HC Deb 12 March 1925 vol 181 cc1484-6

asked the Minister of Pensions what was the amount spent by the Ministry in the year 1919–20; what was the number of employs in the finance branch in that year; and whether he can furnish approximate figures for the year ending 31st March next?

Viscount CURZON

The net expenditure for the year 1919–1920 was £98,919,662, and the staff attached to the finance division at the headquarters of the Ministry was 426. The corresponding figures for 1924–1925 are £69,000,000 (approximately) and 516. The increase in the staff at headquarters is due to the closing down of certain regions and to the transfer of accounting functions, including audit, with the necessary staff to headquarters from the provinces. The staff in the finance division, notwithstanding the additional functions mentioned, has been reduced by 51 during the past year.


asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will consider the grant of a bonus to ex-service medical officers now in the employ of the Ministry and under notice of discharge in cases where these officers have five years' service or more under the Ministry, seeing that those fortunate enough to be retained are to receive a rise of pay of £50 per annum in lieu of a bonus based on the number of years served?

Viscount CURZON

It is not customary for temporary civil servants to be paid a bonus on discharge, and my right hon. Friend would not feel justified in urging upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the temporary medical officers of the Ministry of Pensions should be specially privileged in this respect. The hon. and gallant Member is under a misapprehension in thinking that the increase referred to in the last part of his question is being granted in lieu of any such bonus. It has been decided upon as part of a general scheme for the future remuneration of the medical officers of the Ministry, which has been framed after consultation with their staff association.


Is this the result of dictation by a trade union?

Viscount CURZON

I shall have to ask for notice of that question.


Is the Noble Lord aware that many of these medical officers have given many years' efficient medical service to the Ministry, and does he consider it fair or reasonable, when their services are dispensed with because of decreased work, to throw them out of employment and give them no bonus or gratuity to enable them to find other work?


Is the Noble Lord aware that some other men who have served other Departments for many years are thrown out of work without any consideration whatever?


That is a matter of argument.

16. Mr. CLUSE

asked the Minister of Pensions what is the present establishment of the finance branch of the Ministry of Pensions; what was the establishment in 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923 and 1924; and what proportion have reductions in the establishment of this branch in the last three years borne to reductions in the other branches of the Ministry of Pensions?

Viscount CURZON

As the answer is a long one, comprising a number of figures, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

The staff attached to the Finance Division, Headquarters, on the 1st March. 1925, was 516.

Corresponding figures for the year 1917 are not available; those for the years 1918–1919 are as follows:

Year. Staff.
1918 106
1919 407
1920 426
1921 481
1922 506
1923 585
1924 561

A direct comparison of this staff with other branches cannot easily be made because, owing to changes in organisation consequent upon the War Pensions Act, 1921, and the closing down of Regional Offices, there has been, and is still proceeding, a gradual concentration at headquarters of finance work formerly performed in the regions. The decrease in staff engaged on finance duties throughout the Ministry, including provincial staff, has, during the last three years, been greater proportionately than that in the staff of the Ministry as a whole.