§ [SECOND READING].
§ Order of the day for the Second Reading read.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
My Lords, this is a small Departmental Bill, the larger part of which has been inherited by His Majesty's Government from their predecessors. It is, therefore, largely uncontroversial, and I hope your Lordships will give it a Second Reading without difficulty. The main object of the Bill is clearly stated in the first clause. It is to give pensions to constables who continue to serve after they have qualified for a pension. The idea is that the various local authorities should be able to retain in their service experienced men who are still fit to do the work, and that their pensions should not be made subject to 1419 forfeiture if during the time they serve afterwards they make some slip which might render it necessary otherwise for them to forego their pension. It is hoped by the Home Office that one result of this Bill will be to reduce the heavy burden which at present rests on the ratepayers for police pensions. To give an instance, I may state that the deficiency on the Metropolitan Police Pensions Fund which is not met by deductions from the pay was in 1894 not more than £39,000, while last year it amounted to £177,959. It is hoped that by giving a small gratuity to these policemen they will continue to serve, and that therefore the whole of the pension will not fall on the rates. The second clause makes it clear that if a constable rejoins the force after having left owing to illness or some other cause, his early service shall rank for pension. Clause 3 deals with approved service in case of Naval and Army Reservists. The other clauses are quite simple, with the exception of Clause 7 (reckoning of approved service in different forces), on which I understand it is not unlikely that one noble Lord will desire to move an Amendment in Committee. In the circumstances I think it better to defer what I have to say on that clause until we reach the Committee stage. It is hoped that the Bill will prove a considerable boon to a very deserving class of public servants, and I hope your Lordships will give it a Second Reading.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—;(Earl Beauchamp.)
§ On Question, Bill read 2a (according to Order), and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Thursday next.