HC Deb 16 November 1911 vol 31 cc664-5W

asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether, in view of the changes made in the conditions of examination for assistantships of Customs and Excise, as announced for the examination to be held next February, namely, the reduction of the higher age limit from twenty-two to twenty-one years, and the change in the literary portion of the examination programme, and of the fact that only three months' notice of such alterations of the programme has been given, and having regard to the fact that many students who have spent time and money in qualifying themselves for examination under the old regulations will be shut out of all competition if the new regulations are insisted upon, he will recommend that the older regulations be adhered to for the February examination, or that such modifications will be introduced into the revised programme as to ensure that no hardship will be inflicted upon any section of intending candidates?


I must refer the hon. Member to earlier answers which I have given to similar questions, from which it will be seen that it has been decided to allow the former age limits to apply to the examination to be held in February. I am not prepared to suggest to the Civil Service Commissioners any further modifications in the regulations recently issued, which apply equally to all candidates. Although the regulations for the new examination for officers for Customs and Excise were only issued in October definite warning has been given to candidates for the old situation of assistant of Customs and Excise for over eighteen months that no announcement could be made as to the limits of age at future examinations.


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the dissatisfaction which now prevails in the amalgamated service of Customs and Excise at the findings of the Hobhouse Committee of Inquiry, he will state if any modifications in the Committee's Report are contemplated, and, if so, the nature thereof, and when such modifications may be published; and when the findings of the committee are to become operative?


The findings of the Hobhouse Committee have been generally approved by the Treasury, and are being carried into effect in due course. A number of questions have arisen as to the interpretation of some of the recommendations and their application to the existing staff, and requests have been received for the modification of some details of the proposed scheme. These points are being dealt with as quickly as possible, but it is not possible to say when they will all be disposed of.


asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether an examination in connection with the Customs and Excise Departments has been advertised by the Civil Service Commissioners to take place in February, 1912; whether the maximum age of entrants has been altered from twenty-two years to twenty-one; whether notice of this alteration was given to intending competitors, and, if so, what length of notice; and whether, in view of the fact that many youths at present studying for such examination will by this change be deprived of the opportunity of sitting for it, he will recommend the Civil Service Commissioners to suspend the new regulation for six months or a year?


I must refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on the 8th instant to the hon. Member for the Newbury Division.