HL Deb 30 July 1913 vol 14 cc1540-5

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Ashby St. Ledgers.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The EARL OF DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]

Clause 1 agreed to.


I think it necessary to say a few words in explanation of my motion to insert, after Clause 1, the new clause standing in my name on the Paper. The Intermediate Education Board which controls and directs the administration of secondary education in Ireland was created in 1878. In the Act creating the Board no power was given to provide pensions for the staff of the Board, but this difficulty was remedied by an Act of 1900, in which the following section was introduced— The Board may, if they think fit, out of the funds placed at their disposal, grant, with the approval of the Treasury, superannuation allowances to the assistant commissioners, inspectors, clerks, and other officers of the Board, not exceeding in amount the allowance provided in the scale contained in the Superannuation Act of 1859. In course of time doubts arose as to the competency of the Board to create a pensionary scheme under that Act. They were entitled to give pensions to individuals, but the question was raised whether they could make a pension scheme which would be binding upon their successors. These doubts remained unsolved, and in the year 1909 an Act was passed by the Imperial Government to amend the Superannuation Act of 1859.

The officers of the intermediate Education Board who bad been allowed pensions wished to take advantage of the Act of 1909, which differs from the Superannuation Act of 1859 in this respect, that the officer is allowed to capitalise, as it were, a portion of his pension. Under the Act of 1859 the officer gets one-sixtieth of the pay which he draws per annum on retirement, but under the Act of 1909 he gets one-eightieth, but is entitled or allowed to take in a lump sum what really represents the difference between those two fractions. The officers of the Intermediate Board desired to make use of that privilege, but they were informed on legal advice that the Act of 1909 did not apply to them. Shortly afterwards they came to learn that the National Insurance authorities in Dublin were doubtful whether the Act of 1900, which enabled the Board to grant them pensions, did secure them immunity from the obligations which fell upon them under the Insurance Act. If they got their pensions, of course, they would be exempt, but those of them who did not happen to get pensions but looked forward to getting them were not exempt. These circumstances caused a great feeling of unrest in the minds of the establishment of the Intermediate Board, and they approached the Irish Government with a view of amending matters. The Irish Government recognised the substantiality of the grievance, and in the Bill to amend the Intermediate Education Act which they introduced last session they made provision precisely in the words of my Amendment. That Bill was not proceeded with for reasons unconnected with the question of pensions; but a smaller Bill, a Bill of a very moderate character, was introduced in its stead, which merely provided that children under the age of 14 should not be subjected to the system of examination which the Intermediate Board provides in Ireland.

In these circumstances the officers of the Intermediate Board approached me and asked if I would move to introduce into this Bill the clause regarding pensions which appeared in the preceding Bill but which has been dropped out in this one. On receiving the expression of their wishes I put myself in communication with the Chief Secretary, and on his expressing his willingness and readiness to allow the Amendment to be made in this Bill I gave notice of the Amendment which appears on the Paper of your Lordships' House. So far as I understood from the remarks of Lord Ashby St. Ledgers yesterday, there is no opposition on the part of the Irish Government to this proposal, and I do not think that any opposition in another place need be anticipated. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

After Clause 1, insert the following clause: 2. The Board shall, in addition to the powers given to them by section three of the Intermediate Education (Ireland) Act, 1900, have power, with the approval of the Treasury, to make a scheme providing for the grant of superannuation and other allowances or gratuities to or for the benefit of such of the assistant commissioners, and of the inspectors, clerks and other officers employed by the Board, as may be from time to time approved by the Treasury, and may out of the funds at their disposal, pay to such persons on retirement, or to their legal personal representatives on death, such superannuation and other allowances or gratuities under the scheme as the Treasury may sanction in each case, and the Treasury may determine those funds to be public funds for the purposes of the Superannuation Act, 1892."—(Lord MacDonnell of Swinford.)


As I stated yesterday, the Government have no objection to this Amendment. It merely deals with a subject which has been recognised as one that should be dealt with, and the manner in which my noble friend proposes to deal with it meets with our approval. As I stated yesterday, my only fear is, this being an agreed Bill, that there is just the bare possibility of this Amendment being objected to in another place. But subject to that one proviso the Government have no objection to the noble Lord's Amendment.


I have no special interest in this subject, and I dare say it is right that these persons should be pensioned. But it does seem to me, merely reading this proposal, that it trespasses on the privileges of the other House, and that it will probably meet with that kind of reception when it gets back there. I do not understand why, if the Government did not object to it, they did not insert this Amendment in the Bill which they proposed this year.


May I explain that the pensions do not fall on provided moneys, but on the endowment of the Intermediate Board. There will be no additional taxation necessary for the purpose of meeting these pensions.


That may be; but it diverts to those pensions money which otherwise would go to the ordinary work of the Intermediate Education Board.


As far as I understand it, the Board have power to grant pensions. What they have not power to do is to make a scheme by which those who enter the service of the Board may know at the time they enter how they will stand at the end of their period of service. It certainly does divert money to pensions which at present goes to other purposes, but if your Lordships accept the Amendment of my noble friend it will enable the Intermediate Board to make a. scheme so that anybody may know when entering the service what they are entitled to by way of pension at the termination of their service. There is another difference, and it is this: The old Superannuation Act made no provision for the grant of a lump sum as a pension either to the pensioner or his relatives on his retirement. He got a larger annual pension, but no lump sum. The Superannuation Act of 1892 enables a lump sum and a smaller annual sum to be paid to the pensioner. It is for that reason that my noble friend introduces the words that "the Treasury may determine those funds to be public funds for the purposes of the Superannuation Act, 1892." But there, again, that involves no charge on the taxpayer; it is merely a different allocation of the same sum of money. In those circumstances I hardly think it could be sustained in another place that this Amendment would be a breach of their privileges, because it really involves no additional cost to the taxpayer. I hope, therefore, that the noble Viscount will take no objection.


I do not in the least wish to stand in the way of the Amendment of the noble Lord being inserted here, but as it seemed to me to be a very doubtful proposition I thought from that point of view it was wise to offer a word of warning.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 2:

Power to make rules.

2.—(1) Board may, with the approval of the Lord Lieutenant, make rules for carrying into effect the objects of this Act, and in particular for prescribing and satisfying themselves as to the observance of conditions upon which managers of schools may receive payment of fees.

(2) All rules made in pursuance of this section shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament within twenty-one days next after the same have been made, if Parliament is then sitting, or if Parliament is not then sitting, within twenty-one days after the commencement of the then next ensuing session, and if any such rules are disapproved by either House of Parliament within forty days after the same have been so laid before Parliament, such rules, or such part thereof as may be so disapproved, shall thereupon become void and of no effect.


The Amendment I have to propose is consequential on the Amendment that has been accepted, and it is practically a verbal one. It is to insert the words "Section 1 of" after the words "the objects of" in subsection (1) of Clause 2. This is to make it clear that the rules which are dealt with in this clause should apply only to Clause 1 and not to the new clause that we have just accepted.

Amendment moved— Page 2, line 5, after ("of") insert ("Section 1 of").—(Lord Ashby St. Ledgers.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining clause agreed to.

The Report of Amendments to be received To-morrow, and Standing Order No. XXXIX to be considered in order to its being dispensed with: Bill to be printed as amended. (No. 145.)