HC Deb 11 August 1896 vol 44 cc495-6
MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he has received a memorial from the Abstractors employed in the Statistical Office of Her Majesty's Customs, praying for an increment of salary at least equal to that granted to the new class of Abstractors after seven years' service; whether these latter have an increment of £5 per annum after seven years' service, whereas the memorialists have an increment of £2 10s. after 14 years; whether there is any difference in the class of work done; and, whether he can do anything to meet the prayer of the memorialists?


These Abstractors were originally temporary Copyists, and the Ridley Commission recommended in 1888 that that class should be swept away, and be replaced by Junior Second Division Clerks or Boy Copyists; but the Treasury in 1891 gave a number of them permanent employment as Abstractors, with a title to pension and other advantages which they had not hitherto possessed. They are, of course, a moribund class, and no fresh appointments will be made. On becoming Abstractors they were allowed to commence at the rate of pay which they were actually receiving at the time (in some cases exceeding £100, and the average being about £90), and to rise to a maximum of £150 by annual increments of £2 10s., which commenced at once, not after 14 years as this Question implies. A class of men promoted under such conditions, which are superior to those under which they worked as Copyists, and entering the permanent service at a mature age and with a comparatively high initial salary, is manifestly on a different footing from others who, entering at a much earlier age and with a much lower salary, may naturally look forward to rising more rapidly. As a matter of fact, one of the new class of Abstractors, entering at a salary of £55, will attain the maximum of £150 after exactly the same number of years (viz. 22) as an Abstractor entering at £95 under the old system; but he will, of course, have received in the aggregate a much smaller sum.