HC Deb 08 November 1962 vol 666 cc1130-1
9. Sir B. Janner

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that the 2½per cent. rise in salaries to probation officers to be effective from 1st April, 1962, has been rounded down to the nearest £5, and that, consequently, certain officers are receiving an increase of only 1.9 per cent.; and what steps he is taking in order to ensure that every probation officer receives the full two and a half per cent. rise in salary.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Charles Fletcher-Cooke)

In calculating the new scales, the usual practice was followed of rounding the increase at each point up or down to the nearest £5. As a consequence, the actual percentage increases at different points of the various scales ranged from 1.9 per cent. to 3 per cent.

The Joint Negotiating Committee for the Probation Service has recently failed to reach agreement on a salary claim for further increases with effect from 1st April, 1962, and I understand that the claim is being referred to arbitration. My right hon. Friend must now await the outcome of the arbitration.

Sir B. Janner

Would the hon. Gentleman say why on earth even on a meagre, silly, increase of 2½per cent. he still finds it necessary to reduce that amount so that in some cases £5 or £6 is saved by the Treasury as against the probation officer? Does he not feel that the probation service is of such a highly essential nature that every consideration should be given—there should be no cheeseparing—and will he see to it that the recommendation of the Morrison Committee for a 31 per cent. increase shall be accepted? Is he aware that there is very considerable agitation about this in the service itself, and that it does us no good?

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

On the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, I can say that, of course, some get more and some get less. This rounding up and down is a practice followed in all these matters in fixing, for example, local government salary scales. As to the second point, since it is now in arbitration it would be quite wrong for me to say anything further, except that immediate and sympathetic consideration will be given to the outcome as soon as it is known.

Miss Bacon

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that 2½per cent. in the first place was a ludicrous amount to offer and that to reduce the 2½per cent. below 2 per cent. is just adding insult to injury?

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

In some cases it was raised to 3 per cent., otherwise we get, in these matters, into the difficulty where we have fractions of a penny and things like that. Rounding up and rounding down is, I think, a commonsense approach to the matter.