I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that the promise made by his predecessor on 31st July last, that the outdoor officers promoted to the grade of Assistants of Customs, who did practically the same work in their former posts, would have that fact recognised by being placed at a higher point in the scale of salary assigned to Assistants of Customs, has not been fulfilled, and that these officers have been informed that no further recognition must be looked for; and if he will state why this promise has not been fulfilled, and whether he will take measures to see that it is carried out.
Yes, Sir, I am aware of the promise made by my right hon. friend that the men who, before they were appointed to the new class of Assistants of Customs, had as outdoor officers been doing work equal to that of the new class, should count the time during which they had done such work and take their position in future in the scale of the new class accordingly. Steps were at once taken to carry out this promise. After careful consideration it was decided to allow them to count all time in excess of three years served as outdoor officers as if it were time spent on duties equal to that of the new class, and that to give effect to the promise made each of the officers affected should be placed at the point which he would have reached if he had become an assistant on the completion of three years service as outdoor officer. On applying this rule to the individual-cases it was found that owing to a special concession made to this class of officer in March, 1897, the benefit of the concession promised by my right hon. friend' was already enjoyed in practice by the whole of the staff concerned with some few very slight and temporary exceptions, not amounting in most cases to more than a few shillings. I have directed that in all these cases the difference, whatever it is, shall be paid to the officers concerned; and when this has been done the promise of my right hon. friend will, have been completely fulfilled.