§ Sir R. Gower
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason he refuses to allow the Admiralty to base the pensions of industrial civil servants upon the actual wages they receive during their working life rather than upon the notional wages which they do not receive; whether he has considered counsel's opinion submitted to him, that this interpretation of the Superannuation Acts is not justified; and whether, despite the fact that the Superannuation Act, 1859, allows the Treasury decision in these matters to be 42W final, he will allow this matter to be referred to independent arbitration of some kind?
§ Sir K. Wood
I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to the claim that the pensions of those industrial civil servants employed by the Admiralty who are paid at piece-work rates should be calculated upon their piece-work earnings instead of as at present upon the weekly rates of pay of their grades. Under Section 2 of the Superannuation Act, 1859 the pension of a civil servant falls to be calculated upon "the annual salary and emoluments of his office" and the administration of this section is a matter for the discretion of the Treasury. It has always been the practice of the Treasury to assess pension with reference to the stable and permanent remuneration of the office held and not with reference to the fluctuating earnings of individual officers. Payment by piece rates is not a stable and permanent element of the remuneration of industrial civil servants. Its incidence varies from time to time as well as between individuals, grades and dockyards, and many specially skilled individuals or grades cannot, owing to the nature of their work, be paid on a piece-rate basis. If therefore the claim were conceded it would produce serious inequalities. On the other hand, the weekly rates of pay attached to a civil servant's grade, which are guaranteed to him even when he may be doing piece work, yield stable rates of pension on a uniform basis for all the officers concerned. The answer to the second part of the Question is in the affirmative. I regret to be unable to accept the suggestion made in the last part of the Question.