HC Deb 28 April 1891 vol 352 cc1600-1

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he is aware that in several cases lately deserving and meritorious discharged non-commissioned Officers of the Army have been rejected for small posts in the Civil Service (for which they were otherwise thoroughly qualified) for being over 40 years of age; whether ho is aware that an old soldier, to have served his full time of 21 years, and to be discharged as a noncommissioned officer of high character, must almost necessarily be more than 40 years old; and whether, with a view to the important bearing of this matter on the recruiting of the Army, he will take into consideration the advisability of making a considerable relaxation of the age clause, say to 45, or even to 48 years, in the case of meritorious non-commissioned officers who have spent their whole life in the service of their country?


I quite sympathise with the object the hon. and gallant Member has in view; and so far as the Departments under the immediate control of the Treasury are concerned, I shall suggest that the rules as to age for minor posts for which Army and Navy pensioners would be suitable candidates should follow the same lines as the rules governing open competition, which are to the effect that candidates may deduct from their age any years passed in Her Majesty's Service. This relaxation will more than meet what is now asked, but I must point out that nominating authorities mast not be expected to select pensioners who by their age are partially incapacitated from fulfilling duties sometimes requiring considerable activity both of mind and body. I have, of course, no power to give any pledge as regards other Departments of the State; but those Departments will, doubtless, note what has taken place in the House on the subject.