HC Deb 17 February 1949 vol 461 cc184-6W
Mr. Benson

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will now arrange for the publication of the report of the Chorley Committee on the remuneration of the higher posts of the Civil Service; and what decisions the Government have reached on its recommendations.

Sir S. Cripps

Yes. The report is being published as a White Paper and copies will be available in the Vote Office later this evening.

The main recommendation of the Committee is in favour of increases in the remuneration of the higher grades in the administrative, professional, scientific and technical classes of the Civil Service. Subsidiary recommendations deal with certain other questions, such as complementing and superannuation. In determining their attitude to the Committee's recommendations on remuneration, His Majesty's Government have given most serious consideration, in particular, to the bearing upon them in present circumstances of the principles of the White Paper on Personal Incomes. They recall that a claim for a general and substantial increase in salaries was submitted to the Treasury as long ago as March, 1947, by the First Division Association, representing the Administrative Class. It was not possible, for various reasons, to reach a decision on the claim immediately, and it was because of the need to obtain an impartial, authoritative and representative opinion on its merits that the Government decided to follow the precedent of the Asquith Committee after the 1914–18 war, and about a year ago invited Lord Chorley and his colleagues to advise them in the matter. Having regard to the views expressed by this independent Committee, His Majesty's Government have decided that the improved salaries recommended must be accepted in principle as the appropriate levels of remuneration of the grades concerned. But when regard is had to special circumstances and the difficult times through which we are passing, some measure of postponement must be involved in the adoption of the new scales of salaries recommended.

The representatives of the grades concerned, with whom I have discussed the matter, have also recognised this possible difficulty, and have indicated that, while they are anxious for the recommendations of the Committee to be implemented with the least possible delay, they are willing, in the circumstances, to acquiesce in the postponement of action on the report for a period, and thereafter in the application of the new salaries by gradual stages.

I should like here to pay tribute to the public spirit shown in this attitude and to acknowledge this contribution by the people concerned to the sacrifices which all sections of the community are being called upon to bear.

The Government propose to proceed accordingly. It is their intention that a start should be made before long to give effect to the salary improvements recommended by the Committee, and they hope that it may be possible to do this before the end of the present calendar year. The action to be taken on the other recommendations of the Committee will be the subject of further consideration and discussion with representatives of the staff concerned.