asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is now in a position to give a decision on claims for improved pay for permanent and temporary clerical workers in the Civil Service, in view of the fact that certain of these claims have been under consideration by the Treasury for 10 months, and if he will join with the Civil Service Clerical Association in requesting the Ministry of Labour to refer these claims forthwith to the Civil Service Arbitration Tribunal.
I regret that consideration of these claims has proved lengthy, owing to the importance of the issues involved, but I expect that a decision will be arrived at before long. Meantime, it would be premature to refer them to arbitration.
Could the Financial Secretary, in view of the very long time taken in the consideration of these claims, give us some idea of what interpretation will be placed upon these words "before long"?
I agree with the hon. Gentleman that it has taken a long time, and that is deeply regretted; but it is hoped that within, say, a few weeks, we may be able to have something to say on the matter.
I am much obliged.