§ MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, on what basis the additional good conduct stripes for postmen, recommended by the Tweed mouth. Committee, will be distributed; is it the case that a man with 30 years' unblemished record already possessing three stripes, the maximum number formerly granted, will only receive one additional stripe forthwith instead of three as recommended by the Committee, and will thus be no better off than a man with 20 years' service; will a postman of 30 years' service have to serve another 10 years before he is entitled to his sixth stripe; and will the auxiliary and substituting service performed prior to the 1st April 1897 be taken into account in awarding stripes?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. R. W. HANBURY,) Preston
The additional good conduct stripes will be awarded on the following basis: A man already in possession of three good conduct stripes will receive at once an additional good conduct stripe for every five years' unblemished service since the date of the last award. Thus a man who since he received his third stripe has five years good service will receive one stripe; 10 years' good service two stripes; or 15 years' good service three stripes. Auxiliary service will be taken into account as regards the award of good conduct stripes to men who have none. Two years' good service in an auxiliary capacity will be reckoned as one year toward stripes. As regards what is known as substituting service, it is as a rule intermittent and not continuous. Intermittent service would not count for stripes.
§ MR. STUART
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury what will be the total saving that will ultimately be effected by the abolition of the allowances paid to provincial postmen in lieu of Christmas boxes and for special duties, also by the abolition of the allowances at present paid to the London sorting staff?
§ MR. HANBURY
None of the allowances to provincial postmen can be properly described as allowances in lieu of Christmas boxes, seeing that they are in all cases assigned to special duties, and they will be continued to present recipients so long as the special duties are performed by them. It is estimated that the total saving ultimately to be effected by the gradual abolition of the allowances will amount in the case of the provincial postmen to £29,000 a year and in the case of the London sorters to £10,500 a year. But it is calculated that the higher salaries to be paid will much more than counterbalance this saving in allowances.
§ SIR HENRY FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)
May I ask whether people are prohibited from giving Christmas boxes to postmen if they choose to continue the practice?
§ MR. HANBURY
Oh, no, Sir; the prohibition is only directed against the solicitation by postmen. There is no reason whatever why people should not give them Christmas boxes if they choose to do so.
§ SIR H. FOWLER
I asked the Question because I thought it desirable that if that were the case it should be known. ["Hear, hear!"]