HC Deb 19 February 1891 vol 350 cc1065-6
MR. LEAKE (Lancashire, S.E.)

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer why the undertaking of the Government, made through the Leader of the House on the 22nd of August, 1889, on the withdrawal of the Superannuation Bill, that it was "their deliberate intention to legislate upon the whole question at the earliest possible moment next Session," was disregarded, and legislation superseded by an Order in Council of 15th August, 1890, dealing with the Upper Division of the Civil Service; why Civil servants who were appointed before the date of the Order in Council, who have been justly exempted from the operation of Section 4, and whose rights have been reserved in Section 7 of the Order, have not also been exempted from the operation of Section 10, which provides for the compulsory retirement of officers at the age of 60; and whether, seeing that the Order in Council practically violates the undertaking of the Government to promote Civil Service reform by legislation, and has prevented the case of the Civil servants being discussed in the House, he will remove the widespread dissatisfaction of the Service by amending Section 10, so as to maintain the rights of all officers engaged before the date of the Order in Council?


Some portion of the recommendations of the Royal Commission on the Civil Service could be carried out by Order in Council, and others could only be dealt with by a Bill. The only reason for not proceeding by Bill in 1890 was that there had been insufficient time at our disposal, as every hon. Member will acknowledge; but we were not prepared to let the whole question drag on, and we therefore proceeded to deal, as we were entitled to do, by Order in Council with so many of the recommendations as would not require fresh Parliamentary powers. Civil servants appointed before the date of the Order in Council were exempted from so much of the operation of the Order in Council as would have clashed with the previous practice or their previous claims, but they were not exempted from the possible retirement at the age of 60 (a recommendation of the Royal Commission), because it was, only a formal statement of existing practice. It is now competent for the head of a Department to call upon any officer in the Department to retire at the age of 60. Heads of Departments have for years exercised their power, and in some Departments it is a formally promulgated rule of service. It is, therefore, impossible to amend Section 10 in the sense desired by the hon. Member.