§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that many of the officers of Customs and Excise compulsorily superannuated at the age of sixty-one have not completed the forty years' service necessary for full pension; whether at the time these officers entered the Civil Service the age limit was not less than twenty-two on the first day of the competitive examination; whether he can see his way to direct the Commissioners of Customs and Excise to revert to the practice in force up to a few years ago and allow efficient officers who have reached the age of sixty-one to complete forty years' service; whether Customs and Excise officials with salaries ranging from £2,000 to £650 per annum are not compelled to retire at the age of sixty-one although they have at that age reached the maximum pension service; whether the first class officers of Excise sent in a statement to the Customs and Excise Amalgamation Committee requesting to have the rule of compulsory retirement at sixty-one abrogated; and whether, by order of the Committee, the statement was cut out and the officers most concerned were debarred from giving evidence on the subject?
§ Mr. McKENNA
Under the operation of the rule compelling officers of Customs and Excise to retire at sixty-one some of them retire with less than forty years' service. When these officers entered the service the minimum age for entrants was nineteen. As I informed my hon. and learned2290W Friend on the 6th instant, the age for retirement was fixed at sixty-one after careful consideration in 1911 on the recommendation of the Amalgamation Committee, and I regret that I cannot accept the suggestion that the rule should be withdrawn. The age for retirement of the officials of Customs and Excise at salaries of £650 and upwards is, under the Order in Council of 10th January, 1910, within the discretion of the Board, and it is the Board's practice not to enforce retirement at sixty-one. I am not aware of the circumstances referred to in the last two parts of the question; but the printed minutes of evidence do not bear out the statement that the officers were debarred from giving evidence on the subject of the age for retirement.