§ Mr. BAKER
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that the Chancellor of the Exchequer agreed in February, 1924, that the pay of the writing assistants in the Civil Service was a suitable question for arbitration; whether the offer of arbitration has been delayed in the hope that a permanent arbitration board would be set up; and whether, having regard to the long delay which the Chancellor did not contemplate and to the urgency of the question, he will take immediate steps to secure a settlement?
My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer informed the Civil Service Clerical Association, in February last, that it would be open to that association to submit to arbitration1134W a claim for an increase in the pay of writing assistants as soon as special arbitration machinery for the Civil Service was set up. I cannot, however, find anything in the claim of the writing assistants to differentiate them from other Civil Service classes who may desire to prosecute a claim for improved remuneration and conditions of service, and, while I have no reason to think that the arbitration scheme for the Civil Service will not be in working in the near future, I am unable to agree that the writing assistants' claim should be the subject of any exceptional arrangements.