§ Order Of the day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD BELPER
My Lords, this is another very small measure, the object of which is to remove a doubt which exists as to the exact amount of pension which may be paid to officers retiring from prison service. It appears that when the Prisons Act was passed, it was laid down that the amount of the pensions should not exceed the Civil Service scale, whereas formerly, under the old system, it was the custom to give two-thirds of the salary. Under the Civil Service scale it is necessary to have served for forty years before being entitled to a pension of two-thirds of the salary. A grievance has consequently arisen. In several cases the local authority has apphe d to be enabled to give the full two-thirds, and the Treasury, in order to avoid any unfairness being done, especially as it was understood when the Prisons Act passed, that the officers should not be put in a worse position than formerly, agreed to sanction this on condition that the extra money should be paid by the local authority. Some of the local government auditors have raised the question whether this can be legally done, and this Bill is for the purpose of legalising these payments, both in the past and in the future. If the Bill passes, the local authorities will he able to give pensions of two-thirds of the salary in those cases where they think proper, on the understanding, of course, that no extra charge is made on the Treasury, and that the extra amount over and above the pension receivable under the Prisons Act is paid by the local authorities.
Bill read 2a (according to order), and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Tuesday next.
House adjourned at twenty minutes before Five o'clock, to Monday next, a quarter before Eleven o'clock.