HL Deb 28 November 1950 vol 169 cc528-30

3.1 p.m.

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, the Second Reading which I now move is again. I think, of a non-controversial Bill and should not occupy a great deal of your Lordships' time. The Bill makes two minor and unrelated adjustments to Civil Service pension arrangements. The first arises from the Chorley recommendations which I mentioned earlier, and deals with the gratuities payable to unestablished civil servants and certain officers of the Supreme Court. The House will perhaps allow me to explain these matters, although if my explanation becomes too technical, your Lordships may inflict on me the remedies to be pro-posed later by the noble Lord, Lord Chorley.

I spoke earlier of the Chancellor's undertaking that the postponement of the Chorley increases following devaluation should not prejudice the pensions or gratuities of retiring officers. Perhaps I should explain that superannuation awards for established civil servants are calculated, for the most part, by reference to the average salary of the last three years' service. For this purpose, under Section 13 of the 1935 Superannuation Act, the salary for any period during which there is in force a temporary abatement of salary may be taken to be unabated salary. Arrangements were therefore made to introduce the new scales formally from October 1, 1949, but to abate them by the amount by which they exceeded the former salaries, for the period of postponement—a very happy device, if I may say so. This period has now been brought to an end with the introduction of the increases as from October 1, 1950. This is the outstanding point. The 1935 Act, however, does not apply to the classes of public servants who are dealt with in this Bill—namely, unestablished civil servants and certain Supreme Court officers. In order to implement the Chancellor's pledge for these officers, Clause 1 of the Bill provides that the gratuities paid to them shall be based on the higher salaries which they would have received if the Chorley rates had actually been received from October 1, 1949. "That is the first main point in the Bill.

The second point in the Bill, which is quite unrelated, concerns the war service of "reconstruction" entrants to the Civil Service. Section 1 of the Superannuation Act, 1946, provided that any person entering the Civil Service during the period beginning September 3, 1939", and ending on a date to be determined by the Treasury, after whole-time service in the Armed Forces, might reckon his Forces service as if it had been unestablished civil service for superannuation purposes. If I may put that more simply, the intention was to give all reconstruction entrants to the Civil Service from the Forces equal rights with those who had spent the war years in temporary Government service. The date to be fixed by the Treasury to terminate this period was laid down by statutory instrument as June 30, 1950, which became, in effect, the end of the war period for the purposes of the 1946 Act, Section 1. If this had not been done, if there had been no date of this kind, the post-war National Service man who subsequently came into the Civil Service would have been able to claim the special benefits provided by the 1946 Act for the war Service man. The National Service man would have reaped all the advantages designed for the war Service man, which was not, I think, intended by any-body. June 30, 1950, was chosen as the time when these post-war National Service men began to come out of the Forces in appreciable numbers.

Some reconstruction competitions for the Civil Service are still proceeding, however, and it is therefore necessary to safe-guard the interests of the small group of reconstruction entrants after June 30, 1950, who are entitled by virtue of their war service to the benefits of the 1946 Act. The second clause of the Bill gives such entrants the same benefits as those reconstruction candidates who entered before the end of June, 1950. Only a very small number of people are affected, but this House has always been ready to do justice to the few, as to the many, and I therefore hope that your Lordships will give this Bill a Second Reading.

On Question, Bill read 2a: Committee negatived.