HC Deb 21 May 1897 vol 49 cc1027-8
MR. J. P. FARRELL (Cavan, W.)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, in view of the fact that Civil servants employed in the Education Board, Dublin, as abstractors have to perform precisely the same duties as second division clerks but without prospects of advancement, which compels them to stand almost on the same footing as boy copyists, also that many of these officials have served long periods in their several positions; whether, in case the Treasury cannot immediately accede to the request contained in their recent petitions, he can hold out any hope of improved prospects for this class of public officials in the near future?


I am not aware of any case in the Civil Service in which abstractors are performing precisely the same duties as second division clerks. The abstractor class was expressly created for the performance of work of a higher order than copying, but not of sufficiently advanced or responsible character to be assigned to second division clerks, and it is for such work only that the Treasury has sanctioned the employment of abstractors in various departments. If in any department the line of demarcation drawn by the Treasury had been, subsequently abandoned and the work of the two classes amalgamated, as the hon. Member asserts, it is clear that the abstractors would be doing too high work and the second division too low, and the abstractors should bring the matter before the responsible head of the department as a question of internal administration. There is of course no comparison between temporary boy copyists, who cannot rise beyond 18s. a week, or be retained after reaching the age of 20, and abstractors who are permanent and pensionable officers and can rise to £150 a year. The abstractor class has only been in existence six years, so none of its members can have served long periods in that capacity. As regards their demand for improved prospects, I have nothing to add to the answers I have repeatedly given to similar proposals.