asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland what are the necessary qualifications of inspectors of weights and measures in England and Ireland and the amount of the salaries paid to these officers in the case of each country; what is the amount of the fees received and of the surplus lodged to the deposit account as fees for verification of weights and measures in Ireland in each financial year since 1911 and the amount paid to inspectors in respect of this work; what special expenses are chargeable to this account; if he is aware that a falling off in fees does not relieve an inspector from any of his duties; and if it is intended to safeguard the interests of the inspectors by giving them a fixed salary or by applying all the fees solely for their benefit in the manner intended by Section 19 (2) of the Weights and Measures Act of 1889?
§ Mr. SAMUELS
Inspectors of weights and measures must obtain certificates of qualification from the Board of Trade after examination. The qualification is the same throughout the United Kingdom. I have no information as to the remuneration in England, where the salaries of inspectors are fixed by the local authorities who employ them; but in Ireland, where, as a rule, the Royal Irish Constabulary act as ex-officio inspectors of weights and measures, rewards are granted annually out of a Reward Fund. The amounts of fees collected since 1911, the surplus amounts transferred to the Reward Fund, and the sum paid as rewards to ex-officio inspectors, are as follows:—1744W
— Fees collected. Amounts transferred. Total Rewards paid. £ £ £ 1911–12 … 3,775 2,662 2,848 1912–13 … 3,121 2,060 2,862 1913–14 … 2,812 1,777 2,846 1914–15 … 2,672 1,735 2,348 1915–16 … 2,772 1,788 2,349 1916–17 … 2,539 1,766 2,308
The expenses chargeable against the fees include travelling and subsistence of inspectors, cost of instruments, testing of local standards, and examination of candidates. No doubt the hon. Member is correct in suggesting that a falling off in fees does not relieve an inspector of his duties, but legislation would be necessary to provide for the payment of salaries to inspectors. The Weights and Measures Act, 1889, Section 19 (2), is at present complied with by transferring the surplus produce of the fees to the Constabulary Reward Fund. I may add that in the City of Dublin and the adjoining townships the inspectors of weights and measures are appointed and paid by the local authorities.