HL Deb 20 January 1959 vol 213 cc561-2

3.10 p.m.


My Lords, in the unavoidable absence of my noble friend Lord Pakenham, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in his name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government if they will now announce the revised salary scales for probation officers.]


My Lords, I understand that the Joint Negotiating Committee for the Probation Service have at present under consideration a claim by probation officers for revised salary scales, and until these negotiations are concluded Her Majesty's Government will not be in a position to make any announcement.


My Lords, I understand that this matter has been under consideration for some time. May I take it that we shall be able to hear before the forthcoming debate on the youth services what the position is?


My Lords, I am sorry that it is not possible for me to forecast when the joint negotiating committee will complete their deliberations.


My Lords, is the noble Lord aware that last January, when the Home Secretary felt obliged to cut the rates recommended by the negotiating committee, he promised to look into the matter as soon as the economic position allowed. Would not the noble Lord agree that the time has now arrived, and does he not think he could urge Her Majesty's Government to come to an early decision on behalf of these most dedicated men?


My Lords, I am, of course, aware of what my right honourable friend said a year ago. It is hardly, I think, for me to express an opinion on whether that time has arrived, but the negotiations are, as I said, in progress, and I am sure that my right honourable friend will be taking all factors into consideration as soon as the committee advise him. Meantime, if the noble Lord will allow, I will certainly convey to my right honourable friend, what he has said.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord whether he is aware of the very high esteem in which magistrates hold the work of these probation officers, and that they sympathise very deeply with them in the difficulties under which they carry on their extremely valuable work?


Yes, my Lord, I am aware of that.