HC Deb 20 March 1896 vol 38 cc1459-60

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, with reference to the allowance made to many head post offices for the purposes of providing assistance in addition to the established force, whether the disposition of such allowance is at the absolute disposal of the postmaster in the interest of whose office such grant is made, and in such cases, as where the allowance is granted for the purpose of providing two or more assistants, is any supervision exercised, and, if so, by whom, as to its expenditure and the due apportioning of the grant between the respective assistants employed; is he aware that in many instances postmasters of offices to which this grant is made are permitted to appoint their wives or a female relative to the position of assistants, and to exempt such assistant from giving a regular daily attendance, which is required of regular assistants, thereby obliging other members of the staff to perform the duties that would in the ordinary course fall to them as assistants to discharge; and whether he will cause inquiries to be instituted, and take steps to correct abuses, if any, caused by appointments of this kind?


In those cases, where allowances are granted for aid head postmasters are at liberty to employ their own assistants, but they are required to furnish annually a statement, which they have to certify as correct, showing as regards such assistants their names, length of service, number of hours of daily attendance, the amount paid to them in cash, and the estimated value of their board and lodging in cases where the assistants live on the post office premises. Subsequently, these statements are submitted by the surveyor to headquarters with a similar certificate. The Postmaster General is aware that in many instances postmasters employed their wives and relatives as assistants, and he thinks that there is no objection to their doing so, but he is not aware that such persons are, in any case, exempted from giving the regular daily attendance specifically allotted to them. Such a practice, if brought to his notice, would be immediately stopped.