HC Deb 11 May 1896 vol 40 cc1004-5
MR. COURTENAY WARNER (Stafford, Lichfield)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he recently recommended a clerk on the permanent establishment of the Colonial Office for promotion, but that the conditions attached to the consent of the Lords of the Treasury were such that their acceptance would have entailed a pecuniary loss on the promoted clerk which it would take him upwards of 25 years to recoup; and whether he proposes to take any steps to remedy this state of things?


No, Sir; it is not for me to recommend clerks in another office for promotion. But I presume that the hon. Member intends to refer to the case of an abstractor whom the Colonial Office recently recommended for appointment to the Second Division. His present salary is £150 a year, but the Order in Council of the 21st March 1890, fixes the initial salary of the second division clerks at £70 rising by £5 a year to £100, and then by £7 10s. to £190. He would, therefore, have to start at £70 a year and would attain his present salary in 13 years, not 25. The Treasury has no power to disregard the Order in Council. In reply to a similar question my predecessor said in this House a year ago:— I am not prepared to recommend an alteration of the Order in Council at present, but whenever the time for generally reviewing its provisions arrives, that now in question will be considered with the rest. As I recently pointed out, any alteration on the lines suggested by the hon. Member would lead to greater stringency in the promotion of abstractors, and it, therefore, by no means follows that the alteration would be in the interests either of the hon. Member's special client or of the abstractor class taken as a whole.


I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether six clerks of the abstractor class of the Civil Service, serving in Dublin offices, have been promoted for signal service to the Second Division; whether he is aware that, although the Treasury Minute of 1st May 1890 lays down as a general rule, without exception of the Civil Service, that clerks on promotion from one permanent class to another shall not suffer loss of pay thereby, these six clerks have each suffered an immediate loss of pay to the extent of about £30 per annum, and that it will require a further service of about 15 years before these clerks recoup themselves from such loss; and, whether he will inform the House when a supplementary Order in Council may be expected to remedy this state of affairs?


I am aware of five abstractors in Dublin offices who have been appointed to Second Division clerkships. In each case, the clerk so appointed understood that under the Order in Council of 21st March 1890, his initial salary would be £70 a year, and his appointment was only authorised on that understanding. The hon. Member will have gathered from my reply to the Question put by the hon. Member for the Lichfield Division to-day that, if the conditions of the promotion had been altered as he suggests, it by no means follows that these clerks would have been appointed to the Second Division at all. The minute quoted by the hon. Member cannot of course override the distinct provisions of an Order in Council. I am not yet able to state what change, if any, will be made in any future Order in Council on this subject; but in any case I do not suppose that its effect could be retrospective.