§ 10. £18,000, to complete the sum for Diplomatic and Consular Buildings.
§ 11. £176,000, to complete the sum for Revenue Buildings.
MR. GIBSON" BOWLES
asked whether these buildings included any 54 building in connection with the new telephone service. Could the Secretary of the Treasury give the Committee any information as to the progress of the telephone service?
§ THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. HANBURY, Preston)
replied that there was one building in connection with the new telephone service in London. They were hurrying on with the service as rapidly as they could, and they expected to have a considerable portion of London served by the close of the year. He felt the necessity of urging on the work more rapidly than at present, and he would use all the influence he had at the Post Office to get the work done as soon as possible.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said the emergency had become rather pressing, and it would be a relief to many in the metropolis to know that they were not to be left without a telephone service.
§ 12. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £188,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1901, in respect of sundry Public Buildings in Great Britain, not provided for on other Votes."
§ MR. HANBURY
Yes, Sir, that is exactly the reason for which this money is asked. The accommodation in the Register House is not sufficient for the work carried on, or for the comfort and convenience of those who go there on business. The hon. Member will remember that, a few years ago, I proposed the acquisition of a property in St. James's Square immediately behind the Register House. That has been acquired, and it is proposed to extend the Register House for the very purpose suggested by the hon. Member, to provide for the 55 greater convenience of those engaged there, and those who have to go there on business.
§ MR. HANBURY
I am afraid I cannot give the actual date when the work will be finished, but I can assure the hon. Member that no time will be lost. I am very anxious, personally, to see this matter carried through, and I can give him my assurance that no delay I can prevent shall take place.
§ MR. CHANNING
asked what the increase in the Estimate for the National Portrait Gallery was for, and whether it included any provision for increasing the light and making it more effective.
§ THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (Mr. AKERS DOUGLAS, Kent, St. Augustine's)
said the matter of lighting did not rest entirely with himself, but with the managers of the National Portrait Gallery. The suggestion of the hon. Member would receive consideration, and if anything could be done he would be very glad to give effect to it.
§ * MR. BUTCHER (York)
I should like to call the attention of the Committee to the very excessive number of drinking places which are about the Royal Courts of Justice. I do not for one moment say that it may not be very dry work to listen to some of the discussions which take place in that building, but I do say that the facilities for refreshment by means of intoxicating liquors are far too numerous. Anyone who has ever gone into the courts will recollect that immediately outside some of them are what might be called drinking bars.
§ * MR. BUTCHER
It is for the buildings of the Royal Courts of Justice. Of course if it is more convenient to raise the question on another Vote, I will do so.
§ MR. AKERS DOUGLAS
The administration of the Courts does not come under this Vote. The question my hon. and learned friend wishes to raise should have been raised on the Vote for the Lord Chancellor's salary, as the administration 56 of the Courts is in the hands of the Lord Chancellor.
§ * MR. BUTCHER
Inasmuch as this is a Vote for buildings, and inasmuch as the drinking shops are upon the buildings, I conceive that the question may be raised on this Vote.
* THE CHAIRMAN
The Minister in charge of the Vote has stated that he has no authority upon the matter.
§ MR. AKERS DOUGLAS
I have been explaining to my hon. and learned friend that questions of administration are in the hands of the Lord Chancellor.
§ * SIR ALBERT ROLLIT
asked how the difference was made up on the Vote for the Imperial Institute, and the buildings of the University of London. The original Estimate was £62,000, and the Estimate now was £68,770. He did not object to the expenditure, on the contrary, he hoped the time would soon come when a real teaching university would be adequately supplied. Here again the question of drinking facilities arose. There was a contract for the supply of refreshments at the Imperial Institute which made the University of London a sort of tied house of the contractor. He should be glad to know if the University of London was at liberty to make its own arrangements for its students in connection with facilities of that character.
§ MR. AKERS DOUGLAS
said the question his hon. friend had asked as to drinking accommodation was one upon which he had no information. He was simply in charge of the Vote for the buildings, and he took it that the authority in charge of the administration would be the authority to ask in connection with the drinking bars. With regard to the future of the house from which the London University had recently removed, he was afraid that was a matter upon which he could give no information. There had been a large number of applications from scientific societies in London that the rooms lately occupied by the London University should be handed over to them, but the Government had not seen their way to do so; they 57 were, however, ready to consider any application for the use of the lecture theatre in the same way as it was now used by the Royal Geographical Society. So far as the use of the buildings in other ways went, although no decision had yet been come to, he could say that the buildings would be required entirely for permanent purposes of the Government, and he was afraid he could hold out no hope that any of those scientific societies would receive a permanent home there. The difference between the original and the revised Estimates for the Imperial Institute and the University of London represented the additional cost for additional alterations, a larger scheme of sanitary arrangements, and electric lighting and heating, and also for extra furniture required.
§ * MR. BUTCHER
called attention to the Estimate on page 42 for the electric lighting of the Law Courts. He did not object to the electric lighting of the Law Courts, but he objected to the amount expended for the lighting of certain refreshment bars. He proposed to reduce the Vote by £100, because he considered that expenditure of a wholly improper character. He questioned the necessity of having immediately outside the Chancery Courts a large drinking bar, which was attended by witnesses and clerks. If there was to be a drinking place at all which was to be electrically lighted, and on which they were asked to spend money, it should be below stairs, where it could be resorted to if necessary, but where there would not be daily and immediate temptation.
§ * MR. BUTCHER
said the objection he had to the lighting was that they spent so much on it, and if there was any portion of the buildings used for purposes which were wholly unnecessary, then he conceived that they should not be called upon to spend the money on lighting that portion. He submitted that there were portions of the buildings which they were called on to pay for lighting, and which ought not to be lighted, because they were wholly unnecessary. It was a useless, unnecessary, and mischievous expenditure, and the Committee ought not to be asked to sanction it.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item B (Maintenance and Repairs) be reduced by £100."—(Mr. Butcher.)
§ SIR RICHARD WEBSTER
I sympathise with a great deal my hon. and learned friend has said regarding certain portions of the building being too well lighted. It would be well if they were left more in darkness, so that people might not find their way so readily to them. I think I ought to add that the lighting of these parts of the building has not escaped the attention of the Lord Chancellor, who has already caused the lighting of them to be considerably curtailed. If my hon. and learned friend represents to the Lord Chancellor that there is too much illumination of this kind, I have no doubt attention will be paid to his protest.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said he could only regard this as a veiled attack upon the Lord Chancellor. The argument of his hon. and learned friend was that, ever since 1895, the Lord Chancellor had gone on encouraging exaggerated lighting of places for getting tipsy in the Law Courts. If these bars were wrong they were the last places where they should reduce the lighting. Unless they had them properly lighted people would not be able to tell whether they were drinking sherry or water, and a person wishing to find his way into a Chancery Court might walk into a drinking bar with consequences that might be awful. His hon. and learned friend would surely not grudge to the unfortunate suitor, exhausted by long waiting, the solace which whisky alone sometimes could give.
§ MR. AKERS DOUGLAS
was afraid he could not answer the question with regard to the position of the bars. He was not aware that any regular bars had been designed, and he had not been asked to provide any in recent years. His Department had no control over the sale of refreshments at the Courts, or power to select the actual spots on which bars should be placed. That was entirely in the hands of those responsible for the 59 administration of the building. As to the cost per unit of the electric light, he had not the exact figure before him, but he believed the supply was very satisfactory on the whole.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
On a point of order, Sir. Is the right hon. Gentleman or anybody else in order in discussing on this Vote the cost of electric light? This is a Vote not for electric light, but for the salaries of attendants.
§ * MR. BUTCHER
After the sympathetic answer of the Attorney General it seems probable that this unnecessary and excessive expenditure in illuminating portions of the Law Courts, to which I will not: further refer, will be diminished in future. I will therefore ask leave to withdraw my Amendment. [Cries of "No."]
* THE CHAIRMAN
After the distinct disclaimer of the Minister in charge of the Vote of all control over the liars to which the hon. Member has taken exception, I do not think I ought to accept this motion for a reduction of the Vote. I said at the commencement of his speech that I thought it was out of order, but he persisted in going on with it.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork County, Mid)
Then may I ask why this useless discussion was carried on for a considerable time — over half an hour? It seems ridiculous.
* THE CHAIRMAN
Because the right hon. Gentleman has only just stated distinctly for the first time that he was not responsible.
§ 13. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £127,609, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1901, for the Survey of the United Kingdom, and for minor services connected therewith."60
§ SIR BARRINGTON SIMEON (Southampton)
I am sorry to be obliged once more to trouble the Committee with the question of temporary Civil assistants in the Ordnance Survey. I can only hope that my right hon. friend will muzzle me in the only effectual way, which is by promising that justice shall at last be done. It is very well known to all Members who are interested in the temporary Civil assistants that the whole of the trouble and difficulty arose from a mistaken prophecy made in 1870, when the late Sir Henry James, Director General of the Ordnance Survey, stated that the survey would be complete by 1880. This was a most unfortunate prophecy, because the work, instead of stopping in 1880, has enormously increased in bulk and importance, while recent events have proved that there is very much room yet for the development of the work. The result of that unfortunate forecast is that men who expected to be at work on the Ordnance Survey for ten years have now been at the work for thirty years, and they are apparently no nearer getting the pensions they have so absolutely and honestly earned and deserved than they were twenty years ago. But there are still persons who imagine that the staff of the Ordnance Survey will be greatly reduced in the next few years. That is a threat which has been held over these men from time immemorial. But how can the staff of the Ordnance Survey ever be reduced? How can the work of the staff be reduced? It stands to reason that plans must be prepared and maps made, and as this Empire increases in power and magnitude, more and more maps will be required, and the work of the Ordnance Survey, instead of decreasing, must enormously increase. We have only to look at the past to see what must and will happen in the future. In the year in which Sir Henry James prophesied the work would be finished—1880—the staff had increased from 863 to 1,028 in number; in 1891 it had further increased to 1,609; and I believe it has gone on ever since in a like ratio. The Departmental Committee's Report of 1892 says—As the Survey will require continuous revision and republication it will have, to be maintained as a permanent Department.I therefore cannot in the least understand how people can imagine that the number of assistants is going to decrease. It is 61 also perfectly extraordinary how the sale of maps has increased. I will not trouble the Committee with the yearly increase. In 1893-4 the sale of maps produced.£13,343; in 1896–7 it produced £17,715; and the rate of increase has continued to the present day. But I will now leave the ancient history of 1870, and come to more modern times. Last year I had the honour of introducing a large and important deputation of members of this committee to the Minister for Agriculture, and this grievance of the Ordnance Survey Staff' was laid before the right hon. Gentleman. I need scarcely say we were received with all possible kindness and courtesy. The right hon. Gentleman promised to draw up a scheme which he would submit to the Treasury with a view to at any rate mitigating the difficulty and grievance complained of. That promise having been made, it is perfectly unnecessary that I should say that it was carried out with the greatest punctuality. On the 8th February last I asked the right hon. Gentleman whether a scheme had been laid before the Treasury, and, if so, whether there was any objection to stating what answer the Treasury had made. The question was answered by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, and these were his words*—The Board of Agriculture have submitted such a scheme to me semi-officially. There are, of course, serious objections in principle to granting pensions to men whose salaries have been based on the clearly stated fact that they would not be entitled to pensions; and even if these objections did not exist I understand that the Board of Agriculture cannot name the particular Civil assistants whose service will now be permanent. Permanency of employment is, of course, one of the conditions of pension rights.I hope my right hon. friend will not for one moment think me discourteous if I say that these salaries were not granted on the absolutely clearly stated fact that the men would not be entitled to pension. The fact may have been stated to some of them, but it was never stated to the individuals seeking employment. In 1894, fifty-seven Civil assistants who had joined the service between September 29th, 1870, and January 4th, 1873, were admitted to the permanent staff because the suspension of the Superannuation Act was not made known to those who joined* See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxxviii., page 926.62 the Ordnance Survey after September 29th, 1870. But this looks as if the suspension of the Superannuation Act was made known to everybody who joined the service after that date. That was not the case at all. A personal friend of mine who joined in October, 1873— nine months after the mystic date—told me on his word of honour that he was distinctly assured that if he joined the Ordnance Survey as a temporary Civil assistant he would be pensioned.
§ SIR BARRINGTON SIMEON
That I cannot tell you, but I will discover. When Colonel Leach, who held a very high position in the Ordnance Survey, was asked what steps were taken to give this information to lads who wished to be employed on the Ordnance Survey, he replied that—It was an instruction for the directors, not intended for publication, but having been laid before Parliament, was obtainable by anyone.That answer I have seen in Colonel Leach's own handwriting, and a more unsatisfactory reply I cannot imagine. What boy of fourteen is likely to think of getting Parliamentary Papers to see whether at the age of sixty he will have a pension or not? If this was the only publication, it is scarcely correct to say that it was "clearly stated" that these men would not be entitled to pensions when they reached the proper age. Then my right hon. friend says that the Board of Agriculture "cannot name the particular Civil assistants whose service will now be permanent." What does that mean? I cannot understand why the Board of Agriculture should name the particular individuals who would be employed permanently. Why should not the Treasury say they will give pensions to the 100 senior assistants on reaching the age of sixty? No injustice would be done to anyone by such a course, and if my right hon. friend will promise to do that I will promise most faithfully not to worry him any more about the temporary Civil assistants during the life of this Parliament. In his answer the Financial Secretary said that "permanent employment is one of the conditions of pension rights." Of course it is. But what is permanent employment? Is not forty-six years service in 63 one place permanent employment? Let me give one instance of how very hardly this system weighs upon these men. I do not blame anyone; I blame only the system. I believe that both the Minister for Agriculture and the Financial Secretary to the Treasury dislike the system as much as I do, but they cannot help themselves. There is a temporary Civil assistant at Southampton who has served in this Department for forty-six years. Thirty-four years ago he was appointed to a position of some consequence in the Department, which involved him in working more hours every day than other employees, and also working on Sundays and bank Holidays. After forty-six years service, without any illness or check of any kind, he is laid by, suffering from an incurable complaint caused by his constant attendance to his work. I brought this man's case before the Financial Secretary, who told me he had made inquiries and found that this man's character was excellent, that he was a hard worker, but he could not have a pension because there was nothing in his case which would give him any claim that was not shared by others of his colleagues. I am quite sure it was painful to the right hon. Gentleman to give that answer, and to me it is simply appalling, because it means that for a man to serve the Department faithfully for forty-six years, to lose his health owing to his hard honest work, and then to be retired with perhaps a small gratuity is not exceptional. It ought to be not exceptional but impossible. I feel perfectly convinced that both the President of the Board of Agriculture and the Financial Secretary to the Treasury wish to do all they possibly can in order to do justice to these men, but there is a hitch somewhere. I do not know where that hitch is; it is not in the hearts of my right hon. friends, but I am afraid it is somehow difficult or impossible for the Board of Agriculture and the Treasury to come to a friendly arrangement on the subject. In the hope of finding out where exactly the difficulty is, I beg to move the resolution which stands in my name.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item C (Pay, etc., of Civil Assistants) be reduced by £100."—(Sir Barrington Simeon.)
§ SIR FRANCIS EVANS (Southampton)
This is not the first time I have 64 addressed the House on behalf of the temporary Civil assistants in the Ordnance Survey. Six years ago I urged Her Majesty's Government to do something for these servants, and, as in many of these questions which came before us from time to time presenting difficulties of solution, a certain compromise was arrived at. It was recognised that injustice was being done, and a certain number of temporary Civil assistants were brought within the pensionable area, if I may use the term. The suggestion of my hon. friend and colleague that one hundred should be added to the number which I secured in 1894 is a motion I would support on the understanding that it is to be considered as a settlement of the question only during the present Parliament, because I presume that in a few months we should be ready to begin battle again on behalf of these men. I may say at once that I am against any compromise. I consider that the temporary Civil assistants have a just and equitable case, which I hope they will go on pressing upon Members of Parliament until the Government recognise its justice. We are in this difficulty. We are met by very good-tempered and amiable gentlemen, who express themselves in favour of some measure to meet the grievance of these men. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Agriculture, when a large number of us waited upon him at St. James's Square, at any rate indicated that we had presented a very fair ease, and he led us to hope that something would be done. We have also on many occasions, been to the right hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, and he has always met us very fairly. He has said, "You certainly have claims, but I cannot see my way out of the difficulty." I would like to show the House what, practically, is the position so far as the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury is concerned. On the 9th August, 1898, in the House of Commons, he stated that this service was in effect a permanent service; that he could not say it was a permanent service in respect of the whole of the staff, but he said, "It is a permanent service." * Last session, as my hon. friend has reminded him, he said, "If the service is really permanent I say that we* Mr. Hanbury's speech is reported in The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxiv., page 718.65 will favourably consider the staff who form part of that service." The right hon. Gentleman is committed to two things: first, to the fact that it is a permanent service; and, secondly, that he is in favour of pensions for permanent officials. Apparently, the only difficulty which troubles the mind of the right hon. Gentleman is that he cannot select out of a body of 1,600 men 900 who would be in the service some years hence. Does the right hon. Gentleman think it right on the part of a Government to pay their staff lower wages than they are entitled to, simply because they cannot find a way out of such a difficulty? Are they to shelter themselves behind such an excuse of non-selection for dealing unfairly with the greater portion of the staff? I say, without fear of contradiction, that the only reason why the whole of the temporary Civil assistants in the Ordnance Survey are not now on the pension list is the false prophecy of successive and succeeding Directors General, who have all prophesied a reduction of the staff. It is impossible to contend that these men are not permanent officials. What is a permanent official? Surely he is a man who devotes the best years of his life to the service. That is what we generally understand. A man who comes on the pension list at Southampton enters at eighteen years of age and retires at sixty —that is, after forty-two years service. Surely when a man has been on the staff for more than twenty-one years he is a permanent official. If he is not, who is? Is it by having the word "permanent" attached to his name that a man becomes a permanent official, or is it by service? Surely it is by length and continuity of service. These men have given their life's work to the country, and are entitled to pensions. Now a word as to this notice to which reference has been made, because it is a rather serious matter. Will it be believed that it took twenty-five years to get a printed statement put before the staff with regard to the cessation of pensions? During the whole of that time men joined the staff here and there without knowing anything about the withdrawal of pensions. Was there ever such a proof of absolute carelessness? Twenty-five years afterwards we have a printed document saying that no assistant or labourer who joined the service after the 4th January, 1873, is entitled to a pension. 66 I have frequently brought this matter before the House of Commons; but is it not possible to come to some settlement? My hon. friend suggested that 100 men might be taken. That is no settlement of principle at all. Is it not possible that we might take a longer term and say that these men should serve twenty years? Surely that is a long enough spell to entitle them to consideration as permanent officials. There is such a thing as equity, and it is not right that the Government should use their strength in order to prevent men in their employ getting a fair return for their work. If the right hon. Gentleman can see his way to accept this proposal on the basis of a longer term of service I think that would settle this very vexed question in a fair way, and without a chance of its being reopened. I beg to support the motion.
§ * MR. PYM (Bedford)
I am aware that, upon this question, the same arguments have been repeated many times over, but I do not think that shows any weakness in our case. Our case is of so simple and straightforward a character that it does not require arguments of any depth or ingenuity to bring it before the common sense and fair judgment of this Committee. This Ordnance Survey was considered of so much importance that it was constituted originally a branch of the permanent Civil Service of this country: but by the most absurd forecast that any responsible official ever made in connection with work with which he should have had the most intimate knowledge, many years ago the whole future of this branch of the Civil Service was upset and the status of every man from that date who came into this service was destroyed. Not only by this action was their future destroyed, but the Government of the day, in rearranging this office and the terms upon which those men wore to come in, ignored altogether the leading principle upon which all such arrangements are made in connection with the Civil Service. In estimating the amount which Civil servants receive as pay from the State, the amount of pension which they receive is always taken into consideration. In this case these men have been deprived of their pension although they have been paid exactly the same rates of pay as the men who receive their pensions. I think that in itself is a very great injustice, 67 for pensions simply represent a saving which the country would have otherwise had to pay in the shape of increased pay. The result of that has been that these men have nothing to look forward to after so many years service except the miserable bonus which is represented by a few pounds, after having given the best part of their lives in the service of their country. My right hon. friend the Secretary to the Treasury appears to have been convinced that there was something in the case made out for these men, for I see from a report of his speech in this House on the 9th August, 1898, which was referred to by the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down that he went so far as to say—Then comes the further argument: they say this service will go on so long that there is every prospect of its becoming permanent, and therefore we ought to retain it on a pensionable basis. Thus we see the whole question is reduced to a very tine point indeed, which is this: Is it going to become a permanent service or not? In one sense it will become so, but the staff at the present moment is 1,600, and I am assured by the Director General that in a dozen years the staff will be reduced to 900. That being so, you will make 900 the pensionable service. I was quite ready to do this, recognising the fact that those men had worked for this number of years.But why did not the right hon. Gentleman do it? Then he goes on to say—I was quite ready to meet their views as far as I possibly could, but the answer made to me on my inquiry into the matter was, that even with regard to the 900 men who would probably remain on after ten years their duties were so interchangeable with the remaining 600 or 700 that it would be utterly impossible to put one's band on the 900 now, and for the. Director-General to say, 'These are the men that I shall retain at the end of ten years.'We have seen the processes by which my right hon. friend's mind was convinced that these men had a case. We have seen that those arguments were so strong; that they brought him to the conclusion that it was to be a permanent service, but that it should not be a pensionable service. He is met by a little difficulty which I feel certain could be got over without any very great ingenuity. That difficulty is that you have got to select out of 1,600 men the right and proper people to add to your permanent establishment of 900 men. I believe that, at the present moment, the permanent establishment is about 250, and so you have only got to add another 650. My hon. friend opposite has put it very conclusively to the House that there is 68 only one way in which this Can be done, in justice and fairness to the claims of these men who have done such good service, and that way is that you should take the men according to their length of service. There also appears to be a difficulty about the inferiority of the work, and that in selecting these men from that particular class who have served the longest, you would not be able to provide for the inferior duties which had to be done. I understand that there are something like 200 who do inferior work, and these men are practically Labourers. But whatever your arrangements are, if you reduce your staff to 900 you must always engage a certain number of labourers who will have to do the rough work: and consequently I cannot see what very great difficulty there is in dealing with the question on these lines. This question has been before the House for a good many years, and it has been considered that for the last twenty-five years they have Keen suffering under a grievance which has disestablished their position; and consequently as the years go on and they continue their faithful service, this grievance becomes greater every year. Surely if the Treasury goes so far as to say that there is a case for a pension they ought to go one stop further and try to meet those men on fair and just grounds. Although they may not be able at the present moment to create the whole body of 900 permanent servants, they might take, at any rate, 300 or 400 of those who have given the longest service, and by degrees fill up the number to 900. I speak with a good deal of feeling upon this matter, for I have had some knowledge of the work. Many of these men live in my constituency, and I do hope my right hon. friend will see his way by some means or other to get rid of this cause of offence to those men, and to give them some hope that when they leave the service, broken down probably in health, that they will not receive a mere pittance in the shape of a bonus, but that the country will do something better for them by providing a sum upon which they can live in comfort for the remainder of their lives.
§ * MR. BUTCHER
I think the views which have been so clearly put forward by the hon. Member for Southampton have disclosed a very substantial grievance. There is one thing which everyone will admit, and that is, that the 69 Ordnance Survey Department has not come to an end, and will not come to an end for a great many years. It is practically impossible that we shall ever l>e able to dispense with the services of those engaged in this work, because the work has to be continually done and redone. You have, however, this anomaly, that there are a certain class of assistants employed who are called temporary assistants. In a great number of cases these men have been employed for a large number of years, and will probably continue to be employed until they attain the age of sixty. But, however long their period of service may be, by no means can these temporary assistants attain a pension when they quit the service. The remedy suggested by the senior Member for Southampton seems a very fair one, and it ought not to involve any great inconvenience to the Treasury. It is proposed that you should select out of these so-called temporary Civil assistants a certain number and place them upon a pensionable basis. There are those amongst us who desire to see every temporary assistant given a pensionable position. If a pensionable grade is established by which a certain portion of these men would be able to obtain a pension, I think that would meet the requirements of the case. I hope that in this matter we shall not be put off with technicalities. In these matters technicalities are always raised, and I am afraid the Treasury are great offenders in this respect. The Treasury cannot remedy a substantial grievance or answer-it by putting forward technicalities. What we realty want is to meet this real and substantial case fairly and justly, and to give the men who occupy positions of great responsibility, and who are engaged in an extremely important work, encouragement in their profession, and a substantial reward for long and faithful service.
§ SIR J. BLUNDELL MAPLE (Camberwell, Dulwich)
I have listened to the speeches made by hon. Members, and I am indeed surprised to hear that they are defending the granting of pensions in any shape or form. I believe in dispensing with pensions as much as possible. By granting pension you tie men to you, and they feel that they have a lien on the position, and that they cannot leave it because they would lose their 70 pension. It is altogether a bad idea, and I am surprised to hear hon. Gentlemen opposite supporting a proposal to further extend the pension system. These men were engaged at a particular wage, and why should you proceed to give them a pension which was no part of their original agreement? The agreement was made that these men should have certain pay, and it has been generally spread about that there would be no pensions in this particular Department. It seems to me, further, an. altogether absurd idea that the hon. Member opposite should suggest giving this pension to a certain number without giving it to all of them. These men knew the conditions at the time of their appointment, and they have known it since the year 1873, when it was clearly stated that there would be no pensions.
§ SIR FRANCIS EVANS
But the book was not issued until 1897, or twenty-four years after the change was made.
§ SIR.J. BLUXDELL MAPLE
I am aware that this book was not issued until 1897, but the rule was clearly set down that there would be no pension after 1873. That has been thoroughly understood, and the people who took these appointments never expected pensions until they sought the advice of their representatives in this House, who promised them that they would do their best to get them these pensions. Personally, I should welcome the doing away with all pensions in every possible way. Pensions are a charge upon generations to come, and they are not right. If a man is worth £500 a year he should be paid that sum, and he should not be given a. salary of £350 a year and a pension worth £150 a year. We are told that this Ordnance Survey Department may be reduced to a much less number, and if that is so how can you make the men permanent officials entitled to a pension I do hope that this question—which is an annual one will not be brought forward after this year, and that these men, who are now in a very good position, will not be encouraged to expect pensions.
I think there is a great deal in the caveat of the hon. 71 Baronet who has just sat down. The non-effective Votes of this country are growing by leaps and bounds, and the time will come, I am quite sure, when the House will have to consider their proportion to the effective Votes. But that is not the point raised at the present moment. The point now raised is one which has been discussed in several sessions of this Parliament. My two hon. friends the Members for Southampton have brought this question forward time after time in the most gallant fashion, although they have been time after time repulsed with arguments which ought to have had weight with them. But, urged on by their constituents, they have again and again returned to the charge, and tonight they have been reinforced by a valuable ally in the person of my hon. friend the Member for Bedford, who, I believe, has also got a constituency which is pushing him forward in this matter. I agree with the remark of my hon. friend the Member for York that this question ought not to be settled on mere technicalities, but should be settled from an equitable point of view. I think my hon. friend will do me the justice of admitting that this is the view which I have always taken. I have given a very great deal of consideration to this question, and I have been most anxious to do all that was possible. I have had personal interviews with these men, and I have tried to look at their case from every point of view. I think there is a little confusion in the arguments which my hon. friends have brought forward; there is a certain fluctuation of opinion between them, and I notice a tendency to outbid one another. No sooner does my hon. friend the senior Member for Southampton make a definite proposal than it is at once jumped upon by his colleague, who says that it is an absurd proposal. To a certain extent I agree with my hon. friend, and I say, on the authority of his colleague, that I cannot accept it.
§ * MR. HANBURY
I want to separate the arguments which have been put forward by my hon. friend. In the first place, there is the argument that these men had not proper notice of the change, and that is the main argument. It is said that these men entered the service as temporary assistants, and were not 72 told that they would not receive pensions. But what are the facts of the case? The hon. Gentleman opposite says that they were never told this until the year 1897. That is where I think my hon. friend spoils his case, for it is an argument which is not put forward even by those whom he represents, who have not thrown out anything half so ridiculous. Let us have the facts of the case. What happened was this: In the year 1870 the then Director of Survey came to the conclusion which Directors of Survey have from time to time arrived at, that the work of the Survey would soon be over; that it was merely a temporary service, and that it would not be wise to engage men on pensionable terms. That happened in 1870, and a large number of men joined between the year 1870 and the 4th of January, 1873. The men who joined during that period came forward and said they had not had proper notice, but that was long after the year 1873, and their action must have been known to the other members of the staff. Those men who joined the service between 1860 and the 4th of January, 1873, came to the Treasury and said it was hardly fair that they should not be pensionable, because they had received no proper notice. The Treasury looked carefully into the matter, and although they had a great doubt about it, they gave the men the benefit of that doubt and decided that they should be pensionable. A few years after this we got the rest of the staff coming forward with the same plea after having seen how those had succeeded who joined between 1870 and 1873, and they also said that they had not received proper notice. That is the contention of the hon. Member opposite, who says that these men not only had no notice in 1873, but also that they had received none up to 1897.
§ SIR FRANCIS EVANS
I did not say that. All I said was that no printed notice was issued until the year 1897, and the men were allowed to gather this information as they could.
§ * MR. HANBURY
The information was distinctly given to them at the time, and it was a matter of notoriety through- out the whole service that pensions would not be given. What would make it more notorious was that it was a service which was not recruited largely from outside, but it was a service in which sons suc- 73 ceeded their fathers with great regularity, and in such a close service it is impossible. that the terms of the service were not perfectly well known. The mere name of "temporary assistants" is sufficient to show them this. Therefore the Treasury,: in making this concession to the men who entered under a slight misapprehension between 1870 and 1873, went as far as it could possibly go. Another issue has been raised. It has been said that these men have been a long time in the service, and undoubtedly they have. The inconsistency of the suggestions of my hon. friends appears to me to be this: they do not say that all these men should be made pensionable, and they do not mention even the number of years service. One of my hon. friends suggested that we should take the first hundred, and another hon. Member says we should take 300 or 400.
§ SIR FRANCIS EVANS
That is not my contention. What I urged was that twenty years service should constitute permanent service.
§ * MR. HANBURY
My hon. friend says that twenty years should constitute permanent service; but would he be willing to apply the same principle to the dockyards? The whole question was dealt with by a Departmental Committee in 1892. Should these men be pensionable? The recommendation of the Committee was exactly to the opposite effect, but if the hon. Member's suggestion were carried out nearly, every one of these men would be put upon the establishment. The hon. Member says that these men are receiving exactly the same pay as men who are pensionable, but that is going back to a somewhat distant date. The point is not whether the men who are entitled to pensions are paid too much, but whether the men not entitled to pensions are paid enough. There again we have the recent and important evidence taken, before the Committee which reported that these men were fully and adequately paid. If they are fully and adequately paid as temporary assistants, what is the justification for adding pensions to that pay? Of course, we have to recollect not only 'the period of service, but also that none' of these men have received Civil Service certificates entitling them to pensions, The hon. Member opposite has apparently not the remotest idea of what the perma- 74 nent Civil Service is. According to him, if a man serves twenty years then, for sooth, he is to be regarded as a permanent civil servant and entitled to a pension. That is not the rule which applies to other Departments, and I fail to see why these men should be in a better position than the rest of the Civil Service. That is what the hon. Member is asking for. In the rest of the Civil Service a man who retires before the age of sixty is not entitled to a pension unless he is incapacitated through ill-health; but, forsooth, these men are to be allowed to retire and get pensions whenever they like. [Several HON. MEMBERS: No, no] That is not the suggestion. Is it that these men shall not be pensionable unless they have served until sixty under ordinary conditions? See how that would tie the hands of the Director of Survey. The phrase "permanent staff" has been played upon, I think, with some inconsistency. It is said that these men are permanent servants, and yet we are not willing to pension them as permanent Civil servants. What are the facts of the case? At the present moment there are 1,750 men on the staff, and I am told by the Director of Survey that within the next ten years that number will be reduced to 900, and that there will always be that number. In that sense it is a permanent service as regards the 900, but it is not a permanent service as regards the other 850. I do not say the pension system is a good one, but I say it is a bad thing to have some services permanent and some not. You cannot, however, apply that in this instance. What I said to the Director of Survey was this: "If you have 900 men who you can assure me will be serving the State under the same conditions as men in the ordinary Civil Service, who will remain on until sixty, and who will not be dismissed before that time, let them have pensions.'' But he told me it was impossible for him to say that out of 1,750, these were the 900 men who would be permanently employed in the service. That being so, there is no permanent service in the ordinary sense of the word. Directly my hon. friend the Member for Work shows me a permanent staff, then I will say, "Let them have pensions."
* MR. HAXBURY
That is perfectly true. There are seventy-six men pensionable at the present moment. But is not that the greatest confirmation of my argument? In every case where the Director can assure us that a man is permanently employed the man is pensionable, and I am obliged to my hon. friend for strengthening my case.
§ * MR. BUTCHER
Are not the so called permanent assistants doing practically the same work and receiving the same rate of salary as the temporary assistants, although the former are entitled to pensions and the latter are not?
§ * MR. HANBURY
The number of men entitled to pensions now stands, I think, at seventy-six. These men are doing a higher class of work, and it is impossible to compare it with the work done by the temporary assistants. I think I have answered all the points that have been raised. I can assure the Committee that I have given this matter a great deal of consideration. I think all these services ought to be treated alike, and I have endeavoured to see how far these men really did correspond to other departments of the Civil Service, and I have utterly failed to see that there is any such correspondence, and I therefore think it would be wrong to treat them much more liberally than we treat other departments. These men are getting full wages, with the knowledge before hand that they were not pensionable, and I think it is perfectly ridiculous to con- tend that because they have served twenty years they should be treated differently from dockyard labourers, and the various writers and others in the public service who have also given a long period of 76 service. The rule of the services is that pensions are granted only under certain conditions. These conditions have not been fulfilled, and I cannot therefore break through the rule of the service, even to satisfy the hon. Gentleman opposite.
§ MR. MADDISON (Sheffield, Brightside)
I have listened with considerable interest to this discussion with respect to the men of the Ordnance Survey who are not now in receipt of pensions. I have at least one qualification for speaking that is, I have no Ordnance Survey men, as far as I am aware, in my constituency. Hon. Members who have that honour have been twitted — and I think not unnaturally —with having their enthusiasm for these men somewhat generated by the votes that are behind them. I do think there is a great danger in this matter, and in fact it is one of the great dangers of their employment. I would go further, and upon the general question of pensions to Civil servants, could we begin again, I would not hesitate to say—
Attention called to the fact that forty Members were not present (Mr. HAVE-LOCK "WILSON, Middlesbrough). House counted, and forty Members being found present—
§ MR. MADDISON (continuing)
Upon the general question of pensions, if we could begin afresh, I think I should agree with the hon. Baronet the Member for Dulwich. Personally, I think the ordinary pension system—I am not now alluding to superannuation for exceptional services or injuries—in the main works out badly for the country, and I would, if it were in my power, do what the hon. Baronet said he would do, namely, give every man what I consider a fair wage and allow him to provide for himself. I believe that would get the Treasury out of a great deal of difficulty, and that the country would gain both in money and better service. I do not think that pensions cause men to give better service to the State. I believe, on the other hand, that they may seriously hamper those who have to administer these great Departments. While the great mass of the working classes are giving equal services to the State without these pensions, I cannot see why any section of the community should be 77 singled out at the expense of the others. The discussion to-night does not touch the general question of pensions, and I should not be in order in pursuing that topic, and, therefore, if a division is taken I want to say my vote does not depend at nil upon the general question of pensions The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury, as I take it, puts this case. He says that the Director General of Ordnance Survey must have a certain: amount of margin—he must have power to dismiss and revise members of his Department; that there must be some flexibility; in other words, that it is altogether wrong to say to the Director General, "Yon must have a certain number of men whether you want them or not, leaving him open to a charge of injustice when he discharges or turns a man adrift a few years before his pension becomes due. With that view I largely sympathise. No Department of tile State should be run by one man, be it the Director General or he it the lowest labourer. If the Director General is not wanted, get rid of him; if you only need 100 labourers you have no right to keep 101. That being the case, I have been living to find what is the proper course to pursue, and with all respect to the Secretary of the Treasury (whose knowledge is so much greater than mine), I do not think, having regard to the admission he made, he quite met the case. The first example that came to my mind while listening to this debate was the system pursued in the dockyards, and probably other places, of having established and non-established men. The right hon. Gentleman held up the case of the dockyard men as an example which he thought told somewhat against their argument; but I venture to submit the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Treasury did not quite exhaust his illustration: and his lack of explanation was not through lack of knowledge, because he possesses a great deal of knowledge as a. debater in this House. What is the fact about this system of establishment and non-establishment? As I take it. it was created, and is maintained, in order that tilt; Admiralty, or whatever the Department may be, may have a margin of men to play upon, so that if work falls off they can discharge the non-established men or put them on half-time, mid so let there be some harmony be- 78 tween the amount of work and the staff on the pay list. Of course every business man will do that, and for the life of me I do not see why the State should not do the same. But between the established men and the non-established men there is a difference. When a man becomes established he suffers on occasions a reduction in his wages. If this principle of establishment and non-establishment has worked out fairly well—at least, so far as the Admiralty are concerned—in giving this margin to play upon, I would submit to the right hon. Gentleman that in this system he has a remedy for at least a great deal of the present trouble which exists with respect to these Ordnance Survey men.
§ MR. HANBURY
The case of the Ordnance Survey men is different from what the hon. Member suggests, because they want full pay and a pension afterwards. The men on the establishment do suffer a reduction of wages.
§ MR. MADDISON
We are not discussing what they want, but what is just and fair. Obviously they want more than they will get, and they are not exceptional in that matter. The point I want to make is that I think some sort of plan, such as I have indicated as existing in the dockyards between establishment and non-establishment, would go a long way to meet this trouble. It rests with the right hon. Gentleman to introduce a scheme which will meet the case, and I think he can do it on the lines I have suggested. Why should not the Director General, together with the Treasury, create an establishment the same as the Admiralty had to do and have done successfully? Why should not they say that a certain number of men are established and a certain number are not established? In order to meet the case you should have at first a large number of non-established men, and draw on them for your established men as circumstances required. I venture to think if this were done at any rate you would secure pensions for a proportion of the men, and so you would meet their grievance; and if the others, knowing they were not established because the Department could not give them regular employment, demanded to be put on the establishment or to be guaranteed work when there was no work for them, they would be unreasonable, and we need not trouble 79 about them. But as the right hon. Gentleman has admitted that in ten or twelve years time there will be a permanent staff of at least 900 men, I do certainly think it unfair to refuse pensions to these men, or not to discriminate in the sense I have indicated. I do not wish to occupy the time of the House further except to say that if this is an attempt to guarantee pensions to a great crowd of men who are not wanted, whether they are officers or labourers, I shall oppose it; but. having taken that strong line, I think the right hon. Gentleman should do something that would be methodical and systematical.
§ SIR. FRANCIS EVANS
said the false prophecies of successive Directors General had been the cause of the wrongdoing. How was it possible for temporary Civil servants ever to got on the permanent staff when it was only necessary for a Director General to say that in a few years the work would cease, and then the Secretary for the Treasury ignored the claim? He greatly regretted that the right hon. Gentleman had thought fit to cast such a reflection as he had on the men at Southampton. He stated that these men were carrying out their duties inefficiently, and that they were sheltering themselves under the pensions that they received.
§ SIR FRANCIS EVANS
Exactly; the right hon. Gentleman referred to the pensioned class, and he ought not to have done so.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE
said upon this Vote there was a matter which concerned another Minister, and that was with regard to the accuracy of the names in the Ordnance Survey maps. When the late Mr. Thomas Ellis raised the question of the Ordnance Survey in the House some years ago, the matter was referred to a Departmental Committee which sat and considered it in 1892, and last year, in answer to a question, it was stated that the principle upon which the names of the various 80 localities were ascertained was that which was suggested in the Report of that Committee. The Report of the Committee stated that the principle upon which the spelling of the names was arrived at was to submit every name to three competent persons, and nothing could be more perfect than such a system if It obtained in practice, but hon. Members had only to look at the maps dealing with parts of the country with which they were familiar to see that that practice was not observed. There was no necessity to call the attention of the House to the importance of this point from an archaeological point of view, and to the false analogies which were suggested by popular misspellings. In some cases the same name was spelt in three different ways within a radius of half a mile. He would not, however, treat of the difficult cases, but of the simple cases which could not occur if the principle laid down were rigidly adhered to. He would give two cases where the case was beyond dispute, for the reason that the places dealt with were Crown forests which had official names. The names of woods and forests were often taken from people who in the past had taken some prominent part in the direction of the office. There was one case where the name of a Crown [forest was given altogether wrong in the maps at present issued by the Ordnance Survey. The name of that wood was Alice Holt. The name of that wood, which was within a few miles of Aldershot, was always incorrectly given. It was always given as Aldersholt. No doubt the name of Aldershot was derived from Aldersholt, but the wood had no connection with Aldershot, and although the name of Aldersholt always appeared on the maps, Alice Holt did not. In the constituency which he represented, which contained the Forest of Dean, he could mention several official names which were incorrectly spelt. "Danby" appeared as "Denby," spelt i in two different ways. He would not labour the point, but thought it was a question upon which some explanation ought to be given.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER (Belfast, W.)
said the Ordnance Survey maps were now becoming worthy of the country, and owing to their contouring and colouring were worthy to take the highest place in European cartography, 81 but the maps were comparatively little known to the public generally, and the country which had the most need for it was practically unacquainted with the great treasure it possessed. The reason for his intervention in the discussion was that two or three years previously, as representing a large publishing firm, he was asked to give evidence before a Departmental Committee; three other gentlemen similarly circumstanced also gave evidence, and although all four witnesses gave their evidence independently, there was a very marked concurrence of testimony, and similar recommendations were made by all. In reply to a question in the previous year he was informed that many of the recommendations of that Committee had been adopted; how far that might have been so he would not pretend to say, but the principal one had not. At the present time it was almost as difficult for an ordinary person to procure the Crown diamonds as to procure an Ordnance map. The process one had to go through when he required an Ordnance map was not the same as when he required an Ordnance Survey. He might go into every shop in the country and he would not see an Ordnance map. If he wanted a bicycling map or a map to trace the limits of his property, the last map he would be able to obtain would be the Ordnance map. He wished to know if any alteration had been made with regard to one point which he considered was vital, if the maps were to be dealt with commercially. In the days of the Departmental Committee the practice was to supply these maps at a margin of 7⅔ per cent profit to the retailer. That percentage was not sufficient to encourage a man in stocking such an article, who had to make his own profit, provide against bad debts, and have regard to the interest on his outlay. Until the Ordnance maps were dealt with in the same manner as other maps by other publishers were dealt with they would never come before the public. He suggested that further steps should be taken to make these beautiful maps more generally known and more easily accessible to the public.
§ LORD BALCARRES (Lancashire, Chorley)
desired to accentuate the remarks which had been made by the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean, and he hoped that strict instructions would be given and the greatest care taken to prevent the cartographers spelling the names wrong.
§ * MR. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.)
expressed a wish to know whether it was possible to allow the schools of the country to have the Ordnance Survey-maps at a reduced price. In France and other countries such maps were supplied to the schools free of charge, and that undoubtedly ought to be the case here. He, however, did not now suggest that that course should be pursued, but he thought the maps ought to be supplied to the schools direct from the Ordnance Survey Department at something like cost price. It was very desirable that in all schools there should be a knowledge of the geography of their immediate surroundings.
§ * MR. HERBERT LEWIS (Flint Boroughs)
supported the suggestion put forward by the previous speaker, and pointed out that the knowledge of local geography in this country was extremely slight nine out of every ten persons knew absolutely nothing of the geography of the county in which they lived. He also supported the suggestions of the right hon. Member for the Forest of Dean. The difficulties which the right hon. Gentleman had referred to in England were greatly accentuated in Wales, where many of the names were of great length. In the past Ordnance Survey parties in Wales had not been accompanied by any people who had sufficient scholarly knowledge to give the correct spelling of Welsh place; names. He understood that that defect had in later years been largely remedied, and he now asked the right hon. Gentleman if he would be good enough to see that in this respect the Ordnance Survey of Wales was made as perfect as possible.
§ * THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE (Mr. LONG, Liverpool, West Derby)
thought that those responsible for the preparation of the Survey maps might congratulate them selves on the way in which they had performed their task, as from the criticisms which had been passed it was evident that the complaints against the Department were neither very numerous nor very grave. The procedure quoted by the right hon. Gentleman was not only followed for the purpose of ascertaining the correct spelling of the names, but the utmost possible trouble was taken by the Survey party on the spot to ascertain accurately the names of local places of all kinds. He did not think the right hon. 83 Baronet had been quite fair in his criticism, and despite the care exercised, no doubt mistakes had occurred, some of them pardonable and some of them appearing unpardonable; but even in those cases when further investigation was made it had been found that there was every justification for the names so given; but those who were responsible for the Survey were full sensible that some mistakes had occurred, and every precaution was being taken to prevent their recurrence. He believed that our maps were in all respects better than could be found in any other country in the world; and the department was anxious to correct such errors as had been referred to by previous speakers. In the case of Wales, the present system was to submit the names to a recognised Welsh scholar, and by this means they were enabled to approach a more accurate standard than had formerly been the case. Indeed, it might well be said that no effort was spared by the Department to secure complete accuracy in the spelling of all names. With regard to the suggestions of the hon. Member for West Belfast, the reason for the restricted sale of the maps was not to be found, in his opinion, in the amount of discount allowed to the trade. He had tried to ascertain the reason. He had visited booksellers' shops and had asked for local Ordnance maps; and he found that the question was not so much one of profit as of the individual on the spot who produced a local map bringing out certain local characteristics, and which he knew from his local knowledge would be of special use to the people of the locality. To produce these in the local survey was impossible, but, notwithstanding this, he hoped that by slow degrees the maps were becoming more generally known and more generally taken advantage of. In dealing with a matter of this kind a Government Department was not in the same position as the private trader. The Department could not advertise their maps in the same way as the private trader, nor could it compete on the same terms. Cases were known, however, where the local trader had received the credit for work which really belonged to the Ordnance Survey. The Ordnance Survey map had been taken as a basis and slightly altered for local purposes; it had been put in an ornamental cover, and the gentleman who placed his name on the 84 back received all the credit for work which ought to go to the Ordnance Survey. During the recent autumn manœuvres on Salisbury Plain he examined, this question on the spot. He found that although the Department had produced maps which were arranged to suit the requirements of the War Office, yet the local maps which took particular places as their centres were generally more popular. One reason, probably, was because those maps were enclosed in useful covers. In regard to the progress of the sale of maps he said that while they might not be able to otter the maps at the prices at which they were offered by the trade generally, the figures showed a very satisfactory improvement. The gross sale for 1895 "was 22,945, in 1896, 25,320, in 1897, 26,060, and in 1898, 30,330. The net sum realised was.£15,444 in 1895,,£1(5,1)77 in 1896, £19,663 in 1897, £22,877 in 1898. and £23.952 in 1899. The policy of producing Ordnance Survey maps at popular prices had therefore been successful, and he hoped it would be even more successful in the future. The suggestion that local maps should be supplied to our elementary schools at reduced prices seemed a very practical one, and if he could satisfy himself that it was reasonable and desirable so to do, he should be glad to fall in with the suggestion.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
said the local maps were not taken surreptitiously from the Survey Department, but bore on the face of them the statement that they were taken from the Ordnance maps. When a bookseller had to deal with maps on which he got a larger margin of profit than on the Ordnance maps, it stood to reason and was a matter of common-sense that he would take those on which he got the best profit.
said his point was that the local maps were not produced upon an independent survey, and that if the Ordnance Survey were to take proper advantage of their oppor- 85 tunities their maps might take the place of the others. The figures given by the right hon. Gentleman were to his mind utterly unsatisfactory.
§ MR. WEIR moved the reduction of the Vote by £50. He had a very serious complaint to make. In the Highlands of Scotland, as soon as the deer stalkers commenced operations, the Survey men had to beat a retreat in order that the sportsmen might enjoy their sport. He was not surprised that £5,000 was put down for travelling expenses. The travelling expenses must be heavy in connection with such work as this. No wonder the expenses were heavy when the men they sent down to the Highlands had to clear off when the deer stalkers arrived. The right hon. Gentleman had referred to the accuracy of the maps. The Ordnance maps of the Highlands showed roads and footpaths where there were no roads and footpaths. He wished to know whether care was being taken to show the doer forests on the maps of the Highlands. The Secretary for Scotland had said that he had no means of arriving at the extent of the deer forests. A bookseller from the; Highlands had told him that there was no Ordnance map of Easter Ross less than forty years old. He wished careful inquiry made into this matter, so that the northern part of Great Britain might not be neglected.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a. sum, not exceeding £127,559, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Weir.)
MR. GIBSON BOWLKS
said that deer stalking only lasted two months, and that the surveyors could carry on their work all the rest of the year.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said the hon. Gentleman led them to believe that there were only two months of fine weather in Scotland in the year, but even if that wore true it did not in the least affect his argument, which was that if two-twelfths of the year were taken by sportsmen they could not be expected to believe that in the other ten months of the year it was absolutely impossible to conduct a survey of Scotland. The main 86 object the hon. Member had in view was that the new Ordnance Survey should accurately delineate every deer forest in Scotland, but the object of the survey was to show the natural and 'not the adventitious condition of the country. It might be that in consequence of the crusade in which the hon. Gentleman was engaged the deer forests would disappear.
MR. GIBSON BOWLKS
said that, if they were increasing, the Ordnance Survey map of this year would afterwards be inaccurate. No map ever pretended to enshrine and record the purpose for which land was used. A great deal had been said as to the inability of a public Department to compete in the matter of price with private map publishers. He could readily understand it. The Ordnance Surveys cost many millions. The whole of that work was "lifted" by the outside publishers, sometimes with and sometimes without acknowledgment, and according to the hon. Gentleman below the gangway, it was rather a meritorious thing to acknowledge the theft and to say, "This is not my work; I have stolen it from the Ordnance Department, and now I am going to give it to you at a cheaper price than they can sell it for." Did the Department take no steps to protect themselves in the enjoyment of their own copyright of this valuable work? Until they took steps to levy a certain proportion from all those who used their work they must expect to be competed with by other publishers, who took their work, and, having paid nothing for it, could really sell it at a cheaper rate. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would be able to tell them that he intended, if possible, to take some measures whereby the Government would be secured in their copyright, and whereby if anybody used the maps they would not do it without adequate and proper payment to the Department.
§ COMMANDR. BETHELL (Yorkshire,. E.K., Holderness)
said he would not commend his right hon. friend to encourage the Department to alter the system of map-making so as to cater to the popular taste too much; nor did he see any objection to the ordinary map-seller taking the use of the Ordnance Survey maps. What they wanted was accuracy in maps, and 87 that was what the Ordnance Survey gave. He did not think it mattered whether the Government lost a certain amount of money by that or not.
§ * MR. LONG
said the lion. Member opposite was making a mountain out of a mole-hill if he thought the Ordnance Surveyors only shifted their ground when sportsmen arrived. The only rule by which the work could possibly he carried on was that if at any particular time it should be specially inconvenient for their people to be on any ground, they should move, and they invariably did so. To say that they moved because of the stalkers was simply ridiculous. The printed instructions issued to Ordnance Survey officers were that any communication made to them as to the inconvenience of their presence at a particular time should he at once attended to. They always did the work, as far as they could, in accordance with the convenience of the owners. The hon. Gentleman wished them to believe that there were only six weeks in which the work could be done. As a matter of fact the hon. Gentleman knew perfectly well that except when snow was on the ground they could do the work. He complained that there were roads shown where there were no roads. That complaint was as old as the mountains themselves. He had no doubt that as long as the survey lasted roads would be shown where there were none, but, on the whole, they had had abundant testimony that night that these maps were better than any other maps in the world both for character and interest. The hon. Gentleman stated that deer forests during the stalking season wore not interfered with, hut, as a matter of fact, last year his life was made a burden to him by people who complained that deer forests were being interfered with. Then; the hon. Gentleman asked that the boundaries of deer forests should be given. That was contrary to the practice, which was to show only the actual geographical characteristics of the country. It was constantly said that the maps of the Department compared badly with maps locally produced; but he would point out that these local maps were reproduced from the Ordnance Survey maps. He did not believe it would be possible for the Department to compete with such maps for local purposes, but they were 88 endeavouring now to produce a map which would be popular in its character, and which would be a useful and valuable guide for military or other purposes. There were many reasons why the Government Department could not compete with private publishers of maps, though they recognised that more might be done to bring their maps before the notice of the public. That we should double our sales by going into the market as ordinary sellers of maps, and by putting our maps on a level with maps produced locally, is absolutely impossible. It is said there is no recent map of Easter Ross. If that is so, it is because the revision of that district is not complete. If we adopted the suggestion that the limits of deer forests and all similar landmarks should be included in our ordinary maps, it would moan the postponement of the revision of districts which are not already revised for an indefinitely long period. I think our maps show quite as much as they can reasonably be expected to show; I believe they are accurate and good both for military and other purposes, and, on the whole, I do not think the Ordnance Survey has anything to be ashamed of.
§ * THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. A. GRAHAM MURRAY, Buteshire)
said that in his profession he had had a great deal to do with disputes in various parts of the Highlands, and had had occasion to use the Ordnance maps very extensively, in so doing he had been greatly impressed by the extreme accuracy of the maps as regards this matter of roads.
§ MR. BILLSON
I fully agree that these maps are the best that one can possibly get. I have used them for forty or fifty years, and am always delighted with their accuracy. The only thing I complain of is the difficulty of procuring; them. In small villages and country towns you cannot buy the maps, and if you go to the post office you have to fill up a form, pay the postage, and so on, and wait until they arrive from Southampton. Why should there not be in every town a small selection kept on sale at the post office? As to the local maps which have 89 been spoken of, who ever uses a local map when an Ordnance Survey map can be obtained? And why should not terms be made with the bookstalls at the railway stations and the booksellers so that the maps might be procurable? By such means a much larger income would be derived from the sales, and the benefits of this national institution would be more widely distributed.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn
§ 14. £2,243, to complete the sum for Harbours under the Board of Trade.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon Boroughs)
I do not propose to raise any discussion on this Vote, but there are a few questions I desire to put to the President of the Board of Trade. I regret to see that this sum, small as it is, has been rather decreased dining the past year. It is very unfortunate that upon such an important matter the Government will only spend such a very small amount. There has been a good deal of complaint by Members of the House representing divisions of the country on the sea-coast of the insufficient and inadequate accommodation for the fishing boats, more especially on the west coast of England and Wales. The matter was raised a couple of years ago by a Member on the other side of the House, and I believe the President of the Board of Trade gave an undertaking not merely to go into the matter carefully, but to treat applications of this character on the same basis as applications in respect of light railways. The point I desire to put to the right hon. Gentleman is this. I do not complain of the sum put down here in respect of Holyhead Harbour; but I do complain that there is absolutely no Vote at all in respect of the maintenance of any harbour 90 in Cardigan Bay, for instance. That is a very extensive fishery district, and I think the right hon. Gentleman promised a year or two ago that if an application was made from that district he would consider it favourably, and, if possible, recommend a grant. As a matter of fact, I believe that that coast is much more dangerous than the coast in respect of which a grant is made. There are two ways in which the right hon. Gentleman can assist these fishery harbours. One is the method laid down in this particular Vote—that of a contribution towards the expense of maintenance; while the other is the method adopted in the next Vote—that of a grant towards the cost of the erection of a harbour. I wish the right hon. Gentleman could see his way to assist us by either of those two methods in regard to Cardigan Bay. There was an application sent in during the current year from this district. That application was supported by the local councils, who undertook to find about one-third of the expense; while the Cambrian Railway undertook to find a considerable sum towards the cost of erection. All that was asked was that the right hon. Gentleman should recommend that a grant in aid should be made upon similar principles to those laid down in the answer given to the hon. Baronet the Member for Barnstaple. This application was supported not only by the fishermen of the district, but by the fishermen of Lancashire, and the fishermen of the Isle of Man; the Lancashire Fishery Board sent in a memorial; and, not content with that, a great number of the fishermen themselves signed a petition to the Board of Trade in favour of the application. I very much regret that the right hon. Gentleman did not see his way to make some sort of concession. That application was refused without any inquiry at all—upon the purely local ground, I believe, that the place was not the best site for a harbour. All I would ask is that the right hon. Gentleman should have a local inquiry as to whether the local conditions are favourable and the application sound financially, and with regard to other conditions as to which the Board of Trade require information before a definite conclusion is come to. There has been no searching inquiry, perhaps because the local authority did not present its case fully before the Board of Trade, and the Board gave their reply before the local 91 engineer had sent in his plans. All I would ask the right hon. Gentleman now is, if an application of that character is sent in, will he consent to have a local inquiry into the whole of the circumstances before he arrives at any definite conclusion.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. RITCHIE, Croydon)
I am not quite sure whether this discussion is really relevant to this particular Vote, which is purely confined to the harbour, at Holyhead. The only two harbours with which the Board of Trade is connected are those at Holyhead and Ramsgate.
Therefore I do not quite see, how the discussion comes under this Vote. But I am quite willing to reply to the question raised by the hon. Gentleman. I very well remember the general undertaking I gave at the time referred to. I think the hon. Member has correctly given its effect, which was that any applications made under the same conditions as those for grants in connection with light railways would be considered in the hope that we should be able to meet the views expressed by the hon. Gentleman and others. In order to carry out that undertaking I appointed a Departmental Committee composed of certain officials of the Board of Trade, certain gentlemen from the Treasury, and one other official. Several applications were made, all of which were referred to this Committee, with a direction to consider whether the conditions were complied with, that is, to see that there were certain contributions from the locality, and that there was an undertaking on the part of some public authority to maintain the harbour. The hon. Gentleman referred to a particular case, but I do not think he named it.
§ MR. RITCHIE
There was no local inquiry, and the application failed because the financial arrangements did not come within the lines laid down. I was very sorry the financial conditions were not complied with, as I am extremely anxious that where the conditions are anything like complied with the applications should 92 be favourably considered. In this case, if the conditions had not been absolutely complied with but oven approached to, I should certainly have endeavoured to persuade the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if I felt the harbour was one that was really wanted, to stretch a point with a view to meeting the difficulty.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
Would the right hon. Gentleman say what are the financial conditions which he proposes?
§ MR. RITCHIE
I think one of the financial conditions is that, from one source or another outside the Treasury, two-thirds of the money should be provided by loan or contribution from the locality, and then the Treasury will find the other third. That condition was not complied with in regard to this particular harbour. I understood the hon. Gentleman to say there was some informality in the application, and that the decision was arrived at before full particulars had been sent in. If that is so, and the hon. Gentleman will sec that another application is made with fuller particulars, I will take care that the matter is carefully considered.
§ MR. CALDWELL
asked the President of the Board of Trade to explain how it happened that the particular case of the harbour at Holyhead was charged on the Imperial Estimates. There must be something unusual for such a course, as in Scotland and in England the harbours were charged on local rates. Another point was that the harbour dues seemed not to vary, but to stand at £1,300. The rents collected amounted to another £l,300. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would explain whether the trade at Holyhead had not been increasing, so as to create some variation at least of the dues and perhaps of the rent; and also why, if only these small sums were received, the rents and dues were not raised to meet the cost.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
Before the right hon. Gentleman explains this point, I think I am right in saying that this harbour is vested in the Hoard of Trade by two or three Acts of Parliament, and that is how the Board of Trade gets there. But I should like to know why on earth the Board of Trade stops there. What capacity has the Board of Trade for managing a harbour? They are not seafaring persons, nor are their employees. 93 The Board has to hire a harbour-master at an enormous salary, paying £700 for a job which ought to be done for about £200 a year. Apparently the Board does not even know where their harbours are, as the right hon. Gentleman says that his Department manages only two—one at Holyhead and the other at Ramsgate. But the other is at Hull, called Spurn Point. Spurn Point is not at Ramsgate, nor is it a harbour, so there are two mistakes instead of one. What becomes of Ramsgate if the right hon. Gentleman continues to manage it? Has it disappeared? If not, why is it not in the Estimates? But what I really wish to call attention to is this. The right hon. Gentleman has a great deal too much to do. He has so much to do that I once heard an hon. Member rise on these benches and propose that his salary should be increased. That gentleman has since gone out as Viceroy of India. That was his reward. But in heaven's name let not the right hon. Gentleman or his Department undertake things for which they are not fitted. If a harbour has to be managed let it be managed by seafaring persons who are accustomed to the work. There is the Trinity Board—a body admirably suited for the work; or, failing the Trinity Board, there is the Admiralty, who could easily supply officers to manage harbours at a very much cheaper rate than that at present paid by the Board of Trade. This is a very important matter. My conviction is that this harbour is extremely ill-managed. Two thousand and six hundred pounds for keeping up an old wooden pier is outrageous. You might keep up all the wooden piers on the north coast of France for that sum. The extravagances in this Vote are very great indeed. Then for Spurn Point works there is the usual £1,000. The works are always approaching completion, but as fast as you spend £1,000 the sea washes away £2,000 worth. Why go on managing harbours at such a cost for so small a return? I suggest that this work should be handed over to some such body as I have named, so that the right hon. Gentleman should be left free to occupy his mind with those great matters of State for which he is so eminently fitted.
§ MR. RITCHIE
On the question of the Board of Trade managing these har- 94 bours, I think it hardly necessary that I should trouble the Committee. No doubt the hon. Gentleman who says other people might do the work better would be able himself to manage harbours much more admirably than the Board of Trade, but unfortunately the hon. Member is not mentioned in the Act of Parliament as the managing authority, while the Board of Trade is. The reason why the Board of Trade has to undertake the duty is because that duty is east upon it by Act of Parliament. The reason why the management of Holyhead Harbour is cast upon the Board of Trade is, I presume, that it is a harbour of refuge, and that it is not an ordinary harbour such as is contemplated by the hon. Gentleman opposite. The inner harbour is used almost entirely by the mail steamers between England and Ireland, and therefore the dues are practically stationary. As to the rent, that is also, stationary because it is fixed under a long lease granted to the London and North Western Railway Company at a yearly rent of £1,100, and that is why there is no variation.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said he could understand the right hon. Gentleman's explanation about the rent, but he could not see why the dues, which were put down at £1,300, should be a constant quantity.
§ MR. CALDWELL
It, always works out the same, but it ought to be based upon any probable increase or diminution.
§ MR. RITCHIE
The harbours of refuge in Scotland are harbours for a particular class who use thorn in the fishing trade. Holyhead Harbour is a harbour of refuge on a, very dangerous coast for the general trade of the country. With regard to dues, if the hon. Member will refer to the Appropriation Account he will find that the estimate is kept about the same. My hon. friend alluded to the wooden pier, and I think the hon. Member for King's Lynn was justified in calling attention to it. I think the wooden pier ought to disappear, and a stone or iron pier should take its place. The expense of keeping it up is very great, and I am now in negotiation with the North Western Railway Company, the 95 result of which, I hope at no distant date, will be the substitution of a stone pier for the present wooden one.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
I desire to thank the right hon. Gentleman for his reply to the speech of my hon. friend the Member for Carnarvon. I am sure that that reply will be received with satisfaction in the district to which it relates. I only wish the Government would recognise the importance of Holyhead Harbour to the shipping trade of the country by blowing up the Platters Rocks, which now diminish very largely indeed the usefulness of this great harbour of refuge. This question has been before the House upon several occasions, and on more than one occasion those interested in the matter have had reason to believe that this work would have been done before. As compared with the total cost of the harbour, the cost of blowing up the Platters Rocks would be comparatively small. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of an outer and an inner harbour, but at Holyhead there are docks besides the inner and the outer harbour. The inner harbour can only be used by vessels at a time when the wind is favourable, and when the wind blows from certain quarters it is impossible for sailing vessels to come into the inner harbour, and that is just the time when there is the greatest danger, because the protection in the outer harbour is very slight indeed compared with the protection afforded by the inner harbour. I had hoped that this great work of destroying the Platters Rocks and converting Holy-head Harbour into the great harbour which it might be made with a small expenditure would have been carried through by this time. I trust that the right hon. Gentleman will be able to complete this work before he leaves office. I wish to mention another portion of the North Wales coast—I refer to the River Dee—where, I believe, at a very small expenditure, a most useful harbour of refuge could be made. What is required is something more in the way of lights, and if the Government would regard the River Dee as a harbour of refuge they would very much improve the navigation of that river and the usefulness of the estuary of the Dee as a harbour of refuge. I have not given the right hon. Gentleman notice of my intention to raise this question, and I can only express 96 the hope that he will take it into favourable consideration.
§ Resolutions to be reported.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £18,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1901, for constructing a new Harbour of Refuge at Peterhead."
MR. PARKER SMITH (Lanarkshire, Partick)
I should like to ask whether the works at Peterhead exist for the sake of the convicts only. The difficulty of proceeding with the work at the rate which was expected is very great, because the number of convicts has diminished so much in Scotland of late years. If it is really urgent to get the work completed, then there will have to be a much larger supply of convict labour, and as Scotland is not supplying as many convicts as it used to do, it is necessary, and I hope it may be possible, to get some of the Scotchmen who are convicts in England to go down there and help with the work. A suggestion has been made that ordinary prisoners should be sent there, but I do not think that would work at all, for I do not believe that you can mix convicts with ordinary prisoners.
§ MR. CALDWELL
The original cost of this harbour was £972,520, and payments on account have left a balance of £574,514 to finish the work. Perhaps the Secretary to the Treasury will be able to tell us when these works were begun. As regards the rate of progress, it cannot be very great, because the sum of only about £24,000 has been expended during i the last year, and you are only taking | £500 more this year. Therefore, I presume your rate of progress last year is very much the same as what you are estimating for the current year. You are dealing hero with a large harbour, and it must be evident to everyone that to carry on the work at such a rate it is impossible that it can be profitably done. There must necessarily be a washing away by the sea of probably more than you are putting down, and it seems to me that this harbour is evidently looked upon as a place to find the convicts some- 97 thing to do, and it is simply a case of throwing this money into the sea. I think we ought to have some little explanation as to what practical benefit has been derived, or is likely to be derived, from carrying on these works at Peter-head. Owing to the reduction in the number of long sentences passed in Scotland, the supply of convict labour is getting very low indeed. The number of convicts who can be employed on this class of work is very small in proportion, because you cannot employ the women on this particular work. I think the matter should be looked at from a practical point of view, and there is no reason why this work should be undertaken merely to find employment. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be able to give us some particulars with regard to this expenditure, and will be able to devise some scheme whereby convict labour, if it is necessary to utilise it, may be utilised in a more profitable manner. I think we should know what is going to be done in the future with regard to finding reasonable employment for the men who, after their sentences are completed, have to go out into the world. Why should they not follow the same sort of trade which they knew before going into prison, instead of being made more useless. Perhaps the Secretary to the Treasury can tell us the number of convicts employed, the estimate for the future, and the actual amount of work done on the harbour.
§ MR. HANBURY
This is not a Treasury Vote, but in the absence of the representative of the Admiralty I will answer some of the questions, although I am not able to supply all the information which has been asked for. I think the hon. Member opposite is under some misapprehension in regard to this question, because, as a matter of fact, although there are a certain number of convicts employed, yet a large proportion of those employed are free labourers. The proportion is about 350 free labourers to about 200 convicts. I think there is some justification for the statement that the work proceeds somewhat slowly, but I understand that is a deliberate policy due, no doubt, to the desire to employ convict labour as much as possible on the work. I hardly think my hon. friend is right in saying that no sooner is the work done than it is washed away by the sea. 98 Although the work proceeds slowly, still there is a good deal to show for the money which has been expended upon it. As I have stated, there are only about 200 convicts employed upon this work, and I believe the policy has been to employ fewer convicts every year, partly on the ground stated by the hon. Member opposite, that it is not every convict who can do work of this kind. This is not work which is suitable for all convicts, and consequently the number so employed has been considerably reduced, and a much larger proportion of free labour has been engaged, with the result that in recent years the progress of the work has been considerably increased. The hon. Member has asked a question in regard to the work proposed to be done during the present year. The main work this year will be on the south breakwater, and I believe that will be extended by about 100 feet. This will involve a very large amount of labour, and this extension will certainly be in excess of what has been done in previous years.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee)
During the last Administration this particular Vote was more discussed than any other in the Estimates. I remember that upon one occasion, during my temporary absence from the House, when this Vote came on it was proposed to move the adjournment of the Committee because the representative of the Admiralty was not present to explain the Vote, and I am not quite sure whether it was not the right hon. Gentleman himself who proposed to take that course. I should have thought that at least one of the representatives of the Admiralty might have been in his place to explain an Estimate in which they took such a keen interest six years ago. It has been said again and again —and this view has been taken by the hon. Gentleman the Member for King's Lynn—that it is not good economy to spend so little upon work of this kind. There was one thing, however, which we always had upon those occasions, and that was some account of the work done during the preceding year. The right hon. Gentleman has not given us that account to-night. As the right. hon. Gentleman has already stated, this is a Vote for which the Admiralty is responsible. I know the Admiralty hate it, 99 but it is the Department charged with its administration, and they alone possess the information which the House is in the habit of asking for. Under the circumstances, as the Vote is not an important one, and it does not matter whether it is obtained to-night or not, I think it might as well be postponed until the representative of the Admiralty is present.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £226,403, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1901, for rates and contributions in lieu of rates, etc. in respect of Government property, and for rates on houses occupied by representatives of foreign Powers, and for the salaries and expenses of the rating of Government Property Department, and for a contribution towards the expenses of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade."
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
I wish to raise here what is really a very important question, although it does not involve a very large amount of money. The question I wish to raise is that of the second contribution by the Government to the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, which comes under Item G. For many years the Government successfully resisted the applications made and the desires expressed that it should pay rates, or the equivalent of rates, for its occupancy of buildings; and during those years it was very proper that the Government, while they were not making the ordinary contributions made by ordinary ratepayers, should also make a special contribution to the organisation which afforded them protection from fire. It was perfectly right, then, that the Government should make this contribution of £10,000 per annum to the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. But since this amount of £10,000 was settled an entire change has come 100 over the views and policy of the Government, a change which I may say is due largely to the Secretary to the Treasury, who has been one of the very foremost in urging that the Government should pay rates in the same way as other people. But he never contemplated that the Government should pay these rates, and at the same time should also pay the £10,000 which had been voted in substitution for those rates. It is absurd for the Government to pay for the Metropolitan Fire Brigade in the rates, and also continue the old payment, which was made solely, exclusively, and entirely on the ground that the Government did not pay rates and ought, therefore, to pay something. I do not know upon what ground the Secretary to the Treasury or any other member of the Government can defend this payment. The details are furnished on page 3, and it will be seen that this is a special contribution in addition to a contribution of about £2,000 per annum paid under Subhead C in respect of Government property in London. I do not see how that £2,000 has been arrived at, and I should like some information regarding it. It is suggested that out of the very large sum the Government pay in rates or in lieu of rates £2,000 represents the payment towards the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. I should have thought it would have been very much more than that sum, My point is, at any rate, extremely simple. Before the Government began to pay rates it was right that this £10,000 should be paid as a kind of composition for its wickedness in withdrawing itself from the impositions attaching to other holders of property. After the Government paid rates the whole ground on which this sum was paid entirely disappeared. There is a further reason why this payment should not be continued. It is no longer paid, as it used to be paid, to a sort of syndicate of fire offices who kept up a sort of fire brigade at their own expense. The brigade is now the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, and it is attached to the County Council, which has taxing powers of its own, and which can defray the expenses of the maintenance of the brigade. The Fire Brigade is indeed one of the prides of the County Council, and whatever expenses are necessary for it can easily be obtained, and I do not anticipate that the County Council, which now receives this £10,000, would offer any 101 opposition to its withdrawal. It is not necessary to labour the point. The reasons why this sum was paid out of the Imperial Exchequer to the Fire Brigade have disappeared, and I fail to see on what grounds this proposal to pay £10,000 to the Metropolitan Fire Brigade and also to pay rates, or contributions in lieu of rates, can be defended. I hope the Government will stop this payment, and that my right hon. friend the Secretary to the Treasury will give us some information on the subject.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said he desired to call attention to a matter which had been already referred to—namely, the recent contributions in lieu of rates in England and Scotland. There was a very considerable increase in the case of England, but there was no increase whatever in the case of either Scotland or Ireland. The amount was £19,000 for Scotland and £41,000 for Ireland, as compared with between £300,000 and £400,000 in the case of England. He quite admitted that the Government had been going hand in hand with the local authorities, not merely in London but also throughout the provinces, in raising the valuation of Government property and giving increased sums in respect of local rates. That went on year by year in the case of England, but the amount remained practically stationary as far as Scotland was concerned. With regard to museums and art galleries in London, he should like to have a statement showing to what extent the National Gallery, the South Kensington Museum, and other places of that kind, which were practically for the benefit of the citizens of London, were valued. It was all very well to say that these galleries and museums were open to people from the provinces— that was perfectly true to a certain extent; but there was no doubt whatever that, being in London, these institutions were of enormous advantage to the citizens of London. They were open in the evenings not for the benefit of visitors, but for the benefit of the citizens of London. They were also open on Sundays, and the Secretary to the Treasury knew very well that Scotch people would not go to museums on Sundays. He wished to point out that museums and similar institutions ought to be dealt with on a separate basis altogether from the manner in which post offices, telegraph offices, 102 and dockyards were treated. He quite admitted that if the Government carried on work in a dockyard it was only fair that it should be treated as any other factory; but when they were dealing with institutions which undoubtedly were of great advantage to the community they ought to take into consideration such advantages, and certainly they ought not to be taxed at the same rate as post offices and other places where business was carried on. With regard to the colonies, he noticed an item of £7,843 for the drainage of Malta, and other contributions on account of Government property in the colonies. He should like to have some particulars with regard to that sum. In the first place, it was put into an account which was not exactly germane to the matter. He did not think that a contribution for the drainage of Malta had any connection with rates on Government property. There might be other places abroad where drainage might have to be undertaken, and on the same principle the Government might have to give immense sums. They were starting a new principle which might not be sound, and now was the time to call attention to it. With reference to the sum of £10,000 referred to by the hon. Member for King's Lynn, and to which he had also intended to refer, he remembered distinctly that when the question of rates on Government property was first taken up, Sir John Hibbert, who was then Secretary to the Treasury, said that if Government property were to be valued the same as the property of private individuals, the contribution of £10,000 to the Fire Brigade ought to be dropped. That contribution was, perhaps, reasonable at the time it was first given, as a kind of insurance of Government buildings. At that time there was no proper provision against fire, and it was proper that the Government, in the interest of its own property, as well as in the interests of London as a whole, should contribute. But when the Brigade was placed in the hands of the County Council, who had full power to assess, he was sure that the Secretary of the Treasury would see that, as Government property was now fully rated, the Government were paying for the Fire Brigade in the same way as any other property holder, and there was no reason why, under the altered conditions, the Government should continue the contribution. 103 He hoped they would have an assurance that it would be stopped, if not this year, certainly in the future. If the item were to be continued, he should certainly proceed to a division as a protest. With regard to the rates payable in respect of the property of foreign Powers, there was a total sum of £4,600, and the representatives of the foreign Powers refunded £1,950. He should like to know whether these houses were revalued in the same way as Government property, and whether the difference between what was contributed by the representatives of foreign Powers and the sum paid by the Government practically represented the increased value. Why should the Government pay any part of those rates? He could quite conceive the Government, as an indication of fraternity towards foreign States, not charging any local rates at all, but if rates were to be charged on these buildings, why should not the Government pay the full amount, and not ask the representatives of the foreign Powers to pay £1,950, leaving the country to pay £2,650. He had no doubt that foreign countries thought that they paid the full rates, and they would give the Government no credit whatever for paying the sum they did. He thought that they should either pay no rates at all for the property of foreign Powers, or else that they should pay them all and get full credit for them. He also would wish to know what was the total amount of rates paid by the occupiers of apartments in the Royal Palaces, and what was the total amount of the rates charged in respect of such apartments. That was another case in which the Treasury was only getting a portion of the rates. He thought the Treasury should pay all the rates or let them be paid by the occupiers. He hoped the Secretary of the Treasury would give them an assurance with regard to the £10,000 paid to the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.
§ * MR. WEIR
said he desired to move a reduction of £50 in respect of Item A, which provided for the salary of the Treasury Valuer and Inspector of Rates, as he considered that that gentleman failed to fulfil his duties satisfactorily. There was an increase of £29,000 in the contributions in lieu of rates in the case of England, but there was no increase as 104 regards Scotland, and he did not know whether the Inspector of Rates ever went to Scotland to make inquiries on the spot, as to the increased value of Government property. The contribution to Scotland ought to be very considerably increased, as it was altogether insufficient when compared with the amount giyen to England. With regard to the sum for drainage works in Malta, he did not understand how it came to be included in the Vote. With reference to the £10,000 paid to the Metropolitan Fire Brigade he was of opinion that that contribution should cease, and that the ratepayers of London should pay for their own brigade. The London County Council would take all the money they could get. He did not blame them, but he would blame himself if he did not oppose the Vote especially when there was so much difficulty in getting a few hundred pounds for a harbour or any other useful work in Scotland. There was an increase of £200 for the rates of the houses occupied by the representatives of foreign Powers. A large sum of money was annually spent on the embellishment and extension of these premises. In this connection he should like to know how British representatives were treated in other countries. Were they free from rates?
§ It being midnight, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Resolutions to be reported to-morrow; Committee also report Progress; to sit again to-morrow.