§ MR. THEOBALD
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to grant to the members of the Customs Department a holiday on the occasion of the marriage of His Royal Highness the Duke of York; and whether, in the event of officers being compelled, by the nature of their duties, to give attendance on that day, they may be permitted a day's holiday on another occasion in lieu thereof?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE,) Edinburgh, Midlothian
The closing of the Customs Department, as the hon. Gentleman is no doubt aware, would entail the stoppage of the whole of the operations connected with the foreign trade of the country for the day. No Public Department can be closed except upon a public holiday; and as there is to be no public holiday, it follows that the Customs Department cannot be closed. But I believe the Government Departments on these occasions do make such arrangements as they can, compatible with the interest of the State, for allowing the members of Departments to profit as much as they can by any arrangements that may be made locally for the purpose of marking the day.
§ COLONEL HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury if Jus attention has been called to the grave inconvenience which will attend bank managers and officials in those places like Sheffield wherein the Civic Authorities determine, in response to public opinion, that the Royal Wedding Day shall be kept as a public holiday, unless an Order in Council is issued empowering banks to close in such places; and if Her Majesty's Government will so far re-consider their decision and cause the necessary steps to be taken?
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
As I understand the matter, the Government have no power in such circumstances as those mentioned in the question, except that when they proclaim a public holiday the bills falling due on that day are postponed. I do not think there is any case hero that would justify the action suggested. I do not think it is intended that the Government should have 1485 power to act except upon the proclamation by them of a general public holiday. No such action has been taken by the Local Authorities as would lead me to suppose that any inconvenience will be caused.
§ COLONEL HOWARD VINCENT
Will not the effect be that the banks at Sheffield will be open and all the clerks at work, while all the other institutions and businesses will be closed? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of that?
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
I am not aware of that, and I could not very well be aware of it. I take it that, as there will be a great contraction of business on that day, the bank managers will only require a proportionate number of clerks to be in attendance.