§ Mr. HOPE
I beg to move, in page 5, line 42, to leave out from the beginning thereof to the end of the Sub-section.
I have been asked to move this Amendment on behalf of officials of the County Court who are in great doubt and anxiety as to their future position. This Clause appears to take away in the latter part what it gives in the first. In the first part it seems to count service before the commencement of the Bill for pension purposes, but, in the latter part of the Clause, that appears to be entirely nullified, except in so far as the Treasury may in any case direct. Some officials who have had long service in the County Courts fear that in a year or two they may have to retire, and that they will only get pensions based on two or three years' service, although the work they will be doing will be of the same character as that which they have been doing before. I trust it is not the intention of the Government to do that which is causing anxiety to these men.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I cannot accept this Amendment. It is not provided that service prior to this Bill shall count for pension. There is nothing in the Bill which gives any such right. It makes it quite plain that it is not the intention of the Treasury to count towards pension years of service prior to the passing of the Bill. The reason for that is that in no case of civil servants is the service prior to the date at which the pension is given taken into account. No prior pension is ever granted. If that were to be done in the case of the County Court officials, there is no reason why it should not be done in the case of every person who benefits by being made a member of the Civil Service. It would be impossible for the Treasury to accede to that.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
All it does is, if the Treasury see fit to make an exception in any particular case, to empower the Treasury to do so. Here again we come back to the same position. The agreement to which the last speaker referred was with the Registrars. The other agreement is with these other persons. They are satisfied with the 1284 agreement. They are even more passionately anxious that this Bill should pass into law than the Registrars, and if we have to vary the agreement with them the Bill would not pass and they would be the first persons to raise their hands in horror if anything were done to upset the agreement.
§ Sir K. WOOD
Though, as the Attorney-General has said, this arrangement and the other arrangement under Clause 4 have been the result of a bargain between the various associations, and no Member desires to disturb it, yet a very large number of the older officers have communicated with me, and I dare say with the right hon. Gentleman who raised the question, and they feel, having regard to the very small amount provided for them under this arrangement, that something should be done to supplement it. I have received several letters from officers in various courts who have served 30, 40, and in one case 45 years, and they get very little, if anything, under the arrangement that is being made, and the suggestion made on their behalf is that something should be done for them. No one wants to disturb the arrangement that has been made with respect to the great body of the men concerned, but there is a case for something being done in the case of these older servants, and I hope that the Attorney-General will not dismiss that aspect of the matter entirely from his mind.
§ Amendment negatived