HC Deb 22 February 1900 vol 79 cc864-6

4. £4,150, Supplementary, Colonial Office.

5. £300, Supplementary, Privy Council Office.


It does seem to me, on the face of it, that this Vote should not be made the subject of a Supplementary Estimate. The Committee will see, on reference to page 7, that the explanation given of this £300 is that it is an "additional sum required to pay the salary of the Registrar of the Privy Council appointed at the maximum of the, scale (£1,500), provision having been made in the original Estimate for only the minimum salary (£1,200). Why was not proper provision made for the whole of this sum? Surely it most have been known when the Estimate was made up that this official would be granted the maximum salary, and therefore. I think this ought to be an original Estimate. One part of the Privy Council is concerned with education, although I belive it never meets; another part of it is engaged in defence, and a third part is engaged in judicial work, the latter being the sole representative of the Star Chamber, and it is to that part we are now asked to vote this £300. I presume this official was appointed at the minimum salary, and now in the course of one year we are called upon to give him the maximum salary. First of all this is not a proper item for a Supplementary Estimate: and secondly, it will require a very considerable amount of explanation to make this Committee agree to give a new appointee the maximum salary which is ordinarily only reached after a certain number of years. In this case, I look upon it with even more suspicion, because the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is concerned. I believe there is very considerable laxity as to the appointment of officials in that Department and also as regards salaries. There is a very special reason why, it seems to me, this Judicial Committee of the Privy Council requires special attention; and why its Registrar should get a maximum salary when only entitled to a minimum salary ought certainly to be inquired into.


The facts of the case are these. When the Estimates were framed at the beginning of the year, a gentleman was holding this situation who had only recently been appointed. He was, therefore, receiving the minimum salary of £1,200 a year and he could not have risen to £1,500 until he had served five years. Well, that gentleman received an appointment under the Viceroy of India, and, of course, a successor had to be provided. We were very anxious to reduce the number of Charity Commissioner's. There were three Charity Commissioners and one Endowed School Commissioner. That being so, we thought that the occurrence of this vacancy offered an opportunity of reducing the number of Commissioners. The gentleman who had been appointed to this post had then, as a Charity Commissioner, a salary of £1,200 a year which would probably shortly have risen to £1,500 We were therefore bound to offer him some inducement to take this post where £1.500 a year was the maximum, the maximum salary of the Charity Commissioners being larger. The result was a clear saving of the salary of a Commissioner. The Endowed Schools Commissioner, a post which we wished to abolish, was made a Charity Commissioner, at exactly the same salary as he received as an Endowed Schools Commissioner, and the whole effect has been a saving of £900 a year at once, and £1,200 later on.


This arrangement may be a very good one for the service all round, but it is a very bad one for this particular post.


In order to prevent a possible misinterpretation of this being thought to be an increase of salary for a particular office, possibly the Secretary to the Treasury will make an entry on the Estimates that the salary is personal to the present holder, and that no change is made on the minimum and maximum salary in the event of a new appointment.


The Estimates for the coming year are in print, but the suggestion of the hon. Gentleman is quite reasonable.

6. £20,000, Supplementary, Stationery, and Printing.

7. £5, Supplementary, Valuation, and Boundary Survey, Ireland.

Resolutions to be reported.

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