HC Deb 10 April 1957 vol 568 cc1112-3
5. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation to make a statement on the wages, allowances, pensions, and conditions of service of men in the British coastguard service.

Mr. Watkinson

The pay and allowances of members of Her Majesty's coastguard service are shown on pages 8 and 15 of the 1957–58 Civil Estimates. Members of Her Majesty's coastguard become eligible upon establishment for pension and other superannuation benefits on the same terms as those applicable to established civil servants generally.

As the information about other conditions of service is rather lengthy, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Hughes

Does the Minister realise that the pensons and allowances of the gallant men in the lifeboat service do not appear anywhere because they have not the status of national servants, and would it not be right to give them that?

Mr. Watkinson

It is a voluntary service.

Following is the information.

Coastguardsmen are normally recruited from pensioners of the Royal Navy or Royal Marines and must be at least 27 years old on recruitment. They become eligible for establishment, having passed a proficiency test, after one year's service. They are provided with uniform, including suitable protective clothing, and with free unfurnished accommodation consisting normally of a three-bedroomed house. Promotion from coast-guardsman to station officer and from station officer to district officer is by selection; Station officers must first pass a qualifying examination. Inspectors are normally recruited direct from retired officers of the Royal Navy but district officers of exceptional ability may be considered for promotion to inspector.

Subject to service requirements, coast-guardsmen are entitled to 18 days' annual paid leave rising to 22 days after five years' service. Station Officers are entitled to 18–25 days; district officers 25–28 days and inspectors 30–36 days. Leave of station officers and coastguardsmen is inclusive of Bank and privilege holidays except that when Good Friday or Christmas Day forms part of a leave period it does not count against the leave allowance.

Members of Her Majesty's coastguard do not work a set number of hours per week. but the actual periods of watchkeeping are regulated in accordance with arrangements laid down in an "hours code" which provides for free time in addition to the normal leave allowances.

Paid sick leave is allowed in accordance with the regulations for civil servants generally, i.e. full pay up to six months in any period of twelve months followed by six months on half pay, provided that the total period of sick leave does not exceed twelve months during any period of four years or less

Members of Her Majesty's coastguard are liable to be transferred to any station in the United Kingdom and removal expenses are paid in the case of compulsory transfers. At certain remote stations coastguardsmen become eligible for removal at public expense to another station after three or five years' service.

Subject to maintaining a satisfactory standard of health and efficiency, members of Her Majesty's Coastguard are retained in the service until they reach the age of 65.