HC Deb 06 April 1905 vol 144 cc659-60

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he is I aware of the fact that under existing legislation a soldier or sailor on joining the Civil Service is not allowed to count his military or naval service, as the case may be, towards the pension, if any, he receives at the close of his period of engagement in the Civil Service; and whether, having regard to the desirableness of providing suitable employment for time-expired soldiers and sailors, he will consider the question as to whether such men on the close of their Civil Service appointments should not have counted to their credit for pension their service with the Army or Navy.

SIR J. FERGUSSON (Manchester, N.E.)

Before the right hon. Gentleman answers, will he say if he is aware that candidates on the roll of the Royal Irish Constabulary are permitted to join the Irish Guards on a three years enlistment?


I have had no time to get at the facts, and could not therefore answer that now. As to the Question on the Paper, I would remind the hon. Gentleman and the House that the subject of pensions is regulated by statute, which cannot be changed either at the will of the Treasury or at my will. The House of Commons itself would have to initiate legislation on the subject, and without legislation nothing can be done. Whether the soldiers would desire to see the system the right hon. Gentleman recommends carried out I do not know. Of course, they would be prevented from receiving their pensions as soldiers while they were serving, say, as postmen. But, in any case, whether they wish it or not, the change cannot be carried out without legislation.