§ MR. GRAHAM (St. Pancras, W.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he can now state to the House the result of his inquiry on 4th February last, into the case of the clerks and storekeepers of Her Majesty's prisons; whether, in view of the Report of the Departmental Committee of Inquiry of 1886 for the amalgamation of the first and second class clerks, but not yet carried out, he will now recommend such amalgamation; and whether, in the event of such amalgamation, he will recommend that the present second class clerks shall each be awarded the sum of £25 per annum, granted to the second class clerks on promotion in 1890, and thus remove the anomaly of clerks performing duties of signal responsibility, and in some cases only a few months senior, receiving a higher salary of £25 per annum in perpetuity?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. ASQUITH,) Fife, E.
As regards the first paragraph, I have to say that my inquiries into the case of the prison clerks went to show that their grievance rested on a block in promotion. A similar grievance exists in varying degrees in almost every department; but as a matter of fact, in the case of the prison clerks only one second class clerk has, up to the present, attained the maximum of his scale. The case of the prison clerks has been fully considered both by myself and the Treasury, and the conclusion arrived at was that it had been met, so far as was reasonably practicable, by the material improvements in the position of the staff effected in 1774 1890, when the maximum of the second class was raised from £130 to £150, and the number of the first class was raised by promotion from the second from 43 to 92, while that of the second was reduced from 139 to 88. As regards the second and third paragraphs, I adhere to the view of my predecessor, that it is not advisable to amalgamate the first and second classes of clerks as recommended by the Committee which reported in 1890.