§ MR. J. MACVEAGH (Down, S.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he can state the average salary of the officials of the Congested Districts Board engaged at the head office including both the permanent and temporary officials; whether officers engaged in such mechanical duties as copying and typewriting are in receipt of salaries of £150 and £180 per annum respectively; whether, as the work of superintendence is presumably entrusted to the permanent staff, and as the temporary clerks are alleged to be employed only for the simplest and least responsible work, there is any valid reason why the salary of any temporary official should exceed £100 a year, especially in view of the fact that these salaries are being paid out of the Board's own funds and that the money is consequently being diverted from the purpose for which it was originally intended; and how many of the temporary clerks are now being paid £100 a year or over.
THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. BIRRELT,) Bristol, N.
The average salary of the officials engaged at the head office, omitting the secretary and assistant secretary, is £139 including the legal staff, or £130 excluding it. No officer engaged in copying or typewriting is in receipt of a salary of £150 or upwards. The more important duties of the office are performed by the permanent staff, but for the reasons which I explained to the hon. Member on 5th March, a considerable number of the temporary staff also have responsible work to do. The Congested Districts Board Act of 1899 provided for an annual increase of £25,000 to the Board's income for the express purpose, amongst other things, of paying salaries and administrative expenses. It is therefore incorrect to say that the money used in paying these salaries is diverted from the purpose for which it was intended. Twenty-five of the temporary clerks, other than those employed in the legal 247 branch, are in receipt of £100 a year or over.
§ MR. J. MACVEAGH
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he can state how much of the expenditure of the Congested Districts Board goes in salaries and personal expenses; how many temporary clerks and how many permanent clerks are employed, and what is the average length of service of the present temporary clerks; whether any of them are engaged on responsible or technical duties; and whether the anomaly of keeping on the temporary list clerks who are to all intents and purposes permanent is due in any way to Treasury representation.
§ MR. BIRRELL
The total annual cost of the head office for salaries and personal expenses, including those of the secretary and assistant secretary and the solicitor and his staff, is £14,260. The number of permanent clerks is thirteen, and the number of temporary clerks, including the legal staff, is seventy-one. Of the temporary clerks fifteen have less than two years service; thirty-two have from two to five years service; seventeen from five to ten years; and seven over ten years. The majority of these clerks are engaged on responsible or technical duties. The normal permanent staff of the Board was fixed in 1894, with the consent of the Treasury as prescribed by the Acts constituting the Congested Districts Board. It is to be remembered that the Congested Districts Board is not a permanent Government Department in the ordinary acceptation of the term. The Board was established in 1891 for a period of twenty years certain, which will expire in the course of a few years. In such a case there are obvious objections to the creation of a large permanent staff, involving a heavy charge upon the State for pensions.
§ MR. BIRRELL
The Treasury very much object to a permanent staff, and desire, if possible, to keep it temporary.