HC Deb 26 August 1895 vol 36 cc797-8
MR. H. KIMBER (Wandsworth)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether, having regard to the very large sums, £9,000 and £11,500, included in the Board of Trade Bankruptcy and Company Winding-up Departments for assistance of 137 clerks and 16 messengers, besides copyists, charwomen, and porters, he will attach to next year's Estimates a statement of the duties, qualifications, names, and rates of pay of the persons so employed, in order that the largo expenditure on these two Departments may be brought under the closer cognizance of Parliament?


I am afraid I cannot consent to establish a precedent for inserting in the already large volume of the Estimates the details of such essentially fluctuating and temporary expenditure, but unless the Board of Trade foresee any difficulty, I see no objection to granting a separate Return showing the duties and pay of the employés in question. I do not think, however, that their qualifications and names ought to be included in the case of this staff any more than in the case of any other branch of the Civil Service.


I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether, having regard to the fact that his Department have now had twelve years' experience of the bankruptcy business, and five years of company winding-up business, he will, before next year's Estimates are laid before this House, consider the advisability of altering the present system of allowing the departmental head to appoint so large a staff as the 137 clerks shown in the Estimates of the late Government at his will and pleasure, without being bound to regard the capabilities of the established Civil Servants to do the work; and, whether, on the pending resignation of a personal clerk, who had been appointed to perform the duties of an established clerk of the assistant class taking effect, his place will be filled, not by another personal clerk, but by an established clerk?


I will consider, before the Estimates for next year are laid before the House, to what extent it is necessary to continue the system of a personal allowance for clerical assistance in the Bankruptcy Department, but I must remind the hon. Member that it would be the worst economy to place upon the establishment a large body of clerks whose services may be rendered unnecessary by a diminution of the work of the Department. The work done by the Board of Trade under the Bankruptcy Act of 1883 and the Companies (Winding-up) Act of 1890 has varied greatly, and shows signs of still further variation. The system of personal allowance was established in order to deal with this variation, and it is the most elastic and economical way of dealing with work, the amount of which it was and still is almost impossible to estimate with any degree of accuracy. I cannot give any pledge as to whether it will be better to fill up the approaching vacancy in the personal staff of the Department by an established or a temporary clerk, but the matter shall be carefully considered.

Forward to