HC Deb 02 March 1905 vol 142 cc167-9
MR. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.)

To ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether the Treasury Minute issued in 1866, which stated that the Treasury offered no obstacle to the most free action on the part of Members of the Legislature who, on public grounds, may consider it their duty, whether in Parliament or communications to the Treasury, to call attention to the grievances of individuals, or desire to enter upon questions affecting the conditions of service of public officers is applicable to-day; whether public servants are liable to punishment from their superior officers in the event of their individual grievances being laid before the heads of their Departments by Members of Parliament; and whether he will consider the advisability of reissuing the Minute of 1866.

(Answered by Mr. Victor Cavendish.) The Minute, from which the hon. Member quotes, goes on to observe that "there is much inconvenience in and serious objection to the reception of applications coming from any of His Majesty's Civil Servants on matters affecting their personal interests or position, except through the head of the Department to which they belong;" calls attention to the "very stringent rules which have long prevailed in the Revenue Departments against the solicitation of promotion by influential persons unconnected with the service," and states that "the same objections apply in principle to applications for increases of salary on reclassification of offices, and the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury desire that it may be understood that henceforth, as a general rule, no application in relation to increased pay or allowances (or for promotion where such rests with the Treasury) will be entertained by them unless transmitted through the head of the Department to which the applicant belongs." In a second Minute, dated 2nd May of the following year, the Treasury recurred to the subject, remarking that "my Lords have observed with much regret a growing practice on the part of gentlemen employed in the public service to endeavour to influence this Board to accede to their applications for increase of salary or additional retiring allowance by means of the private solicitations of Members of Parliament and other persons of political influence." The Minute concludes by stating that "any attempt made by him to obtain the sanction of this Board to his application by any such solicitation as is hereinbefore referred to, will be treated by them as an admission on the part of such officer that his case is not good upon its merits, and such application will be dealt with by their Lordships accordingly." Both these Minutes are still in force, but I see no reason for re-issuing them. The answer to the second Question would depend upon the particular circumstances of the case.