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Chairmen Of Traffic Commissioners, Etc (Tenure Of Office) Money

Volume 319: debated on Tuesday 2 February 1937

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Considered in Committee.

[Captain BOURNE in the Chair.]

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That it is expedient that persons holding any of the offices to which this Resolution applies should, in lieu of holding office for a term of years, hold office during His Majesty's pleasure or during good behaviour, subject to any provision which may be made by any Act of the present Session for giving effect to this Resolution as to age of retirement or as to removal for misbehaviour or inability and to any provisions for vacation of or removal from office before the expiration of the term thereof to which such persons are now subject, and accordingly that the Superannuation Acts, 1834 to 1935, should apply to such persons with such modifications as may be specified in any such Act as aforesaid, and that any expenses arising from the application of the Superannuation Acts to the President of the Railway Rates Tribunal should be defrayed as expenses of that Tribunal.
The offices to which this Resolution applies are those of—
  • (i) Chairman of Traffic Commissioners under the Road Traffic Act, 1930;
  • (ii) Traffic Commissioner under that Act for the Metropolitan traffic area;
  • (iii) Chairman of the Appeal Tribunal established by Section fifteen of the Road and Rail Traffic Act, 1933; and
  • (iv) President of the Railway Rates Tribunal."—(King's Recommendation signified)—[Lieut.-Colonel Colville.]
  • 7.59 P.m.

    The object of this Resolution, on which a Bill will be founded, is to place on a permanent footing the appointment of certain officers who discharge important duties of a judicial or quasi-judicial character. The first category of these appointments is the Chairmen of Traffic Commissioners and the Metropolitan Traffic Commissioner. These gentlemen operate under two Acts of Parliament, under the Road Traffic Act, 1930, for road passenger services, when they sit with two unpaid commissioners, except the Metropolitan Traffic Commissioner, who sits alone. They also operate under the Road and Rail Traffic Act, 1933, for goods vehicles, in which case they sit alone. There are 12 of these Traffic Commissioners, and they are now appointed by the Minister of Transport for a term not exceeding seven years, but may be re-appointed. The new proposals are to put their employment on the normal terms of established civil servants, pensions to be granted under the Superannuation Acts, 1834 to 1935. The difference between these people and the civil servants is that the retiring age will be 65, with a possible extension to 70, whereas the normal Civil Service practice is 60, with a possible extension to 65.

    The reason why we are asking for this extension is that it is very important that the persons who are appointed to these posts should be people of standing and of experience. In that respect most of the appointments were made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison) when he was Minister of Transport, and he took great trouble at that time, as one can see from reading the Debates, to make the right appointments for these very onerous posts. I think that on all sides of the House we agree that he was successful in the men whom he got to take these jobs. There are certain reductions which are now made in the pensions of civil servants who are retained in special circumstances beyond 65. Certain civil servants can be retained beyond 65 with Treasury sanction. In the present case, as it is proposed that the age shall be 65 to 70 instead of 60 to 65, it is also proposed that these reductions should be waived. Ten years is the minimum service required for pension, and there a re five out of 12 of these Chairmen who will be eligible. None of these gentlemen who are eligible is in receipt of a pension from public funds. I see that an Amendment on this point has been put down which no doubt we shall discuss in detail later on.

    The second category of these appointments is the Chairman of the Appeal Tribunal who operates under Section 15 of the Road and Rail Traffic Act, 1933, sitting with two part-time members. He is now appointed for such term, not being less than three years, as may be determined by the Minister. The proposal under the Financial Resolution and under the Bill is the same as that for the Traffic Commissioners that he should serve under the Civil Service arrangements and the present holder of this office would be eligible for a pension. The last of the appointments is that of the President of the Railway Rates Tribunal, which was established under the Railways Act, 1921, and is a court of record. This appointment has really no connection with the other appointments of Traffic Commissioners, but it is for convenience that this appointment is included in the Financial Resolution, and in the Bill which is to follow later. This gentleman is appointed by His Majesty on the joint recommendation of the Lord Chancellor, the President of the Board of Trade, and the Minister of Transport, for a period not exceeding seven years, being eligible for reappointment.

    In his case the new proposal is to place the office on the same footing as that of Masters and other superior quasi-judicial officers of the Supreme Court, the procedure and scale of pension being that laid down under the Supreme Court of Judicature Act, 1925. Under that Act the retiring age is 72, with extension to the present holder of the office is to have the choice of accepting establishment, and, if he does so, he will undergo a reduction of salary, receiving a pension later on. I would remind the Committee that the expense of this appointment is borne by the railway companies themselves. These posts might have been considered up to now to have been experimental. We consider now that they have proved their worth, and I hope the Committee will agree to these adjustments in the status of their offices.

    8.8 p.m.

    I beg to move, in line 10, after "aforesaid," to insert:

    "and, in particular, with the modifications that wherever any such persons by reason of such Act and of the Superannuation Acts, 1834 to 1935, become entitled to a pension in respect of their tenure of any of the said offices, and shall also at the same time be entitled to any pension or pensions in respect of their tenure of any other office under the Crown, they shall not receive in respect of any period more in all by way of such pensions than a sum equal to the amount falling to be paid in respect of such period of that one of the said pensions which shall be selected by such person."
    I and my hon. Friends have put down the Amendment for several reasons. The first is, that we desire to bring to the notice of the Government and the country the differentiation in treatment of people who are well placed in life, compared with the treatment of ordinary people who are employed in industry. Those who are employed in manufacturing wealth in this country receive the worst treatment at the hands of this House, and when it comes to a question of pension and other conditions we find that their conditions are becoming relatively worse compared with people in other walks of life. Without attempting to develop that aspect too much, we shall, on every occasion possible, draw the attention of the House to the differentiation in treatment.

    I want to deal with the Traffic Commissioners themselves. The Parliamentary Secretary, when he was introducing the Resolution, said that they had been successful in the choice of men for these jobs. Who are in these jobs? Let us examine one or two of these Commissioners; let us look at the personnel occupying these positions. In the Northern Traffic Area, for example, the chairman for whom we are legislating this evening was a chief constable for 28 years. He has a salary at present of £1,000 per annum, and he is entitled to a pension of £666. In the Yorkshire traffic area the chairman is an ex-chief constable, with a pension already of £600 a year and a salary of £1,250. The chairman in the North Western area was a general manager and an engineer of several important companies for a considerable time. Although I have not been able to ascertain what pension is due to him, in all probability he also will be eligible for pension arising out of his previous occupation.

    The Chairman in the West-Midland Traffic area is an ex-colonel. He also is in receipt of a pension at the present time of £395 per annum. In the Western area we have another ex-Chief Constable, who is in receipt of a pension at the present time of £466 a year. In the East-Midland Traffic area there is a retired transport manager of the Birmingham Cooperative Society, and I have sufficient knowledge of the co-operative movement to say without any hesitation that he also will be eligible for a pension since retiring from that position. In the South Wales area there is a retired solicitor and barrister. These people are well paid in their profession during the time that they carry on their profession. There is no dilution in the legal profession, and no danger of being out of employment, and these are the kind of men that are being put into these positions. In the Southern area there is an ex-major-general, who is already receiving a pension of £683 per annum. In the Metropolitan area there is an ex-civil servant who, I am informed on good authority, is already eligible for a fairly substantial pension. In the South Scottish area there is a former Colonial civil servant who is receiving a salary at the present time of £1,000 a year, and on top of that a pension of £750 per annum.

    One could give several other instances of how these people are drawing huge pensions on the grounds that I have mentioned, and also relatively high salaries in addition. I want to draw the attention of the House to the fact that these men who have already done well in life, every one of them, are keeping younger men out of positions of this kind. They have all had good salaries during the whole of their lives. They and those dependant upon them are already well provided for, and now the Government are proposing to make them entitled to another pension. Most of them are on short time. It states in the Money Resolution that this is a full-time job, but, having some knowledge of the hours that these people put in, I have no hesitation in saying that it is not a full-time job, and that, relatively speaking, these men are on short time, for which they are already being well provided.

    These men in the positions that they are occupying will receive in one year's salary alone as much as a miner working on piece work in this country can earn in seven years. A miner is lucky if he lives sufficiently long to draw a pension of 10s. at the age of 65. These traffic commissioners already receive pensions of between £6 and &4 a week, and it is proposed to give some of them another pension. For these reasons we propose to divide on this issue, first on the ground that we desire to make a protest against the Government's failure to deal with anomalies as they exist in regard to pensions as they affect poor people, and, secondly, we seek to draw attention to the issues involved in this Money Resolution.

    8.16 p.m.

    I beg to support the Amendment. This is one of the most important questions that this House can consider, and I am sorry that there is not a larger attendance, because it raises an important principle. I have no objection to the Traffic Commissioners as men. We agree that they are doing the work as well as anybody could expect. We raise no objection to the Government making the appointments permanent. It is far more satisfactory to make the appointment permanent than for a few years, but we raise objections to these Traffic Commissioners being paid increased pensions. The Parliamentary Secretary slid over the ice very nicely when he said that some of these Traffic Commissioners are not at the present time receiving pensions from public funds. That may be so, but they are receiving pensions from other funds. I should have liked the Parliamentary Secretary to tell the Committee what amount of pension they are receiving and how much their pensions are likely to be increased if this Bill becomes law. I have received my information on the subject from the Mover of the Amendment. He has told us that they are receiving pensions ranging from £395 to £750.

    What we aim at is very simple. We say that the Traffic Commissioners should not receive double pension at the end of their term as Traffic Commissioners, but that they should receive whichever is the higher pension. They should not be allowed to draw two pensions. We object to anyone drawing huge pensions from public funds without any means test. Because certain people are drawing money from public funds we are always told that there must be a means test. If there is a means test for the unemployed, there ought to be a means test for these men. So long as hon. Members opposite say that because poor men are drawing money from public funds they shall be subject to a means test, we say that that principle must apply all round, and if it is not applied we shall continue to object. A speech was delivered recently by the Prime Minister in which he said that where it was a question of public money there could be no argument against the means test. Public money is involved in this Bill. We are told in the White Paper that the passing of the Bill will amount to £3,000 a year extra. That is public money. We should object on principle if it was £300 or £3.

    The other side of the House cannot justify their action in filling the pockets of these gentlemen with so much public money when they refuse to give money to other people. There are people in this country who have a prior claim to increased pensions before these gentlemen. I know many men who have worked hard all their lives and served their country well who have to exist on 1os. a week. If public money is to be given away these old age pensioners are entitled to have their pensions increased before the House thinks about adding so huge a sum to the pensions which these people are already receiving. We make no apology for raising this question. We shall raise it whenever we have the opportunity. The House ought to be fair. If they have public money to give away, let them give it to those who deserve it, and stop feeding the fat sow, which this Government are always doing, giving to those who have got and stealing the last sixpence from some of the working class, in order to add to the bank ing account of certain people. We shall force this issue to a division. I hope that hon. Members will record their votes as a protest against these gentlemen who are already in receipt of large pensions being supplied with another huge pension, until justice is done to the working classes.

    8.24 p.m.

    I should like to ask a question of the Parliamentary Secretary. In introducing the Vote he stated that there were only five of the commissioners who will be entitled to draw a pension. I should like to know whether those five are included in those enumerated by the hon. Member opposite. There will undoubtedly be a great deal of sympathy with hon. Members opposite on the part of the public if those who were referred to by the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. E. Smith) are going to receive these additional pensions. It will be felt that there is great inequality between the treatment meted out to various individuals, and there will always be justifiable opposition against unequal treatment. I think the hon. Member was quite right in drawing a comparison with the treatment of those in manual occupations. Those who are employed in the primary products of this country have always been worse treated than any other section, and there will no doubt be a great deal of feeling in the country if these large pensions are given to certain classes of individuals who are already in a much better position than people in other circumstances. I do not object to the Measure except that I think the Government should make it possible for those who are in worse circumstances to receive better conditions, and that we should be careful how we proceed to give additional pensions to those who are already drawing pensions. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will explain whether the people who were enumerated by the hon. Member are going to be included amongst those who are going to receive these extra pensions.

    8.27 p.m.

    I had not intended to take any action on this Resolution until I had seen the Bill to which the Resolution gives effect, but I congratulate hon. Members on having taken this opportunity, because by the time we get the Bill the Government may bring before us more defensible arguments in support of it. I did not notice, when the Parliamentary Secretary opened his remarks, that he made any apology for the absence of his right hon. Friend.

    I should have thought it was a Measure for which the right hon. Gentleman would have taken the responsibility, and I am wondering whether he has the same measure of enthusiasm for it as the Parliamentary Secretary undoubtedly displayed in his presentation of it to the House. This is not exactly a minor Measure. There is a proposal to make these appointments, which were originally to be temporary, into permanencies; to make them pensionable appointments; in other words, to make these men civil servants in the ordinary sense of the term. That was not the intention of Parliament when the Act was passed. The assumption was that these men were going to be in a different position, that they were going to sit in a quasi-judicial position, that they were going to be arbiters in cases in which there might be two or three parties, in which the Minister of Transport himself might be one of the parties. Now we are told that they are to become merely employes of the Ministry of Transport. That is a big departure from the original intentions of this House, and I shall want to see the Bill before I consent even to a limited agreement to that aspect of it, without referring to the pension aspect of it at all.

    I know that in every locality there is a stronger feeling of resentment about these jobs than about any other single thing. The amount of resentment there is about retired chief constables, retired inspectors of police, and retired sergeants taking on all sorts of jobs after they are regarded as done for the job for which they were trained, is amazing, and I should imagine that the general body of civil servants, without talking about the unemployed man on the means test who has a right to feel sore, have surely got some right to feel resentful when men at 60 years of age or older can come into the public service.

    I must remind the hon. Member that we are now on the Amendment to the Resolution which deals with pensions.

    I have already been accused to-day of not reading the literature appropriate to the Measure under discussion. I sometimes think that speeches would be considerably improved if that practice was followed more frequently. Let me read the Amendment. I can see your point, Sir Dennis, and I will accept your Ruling. The point I was making is that these men can come into the public service when they are already drawing pensions out of the public purse. They will have an effective life of possibly only five years, perhaps less. and from the explanation given by the Parliamentary Secretary we understand that they are to become entitled to a further pension.

    Am I to understand that those who reach the age limit and have not served 10 years will be without pensions?

    I understand that it is optional for them to join the pension scheme. If they reach the maximum age before serving 10 years, they obviously will contract out of the pension scheme.

    In any case, they will all have a good chance of doing their 10 years' minimum service, because they are to be allowed, as distinct from the ordinary civil servant, to go on until 75 years of age. That is another anomaly. On the Railway Rates Tribunal one is allowed to adjudicate until 75 years of age, but the Traffic Commissioners can work only until they are 65 years of age, a. difference of 10 years.

    There are two categories which are dealt with under this Money Resolution. The Chairmen of Traffic Commissioners and the Chairman of the Appeal Tribunal will come under the ordinary Civil Service procedure under the Superannuation Acts, 1834 to 1935. The President of the Railway Rates Tribunal is in an entirely different category. He is established under the Railways Act, paid by the railway companies, and comes in in the same way as what are called Masters or superior quasi-judicial officers under an entirely different Act, the Supreme Court of Judicature Act, 1925, in which the retiring age is laid down as 72, with an extension to 75. There are two different Acts and two different categories of people.

    I was basing my remarks on the reference to this being subject to modifications with regard to the retiring age. I assumed that if it were thought that the President of the Railway Rates Tribunal could perform his arduous duties adequately until 75 years of age, an age at which the majority of manual workers have been retired for 10 years, presumably that would be the standard that would be in the mind of the Government with reference to the Chairmen of the Traffic Commissioners also. At any rate, the Government are asking for powers to modify what is the ordinary existing position for civil servants who now retire at 65, and in whose case there is not even an upward limit of 75.

    Would the Parliamentary Secretary inform the House what is the effect of the modifications referred to in the Resolution? We are quite clear that the Chairman of the Railway Rates Tribunal can go on until 75 years of age. We would like to know at what age must the Chairmen of the Traffic Commissioners retire.

    The retiring age in The case of the Traffic Commissioners and the Chairman of the Appeal Tribunal will be 65, with a possible extension to 70. The ordinary Civil Service practice, under the Superannuation Acts, is retirement at 60, with an extension to 65, but ordinary civil servants, in very exceptional circumstances and with the sanction of the Treasury, may be retained beyond 65, although very few are, and in that case, if the officer retires after the age of 65, the additional allowance which is given will be reduced by 5 per cent. for each completed year of service after that age. This reduction is waived in the case of the Traffic Commissioners, because we are asking the Committee to increase the age from 6o to 65, with the additional five years. I hope that is clear.

    Yes, I think it is. I want it to be clearly understood that these men, who were originally appointed to temporary positions, are now getting life appointments on Civil Service terms, with an extension of their active life far beyond that which is normally granted to the ordinary civil servant. These are drastic changes, and I do not think the House is entitled to pass this Money Resolution as though it were a trivial thing remedying one or two injustices in the case of one or two public servants. I think it creates injustices and anomalies that will be resented by a large number of civil servants. There is a further point on which I would like to have some information. How are people to be recruited for these positions? How are the vacancies to be filled? I can see you getting restless, Sir, but I think I can attach my remarks to the terms of the Amendment. The men who are now in these positions are getting the right to pensions after 10 years of service, and no civil servant gets a right to a pension until he has been serving actively for 20 or 30 years, unless he has broken down in health. Perhaps the assumption is that these men were broken down in health before they started and are entitled to a break-down pension right away; but surely we are not going to commit ourselves to the principle that pensions can be earned in the service of the State for a minimum of 10 years' service. That has never been the practice.

    The general conception of a pension in the public service has been, "Here is a man who has devoted his life to the public service; he has had special qualities which, if used in any other walk of life, would have given him a greater earning capacity than was permitted to him in the Civil Service; he has lost something in the way of remuneration by devoting himself to the public service at a remuneration that did not allow him to make provision for his old age, and, therefore, the State feels it desirable and necessary to see that he is decently treated in his old age." But this Resolution is not making provision for old age. Suppose that some younger man came in, 10 years of service would qualify him for a pension. Anybody may be brought into these positions. The ordinary civil servant is recruited into the service after a stringent and careful examination in the case of positions carrying the kind of remuneration that is attached to these positions. The competitive examination for the first division of the Indian Civil Service is, as everyone knows, the stiffest competitive examination that is held in this land.

    I cannot agree that the hon. Member has succeeded in bringing his remarks within the terms of the Amendment. The Amendment distinctly deals with the question of pensions to people who are already entitled to a pension from some other source.

    I am sorry to think that there should have been any infringement of the Rules of Order in what I said. I leave the point now, but hope to have an opportunity of dealing more adequately with this question on the Second Reading of the Bill which is to be presented. I associate myself heartily with the views put forward by the Mover and supporter of the Amendment, and if they carry their Amendment into the Division Lobby, I can assure them of my support.

    8.46 p.m.

    I also support the Amendment, and it appears to me that the Government in bringing forward this proposal show the effects of living in a rarefied atmosphere. The atmosphere in which they live is so rarefied by enormous salaries that they have difficulty in appreciating how the workers generally will view a proposal of this description. Personally I am astounded that it should be considered necessary to recruit these Commissioners from outside the ranks of the permanent Civil Service. I feel a respect for the Civil Service and during the Debate last week on the five discharged dockyard workers, one's respect for the Civil Service must have been immensely increased by some of the references which were made to it. From what was said about the Civil Service then, I came to the conclusion, as I am sure many of my hon. Friends did, that we have men in the Civil Service who are capable of managing any job that the Government want them to do. From the point of view of economy these positions ought to be filled from the Civil Service by young men who would move up in the ordinary course of promotion and in time make room for other younger men. There would then be only one pension to pay to each individual.

    My principal objection to the Resolution is this: I have the impression that the Government are unaware of the existence of cases of hardship such as we know of in the country. Let me illustrate the position by one case. I am now referring to the subject of pensions. It is the case of a man who served his country from the days of the old volunteers until the War, when he was gassed and invalided out of the Army, practically a physical wreck. He got a certain pension, but when he endeavoured to get an increase of that pension the Ministry of Pensions said that any aggravation of his condition was due to his age and not to his War service. The man died, and when the widow tried to get the 16s. a week pension which he had been receiving continued for herself, she could only get a concession on a charity basis. She, mark you, is entitled also to the widow's pension, but she does not get 16s. a week in respect of her late husband's pension and also 10s. a week widow's pension. No, our people never get two pensions in that way. She gets the widow's pension of 10s.a week and 6s.a week of the other pension and she has 16s.a week on which to live, after her man's life has been given for the country. He has given his life so that these people can have two pensions and incomes of over £1,000 a year. How the Government can expect us to stand for that sort of thing passes my comprehension.

    We are not opposed to people being paid for the work which they do—not by any means. But we object to proposals such as that contained in this Resolution, and I am pleased that the hon. Member for Stone (Sir J. Lamb) has added his voice to the protest against it. I was particularly pleased at the hon. Member's approach to this question, because if hon. Members opposite begin to look out for the cases of the worst-paid workers in this country. instead of quoting, all the time, the cases of the best-paid workers, we may get some help from the other side in our efforts to lift the worst-paid of our people up to somewhere near the level of the better-paid. I have stated my principal reason for supporting the Amendment, but I could give others. Take the case of a man who has been killed in the pit. There is £300 compensation for the widow and so much for the children. But the widow does not get the widow's pension and something for the children as well. She gets only the one allowance. I believe that the Government will insult the intelligence of all decent-minded men and women and offend the working class of this country if they proceed with this proposal.

    8.52 p.m.

    I hope it will be recognised by the responsible Department that there is a strong feeling against this proposal. It is because of that strong feeling that the Amendment has been placed on the Paper. This is not the first occasion on which we have had proposals from the Government concerning pensions for people who are already paid salaries far above what is paid to the general run of workers, and those proposals in some cases have involved double pensions. I therefore ask the Department to reconsider this matter in view of the feeling which exists, that they are showing considerable favour to the people here concerned. I notice that with regard to some sections of employes, the demand that previous service should count is never acceded to by the Government. In this case, however, men who have been in these positions only some seven or eight years I think—[Horn. MEMBERS: Six years "]—-are to be made eligible for pensions within a year or two, and those pensions are to be on a Civil Service basis and are not to be reduced, even if the people concerned are in receipt of higher pensions from other sources.

    I would ask whether the Department which is responsible for this proposal treats the lower-paid people in its own service with as much regard as is being shown to these people? I find, with regard to some of the lower-paid people, who have no second pension and who have to rely upon whatever is coming to them from the Department, that the moment they reach the age of 60 and there is the slightest indication that they are suffering from or liable to any illness, the Treasury medical referee is called in to prove that they are not just as fit as they were, and they are compelled to retire and take whatever pension is coming to them at 60. These men will be entitled to begin on pensions at 65 and they may continue until they are 70. Even though they may have received their other pensions at 60 or 65, they may continue until they are 70 in their appointment. In the case of the Chairman of the Tribunal I am glad that it is thought that people at 72 and 75 are just a t the right moment for doing this work and that they are to be considered in such a way that their previous service will be counted in order that they may have this pension. We are asked to agree to a pension if it is a second pension because it happens to come from the funds which are paid under the Railways Act.

    This scheme is in keeping with many of those we remember with regard to Colonial Governors, magistrates and diplomats. The Government are prepared to see that all these people have pensions of amounts such as they think are fit for them, and yet, when we suggest that the man or woman who has worked in a factory for 40 years or more should have a more adequate pension than 10s., we are refused. Many of them are even denied that 10s., because they may not have paid contributions during the last year or two before they reach the age of 65. As was well said by one of the previous speakers, this system helps those who have had a chance of putting something by because of the salaries they received, but it will not help those who need assistance. It is acknowledged that the work these men do is onerous, but I do not know that their task is more onerous than the work of many other people, and I do not see why it is not possible for other men to have the opportunity of occupying these positions. I hope that the Amendment will be carried in order to make it clear, while we are prepared to agree to adequate pensions for people, that if these people are to have their previous service counted it is only right that other people in the Government service should have their previous years counted in order to qualify for pensions.

    8.58 p.m.

    My hon. Friends who have brought forward this Amendment are entitled to the gratitude of the Committee for having raised this issue, because it gives us an opportunity of speaking about a subject which I have heard discussed with great indignation in many parts of the country. I should like to correct a statement of the mover of the Amendment with regard to the Traffic Commissioner for the South Wales area. I would not like it to be understood that listened to a remark of that sort without correcting it. I am sure that the hon. Member made the mistake inadvertently. Those who know him and I am sure, everybody interested in local government, industry and commerce generally were gratified with the appointment of Mr. James to his position of Commissioner. I happened to know that he did not take up the position because he had retired from the Bar. In fact, he was in active work and he took up the position because, I think, of a physical affliction which was making it very difficult for him to practise at the Bar. He did not retire, therefore, and he was not in receipt of a pension, so that he is not one of the criminals. That is not to say that I do not agree with most of what my hon. Friend said.

    I did not say that this individual came within the category of those with whom I mostly dealt. I said that he was a member of the legal profession, and that such people were already well paid in life.

    I cannot subscribe to the argument that the State should employ a person in one capacity and deny him a salary because of the money he is earning in another. I cannot, therefore, accept that he should be denied a salary or pension because he happens to have earned money at the Bar. With the main purpose of my hon. Friend's speech, however, I am in enthusiastic agreement. This Debate reminds me of a statement made to me by a Member of this House who was a close personal friend of mine and died in tragic circumstances—the late hon. Member for Eastbourne—who, in a fit of depression which occurred some weeks before his death, said that it seemed to him that the whole of life was a conspiracy to cheat the young.

    It seems to me that the proposal now before the Committee is evidence of the fact that when these appointments are made they are usually made of men in advanced years. I know that I cannot discuss that on this Amendment, and I do not propose to do so, but there are many important points arising out of this Resolution which can be discussed on the Bill. We are discussing now the narrow issue that, as the proposal now stands, many of these Traffic Commissioners will be entitled to receive not only the pensions they are now receiving, but another pension in addition. The proposal of the Amendment is that they shall receive whichever pension is the larger, but not both. Although I know that a comparatively small percentage of the country is affected by this proposal, I believe that hon. Members on this side of the House and, indeed, in all parts of the House, can in their constituencies put their fingers on instances where men have been brought into public employment when they are already in receipt of a State pension or some other form of retirement pension. People are very indignant, and rightly indignant, that it should be so. We are under the impression that in some queer way only those who have acquired reputations in some way or another are fitted to occupy these positions. Somehow people never have the courage to buy a pig in a poke. Everybody has a Greta Garbo complex and feels that only the stars can be appointed to these jobs.

    So we get some retired chief constable appointed, although I can imagine no office which has the effect of producing a less judicial mind than that of a chief constable. I can imagine no job in which people acquire ultimately a greater distrust of and disrespect for the law than being a chief constable for 40 or 50 years. I have known chief constables with almost as long service as that who have been appointed to positions. It seems to be unfortunate, to put it no higher, that we should now have to discuss a proposal which adds to the retirement pension of a chief constable another pension in the event of his being able to serve 10 years under this scheme.

    There are other cases where constables who have been retired at 45 years of age —at 45 or 46 or 50—in the prime of life, and in receipt of pensions of £2 10s. a week—even £3 5s.a week, my hon. Friend remarks—have been appointed as bailiffs to county courts. A demonstration was organised in my constituency once to protest against such a proceeding. It is not the case, of course, that this practice has any serious effect on the unemployment figures, but it shows an attitude of mind, an approach to this problem, so aloof from the point of view of the ordinary person, that I am astounded that we should perpetuate the practice. It seems that the further one is removed from the actual work of producing wealth the better the treatment one receives.

    My hon. Friend here has given us illustrations to show that ordinary people are not treated in this way. If a man happens to be unemployed when he reaches 65 years of age his unemployment benefit of 17s. automatically drops to a payment of 10s., on the assumption that he is no longer available for work. It is assumed that at 65 he has fallen out of the labour market, and the money he receives drops from 10s. Many hon. Members are aware of the tragic circumstances of a number of men in that position. In these pension arrangements we are increasing the pensionable age from 60 to 65. In the Civil Service it is optional, I gather, whether a man is allowed to go at 65. Here we are taking powers to continue the age to 70. In most of these cases one can assume that a man will go on to 70, unless he actually gibbers with senile decay before that time. We are even making provision for the chairman of a railway rates tribunal to go on till 70. It is an astonishing, troglodyte proposal. The best service one could render o some of these men would be to take them out of harness and give them leisure.

    I have allowed a good deal of latitude, but I think we have been getting further away from the subject with each speaker.

    I am sure that I have infringed your ruling only very slightly, because it is obvious that our Amendment becomes pertinent to this matter only if, in point of fact, the age limits are increased. Very many of these men would not come under the pension scheme at all if the maximum age limit were not raised, because they have to serve ten years in order to do so.

    The hon. Member's argument is very ingenious but what lawyers would describe as a little too remote.

    I am not in the fortunate position of the Chair. I am not able to dismiss an argument with an adjective. I shall have to bow to your ruling, but if the Committee were more fully attended I hope we should have been able to convince hon. Members that the Government ought not to be permitted to persist in a proposal which is so obviously unjust, which treats different members of the community in different ways, and perpetuates the vicious practice of permitting two pensions to be paid to public servants when those pensions come from public funds. I heartily support the Amendment; and I trust that when the Committee have an opportunity of voting upon the proposal in the Bill they will reject it and force the Government to bring in a more just proposal.

    9.12 p.m.

    I must confine my remarks now strictly to the Amendment. The hon. Member who moved it talked about a differentiation in treatment, but I hope I shall be able to show to the Committee that if they accepted this Amendment they would then be creating a difference among people who are all doing the same work. I thought I had made it clear, when I moved the Resolution, that it does not affect any of the existing officers. I think that answers the question of the hon. Member for Stone (Sir J. Lamb), since no one of those who might become eligible for pension is in receipt of a pension for previous service under the Crown.

    No, they are not. If the hon. Member looks at the Amendment he will see that it deals simply with previous service under the Crown. Therefore, we can discuss this matter not as affecting any individual at present serving as a Traffic Commissioner but as a general principle.

    The hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. Ellis Smith) instanced certain chief constables who are now in receipt of pensions from public funds. Half the money is provided out of monies voted by this House and half is provided by the police authorities whom they have served. Are we to understand that none of them will be eligible for a pension under the Bill which is to be introduced?

    That is so. There are five Traffic Commissioners who are in receipt of pensions—one a colonial pension, three police pensions and one army pension. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment talked about a major-general, but he is no longer a Traffic Commissioner. None of these commissioners is eligible for a pension, because they are over age or for other reasons.

    But they are not—and we have to deal with the future. I want to argue this case on its merits as regards future appointments. The Amendment would actually subject the occupants of these offices to a disability which does not apply to any other person to whom the Superannuation Acts apply. This inability to draw two pensions does not apply to any other Civil Service appointment. For instance, if a time-expired soldier obtains civil employment under the Government he continues to draw his pension. We have some in my own Department, and at the end of their time, if they are eligible for a pension, they will then draw two pensions. I want to make that clear, because the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) seemed to be under the impression that we were doing something new. We are doing nothing of the kind; we are simply continuing the existing practice. If the Amendment were carried and the party opposite had their way, we should have to consider the position of other people, such as time-expired soldiers, who are at present in civil employment. That applies to service in the Post Office, in the Dockyards, and, as I say, departmental messengers in my own Department, and no doubt to other Departments as well.

    I would ask the Committee to note also that the Amendment would introduce differentiation between people who have been in the public service and those who have been in outside service. You would get one of the Traffic Commissioners who had made provision for his old age and nothing would happen to him. If, on the other hand, he had a pension for public service, he would lose it. The man who had made provision outside the public service would have nothing done to him. Under the Amendment, the pensions which are not from public offices are not affected. If a man had a pension from some civil employment it would not be affected. In the case of the police pension, half is paid, I understand, by the Government, and the other half by the local authority. Such pensions would not be affected by the Amendment, although Army pensions would. That is the kind of discrimination which would be brought about.

    If the Committee accepted the principle, the Amendment could be applied generally.

    I think the hon. Member would find it extremely difficult to draw up an Amendment to deal with people who had a private income. I have to speak to the Amendment as it appears on the Paper.

    The Minister of Transport would have to take the principle into consideration prior to appointments being made.

    I do not think the hon. Member would mean to differentiate against an ex-servant of the Crown in comparison with someone who had been in private service or in the service of a local authority.

    The Amendment would hinder our efforts to get the very best men for these positions. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Hon. Members opposite jeer, but all these appointments, except one, were made by one of their own leaders. We have to have men of experience and standing. Among the Traffic Commissioners are people from all walks of life with very good records and very good previous history. There is one gentleman who was a trade union official. I see no reason why public servants who have rendered service to the State in two offices should be deprived of pension for either period of employment. If a man has earned his pension I see no reason why he should not get it. A big question of principle is involved, and I think that this is not the time to deal with it piecemeal. I therefore hope that the Committee will reject the Amendment and pass this Money Resolution.

    9.22 p.m.

    I have sat through the whole of this Debate and have listened to the Minister's reply. I accept without question the statement of the Minister that none of the holders of these offices will come under it, but I cannot help thinking that he has, in his defence, proved a good deal too much. In attempting to justify the Resolution he has shown what would be the intention under the Bill, of which he thoroughly approves, but of which very large numbers of people thoroughly disapprove. I would make our position clear. We have recognised all through the position of civil servants in this country. We have believed, and we continue to believe, in the desirability of according pensions to civil servants. We think it is a right method to adopt, and we should like to see a similar method applied throughout the world of private industry. One of our objections to the system is that pensions are applied only in a limited number of undertakings.

    Suppose that a servant is in receipt of a salary in an office which entitles him to a pension after a period of years. I do not think any of us would disagree with the idea that, if he were removed to another office of a similar character, he should not lose his pension rights by that transfer. After 40 years' service, 20 years in one Department and 20 years in another, his pension right should be the same as though he had stayed in the one occupation. The position is considerably different from that; in the first place because, as the hon. and gallant Gentleman has himself explained, the age limits are different, and that an addi-

    Division No. 63.]


    [9.27 p.m.

    Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. DykeHenderson, J. (Ardwick)Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.
    Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple)Henderson, T. (Tradeston)Potts, J.
    Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)Hicks, E. G.Price, M. P.
    Adamson, W. M.Hills, A. (Pontefract)Pritt, D. N.
    Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)Hopkin, D.Quibell, D. J. K.
    Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)Jagger, J.Richards, R. (Wrexham)
    Barnes, A. J.John, W.Ridley, G.
    Barr, J.Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)Riley, B.
    Batey, J.Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Ritson, J.
    Bellenger, F. J,Kelly, W. T.Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)
    Benson, G.Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.Rowson, G.
    Bevan, A.Lamb, Sir J. Q.Seely, Sir H. M.
    Broad, F. A.Lathan, G.Sexton. T. M.
    Brooke, W.Leach, W.Shinwell, E.
    Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire)Lee, F.Short, A.
    Buchanan, G.Leonard, W.Silkin, L.
    Burke, W. A.Leslie, J. R.Silverman, S. S.
    Cape, T.Logan, D. G.Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
    Cluse, W. S.Lunn, W.Smith, E. (Stoke)
    Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)Macdonald, G. (Ince)Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
    Ede, J. C.McGhee, H. G.Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
    Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)MacLaren, A.Thorne, W.
    Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)Maclean, N.Tinker, J. J.
    Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)Viant, S. P.
    Foot, D. M.Mainwaring, W. H.Walkden, A. G.
    Frankel, D.Mander, G. le MWalker, J.
    Gallacher, W.Marshall, F.Watkins, F. C.
    Gardner, B. W.Mathers, G.Watson, W. McL.
    George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)Maxton, J.Welsh, J. C.
    Gibbins, J.Messer, F.Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
    Gibson, R. (Greenock)Milner, Major J.Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)
    Green, W. H. (Deptford)Montague, F.Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
    Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
    Grenfell, D. R.Muff, G.Young, Sir R. (Newton)
    Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbre, W.)Oliver, G. H.
    Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)Owen, Major G.TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
    Hall, J. H. (Whilechapel)Parker, J.Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Groves.
    Harris, Sir P. A.Parkinson, J. A.


    Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)
    Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)
    Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.Birchall, Sir J. D.Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)
    Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd)Blaker, Sir R.Bull, B. B.
    Anstruther-Gray, W. J.Blindell, Sir J.Burgin, Dr. E. L.
    Aske, Sir R. W.Bower, Comdr. R. T.Butler, R. A.
    Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W.Cartland, J. R. H.
    Balfour, G. (Hampstead)Briscoe, Capt. R. G.Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)

    tional pension may be acquired by a man who comes within the category. I think it is true that no present occupants of this position are chief constables or men who are drawing pensions from public offices, but it is quite possible that in the future such men may be brought into the schemes.

    The wording of the Amendment may go a little beyond what would be eminently reasonable, but we cannot alter that wording at this stage of the proceedings. We feel it necessary to make a protest on the general principle for which the Amendment stands, by recording our vote. I therefore propose to ask my hon. Friends to go into the Lobby to support the Amendment.

    Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

    The Committee divided: Ayes, 110; Noes, 158.

    Clarke, Lt.-Col. R. S. (E. Grinstead)Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.
    Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)Ramsbotham, H.
    Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)Holmes, J. S.Ramsden, Sir E.
    Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)
    Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)Reed, A. C. (Exeter)
    Courthope, Col. Sir G. L.Hudson, R. S. (Southport)Reid, Sir D. D. (Down)
    Craven-Ellis, W.Hulbert, N. J.Reid, W. Allan (Derby)
    Critchley, A.Hume, Sir G. H.Remer, J. R.
    Crooke, J. S.Hunter, T.Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)
    Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.Jones, L. (Swansea W.)Ropner, Colonel L.
    Croom-Johnson, R. P.Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)Ross, Major Sir R. D. (Londonderry)
    Cross, R. H.Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)
    Crowder, J. F. E.Law, R. K. (Hull, S. W.)Rowlands, G.
    Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)Leckie, J. A.Salt, E. W.
    Dawson, Sir P.Leech, Dr. J. W.Scott, Lord William
    De Chair, S. S.Leighton, Major B. E. P.Selley, H. R.
    Denman, Hon. R. D.Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)
    Denville, AlfredLoftus, P. C.Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)
    Doland, G. F.Lovat-Fraser, J. A.Shepperson, Sir E. W.
    Dorman-Smith, Major R. H.MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.Simmonds, O. E.
    Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)M'Connell, Sir J.Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)
    Dugdale, Major T. L.McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
    Edmondson, Major Sir J.McKie, J. H.Spens, W. P.
    Ellis, Sir G.Magnay, T.Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
    Elliston, Capt. G. S.Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.Storey, S.
    Elmley, ViscountManningham-Buller, Sir M.Stourton, Major Hon. J. J
    Emrys-Evans, P. V.Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
    Erskine-Hill, A. G.Markham, S. F.Strickland, Captain W. F.
    Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
    Findlay, Sir E.Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
    Fleming, E. L.Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)Titchfield, Marquess of
    Fremantle, Sir F. E.Moreing, A. C.Turton, R. H.
    Furness, S. N.Morris-Jones, Sir HenryWalker-Smith, Sir J.
    Fyfe, D. P. M.
    Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
    Gluckstein, L. H.Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)Warrender, Sir V.
    Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.Wells, S. R.
    Grimston, R. V.Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.
    Gritten, W. G. HowardOrmsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. G. A.Womersley, Sir W. J.
    Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (C'mb'rw'll, N. W.)Palmer, G. E. H.Wragg, H.
    Guy, J. C. M.Penny, Sir G.Wright, Squadron-Leader J. A. C.
    Hannah, I. C.Petherick, M.Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
    Hannon, Sir P. J. H.Pickthorn, K. W. M.
    Harbord, A.Pilkington, R.TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
    Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)Ponsonby, Col. C. E.Commander Southby and Captain
    Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.Radford, E. A.Hope.
    Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.Raikes, H. V. A. M.

    Main Question again proposed.

    9.34 p.m.

    The Committee having disposed of that Amendment, by a majority which in view of the normal majority of the Government must be considered as a vote of censure, and which in the days when the House of Commons was at its greatest strength would certainly have led to the resignation of the Minister, we can now go back to the main Question. While I intend to vote against the main Question, I want to make it plain that I welcome the provision whereby these officers will become permanent officers, not removable at the end of seven years. They are people to whom judicial functions are given, and I think that any person placed in that position should be free from the fear that at the end of seven years, if he has not met with the approval of someone or other, he may not be reappointed. That is a totally wrong position in which to place any officer of the State, who is expected to exercise judicial functions.

    I am bound to say, however, that I view this Resolution with very grave misgiving, because it indicates in other parts that the Minister in the future intends to appoint people of about the same age at which previous appointments were made. I think we ought to recognise that these men will have to deal with problems which are entirely modern, and that they should bring to their decision on these problems a judgment that is not warped by the knowledge of what London was like in the days of hansom cabs.

    We still have the difficulty all over the country of having people in charge of traffic problems who think there may be a resurrection of the naughty nineties and the methods of locomotion then in vogue. Whether we are better or worse now, at any rate those days have gone, and, as far as traffic conditions are concerned, they have gone forever. The type of mind that was used to considering the problems of those days sometimes finds itself unable to realise how different are the conditions which have to be dealt with to-day, and I share the view that my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) attributed to the late Mr. Marjoribanks, that too much of our government, and especially of our local government—and this problem is very largely connected with local government—is in the hands of people of the pre-war generation, with the pre-war type of mind. I am sure we shall not get a really satisfactory solution of these difficulties until people with post-war minds have an opportunity of exercising their judgment upon them.

    There are some people who are in the unfortunate position that they have no Front Bench, and never will have again; and they are in that position largely because they allowed the pre-war mind to dominate their policy during the War and after the War. All I can say is that, if there is no resurrection for the naughty nineties, there is certainly no resurrection for a party that believes that in some mysterious way or other things that were true pre-war will be true for all time. After the voice from the grave, I will now continue.

    The Committee will, I am sure, agree that the functions of these commissioners are exceedingly important. They have to deal, in many cases, with the livelihood of people who have invested their money or their experience in a particular occupation, and it is highly desirable that those who have to deal with them should be people who realise that, if anything in this country ought to be fluid, it is traffic, and that a static type of mind with regard to traffic problems is not likely to produce fluidity of traffic. For these reasons I regret the indications that the Minister still expects to recruit people who have passed the whole of their lives in some other walk of life, and are going to be brought in at the end of their active life to deal with problems which demand the utmost alertness in those who have to reach these decisions. I cannot imagine anything worse than arranging that a person shall be able to continue as president of the Railway Rates Tribunal until he is 75 years of age. I remember an acquaintance of mine who was a magistrate, but resigned because of increasing deafness. His granddaughter asked his wife how old granddad was, and she said, "I will set you a problem; he is three score and 10, plus five. How old is that?" The granddaughter replied, "Old enough to be dead." We are proposing that persons well beyond the span that the Psalmist allotted to man should continue in this highly important office where they have to deal—

    The story I told had nothing to do with pre-war. It is now proposed that an arrangement should be continued whereby such a person can remain in office until he is 75. The Government must be aware that to quote the precedent of the judges in support of this proposal is to quote something which everyone, I thought, agreed was an anomaly which ought to be removed as soon as possible. I do not believe that anyone's confidence in the law system of the country is increased because judges are allowed to sit until they reach this age, and I am quite sure that people who have to bring their complicated cases relating to railway rates before this tribunal would be a great deal better satisfied if the contributory old age pension rule applied rather than the age to which judges are allowed to continue.

    There is just one last question with which I want to deal. I find increasingly in the country an objection to people who have given the whole of what is supposed to be their active life in one occupation being then taken off to deal with some new question. I am sure that we suffer in local government from the type of man who says, "I have made my fortune; I have attended to my own business; and, now that I no longer wish to do that, I will go over and manage the business of the public." That is a wrong idea, and the continued insistence of the Government on their desire for it has already been reproved once by the Committee to-night in the recent Division. I can only hope that, when we go to a vote on the main issue, the Government will be defeated.

    9.45 p.m.

    I want to vote against this Resolution, and the item dealing with the cost is the main cause of my objection. We have been told that it will ultimately cost £3,000 a year, and on the Government side it may be said that that is not a big amount, but every Session something like this is attempted to be got through. Last year we made a big protest over the Dominion Governors, when the Government tried to get a similar Resolution through quietly, and every subterfuge which they could think of was used, so that it would not be brought to the notice of the people outside. We were persistent in our objections, and we were met by the same kind of reply as we have had to-night, namely, that the Government were only doing things now that had been done before for other people, and that therefore it would be wrong to attempt to stop at this juncture. The hon. and gallant Member to-night said there was something in our objection, but he asked where it would lead to and added that it would lead to such an examination of other cases that there would be no end to it.

    I think the hon. Member is now arguing a point which the Committee has already decided.

    I am arguing the general question, which sometimes we cannot argue on an Amendment. However, I will not pursue it except to say that we on these benches on every occasion when an attempt of this kind is made will make our protest, and we do so because we have a vast number of people who cannot get anything like decency from the House of Commons. Only last week I had a question down in reference to old age pensioners, asking how many of them had to go to the Poor Law for assistance after they had received their 10s. a week, and the reply was that they numbered 200,000, showing clearly that a big section of the community are not getting sufficient with their old age pension. There is no denying the fact that this proposal is giving a body of men sums of money which they do not require. They receive already a big salary, and this will be added on to them by way of superannuation later on. Though it may appear that we have to repeat ourselves times out of number, I believe that a good case is well worth repeating on all occasions, and so we take this opportunity, as we shall take all other opportunities when the Government are doing their class business, to make our protest. This is merely class business, because it concerns a certain section of the community that belongs to the Government side, well-paid men, who are always being protected by the Government. I call it class distinction of the worst kind, and it is up to hon. Members on these benches to defend our people and to call to the notice of the community outside how badly one side are being treated while the other side get everything they want.

    9.48 p.m.

    I would like to appeal to the Minister to withdraw this Resolution and to present a new Memorandum in connection with it. I suggest to him that if he put in his Memorandum that applicants for these jobs should not be above the age of 45 years and should not under any circumstances be men who have retired from a previous job and are drawing a pension from that job—if he had such conditions as those in his Memorandum it would have a very big stimulating effect so far as the applications for these positions are concerned. We have had reference to the numbers of people who draw pensions and get other Civil Service jobs and then get further pensions, but surely Ministers know, or, if they do not, the Members behind them ought to know, that one of the biggest scandals that exists in this county is the fact that men who are drawing substantial pensions—

    I must point out that the Committee has already decided that point, which cannot be raised again now.

    On a point of Order. When we were discussing an Amendment to the Money Resolution, we were subject all the time to Rulings from the Chair which made our discussion extremely narrow. May I submit to you that the questions of the redundancy of pensions, the amount of pensions, and the conditions of pensions are closely involved in the main proposal to increase the maximum age at which these pensions may be given. It was very difficult to discuss the one question distinctly from the other, and now we are forbidden to discuss the whole question, so that it seems to be that the Committee is discussing the whole matter under difficulties.

    The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) has been long enough in this House to know that when once a Committee has taken a decision on a point, it cannot be reopened. The Committee has decided, by rejecting the Amendment moved just now, the question whether these people are entitled to one pension or to more pensions, and we cannot have that matter raised again to-night.

    On a point of Order. Is not in order, when a sum of money is mentioned in a Resolution, to use comparisons in order to show that the people who contribute this money should not have a say in what the amount of money is that they are to get by way of pensions?

    The hon. Member seems to have forgotten that a specific Amendment to limit this question has been decided, and we must abide by that decision to-night.

    I must bow to your Ruling, Captain Bourne, but I may say that my Parliamentary advisers advised me that in order to get scope, I should bring out at the beginning the question of the Memorandum. I am entitled to advise the Minister that a new Memorandum, instead of the present one, would be much more desirable and would much better meet the needs of the situation—a Memorandum laying down an age limit and laying down the condition that nobody already definitely and properly settled for life need apply. It would mean that the young men about whom we are so much concerned in other discussions would get an opportunity. It is no use the Minister saying, as he might say, that we cannot deal with this problem on this limited question. He could lay down the principle in this Resolution and in this Memorandum, and then apply the principle generally on every other question of public appointment that comes up.

    There are thousands of young men in this country who only want encouragement, but they do not get it. I have a letter which has just come to me to-day from a comparatively young man, a man of about 40 years of age, who has been in the public service, but because of cutting down has been cut out, and he wants to know how it is possible to get a job. As a matter of fact, we find that the general tendency is to block in every direction young men or comparatively young men and to put some old fossil, just because he is a fossil, into one of these jobs. I am certain, and I do not care who happens to be the individual who is chosen, that the Traffic Commissioners are more qualified for blocking traffic than for anything in the way of facilitating traffic.

    So I make a special appeal to the Minister and to the Members behind him not automatically to push these things through, not to put up barriers against young men getting employment, and not to leave the opportunities that have been left in the past for men who are well fixed just to make a racket of official appointments, because it has mostly been a racket among a whole bunch of Al Capone's, in helping one another into positions, men not concerned with the public good or with the real welfare of the country; and so I ask the Minister to consider the question of bringing in a new Memorandum laying down an age limit and the qualification that those who are already well and properly fixed in life need not apply.

    9.55 p.m.

    The proposal that these positions of the Traffic Commissioners, the chairmen of the tribunal under the Road and Rail Acts and the President of the Railway Rates Tribunal should be made permanent is one which I think is very disquieting. It is true that my hon. Friend behind me welcomed it and the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) took the opposite view. I daresay there is a good deal to be said on both sides, but we must remember that these men occupy very important positions indeed and have to decide issues involving many thousands of pounds. Many people's businesses have been ruined as a consequence of their decisions and others have had their fortunes made. When the Acts were discussed, very many legal luminaries in all parts of the House expressed grave concern about the anomalous position of these chairmen. It is not right to compare their positions with those of judges of the Court, because they are appointed by the Minister and can be removed by him, and an appeal lies from their decision to him. They are not given security of tenure. That is not the position at all. Under the existing proposal their appointments have to be renewed at the end of seven years. It is true that the seven years' limit is abolished, but there is substituted for it a form of control by the Minister which is more deadly.

    Almost all these men are too old to qualify to enter the pension scheme. In other words, they were all over 60 years of age when they were appointed, otherwise they would serve for 10 years. They are now to be subject to dismissal by the Minister at any time after 65, and the Chairman of the Railway Rates Tribunal up to 75. The Financial Memorandum explains that the Civil Service retirement age is 60, with the option on the part of the Department concerned to make it 65. This raises the limit of 60 to 65, with the option of 70 and, in the case of the Chairman of the Railway Rates Tribunal, 75.

    The Committee can visualise the relationship between these people and the Minister, who at any time can plead their advanced years as a reason for removing them from office. That is not security of tenure. It leaves them at the most exposed time of their lives at the mercy of those who hear appeals from them. So it is wrong to say that in substituting a seven years' limit for a permanency you are putting these men in a superior judicial position. It would be far better that they should be told that at a certain age they must retire, but that until that age they have security of tenure. When the seven years' limit was there there was always to be assumed some sort of connection between these men and outside industry. Now they are made Civil servants with judicial powers but without judicial tenure. That is a very serious position.

    When the matter was before the House it was said that the only protection we could have against bureaucratic tyranny was the right of appeal to the courts, but that was rejected on many grounds. One was that in any case it would make the hearings before these chairmen frightfully expensive, because witnesses and counsel would appear before them in the ordinary way and the procedure of the courts would be blocked by appeals. Those were the reasons given by the laity, though I did not see any apprehension on the part of the lawyers on the ground that the courts would be blocked. They viewed that possibility with considerable satisfaction. But every one was concerned about the position of these chairmen. They would be put in a much healthier position, and the appellants before them would be much more reassured, if the Minister did not have this arbitrary power of removal at any time, only having to plead advanced years as an excuse for removing them, though perhaps the real reason might be that their decisions quarrelled with his point of view.

    I should like to reinforce what my hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) has said. It seems to me that matters connected with age are always discussed in a ribald spirit. Every one begins to grin when thinking of people of 70 or 75 doing important work, and we are perfectly entitled to grin, because it is absurd that we should entrust important public matters to people at that irresponsible age. After a certain age the older a man gets the more irresponsible he becomes. The future to which he is responsible is shorter. It is only the young who have any sense of responsibility for the future. It is absurd that such important work should be entrusted to people whose minds are dead. They might be able to apply more knowledge, but they can never acquire more understanding. It seems to me that the House of Commons looks at these questions in exactly the same way as the mediaeval agricultural community, where the older man was the wiser man. The general attitude towards these problems, which is that these grave matters ought always to be entrusted to the old, is a relic of the days when the individual was the repository of tribal knowledge. It is far better that work of this description should be entrusted to young men who are now clamouring at the lower steps of the ladder of all professions.

    Is it because this book I hold gives the year of birth of the hon. Member as 1879 that he is so keen on this matter?

    I have never troubled to correct that age. At the moment the House of Commons is doing a great disservice in keeping people on. Take the case of the Chairman of the Railway Rates Tribunal at the age of 75. It is fantastic that our railway system should be presided over by a person of such an age. Although it might easily happen that an old man could still be fresh, I hold the view that the general scheme should be that people should be educated up to a certain age, and work up from that age to another, and then be given leisure, and not be allowed to perpetrate any more follies on the community. I am told that in the legal profession there is a very small number of men at the top able to earn very big salaries indeed, and a very large number of young men at the bottom unable to secure briefs. It has never been alleged that the young men at the bottom are unemployed because they are incompetent. Many of them perhaps may be, but I have been told that one of the reasons why they are unemployed, is that firms having legal business to transact will not take the risk of entrusting it to an inexperienced young person.

    I was going to point out that here you are adding 10 and 15 years to the life of these people offered by these judicial and semi-judicial positions, when there are perfectly competent younger men who could be moved up if these men were moved out.

    I am sorry that the hon. Member has so melancholy a view of his future that he looks forward only to work or death. My argument which is substantiated by the facts, is that the Committee ought not to agree to a proposal which emphasises the view, which is entirely contrary to the facts, that there are no young men in the community able to do these jobs. It is an outrage on decency that we should seriously be authorising the Minister of Transport to keep a man of 75 years of age in an important position of this kind. One of the reasons is that every time these decisions are faced people will not take the risk of appointing inexperienced people to any job at all. They always appoint old people merely on the ground that they are old, and they will not take the risk of appointing a young and inexperienced man when they ought all the while to be giving encouragement to people of that kind. I want to make my protest against this in view of the fact that there are 1,500,000 people unemployed and the professions are glutted by able young men. In some parts of the country the retirement of school teachers is compulsory at 60 because the profession is overcrowded. It is criminal, in view of all this unemployment of intelligent and trained people, that we should be giving powers in this Resolution to keep people in office who ought to have retired long ago and given younger people a chance.

    10.1 p.m.

    I listened with deep interest to the observations of hon. Members above the Gangway on the subject of age. It appears to be the view of hon. Members that everybody's faculties are necessarily atrophied at 70, which is surprising coming from that quarter. One of the most remarkable Parliamentary performances I have seen since I have been a Member of this House was when, in 1931, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) was appointed leader of His Majesty's Opposition at the age of 72. It is on record that when last we had a Labour Cabinet in this country it had a higher average age than any Cabinet in British history. Apart from that side of their argument, there was some substance in the point made by the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) about the question of various officials or persons in judicial positions holding their office during His Majesty's pleasure. We ought to have more explanation than we have had as to why this Resolution takes that particular form. I can understand their holding their offices during good behaviour, but it seems to introduce an entirely different principle if they are to hold their office during His Majesty's pleasure. Not all these people are in the position of being responsible to the Minister of Transport.

    Take, for instance, the chairman of the tribunal under the Road and Rail Traffic Act, 1933. I think that I am right in saying that he is entirely independent of the Ministry of Transport. He hears appeals from the licensing authorities who have to administer the Road and Rail Traffic Act and are not under the direction of the Ministry of Transport at all. The terms on which they have to administer the Act and the considerations which they have to bear in mind in deciding whether to grant or to withhold licences for carrying goods by road are determined not by the Ministry at all but by the Road and Rail Traffic Act, 1933. Therefore, both the licensing authorities and the chairman of the Appeal Tribunal are in a quasi-judicial position. We frequently in this House hear complaints made as to the operation of that particular Statute. Questions are asked of the Minister of Transport as to why the number of "B" licences is being cut down. The Minister replied, quite rightly, that he had no power in the matter to direct the licensing authority, or to say what the chairman of the Appeal Tribunal shall do, because the chairman of the Appeal Tribunal and the licensing authority must take their direction from the Statute.

    If these officers were to hold their offices simply during His Majesty's pleasure, and could be dismissed at any moment, it might be thought that they might be subject to great pressure from the Minister. I do not say that that pressure would be exercised, but it would be a possibility. When you have someone who is occupying an entirely independent position and discharging a quasi-judicial function, he is in a very much stronger position if he is appointed for a term of years and cannot be dismissed at a moment's notice.

    10.16 p.m.

    I will reply briefly to the points that have been raised. The statement made by the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) that these traffic commissioners hold very important positions really answered a great many of the arguments that were made. They have to hold very important positions of a quasi-judicial character, and for that reason great care has to be taken to see that they are people who are capable of carrying out this important bit of work, not only fairly but so that the people affected by their decisions may think and know that they are being fairly dealt with. The hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) said he objected to people who had been in some previous walk of life being put into a new and completely different job. I am paraphrasing his language. I do not think that in regard to a position like a traffic commissioner you can avoid their having had some previous history and some previous experience, especially when it appears to be generally agreed that they cannot be much under 45 years of age. The real complaint from hon. Members opposite is that the age limit is too great. No doubt we shall discuss that further when the Bill is before the House in Committee, but it is felt that the age limit that we have laid down will allow really suitable people to take these positions and to hold them during a period when they are doing useful work for the State. If you have a good man you want to keep him. You do not want to have to lose him at an early age, although I entirely agree with hon. Members opposite that you do not want to keep him when he is past his work.

    As regards the term "during His Majesty's pleasure," there is no alteration in the law. In Section 63 of the Road Traffic Act, 1930, the words are:
    "The Minister may remove any commissioner from his office for inability or misbehaviour."
    That is exactly the position now. I understand that the chairman of the appeal tribunal is in the same position. The hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Foot) put right a matter which was wrongly stated by the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale. The appeals to the Minister of Transport are on the passenger side under the Road Traffic Act, 1930. The appeals under the Road and Rail Traffic Act, 1933, are to an independent tribunal and not to the Minister. I have dealt with the question of age. We think that the proposal in the Resolution will get us the best possible people who can be obtained for these very responsible jobs, and I hope that the Committee will agree to it.

    The Parliamentary Secretary said that it represents the present position. In the Resolution both phrases are included, and it shows that the Government definitely prefer the words "during His Majesty's pleasure" instead of "holding office for a term of years." As the Resolution is drafted that contrast is drawn, and what we want to know is why that has been put in.

    I understand that it is the normal and appropriate wording which will bring these people under the Superannuation Acts. There is nothing sinister in it.

    In the Resolution the Government are proposing to make these appointments permanent. I want to know whether if we pass the Resolution it will mean that when we come to consider the Bill, we cannot debate the question of the permanency of these appointments?

    The hon. Member can hardly expect me to give a Ruling on a Money Resolution on a Bill which has not yet been presented, on Amendments which I have not seen, to be moved in the Committee stage. It is always possible for the Committee on a Bill to derogate from the terms of a Money Resolution, although they cannot go beyond them.

    Division No. 64.]


    [10.23 p.m.

    Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. DykeDorman-Smith, Major R. H.Law, R. K. (Hull, S. W.)
    Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple)Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)Leckie, J. A.
    Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.Dugdale, Major T. L.Leech, Dr. J. W.
    Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)Duncan, J. A. L.Leighton, Major B. E. P.
    Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.Edmondson, Major Sir J.Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.
    Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd)Ellis, Sir G.Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.
    Anstruther-Gray, W. J.Elliston, Capt. G. S.Loftus, P. C.
    Aske, Sir R. W.Elmley, ViscountLovat-Fraser, J. A.
    Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.Emmott, C. E. G. C.Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)
    Balfour, G. (Hampstead)Emrys-Evans, P. V.MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.
    Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.Erskine-Hill, A. G.M'Connell, Sir J.
    Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)McEwen, Capt. J. H. F
    Birchall, Sir J. D.Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)McKie, J. H.
    Blaker, Sir R.Everard, W. L.Magnay, T.
    Blindell, Sir J.Fildes, Sir H.Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.
    Boothby, R. J. G.Findlay, Sir E.Mander, G. le M.
    Bower, Comdr. R. T.Fleming, E. L.Manningham-Buller, Sir M.
    Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W.Foot, D. M.Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.
    Briscoe, Capt. R. G.Fremantle, Sir F. E.Markham, S. F.
    Brown, Col. O. C. (Hexham)Furness, S. N.Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.
    Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)Fyfe, D. P. M.Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)
    Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)
    Bull, B. B.Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.Moreing, A. C.
    Burgin, Dr. E. L.Gluckstein, L. H.Morris-Jones, Sir Henry
    Butler, R. A.Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)
    Cartland, J. R. H.Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)
    Carver, Major W. H.Grimston, R. V.Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.
    Cary, R. A.Gritten, W. G. HowardNall, Sir J.
    Castlereagh, ViscountGuest, MaJ. Hon. O. (C'mb'rw'll, N. W.)Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.
    Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)Guy, J. C. M.Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. G. A.
    Clarke, Lt.-Col. R. S. (E. Grinstead)Hannah, I. C.Owen, Major G.
    Colfox, Major W. P.Hannon, Sir P. J. H.Palmer, G. E. H.
    Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.Harbord, A.
    Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)Harris, Sir P. A.Penny, Sir G.
    Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)Petherick, M.
    Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.Pickthorn, K. W. M.
    Courthope, Col. Sir G. L.Hepburn, P. G. T. Buohan-Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
    Craven-Ellis, W.Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)Radford, E. A.
    Critchley, A.Holmes, J. S.Raikes, H. V. A. M.
    Crooke, J. S.Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.
    Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.Ramsbotham, H.
    Croom-Johnson, R. PHudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)Ramsden, Sir E.
    Cross, R. H.Hudson, R. S. (Southport)Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)
    Crowder, J. F. E.Hulbert, N. J.Reed, A. C. (Exeter)
    Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)Hume, Sir G. H.Reid, Sir D. D. (Down)
    Dawson, Sir P.Hunter, T.Reid, W. Allan (Derby)
    De Chair, S. S.Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)Remer, J. R.
    Denman, Hon. R. D.Jones, L. (Swansea W.)Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)
    Denville, AlfredKerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)Ropner, Colonel L.
    Doland, G. F.Lamb, Sir J. Q.Ross, Major Sir R. D. (Londonderry)

    If we cannot go beyond the terms of the Money Resolution, I take it that when we come to the Bill we shall not be able to deal with the question of these permanent appointments referred to in the Money Resolution?

    The hon. Member has misunderstood me. I said that he could derogate from the terms of the Money Resolution, that he could agree to something less than the terms of the Money Resolution, but that he could not propose an Amendment going beyond them. It appears to me—I speak without committing myself or the Chairman of Ways and Means—that a proposal to make them temporary appointments would be something less than the terms of the Money Resolution.

    Main Question put.

    The Committee divided: Ayes, 183; Noes, 89.

    Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)Warrender, Sir V.
    Rowlands, G.Southby, Commander A. R. J.Wells, S. R.
    Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
    Salt, E. W.Spens. W. P.Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.
    Scott, Lord WilliamStewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)Womersley, Sir W. J.
    Seely, Sir H. M.Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.Wragg, H.
    Selley, H. R.Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)Wright, Squadron-Leader J. A. C.
    Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)Strickland, Captain W. F.Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
    Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
    Shepperson, Sir E. W.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
    Simmonds, O. E.Titchfield, Marquess ofLieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert
    Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)Turton, R. H.Ward and Mr. James Stuart.
    Somervell. Sir D. B. (Crewe)Walker-Smith, Sir J.


    Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)Jagger, J.Richards, R. (Wrexham)
    Adamson, W. M.John, W.Ridley, G.
    Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)Jones, A. C. (Shipley)Riley, B.
    Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)Kelly, W. T.Ritson, J.
    Barnes, A. J.Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)
    Barr, J.Lathan, G.Rowson, G.
    Batey, J.Leach, W.Sexton. T. M.
    Bellenger, F. J.Lee, F.Shinwell, E.
    Benson, G.Leonard, W.Short, A.
    Bevan, A.Leslie, J. R.Silkin, L.
    Broad, F. A.Logan, D. G.Silverman, S. S.
    Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire)Lunn, W.Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
    Buchanan, G.Macdonald, G. (Ince)Smith, E. (Stoke)
    Burke, W. A.McGhee, H. G.Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
    Cape, T.MacLaren, A.Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
    Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)Maclean, N.Tinker, J. J.
    Ede, J. C.MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)Viant, S. P.
    Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)Mainwaring, W. H.Walkden, A. G.
    Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.Marshall, F.Watkins, F. C.
    Gallacher, W.Maxton, J.Watson, W. McL.
    Gardner, B. W.Messer, F.Welsh, J. C.
    Gibbins, J.Milner, Major J.Whiteley, W.
    Gibson, R. (Greenock)Montague, F.Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
    Green, W. H. (Deptford)Muff, G.Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)
    Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.Oliver, G. H.Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
    Grenfell, D. R.Parker, J.Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
    Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)Parkinson, J. A.Young, Sir R. (Newton)
    Henderson, J. (Ardwick)Potts, J.
    Henderson, T. (Tradeston)Price, M. P.TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
    Hicks, E. G.Pritt, D. N.Mr. Mathers and Mr. Groves.
    Hills, A. (Pontefract)Quibell, D. J. K.

    Resolution to be reported upon Thursday.