§ * MR. McCARTAN
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction existing among the Assistants of Customs and out-door officers, owing to the refusal by the Treasury of the proposals of the Board of Customs with reference to the men who had entered the service before 1888; whether he is aware the recent changes have been so applied and emoluments so cut down and promotion so slow that the average value of the position to men of 10 years' service is less now than it has been hitherto; and whether, in view of the serious statements made by these men and their representatives, he will have inquiry made into the matter and due consideration given to their claims?
§ MR. HANBURY
The emoluments for overtime attendance have diminished because the amount of overtime worked has decreased, but these emoluments have not otherwise been cut down. The 852 rate of promotion, so far from being slower, is now slightly increased. In 1894 the average service of the men promoted to the rank of Examining Officer was 15¼ years; in 1895 and 1896 it was 14 11–12 years, and this year 14 years. The salaries of the men named in the Question are all much higher than when they entered the Service. Their annual increment of 30s. was raised to 50s. in 1890, and to £3 in 1894, and is now £5; while their maximum has been raised from £100 to £105. It is true that they are now, as Assistants, doing more important work than the average work of Outdoor Officers, but they are being paid on a higher scale. It would be unreasonable to antedate that scale to the time when they were doing the inferior work.