I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether any benefits which may result from the recent memorial of boy clerks in the Civil Service will be applicable to boys discharged since September last. I beg also to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether temporary provision can be made for the employment of Civil Service boy clerks, aged twenty, pending a decision being arrived at by the Treasury on the memorial now before them. I beg further to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he will undertake that in future no appointments of boy clerks will be made in excess of the number which can be absorbed into the permanent establishment of the Civil Service.
If my hon. friend will allow me I will take the three Questions which he has put down on this subject together. It would not be practicable to give retrospective effect to any new measures which may be adopted in connection with the employment of boy clerks, nor would it be possible in any event to find employment for boys who had already left the service. Though I can give no undertaking of the kind which my hon. friend suggests, I may say that the administrative changes which I contemplate will probably have the effect of reducing to the extreme limit possible the number of boys discharged on grounds other than that of unfitness for permanent employment, and of securing that unavoidable discharges are effected at an earlier age than at present.