§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the Board of Customs and Excise are compulsorily superannuating all officers of Customs and Excise at the age of sixty-one; whether these officers are asked to volunteer for service in the same capacity on signing an agreement not to claim superannuation on the reserve service so rendered; whether, when these officers entered the Civil Service, the custom of both Excise and Customs Departments was to allow efficient officers in both Departments to serve up to at least the age of sixty-five; whether periodical examinations are being held by the Civil Service Commissioners to fill the vacancies compulsorily created; and whether he can name any other civil Department of the State recruited by open competition where the working staff is compelled to superannuate at the age of sixty-one?
§ Mr. McKENNA
I am aware of the facts alluded to by the hon. and learned Member. It has for many years been a recognised rule of the service that a Civil servant might be called upon to retire at the200W discretion of the head of his Department at any time after reaching the age of sixty, and this rule was embodied in the Orders in Council of 1890 and 1898. After careful consideration of the nature of the duties which fall to be performed by Customs and Excise officers, the age for retirement in this class was fixed at sixty-one in 1911 on the recommendation of the Customs and Excise Amalgamation Committee. Some time before the outbreak of War, in order to provide a reserve of officers available for re-employment in the event of an emergency, a register had been prepared of retired officers who were prepared to volunteer for re-employment on certain fixed terms as to pay and allowances. On the outbreak of War all the officers whose names were on the register were called up for service on the terms agreed. The case of officers who fell due for retirement at the age of sixty-one after the outbreak of War was carefully considered, and it was felt that it would be advisable, both in the interests of administration and of the great majority of the staff, that they should retire in the ordinary course and be re-employed on the conditions laid down for the general scheme. Examinations for recruiting the Customs and Excise have been temporarily suspended.