HL Deb 15 July 1946 vol 142 cc419-23

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

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

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

(The LORD STANMORE in the Chair.)

Clause 1:

Counting of certain war service for superannuation purposes.

1.—(1) Where, during the period beginning with the third day of September, nineteen hundred and thirty-nine, and ending with such date as the Treasury may by order appoint, a person has entered the civil service of the State after whole-time service during that period in the armed forces of the Crown, in the merchant navy or the mercantile marine, or in any of the women's services specified in the First Schedule to this Act, then for the purposes of section four of the Superannuation Act, 1887, or section three of the Superannuation Act, 1914 (which relate to gratuities on retirement or death), or section three of the Superannuation Act, 1933 (which enables persons who become civil servants to reckon for superannuation purposes previous service in an unestablished capacity) any such whole-time service as aforesaid served by that person after he had attained the age at which, in the opinion of the Treasury, he might but for war circumstances have been appointed to the civil service of the State in the class in which he was in fact appointed shall, subject to any regulations made under this section, be treated as if it had been continuous service in an unestablished capacity ending immediately before the date on which the said person entered the civil service of the State.

LORD LLEWELLIN had given notice that he would move in subsection (1) to leave out the second "unestablished" and insert "established." The noble Lord said: In my speech on Second Reading I drew attention to the phrase used on page 2, line 3, "in an unestablished capacity." Since then, by the courtesy of the noble Lord, I have had an opportunity of discussing the position with him. I understand that by putting in the word "unestablished" we put those men who served in the Forces in the same category as those who have been serving in the Civil Service, because none of them were established during the days of the war. If we left out the word "unestablished" and put in the word "established," we should be putting them in a better position, and that I have no intention of doing. If I am right in that regard, as I believe I am, then I do not wish to move the Amendment.

Clause 2:

Superannuation of late entrants to civil service.

2.—(1) If with respect to any person becoming a civil servant after attaining the age of forty years the Treasury have directed that he shall be subject to the provisions of this subsection, then for the purposes of the Superannuation Acts the length of his service shall be treated as eight-fifths of the actual length thereof.

LORD LLEWELLIN moved, in subsection (1), after "becoming" to insert "an established." The noble Lord said: In discussing this and the next two Amendments, I would point out that Clause 2 (1) begins by saying, "If with respect to any person becoming a civil servant, "I am suggesting that you should insert the word "established" so that it shall read: "becoming an established civil servant." I believe it is desired to use Clause 2 in respect of a certain number of people who have been temporary civil servants during the war. We ought to make it quite clear that it is to be applicable to them. I have had an opportunity through the courtesy of the noble Lord, to learn what has been laid down as the definition of "a civil servant." It is laid down that it means "an established civil servant." That is not the way in which any noble Lords in this House have thought of it, it is just as well to get Acts of Parliament more into line with what people are thinking and with the way they use phrases, without everybody having to refer back to Statutes passed in the reign of the gracious Queen Victoria, if not before. I would like to see it quite clear. I do not know whether the noble Lord will be breaking a precedent if he accepts the word "established," but I believe we all want it to mean that.

Amendment moved— Clause 2, page 2, line 26, after ("becoming") insert ("an established").—(Lord Llewellin.)


The noble Lord has made a speech which, in his place, I should have been very much tempted to make, and I will give him a reply which, in my place, he would no doubt have delivered by way of a return. Section 12 of the Superannuation Act, 1887, provides that the expression "civil servant" means a person who has served in an established capacity in the permanent Civil Service of the State. The noble Lord is aware of that, but he may not be aware (although it is possible that he is) that the same meaning attaches to the words "civil servant" in a number of Acts. In Section 3 of the Superannuation Act, 1935, we find at the beginning: If, as respects any person who, at the time when he becomes a civil servant, is serving the State in an unestablished capacity … So, in that Act of 1935, you get the temporary civil servant referred to as someone serving the State in an unestablished capacity, who becomes a civil servant when he is established but not before. It is not for me to improve on the language of the draftsmen. All I can say is that the proposal of the noble Lord, while it is bound to command sympathy among those who like the English tongue to be a medium of clear expression, is too revolutionary to be accepted this afternoon. While I hope he will not altogether forsake his idea of one day redrafting a great many Acts, I do hope for the moment he will withdraw this Amendment.


This is not a matter about which to make any great warfare, but I should have thought we could have made it quite clear in Clause 9 (1) of this Bill and had "unestablished capacity" defined. Of course, that is rather complicated. It has the same meaning as in Section 3 (4) of the Superannuation Act of 1935, if you go back to that Act, which is … employment in the civil service of the State otherwise than in the capacity of a civil servant as defined by Section twelve of the Superannuation Act, 1887, being employment to which the person serving therein is required to devote his whole time. … We could quite easily get rid of that and put in the word "established," and although, as I said, we obviously do not mean to press this Amendment on the House or the Government, I should be obliged if the noble Lord could devote himself to putting through a little revolution like this before the Report stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 2 agreed to.

Clause 3 agreed to.

Clause 4:

Modifications of Superannuation Acts to meet war circumstances.

4.—(1) For the purpose of adapting the Superannuation Acts to the circumstances of persons whose employment in the civil service of the State (in this subsection referred to as "usual employment") has been interrupted Or terminated by war circumstances, so as to authorise the making, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, of awards which, or the amount of which, would not be authorised under the said Acts apart from this section, the Treasury may make regulations providing, in the case of persons of any class to which the regulations apply,— (e) in the case of a person who on or after the said date left his usual employment through having for reasons of conscience refused to enter on service in the armed forces of the Crown or to continue in his usual employment, but later entered on such service or returned to employment in the civil service of the State, and was subsequently reinstated in his usual employment, for reckoning as aforesaid such service or employment before he was reinstated;

3.25 p.m.

LORD LLEWELLIN moved, in subsection (1), to leave out paragraph (e). The noble Lord said: I made a point, when I was speaking on the Second Reading, in regard to this paragraph (e) of Clause 4. It seems to me it is a rather complicated piece of drafting, and it did not make clear its meaning to me at First Reading or before I made my speech on the Second Reading. I gather now that all paragraph (e) does is to enable a person, if he is a conscientious objector, to be treated as though he were a civil servant, making his years of service count for superannuation from the moment, not when he has been reinstated but when he is taken back into the Civil Service. There may be some three or four weeks or some three or four months before it is decided by the Civil Service Commissioners, or whoever is the appropriate person, to reinstate him in the Civil Service, and it is only after he has done that sort of probationary period that he may count the intervening time, when he was serving as a civil servant, for his superannuation benefit. If I am right in saying that is what it means, I have no objection to it, but it was not entirely clear to me. I would like it to be confirmed that I have now got it more or less right.

Amendment moved— Page 4, line to, leave out paragraph (e).—(Lord Llewellin.)


The noble Lord has clarified the position completely with regard to the civil servant who is dismissed because he does not accept the findings of a tribunal in view of his conscientious scruples, and who afterwards has a change of heart and re-enters the Civil Service. There is also the case of the man whose change of heart leads him into the fighting line. In such a case, of course, there may be a considerable period of service of something longer than the three or four weeks or three or four months referred to by the noble Lord. However, the noble Lord has cleared up the principle of the clause and I am very grateful to him.


In the circumstances, I do not press this Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 4 agreed to.

Remaining Clauses agreed to.

Schedules agreed to.

House resumed.

Then, Standing Order No. XXXIX having been suspended, Bill read 3ª and passed.