§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR DOMINION AFFAIRS (THE EARL OF PLYMOUTH)
My Lords, the main object of this Bill is to give effect to the recommendations of the Committee presided over by the noble Earl, Lord Buxton. Clause 1 provides for new rates of pensions, rising to a maximum of £2,000 per annum. The clause is made retrospective to March 22, 1928, the date of the publication of the Report of the noble Earl's Committee, and that was done in deference to a request of that character which he made when the subject 674 was last raised in your Lordships' House. It was as long ago as 1911 that the maximum pension for ex-Governors was raised to £1,300 per annum. This proposed further increase to £2,000 is the result first of all of the Report of the Committee presided over by the noble Earl, secondly to a feeling that it was only right and just that, as a result of the large rise in the cost of living, some step of this kind should be taken, and thirdly, in order to conform to an increase in pensions that has taken place in the various branches of the Civil Service.
There is an impression current that this means that a large percentage of ex-Governors will reach this maximum of £2,000 for their pensions. I think it right to point out that that is not so by any means. It will be only in very rare cases indeed that a Governor will be able to earn the full pension of £2,000 a year. The second clause enables any ex-Civil Service Governor who has completed ten years' service as Governor to have his pension calculated under the Superannua- 675 tion Acts on his last Civil Service salary, if this would be more to his advantage. This is to avoid the anomaly of a senior civil servant in one of the larger Colonies suffering loss of pension prospects on appointment to a Governorship in one of the smaller Colonies. The main purpose of Clause 3 is to clear up a technical defect in the existing Act, and I do not think it is necessary for me to go into the details of that. The other clauses deal with matters both technical and of another nature. I hope your Lordships will feel that this Bill does do what it was hoped it would do, namely, clear away a certain number of the anomalies and injustices which exist with reference to this matter. I hope your Lordships will give the Bill a Second Reading.
§ Mover, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(The Earl of Plymouth.)
My Lords, as one who moved a Resolution on this subject a few months ago I wish to congratulate the Government on having implemented the undertakings, if I may so call them, which they made on that occasion by bringing in this Bill in another place and bringing it forward for Second Reading in your Lordships' House this afternoon. I should like, if I may, to ask the noble Earl whether this actually carries out what the noble Earl, Lord Buxton, referred to during his remarks in the debate that took place the other evening. I understand from the noble Earl that that is so, and in that case I have nothing more to say except to thank the Government for having acted so speedily in this matter. I am sure the Governors in the various Colonies who are serving now and were serving on March 22, 1928, will be very grateful to the Government for putting them in a better position when their pension becomes payable.
§ EARL BUXTON
My Lords, I only wish to say that if my noble friend will look at Clause 1 (3) he will see that that carries out the undertaking—the undertaking being that the provision should date back to the time of the publication of the Report. The Government has been good enough to include that in the Bill, and therefore that answers my noble friend's point.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.