asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that prison officers who are recalled to work at their previous trades during the war period and in the national interest, are charged a higher amount for the rent of their official quarters than the pensionable value upon which Income Tax is assessed; and whether he will inquire into the matter with a view to limiting the charge to the pensionable value of the quarters?
For pension purposes the value of official quarters is necessarily reckoned at a figure which is the same for all officers of equal rank, regardless of the question whether an individual officer has before his retirement been occupying a house of relatively high value in a town or one of lower value in the country. Certain officers who have been released temporarily from the Prison Service in order that they may take up other work required in the national interest during the war, have asked to be allowed to remain in their official quarters, and where the Prison Commission are able to spare the quarters they have been anxious to comply with such requests. In such cases, however, the applicant is in the same position as any member of the public who might rent a house belonging to the Prison Commission, and the rent charged is accordingly the fair economic rent for the particular premises.
Is it not a plain anomaly that one figure should be taken when a charge is made by way of rent, and another, often lower, for assessing pension?
This arises upon persons leaving the Prison Service. I do not think that we should charge them a lower rent than other members of the community have to pay.
asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that acute dissatisfaction exists among clerical staffs employed in the Prison Service as the result of recent promotions which involved 52 senior members of the staff being passed over by their juniors; that the unpromoted senior officers were all classed as efficient when their last annual increments were due; that many of them have performed duties proper to grades above their own; and whether, in these circumstances, he will cause an investigation to be made into the matter and give an assurance that the just claims of the men not promoted will not be overlooked when further promotions become due?
As in other services, promotions in the Prison Service are made on the principle of endeavouring to select the best possible candidate for the available post. In making a selection full weight is given to length and quality of service, but these considerations by themselves are not decisive. I have no reason to think that these principles were not applied in making recent promotions or that these promotions have caused acute dissatisfaction.