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Volume 221: debated on Thursday 30 July 1874

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asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If he has finally considered and decided whether the Treasury intend to put the Out-door Officers of Customs on the same footing as the Clerks as to back pay; and, whether he will sanction the same pay being given to the subordinate Out-door Officers at the chief outports as paid to Officers performing the same duties at Liverpool?

, in reply, said, that with regard to the first Question, he believed the case stood thus: a Commission or Committee was appointed by the Government in 1868, which drew up a scheme for the improvement of the position of the clerks of the Customs. That scheme was coupled with a recommendation that the salaries of the clerks at the outports should be accommodated to the proposals recommended as to the London clerks. There was a further recommendation that after that had been done, the position of the out-door officers should also be considered. At that juncture there was a change of Government, and the new Government suspended the whole of these proceedings. After a time the matter was taken up again, and the Report which had been made to the previous Government was adopted, and it was decided to give to the clerks in London that which had been proposed for them. It was further decided that as the matter had been suspended for a considerable time, the clerks should have back pay during that time of suspension. Then came the ease of the clerks at the outports; and it was decided that they also should receive back pay, but not for the same period as that for which the London clerks received it. Then came the case of the out-door officers, with regard to whom no scheme had been proposed. Ultimately a scheme was prepared, and their salaries were increased; but the question of giving them back pay was one which did not appear to be founded in reason or justice, their case being essentially different from that of the other two classes of clerks. With regard to the salaries of the subordinate out-door officers at the chief outports, they certainly deserved re-consideration; but it would not be possible to put them upon the same footing as the Liverpool clerks, because the amount of business done at Liverpool was second only to that of London, and greatly in excess of that of any other of the out-ports. Liverpool and London had always been treated on a different footing from any other out-port. The position of the clerks in the out-door out-ports, however, should be considered.