asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that discontent prevails amongst the officers of Customs and Excise who are entitled to thirty-two days' leave per annum; whether he is aware that these officers are the only part of that service to be wrongly treated; and whether he will give attention to this matter so that these officers may obtain the compensation due to them, and undertake to see that their thirty-two days' leave per annum may be ensured to them after the War, or that they be paid an increase of salary as compensation should it be necessary owing to the exigencies of public service to reduce the leave now due to them?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
This question has been fully dealt with in the replies given to the hon. Member by me on the 20th and 29th November, and the 15th May last. The leave allowed to this class was last year four full weeks, in addition to public holidays. This year it has not been possible at present to allow them more than three full weeks, in addition to public holidays, but, as they know, the question of extending this will be considered later in the year. I am surprised that a body of public servants should in war time protest against this as a grievance, and I am still more surprised that they should continue their protests. They are by no means the only class in the Customs and Excise Service or in the Civil Service generally who do not obtain in war time the full leave which they might be granted in peace time, but I am glad to say that elsewhere in the Civil Service restrictions on leave have been accepted in the proper spirit with a due recognition of the public necessity which demands individual sacrifice. The present restrictions are purely temporary, but, as the hon. Member has already been informed, all leave is subject to the requirements of the public service, and no questions of compensation can arise at any time if it falls short of the maximum.