HC Deb 09 November 1916 vol 87 cc523-9

"(5) For the purpose of calculating the amount of any pension which may be granted to any head or other constable of the Royal Irish Constabulary or the Dublin Metropolitan Police, from the date of the passing of this Act 'annual pay' shall include five pounds four shillings per annum for each married man or widower with a family."

Colonel CRAIG

I do not propose to move the Amendment which stands in the name of the hon. Member for Mid-Armagh (Sir J. Lonsdale), but I have a manuscript Amendment which will come later. I think what has been said by the right hon. Gentleman is quite appreciated in regard to the effect of Sub-section (4). It does substantially help in fixing the pensions higher than they would have been under the old scheme. I think hon. Members on all sides of the Committee recognise that it is an advantage. But I would ask whether it would be possible to make that Sub section also applicable as regards Section 12 of 4 and 5 William IV., Chapter 24. On the Financial Resolution I asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he would turn up that Section and endeavour to make this Sub-section cover the case of officers as well as the case of men. In this Sub-section (4) he has undoubtedly removed one of the hardships.


As I am advised, the benefit which is given by this Sub-section to the constables is a benefit already enjoyed by officers.

Colonel CRAIG

I think if the right hon. Gentleman would turn up the Statute, as I did before coming here to-day, he would find that the officers have their pensions when they retire calculated not on the rank which they have reached but calculated upon the average pay of the three years preceding the period on which they retire. I think he will find that that is the case. I have just refreshed my memory by going into the Library and turning up this Section. If he would recall to mind the fact that on the occasion of the Financial Resolution I made a special appeal to him to turn up that Act, which relates to the retiring pensions of the officers, and I said that he would find they are in the same position as the men were before he inserted into this Bill Sub-section (4) of Clause 2. My Amendment will be on the Paper for the Report stage, and, if my right hon. Friend is kind enough to go into the matter, and it does not harmonise with his statement, perhaps he will allow it to be dealt with on the Report stage.


I understand that the hon. and gallant Member doe3 not move the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Mid-Armagh?

Colonel CRAIG


Mr. P. MEEHAN rose—


The Amendment has not been moved.


Am I not entitled to move the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Mid-Armagh? I intended putting a similar Amendment on the Paper.


Yes. I thought the hon. Member was trying to pursue the other question.


I beg to move the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Mid-Armagh—new Subsection (Calculation of Pension.)

The effect of the Amendment is that when a constable or a sergeant retires on pension his lodging allowance of 2s. a week will be taken into account when the amount of his pension is being calculated. At present it is not taken into consideration, although in the higher ranks the allowance granted to the officers are taken into consideration when the amount of pension is being calculated, unless the lodging allowance is more than one-sixth of his total salary and emoluments. The effect of the Amendment is to put every officer in the force under the rank of head constable on an equal footing with his superior officers. I think it is a very reasonable Amendment, and I trust the right hon. Gentleman will accept it


I support my hon. Friend's Amendment. It is quite unfair that the county inspectors and district inspectors of the Royal Irish Constabulary should have their pensions calculated not merely on their pay, but on the allowances added to the pay, while the constables, head constables, and sergeants should have the pensions calculated on the pay only. The rule should be the other way. If there is to be any distinction between the officers and the men, it ought to be in favour of the men, and not of the well-paid officers. It has been stated that a first-class district inspector has three allowances in addition to his pay—£40, £45, and £50, making a total of £135—which is added to his pay of £275. The allowances for constables and sergeants are on a very meagre scale. The lodging allowance is only 2s. a week, or £5 4s. a year. The only other allowances are for clothing and boots. I do not know the allowance for clothing. The hon. and gallant Member (Colonel Craig) informs me that £l 6s. is the amount of the allowance for boots. It is contrary to fair play that these men, who are not paid a high salary, when they retire should not have their pensions calculated on their allowance as well as on their pay, as has been the rule for the higher officers. If this is a Treasury matter, I should prefer personally that the Treasury would alter the basis of the officers by excluding the allowances when pensions are being considered, in order that, if the money is not available all round, they may put the men on a fairer basis in calculating the pensions.


I appeal to the Chief-secretary to accept this Amendment. The present position I consider a mean evasion of the responsibility of paying the full pension on the wages which the constable earns. This scheme has been in operation for some years. It was devised largely by police officials, in order to keep down the expenditure of the authorities when increases had to be given to the police in recent years owing to increased prices of food and other things. To the credit of most of the English authorities, they have abolished this arrangement and made the allowances pensionable. I am connected with a police authority in England, and I know that since the War commenced the allowance that was made has become pensionable. I appeal to the Chief Secretary to follow their example in this matter. It is a very small matter, but it is a source of continual irritation, and from the time it was introduced until it was abolished, in the case of the police authority with which I am connected, we had continual requests from the police that the allowances should become a portion of their pensionable pay. This is not a matter on which, as some Gentlemen said a short time ago, we are appealing for anything from British taxes. We are asking that this should be paid out of our own taxes. The taxes of Ireland show a very considerable balance, out of which this reasonable allowance can be paid. Surely the sympathy which the Chief Secretary has shown will not fail him at this moment. I hope that he will not resort to the device of saying that he is anxious to do something but cannot, because he is in a position of great power. Local authorities in England, who have to pay a very large proportion of the police pension to have the privilege of control, have seen fit to do this, and I trust that the right hon. Gentleman, who is custodian for the time being of the Irish public purse in this matter, will not refuse this small amount to the policeman.

Colonel CRAIG

My hon. Friend (Sir J. Lonsdale) did not call my attention to this Amendment before he left the House. He only asked me to move another one, and I did not move this one simply because I had not time to look at the Paper and I did not see it. But I associate myself most heartily with what my hon. Friend has said on this Amendment. All parties are agreed as to this Bill and are, allowing the right hon. Gentleman to get it without very much debate, and I hope that he will concede this small sum for the benefit of those under the rank of head constables. If he does so, the elasticity permitted by the Treasury will not be abused, because, so far, none of the Amendments which have been put down have cost the Treasury a shilling. Later on there is something about the Masonic Order, but there is nothing more that will cast any burden on the Treasury. This matter is one which is beyond discussion, so far as the merits are concerned. In every other force the amount which is given to married men for lodging money, which is here £5 4s. a year, is taken into account in calculating the pension. The other allowances which were referred to, £l 6s. for boots, 3s. for straw, and 6s. for the upkeep of the arms, are not asked for, and this small amount is asked for by all parties, so that perhaps my right hon. Friend will be able to give way and accept this Amendment.


I join in the appeal made to the Chief Secretary in this matter. The amount involved is very small, but it is not altogether a question of money, because the men do feel the distinction which is made between the officers and themselves. They have a sense of grievance which would be removed by this small concession. This is one of the chief reasons why I urge the Amendment upon the right hon. Gentleman. I trust that he will not say, in connection with this Amendment, as he did in connection with the one I moved a short time ago, that this small increase in pension would be an inducement to able-bodied men to retire sooner than they otherwise would do, because the amount is so small that it would have no effect whatever in that direction, and it would be only doing what all parties are agreed would be an act of justice to the men.

Colonel YATE

I support what has been said by my hon. Friends regarding this Amendment. I think that it is a very reasonable one. But as an outsider, in considering the matter, I do not think it would be right, as has been suggested, that the officers should be robbed to pay pensions to the men. Whatever is done, I trust that the officers will be allowed to continue to have their allowances calculated, and will not be curtailed in order to pay extra pensions to the men. I hope that these will be granted on their merits. I have been listening to this Debate with some interest. It seems to me that the officers and men of the force are suffering considerably under existing regulations. For instance, men who are promoted cannot retire with full pension until they have served three years from the date of their promotion. That struck me as being very hard. A man ought to be able to retire on the pension calculated on the pay which he is enjoying when he retires. It is very hard to require such a long interval to elapse before he can retire on full pension. With regard to the matter under discussion, I trust that this concession will be made, but without any detriment to the pensions which are already given to officers.


The hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just spoken is under a misapprehension. There was no suggestion from any of my colleagues to the effect that the pensions of the officers should be reduced. The suggestion which we made was that the men should be placed in the same position as the officers. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will accede to this because we do not desire to go to a Division on this point. But I am afraid that if we receive the same kind of non possumus answer as we have received all along we shall be obliged to take a Division.


I must remind the Committee that these scales have been carefully calculated, and there is not that ground for comparison which has been suggested in the respective conditions of the officers and men with regard to these allowances. The officer in the Royal Irish Constabulary enters on a certain scale of pay and allowances, and a certain proportion of the allowances is pensionable. That is general with regard to all. It is the normal state of the officers as a body. The position with regard to the rank and file is entirely different. A married man may get a lodging allowance, but all this has been taken into account by the committee which has considered the matter with a great deal of care and which took advice in 1914. This Committee took the view that this was a change which could not be recommended. It would put the married policeman in a different position with regard to pensions from the single policeman.

Colonel CRAIG

In abetter position.


It may be that the sympathy of the Committee for the married state is such as to recommend this course to its acceptance. Those who have considered these matters from that standpoint have impressed their views upon me, and although it may seem ungracious to refuse an Amendment presented and supported by the persuasiveness of every variety of representative of Ireland, I must give the same answer—that I cannot consent to the Amendment.


The right hon. Gentleman has given no reason or argument in answer to those which have been put forward in support of the Amendment. Although the amount of money is very small, the principle

Division No. 64.] AYES. [7.50 p.m.
Anderson, W. C. Hackett, John O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. C. W. Hazleton, Richard O'Donnell, Thomas
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North) Hudson, Walter O'Dowd, John
Brady, Patrick Joseph Jowett, Frederick William O'Grady, James
Byrne, Alfred Joyce, Michael O'Mallsy, William
Clancy, John Joseph Keating, Matthew O'Shee, James John
Condon, Thomas Joseph Kelly, Edward Reddy, Michael
Cosgrave, James Kennedy, Vincent Paul Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)
Crumley, Patrick Lardner, James C. R. Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy) Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West) Sheeny, David
Devlin, Joseph Lynch, Arthur Alfred Sherwell, Arthur James
Dillon, John McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's) Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Donelan, Captain A. MacVeagh, Jeremiah Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)
Donovan, John Thomas Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Thomas, J. H.
Dougherty, Rt. Hon. Sir J. B. Molloy, Michael White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Duffy, William J. Morrell, Philip Whitty, Patrick Joseph
Farrell, James Patrick Muldoon, John Wright, Henry Fitzherbert
Field, William Newman, John R. P. Yate, Colonel Charles Edward
Fitzgibbon, John Nolan, Joseph
Flavin, Michael Joseph Nugent, J. D. (College Green) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Patrick Meehan and Colonel Craig.
Goldstone, Frank O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Baird, John Lawrence France, Gerald Ashburner Radford, Sir George Heynes
Barlow, Montague (Salford, South) Grettan, John Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Barnett, Captain R. W. Harris, Percy A. (Leicester, S.) Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.) Henry, Sir Charles Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Beale, Sir William Phipson Hewart, Gordon Robertson, Rt. Hon. John M.
Bird, Alfred Hewins, William Albert Samuel Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
Bliss, Joseph Holmes, Daniel Turner Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)
Bridgeman, William Clive Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Salter, Arthur Clavell
Bull, Sir William James Howard, Hon, Geoffrey Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Cave, Rt. Hon. Sir George King, Joseph Shortt, Edward
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Alisebrook
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury) Swann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.
Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W. M'Callum, Sir John M. Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Chancellor, Henry George) Mallalieu, Frederick William Toulmin, sir George
Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon) Marks, Sir George Croydon Weston, J. W.
Cory, Sir Clifford John Marshall, Arthur Harold Whiteley, Herbert James
Cowan, W. H. Meysey-Thompson, Colonel C. E. Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.)
Craik, Sir Henry Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)
Currie, George W. Neville, Reginald J. N. Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Denniss, E. R. B. Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)
Duke, Rt. Hon. Henry Edward Pearce, Sir Robert (Staffs, Leek) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes Peto, Basil Edward Mr. Gulland and Lord Edmund Talbot.
Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue Pretyman, Ernest George
Fletcher, John Samuel Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)

CLAUSE 3 (Short Title and Commencement) ordered to stand part of the Bill.