said, he would beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether he would be disposed to entertain the applications of certain Officers of the Customs who, owing to the recent changes, have been obliged to retire from the service, for a commutation of their superannuation allowance into money payments, taking into consideration the special circumstances of each case?
said, he was not aware that any applications of the nature described had been made by Officers in the Customs. The commutation of annual allowances into money payments was not, generally speaking, an admissible practice in the public Departments, because, supposing that the value of a pension were paid at once, and the person who received the money subsequently fell into distress, there would be a risk, if he had been a meritorious servant, that the public would still be called upon to shield him from pecuniary want in his old days. The practice was, therefore, one which required to be watched with great care, lest the public should have to pay these pensions twice over. This case, however, now referred to was a special one. In consequence of the reductions of public establishments it might possibly happen that a considerable number of persons would leave the Customs at an early age, and he did not say that under these circumstances the principle of commutation was inadmissible, particularly where the allowance was small, and exclusively, of course, in those cases where the person was young, and where it was to be presumed that the immediate possession of a sum of money would be of much greater value to him than a prospective annual payment. The Government would not, therefore, consider themselves precluded from considering applications of that kind, having regard to the special circumstances of each case.