HC Deb 29 June 1950 vol 476 cc2457-9
69. Mr. Carmichael

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the salary increases proposed to be made to certain officials of the Glasgow Corporation, details of which were sent to him by the hon. Member for Bridgeton.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Douglas Jay)

With very few exceptions the salaries of senior local government officers do not require the assent of His Majesty's Government. But at the request of my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, immediately after the Budget Statement my right hon. Friends who are concerned with local government affairs drew the attention of the authorities to the views expressed in that statement abut restraint in the matter of personal incomes. They expressed the hope that the principles which the Statement set out would be followed throughout the field of public employment. I am bound to say that my right hon. and learned Friend does not feel that in deciding to make substantial and immediate increases in the salaries of their principal officials the Glasgow Corporation have paid adequate regard to the wide and important considerations of public policy which are involved.

Mr. Carmichael

While thanking my hon. Friend for that reply, can I take it he recognises that we cannot restrain the workers in the Corporation, some of whom are getting far less in wages than the increases given to the higher-paid officials? As a consequence of that, the higher officials in the Corporation of Glasgow are responsible for initiating discontent, which we have been trying to avoid.

Mr. Jay

I quite agree that the decision of the Corporation was provocative.

Lieut.-Colonel Elliot

Does the hon. Gentleman also agree that the initiative in this matter came from His Majesty's Government in the grossly excessive salaries paid to members of the Coal Board and other public institutions, which are withdrawing officials from the public corporations and making these increases necessary?

Mr. Jay

No, Sir.

Mrs. Jean Mann

Will my hon. Friend explain why the increases, amounting to as much as £750 a year, should be given when functions have been taken away and responsibilities are so much less by the withdrawal of health services and other functions now taken over by boards?

Lieut.-Colonel Elliot

Will the Financial Secretary look at the scales of salaries paid to officials of boards and other corporations, and see whether he thinks that local authorities can preserve their skilled staff if salaries so greatly in excess are offered by other public bodies?

Mr. Jay

We are discussing here not scales of salaries but increases made in the last few months.

Lieut.-Colonel Elliot

Surely this is not a case—

Mr. Speaker

Dr. King.