HC Deb 12 November 1908 vol 196 cc519-20
DR. HAZEL (West Bromwich)

To ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that, at the last County Quarter Sessions at Worcester, owing to the refusal of local shorthand writers to undertake the work of official note-taking at the fee allowed by the Treasury, the work of the Court had to be suspended until a shorthand writer from the county council offices was brought in, and that even then only one Court instead of two could be held; whether he is aware also that at Worcester City Sessions, three weeks earlier, there was a similar deadlock until, as the result of an appeal by the Recorder to the reporter of a Birmingham newspaper on public grounds to act and to his editor to allow him to act, this reporter consented to act and the business then proceeded in one Court instead of two; and whether, in view of these difficulties, and of the difficulties occurring at other Courts since The Criminal Appeal Act, 1907, came into force, and of the general dissatisfaction with the Treasury allowance expressed by shorthand writers, steps will be taken to raise the fee to an amount more commensurate with the exacting and responsible nature of the duties.

(Answered by Mr. Hobhouse.) The two cases mentioned have been brought to my notice, but I am not aware that such difficulties have been in any way general. The remuneration offered is in practical accordance with the rate usually paid by the Government in legal and other cases, and I am not a prepared to raise it.