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Ministerial Salaries

Volume 52: debated on Thursday 24 April 1913

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53.

asked the Prime Minister whether the difference of £3,000 per annum between the salary of the President of the Board of Education on the one hand, and the salaries of the Presidents of the Board of Trade and the Local Government Board on the other, and the corresponding differences in the remuneration of the permanent officials of these Departments represent, in the opinion of the Government, the degree of inferiority of the work and personnel of the first-named Department by comparison with the other two; and, if not, whether, in the interests of the efficiency of educational administration and of public recognition of the paramount importance of national education, he will consider the advisability and the equity of so altering the amount of the former as to make the difference, if any, between the salaries of these three Ministerial offices something less than 150 per cent., as now?

The higher scale upon which the two Departments referred to are now remunerated was adopted with the approval of the House of Commons a few years ago, and I see no reason for proposing any modification in it. The case of the Board of Education could not be considered apart from that of other Departments, and the Government do not at present propose any change.

Does the right hon. Gentleman mean to convey to the House that the services of the President of the Board of Education are of less value by 150 per cent. than those of his colleagues who preside over the other two Departments named?

I should be very sorry to make any invidious distinction in regard to the value of the services of any or all of my colleagues.

Is it not a fact that the present system does make an invidious distinction?

There is only one way of dealing with that, and that is to level them all up to the highest point.

Will the coming Education Bill be so drafted that a Clause might be put in remedying the defect brought forward so eloquently by the hon. Gentleman opposite?