide pensions for retired men. The feeling of the Community in Lanarkshire has thus actually outstripped the present law, and proceeded in the direction in which the Government now propose to go. There is another point which must be within the knowledge of hon. Members. In many Forces may be found men whose services would not be missed, and who are kept on at a lower rate of pay, as a sort of pension, and simply because the Local Authorities do not feel justified in keeping them in the higher grade, for the performances of the duties in which they are disqualified by the advance of years. I shall start, then, with the assumption that there is a general feeling in favour 'of a system of superannuation for the police. Now, Sir, in regard to the provisions of the Bill, I do not think it necessary to go into them with any great amount of detail; but it may be convenient to state that the proposals we submit start with the Police Authority in each case with regard to the administration of the Police Fund. When the House remembers that the object is to promote the efficiency of the police it is manifest that there is a relation between the wages to be paid to the police and the amount of their retiring pensions, which renders it almost impossible to have one authority to regulate and determine who are to receive the pensions, and another separate authority to determine the question of wages. This, therefore, I am disposed to think is one of the necessary conditions of this measure of superannuation. But there are other provisions in the Bill. As the House is aware, we propose that a policeman shall be entitled, after a certain amount of service, to receive a pension, the amount of which is to be left flexible and determinable within certain limits of maxima and minima by the Local Authorities; but this is to be qualified by a condition which is left to the Local Authority, and that is, that they may fix the age on arriving at which alone a man shall be allowed to retire with a pension. Let me take the case of 25 years as the long period of service after which the full pension, that is to say three-fifths of the-wages, is to become due, without a medical certificate. This is to be taken in connection with the proposal that the Local Authority is entitled to prescribe an age before the attainment of which a man shall not obtain a pension, even though ho may have served for 25 years. On this matter, both with regard to the amount of salary between the maximum and minimum, and, also, the age between maximum and minimum, the Local Authority will have the right to decide and determine the sort of work, and the peculiarities of the service to be performed, in the particular districts as-to which pensions are to be accorded. Therefore, there is a a free hand given to the Local Authorities in introducing such variances as they may deem appropriate to the circumstances of the case. Well, Sir, as I have stated, we have fixed certain maxima and minima, and I may be allowed to say, on this as on all other matters, I am not going to discuss the question whether we have fixed them rightly or not; and for this-reason: that these are matters entirely for the Committee, and if the Committee consider that any modifications of our proposals should be introduced, or that certain variations should be made, they can be brought forward in Committee. I say, therefore, that the details are left entirely open. At the same time I must say that I trust hon. Members will perceive that there are limits at which it is necessary to stop in order to secure the general object of the measure, which is the increased efficiency of the police. And now I will ask the House to see how the national aspect of the question stands; and on this point I do not intend to go into detail, but merely to indicate the general lines on which our proposals are based. In the first place, it will be convenient that I should take a figure. I will, therefore, state that the number of efficient men at the present time in the Police Force of Scotland is 4,042. Now, Sir, the proposal of the Bill is that the sum of £40,000, which is provided for in the Local Taxation Bill, should be placed in the hands of the Local Authorities, in certain proportions which, at the present moment, it is not necessary for me to discuss. The allocation of that sum will begin at the beginning. It will at once, and hereafter from year to year, be placed in the hands of the Local Authorities, and in addition to this there is the 2J per cent, deduction from the pay of the men, which, as has been already stated, amounts to £7,500. This, again, will be an amount available year by year, and plus this, there is a certain amount provided from various minor and miscellaneous sources, but, as to these, I have not been able to obtain the precise details. I can, however, give the House specimens from some of the larger towns, if the House cares to have them, and it will be seen that these items amount to a considerable sum. I may say that, in regard to these items, there is great variance as between the different towns; they include such things as the payment of fines, payments for police services, and so forth, and in regard to these things it is obvious that the local conditions will vary very much. I will take, as an instance, the case of Glasgow, which, however, I do not put forward as a representative case. In Glasgow, the regular deductions of 2½ per cent, amount to £1,774, and the miscellaneous items, to which I have referred, amount to £4,530. In Aberdeen, which stands on a different footing to Glasgow, the deduction of 2£ per cent, amounts to £199, and the miscellaneous items to £136. In the other burghs and counties, I find from five counties and five burghs of which I have instances, that generally speaking, there is more derived from the miscellaneous items than from the 2½ percent, deduction. I do not propose to enter minutely into the financial results of the scheme; but I will ask the House to suppose that 300 men are retired during the first two years, and that three-fifths is to be the proportion of the pension payable; that would come to between £15,000 and £20,000. Suppose we take the figure at £15,000 or £20,000. The result of our calculations is this: that at the outset the Government grant of £40,000 alone is much more than enough to meet the liability thrown on the fund, and the consequence will be that at this time, and for some time afterwards, a large portion of the £40,000 will be invested and accumulated, so that the rates will not be even within sight of being touched. There will not only be the surplus of the £40,000, but also the £7,500 derived from the 2½ per cent, deduction from the wages of the men. But, looking forward to a more distant period, the result of our calculations is that for at least 30 years there will bono burden whatever on the rates. An hon. Gentleman opposite seems to indicate incredulity; but I would remind him that this is a subject on which careful and detailed calculations are necessary, and if he doubts the infallibility of the calculations on which I rely I may say that, for my part, I am not convinced of the infallibility of some rival suggestions that have been made. The House will, however, observe that, so far as the rates are concerned, the question is a very remote one, assuming our calculations to be at all near the mark. But I want further to point out that, supposing at some distant time the burden is thrown on the rates, any one must see that much more than the Government contribution would be required; in fact, that much more than double would be required; and that there-is no reason for alarm as far as the ratepayers are concerned is shown by the fact that the produce of one penny per pound on the valuation roll of Scotland is £83,000 per annum. Now, Sir, I am not suggesting that this amount will be required until a very remote period, if at all. I merely mention the matter as-showing that, the alarmist figures are necessarily circumscribed by these prosaic figures of mine.


Has the right hon. Gentleman made an esti- mate of the maximum amount of the pension list?


Yes, I have. I may say that somewhere over 50 years hence, something under £80,000 will be required, plus the £40,000.


In addition to the £40,000?




And above all other sources?


I think not. I may say I think the amount of detail through which I have gone is sufficient to show what is the scheme of the Government. I am not concerned to do more than show that the scheme we propose is practical, and, moreover, presents no danger of an expenditure which can be regarded as in anyway excessive. I will not now occupy more of the time of the House beyond saying that my object has been to show the general principles on which the scheme is framed. It is a scheme under which, in the first place, pensions are, by Statute Law, to be a matter of right under certain conditions, the fixing of which is to be partly by the Bill within certain limits, the adjustment of which is to be left to the Local Authorities; in the second place, our system places the power of managing these funds in the hands of the Local Authorities; while, in the third place, I hope I have said enough to show that the financial aspect of the question is such as to present no ground for alarm, and that the object in view, which is of high importance, can be obtained by the aid of the Parliamentary grant within very reasonable limits and without adding to the local burdens. I beg to move the Second Reading of the Bill.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."

(6.45.) SIR G. TREVELYAN (Glasgow, Bridgeton)

I think the Lord Advocate has set the model of the maximum of explanation in the minimum of time. And the explanation was thoroughly well adapted to leave the Committee largely free in its operations. I think the Lord Advocate under-rated the very serious nature of the change which Scotch Members are asked to make in the administration of Scotland. It is a very serious change indeed. It is not, as in England, the extension of an existing system, but it is practically the adoption of a new one. In the counties of England there are 1,650 pensioners. In the counties of Scotland there are very few pensioners, and no recognised and legal pensioners. In the English boroughs there are 5,500 pensioners; in the Scotch burghs there are, probably, taking all the men who are pensioned in an irregular manner, less that 100. What deduction ought we to draw from those figures? Up to this time there has been to say the least, the greatest lukewarm ness in Scotland towards pensioning the police. What information have the Government as to the manner in which this proposal is looked on in Scotland? I say that not only should we know, as in the case of England, what is the feeling in this and that locality, but I should be very anxious indeed to know, what I must say I feel myself at this moment very ignorant of indeed, what is the feeling in Scotland in general. So ignorant are we of that feeling, that the operations of the Select Committee will have to be, I think, of a more serious character than only examining the details of the Bill. They will likewise have to inquire what is the wish in at least some of the respective localities with regard to the main objects of the Bill. The only means that we have of judging of feeling in Scotland is by a Petition—now somewhat out of date—from the Town Council of Glasgow against the Bill for the pensioning of police constables in the year 1877. From that Petition I can gather the feeling of Glasgow, which I conclude to be likewise the feeling in some of the larger towns. They take two objections to that Bill which do not apply to this Bill. The Town Council protests that the Government ought to contribute a very sensible sum towards pensioning the police. That is done by this Bill. They likewise ask for a general system over the whole country. That is given by this Bill, rightly or wrongly. The Town Council protests most strongly and most rightly against setting up a separate police pension fund, with a number of separate contributions to it, which is not a real, true, separate fund. They object exceedingly to the number of payments which at this moment come in some shape or another into the Exchequer of the community ear-marked, and placed in a fund for the police, so as to give the idea that there are certain special funds and special sources from which the superannuation of the police may be drawn, when that merely conceals the fact that in the last resort all is to be drawn, above the contribution of the Government, from the pockets of the ratepayers. For my part, I hope the Government will consider whether this, as a separate fund, ought to be kept up, unless it is made, as my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen proposed to make it, a genuine fund with representative management, with full liberty of giving or withholding and giving largely or in a less degree. Either the fund should be made a real one, or else we ought to have the thing put before the community in its right shape, that is, that a certain contribution is made by the Government and that all the rest must come from the ratepayers. A request was made in reference to the English Bill that was very inadequately answered by the Lord Advocate. He gave us an estimate made with some care. I think it was very much too sanguine. The Lord Advocate said it was calculated that for 30 years hence no charge would fall upon the rates, but that everything would be covered by the Government grant. The only experience we have to go by is the experience in connection with the Metropolitan Police. It is now 28 years since the system of pensions was adopted for the Metropolitan Force, and already, over and above the £150,000 given to that Force, £50,000 is thrown upon the ratepayers. But the Home Secretary tells us that under the new scale of pensions—I have no doubt it is quite true—the burden will be doubled; so that in 28 years the cost of the pension system in London will be £250,000. To London £150,000 is given, and to Scotland £40,000.


The right hon. Gentleman has fallen into an error. The scale adopted in 1862 is the scale in force.


Pensions were in force before that, of course, and so far as they were in force my argument, no doubt, is weakened. Taking the experience of London, the grant given to Scotland would in 30 years be more than balanced. I have made an estimate so far as I can for Glasgow. In London at this moment the charge for pension per man is £14. Glasgow has 1,060 police, so that at that rate the charge in Glasgow for pensions would be £14,800. If, as the Home Secretary says, the burden will be doubled in 28 years, Glasgow at the end of that period would be paying £29,600. At present she stands at £1,100 a year for pensioning 25 men, so that she will have the burden of another £28,000 a year, which she would have to make up out of the Government grant and a matter of some £2,000. I resolutely refuse to deduct any of those fines or licences which go now to the ratepayers, and which, in any case, are public money.


I did not say that I deducted them.


I quite understand that. They are part of the funds for police pensions, and we cannot take them into account. I think the £40,000 is distributed upon an excellent system. It is given in due proportion to the amount which the different localities expend upon pensions. Under this system Glasgow will get about £12,000 a year, and the ultimate burden on Glasgow will be about £16,000 a year. In the case of a self-governing community like Glasgow the Government would do very well to inform themselves whether such a proposal is popular with the Town Council, who are the representatives of the ratepayers. There is one very great danger to which I hope the Committee will very carefully look, and I believe that the Bill contains the means to a great extent of guarding against it. The real danger is lest the police over the whole country should be a sort of military force, independent of the Local Authorities. We are not satisfied with the character of the Local Authorities charged with the management of the police. We hope that, whatever the authority is, it will have control over the police, who will look to it as their virtual paymaster. I cannot conceive anything more unfortunate, especially in the Highlands, where the authorities and the police act in unison, than that the police should be able to snap their fingers at the authorities who have control over them, because they are in no sense de- pendent upon the Local Authorities for either their present or future. It is no use going back to the question of whether the police ought to be superannuated, or whether they ought not. We cannot afford, and we do not intend, to throw away the £40,000 which is our share—not our rightful share, but the share which is allotted to us—of the Spirit Duty. But everything depends on the pay and emoluments of the police being kept in the hands of the Local Authorities. There are great differences in the pay of the Scotch police. The pay of a constable of four years' standing is 27s. a week in the town of Glasgow, and 24s. 6d. in Inverness and Montrose, and in the counties the pay varies from 28s. to 21s. 6d. a week. There are all these differences, and it is quite right that this variety should exist. If you once place the police in these Highland counties on the same pay as that which is enjoyed in Lanarkshire, you will get them entirely out of the hands of the Local Authorities, and, for the protection of the ratepayers and the due discipline of the police, it is most essential that the Local Authorities should be able to fix the pay so as to correspond with the rate of wages and the demand for labour in their respective districts. There is another reason why you should keep the most extreme elasticity in the machinery which the Local Authorities use. For my own part, I entertain grave doubts about pensioning many classes of public servants who are pensioned already, but the principal defence of the system is that a pension is only deferred pay. For this reason it is extremely important, when this Bill has become law, that the Local Authority should have absolute power to vary the pay of the police in such a manner as to make it, together with the pension, a due reward for the labour of a policeman. I admit that there is need of something being done. At this present moment, in England, out of 37,000 policemen, there are 2,300 over the age of 50, while in Scotland, out of 4,200 policemen, there are 480 over the age of 50. Thus, in England, one policeman out of every 17 is over the age of 50, while in Scotland the proportion is one to nine. This shows that the £40,000 allotted to Scotland can be expended with some effect. I trust we shall hear nothing more of the monstrous idea which has prevailed elsewhere of retiring a man after a certain period of service, while he is still comparatively young. The taxpayer, and the ratepayer, and the citizen, have a right to protest in the most vehement manner against a man being retired under 50 or 55 years of age for any other cause but absolute inability to serve any longer. I hope the Committee will insist that the age of 55 shall be kept as the age below which a man shall not have a right to retire. I am informed that the Head Constable of Glasgow', representing, I suppose, the feeling of the police, has stated his opinion that the age should be 55, unless the man is unfitted for service; that the age should be the same for all, and that a suitable man should be allowed to remain on till the age of 60, with a slight addition to his pay. I am very glad to hear such a suggestion coming from the police themselves^ because I think it shows they are public spirited men, who do not forget the supposed interests of their calling, and yet who recognise that they are citizens who ought to think of the public too. I belief that if the Committee vigorously keep to the cardinal points I have mentioned, the Bill will be freed from some of the great evils which I am sure will be associated with the English measure, and may be, though attended with some disadvantages, of real benefit to the police.

(7.5.) MR. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)

My position with regard to this Bill is a very simple one. If the money required for the pension scheme in Scotland is only this £40,000, I am ready to support this Bill. The Lord Advocate says that for 30 years this £40,000 will suffice without any call on the ratepayers. I will put, I will not say the sincerity, but the depth of conviction, of the right hon. Gentleman to a decisive test. If there can be no demand on the rates for 30 years, why not postpone for 30 years Clause 19, which now imposes liability on the ratepayers? There are just two ways in which we can estimate the cost of this superannuation scheme, and I quite expected that the right hon. Gentleman1 would have adopted one of them. One way is to lay by nothing for pensions until they arise, and when and as they arise to pro- vide the money for paying them. That is a method which is very easy for those who impose the liability. The initial cost is small, but every year adds to that cost, and no man can tell what the ultimate amount will be. The figures we have had put before us are actually derived from the imagination, because the Home Secretary (Mr. Matthews) proved in this House that the tables on which the old pension list of London was based were utterly and entirely erroneous, and the right hon. Gentleman warned us in Scotland that it was not £40,000 nor £80,000,. but something more like £120,000 that would be required for this pension scheme. Well, the second mode by which we can estimate the cost of a scheme of this kind is based upon absolute data. I may represent it in this way. Supposing the Government were to ask a company to undertake the obligations that this Bill entails, the price the company would demand would be the real cost of the scheme. The Lord Advocate estimated that during the next three years quite 300 persons would come upon the Pension Fund. As a matter of fact, there are more than 400 persons now serving in the police who are over the age of 50 years, and there are nearly 200 ready to come into the category of "over 50." Why we should assume that during the next three years, out of a total of 500 or 600 men, only 300 will come on to the pension list I do not understand. If you fix your pensions by age, you know exactly where you are. A policeman will go on till that age and then receive his pension. But if you fix the pension according to the number of years' service, you make it practically compulsory on a constable to receive a pension as soon as he completes his 25 years' service, for the reason that if he continues in the force longer he is liable to be dismissed, and if he is dismissed he is dismissed without a pension. Therefore, by fixing a stated period of service, such as 25 years, you make it impossible for a man to continue in the Force beyond 25 years without risking this valuable pension. The right hon. Gentleman the Lord Advocate mentioned a sum of £15,000 or £20,000 as being all that would be necessary; but that struck me as illusory. If it were £50,000 that would be an average of £50 each. In a calculation I have made, I have taken £40 as the average amount for a pension. In the table of Post Office Annuities you find that, for a man of 20 and under 21, to undertake to pay him a pension of £40 a year after 25 years* service, at which time he would have reached the age of 46, the premium required would be £16 a year. That is the sum for which the Post Office would guarantee the pension. But the premium which is available under this scheme—assuming that you give an equal share of the £40,000 to every constable in the Force, and add 2½ per cent.—the premium would be £11 9s. 8d. Thus, at the very start, taking the constable who is to contribute for 25 years, you have a deficit of £4 10s. 4d. per annum on each constable. But this scheme is not one to apply merely to future entrances into the Force. It is to apply to men now in the Force. Now, at the age of 25 the premium rises to £22 3s. 4d., which leaves a deficit on each constable of £10 13s. 8d. At the age of 30 the premium rises to £32 16s. 8d., leaving a deficit of £21 7s. 0d.; at the age of 35 the premium is £48 16s. 8d. (against which you have only £11 9s. 8d.) leaving a deficit of £37 5s. 0d. per man. These figures show that if you were to provide this prudent investment, there would be a large deficit in the £40,000. Even supposing you had all the constables in the Force at the low premium of £16 per annum pension, there would be a deficiency of £20,000 after paying the £40,000 proposed by the Government. If we advance the deficit arising upon the classes from 20 to 35 years of age, they amount to £30,000 a year; and as to those between 35 and 45 the premiums from pensions are so large that the Post Office does not publish any tables at all. The best calculation I can make by these classes is a cost of no less than £80,000 a year. There remains the large class of constables over 45 years of age, numbering 525. To buy annuities for these would cost £660 each, and to provide pensions would consequently require £326,500. On this basis we should, therefore, require to provide half a million of money in the first year; in the second year £150,000, and that sum would diminish year by year until ultimately we should have to pay £60,000 a year. It is perfectly obvious that by paying the money in advance and accumulating it year by year we should adopt a policy ultimately more favourable to the ratepayers; and my conviction is that the figure of £120,000 given by the Home Secretary, if it errs at all, errs on the side of being under the mark. Upon the Lord Advocate's own statement these facts dispose of the Bill; and the people of Scotland are not prepared to tax themselves to the extent of £70,000 or £80,000 a year to provide pensions. This Bill proceeds upon wrong principles, and the only sound or economic proceeding is to first ascertain what our funds are, and then what pensions we can afford to pay. If the Lord Advocate had proceeded upon that principle he could never have proposed the scale of pensions which is in the Bill. I also object to the Bill on the ground that a constable would be entitled to retire on the completion of 25 years' service, and I would ask the House to compare the position of two agricultural labourers under the Bill. One does not become a constable, and has wages always under £1 a week, while his fellow becomes a constable, at once gets more than that amount, and constantly increases. At the age of 46 the constable would retire with a pension of £40, on which he could afford to live like a gentleman for the rest of his life; but he would probably take some other form of remunerative occupation, so that the labourer would have to pay rates for the superannuation of a constable who could compete with him for the more choice occupations in the country. That is adding insult to injury. There is, from the policemen's point of view, an objection of great force with respect to entrusting the payment of pensions to Local Authorities. It is to the interest of these bodies to keep down the Pension Fund, and it is to the interest of the higher officers to see that as few men come upon that fund as possible. What the policemen freely say where these pensions exist is, that when the time comes near for a pension their superiors become very strict to mark iniquity, and do not hesitate to use any excuse to dismiss the men. I very much doubt whether that prevails to anything like the extent the men believe, but by having one general Pension Fund any possibility of such a misconstruction will be removed. The Bill is also objectionable on the ground that it gives no pension for disablement from duty until after 15 years of age. Very little is gained by inserting that limitation, and I think it might be struck out. Then, I have never heard of a constable being killed in Scotland in the execution of his duty—at any rate the cases are so rare as to be scarcely worth talking about—and I would suggest to the Government that they would, very much improve the attractions of the fund if they provided that, in the case of the death of a constable from any cause there should be a moderate allowance sufficient to keep the children from the poor-house until they reached the age of 15, when they would be able to earn their own living. Clause 8, dealing with the forfeiture of pension for neglect of duty, or other causes, is utterly wrong in principle and indefensible. If a man has a right to a pension he should not be deprived of that property simply because of the reasons stated in that clause. I also take great objection to Clause 21, which provides, in a qualified and unsatisfactory manner, for the return to a constable when he leaves the Force of his-contributions to the fund. That is a paltry, niggling clause which, financially, is worth nothing; and I think a constable ought under such circumstances, to get back his contributions. Another matter which I regret to see in the Bill is the stoppages during sickness to the resources of the Pension Fund. I think it very unfortunate that the police should have their pay stopped during sickness, and I trust that the practice may be abolished. I also hope that the words "without his default," in the clause as to pension to an officer injured in the execution of his duty, will be struck out, for no man would willingly injure himself. I must repeat that the Lord Advocate has wholly failed to show any reasons whatever for believing that the ratepayers will not be called upon to pay for the next 30 years. On the contrary, he must be wrong, for he undertook to do what the Post Office will not do. While I will vote for the Second Reading, in order that the Bill may be sent to a Committee, I will not promise to support the Third Reading unless the Bill is so modified as to make it certain that there will be no payment whatever from the ratepayers.

(7.30.) MR. E. ROBERTSON

The House has listened with interest to the speeches which have been made in great detail on this side of the House, but I must confess that the conclusions which have been arrived at by the two hon. Members who have addressed us are extremely disappointing. They justified the Lord Advocate in the assumption—which to me seems unjustifiable—that there is an apparent unanimity in favour of this Bill. I should have thought that Scotch Members would have put in, at all events, a dilatory plea against the Bill being passed at present. Is any demand made for this Bill on behalf of the Scotch people, or on behalf of the Local Authorities who will have to work it? I do not believe there has been any such representation of public opinion as to justify the Lord Advocate in his statement, except what we have heard from the hon. Member for Aberdeen (Mr. Hunter) and the right hon. Gentleman below me (Sir G. Trevelyan). My experience is entirely in the teeth of the conclusion arrived at by these gentlemen. In the election of 1885 there was no question which excited more interest than the question of the pensioning of the police, and I can say with perfect assurance that the opinion of the working men of the constituencies is opposed in the most determined way to this principle. These working men say, "What are the police whom you propose to pension? They are working men as we are; nobody proposes to pension us. You ask us to bear the burden of providing superannuation allowances for this particular class of working men. We, being working men for whom no such provision is proposed, and for whom no such provision certainly will ever be made, entirely object to this privileged legislation which you are proposing." I sympathise strongly with that view, which was pressed upon me by representatives of working men in my own constituency in the election of 1885, and I have to consider this Bill under the obligation which I took upon myself, in 1885, to oppose the scheme, then brought forward by the Liberal Government, and which is reproduced in the present measure. The Bill proposes a wholesale pension scheme for this-branch of the Public Service in Scotland. Do ho=n. Members opposite, does my right hon. Friend (Sir G. Trevelyan) realise the horror with which the whole business of pensions is regarded by the working classes of Scotland? I am sorry the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh) is not present. He has produced good and wholesome results on the public opinion of this country, and in Scotland there is no result more permanent and more profound than that he has inspired the whole working classes in Scotland with the most utter detestation of, and disgust with, the whole system of pensioning public servants at the public expense. It is a question admitting of some doubt whether we should pay our servants by means of pensions. If we were beginning de novo, and dealing with men entering the Force for the first time, it would be a doubtful question whether we should pay them by giving them a certain allowance in the name of wages, and a certain other allowance in the name of pensions, or whether we should give them the full market value of their labour in present wages and leave them to find their pensions for themselves. If we adopt the system of pensions we must proceed upon the principle that the pension, plus wages, shall be no more taken together than the market value of the man's wages ought to be if he is hired in the open market. The Bill treats the subject in this way. It deals with a class of men who have made engagements under a system of free contract. They are at this moment getting their full wages—the wages fixed for them by the price in the labour market—but my right hon. Friend (Sir G. Trevelyan) is willing not only to give them this but a deferred allowance also. I think that, from this point of view alone, I should be justified in offering a strenuous opposition to the whole Bilk But there is another point. The Bill deals with a whole profession which has entered into contracts with the Local Authorities, such contracts making no provision for pensions. We are going to give the same amount of pension to the constable who is on the point of retiring as to the young man who is just going to enter the Force, although the man who joins the Force now will pay a deduction of 2½ per cent, from his pay for 25 or 30 years, while the man who is about to retire will make no such payment. There is an old parable which is quoted in vindication of the rights of labourers who come in at the eleventh hour, but receive as much wages as those who have borne the burden and heat of the day. I think common instincts are rather against the justice of the inference to be drawn from that parable. I am certain that the working men of Scotland would not submit to it as a just principle, and I do not believe the members of the Police Force in Scotland would be satisfied that those who are to make large payments during the whole period of their service are to receive no more than those who are going to quit the Service, and who will naturally make no payment at all. With regard to the financial aspect of the Bill, the Lord Advocate was unable to tell what is to be the total burden to be imposed upon the country by this pension list. It matters not where we get the money. The £40,000 from the Exchequer and the £7,500 from fees are just as much public money as the money which comes' by direct contribution from the ratepayers, and I must express my regret, in regard to the speech of my hon. Friend (Mr. Hunter), because he said that if nothing was to be asked for from the ratepayers he was entirely for the Bill. I do not look at it from that point of view it all. We are putting a burden on the people of Scotland, as to which all we know is that there will be £40,000 of local Scotch money and £15,000 of other local contributions. Beyond that, there will be a sum as to which evidently no calculation has been made, but which the Lord Advocate estimated at £80,000. Therefore, what you are doing is to put on Scotland a burden which at a minimum must mean £120,000 per annum, and if we count other local contributions must amount to £150,000. Capitalised, that means a direct expense of something like £4,000,000 or £5,000,000 for the pensioning of men who have entered into contracts which make no provision for such pensions. The pension is a mere superfluity and gratuity; and the burden you are asking the Scotch Members to place on the Scotch people to pay is £120,000 or £150,000 a year. It may be said that burden is not coming into existence immediately. The Lord Advocate said the burden of £80,000 will not fall upon the people for 50 years. That, it appears to me, is an extravagant estimate. Under the Bill these men may all be superannuated at the end of 25 years, and thus at the end of that period the absolute maximum possible may be realised, and the full burden of £120,000 or £150,000 per annum placed on the people of Scotland. And all this is being proposed as something thrown in by way of gratuity to public servants with whom we have already made a contract in the open market. After the expression I had five years ago of the opinion of my constituents on the question I should have no right to vote for the Bill; but after the statements that have been laid before the House by the promoters of the Bill, I am bound to say I feel justified, without any disrespect to the police, without any desire to depreciate their character, or under-estimate the value of their services, to offer to this Bill the very strongest opposition. I should just like to ask the Liberal Members, who I fear have been induced to pledge themselves to some kind of superannuation, what their working men supporters will think of this proposal. Again, I ask, what are they going to do with the other Public Services in Scotland beside the police? Are they going to treat them in the same way? What are they going to do with men who are not in the Public Service at all, in the sense of being engaged by the public, but who render services as great and as valuable as those rendered by the men who are technically public servants? I have a case before me where a man 78 years of age, who has spent all his days upon the land, has received no public pension, but who, after bringing up his family decently and respectably, finds himself unable to do anything more. What does your law do for him? It offers him something like 2s. per week. This man may have a son, and it is this man and his class who will have to provide for the superannuation of the police. At the same time, you propose that a constable at 45 shall be entitled to a pension equal to three-fifths of his pay. It will pay a policeman well to retire at 45 on three-fifths of his salary, for the chances are that with the open market he will be able to get employment that will bring more than the other two-fifths. Summing up my objections to the measure, I may say this is an English measure, which is forced upon Scotland in the same way as English ideas have been forcibly impressed on Scotland, greatly to its disadvantage, in the matter of education. By the necessities of your position in England you are bound to formulate some scheme of superannuation for policemen, and because you are under that obligation, you think it necessary to force the same system upon us in Scotland. In the second place, I object to the Bill because it has been put forward before it is asked for, and in the face of evidence that justifies us in saying that the opinion of Scotland, if it were consulted, would be not only lukewarm, but distinctly hostile to the whole principle. That being the state of Scotch opinion, the Government are bound to give us time for consultation, and to know what our constituents and the Local Authorities who are to administer it think of the measure. Lastly, I object to the Bill from the point of view of general interest. This Bill is of the same colour as all the legislative proposals of the Government this Session. They are all tarred with the same brush—I do not know whether the brush is imposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. They are tarred with the same brush in the sense that every one of these Bills constitutes in itself a raid upon the Public Treasury for the benefit of a class.

An hon. MEMBKE

The police a class!


Yes; they are putting a burden of £120,000 upon the people of Scotland for the benefit of a class. It is what they tried to do with regard to the licensing clauses, the Land Purchase Bill, and even the Tithes Bill to a limited extent. The Western Australia Bill is, to some extent, of the same character. It is a most remarkable thing that this Government of the classes seems to be concerned in an attempt to divert a certain portion of the Public Treasury in whatever shape it may be to the benefit of some section of the community. Liberal Governments in days past have been accused of harassing the various interests. The Government of the pre- sent day has read the lesson of previous Liberal Governments in this way, and it harasses the public in order to do as much good as it can to the interests of classes with the hope that those classes will serve them in the day of trouble. I object to the Bill from that point of view, and from the further point of view that it is put forward entirely without demand, and that, therefore, we are justified in asking that time shall be given to the people of Scotland to express their wishes on the subject.

(7.55.) MR. MARK STEWART (Kirkcudbright)

If there is one thing quite certain it is that if the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. E. Robertson) and his friends had their way no Police Superannuation Bill for Scotland would pass. The hon. and learned Gentleman has made a great deal of the fact that there is no demand for the Bill. I have had something to do with police matters in my own county, and I am able to say that, although this is not a burning question, although men's minds are not agitated on the subject, it is a matter which everyone has regarded as one which must be brought about some day; and surely when there are so many discordant elements in the House in agreement as to the principle of the measure, it is not an inopportune time to press forward a Superannuation Bill. I have in my mind's eye constables who have continued in the Force until an advanced age in the hope that some Superannuation Bill will be passed. The Local Authorities do not care to burden the rates heavily by pensioning the men, neither do they care to dismiss the officers in a tyrannical manner. I have another case in my mind, that of a police officer who was for some years the head constable in an English county. He took a similar position in a Scotch county, with the result that, in consequence of there being no Supernnuation Fund, in Scotland he will leave the Scotch Force a great deal poorer than he would have left the English Force. I think that when there is a consensus of opinion that such a measure as this is feasible and expedient, the Government are not only justified in doing something, but are called upon to do something in the matter. The hon. and learned Gentleman says that the working men are hostile to this Bill; but I doubt whether the working men who view this matter reasonably and dispassionately will protest against the measure. It must be borne in mind that the details of the Bill can be adequately discussed in the Committee upstairs. For instance, if it is found that the measure imposes large burdens on the rates, attention will very properly be called to the fact, and, if necessary, alterations made. I think that a man who serves a longer period should be entitled to a proportionately larger pension, and in that direction I should like to see the scheme re-arranged. The statement of the Lord Advocate must have done much to allay the financial apprehensions that have been raised; and I am satisfied that if the Bill is carefully considered in a spirit of generous justice, we may hope that it will be welcomed throughout Scotland, and have a good effect upon the Force.

*(8.0.) MR. D. CRAWFORD (Lanark, N. E.)

I think the Government have placed Members who think a reasonable case for a Superannuation Bill has been made out in a position of considerable difficulty, and for two reasons: In the first place, this is obviously a Bill upon which, in one form or another, Local Authorities ought to have been consulted. In my opinion, it was the duty of the Government to consult them directly. The Government ought to have come to the House, and to have been able to say, "We have obtained the opinions, not only of the Police Authorities, but of the Rating Authorities, who have to pay the expenses of this Bill." As they have not taken that course, at least the Bill ought to have been before the country for a considerable time, so as to allow Members an opportunity of consulting their constituents and obtaining that information which I think the Government ought to have obtained for themselves. I feel that these difficulties are very serious indeed. They do not prevent me from voting for the Second Reading of the Bill; but, so far as our opinions on this side of the House are concerned, I believe we are unanimous in thinking that our assent to the Bill must be held in suspense until we see, after the deliberations of the Select Committee, how far our objections are removed. There is another objection, that we have not authentic information—I think I am entitled to say this—as to what the cost of this scheme to the country will be. The Lord Advocate, for the first time tonight, has placed before us certain calculations, carefully made, no doubt, but they are entirely in conflict with the calculations presented to the House by my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, whose calculations have certainly a basis of fact, as they were derived from statistics of the Post Office Insurance Scheme, whereas we had no information from the Lord Advocate as to what his calculations were based upon. That lack of information, I admit, may be supplied by due activity during the investigation by the Select Committee. There is one principle of very old application which has been referred to to-night by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bridgeton—that is, that pensions should be regarded as deferred pay. That principle, I think, was rather too much lost sight of in the statement of the Lord Advocate. If, as was urged by the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Robertson), you are going to give policemen full pay and pension over and above that as a sheer present, can you be surprised that this scheme should excite resentment and opposition on the part of Local Authorities? That is a view of the subject which has been ignored by the Lord Advocate. I will make a practical application of this view. I admit it is a difficult case; I foresee that if you establish any scheme of superannuation you can scarcely say, without causing great dissatisfaction, the men are to be entirely excluded, even though they have not contributed to the building up of the fund; but surely those men who retire to-morrow, the labourers who have only worked from the eleventh hour, should not carry off exactly as much pension as those who have contributed out of their moderate earnings during the whole of their working lives from the age of 21. That is a part of the scheme that will certainly require modification when it reaches the stage of Committee. There is another point of general principle I would also urge, and it has been touched upon by the right hon. Gentleman (Sir G. Trevelyan); it is of the utmost importance that we should give a very free hand in the administration of the scheme to Local Authorities. The Bill proposes to do that to a very limited extent. The Bill, I think, does mot interfere with the power of Local Authorities to fix the pay of constables, and it also gives them power to fix the limit of age up to which a man must servo before he can receive his pension; but I think we must go still further and give power to Local Authorities to determine for themselves whether they will accept any burden upon the rates or whether they will be contented with the contributions of the men and such share as they may get of the aid afforded by Parliament. I feel there are most important and difficult questions in this Bill; and if the Bill is to be passed, it must be after it has been carefully examined in Committee and evidence taken upon it. I know that several of my hon. Friends wish to address the House, and my object now is simply to point Out in a friendly spirit the very serious difficulty I feel there will be in passing the Bill as rapidly as it must be passed in the shape in which it is presented to the House. I do not agree with my hon. Friends who have indicated their opposition to superannuation altogether. It is all very well for my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee to point to the case of a man who, having worked upon the land up to the age of 78 then had nothing but a poor allowance from the Parochial Board to support him; but if the policeman fares better, all I can say is that it should not be in violation of the principle of deferred pay. A policeman should get a fair return for his work, and no more; and if he does not get more, then he need not fear comparison between the treatment he gets and the treatment of the pauper. I feel very strongly that some measure of superannuation would be a good thing, not only for the police themselves, but for the country. It is perfectly true that they have a semi-military occupation, and their value to the country only lasts during the prime of their life. The authorities cannot turn them adrift as soon as they have passed their best. It is desirable that such a scheme should be adopted, but we must be careful that it is not too lavish as compared with the remuneration of other classes in the working community. If the Government are prepared in Committee to discuss the matter fairly, and will make fair concessions, my own opinion is the Bill will pass withgeneral assent. The country will not, I think, object to the Government taking the initiative. This is one of the Bills, and here I differ from my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee—as to which the country look to the Government to take the initiative. They can hardly expect Local Authorities to come and ask to have this burden put upon the rates, but if the scheme is a fair one they will not refuse to accept it. It is quite true that the Bill is framed too much upon English lines, but, as I have said, it is capable of modifications in Committee which will make it acceptable to the people of Scotland.

*(8.45.) MR. ESSLEMONT (Aberdeen, N.)

I think that a case has been made out for the Second Reading of this Bill, and the adoption of the principle of the Bill, but, while I say this, I desire to have an open mind regarding the further progress of the Bill and the condition in which it may leave the Select Committee to which it is to be committed. Of course, I assume that that Committee will altogether, or almost, be composed of Scotch Members. With regard to the principle of this Bill, I think there is very little to be said logically or sternly in favour of the principle of superannuation. But the question is less one of principle than expedience, and there is, from my point of view, nothing more to be said in favour of pensioning the police than any other class of public servants, unless by a system of deferred payment or superanuation we can keep in the Force a more efficient body of men than we otherwise would have, and my support of the Bill is purely influenced by the expediency of improving the efficiency of the Force. We have adopted this principle in London and other parts of England, and in Ireland. It has frequently been represented to me by the superintendents of police in Scotland that the want of a Superannuation Fund in that country has been so felt by the men in the Police Force, that as soon as men became efficient they showed a desire to join some of the Forces in connection with which a Superannuation Fund has been established. One of the results of this was that the best of the police in Scotland were in the habit of joining the English or Irish Forces, leaving the less efficient men at home. There is another practical difficulty which has to be got over. We have in the Force a number of men who have become, on account of age and infirmity, unfit for duty. When one goes to the superintendent of the police and represents this fact, one is constantly met with the reply: What am I to do with these men? whether from circumstances which they could or could not control, they heve saved no money, but they have been good and faithful public servants. I have the greatest sympathy with the superintendents, who deprecate the step of throwing these poor men on the Parochial Board in their latter days, and that is the reason why these men are retained for years in the Force after their efficiency is lost. But there is another circumstance which must be taken into account—these men are exposed to great temptations. They are occasionally employed to administer Acts of Parliament upon which opinions are much divided, the Games Act in the country, and the Licensing Acts in towns, for instance. These men are open to heavy temptations, which they must find it very hard to resist if they are underpaid or have no hope of a competency in their old age. A system of superannuation, it is to be hoped, would be an incentive to keep up the discipline and integrity of the Force, and to make the men independent of temptations of this kind. It is for reasons such as this that I feel that rather a strong case has been made out in favour of superannuation. But no indication has been given by the Lord Advocate that the people of Scotland will be prepared to accept the Bill on the lines in which it is drawn. For my own part, I think the working classes in Scotland will never agree to superannuate policemen at the rate of 15s. or 16s. per week, which is, at the present time, the full pay of ordinary unskilled labourers throughout Scotland, to superannuate them at the age of 45 or 46, and enable them, at the same time, to enter the labour market in competition with themselves. I hope it will be made clear under this Bill that no such allowance will be made to policemen under the age of 55. At the same time I desire that a man who is healthy, and who has contributed his share, should feel that he is entitled to superannuation, and that he will not be in the position of going and begging for it. The Member for Dundee has challenged1 Liberal Members to justify this principle of superannuation, but he has run away without hearing our justification, I admit that unless the employment of the policeman is different from that of an ordinary workman, there is no case made out in favour of superannuation. But I think that the police stand in a very exceptional position. I believe that we may trust the working men of Scotland to do what is fair in this matter. It must be remembered that when a man is taken away from a given trade or industry for a period of 30 years he is not then in a position to compete very successfully in the labour market, and he cannot readily adapt himself to the new conditions. I think that, for the sake of the efficiency of the Force and in the interests of discipline, a good case is made out for superannuation. Has the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Advocate calculated that he is by this Bill raising the wages of every constable throughout Scotland at once by at least £10 a year? This is a large and serious rise. If you divide the sum by the number of constables employed, you will find that this £40,000 will give an increase of something like £10 to each man. I quite agree with the Lord Advocate in thinking that the large increase spoken of, extending up to £150,000 a year, is an exaggeration of what may be expected in the near future. I do not believe that the Bill is drawn on the lines suited to the circumstances of Scotland, and the £40,000 payable from the Imperial Exchequer will be more than sufficient, for many years to come, for the superannuation of the Scotch police. It Would be a great mistake to believe that the circumstances of the Scotch police are to be compared with those of the police of London. The Scotch police can live much more cheaply, the price of labour is relatively less, and in their old age a smaller sum would suffice for their maintenance than would be necessary were they living in a great city like London. We cannot conceal the important fact that the duties of the police in London are very different from those of the Scottish police. The amount of exertion required from the London police is not to be compared with the leisurely life led by the constables of Scotland. The hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. E. Robertson) has told us that he has given some sacred pledges against superannuation in any shape or form. I am sorry he has so pledged himself, because I think it rather unwise to give many pledges to one's constituents. So far as I am concerned, I am under no pledge whatever on this question. I have had opportunities of hearing this matter discussed in Town Councils and other bodies in Scotland for many years past, for it is by no means a new subject, and I think the Lord Advocate will not deny that among those Public Bodies there is great diversity of opinion. The Lord Advocate shakes his head, and I should be glad if he or any other Member of the Government would stand up and state that Petitions have been received from County Councils or other Public Bodies in Scotland asking for this superannuation. No such things exist. It may be that the Inspectors of police, the superintendents, and the constables have been asking for superannuation, but the large mass of constituents have not considered the question, and I know that a great many of them are decidedly adverse to the proposals, I hope, therefore, that the Government will send this Bill to a Committee with an open mind, and that, in the interests of the police and superannuation, they will not drive matters too far, because, if they attempt to hurry this proposal through Parliament too soon, they will arouse a feeling of opposition in Scotland. Public Bodies in Scotland ought, at least, to have some little time to consider the Bill and express their opinion upon it, even if it were assumed that they are in favour of its principle. It should be understood that, although most of us on this side of the House support the principle of the measure, we desire to be left free as to the action we may take when the Bill is in Committee. I believe we shall not be able to effect a satisfactory settlement of the question unless care is taken that those who come up from Scot- land representing the police and those who are opposed to this superannuation proposition are called upon to give evidence before the Committee, so that the subject may be considered in all its bearings, and a hasty and premature legislation on the question be thereby avoided. This is one of the things which the Government have sprung upon the country in a sudden and abrupt manner, and without consideration. We have in Scotland been considering questions relating to public health and police for the last 8 or 10 years. The Lord Advocate cannot find time for the introduction of legislation of a sanitary character, but he asks us to find time to pass a Bill for the superannuation of the police, with regard to which no direct encouragement has been given to the Government. I support the Second Reading of the Bill because the subject is deserving of consideration, but I am anxious to put before the Government the fact that the people of Scotland are anxious to have an opportunity of further considering the question, and I think the House would best promote the interests of Scotland by refraining from forcing this measure in a hasty and hurried way upon the House.

*(9.5.) MR. SHIRESS WILL (Montrose)

I think it will be admitted that the case of Scotland is very different from that of England. In England we have had growing up for many years a system more or less perfect, under which a system of pensions has grown up and now prevails generally. In Scotland, on the other hand, except in very exceptional cases no such system exists. One would have expected to have heard from the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill some justification for its introduction in the form in which we find it, especially when we find that it is in exactly the same terms and almost the same words as the Bill relating to England. Indeed, it seems to me that the right hon. Gentleman has taken the English Bill, and wherever he has found the word "England" he has struck it out and inserted the word "Scotland," and that is practically all the difference between the Bills for the two countries. It is a question whether in Scotland there is any strong desire to deal with this question of superannuation at all. I think the right hon. Gentleman will find, if he makes the inquiry, that a strong feeling is growing up against the lavish pensions proposed by this Bill under the name of superannuation. We have some evidence before the House as to what is the extent of the wants of Scotland, but the right hon. Gentleman has not referred to that evidence. I would refer him to the recently expressed opinion of the Inspector of Constabulary, laid before the House during the present year. On page 7 of the Report to which I refer, that gentleman says— By the passing of a much required general Superannuation Act, to provide suitable pensions on retirement for deserving and worn-out officers and men, and towards a fund of this nature the members are desirous of contributing. Therefore, all that is demanded is a pension for men who are superannuated in the sense of being "worn out." But what is the object of this Bill? It is to apply to Scotland the same scale of superannuation that exists in England, and. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider whether it is right or just to apply the same rule to Scotland. The average of the county constable's wages is £70, and that of the borough constable's is £71, and if you apply the proposed principle of superannuation after 25 years' service, you will find that a man at 46 will be able to retire on a pension of £46 per annum. I venture to say that in all the discussions which have taken place in Scotland on this question no one has ever had the idea that a man of 46 years of age should be able to retire on an annual pension of £46. I now come to another matter. Doubtless the finances of the right hon. Gentleman has some good basis, which, however, he has failed to disclose. We are told that the Government have taken actuarial advice on this matter. If they have, it is so much the worse for the figures, but whether they have taken actuarial advice or not they have volunteered no information to the House. Under these circumstances is it reasonable to ask us to accept the right hon. Gentleman's calculation that in 50 years the amount that will be required beyond the £40,000 already provided for will be £80,000 only? He has calculated that only 30 men would be retired in the course of three years, and that up to 50 years hence we shall not reach the maximum charge for superannuation; but he has not given attention to this, or, if he has, he has not taken it into account, namely, that according to the Returns before the House there are in the Police Force of Scotland 373 men who have served between 15 and 20 years, 272 who have served between 20 and 25 years, and 194 men who have served between 25 and 30 years, so that in a comparatively short period the whole of these men will be entitled to retire on pensions. That will absorb, say, £35,000 out of the £40,000 coming from the Imperial Exchequer. This Bill is one which the Scotch people themselves are not prepared for. The Inspector of Constabulary in his Report, says:— The factor of deferred pay might be introduced in the consideration of this most important subject. What is contemplated by this Bill is to pension off all those men with whom you are under no contract to pay pension, and to whom you have been paying full wages, and from whom no deferred pay has been deducted. What the Report of the Inspector General contemplates is superannuation to which the men shall contribute; and, therefore, I deduce from that recommendation that if the men who have been serving in the past deserve a pension that pension should be on some other lines than those proposed in the Bill. I am not disposed to reject the Second Reading of the Bill, because I desire to see a fair Bill dealing with the £40,000, and dealing also with the contributions referred to in Clause 16 of the Bill. As regards so much of these contributions as are derived from the Sick Funds, I quite agree in what has been said that too much stress must not be laid on them, because the system of stopping the pay of the sick has been reported against by competent authorities. I think it is extremely unwise, in most instances, to take away from a man his pay, at a time when he most wants it, when he is in sickness, which I assume is real sickness, and not malingering, which would soon be discovered by the police doctor. I will record my vote for the Second Reading, reserving to myself liberty at any subsequent stage to oppose the Bill, should I have reason to be dissatisfied with it. *(9.20.) MR. PROVAND (Blackfriars, Glasgow): It will have been gathered from what has fallen from hon. Members that the Scotch Members are not opposed to superannuation in any form, but we are opposed to it on the extravagant terms embodied in the Bill. We are nearly unanimously of opinion, further, that this is far more a question for the Local Authority than for the Parliamentary Authority. To this view there has been only one exception—the hon. Member for Aberdeen, who also showed clearly that there is no principle whatever in pensioning constables, and that it is entirely a matter of expediency. He certainly succeeded in making a very good case indeed, on the ground of expediency, for some method of superannuation, although he, like all the others who have spoken, was against such extravagant terms as those proposed by the Bill. I should like to know why the Government in this matter have discarded local opinion with which they should have made themselves familiar. It is certain that this Bill is entirely unasked for in Scotland. No communications have reached me with reference to it. I have heard nothing from my constituents with reference to police superannuation for four or five years, and at that time the opinions of my constituents were against it. I am certain that the feeling throughout Scotland against this Bill will not be lessened when they read the startling statements made in this Debate respecting the amount that is likely to be involved in the carrying out of this measure. To the sum of £40,000, according to the Lord Advocate, is to be added £7,500 of percentages from the pay of the police, and a further sum of £10,000, making a total of about £60,000. But all this is nothing to what the hon. Member for Aberdeen has told us to expect. His calculations, which he gave in such detail that they can be checked by the Government, is that ultimately at least three times the amount will be required in Scotland that will be granted by this measure. That is to say, a sum of £120,000, and I am certain that the people of Scotland will be much surprised when they hear that the Bill will involve them in such a contingent annual liability. It has been remarked in this Debate that pension is merely deferred pay. I believe that is a definition which no one will object to; it therefore follows that those who get high pay being able to provide for the future should get small pensions. But this Bill is based on a diametrically opposite principle, because as the pension is to be proportionate to the pay, those who now receive the highest pay will also get the highest pensions. According to the terms of this Bill, those constables who retire at once will receive their pensions without having contributed anything from their pay, whereas those who join after the Bill is passed will be required to contribute from their pay as the condition of receiving pensions. It seems to be only fair that the constables who are now retiring from the Service, never having contributed anything to the fund, should receive smaller pensions than those now in the Service and those who join here after, because they will all contribute to the fund. I wish to call attention to Clause 16 of the Bill, providing that various amounts received for fines and in other ways should be added to the Pension Fund. I think it wrong in principle that the police should have any direct interest whatever in creating their own Pension Fund, and this clause ought to be struck out of the Bill. No constable should have a direct interest, by means of fines or otherwise, in adding to the Pension Fund. It would leave them open to the imputation that they might arrest persons in order to have them fined, and so benefit themselves. These receipts amount now to about £10,000, and that money, I contend, should go into the Municipal Fund, and from it should be granted whatever amount the Local Authority is disposed to give in aid of the Pension Fund. In this way the whole of the money which might be granted by the Local Authority in lieu of the fines and other sources of income mentioned under Clause 16,would be just as if it had been drawn direct from the rates. Notice has been given by two hon. Members to reject the Bill, and, knowing its extravagant terms, I feel that if they carry the question to a Division I must give them my support. It is not because I am against superannuation of any kind, but because I am against extravagant superannuation, that I oppose this measure. I hope opportunity will be given to the Select Committee to ascertain local opinions in Scotland. I feel satisfied that when it comes to their knowledge that this Bill may involve an ultimate expenditure of £120,000 a year, the proposal will meet with very liitle support. At the same time, the Local Authorities may be perfectly ready to come to terms in reference to some reasonable scheme of superannuation of which they have complete control.

*(9.29.) SIR J. KINLOCH (Perth, E.)

Sir, I venture to make a few remarks in reference to the speech of the hon. Member for Aberdeen for trying to prove to the House that there would be heavy loss to rates. He stated that the only means of arriving at a fair understanding of the question was to take the example of an Insurance Company and see what premium it charged for a similar annuity. He took the Post Office instance, and then cited the case of a constable joining at 21 and retiring at 46 years of age, receiving an annuity of £40 a year, after having paid an annual premium of £16. The money, he pointed out, proposed to be given by the Government was £40,000, and the 2½ per cent, to be deducted from the pay would give an annual premium of about £11 10s. 0d., leaving a deficit of £4 10s., which would be the amount of the loss on the rates. Now, it seems to me rather an arbitrary thing to base your calculation upon one Insurance Company alone. If you examine the Tables of the largest Insurance Company in the world, the Mutual of New York, you will find that instead of requiring £16 in annual premiums you will require only £13 for the same annuity. This completely upsets the calculation of the hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen (Mr. Hunter). If he can quote one Insurance Company, I can quote another; and I think the one is as good as the other. As to the rest of the Bill, I think it will be most acceptable to Scotland if, when it goes upstairs, the age limit is altered to 50 or 55. I think, however, the clause which provides that a constable may by misconduct lose his pension after he has acquired a right to it is a very bad one. When a man has paid a premium, which a constable will be doing in the shape of deferred pay, during all the time of his service I think it is a very arbitrary thing to say that he should lose the pension for which he has thus paid.

(9.32.) MR. MARJORIBANKS (Berwickshire)

My own inclination would lead me to follow the course indicated by my right hon. Friend the Member for Bridgeton (Sir G. Trevelyan) and support the Second Reading of this Bill. But my vote on the Second Beading must depend very greatly on assurances which are yet to come from the Government. I think that chief amongst such assurances I must put a very full and complete statement with regard to the constitution and powers of the Select Committee to which the Bill is to be referred. We are always told that on measures of a non-Party character like this the Government are disposed to give full play to the opinions, and full consideration to the wishes, of the Scotch Members. It seems to me that this affords the Government a very suitable opportunity for proving that they really carry into practice the professions which are so often made to us. I think the proposal that the Bill should be referred to a Committee consisting of all the Scottish Members is a very reasonable proposal. I would point out to the right hon. and learned Lord Advocate that by adopting it he would lose none of the power of the Government to modify or vote down—I do not use the expression in an offensive sense—the wishes of the Scottish Members in some future part of the proceedings on this Bill. I wish to say also that the Committee, whatever its constitution, ought, in my opinion, to have full power to call witnesses from different parts of Scotland to examine into the views of the people of Scotland. Otherwise the Committee would certainly not fulfil the object for which it is to be appointed. I am bound to confess that I myself am prepared to support the principle of superannuation for the police. I do not in the least mean to say that I support the details of the proposals in the present Bill, or that I admit that because certain arrangements are made in the Metropolis, or in England generally, the same or similar arrangements should be made for Scotland. The conditions and the requirements are totally different. At the same time, I do not at all agree with the position taken up by my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee (Mr. E. Robertson), when he said that the proposed superannuation of the police would be an absolute hardship and grievance to that working men class from which the police are drawn. My own view is that the duties of a policeman are peculiar ones and responsible ones. We want to draw from the class from which the police are taken the best, the most intelligent and educated men we can get. We want to make the profession of the policeman such that it shall be worth while for the best men to adopt it. But to say that these men shall be retired at the age of 45 in Scotland is, I believe, perfectly farcical, and a proposal that will commend itself to no portion of the constituencies in Scotland. The hon. Member for Dundee also said that the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh) had imbued the working men in Scotland with the most tremendous hatred of all pensions. I do not quite agree with my hon. Friend in that proposition. The hon. Member for Northampton's point of attack has been perpetual pensions. To give the police pensions is only to give them the same advantage as I believe almost every other class of Civil servants already have; and I think that when a constable has done his duty, and has worn himself out in the Service, we may well provide for his declining years and his failing health by giving him a pension. I am disposed to think that the amount that will be needful to carry out a superannuation scheme has been somewhat exaggerated by some of my hon. Friends. We are led to suppose that the amount that will eventually fall on the rates in the Metropolis for superannuation purposes is the sum of £250,000. If we take it at that figure, and compare the numbers of the police in Scotland with those in London, we find that the amount that will fall on the rates in Scotland is exactly £72,150. That would be less than 1d. in the £1 on the whole valuation in Scotland. I do not assume that that amount will be thrown on the rates in Scotland, because I do not believe we shall at all adopt the scale that is to be adopted in England, For my part, I shall be prepared to support the Second Reading of this Bill if the Government give us satisfactory assurances as to the constitution of the Committee, and also assurances that they will be guided by the decisions of that Committee when it makes its Report on this Bill.

(9.43.) MR. SOMURVELL (Ayr &c.)

The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has introduced a considerable amount of matter that would more appropriately be dealt with in the Debate as to the constitution of the Select Committee than on the Second Reading of the Bill. The question we have now to determine is whether the principle of the superannuation of the police is a right and proper principle. The question of the constitution of the Select Committee is one entirely for future consideration. But it appears to me that the only valid objection that has been raised as to why this Bill should not be read a second time is that it has been to a certain extent flashed on the country. I do not know whether hon. Members who make that statement have looked into the history of this question; but it would not appear that they have made themselves familiar with the long period of time during which this question of the superannuation of the Scotch police has been before both Houses of Parliament. In 1858 there was an inquiry, there was a Select Committee of the House of Commons appointed to consider the subject in 1877, and in 1883 there was another inquiry, so that it is an absurdity to say that this subject has not been ventilated in the country. It is said that the Government is departing from the principle which should be observed in dealing with this question, because it is founded on the principle embodied in the English Bill; but I say that hon. Members who make that statement have not read the Reports of the Committees who con- sidered the question. The question whether superannuation should be granted after a fixed period of years or at a certain age was considered and reported on, and there was a large concensus of opinion—of the best and most influential description—in favour of the principle of granting superannuation after a fixed term of years. It was stated that it was essential to getting the best class into the Police Force that these payments should be given after a fixed term of years, so that there should be no uncertainty when a young man entered the Service as to the period at which he would be pensioned, that period not depending on the failure of his health. A man who enters the Service at 21 might serve 38 years without his health failing, and the prospect of a pension at the end of that term of years is not a sufficient inducement to attract men to the Service, and to keep them there when they have entered. In the Report of the House of Commons Committee of 1877 we find— I see from the evidence that a fixed term of service has been asked for by some of the influential witnesses, and this, which does not appear unreasonable.…would have as one result the advantage of enabling the conscientious constable to get the pension which was at one time obtained by the malingerer for slight, short, or even artful incapacity. The late Lieutenant General Cartwright, Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary (England), states— I consider age to be of little consequence compared with service, for, if it is to be based upon age, if a man enters at 40, he soon arrives at 60, comparatively, and he gels his pension. Then the men who are the best men whom we have in the Force, generally speaking, are those who come in young, about 22 years of age, and who are trained to their duties. These would have to wait 38 years before they would arrive at the age of 60, so that really the only thing to do is to strike out age and lo put in service. When he has served a certain number of years, he should have a claim upon the fund? Yes; when he has served a certain number of years. I will not pretend to say what number of years, but I am sure it would be of the greatest advantage in getting the right sort of men into the Force if there was a knowledge that it was to be made a profession for life, and that after a certain period they were to have a certain pension. That disposes of the argument reiterated time after time by a considerable number of Members on the other side of the House. The Government in introducing this measure have not brought in a new principle, but have adopted the principle recommended by the Committee of 1887, and I think that when hon. Members have further time to consider, they will see that it is of great advantage that the pension should be granted for a fixed term of years. A policeman, especially in the mining districts, should be physically capable of coping with criminals in the prime of life, and he therefore ought not to be retained in the Force until years enfeebled him. To say, as some hon. Members seem to wish, that policemen should not become entitled to pensions until quite incapacitated by bodily ailments would, I maintain, have the effect of deterring good men from entering the Force. That a constable who is ailing, but who might recover if relieved from work, should be compelled to remain in the Force if he wished to gain a pension, until his disease should have taken a firm hold of his constitution, would be cruel and inhuman. It should be remembered that the Police Force is certainly not popular, especially in the country, where the constable is always on duty day and night, Sundays and holidays. The Force is one that requires men of self-control, and the service is one which deprives the men during the whole of their lives, of many innocent enjoyments. County police must not be regarded in the same light as burgh police. In the burghs, the men go on duty for a certain number of hours, after which they are relieved, and they have a limited amount of night duty. The case of the county policeman is different. He is never relieved; he cannot make friends, because he may be be liable at any time to arrest his neighbour. He is placed in a peculiar position, and unless you hold out special inducements, you will never get good men to join, or when good men have joined, you will never retain them in the Service. In 1873 the average of retirements from the police in Scotland was 16 per cent. When wages rose in 1874 and onwards, the average retirements were 30 per cent.; and last year, according to the Export presented by the Chief Inspector, there were 115 more retirements than the year before. Why is that? To my mind it is because wages outside are good, and there is no Pension Fund, and the duties are unpopular. It is of the greatest importance that you should be able to retain men especially in counties such as Lanarkshire and Ayrshire, and in the mining districts generally, where wages are constantly going up and down. It is at the very time when wages are high, and rioting and drunkenness are most frequent, that the Police Service is most unpopular. It is at these times that the policeman can better himself by leaving the Force, and it is at these times that they do leave the Force. In the Constabulary you cannot raise and lower wages, as they do in the outside world, according to the state of trade. If you once raise wages in the Police Force they are raised for ever, so that you have to be very careful what you do; and I maintain that it therefore becomes necessary that we should offer what other inducements are open to us to get men to resist the temptation to leave the Force at such times as they find their duties unpopular. The best thing we can do is to provide a Superannuation Fund. It is said that such a scheme will entail a heavy charge on the ratepayers at some future period; but I fail entirely to follow the figures of the hon. Member for Aberdeen. No doubt in starting a superannuation scheme, seeing that it has not hitherto been in existence in Scotland, as it has in England, you will have more than an average number of men thrown on the fund, and you must expect to have a large demand made on your purse, but according to an actuarial calculation made in one of the Scotch counties, if you started a superannuation scheme just now, and stopped at this 2½ per cent., and had to levy a ½d. rate to make up the deficiency, in the course of 10 years you would find a ¼d. rate sufficient, and in another 10 years ⅛d. It would be inevitably necessary to raise this additional sum when starting a superannuation system. There must be a number of men who cannot be said to be absolutely inefficient, and who are only remaining in the Force because there is no Superannuation Fund, and because to turn them away would be to deprive them of a means of subsistence. They have not joined Benefit Societies, for the reason that for the past 22 years they have been expecting a police superannuation scheme. It should be remembered that there is a superannuation system in England, and the effect of that is that at the present time the best men in the Scotch Police are annually being drawn away to the English police by the temptations which the Superannuation Fund in England offers. It is of vital importance to Scotland that the question should receive a final solution. I do not for a moment say that I am in favour of every provision of the Bill as it stands. I do not believe in this peddling certificate money clause, but that is only a detail which can be easily remedied. We have to consider, broadly, whether it is necessary that there should be a Police Superannuation Bill for Scotland, and I claim that I have shown that it is essential to the police and the people of Scotland that this question should be dealt with. The question we have most to consider is whether the Bill can be so improved in Committee as to satisfy the people it is intended to benefit, without undue pressure on the ratepayers. I maintain that this is such a measure. If my two premises are admitted, I say that Gentlemen on both sides of the House have no alternative but to vote for the Bill and to leave it to the consideration of a Select Committee, in the confidence that in this question Party feeling will be laid aside, and that a Member will be actuated with the intention of doing justice to the ratepayer, and at the same time giving to the police that to which they are justly entitled.

(10.5.) DR. CLARK (Caithness)

I regret that, notwithstanding the strong assertion of the hon. Gentleman, I have not been converted to a belief in the desirability of the Bill. I listened to the lucid statement of the right hon. and learned Lord Advocate in introducing the Bill, and I was sorry that not more than half-a-dozen of his own Party were present to hear him. I was not satisfied with what the right hon. and learned Gentleman said in support of the Bill. He told us the pension system was quite a new thing in Scottish Local Government life, but that it is in existence in England, and, therefore, ought to be introduced into Scotland. I do not think that is a very strong argument, judging from the tone of the Scottish electors and Members. I think it will not be long before we refuse to take the coins contemptuously thrown to us by the English Government, and demand our full share of the Public Funds. We have not in Scotland this pension system at all, and hence we have not all the abuses that are always associated with pensions and superannuations. We are told that we cannot get good men unless we give pensions. I do not know any place in the north in which there is any difficulty in getting good men. The position of a policeman is very popular, and a dozen men generally apply for every vacancy. The best plan to adopt is to pay full salary to your men and let them buy annuities or enter Friendly Societies, and so develop thrift and foresight. We have not had any information as to a measure of this kind being asked for by Local Authorities in Scotland. I am rather inclined to doubt the accuracy of the actuarial knowledge of the hon. Member for Ayr Burghs (Mr. Somervell). The Home Secretary told us the other day that instead of £40,000 we really want £120,000. That is very much nearer the mark. Before long you may want £150,000. More over, by this Bill you are striking at the control of the police, and you are going to centralise the Force. And more than that, you are introducing, by means of one of the clauses, a little Coercion Act for the Highlands. One of the burghs in my county has refused to take your grant. They do not want the police to be stuck up and to be made imitation soldiers. They prefer to have their men modestly dressed and not quasisoldiers. Orkney and Shetland prefer to have control over their police. What you want to do by the 24th and 25th clauses is to amend the General Police Act, and you want to introduce into Scot land the pension system. England wants a Bill of this kind, and, there fore, a Bill of the same type must be drafted for Scotland. The 24th clause provides that the police may be sent anywhere in the country, and it even provides that the Police Authorities may take naval and military expeditions under their control, and defray the cost out of the Police Funds. We are, there fore, to have a little mild form of coercion for the Highlands. I do not think you require either extra police, soldiers, or marines. The Bill will be costly, and is totally unnecessary, and I think that before a heavy burden of this kind is placed upon them, the people of Scotland should have some little time for consideration. I beg to move that the Bill be read the third time this day three months.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."—(Dr. Clark.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

(10.15.) MR. J. WILSON (Lanarkshire, Govan)

I rise to support the provisions of this Bill, so far as they are in accordance with what my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen has pointed out. There is no superannuation for the police of Scotland at present. The police of England and of Ireland, the military, naval, and civil servants of the Crown have pensions, and while I would not vote for any extravagant superannuation scheme, entailing a very heavy burden upon the people of Scotland, I think that, upon the whole, there is good ground for some police superannuation scheme for Scotland. I am very much of the same mind as the right hon. Gentlemen the Member for Bridgeton, who thinks that 45 or even 50 years of age is too early to give a man a pension. I think the right hon. Gentleman struck the key note when he placed the age at 55. In cities and large centres of population both the temper and the nerves of the police officers are sorely tried, but in the borough of Govan, where we have a very large working-class population, I am proud to say the Police Force is in such a high state of discipline that, notwithstanding that they have sometimes some very troublesome parties to deal with, there is a remarkably good feeling between the inhabitants and the police, and I am sure the Local Authority will welcome a well-devised scheme of police superannuation. I know that the superintendents of the Police Force will approve of a superannuation scheme because it will bind the men to their duties and keep them from going away to other situations. I hope the Lord Advocate will give special weight to what fell from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Berwickshire (Mr. Marjoribanks) as to referring the Bill to a Select Committee composed of Scotch Members. Judging from the attenuated attendance upon the Government Benches, it is evident English Members take no interest in this case. Hence it is only right and fair that the Scotch Members should settle the matter themselves. Though the Bill is not everything we desire, I regard it as a fair attempt on the part of the Government to supply a want which has been long felt, and I may encourage the Lord Advocate by saying that so far as I know the Local Authorities, there is a very strong feeling in favour of some scheme of superannuation. I shall support the Second Reading of the Bill on the distinct understanding that we are left a free hand when we come to consider it in the Select Committee.

(10.20.) MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)

So far as I understand the feeling of the people of Scotland, especially in the working class centres, it is entirely opposed to anything in the nature of a police superannuation scheme. Superannuation of the police can only be defended on the ground of some necessity. Necessity may be of two kinds—the necessity of efficiency and the necessity of getting men into the Service. The police of Scotland are as efficient a body of police as can be found anywhere, and there is no want of supply. When the question of increased pay came before the Town Council of Glasgow, it was said that any number of men could be got to join the Force, and the Council felt that under such circumstances it would be most unreasonable to give increased pay. Then it is said that this £40,000 is a present to Scotland, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer says, "If you do not want it, leave it, or take it for the superannuation of the police." It is perfectly obvious that this money must be given to Scotland, apart altogether from the question whether it is applied to police superannuation or not. This £40,000 belongs to the Scotch people, and if it is not used for the purpose of superannuating the police, it must be used for some other Scotch purpose. What do the people see at the present moment? There are 40,000 policemen in Scotland. They get about £300,000 a year. They are perfectly content with their wage, and the Local Authorities receive as many as 10 applications for every vacancy. The average wage is about 27s. a week, besides clothing, which is considerably more than the average wage of the working man, and yet in these circumstances we find the Government proposing to give £40,000, or £10 per man more. But it is not only the £40,000 that has to be considered. The £40,000 may have to be increased to £120,000, as the Home Secretary pointed out. The right hon. Gentleman has no interest whatever in magnifying the sum. In this case you have got selected lives, men who have been taken into the Force on account of their specially good constitutions. After 25 years' service these men are to enjoy pensions. Who are the policemen in Glasgow, for instance? They are the hardiest men in Scotland, and it is impossible to find a more healthy body of men anywhere. They are the very men who, retiring at 45 or 50 on pensions of 16s. a week, are very likely to live until they are even 90 years of age. Everyone knows that the longest lives are those of annuitants, and in this case we are dealing with selected lives. It must not be supposed that because a man in Scotland is 50 years he is not fit to be a policeman. It is not brute force that makes a man a good policeman; tact and discretion are of far more importance than brute force. Young and strong men are, no doubt, required in those parts of a city where rowdyism is rampant; but there are many opportunities of utilising the services of policemen advanced in years. I think the Government are making a great mistake in raising this question. The people of Scotland consider that the policemen in Scotland get an ample wage, far above what the ordinary working men get, that the wage is steady, and that the employment is comparatively light. They have, no doubt, to stand in the streets a considerable time, but the omnibus conductor is required to stand for long hours together. If you try to convert the police into a military Force, the result will be to destroy the friendly feeling which exists between the police and the public in Scotland, and which distinguishes the case of the Scottish people from that of the English Metropolis. Of course, where you have a mere handful of police in proportion to the population, it would be utterly impossible to maintain law and order unless the police were supported by public opinion, and the more you endeavour to make the police a military body the more will you estrange them from the people. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bridgeton (Sir G. Trevelyan) that you must take the present pay of the police, and regard the superannuation as deferred pay, in order to arrive at the market value of the policeman. It has been shown that in Scotland the market value of the policeman at the present moment is exactly the pay he receives. There are a dozen applicants for every vacancy, and the men are all thoroughly efficient. There are no complaints of want of men or want of efficiency, and, this being so, no case is made out for introducing this superannuation proposal, except as an extra gratuity to the men. And I am quite certain that the people of Scotland will look very much askant at the proposal to set aside for superannuation purposes the large sum of £40,000 per annum, especially when that is coupled with the probability of its being increased by £80,000 at no very distant future, making a total of £120,000 a year as a superannuation provision for 4,000 policemen. It seems an extraordinary thing that the Government can provide £120,000 a year for police pensions, and yet be unable to devote the modest sum of £10,000 or £20,000 for the relief of those who are suffering from agricultural distress in Scotland.

(10.34.) MR. W. P. SINCLAIR (Falkirk, &c.)

In proposing to create a new fund for the purpose of giving a pension list to Scotland I think we ought to take great care that we should act upon sound principles. It seems to me that both in the English and Scotch measures the soundness of the principle on which the police pension fund is to be created is in considerable doubt. The fund is made up of contributions from different sources. One of those contributions comes from the police themselves. It is generally assumed that the deduction from the pay of the police will be 2½ per cent, of their wages. This is in the nature of deferred pay, and to this is added contributions from other sources, including the £40,000 from the Imperial Exchequer. The policemen's contributions, being in the nature of deferred pay, ought to be obtainable by every policeman at the end of his period of service, under whatever circumstances he may leave the Force, even in the case of misconduct, which I put as a severe test. If the pension is derivable from funds of this character he has a right to his share in consideration of the contribution he has made. On the other hand, the pensions derivable from such a fund as the £40,000 payable from Imperial sources should be regarded as an act of grace and a reward for meritorious service. I think great difficulty will arise from the mixing up of those different cases of funds as the source from which the pension is derivable. It seems to me that much of the trouble arising in London and other places is due to the confusion of mind occasioned among the recipients of pensions as to the fund from which the pensions are obtained. In so far as the policeman's pension is derived from his own pay, or deferred pay, he has, in my opinion, an absolute and unalienable right to it, even, as I have said, in case of his dismissal for misconduct; and this ought not to be confused with any other sort of superannuation given as a reward for meritorious service. I trust that when the Bill is in Committee the question of the character of the fund will be carefully considered. Otherwise I am afraid it will be found, as has been stated by the hon. Member for Caithness (Dr. Clark), that abuses are always associated with pensions.

(10.40.) MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

I think the date of this Bill shows that the Government have introduced it without due consideration. The origin of the Bill is by no means satisfactory, because the House has been asked in the first place to vote money, and then to pass a Bill to appropriate it to this purpose. It would have been far better if the Government had first asked the House to pass a Bill to provide for police superannuation, and then to vote the money necessary for carrying the provisions of such a measure into effect. The Lord Advocate has observed that Scotch Members are in considerable doubt about this measure, and the reason of that is because the Local Authorities have not been able to express any opinion with regard to the superannuation of the police. Had there been any strong desire on the part of the Scotch Local Authorities in favour of this proposal, they would certainly have made their voices, heard. The hon. Member for Dundee has put the case very strongly against all superannuation, but I confess that I am not prepared to follow the hon. Member to that length. It has already been pointed out that superannuation, as far as it merely means deferred pay, involves no injustice to the working men. It is impossible to avoid superannuation in some form or other, and if it must exist it ought to be the subject of a certain system, so as to induce steady and respectable men to enter the Force, and insure that there should be no jobbery with regard to it. In these circumstances I confess that I do not see how hon. Members are to refuse to read the Bill a second time, unless they agree with the hon. Member for Dundee and object to the principle of superannuation altogether. If everybody can be heard in Committee who can represent the feelings and wishes of Scotland, I do not see that there is anything in the Bill so objectionable as to prevent us giving it a Second Reading. I, therefore, propose, and I believe it is the view of most of us who are discontented with the Bill, to support the Second Reading of the Bill, trusting that ample opportunity will be given in Committee to ascertain the wishes of Scotland.

(10.46.) MR. ARTHUR ELLIOT (Roxburgh)

I think the great majority of us are pretty much agreed on the principle of superannuation; but I must say I was a little alarmed when my right hon. Friend (Mr. Marjoribanks) suggested that the Committee should take evidence, and go into an elaborate inquiry, which might possibly have the effect of throwing this measure over to another Session. My right hon. Friend, when he began his remarks, attributed to the Government some sort of sudden inspiration in taking up this subject, as if they were legislating in a new way. The genesis of this measure has not been in the minds of my hon. Friends opposite within the last few months. Again and again during the last 10 years I have heard proposals by Government after Government, to institute police superannuation for both the English and Scotch Forces. I come from the Borders, and I have heard it again and again alleged that constables are leaving the Scotch for the English Force, in which better terms exist as to superannuation. That is a state of things which requires to be remedied. My right hon. Friend spoke of aged policemen, as, on the whole, rather beneficial to & Force, as if they were the Nestors to their rural friends around them. I do not think that is the case. In Scotland, in the big towns especially, we want active, strong, energetic men. It is quite true that the police are a popular Force, especially in the part of Scotland from which I come, and I think we have a right to complain if the men are drawn away to the English Force by reason of the better terms which exist there. My hon. and learned Friend (Dr. Hunter) made some observations as to the forfeiture of deferred pay. My hon. and learned Friend said that we are treating those who are really members of the working classes in an unjust manner, not in the manner in which other members of the community would be treated. He said that forfeiture long ago was given up as a barbarous remedy, and he asked us not to act in that retrograde fashion. But in regard to the Army, Navy, and Civil Service, if my hon. and learned Friend will take the trouble to refer to the Act, he will find forfeiture of the pension is provided for in case of felony. This Bill acts in direct conformity with that principle, and we are only dealing with police pensioners as with any other pensioners in the Public Service. But the real question in connection with this Bill is whether or not we are making a very bad bargain, or, in fact, making a good, bargain. It is clear that we cannot properly thrash out that question here, and I believe the Committee will be able to go into the figures of the right hon. Gentleman (the Lord Advocate), and see whether they are right. I shall vote in favour of the principle of superannuation, and I have no doubt the Bill will be referred to a Select Committee.

(10.55.) MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON

Sir, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Berwickshire has raised, perhaps, the most tangible question. He has spoken of the Second Reading as a matter of course, as did the majority of hon. Members opposite who have addressed the House. Not more than two or three of the speeches were in a tone of inexorable hostility to the Bill, and to the principle of superannuation. The hon. and learned Member for Dundee spoke in a very stern tone, and the Motion of the hon. Member for Caithness is made in the same spirit. But beyond these objections, I am not aware that any voice has been raised to the progress of the measure. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Berwickshire, as I said, raised the question of the constitution of the Select Committee. That Committee will, of course, be struck by the methods known to the House, and I have not the least doubt that on both sides of the House there will be a desire that there should be a preponderance of Scotch Members on the Committee, though, at the same time, there will be no wish to preclude either side of the House from putting upon the Committee any Members who have a special knowledge of the circumstances of the case. As to the number of the Committee, it will be something like 17.




Well, these are matters which my hon. Friends are more conversant with than I am. As to the scope of the operations of the Committee, we come across some political phenomena which are worthy the attention of the House. Complaint is made that we do not know the feeling of Scotland. The hon. Member for St. Rollox uniformly uses the phrase, "The people of Scotland," but what are hon. Members from Scotland here for unless it be to represent "the people of Scotland?" The right hon. Gentlemen the Members for Bridgeton and Berwickshire, and other hon. Members, cannot escape their several responsibilities. I greatly deprecate the suggestion that the Select Committee is to inquire into the feeling of Scotland, and if the opinion of every Local Authority were to be sought the inquiry would be extended far beyond the limits which would permit of the Bill being passed this Session. The scope of the inquiry will rather be directed to matters of technique, to questions of management of the Force, and to actuarial calculations. The hon. Member for Aberdeen has raised the question of actuarial calculations, and I am glad to find that he has not insuperable confidence in the figures which he has given, and that he takes them not from the point of view of his own authority, but rather as being for the Committee to examine. Then, I understood the hon. Member for East Aberdeen to say that £40,000 was more than sufficient for many years.


Without the other funds, I think it is sufficient provided the age is fixed at 55, not as the Bill now stands.


Yes, Sir; that is a satisfactory answer to the point I put to the hon. Gentleman. We have no intention of urging on the House the scale set out in the Schedule or the number of years service to be insisted on before a pension is granted. These are matters which must be considered with special reference to the general opinion of Scotland, and we hope to derive that opinion from the hon. Gentlemen who sit upon the Committee. I gather from my hon. Friends who sit behind me that they concur in the view that the figures in the Bill need not represent the ultimate decision of the Committee, but there are reasons for taking them as the maxima and minima. In the Committee there will, I hope, be a candid examination of the whole subject with the full assent of the Government. This, I think, affords a solution of some of the difficulties put forward by various hon. Members. The Committee will have an opportunity of examining the actuarial calculations. I hope that I have made it plain that the desire of the Government is to pass the Bill during the present Session, and the Government will enter the Committee, not with the view of exploring all the regions of local opinion upon the subject; but, relying for Scotch opinion upon the members of the Committee, they hope that evidence will be taken only of that kind which will inform the Committee on technical matters, and that the rest of the work of the Committee will be in presenting its opinion to the House. I have no doubt we shall arrive, before the Session closes, at a happy conclusion, both for the police and for those whose interests are guarded by them.

(11.5.) MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling, &c.)

I think that only a little more is wanted to make the understanding with regard to the Committee perfectly clear. We desire that this inquiry should be as complete as possible. There is no desire to go through the whole field of Scotch opinion, but it would not be at all unreasonable that a few typical Public Authorities—Clerks of Supply, Clerks of the Peace, Town Clerks, or others representing municipal authority in Scotland, and possibly some representative Chief Constables—should be brought before the Committee in order that our information may be complete. We have only had this Bill before us a week, and when we are taunted, as we have been, with confessing our ignorance of Scotch opinion upon it, the explanation is that the measure has so recently been laid before us that we have had no opportunity of ascertaining the views of the people of Scotland upon it. I trust that the evidence to be laid before the Committee on technical matters will include some proof of the basis of the actuarial calculation, because we all know that serious errors sometimes creep into calculations of this kind. It must be borne in mind that this proposal is an entirely new departure in Scotland—new not only in the sense of its being a scheme for the general superannuation of the police, but a departure in that it is the first introduction of the principle of pensioning the servants of Local Authorities. I admit the proposal to refer the Bill to a Committee composed exclusively of Scotch Members is somewhat novel; but if that cannot be conceded, I hope the Committee will be so predominantly Scotch that there will be no apprehension on the part of the Scotch Members that their opinion will be overridden by their Colleagues of other nationalities.

(11.10.) MR. WALLACE (Edinburgh, E.)

I think that the Lord Advocate is perfectly correct in his reasoning when he assumes that if the Bill be referred to a Select Committee there is no meaning or propriety in the desire that that Committee should inquire into the feeling of the people of Scotland in regard to it. If the Bill is to be read a second time, then I assume that the principle of it is to be taken for granted, and it seems to me quite ridiculous to expect a Select Committee to address itself to the question of the feeling of the people of Scotland. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman who last spoke, that this is practically a new question for Scotland. Certainly the hon. Member for the Ayr Burghs denied that this Bill had been flashed on the country, because he said that in 1868, it was fully before the country. But may I remind the hon. Member that 1868 is a long time ago, and entirely a fresh class of voters has grown up, and is composed of men who know nothing of what was done in 1868?


I also stated that in 1883 a Bill was introduced in I the House of Lords on the subject.


I know the hon. Member mentioned what was done in 1883, but I am not aware that the public attention of Scotland was at the time very much drawn to the subject. I repeat that the question of the superannuation of the police has not been prominently before the people of Scotland. I consider that the proper course for those who hold that this matter has not been sufficiently before the people of Scotland is to vote for the Amendment of the hon. Member for Caithness, as I propose to do if the hon. Member goes to a Division. The question has not been one of those which have been prominent as political questions in Scotland, and it is far too soon to call upon Scotch Representatives to carry out a mandate from their constituencies. For my own part, I have no mandate from mine, yes or no; and if I am compelled to come to a conclusion, it is that it is too soon to read this Bill a second time. I am simply in the position of desiring that the people of Scotland shall have more time to consider a question which has never really boon put before them up to this time.

(11.15.) The House divided:—Ayes 226; Noes 51.—(Div. List, No. 171.)

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be committed to a Select Committee."—{The Lord Advocate.)


I should like to ask whether the Committee will have power to send for persons, papers, and records?


I have already mentioned that we propose that shall be within the scope of the inquiry.

(11.34.) MR. E. ROBERTSON

I have an Amendment to the effect that the Committee shall be composed of the Members for all the Scotch constituencies, but I do not think it is suitable or desirable to detain the House now, and I believe I shall be equally in order in proposing my Amendment on the Motion for the nomination of the Committee.


Will the hon. Member be in order then; will he not have to move alternative names?


If the nomination of the Committee is set down for the commencement of business the hon. Member will have considerable difficulty in moving an Amendment of that character.

(11.35.) MR. E. ROBERTSON

Then I will move the Amendment of which I have given notice. I only wish to point out that a Motion similar to this was proposed at the beginning of the Session of 1889 with reference to a most important Scotch Bill; but that Motion was imperfect and incomplete, inasmuch as the terms of the Motion only proposed that the Committee should consist of a preponderating proportion of Scotch Members, admitting the presence of English Members. It is no secret that this was not what the Scotch Members desired. There was a meeting of Scotch Liberal Members, in which the proposal was unanimously supported that Scotch Bills should be referred to Committees composed of all the Scotch Members; but in deference to the views of right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Opposition Bench, the Motion was altered and submitted in a mutilated form. Now, I propose to renew the Motion which in 1889 received the support of the whole Scotch Liberal Party. At this stage I will not trouble the House with argument in support of my proposition, but there is one point I must advert to. English Members have been very much blamed because they have voted down the majority of Scotch Members on Scotch questions, but I have always thought there was a fallacy in the complaint. English Members are called upon to express an opinion by going into the Lobby, and they are condemned because they voted against the Scotch majority, which, however, cannot be known until the Division is declared. I have always thought there was something unfair in the complaint. But I do think the House ought, in reference to a Scotch Bill, to inform itself as to Scotch opinion, and should respect that opinion. This Bill is exclusively Scotch in its subject. Hardly an English Member has considered it worth his while to occupy a seat on the opposite Benches throughout the discussion. I am sure there is no English Member who on this subject would not respect the opinion of the Scotch majority—and I offer them the opportunity of informing themselves of what Scotch opinion really is by referring the Bill to a Committee composed of all the Scotch Members. I appeal to our leaders on the Front Bench to withdraw the ban they placed on this proposal 18 months ago, and allow us to go to a Division on the Motion.

Amendment proposed, at the end of the Question, to add the words "consisting of all Members representing Scottish constituencies."—(Mr. Edmund Robertson).

Question proposed, "That those words be there added."


My hon. and learned Friend has not exactly stated what took place in regard to the proposal for Committee on the Local Government Bill for Scotland. The proposal made in the House was not to refer the Bill to a Select Committee, but to a Grand Committee; and the proposal was, I think, that the Committee should consist of all the Scotch Members, with 40 Members added.


That was the proposal in the House. I was referring to a proposal in the meeting of Scotch Liberal Members upstairs which was received, if not unanimously, nearly so, that it should be an exclusively Scotch Committee.


I will not discuss what took place at a private meeting of Scotch Members, but I may say that the question of a Select Committee was not raised; what was referred to was a Grand Committee to take the place of Committee of the whole House and totally different from the position of a Select Committee, which, as my hon. and learned Friend knows, docs not take the place of Committee of the whole House. Therefore, I think my hon. and learned Friend stands on firmer ground in moving that this Bill be referred to a Select Committee representing all Scotch constituencies, because the House itself does not forego one of its stages, and any alterations made by the Select Committee will be subject to the revision of the House in Committee. The proposal of my hon. and learned Friend is open to far fewer objections than the proposal of last Session; he stands on firmer ground, and ought to receive far more general support from all sections of the House. For my own part, I trust the Government will assent to the proposal, and I shall support it.

(11.42.) MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON

I may say at once we cannot accept this proposal. When the subject was alluded to in a somewhat incidental and cavalier way earlier in the discussion, it was waived aside by a right hon. Gentleman opposite as an impractical suggestion, to be mentioned only to be discarded. I can only say, as I have said formerly, that all the reasons which animate the conduct of business in this House are arguments against the proposal. What would the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Berwickshire say if, on an English question, it were proposed that the Committee should consist entirely of English Members? Would he consent on a question of general political and administrative importance such as this to have the matter determined upon by English Members alone? If he did ho would receive more than the measured degree of condemnation this Motion received from his Colleague earlier in the evening, and would stand alone—


The right hon. Gentleman has put a question directly to me, and perhaps he will allow me to answer it directly by saying that if it were a measure referring as entirely and completely to English interests and English money as this Bill refers entirely and completely to Scotch interests, all I can say is, that I should be only too glad that English Members alone should deal with it.


Yes; but there would, I imagine, be near the right hon. Gentleman those with subtle minds to discover fine distinctions, who would show that the measure was not so completely and peculiarly English as at first sight it seemed to be. It has been evidenced during the previous Debate that the House is desirous of approaching this subject as a matter of business, and I can only suppose that this Motion is made for some collateral purpose, but not directly concerned in a settlement of the question of the superannuation of the police. We are anxious to carry the Bill to a successful issue, and cannot accept the Amendment.

(11.44.) MR. HUNTER

I desire to point out that when the Bill comes back from the Select Committee it would have to go through a Committee of the whole House, when Scotch Members who were not on the Select Committee will be fully entitled to take advantage of their position to criticise the Bill. To assent to the Motion would be to obliterate one of the most difficult stages of the Bill and hasten its progress. I would seem that the Lord Advocate does not really desire to pass this Session the Bill which the Government have flourished in the eyes of some 4,000 police.

*(11.45.) MR. D. CRAWFORD

I regret very much that the Lord Advocate should have adopted such an aggressive tone towards this proposal. I may remind the House that if the proposal were accepted, it would not be following an entirely unprecedented course. In the Committee on the Burgh Police Bill of 1888, of the 24 Members, there were only two or three who represented English constituencies, and these were nominated for form sake merely, and did not attend more than once during the whole two months the Committee sat. I do not think the Lord Advocate is entitled to oppose the general wishes of the Scotch Members. I supported the Second Reading of the Bill, although there is much in it open to criticism. As a matter of fact, the Bill is drawn too much on English lines, and needs adapting to the circumstances of Scotland. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that if he is really desirous of expediting business, the right method of doing so is not by imputing motives and making offensive insinuations, but by complying with the reasonable proposals and wishes of the Scotch Members.

(11.50.) The House divided:—Ayes 118; Noes 185.—(Div. List, No. 172.)

Main Question proposed, "That the Bill be committed to a Select Committee."

(12.0.) MR. HUNTER

On this question I would ask the Government to agree to a Motion to adjourn the Debate—


Order, order!

It being after Midnight, the Debate stood adjourned.

Debate to be resumed upon Thursday.