§ Mr. AMMON
I turn from the fascinating subject we have been discussing to the consideration of the ease of the ex-service men. Earlier in the Session, in response to questions put to the Prime Minister by myself, he agreed that time should be found to consider the agreement which had been arrived at between the Government and certain representatives of the ex-service men now temporarily employed in the Civil Service. In that connection one has a right to make a slight complaint, because we had almost to force the opportunity to obtain this discussion, and it comes at a time when to a great extent it will be prejudiced by the fact that the official Whips will be put on when we are dealing with a matter which after all should call for the impartial consideration of the House, and should be dealt with by Members of Parliament in their independent position.
Perhaps it will not be out of place if I make reference to an incident which took place during the lifetime of the last Government. It will be remembered that there was an attack made upon the Leader of the Opposition in regard to the question known as the ex-ranker officers. and my right hon. Friend was charged with having given a certain promise to these people, and on coming into office and examining the position, finding that the statements submitted to him were not quite borne out by the facts, he intimated that the matter would have to be inquired into. He was then fiercely assailed by the then Opposition which is now the Government, and in the course of that Debate the present Prime Minister took occasion to give a little homily to the House. I will quote what the Prime Minister said. Here are his words:But the Prime Minister, I think, touched a very serious and difficult point when he spoke about the questionnaire. Apparently some hon. Members sign these questionnaires without inquiry. My right hon. Friend who sits beside me sometimes signs a questionnaire having made an 1630 inquiry. Surely, however, the best course is the course I invariably pursue—I never answer I The most timorous may take heart for I have done that time after time."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th March. 1924; col. 2666, Vol. 170.]That was sound advice, and it so impressed the House that hon. Members on all sides made up their minds that that would be the policy they would pursue at the last General Election, and they refused to commit themselves to any such things when questions were put to them. Imagine their consternation when they find that when he gave such sound advice to this House the Simon Pure in these matters has himself fallen from grace, and he is in the position now of the physician who says, "Do not do as I do but do as I tell you." The Prime Minister is now doing that which he warned my right hon. Friend not to do, and he has given a pledge more disastrous than anything the Leader of the Opposition gave concerning the ex-ranker officer. In the pledge the right hon. Gentleman gave he abrogated the promise already given by the Government, and committed this House to things so far-reaching that in spite of the pressure that will be put upon them, it will be found that it has opened up an era of corruption unknown in the Civil Service for the last fifty years. The Prime Minister in answering, the question against which he warned us said:I am glad to be able to give you the following assurances on the question of ex-service men employed in the Civil Service, to which effect will be given in the event of the party being returned to power.That is a very definite pledge which I submit no party leader has any right to 1631 give. It is a pledge which interferes so seriously with the Civil Service that it amounts to an absolute abuse of power Over and above that, I say that in the agreement and the action taken by the present Government even the promises made have not been carried out. We were promised that before anything was done there would be a full discussion in this House on the Southborough Report, and there has been no such discussion, and if the agreement goes forward that promise will not be given effect to. This action very seriously affects the permanent Civil Service because it lowers the whole status and introduces a principle that has never been introduced before. Although I have brought forward the questionnaire of the Prime Minister—as I have a right to do—having regard to his attitude towards the Leader of tie Opposition during the last Parliament, I do not believe he gave that pledge being fully aware of all the facts. I believe that he was deceived both as to the representative authority of the people with whom he made the bargain and the whole of what was likely to flow from any such agreement. My connection with the Civil Service has been a very long one, but I do not remember anything that has so spread the spirit of revolt as this particular action from the highest position to the lowest in the Civil Service. If this is allowed to stand, it will set such a precedent with regard to tampering with and corrupting the Civil Service that it is likely to lead to disaster, and it will bring down the Civil Service from that proud eminence and prestige to which it has attained in the past to a very low level indeed.
- (1) The forthcoming examination for ex- service men temporarily employed in the Civil Service would be suspended until such time as the party should have examined the Reports of the Southborough Committee, and afforded the House an opportunity of discussing any action proposed to be taken upon them.
- (2) The party is, generally speaking, in favour of the absorption of competent ex-service temporaries in appropriate positions in the permanent service in preference to the admission of entrants from outside but without prejudice to the rights of permanent civil servants who served in the War.
- (3) The party would afford your association an opportunity of expressing the views of the men concerned at any party conference which may hereafter consider the matter."
There is an organ published, not by one of the trade unions or any of the lower grades of the Civil Service. It has nothing to do with politics, and it is published by the administrative and executive officers of the Civil Service. This organ is called "Civil Service Opinion," and in the issue for February last they comment very strongly on the agreement which has recently been concluded, and which was referred to in the letter from the Prime Minister. At the risk of wearying the House, I will quote a somewhat lengthy extract from the leading article that was published in "Civil 1632 Service Opinion" in February last. It says:A 'settlement' which ignores the two parties concerned on the staff side by conveniently elevating a small but very noisy section to the dignity of a high contracting party is no settlement at all; it is an attempted imposition. The thing is an outrage, and would for many a long day to come destroy the confidence of the staff in the honour of their administrative chiefs at the Treasury, if it were certain that those chiefs were responsible for the tactics to which resort was necessary in order to cover so complete a change of policy. But it is not by any means certain that the blame rests with the permanent administration; considerable significance is, we think, to be attached to the reports stressing the part played in the affair by Colonel Guinness, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. Everyone knows what happened in this connection during last year's General Election, and the memorandum probably represents a promise to pay the agreed price. And what a paltry price from the point of view of the intended beneficiaries! Unestablished permanency on 'temporary' rates of pay! and the satisfaction, if any, of knowing that they have been used, not without disadvantage to themselves, to strike a treacherous blow at the permanent service! The Southborough Report, it will be remembered, proposed the eventual establishment on the Clerical Class of all temporaries qualifying at a simple examination, the remainder to be employed in a temporary capacity so long as work remained. The Government scheme includes the first provision, but substitutes for the second a proposal that from the remainder shall be selected for permanent non-pensionable employment either 8,000 or as many as will, with those qualifying at the examination snake up a total of 12,900, whichever is the greater. This, of course, would mean permanency, on one basis or the other, for the whole of the present total of 21,500 temporaries, if 13,500 or more of them were to qualify; but that would be so much the worse for those of the 13,500 who had to await their appointments—it might be for years, it might be for ever—because 8,000 admittedly permanent clerical posts were 'blocked' against them by low-paid unestablished people.I again repeat that the importance and value of this is that it is not an organ published in the interests of the manipulative grades or of the lower grades, but is an organ published in the interests of the administrative and executive officers of the Civil Service as a whole. From the highest administrative chiefs right down to the humblest members of the Civil Service, there is wholesale condemnation of this scheme which has been put through. It is not that these higher officials are threatened in any way; it is because they are concerned for the 1633 integrity, the status and the high standard which our Civil Service has always attained, and which is now threatened. What does this scheme do in effect? I want, first of all, to call attention to the unrepresentative character of the association with which the agreement was made. It does a grave injustice to the established civil servants and -ex-service men, and it violates agreements and lowers the standard of the Civil Service. If it were done with a full knowledge of the facts, it is one of the biggest pieces of political corruption that has been known for many years. I should point out, in connection with the unrepresentative character of the association, that for the figures which they have given to the right hon. Gentleman, and upon which, as I see from his letter which I have here, he seems to rest, there is, in fact, no basis. At the very most, their members amount to 7,200, and this association has a very unsavoury reputation as regards the manner in which it has deceived both the Civil Service and other people. At one time it was affiliated to the Civil Service Confederation, with an alleged membership of 20,000. Its actual membership at that moment was only 9,750; and it has adopted precisely that line all along. If the right hon. Gentleman wants to know my authority for my figures I will give it, and I want to remind him that he cannot accept these figures in one connection and disregard them in another. My authority is the Report of the Registrar-General of Friendly Societies, and these figures must be accepted as official figures. They would be demanded and accepted in connection with any other trade union, and, as I have said, they do not support in any manner whatever the statement made by this association. The agreement, therefore, was reached with an association representing little more than 7,000 ex-service men, as against over 100,000 ex-service men in the other organisations.
§ Mr. AMMON
My figures are for the present year, but I can give them in detail. They are the official registered figures. According to the returns of the Registrar of Friendly Societies, the mem- 1634 bership of the Association of Ex-service Men was as follows:
For the present year, as estimated by their own balance-sheet, it is just over 7,000.
1920 … … … … 6,413 1921 … … … … 12,527 1922 … … … … 11,718 1923 … … … … 9,771
§ Mr. AMMON
As I have already indicated, the official figures given by that organisation can never be accepted. We can only accept the figures of the Registrar-General, and we have no right to accept any figure that anyone else likes to suggest other than those which are on record and those which are shown in their own balance-sheet. I should also point out, with regard to their unrepresentative character, that there has grown up in the Civil Service the practice of Whitleyism, and a method of representing grievances in a way that has worked quite harmoniously and has been of advantage to the Civil Service of the country and to this House. I may remind some hon. Members who have been hero long enough to recollect it, that before the War whole days used to be taken up in the House discussing the petty grievances of Post Office servants and other civil servants, and very little other work was done on the Estimates than that. It used to be my duty then, in another capacity, to prime Members for that sort of work, and one used to see, in those days, Members of Parliament rising from all over the House to pro test against the waste of Parliamentary time in that way, and asking that some other method might be found. As a result of the growth of the associations, and the establishment of Whitleyism, that has been entirely removed from the Floor of the House. If this sort of thing is to go on, we shall again be flooded out by discussion of that kind, the proper work of Parliament will be lost, and we shall again have a rising volume of discontent in the Service, which is bound to reflect itself in the efficiency of the Service itself.
These associations, which have always been consulted, and which the Treasury have in the past always insisted should 1635 come in to discuss these matters, have been entirely ignored in this matter. The Whitley Council was not even consulted, nor was any consideration given to it whatever. That, surely, does indicate the unrepresentative character to which I have referred; but I want hon. Members to look at this matter from another point of view. There seems to be some idea that, when you are talking of these temporary ex-service men, you are talking of them as against men who are not ex-service men. But almost the whole of the Civil Service are ex-service men. Among the first to go were the civil servants, and 80,000 went from the Post Office alone at the first call. I want to remind the Committee that these people, unlike many others, did not wait for compulsion to come, but went at once, and what happened was that it was not the civil servants who were not ex-service men, but other people, who flowed into the service afterwards, and carried on the work there while the civil servants proper were away. When action like this is taken, it is to be remembered that it is aiming a blow at the 100 odd thousand men who went out. Over 100,000 men went out from the Civil Service, and now, through the action of 7,000 people, you are going to damnify the whole position and lower the tone of the Civil Service. I hope that some consideration will be given to that in this connection.
I should like to call attention to one particular case. I have here an extract from a letter written to this particular association by a civil servant, who is a member of the manipulative grades. He says:We put the position to themthat is to say, the ex-service men—in this manner: 'Your agitation for all the clerical posts in the Civil Service is cutting right across men of the minor grades, who, also ex-service men, look to these jobs as promotion, carrying, as they do, better pay and conditions. Many of us have given lengthy service to the Government, and, surely, therefore have some title to consideration.'The "Civilian," writing on the 16th February of last year, said:The more recent methods of making appointments to the clerical classes have severely penalised the established civil servant of subordinate grades. He has had the mortification of seeing superior posts given to others, whose general educational 1636 and clerical qualifications—and, in many cases, war service—were far less than his own, by means of an examination for which he was not allowed to sit.The other thing is that, as will be remembered, it violates the existing agreements that have been made with the general organisations with regard to the position of their members, the safeguarding of the right of promotion for the ex-manipulative grades, and as regards examinations and so on. All these people have been people who have done their bit with the Colours, and are temporary ex-service men themselves. I will quote now an extract from the evidence given before the Southborough Committee by one of the highest administrative chiefs in one of the Civil Service Departments, bearing upon this particular question of the lowering of opportunities for the manipulative grades, and also the lowering of the educational qualifications of the Civil Service itself. He said:Unfortunately, however, it had been necessary, owing to the employment of temporary ex-service men against London vacancies, to offer many of the successful ex-manipulative appointments in the Provinces … He agreed that their [the ex-manipulatives] claims were as strong, if not stronger, than those of the temporary staffs, and he pointed out that, of qualified candidates at the recent competition, 90 per cent. were ex-service men. Successful candidates entered the scale laid down for the clerical staff at the rate of pay of which they were in receipt prior to appointment … It was unsafe to draw any particular deduction from this result, except, possibly, that the older men had given more time to studying in the past … If the demand of the ex-service men that all clerical vacancies should be reserved for them were acceded to, the efficiency of the service would be affected. The efficiency of the ex-manipulatives was higher than that of the ex-service men appointed as a result of the recent competition.Another distinguished civil servant, also the chief administrative official of a Government Department, said:It was very important that some return to the system of open competition should be made at the earliest opportunity. The Royal Commission laid down that, where clerical work was admittedly of a permanent character, it should be performed by established civil servants.That is evidence from unimpeachable sources among the men whose duty it is to carry on the Government of this country, and who are themselves considerably alarmed at the lowering of the status and quality of the Civil Service 1637 that has come about during recent years; and they are more alarmed at the possibility of an even further lowering as the result of this scheme. Surely, the House of Commons will be right in giving some heed to the utterances of people holding such positions, for, when they take that line, we may be certain that the position is really a very serious one indeed. Then I want also to call attention to the fact that the lowering of the educational standard is very serious, and in this regard I want to give yet another quotation. I would remind the Committee that I am quoting no fewer than three administrative chiefs. I am not mentioning their Departments, for obvious reasons, but I can supply the names to the right hen. Gentleman if he wants them. All of these three administrative chiefs, as the result of their own experience, condemn this position. This is what another of them says, speaking of the quality as revealed by a recent limited examination laid down in the Southborough Report:While in some instances the answers had been extremely good, in many they had been very bad, and the general standard of performance was distinctly low. In many cases the answers to questions had not comprised more than six or seven lines, and it was felt that men who were unable to do better than this could not be regarded as fit for appointment to a grade carrying a salary rising to a basic rate of £250 per annum plus bonus. Ample notice had been given by the Department of the examination, and the system of marking had been on a generous basis. Out of the 1,650 candidates, 1,000 had failed to obtain 47 marks out of 120, and 330 only had obtained more than 50 per cent. The suggestion that security of tenure on an unestablished basis should be accorded in lieu of establishment was extremely objectionable. While at the moment ex-service men might contend that their claims could be met in such a manner, there was no doubt that in a few years they would become thoroughly dissatisfied and would demand establishment. It would then be difficult to resist their demand.I want also to call attention to what is going to be the position with regard to those who are already in the Service. It is perhaps well to remember the history of this case. It was foreseen that after the War they would have to deal with a large number of ex-service men who were on the temporary staff and that means would have to be taken for the possibility of the admission of suitable members to the establishment and the question of the order in which the staff 1638 became redundant would have to be considered. To meet that problem a Committee was set up under the Chairmanship of Sir Malcolm Ramsay, and he reported, inter alia, that certain prescribed opportunities should be provided for temporary staffs to secure permanency and that the order of dispersal of temporary staffs should be made along lines which would give priority of retention to efficient ex-service men. That policy did not meet the whole case. Later there came other movements and agitations which resulted in the setting up of a Committee under Lord Lytton, which recommended, among other things, the introduction into the temporary service of large numbers of ex-service men to provide vacancies for whom women and non-service personnel were displaced, the provision of means for entry into the established classes for ex-service men and the fixation for successful candidates of points of assimilation in she permanent scales of rates of pay. That was the claim put forward. That again did not solve the question of the temporary civil servants. Then we had the Southborough Committee. They reported that other interests were involved and other associations existed which were representative in a greater degree than the Association of Ex-Civil Servants and that the general question of the establishment of temporary staffs was about to be made the subject of negotiation by the general organisations.
I now ask the House to consider the position we are brought up against at present. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury wrote a letter in connection with this case in which he tried to define the position. The first point he made was that this Association was fully representative. If he stands by that point I think, now the figures have been put to him, he will find he is on very unstable ground, that they represent quite a minority, that they cannot speak for the Service as a whole, that there is a large number of ex-service men who will be adversely affected, and they are up against this agreement all the way through. "The agreement is in no wise prejudicial to the interests of established civil servants." I cannot do better than I have done in quoting the opinion of the administrative chiefs of the different Departments of the Civil Service and the opinion of a large body of men in the Service itself. He also 1639 said in his letter that it would give employment to a large number of temporary employés equally as much as the Southborough Committee. It will do nothing of the sort. As a matter of fact it will employ a less number of men under this scheme than that laid down under the Southborough Committtee itself, and what is more, by setting up this large army, to use a Civil Service phrase, of temporary hands permanently employed it will close up avenues on the establishment which will block the further advance of the manipulative grades, who have a right to look forward to this as a legitimate avenue of promotion as the standard of education has been proved to be so low by these people as compared with those already in the Service that the Service is suffering considerably at present.
One other point I want to make from the political point of view. I have made the statement, and it cannot be contradicted, that this agreement which has been entered into, if carried out, has opened up a precedent for dealing with the Civil Service which is going to be extremely dangerous in the days to come. It is one of the most corrupt agreements that has ever been made. It has been made without consultation with all the classes referred to. It has dealt with a policy which should have come before the House as a whole. The whole Civil Service has simply been made a pawn in the political game, and some people have had a price given them for certain services rendered during the General Election. As one who has had a lifetime of association with the Civil Service I want to say that is to be very much deplored, and if a precedent of that character is going to be established, there is no saying how far-reaching it is going to be and what will be the effect in days to come. Although it might be quite right to say one should not follow a bad example, yet one always knows, human nature being what it is, that if there is an advantage to be gained and you can point out that your opponents have done it, other parties may not be very slow to follow it up when an opportunity presents itself. With this, and with the fact that the whole of the Civil Service—not a section, not a few people, but right from the highest officials down to the humblest—are united in condemning this in the interests of the Service itself, and 1640 that by this policy you are going to give a few people who, I admit, rendered efficient service to the party opposite during the Election, an advantage at the expense of all the other ex-service men in the Civil Service, it is going to raise problems for this House and for the country which will not be settled if and when this House decides to confirm the agreement entered into under circumstances that do no credit either to the contracting parties or to the Government itself.
§ Captain FRASER
The hon. Gentle man has severely indicted the, Prime Minister for having given a pledge which he claims is almost unconstitutional and is out of order. I suggest that the Leader of a party is entitled to give whatever pledges he pleases, provided he feels fairly confident that his party will follow him when a difficulty arises and the time comes. Towards the close of his remarks the hon. Gentleman mentioned one of the main criticisms which have been levelled against this agreement. He said it was not in fact so advantageous to the ex-service civil servants as some other agreement might have been. May I, therefore, examine what were the conditions under the Southborough Report and what are the conditions under this agreement I Paragraph 14 of the Southborough Report provided that some 5,000 ex-service civil servants might have another opportunity of obtaining established positions provided they passed an examination. This new agreement provides that all who pass an examination will qualify for established posts, and, further, that not less than 8,000 shall come on to this special class where they will get permanent employment but not pensions, and further still that certain special cases amongst those 8,000 permanent but non-pensioned men may progress on to the establishment, where they will get permanencies and pensions on the recommendation of their Departmental head and without examination. The principle that a competent employé who has served you well for a number of years should be employed on that account without subjecting him to examination at an age when examinations are not usual and are rather stupid was thus admitted, and I am glad it was.
The second criticism which the hon. Gentleman brought forward, and which 1641 one has heard and read before in many documents some of us have had, was that this Association of Ex-Service Civil Servants is not representative of the people concerned in this trouble. It is alleged that there are 100,000 ex-service men outside the association who do not agree with the stand that has been made by the association, and it is suggested that this association stands in the position of 7,000 to 100,000. If there are 100,000 men, they are not men who in any way compete with the clerks whose difficulties are now under discussion. They are manipulative grades in whom he has a special interest, and rightly so, and they are not men who will in any way be prejudiced by the privilege which has been given to the Association of Ex-Service Civil Servants. I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the concluding paragraph of an article written by a certain Mr. Middleton, who, I fancy, is a friend of his, and who, I think, is an officer of the Post Office Workers' Union, in which, dealing kith the complaints which had been and would be made by various sections in the Service against the agreement, he said, dealing with the manipulative workers' complaint, that these men have no cause for complaint, for they could not have looked to the Southborough Commmittee to do anything for them, and if anyone was affected or displaced by the privilege to be given to these ex-service men it would be the boys and girls of the next generation. Mr. Middleton may be right or wrong, but I fancy he and the hon. Gentleman are closely associated.
While dealing with the question of the representative character of this association I have made close personal inquiries into the figures, which have not only been mentioned to-night, but have been circulated with various documents which we have received, to search out and find what evidence there was on both sides. I have in my possession an interesting document. It is a receipt from a confederation to which were affiliated all the associations who are now concerned in this dispute on both sides—the Confederation of the Temporary Staffs Association. It is a receipt which shows that the sum of £125 was received by the confederation in 1922 from the Associations of Ex-Service Civil Servants, being a levy at the rate of 1½d. per head of their membership. A simple 1642 sum will show that was paid on a membership of 20,000. If it were a wrong membership, I have only to say that the other parties in this confederation seemed quite willing to receive the money and acknowledge it.
§ Captain FRASER
Six months ago this confederation was meeting together to discuss a matter on common ground—namely, wages and such conditions—and then the Treasury made an inquiry as to what was the number of persons represented by those various associations. The figures returned were, I understand, agreed by all sides, and they show that, out of 21,300, I think it was, who were represented by the delegates at the Conference, no less than 17,900, I believe, were of the Association of Ex-Service Civil Servants. Looking further for evidence of this matter, I find—in fact, I know, from personal observation—that at least some thousands of ex-service civil servants are interested in this association, because I had the privilege of attending, not very long ago, a meeting at which they were present. On the other hand, we were told upstairs in Committee that a similar meeting has been held by the other side, and they claim that they have many thousands of ex-service men in their ranks. I am now not referring to the Post Office workers, who, I have explained, do not come into this at all. I am referring to the remaining associations, representing temporary workers, and who, it appears, represent some 3,000 people. One can only say from reports of that meeting, where many thousands of ex-service men who are opposed to this agreement are alleged to have been present, there appear to have been a good many on both sides on that occasion.
Dealing further with the representative character of this association, nobody claims that this trade union, as it is, represents all ex-service temporaries. I do not believe there is an hon. Member in this House on either side who could point to any instance in which a trade, union represented all the workers in any trade. But this much seems certain to anyone who examines the matter, that this 1643 association does, in fact, represent a preponderating proportion of such opinion as cares to be organised, and one must bear in mind that in any group there are always some who choose to stand out of organised bodies of any sort. When the representative character of this association is challenged—and I hope the House will forgive my dealing with this matter at such length; it is, I think, one of the main arguments my hon. Friend has put up—when it is challenged, it is a little interesting to remember that his friend the late Financial Secretary not only recognised this association, but endeavoured to conclude an agreement with them.
§ Mr. WILLIAM GRAHAM
I must apologise to my hon. and gallant Friend, but that is not so. The position which this association occupied was merely one of many bodies making representation to the Treasury, but no separate agreement was ever concluded with them.
§ Captain FRASER
I did not say that a separate agreement was concluded; I said the right hon. Gentleman endeavoured to arrive at an agreement with them. At any rate, as I understand, every Government for the last few years has negotiated with these people. I would submit one other point before passing on to other criticism, and it is this. I do not think anyone in this House criticised the suggestion, and I think the country was largely in agreement with the suggestion, made by the Government before the last Election, that they should call a conference to deal with agricultural matters, in which they hoped to secure the assistance of agricultural trade unions, who, I believe, represent a very small proportion of agricultural workers. Yet it was not considered that they were unrepresentative or unimportant. The Association of Ex-Service Civil Servants stands in better case as compared with the agricultural trade unions so far as the proportion of the men whom they represent are concerned.
The third subject of criticism seems to me to be that this agreement is improper, and that, even if the ex-service men who are outside this Association are small in number, they should, nevertheless, have been consulted. On the admission of the associations who are ranged against this 1644 agreement, the ex-service men within their ranks are in a minority. Then, in a manifesto, which was recently sent to members of this House—I refer to No. 6 of a document which was sent round to us quite recently by the four or five associations who are opposed to this Agreement—there is a clause something like this: The ex-service question must no longer be regarded as an issue to be treated separately from the general question of providing opportunities for temporary staffs to secure permanent employment on the establishment. I do not quote exactly, but I think my hon. Friend will agree that that is fairly accurate. Here we have a case, in which the great majority of members in this House are agreed that some special privilege should be given to ex-service men as such; in which public opinion is overwhelmingly in favour of that course; in which here is an association or a group of associations—I refer to those who are in opposition to the agreement—purporting to represent ex-service opinion, and who issue a manifesto in which such a clause appeared.
I submit that those who are opposed to this agreement do not in any sense whatever represent ex-service opinion in the Service, and, moreover, it is because they do riot represent it, and because they have put forward the view that the time has now come when the ex-service men's case should no longer be considered a special one, that the Association of Ex-Service Civil Servants was formed, and made such a gallant stand for what it conceived to be its rights. There is one more point on which I want to touch in relation to this agreement, and it is a point not of criticism, but of personal disappointment. I am disappointed that the ex-service women were not catered for. I believe the ex-service men and the ex-service women are mutually agreed as to the desirability of supporting each other in their efforts to get the preference which they have been promised, and I hope the Financial Secretary may see his way to do something which will give to them the same advantages as the Association of Ex-Service Civil Servants have secured for the men.
There is one other matter about which I am a little disappointed, and that is that this agreement does not, apparently, bring within its scope a not very large number of blind soldiers who are employed in Government offices. Those 1645 men, I believe, are assured of permanent employment, because Government after Government has said that they will be all right. But while we have taken that assurance—and quite properly taken it—in the past, we are now faced with the position in which some 8,000 men are promised permanent situations. The Minister does not say to those ex-service men, "I hope you will have permanent service," but that they "shall have it." I hope he will say that our men "shall have it," and not that he "hopes they will have it."
I want to offer one or two concluding remarks in reference to the really serious main issue, which, I think, is brought forward by the attitude of His Majesty's Opposition in regard to this matter. They appear to desire to deny ex-service men some special privilege in the matter of employment. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Well, the association which they support says in black and white that it is no longer necessary for their case to be considered as a separate case outside the general settlement of temporary staffs' employment. If they do riot agree with it—I know there are a large number who deny it—apparently they are going to support an association which seeks to deny to a group of ex-service men some degree of preference. I believe the Government are in favour of such a preference, and I must say it makes one feel that one cannot help being in extraordinary opposition to right hon. and hon. Members, when one knows that amongst those who range themselves against this preference to ex-service men, are some who not merely could not serve their country because of circumstances beyond their control, but deliberately chose not to do so, and who did more, and went out of their way to hinder those who did endeavour to do their duty.
My hon. Friend dealt at great length with one other aspect of this matter, namely, the harm which would be done to the Civil Service. If the support which he and his friends give to the association ranged against the ex-service men is altruistic—and I am inclined to believe a large proportion of it is seriously concerned with the welfare of the Civil Service as a whole—so far as that part of his case, that it is going to harm the Service, is concerned, I submit it will hurt the Civil Service and the State very much 1646 more to deny what the State is asking employers to give, and to stick to its traditions and its red tape If, on the other hand, some part of this feeling is due to the fear that personal positions may be prejudiced, I have already dealt with the manipulative workers, who are not concerned, according to Mr. Middleton. As far as the clerks are concerned, there is no competition with the women. As far as the men clerks are concerned, I submit that they will not be the only people who will have had to make some small sacrifice in order that ex-service men may have a preference.
§ Mr. HAYES
The speech just delivered by the hon. and gallant Member exhibits a very sincere interest in the ex-service men in the Civil Service. No one on these benches will challenge his sincerity on that matter, but, having said that, it does not mean that hon. Members on these benches, or hon. Members on any benches, must deny themselves the right to express a point of view which may be contrary to that of the hon. and gallant Member. I only wish to refer to his opening and closing remarks, before I proceed to other matters. With regard to the allegation made by my hon. Friend the Member for North Camberwell (Mr. Ammon) that the settlement had been in the nature of a political job, the hon. and gallant Member almost endorsed the suggestion of my hon. Friend. I assume that the hon. and gallant Member did know a good deal of the settlement that was arrived at, and ho practically endorses the suggestion or allegation made, when he said that he felt that any party that could be assured that its membership would be behind it in giving the pledge that it gave, would have a perfect right to give that pledge, apparently, regardless as to whether it interfered with the standard of morality that had hitherto been accepted in the principles of government.
The final comment which the hon. and gallant Member made, had relationship to the feeling of the civil servant who might be an ex-service man, or particularly the civil servant who was a non-service man, and that that type of civil servant was really opposed to the welfare of the ex-service temporary who had come into the Civil Service. I do not think there is the slightest justification for developing that impression. On the con- 1647 trary, the make-up of the Civil Service is as patriotic and as keenly interested in the welfare of our unfortunate ex-service men as any other section of the community. But it should be remembered that the ex-service man of to-day will, if events during recent years are anything to go by, very soon be forgotten as an ex-service man, and will become, to all intents and purposes, from the employers' point of view, a non-service man, because the War will be forgotten as far as his economic value is concerned.
When the ex-service man in the Civil Service has proceeded under the conditions which this new agreement is establishing, he will begin to recognise that all the talk with regard to giving preferential treatment to ex-service men has really been, in fact, preferential treatment which has been to his disadvantage, because he is to be treated in a far less favourable light than the non-service Civil Servant who has pensionable status. The hon. and gallant Member believes that he is doing his very best for the ex-service man in question, and possibly in the Debate that will ensue we shall discover various points of view, but no one will be able to prove their case definitely to the satisfaction of the House to-night That will strengthen the appeal that is coming from these benches that this is a matter that should be referred to the cool, calm judgment of the Committee room, to people who will examine the pros and cons of the whole arrangement that has been made, the atmosphere in which it was entered into and the results of the application of the agreement, and report back to the House in order that there should be no lasting feeling on either side that an injustice has been done either to the ex-service temporary, the ex-service permanent, or the non-service Civil Servant.
I do not think that the Government is very sincere about this question of the new agreement being in favour of the ex-service man. If the Government, and particularly the Treasury, feel that this agreement is meting out justice to the ex-service man, it will be very difficult for them to get away from the fact that they have denied to this type of ex-service man entry into the established and pensionable class; that they have deliberately shut him off from the benefits 1648 of ordinary Civil Service employment, and that they have placed him in a position that when he reaches the evening of his days he is to be cut off with a small gratuity. He is to be told that he cannot have a pension. I hope the Government does not feel that between now and those days it is going to have comfortable political nights, for the very simple reason that that class of ex-service man is bound to agitate until he gets put upon a similar status to that of the ordinary civil servant. I say, frankly, while I oppose this agreement, that the ex-service men who accept this agreement would be foolish in the extreme if they accept it as being final in its application. I would always join with them in getting that bar removed and in their agitating to be put upon the status that is enjoyed by the Civil Service as a whole.
This agreement seems to me to have been a move by the Government to throw open some kind of door and to invite these ex-service men to go through the door, partly pushed by the fear that their economic position is being jeopardised. When they have entered the door, the Government has closed it and put over the door the motto, "Abandon hope all ye who enter here, so far as pensions are concerned." When they have spent their days they will go out by another door, and all the roads will lead to the workhouse, as far as the unestablished civil servant is concerned.
I would never challenge the sympathy of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury for the ex-service man, but, unfortunately, we have known of other wars where there have been changes in the status of civil servants, and cases have again and again been referred to various Departments showing the injustice to the old-time pensioner as compared with the present day pensioner. May I be allowed to refer to the difference between the attitude of the Conservative Government in 1925 and of the Conservative Government in 1923? If the Conservative party, not as a Government but as a party, is really sincere in its desire to do justice to the ex-service man, it is well to remember that from the Treasury itself of the Conservative Government in 1923, there emanated a letter by one of the hon. and gallant Member's predecessors, which read in these terms:I am aware that some of the men concerned"—1649 this was in reference to ex-service men on whose behalf a good deal of agitation was going on in order to see that justice was done to them—find it difficult to make ends meet, but I am forced to the conclusion, comparing the conditions of their employment as a whole with what is prevailing outside, that the increase of the present rate cannot in existing circumstances be justified. I agree with my predecessor that in this matter we, who are administering not our own, but public funds, cannot mete out justice as we should like.The Conservative party in 1923 admitted that they could not mete out justice as they would like. I sincerely hope that they will not regard the agreement as meting out justice. To-night there is a very excellent opportunity for the right hon. Gentleman opposite and his colleagues of meting out justice to these ex-service men and putting them in a not less favourable position than any other civil servants in the country. That is the appeal which I would make to the right hon. Gentleman. I am sure that other speakers will say that all this has arisen because there has been jealousy between those organisations which are acting for the various forms of civil servants, that this is going to be a question of an inter-union dispute. There would have been no question of any dispute between organisations if the machinery for conciliation, the Whitley Council machinery, in the Civil Service had had an opportunity of dealing with this matter.
§ Mr. HAYES
I believe that it would have ben far better for these ex-service men if there had been no agreement. No one would be more delighted than I if the right hon. Gentleman can show that this agreement is going to be more advantageous to the ex-service men than if there had been no agreement at all. This agreement has merely placed the ex-service men in a less favourable position and he will desire that his standard of life shall be equal to that of other civil servants, and if this agreement is to be 1650 used for the purpose of breaking down the established standards it is not merely a question of breaking down these standards alone, but as a result of interfering with the standards which exist you will create a new class, and discontent is bound to ensue throughout the Civil Service. It seems a great pity that we should have introduced into the Civil Service the employment of responsible people, as they will have to be, who are to be all of a non-pensionable character.
Last year, when the Labour Government was dealing with the question of legislation to bring the pensions of State servants more into line with present-day conditions, I recollect very well the right hon. Gentleman who is now Secretary of State for War, from this side of the House pointing the accusing finger, as perhaps I did, too, at the right hon. Gentleman who was then Financial Secretary to the Treasury in the last Government, and with the accusing finger came words to this effect, "This Measure of the Labour Government is an act of cowardice. It does not give to these old people that which the country wants them to have. It makes the old people despair of raising their standard of comfort," and so on. I wonder if the right hon. Gentleman will endeavour to convince his own colleagues now in the Cabinet that what was an act of cowardice on the part of the Labour Government can be no less an act of cowardice on the part -of the Conservative Government if they will not alter the conditions. Therefore, while their legislation did endeavour to improve existing pensions, this new agreement, by the Government which charged that Government with an act of cowardice, does create a class which is not going to have any pension at all.
Most of these ex-service men were, no doubt, physically below the standard of health that has been enjoyed by the average civil servant in times gone by, and will not be able, unfortunately, to reach the old age that many civil servants have reached, and in many cases it will mean that, owing to the privations of war and their lower standard of health, they will be compelled to leave the Civil Service long before the age of 60 or 65 years is reached. The consequence is that they will be going out of the Civil Service without any pension, with merely a gratuity, and that Members of Parlia- 1651 ment in another 20 or 30 years will be badgered, more even than they are to-day, with pitiful letters from ex-civil servants who will be giving the history of all their service to the country, and the efforts that were made on their behalf in the House of Commons, and there will be legislation asked for in days to come to keep these men out of the workhouse.
It is not an unreasonable appeal which we are making. We are not appealing to the House either to reject the agreement or to accept it. Our appeal is merely that the Government will co-operate with us in appointing some kind of a committee that will inquire into the pros and cons of this question, and report back to this House and reinstate the authority of Parliament, seeing that the Report of the Southborough Committee, with certain items of improvement, was accepted by Parliament as a settlement in the Civil Service up to a point which gave more satisfaction than the present agreement would give. While the present agreement may give some satisfaction to the Conservative party, I am equally confident that the advisers of the right hon. Gentleman do not feel as happy as they will tell the House to-night that they are, but they will be doing the right thing, if they give us the inquiry for which we ask.
§ Mr. CASSELS
I may be allowed at the outset of my observations to express from this side of the House congratulations to the hon. and gallant Member for North St. Pancras (Captain Fraser) for the excellent speech in which he dealt with this subject. He speaks with profound knowledge of the conditions of the ex-service men, and he has defended the case of the ex-service man in this matter with a skill which we must all admire. I have listened to the two speeches which have been made in criticism of this agreement, and the effect of these speeches is to present a most dismal view of the future. So far as I can see from the introductory speech upon this subject, the whole of the Civil Service, with its 300,000 members, is about to come tottering to the ground because the Government have been so stupid as to make a reasonable agreement with these ex-service temporary civil servants, and according to the hon. Member for Edge Hill (Mr. Hayes) the ex-service civil servant, by the agreement which has been made, is going to 1652 have a very horrible future, and it would be better for him to get out of the Civil Service into the ranks of the unemployed at the earliest possible moment.
§ Mr. HAYES
I am sure that the hon. and learned Member does not wish to misrepresent the spirit of my remarks. What I suggested was that the Government might on this point take these men out of the status which has been created for them, and put them into a far better status and give them that better treatment which we want them to have.
§ Mr. CASSELS
I accept the correction of the hon Member, but I would ask him to consider one other point which was made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Camberwell (Mr. Ammon) when he suggested that this was a bad thing for the rest of the Civil Service. I hope that this agreement will be allowed to stand. I have heard nothing in either of the two speeches which would show that this was not a proper agreement to make from the point of view of the ex-service temporary civil servant. This agreement removes anxiety in thousands of homes where there has been present always the fear of dismissal from a temporary job. This agreement meets with the approval of those for whose benefit it was made. It is a very proper agreement, and, further, it brings to an end a controversy which has been going on for a very long time. It is for the benefit of those men who, from the fact of their service during the War, deserve extremely well of the country. Moreover, if you get a guarantee, as this agreement gives it, of 13,000 permanencies; if, in addition to that, you get some kind of undertaking, which this agreement gives, that there shall be the best consideration given to to remainder of the 21,500 men who are much concerned in this matter, that their jobs shall last as long as possible; I say that those two facts provide something which will be welcome to the other 20,000 men who are concerned. But, no!
It is said now that you must put the whole of this matter into the melting pot once more; there must be further inquiries, further negotiations, another Committee, another name to be added to the names of Lytton and Southborough, who have already made part of the history in this long drawn-out controversy, and then you will get another Report, more recommendations, more 1653 debate and discussion in this House, and where now we have satisfaction you will probably have substituted for it dissatisfaction and grievance. I suggest that the proper thing to do is to allow this agreement to stand. We want no more inquiries into this matter, and the ex-service temporary civil servant wants no more inquiry; he wants to get security of tenure, and when he gets that he will be perfectly satisfied. It is said that this takes away from some of the things which have been provided for by the Southborough Report. When I come to compare the two documents and to analyse their contents, and put the Southborough Report on the one hand against the agreement on the other hand, I find that the greater benefits are to be obtained from the agreement, from the point of view of the ex-service temporary civil servant.
One point is that under the Southborough Report there was to be at a certain date an examination. The agreement provides that that date shall be extended. Another point that is made is that the Southborough Report provides for 5,000 permanencies. This agreement provides for 13,000. Another point is that the Southborough Committee said that their recommendations were final; the word "finality" was used in the Report. The agreement contains no such word, and no such suggestion is made. By this agreement you are going to have created, it is true, a new class of permanency without pension rights but with the benefit of the Superannuation Acts for at least 8,000 of these ex-service temporary civil servants who are to be selected departmentally, to whom preference is to be shown if they are disabled or if they have seen service overseas—a thing which is of enormous importance and in keeping with the feeling of the country upon this matter. And these men are to be eligible for permanencies which would be pensionable. The Southborough Report contains no provision which deals with such a position as that. Then, of course, there will be some of these temporary men who will fail in the examination. There will be some who will not be selected, perhaps, by their Departmental Chiefs for the particular position that happens to be vacant. From those classes there will be selected, to fill the vacancies which have occurred, at least one-third of the 1654 men required. Once more the Southborough Committee's Report contains no such provision.
Then there are the messengers. There is a largo number of non-established messengers in the employment of the Civil Service. The Southborough Report contains no provision for them. This agreement provides that 75 per cent. of these men are to be given permanencies. Therefore, I suggest that there is much to be said for this agreement from the point of view of the ex-service man. It is said that this agreement is an interference with the permanent servant I do not know whether it is going to be suggested that there is anybody at the present moment permanently established in the Civil Service who is likely to lose his job by reason of this agreement. it is, perhaps, said that it will interfere with the prospects of advancement for those who are already in the Service. I disagree with that view. Considering the many advantages of this particular scheme for temporary ex-service civil servants, it is difficult to see why the prospects for advancement are to be interfered with in the case of those who are permanently established. Then it is said that those people who are in the minor manipulative grades of the Post Office will have no opportunity of obtaining that advancement to which they naturally look in order to better their position. But that is a matter which is not entirely settled. At present there is sitting a committee which is considering as well as it can the position of the Post Office workers who are to be secured advancement and are to better their positions by passing into other grades, and upon that committee the men are very adequately represented. So that it is difficult to understand why that criticism should be made upon this agreement.
It is said by those who criticise the agreement that it has been secured by the Association of Ex-Service Civil Servants, about whom it is impossible to say anything too bad. We have heard figures given to-night. As one listened to those figures one came to the conclusion that there must be some mistake about them. I do not know how they are arrived at, whether by taking a certain sum of money and dividing it by the subscription which is supposed to be paid, without any regard for any subscriptions which may be in arrear, or, perhaps, subscriptions 1655 half paid, or anything of that kind. All that I can do is to give to the House some figures which have been supplied by this association, whose officials seem never to tell the truth—figures supplied from the branches. If my figures are wrong there would seem to be employed in the Civil Service an extraordinarily large number of people who are concerned to tell the same untruth. I find that in the Admiralty there are 763 members of this association, in the Air Ministry, 684, in the Customs and Excise, 410, in the Board of Education, 298, General Post Office, 353, Office of Works, 479, Ministry of Health, 417, Inland Revenue, 1,210, Ministry of Health, 2,256, Ministry of Pensions, 7,874, Board of Trade, 1,410, War Office, 470. I have given only the figures over 400. In many other Departments you will also find a considerable number in the membership of the particular branch concerned, and the total membership of this association is 18,792. So far as that is concerned, they have spoken for a large number of men. Is it to be said that they speak with no representative voice? It was not said a few months ago.
§ Mr. CASSELS
I accept the hon. Member's statement that those are the figures which he gets from the Registrar of Friendly Societies by reason of the fact that this association happens to be registered as a trade union.
§ Mr. CASSELS
Very well, of membership, but these are branch memberships which have come to this association. I give the House these figures as they have been given to me. It is an extraordinary thing, if these figures are incorrect, that all the branch secretaries of this association should have been concerned in making deliberately false returns to the headquarters of the association. Further, since this matter has been investigated. 1656 do not let us forget what the position was when there was a conference a few months ago regarding the pay of temporary staffs. It was then agreed to and accepted by the representatives of the other associations who were present that the membership of the Association of Ex-Service Civil Servants was 18,749 and the temporary staff which was then being dealt with was 21,349. I will go a little further upon this question of membership. Those who criticise this society fail to take advantage of an opportunity afforded to them a little while ago by a challenge which was put out by this association. The association took the figure of 10,000 and said to their critics, "If you can show that we have a membership of less than 10,000, we will in respect of the difference between the membership which you show and the figure of 10,000 pay a sum of one shilling for each member to the British Legion Benevolent Fund to show that we feel we have said something which is wrong. On the other hand, for each member that we show over 10,000 you, the critics, will pay one shilling to the same fund." This challenge was never taken up. If the figures which the hon. Member for North Camberwell has given are correct, then I am surprised he has not afforded this most excellent benevolent fund the opportunity of improving its financial position by getting a few very useful shillings which I am sure would be most acceptable.
This is a representative association. It is said there were other associations which ought to have been consulted. One of these is the National Whitley Council. They claim, though I do not know how a search at the office will support it, to represent everybody in the Civil Service. One thing I may say is that they do not represent the temporary ex-service civil servants concerned in this actual agreement. If it is said that they do represent these men, then five years ago the suggestion of the National Council in regard to this question was that temporary ex-service civil servants over the age of 35 could abandon the hope of any possibility of permanent employment. Further, they said in February, 1920, that no more vacancies could be filled up on the permanent staff after the end of that year. That was poor consolation to the ex-Service temporary civil servants 1657 who contemplated any possibility of getting on to the permanent staffs. Then there is the Civil Service Clerical Association. I do not suppose that even its best friend would suggest that it has a particular leaning towards ex-service men. A prominent official of that association said when this Association of Ex-Service Civil Servants was being formed that the idea of organising permanent civil servants on the basis of whether they had served or not was as logical as organising them on the basis of whether they ever had or had not the measles.
I do not suggest that is a proper way of looking at this matter. I suggest there is a difference between the ex-service civil servant and the non-service civil servant, and I am going to preserve that distinction so long as this question is the subject matter of discussion. It is said that this association has done little and is not entitled to be heard on a matter of this kind. When the Kew clerks were dismissed this association conducted the agitation which will be remembered in this House, and it was obstructed in every step by the staff organisations it was described in the course of this agitation as an infamous association. Its very honesty was questioned. So far as I am concerned with it, it is an association which has done extremely useful work. It has, at any rate, kept alive this question which, if the National Council had had its way, would have been dead at the end of 1920. It has agitated' for a body of men who are entitled to every consideration. If this association has committed any crime it is the crime of being successful in a matter in regard to which, so far as I am able to judge the efforts of other organisations, the preference was for failure. I hope the agree-merit will be carried through without any more difficulty. There is no need for any further inquiry. We want this agreement, the ex-service men want it, and it will be an extremely good ending to a controversy which is certainly not very creditable to this country's treatment of ex-service men in the Civil Service.
Mr. TREVELYAN THOMSON
I hope we shall not be influenced by the bandying of words as to which association has done most for ex-service men. I am satisfied that every section of the House is anxious, whatever agreement is come to, 1658 that it will be the one most favourable to the ex-service men. As I understand the criticisms which have been made, the main point at issue is whether this particular agreement is most advantageous for the ex-service men themselves. There has been an extraordinary conflict of opinion as to the merits of the agreement and surely that is a reason why there should be further inquiry and investigation in order that the best may be done for the ex-service men themselves. Apart from that consideration this seems to be a serious matter to a large section of the Civil Service, many of whom are themselves ex-service men. This is not a question of being for or against ex-service men. There are 140,000 ex-service men in the Civil Service and it is the benefit of all the ex-service men that we must consider.
It is a serious matter if in your Civil Service you have a certain amount of dissatisfaction and fear as to what may be the outcome of this agreement. Speaking not long ago in this House, the Prime Minister made an impassioned appeal for peace in industry, and, surely, it is essential that we should have peace in the Civil Service, and that we should have a contented and satisfied Civil Service. It may be that the fears of thr civil servants are groundless and that they are labouring under a delusion on this matter. Whether that be so or not, the fact remains that they feel that this agreement is not in the best interests of the ex-service men themselves and would militate against the best traditions of the Civil Service. Those fears may be entirely wrong, but the fact that they are there is surely a good reason why this Committee should be granted, and the matter discussed in a friendly way. We believe in having the best relations between employers and employed outside this House, and, surely, the smile thing applies to those who are in a sense in our employment. Therefore, I submit, that it is essential, if we are to have the best work from our civil servants, that they should be content as to the terms of the agreement under which they are to work, and I hope that when the House comes to a decision it may, in the interests of the Civil Service, and particularly of the ex-service men, grant this inquiry.
It is not suggested that this agreement should be thrown on one side, but 1659 rather that its merits should be understood, and I submit that as a result of this discussion any impartial Member, coming to the question with an open mind, and not knowing more about it than we have heard on either side to-night, will be under some considerable misconception as to what are the real facts of the case. On the one side, we hear that this agreement takes away much that the Southborough Report gave, and, on the other hand, the hon. and learned Member for West Leyton (Mr. Cassels) has told us that it is infinitely better than the Southborough Report. I should like the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, when he replies, to give us some assurance on some of the points of difficulty that have been put to us in the circulars that we have received. It is suggested that, under the Southborough Report, there was a probability of 13,000 established permanent posts being available for the temporary ex-service men. On the other hand, under this agreement, there will be only something like 5,000 of those established, permanent, pensionable posts, whereas you will have created a new class of 8,000 non-pensionable posts. That may be alluring and tempting at the moment in giving security, but, on the other hand, when the ex-service man who has accepted this comes to the end of his days and finds there is no pension, his position is not a desirable one.
We were told that under the Southborough Agreement all established vacancies in the clerical class on the 1st January were to be available for temporary civil servants, and that in addition 50 per cent. of the vacancies that occurred year by year should be. available for the temporary class. That, I understand, is wiped out by this agreement. The suggestion has been made that the other branches of the Civil Service are in no way prejudiced by this agreement, and reference has been made to the Post Office in particular. I have had representations made from my own constituency, from the postal workers there, the majority of whom are ex-service men, that their prospect in the future will be decidedly prejudiced by this arrangement, because, instead of having 8,000 established permanent posts, you are creating a special class of 8,000 unpensionable unestablished posts, and that, therefore, 1660 their chance of promotion in the future up to the clerical class will be prejudiced. It is not in any selfish sense that this claim is put forward, but in order that the status of the Civil Service as a whole, and of the clerical class, shall be maintained and the numbers enlarged, and I submit that, according to this agreement, the numbers of those who are the established clerical class are 8,000 less than they might be if the Southborough Report were to go through. This shows that there is considerable fear and doubt as to what may be the outcome of this Report, and if that be so, surely a question which has troubled this House ever since the beginning will not be seriously prejudiced if further delay takes place in order to get a thoroughly satisfactory and friendly settlement. I am satisfied that in every part of the House we are anxious to do the best we can for the ex-service men. Many of us took part in those recruiting meetings at the time of the War, and pledged ourselves then to do our best for the men when they came back, and it is in memory of that pledge that we want something to-day better than this agreement.
I submit to those who are in favour of this agreement that it would be better if, instead of having the 8,000 non-established class, they could be put in the stronger position of being 8,000 pensionable civil servants, men who would get a pension at the end of their time. We are pleading for better conditions for the temporary men who are going to come in, and surely the question of finance cannot be so serious that the Treasury cannot give Ray on these particular points. I hope this House will agree to the Resolution on the Paper and allow a Committee representing all sections that will be affected to go into this question. In the past these questions have been settled by the National Whitley Council and by all grades concerned. Why should a settlement be arrived at by one section only, ignoring the other sections concerned? I submit, in the interest of the Civil Service and of good will and good feeling on all sides, than it is desirable that these doubts and difficulties should be removed, and that they can be removed only by granting the request put forward from these benches.
§ Mr. GREAVES-LORD
We have heard one or two strange doctrines preached to-night from the other side of the House. The hon. Member for North Camberwell (Mr. Ammon) told us, not once, not twice, but so many times that at last I gave up counting, that this agreement was an absolutely corrupt agreement. The number of times he used the word "corruption" made a very serious strain upon the patience, I think, of most Members in the House, but he failed entirely to show where the corruption was. I can rather see a difference, which may be what he is really driving at, between the position of those who sit on the benches opposite and those who sit upon these benches. He quoted the Prime Minister, who, when speaking last year, said he never answered a questionnaire, and 'he proceeded to accuse the Prime Minister of not taking his own medicine by reason of the fact that he answered, not a questionnaire at all, but a reasonable request from people who were entitled to know the policy of the party, and gave a pledge on behalf of the party. There is, of course, an essential difference between the two things, and while I agree that the Prime Minister's advice was right, I equally think that he acted in accordance with his own advice.
The position of the Prime Minister was essentially a different position to those who last year occupied these benches. If memory serves me aright, no less than 17 of those who occupied the Treasury Bench last year gave, before the Election of 1923, a definite pledge to the Associated Ex-Service. Civil Servants that they were in favour of ex-service men, temporarily employed in the Civil Service, being admitted without examination. Directly they got upon these benches they failed entirely to carry out that pledge. The right hon. Gentleman who was then Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. W. Graham) was challenged on the matter in this House. He said that any pledge that was given was always given subject to the test of efficiency. Therefore, he said, the pledge he gave was that efficient men, who were ex-service temporary civil servants, should be admitted to establishment, without examination, provided they were efficient. Apparently, in order to get at efficiency, you must have an examination. That was the sort of way he interpreted this pledge to this House! Here is a quotation from the 1662 OFFICIAL REPORT of what the right hon. Gentleman said in answer to the right hon. Gentleman who then represented the Rushholme Division (Mr. Master-man):The right hon. Gentleman knows very well that every pledge -that -was given was given subject to that question of efficiency."—[OFFICIAL. REPORT, 27th March, 1924; col. 1670, Vol. 171.]Then he proceeded for about 10 minutes to point out to the House that, in order to get that efficiency, you must have some test, and when you go through the speech you find that the only test suggested is that of examination. I think I have given a perfectly fair rendering of the effect of what was said by the right hon. Gentleman. That leads me to what the hon. Gentleman who first spoke on this matter really meant when he was talking about occupation; it is this: It is not corrupt to answer a questionnaire in the affirmative and then, after you get your chance, refuse to carry out what you promised; but it is corruption to give a pledge and, when you get into office, carry it out. That, apparently, is the position which hon. Gentlemen take up, a position which we shall not, I feel sure, take up, and break every pledge in doing so. I have not heard one single pledge which anyone on this side has broken. I think the one pledge above all others that every one of us on this side of the House would do all we could to keep would be a promise to the ex-service men who are temporarily employed in Civil Service.
There is one other extraordinary statement which we have heard from the benches opposite. We have heard what a pitiable thing it is that you should put 8,000 men in a position where, when they retire at the age of 60, they will not get a pension. It was spoken of, certainly, by the hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Mr. Thomson), certainly by the hon. Member for Edge Hill (Mr. Hayes), almost as though we were taking the right from persons to a pension who to-day had that right. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"] Well, then, if that is not so, I really do not see where the complaint lies. I think it is necessary, in order to follow out what has been said on the other side of the House, to review the position, and I will review it very shortly.
The Southborough Committee reported just before October of last year, if I remember rightly. By the operation of 1663 the Report of the Southborough Committee a certain number of temporary civil servants who were ex-service men would have been taken into the established Civil Service by examination. So far as the rest were concerned, they would have had no chance whatever of getting into the established Civil Service. They would have remained merely temporary civil servants without any right to a pension and subject to the - liability to be discharged at any moment. If I remember aright, on 4th October, the right hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the Treasury was asked the decision of his Government in regard to the Southborough Committee's Report. His reply was that they proposed to adopt the report in its entirety. A little later he was asked why the Government could not consent to do without examination. I think there bad been a discussion, and, if my memory serves me aright, he refused to do anything of the sort.
§ Mr. W. GRAHAM
It was the very opposite. The Labour Government gave an undertaking that before the Southborough Committee's Report was applied there would be a full discussion in this House. If we had been in office that would have taken place in December.
§ Mr. GREAVES-LORD
I speak subject to correction, and I do not want to overstate my case in the smallest detail. Before, however, giving that pledge, we have the evidence of the 4th October in this House of the decision of the Government to adopt the Southborough Committee's Report. If the Southborough Committee's Report had been adopted, the position would have been that these men would have remained merely temporaries, without any right to superannuation. The position to-day is this: First of all, the Southborough Committee's Report limited those who were taken to vacancies on 1st January, 1925. All who could not fill vacancies at that time were left entirely outside. By this agreement, instead of those who were left outside the established Civil Service being haunted day and night by the fear that they might at any moment be dismissed, 8,000 of them are given that sense of security which a permanent agreement for the future can give. Under these circumstances, so far from these men having been put in a disadvantageous 1664 position by this agreement, there are 8,000 who are put in a position of the very greatest advantage. I assume that the arguments opposite are based upon a sort of suggestion that these 8,000 men are going to do permanent work.
One of the most remarkable things in connection with this question is the way in which those who oppose this agreement differ in their view from time to time. I have received on a number of occasions within the last two or three months circulars from an association called the Civil Service Clerical Association. These circulars are signed by a gentleman who seeks time after time to condemn this agreement. I believe he is not unassociated with some hon. Gentlemen opposite. His name is Mr. W. J. Brown. What he says about the matter is this:That there is no alteration in the existing provision with regard to temporary clerks who do not pass the clerical examination. They are given permanent unestablished positions. At first sight this looks a big departure, but it is not nearly so big a departure as it looks. What it boils clown to is this: The work upon which the temporary clerks are at present is purely temporary work, which will gradually disappear, and partly permanent work of a sustained character. The number of temporary clerks is now 18,000. The Treasury argue that having regard to the average age of the temporaries and the probable rate of reduction, it is a sound proposition to decide that 8,000 temporaries shall be treated as permanants.In other words, they are doing on a permanent basis the work they had been previously been doing as temporaries. The only difference is, that they are given permanence instead of being subjected to the constant fear of being turned out of their position.
Under these circumstances it does not lie with hon. Members on the opposite benches to go out into the country and suggest that this agreement is wrong because it does not give more to these 8,000 men, who never had a chance of pensionable service, unless they passed an examination under the Southborough Committee: to suggest that this agreement is unjust to these men because it does not give them a chance which they never had, while it does give them that permanence which was the main thing for which they were contending! I am not going to-follow out in detail the whole matter which has been discussed, but there is one 1665 subject of considerable importance which was not dealt with, that is the provision made for the position of men who are entitled by their technical equipment, or at any rate are enabled by their technical equipment, to take technical positions. They are given an advantage under this agreement which they could never have obtained otherwise, and if there is one thing more than another which strikes one in the agreement it is the very well deserved and desirable preference which is given throughout the agreement not merely to ex-service men but, especially, to those ex-service men who have been disabled in the service of their country.
Let us look at one document which came into my hands to-day. It is from the Whitley Council, staff side, and this is the way it is put:The Southborough Report provided that the ex-service men should have all vacancies in established classes on the 1st January, 1925. This agreement proposes to divide these into two categories, and only to give the terms of the Southborough Report to 5,000 ex-service men, and to the remaining 13,000 much worse terms, both in present pay and utimate conditions, for example, in pension.That is just the thing which hon. Members opposite have been saying. Anyone reading this would have thought that but for this agreement there were 18,000 pensionable posts which would have been given to the temporary civil servants who were ex-service men. Instead of that;, we know perfectly well, on the calculations which the right hon. Gentleman opposite gave in this House last year, the number could not have exceeded 5,000 in any circumstances. Those 5,000 are given by the agreement, and the only difference is that something more is given than was given under the Southborough Report, while this document, from the staff side of the Whitley Council, suggests that, in fact, we are giving very much less. There is the other suggestion that there is harm to other classes by reason of the fact that the work is of a permanent character; I have dealt with that.
Further, there is this gross misrepresentation, included as one of their grounds for disassociating themselves from this agreement, the gross misreprsentation as to the representative character of the Association of Ex-Service Civil Servants. A case which has to be supported by docu- 1666 ments which start out with a gross misrepresentation of the position of the case, is not a case that can ever commend itself to any body of reaosnable men. Take one position alone—with regard to the Whitley Council. They say this matter should have been settled by them. if that is so, what need for the Southborough Committee? If this is a matter that should be settled by the Whitley Council alone, why was the Southborough Committee ever appointed? The whole position is this: The Temporary Staffs Confederation, I am told, had all together 23,000 members, and of those 23,000 members at the time when there was a Confederation 20,000 were members of the Association of Ex-Service Civil Servants. What the membership of the other bodies who compose the Temporary Staffs Confederation is we do not know. The hon. Member for North Camberwell (Mr. Ammon) has had the advantage that he can get from the Returns of the Registrar of Friendly Societies the membership of the Association of Ex-Service Civil Servants, but not one of the other bodies that composed the Temporary Staffs Confederation ever made a return at all, because they were not trade unions and under no obligation to do so. On the figures of the Confederation there could not have been more than 3,000—a figure of 3,000 which we have had no opportunity of checking—and we are told that this body of 3,000 represents the ex-service temporary civil servants, more than 20,000 of whom are, in fact, members of the Association of Ex-Service Civil Servants. So far as we can see, the position is this. An agreement has been made with those who, at any rate, cannot be accused of ever desiring to sacrifice the position of the ex-service man, who have fought in season and out of season for the ex-service man, and they are, and say they are—I know, because I have a very large number of them in my constituency—[HON. MEMBERS "Hear, hear!"]—I am entitled to represent them and shall represent them—they say definitely that they are satisfied with this agreement. On the other hand, I have quite a number of members of some of these other bodies in my constituency, but of all the letters I have had I have not had more than four disagreeing in any way with the terms of this agreement, and those four letters were obviously written in the same office and sent out for signature by the 1667 four men. On all grounds, I submit, this is an agreement which, in the interests of justice to ex-service men, should be approved, and I hope this House will approve it.
§ Mr. W. GRAHAM
The life of a Financial Secretary to the Treasury is at all times melancholy, but I think I shall carry my predecessors with me when I say, after my nine months' experience, that there is probably no more difficult part of his duty than that of dealing with the innumerable problems and conflicts of interests within the Civil Service. I do not suppose that any Financial Secretary leaves office satisfied with his record, however honestly he has tried to deal with the situation. I imagine he is rather like the famous criminal lawyer. If he has as many friends on the one side as he has enemies on the other, he comes to the conclusion that, on the whole, justice has been done. The problem which confronts us to-night has faced this House for several years, and, of course, was aggravated very largely by the circumstances of the War, when we were compelled to take into the Civil Service large numbers of people who never meant to be civil servants, temporary or permanent, and for many of whom, more particularly the ex-service men, we had to try to make some provision within the Service after the War was over.
I want to say one or two words, however brief, in introduction. First of all, I think the Financial Secretary will agree that we must keep this controversy to-night strictly within this House. In previous controversies of this kind there has been a disposition to assail the permanent officials of the Treasury on the ground that they, like other civil servants, were inclined to put barriers in the way of a solution of this problem. It was my experience, and I think it will be borne out by the experience of others, that they place at the disposal of Ministers only the most disinterested information and advice. It is entirely for us to come to a conclusion in the difficulty before us to-night. Secondly, the House would make a very grave mistake if it imagined that this was a conflict of interest between ex-service men on thy one side and non-service men on the other. That is very far from being the case, because of the total civil service of 1668 280,000 people in this country, approximately 140,000 are ex-service men, and, of course, there are the men who are not directly connected with this association in the temporary class.
Having made those points plain, may I ask hon. Members to recall the circumstances in which we left this controversy in October, 1924, because these circumstances are very important to-night. The problem was handled by the Lytton Committee and afterwards by the Southborough Committee, which was a Committee representative of all parties in the House, under the chairmanship of Lord Southborough, charged with the duty of finding a permanent and final solution of this problem. That Committee, representative of all parties, signed a unanimous Report, which was accepted by the House of Commons and on which we undertook, prior to leaving office, to grant a day for discussion. In short, that Report provided that as regards these temporary ex-service men class they would get all the vacancies, after examination, occurring up to 31st December, 1924, and that, after that date, they would have 50 per cent., or one half of the vacancies that occurred. Whatever controversy there may be in this House to-night, there is not the least doubt that when that Committee was set up representative of all parties, and signed their Report, it was understood that it was to be regarded as a solution of this difficulty. I do not remember any Member in any part of the House who seriously challenged that state of affairs.
What happened during the General Election? That election campaign came in October, 1924, before this discussion could take place and the consequence was that the position of the ex-service men in the service was part and parcel of the General Election controversy. I imagined that whatever Government succeeded ours, if a change was to take place, would adhere to the policy of making this the subject of a perfectly free discusion in the new House of Commons. I was, therefore, very much surprised that during that election campaign a paragraph was inserted in the manifesto which the Prime Minister issued before the election holding out, no doubt vaguely, some kind of promise that this situation would be treated on different lines. After that 1669 declaration the Association of Ex-Service Civil Servants became practically a party body. They issued leaflets in support of Conservative candidates all over the country, with the exception of only two constituencies, both of them Liberal, one standing in a constituency in which there was no Conservative candidate and the other a candidate, no longer a Member of this House, whose claims they could not ignore. I do not in the least mind personally what political faith anyone adopts, but as Financial Secretary of the day, I was naturally surprised at this attitude.
I want to ask this House quite frankly, irrespective of any party question to-night, this simple question. Is that a desirable way of settling problems in the British Civil Service? I have been very strongly criticised by some of my own supporters because I have taken the view that as regards important matters in the Civil Service it is in their interest in many branches of the Service not to get mixed up in party strife. That applies in the same way to the class we are considering to-night. They conducted that campaign especially against all the members of the late Government. Of that I do not complain. The result was the agreement issued a few weeks ago and the subject of our Debate to-night. There is not the least doubt that that is setting a precedent for future controversies in the Civil Service, and that different political parties may offer promises in order to attract a certain class of support. I deplore a result of that kind. I think it is perfectly fair, without prying into the circumstances of any political party, to ask the Financial Secretary to-night for some statement of the circumstances that led up to that promise and what were 'the negotiations which took place between this association and the Conservative headquarters, because, of course, it has become much more than a bargain between a political party and an association. It has become an agreement which this House is asked to provide for and we are, therefore, fully entitled to ask for these facts.
I come now to one or two of the other aspects of this difficulty. This association makes claim to-day to be representative of temporary ex-service men To that there is a very effective reply. During the time we were at the Treasury nobody 1670 could get the exact membership of this body, and until very lately it certainly was not more than 9,000 or 10,000 at the outside. Even if we take the grossly exaggerated figure of its membership as being between 10,000 on the one hand and 18,000 on the other, it still remains true, beyond challenge of any kind, that it is very far short of the aggregate of 34,000 temporary ex-service men in the Civil Service. That leads me to notice the exact scope and meaning of this agreement. The Southborough Committee Report was understood to be a final solution which was to be the subject of debate in this House. One would have imagined that, in ordinary justice to the Southborough Committee, no modification of that agreement, no addition to that agreement, would have been made, without consulting the Committee. The present Government take the view that this is not a modification of the Southborough Committee's arrangement. They say that the examination will stand, that the vacancies occurring up to 1924 will be duly filled, and that one half of the vacancies in the clerical staff, after examination, will go on, and they provide also that the ex-service men will take their part in the examination and tests to be held. Incidentally, that disposes of a large part of the criticism of the hon. and learned Member for Norwood (Mr. Greaves-Lord), who was inclined to make a great point of what I was alleged to have said in the last Parliament.
The Financial Secretary now comes forward and says that he proposes a supplementary arrangement. In other words, we are legislating on an unqualified class in the sense that they will not qualify at this examination. Let us consider the state of affairs to which we are reduced by this proposal. By some kind of estimate it has been thought that looking ahead in the Civil Service there may be in the figure of 21,000 a total which may be taken as the measurement of temporary members and they are to be placed in a special class. The minimum is to be 8,000, and the percentage will work out at about 12,900. I ask hon. Members to consider the wisdom of appointing a class of this kind in the Civil Service. I think the hon. Member for Edge Hill (Mr. Hayes) was perfectly fair when he suggested that this is an 1671 injustice to ex-service men. First of all, the remuneration in this class will not be regarded as sufficient, and they are unestablished with no pension rights; they are only quasi-permanent.
It is perfectly erroneous for any hon. Member of this House to suggest that this is a final and complete solution of the problem. Hon. Members opposite have indicated that these men will proceed to fight for establishment, but as I understand this agreement, it was signed between the Government and the Association of Ex-Service Civil Servants as a final and complete discharge of this matter. If that be so, then this agreement was concluded by consulting one association only, and an association by no means completely representing these men. From the point of view of the ordinary people in the Civil Service this is perfectly intolerable, and on that ground alone there is an adequate case for further inquiry.
But there is another very strong indictment. During recent years all these interested in Civil Service problems have agreed that the only possible way to deal with them is on a comprehensive and representative basis, and you must do that through the recognised machinery, which in this case was the National Whitley Council. No new departure in the Civil Service should be made without consulting that machinery. But that body was never consulted at all, and this agreement has been made with this association without any consultation with the National Whitley Council of the Civil Service. I imagine that the Financial Secretary's reply will be that this was exclusively a problem of the ex-service men, and that the Association of Ex-Service Civil Servants is the only body to deal with it. No doubt the right hon Gentleman will say that on this ground he was entitled to settle in consultation with them and not through the National Whitley Council machinery.
If that is to be the reply, then I say it is perfectly inadequate, because this cannot be regarded as applying exclusively to that section of ex-service men at all. Directly or indirectly, although it may be separate from the Southborough Committee's Report, it becomes part of the Civil Service organisation, and it must be traced 1672 and can be traced to the interests of other ex-service men whose claims ought to have been consulted through the proper channel. On that ground, also, this agreement, from every point of view, is undesirable. I do not think this is in any sense a final settlement of this problem. You will get an arrangement, plus the application, of the Southborough Committee's Report, upon which you will get the basis of a minimum of 8,000, but the fact remains, even if outside industries and commerce absorb a certain number of the men now in the Civil Service, you leave a substantial residue upon a partially temporary basis. Therefore, these men are open to all that uncertainty and insecurity which has been referred to by hon. Members, and this is only a partial handling of the situation. We take the view that it is a perfectly reasonable request for us to press for such a Committee of this House, and for such machinery as will review, in the interests of ex-service men, this arrangement, and endeavour to arrive at a very much better solution. I support that request because I am perfectly satisfied that any other course is not in the highest and best interest of the Civil Service.
The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down gave vent to one opinion with which we on this side of the House are in hearty agreement when he said that the Civil Service ought not to get mixed up in party strife. I think I shall be able to show that the readiness to allow this question to enter on that dangerous path came, not from us, but from the party with which the right hon. Gentleman opposite is associated. He expressed one or two other opinions with which I agree, and, therefore, I will refer to them before I come to those subjects with which I disagree. The right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken said that the National Whitley Council was the normal channel for making agreements which affect the Civil Service. I quite agree with that argument, but there are special cases which are not suitable for such a decision. And by the right hon. Gentleman's own record, this question of ex-service civil servants is one of them, because the right hon. Gentleman and his leader accepted the Southborough Report. In that case, did they consult the National 1673 Whitley Council before doing so? Why then does the right hon. Gentleman criticise us for ignoring the Whitley Council on that subject when his own party left this question it a state of ferment and dissatisfaction?
The right hon. Gentleman has criticised the Prime Minister because of the promise he made at the General Election. That promise was that he would suspend the arrangement for the Southborough examination until Parliament had had a chance of expressing its opinion, if it wished to do so: and he also undertook to give the Association of Ex-service Civil Servants a chance of stating their case. Is that such a terrible innovation in our elections? I should have thought that you could not have had a more colourless or noncommittal pledge if you had set about finding a way to evade any commitment at all. The hon. Member for North Camberwell (Mr. Ammon) was good enough to criticise the right hon. Gentleman's action as an instance of political corruption. I think he is relying on the number of new Members in the House, and trusting to very short memories on the part of old Members. We who have sat in this House for some years past know to our cost the history of this question in previous elections. We remember what happened in 1923. The ex-service civil servants, through their association, wrote to the late Prime Minister. There was no excessive purism on his part. He did not put the letter in the wastepaper basket because civil servants were to be kept out of political controversy. Not a bit of it. He filled np the whole of the questionnaire, and, in case that should not be enough, he wrote them a personal letter, in which he said:You will readily understand that in a national pronouncement every detail cannot be set out, or it would run to many pages and be something like an auctioneer's catalogue. But the general phrase about ex-service men covers everything that you require.As the result of that letter from the late Prime Minister, the Association of Ex-Service Civil Servants decided to support Labour candidates throughout the country. I expect that the late Financial Secretary to the Treasury had the benefit of that arrangement, just as much as the rest of his party. Thereby the ex-service civil servants vindicated their com- 1674 plete independence from bearing any grudge for the pacifist action of a certain section of the party opposite, Which they supported at the Election. They even supported on the platform the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury), and also the representative of the whole of the Communist party in the House. The House will see that the Association of Ex-Civil Servants, which it is now suggested is a mere appendage of the Conservative party, did in 1923 deliver the goods; but the trouble is that, after he got his post, the then Prime Minister forgot to do his part of the bargain, and at the last Election he reaped the reward for his broken pledge. We did not give a pledge to give this organisation everything that it required; we merely said that we would give it a hearing. Really, this has very little to do with the issue to-night, but I am bound to say it because the issue has been deliberately raised from the benches opposite. I believe that this organisation, to its credit, represents those who belong to it, and that it is a non-party organisation. If it had gone on supporting the Labour party—it did support some Labour candidates even at the last Election, and also some Liberal candidates—if it had gone on supporting the whole, it would have made no difference to our action. We should have dealt with the matter in just the same way, not because of that organisation, but because it is our opinion that we are in honour bound to do what we can for the ex-service men, consistently with the interests and efficiency of the Civil Service.
What are we asked to do to-night? We are asked to set up another Committee. We have already had four. We have had the Re-organisation Committee of the National Whitley Council; we have had the Temporary Staffs Committee; we have had the Lytton Committee; and we have had the Southborough Committee. One thing that has been borne in upon us on this side is the necessity for finality, and let me tell the House what the Southborough Committee said on that subject. They said:They have had evidence which made it very clear how desirable it is, in the interests both of the ex-service men and of the efficiency of the Government Service, that a final solution of this very difficult question should now be reached.1675 We believe that we have all the information at our disposal now to enable us to reach this finality. The particular point which evokes most controversy is the position of the temporary clerks. Let me, in a few words, state the matter as it appears to us. Even before the War, there was a temporary fringe of unestablished men in the Civil Service to carry the peak load of seasonal and other exceptional work. After the War, of course, there was a very great temporary expansion, followed by a very sudden contraction under the necessity of economy. Ex-service men who had been taken on found themselves faced with the loss of their employment. The House of Commons did everything it could to ensure that they should have preference. It set up, among other methods, the Joint Substitution Board. But, in spite of that, a great deal of dissatisfaction was caused by those men who had served continuously through the War, in many cases, and who had been employed afterwards in the Civil Service, being suddenly thrown out, completely at a loose end, out of touch with the industries in which they would otherwise have been, and finding that all the places which they would have hoped to occupy were already filled. All the sympathy of the House, and all the sympathy which was no doubt felt by Ministers responsible in the Departments, could not, however, justify the Treasury in sacrificing the efficiency of the public service by absorbing wholesale into the established Civil Service these temporary men who had been taken on, without, any inquiry as to their efficiency and regardless of their fitness for the work. The difficulty is explained in the Report of the Southborough Committee. They say, on page 7 of the Report:The duties required of temporary clerks vary considerably. In many cases they are of a most routine character. On the other hand, the duties required of members of the clerical class, and more particularly of numbers of persons upon the higher ranges of the scale, the basic maximum of which is £250 a year plus the appropriate cost of living bonus, are of considerable importance, and we consider that it would not be right for men to be appointed to this class who are not fully capable of carrying out all its duties.They go on, after another passage, to say:We feel it right, in view of the strong claims which have been made to us, to draw 1676 particular attention to the distinction between the duties of the clerical class and the more elementary routine duties of the ex-service men employed in a temporary capacity.There was no method of sifting out the people qualified for permanent establishment from the less efficient men, other than the method of examination. Three Committees which inquired into it in turn came to that conclusion, and the Southborough Committee, last of all, has elaborated a system of examination. By giving a certain weight to departmental efficiency, arrived at by filling up the questionnaire as to all the capacities of the candidate shown in departmental work, and by eliminating certain papers which had given great dissatisfaction in the examination held on the recommendation of the Lytton Committee, the Southborough Committee elaborated a system which, I think, got as near perfection as we could get if we are to have an examination at all. I have always felt that an examination for men of over 30 is a very undesirable method. As the Civil Service is organised on a departmental basis, as you have about 80 different Departments, and as the proportions of permanent to temporary vary extremely, it is only by examination that you can get the necessary uniformity of standard which is demanded in common fairness to the whole of the candidates. If you do not have examinations, and you cannot do it by the recommendation of 80 different Departments, your only alternative is a selection committee, and assuming you have 18,000 candidates to go through it would take at least three years for the selection committee to work through the lot. I believe therefore that this recommendation of the Southborough Committee was the inevitable conclusion which any committee would have been bound to reach.
The last Government accepted this recommendation. The present Prime Minister at the last election left the matter open and said that before any final conclusion was reached the Ex-Service Associations should have a chance of being heard. As soon as we were appointed to our present offices we proceeded to examine the case. We found that there was no alternative to selection by means of examination, but we found also that the chief reason for the dissatisfaction which was felt by the ex-service 1677 temporaries was the fear of unemployment, and we searched for a way of allaying this anxiety. We explored the possibility of ensuring security of tenure to the maximum number of temporary civil servants for whom we could foresee the prospect of employment on a succession of temporary jobs. We had, of course, to find a figure which would not commit us to keeping men on when there was no work to give them, and, allowing for waste and for the refilling of men as they drop out from the permanent class to the extent of one in three, we arrived at 8,000 as the number for whom we could safely provide for the normal course of their life in the Civil Service. Assuming 4,900 qualified in the Southborough examination, the 8,000 to whom we proposed permanency brings us up to 60 per cent. of the total number of men now employed as clerks on a temporary basis, and we, therefore, reached this agreement guaranteeing permanency to this proportion, with a minimum of 8,000 to be guaranteed permanency from among the unsuccessful candidates for establishment at the Southborough examination. The effect of that is that if more than 4,900 qualified at the examination for establishment, the percentage of the total who will get permanency or establishment will run up by the amount exceeding 4,900 successful candidates at the examination indefinitely. On the other hand, if less than that 4,900 qualify, the guaranteed 60 per cent. would be made up by increasing the necessary number of 8,000 who are guaranteed permanency. We have provided that, in selecting for permanency, the Departments will give preference to men who are disabled and who have served overseas.
The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North St. Pancras (Captain Fraser) asked whether we would cover ex-service women. Ex-service women, of course, raise rather a different question. They compete in public sympathy with war widows, and, therefore, the matter is not quite so simple and it is not so easy to draw a hard and fast line. Besides that, there is another opening for these ex-service women which is not open to the ex-service man, namely, entry into the class of writing assistants. But I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that we will give and are giving this matter, 1678 in response to the representations which have been made to us, our careful consideration. Then my hon. and gallant Friend, in that speech to which the House listened with great admiration—one of the most impressive maiden efforts which in all my time in this House I have ever heard—voiced the case of the blind men. These are not necessarily temporary clerks, but they are employed in other capacities, such as telephone operators. I am sure we all admire the undaunted courage with which they face and overcome that terrible and glorious disability from which they suffered. I believe it is unthinkable that any Government could forget the debt which we owe to this class as the most pathetic type of disabled men, but if it is of any comfort to these men to have this assurance I gladly give it, that we will extend to them the same benefits of permanency that we have given to the ex-service civil servants who are covered by this agreement.
I now come to the criticisms which have been offered. I am afraid hon. Members have found that they receive representations on this subject with an embarrassing profusion. The first criticism, which we have heard a good deal of, is that the Association of Ex-Service Civil Servants is unrepresentative. All I can say is that this organisation has represented the ex-service men from the very beginning of this agitation. Old members of the House will remember the Debate which they instigated, which led to the Lytton Committee and to the Southborough Committee, and I am quite sure my predecessor at the Treasury will remember that when he dealt with ex-service civil servants, the natural champions were always this same organisation. Figures were given to-night which are not in my possession showing that they do, as a matter of fact, represent far more than a majority of temporary civil servants for whom they speak; but that does not really concern the point. My choice was limited. This was the only organisation to whom I could go. It was no good going to the National Whitley Council, because the ex-service civil servants are not represented as such upon that body, and this organisation, which seems to have earned such great reproach from the benches opposite, is the only organisation which does represent ex-service civil servants as such. The National Whitley Council is organised on a basis of grades, 1679 and it does not recognise such interests as the ex-service civil servants.
We are told that what we have done is against the principles of Whitleyism. The system of collective negotiation in the Civil Service does not prevent, and never has prevented, discussion on other lines, as, for instance, between Government representatives and the staff associations representing the interests of particular classes. Circumstances must decide in each case which procedure is the best. We knew quite well what the views of the staff side were, and we were also aware that if we consulted the National Whitley Council, we should have had no agreement at all. I felt that our obligation, if we negotiated direct, was to see that no other interests which were not consulted could in any way be adversely affected. That we have done. Those above the clerical staff in the Civil Service establishment are, of course, unaffected. Those below them in the establishment are equally unaffected, provided their guaranteed channels of promotion remain open. I know hon. Members behind me have many representations from certain classes in the Post Office, who seem anxious lest they lose that normal opportunity of promotion to which they were looking forward That case was covered by the Southborough Report, and the Post Office have, therefore, set up a Committee to see that this normal promotion shall in no way be blocked. The arrangement is that 25 per cent.—
I am sorry if the hon. Member did not hear, but he was complaining a few minutes ago that I spoke too loud. It is no less important for hon. Members on this side than for those on the other side. [HON. MEMBERS: "Address the Speaker!"] The point I was going to make was that 25 per cent. of the vacancies were guaranteed to the grades in the establishment below. This 25 per cent. is secured by the Departmental arrangements in the Post Office. Those men in manipulative grades who wish to be promoted sit, I believe, for examinations, but, whatever be the method by which they are promoted, they are secure in their 25 per cent. They are in no way affected by the method adopted for recruiting the remaining 75 per cent. It does not matter to them in the least 1680 whether that 75 per cent. is taken by means of the Southborough examination from the ex-service civil servants on a temporary basis, or whether it is taken from outside by free examination. I believe that we have not in any way affected the interests of any established men in the Civil Service by giving the ex-service civil servants a privileged right, as compared with people not in the Civil Service, to sit for a special examination admitting them to establishment.
The criticism which has been chiefly expressed on this view is that it takes away something that is given in the Southborough Report. That is absolutely untrue. If it were true, the association which represents the exservice civil servants would most certainly not have accepted it as they did. They opposed the application of the Southborough Report, and they have accepted our new arrangement, became, while leaving the Southborough Report intact in all its details, it adds something to it to meet the case of the unsuccessful candidates. The Civil Service Clerical Association have circularised the House with some very remarkable literature. They have stated in their last circular which came round the other day, that had the Southborough Report been adhered to, 13,000 temporaries would have obtained permanent pensionable posts. There is no foundation whatever for that statement. There is no figure of 13,000 anywhere in the Southborough Report. The Southborough Report recommended that all who qualified at the examination would receive these posts, and that arrangement is left absolutely untouched. The same production of the clerical association goes on to say:The Southborough Report said that every man who passed the qualifying standard of examination should be assured of eventual establishment. The effect of the new agreement is that 8,000 people who stood a reasonable chance of getting established will be for ever denied it.There, again, that is an absolute invention, and I think the briefest answer I can give is to read the first paragraph in our Memorandum which has been published.It is agreed that the scheme for qualifying examination recommended by the Southborough Committee for the admission of temporary men to the departmental and clerical classes shall stand, subject only to an extension of the date of application.1681 So that that last statement of the Clerical Association is a complete invention from first to last. The only criticism to which I attach any importance, because it is founded on argument, and not upon misrepresentation, is the criticism that we ought to have raised the pay and given pensions to these temporaries when they became permanent. I say that is a perfectly honest argument, but I think we have got a strong answer, and it is this, that they are to be given permanency, not in permanent posts, but in a permanency of occupation on a succession of temporary jobs, the same job which they are performing at the present time. That that is a real distinction is clear from our Memorandum, which lays down in Paragraph 3 that men selected for permanency must be willing to transfer, whenever redundant, to other localities and to other Departments. These permanencies are, by the nature of the case, men who have been shown by examination not to be qualified for establishment. Therefore they would be continued in their present lower grade of Civil Service work. The pay which they are receiving for exactly that work has been settled with the Civil Service associations concerned, and there is therefore no reason whatever for making this concession of permanency—a concession to which they, at least, attach much importance—the occasion for giving better pay terms than those already accepted for the same work in a temporary and therefore less desirable capacity. It is a bit late in the day for the permanent associations, committed as they are to the terms of the Southborough Report without any Mitigation, to complain that the settlement at which we have arrived, which is obviously far more generous than that Report, does not go far enough. What has been the argument from the Front Bench opposite? The hon. Member for North Camberwell told us that in the opinion of certain heads of Departments—he did not give their names, but he showed his good faith by offering me the letter, if I wished to see it in confidence—
I am very glad to clear up that point, because I wondered how the hon. Member could have got 1682 their information. He alluded to that evidence which showed, in his opinion, that these ex-service civil servants are not fit for establishment. He said that they were inefficient. It is rather curious after that, that he says that they ought to have wholesale establishment.
Of course, if the hon. Member does not accept the opinion of these officials, the whole of his argument falls to the ground. He does not, therefore, accept the opinion of these officials, and, apparently, he wishes that these men should be established without any further qualification in the Civil Service.
Now the hon. Member says it is evidence by the heads of the Civil Service. I understand that the hon. Member was quoting evidence given to the Southborough Committee. Was it confidential evidence given to the Southborough Committee?
I am afraid it is very difficult to follow the hon. Member. I thought at first that they were confidential letters. Now I find that it was confidential evidence given to the Committee. Anyhow, the hon. Member will not say that he does want these people established wholesale. Apparently he does not even want them to secure any permanency of employment either. That being so, apparently he wishes these men to be liable at a moment's notice to be thrown out of their employment. His interest in the ex-service civil servant is now made clear; it is that they should be on a purely temporary basis and that they should be liable to be thrown out of their employment at any moment in obedience to the behests of the organisation represented by the hon. Member. The hon. Member for Edgehill (Mr. Hayes) told us what was going to happen in 30 years' time.
It will be much less than that if the hon. Member has his way. In 30 years or in 20 years, we were told, these ex-service civil servants will be going to the workhouse. The hon. Member for Camberwell North wants them to go to the workhouse to-day. We are further told that this agreement violates the accepted principles of recruitment and pay in the Civil Service. Well, so did the Lytton Committee and the Southborough Report. The War left the Civil Service with various problems of an entirely novel character, which had to be tackled on unprecedented lines. The Civil Service was glad enough to accept these revolutionary changes when they involved Whitleyism, reorganisation Committees and all sorts of advantages to those who were already established, and I think that it is not unreasonable that the people who were fortunate enough to be established in the Civil Service should extend the same advantage of these new methods to the special class of ex-service men.
I am very glad that we have at last had an opportunity of debating this question, and I hope that we are going to have a Division finally to lay at rest all doubts as to whether the Conservative
§ party intend to carry out their pledges to the ex-service men. While there is nothing in the agreement which can prejudice in any way the interests of a single established civil servant, it will remove uncertainty and fear of unemployment, for many ex-service men. The Motion before the House proposes that another special committee shall be set up. To that I cannot agree. We have had many committees. We have had all too much delay in the settlement of a matter which is long over-ripe for settlement. Now for the first time we have got an agreement, and I do suggest to the House that it is essential that immediate steps should be taken for its final settlement. The men concerned have now been waiting since last June for the Southborough examination, and, seeing the strain and the anxiety which are involved by a continuance of the preparation for that examination, a further postponement would be grossly unfair, and I beg the House not to keep these men waiting any longer.
§ Question put, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 279; Noes, 107.1687
|Division No. 73.]||AYES.||[10.25 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Burman, J. B.||Eden, Captain Anthony|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Albery, Irving James||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Edwards, John H. (Accrington)|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Caine, Gordon Hall||Elliot, Captain Walter E.|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Campbell, E. T.||Elveden, Viscount|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Cassels, J. D.||England, Colonel A.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, E.||Chapman, Sir S.||Fairfax, Captain J. G.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Fermoy, Lord|
|Astor, Viscountess||Christie, J. A.||Fielden, E. B.|
|Atkinson, C.||Clarry, Reginald George||Finburgh, S.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Clayton, G. C.||Fleming, D. P.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Ford, P. J.|
|Balniel, Lord||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K||Forestier-Walker, L.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Forrest, W.|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Conway, Sir W. Martin||Foster, Sir Harry S.|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Cooper, A. Duff||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Cope, Major William||Fraser, Captain Ian|
|Bennett, A. J.||Couper, J. B.||Frece, Sir Walter de|
|Bethell, A.||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Galbraith, J. F. W.|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Ganzoni, Sir John|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Crook, C. W.||Gates, Percy|
|Blundell, F. N.||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Gee, Captain R.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Crookshank. Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Glyn, Major R. G. C.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert||Grant, J. A.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Curtis-Bennett. Sir Henry||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Grotrian, H. Brent|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Dalkeith, Earl of||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Royton)||Hanbury, C.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Harland, A.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Harrison, G. J. C.|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Drewe, C.||Haslam, Henry C.|
|Hawke, John Anthony||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W)|
|Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd, Henley)||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Hengage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfst)|
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Margesson, Capt. D.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Henniker-Hughan, Vice-Adm. Sir A.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Mason, Lieut.-Colonel Glyn K.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Herberts, (York, N.R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Meller, R. J.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Hilton, Cecil||Merriman, F. B.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Meyer, Sir Frank||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Mitchell, S. (Lanark)||Spender Clay, Colonel H.|
|Holland, Sir Arthur||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Holt, Captain H. P.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)|
|Homan, C. W. J.||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Stanley, Hon. O.F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Morden, Colonel Walter Grant||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Moreing, Captain A. H.||Storry Deans, R.|
|Howard, Capt. Hon. D. (Cumb., N.)||Murchison, C. K.||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Hudson, R. S. (Cumb'l'nd, Whiteh'n)||Nelson, Sir Frank||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Huntingfield, Lord||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Hurd, Percy A.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Tasker, Major R. Inigo|
|Hurst, Gerald B.||Nuttall, Ellis||Templeton, W. P.|
|Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Oakley, T.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Iliffe, Sir Edward M.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell-(Croydon, S.)|
|Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Penny, Frederick George||Tinne, J. A.|
|Jacob, A. E.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Perring, William George||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P|
|Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Philipson, Mabel||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Pilcher, G.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Kenyon, Barnet||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Price, Major C. W. M.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Radford, E. A.||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|King, Captain Henry Douglas||Ramsden, E.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Lamb, J. Q.||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Col. George R.||Remer, J. R.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Rentoul, G. S.||Wells, S. R.|
|Little, Dr. E. Graham||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Locker- Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Rice, Sir Frederick||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Loder, J. de V.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Looker, Herbert William||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Lord, Walter Greaves||Ropner, Major L.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Lougher, L.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. V.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Rye, F. G.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Lumley, L. R.||Salmon, Major I.||Wood, Rt. Hon. E.(York, W.R., Ripon)|
|MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Sandeman, A. Stewart||Wragg, Herbert|
|MacIntyre, Ian||Sanderson, Sir Frank||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|McLean, Major A.||Sandon, Lord|
|Macmillan, Captain H.||Savery, S. S.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)||Colonel Gibbs and Major Sir Harry|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Gosling, Harry||Kennedy, T.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro)||Graham, Rt. Hon. Win. (Edin., Cent.)||Lansbury, George|
|Ammon, Charles George||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Lee, F.|
|Attlee. Clement Richard||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Lindley, F. W.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Lowth, T.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Groves, T.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J.R.(Aberavon)|
|Barnes, A.||Grundy, T. W.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Barr, J.||Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||March, S.|
|Batey, Joseph||Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Maxton, James|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)|
|Bromfield, William||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Montague, Frederick|
|Bromley, J.||Hardie, George D.||Morris, R. H.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Murnin, H.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Hayday, Arthur||Naylor, T. E.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Palin, John Henry|
|Cluse, W. S.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Paling, W.|
|Compton, Joseph||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Connolly, M.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Potts, John S.|
|Cove, W. G.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Dalton, Hugh||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Riley, Ben|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Ritson, J.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Dennison, R.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Robinson, W.C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland)|
|Gillett, George M.||Kelly, W. T.||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
|Salter, Dr. Alfred||Stephen, Campbell||Whiteley, W.|
|Scrymgeour, E.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)||Wignall, James|
|Scurr, John||Sutton, J, E.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Sexton, James||Taylor, R. A.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Thurtle, E.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Varley, Frank B.||Windsor, Walter|
|Slesser, Sir Henry H.||Viant, S. P.||Wright, W.|
|Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Wallhead, Richard C.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Warne, G. H.|
|Snell, Harry||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr.|
|Stamford, T. W.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.||Hayes.|
Question, "That Clauses 20 to 40 stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ Supply accordingly considered in Committee.
§ [Captain FITZROY in the Chair.]