Second Schedule. — (Provisions as to the Appeal Tribunal.)

Orders of the Day — Coal Industry Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th July 1949.

Alert me about debates like this

Lords Amendment: In page 22, leave out lines 3 to 20, and insert: 1.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this paragraph, the members of the appeal tribunal, other than any members appointed to act for a particular case, shall hold office for such period as may be determined at the time of their respective appointments.(2) Any member of the tribunal may at any time by notice in writing to the Lord Chancellor resign his appointment.(3) If a member of the tribunal becomes a member of the advisory committee, his office shall thereupon become vacant.(4) The Lord Chancellor may declare the office of any member of the tribunal vacant on the ground of incapacity to perform the duties thereof, or on the ground of misconduct.(5) If any member of the tribunal becomes bankrupt or makes an arrangement with his creditors, his office shall thereupon become vacant(6) In the application of the preceding provisions of this paragraph to members appointed by the Lord President of the Court of Session, the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland or the Secretary of State, references to the Lord President, Lord Chief Justice or Secretary of State, as the case may be, shall be substituted for the references to the Lord Chancellor.

Mr. Paling:

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This is a matter which relates to an Amendment to which we have agreed on a previous Clause, which refers to the inclusion on the Tribunal, where the chairman of the Tribunal or parties to the dispute require it, of two jurymen in addition to the chairman. The ordinary Tribunal consists of a chairman plus two assessors, and in cases where either the chairman or the two parties to the dispute require it it is proposed to add two jurymen in addition to the chairman.

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Bournemouth

Can the right hon. Gentleman explain what he means by a juryman in this matter? Can a juryman return a verdict against the president's nominees.

Mr. Paling:

There is a later Amendment as to whether it should be a majority decision, or not.

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Bournemouth

But what is a juryman?

Mr. Paling:

I believe I tried to explain that the ordinary Tribunal is composed of a chairman, a legal man, and two assessors and that the decision is in the hands of the chairman. It may be that in rather important cases it would be more desirable to have more than one person making the decision; therefore, two other persons should be included who may also have a say in the decision.

Lords Amendment: In page 23, line 17, after "president" insert: or, in a case where additional members have been appointed, the decision of all, or, in the event of a difference of opinion, of the majority of, the members of the tribunal other than the assessors.

Mr. Paling:

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This makes a majority decision necessary.

Photo of Mr Charles Williams Mr Charles Williams , Torquay

I think it is a good thing that we have this Amendment. I cannot understand why the Government, at an earlier stage, wanted to give the president the final power. It is quite natural that we should go to another place to remove the arbitrary powers put on the president, and now we lay it down quite clearly that in cases where additional persons are appointed the decision shall be the opinion of all, or in the case of a difference of opinion, it shall be the decision of the majority. That is good, sound, policy with which we all agree. But it is really shocking that we should always have to be having amending Bills which include appallingly arbitrary offices which the Government set up.

Photo of Mr Peter Roberts Mr Peter Roberts , Sheffield Ecclesall

The Postmaster-General said that this dealt with two extra jurymen. I cannot see that the word "jurymen" comes into it at all. Could he explain how that is effected by this Amendment?

Photo of Captain Harry Crookshank Captain Harry Crookshank , Gainsborough

I hope I shall not be accused of "undue interference" with this problem, but the Postmaster-General kept on using the word "juryman." He seems to be unacquainted with the fact that the word "juryman" is a perfectly well-known technical term. Certain persons in the community have to serve on juries. So far as I can make out this has nothing to do with that sort of juryman. I imagine that there are to be special ad hoc appointed members of the Tribunal. If that is so it is a pity that the Postmaster-General did not make it clear. My hon. Friend is obviously completely confused in the matter and it is not his fault. It is due to the Postmaster-General using a technical term in a matter which is not technical. I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether that could be made clear.

1.16 a.m.

Photo of Commander Sir John Maitland Commander Sir John Maitland , Horncastle

I should like to add my views to what my hon. and gallant Friend has just said. I agree with everything he has said. I should like to add something which he cannot say, and that is to emphasise what an important department the Naval Ordnance Inspecting Department is, and how that on their accuracy depend the lives of thousands of men in the Royal Navy. I had an opportunity of working from the other point of view. I was in touch with their work as a specialist officer, and I would like to pay my tribute to the way they did their work during the war.

Everybody in the Royal Navy knows that these officers do not have the same chance of promotion to the really high ranks as do officers serving in the ordinary executive branches of the Navy. It is for that reason that ever since the branch was formed, they have normally had relatively higher pay than have officers of equivalent rank of the executive side. I simply want to add this to what my hon. and gallant Friend has said, and I challenge the hon. Gentleman who is to reply to deny that these officers are now paid on a lower scale than officers of relative rank on the executive side. These officers were led to believe that their pay would be increased, but it has not been increased. It is a disgrace to the Admiralty and to the Royal Navy that it has not been.

1.18 a.m.

Photo of Mr Walter Edwards Mr Walter Edwards , Stepney Whitechapel and St George's

It has been said that this is only a very small body of men whom we are considering in this Adjournment Debate, but I am certain that the House will agree that at least if it is small it has had a fair amount of representation in this House on a large number of occasions. The hon. and gallant Member for Horncastle (Commander Maitland) has mentioned the way in which this body of people has been treated in the matter of pay. In the 1930's it was decided by the Admiralty that the salaries of these officers were to be reduced, and one of the reasons why the salaries in 1949 are not much higher than the salaries in 1931 is because of the large reduction imposed by the Government of the 1930's.

Photo of Commander Sir John Maitland Commander Sir John Maitland , Horncastle

Surely if my memory is right, the salary of a Naval Ordnance inspecting officer has always been higher, and was higher at the time about which the hon. Gentleman is talking, than that of officers of relatively similar rank serving in the Navy. If it is not so, I should be interested if he could give me the figures.

Photo of Mr Walter Edwards Mr Walter Edwards , Stepney Whitechapel and St George's

I do not think that is correct, but that is not the point I am making. I am referring to the charge made by the hon. and gallant Member for West Edinburgh (Lieut.-Commander Hutchison) with regard to the salaries received today as related to those in 1931. In fact, there has been a consolidated war bonus, in 1945, of £120 to £90 in most cases. That proves that from 1931 to the start of the war there must have been a similar reduction if the figure in 1949 was not higher than that in 1931. But I do not want to get involved in a lot of discussion about this.

The hon. and gallant Member for West Edinburgh has certainly taken a deep interest in the matter and I have had the good fortune to be able to read the speech which he made on an Adjournment debate in 1945 and of knowing exactly what he was going to say tonight. When HANSARD is published tomorrow. I doubt whether there will be found to be much difference in the wording.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir George Hutchison Lieut-Colonel Sir George Hutchison , Edinburgh West

I quoted figures which were absolutely up to date and took in account changes made in the post-war pay code and Admiralty Fleet Order 995 of 1949.

Photo of Mr Walter Edwards Mr Walter Edwards , Stepney Whitechapel and St George's

Could that not have been covered by looking up speeches made in the Debate on Navy Estimates? In my view, the speech was not much different from that made in 1945 and to which a reply was given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary.

Photo of Mr Walter Edwards Mr Walter Edwards , Stepney Whitechapel and St George's

Inadequate, perhaps, but that reply stated clearly and briefly that these officers are not comparable with officers serving afloat, and became less comparable as the years have gone by. As the result of Admiralty consideration of this matter, a committee was set up in 1921. It was not until 1924 that the Admiralty of that time submitted recommendations of the committee to the Treasury. We are being accused of delay because a committee was set up in 1946 and our submissions have already been made. The Madden Committee went into the whole question of the inspection pool from the points of view of manning and salaries. It took some considerable time to go into the matter because it was a most complex one which had to be examined carefully. I was glad to hear the views of the hon. and gallant Member for West Edinburgh on the chairman of that committee, Admiral Madden.

The recommendations made by that committee with regard to salaries have been given most careful and favourable consideration by the Admiralty, and agreement has now been reached with the Treasury on the consolidated salary scales for inspectors, and it would perhaps be convenient for the House if I read them out. The Department was informed yesterday of these new salary scales, which are: C.I.N.O. £1,700; Group A: £1,400 commencing, rising by yearly increments of £50 to £1,550; Group B: £1,175, rising by annual increments of £35 to £1,350; Group C: £975, rising by annual increments of £30 to £1,125; Group D: £800, rising to £950. All these are being ante-dated to the 1st January, 1947.

I can assure the House, after the most careful consideration of the committee's recommendations, that I do not think there will be much cause for complaint about these new scales. The matter could, perhaps, have been dealt with more quickly, but if it had been, the possibility is that I might not have been able to announce the same figures. I trust, in view of the fact that I have been able to state that this matter has come to finality, after a large number of Parliamentary Questions and interesting discussions both on the Navy Estimates and on Motions for the Adjournment, that we have cleared the matter away at least for the time being.

1.26 a.m.

Photo of Mr James Thomas Mr James Thomas , Hereford

This Adjournment Motion has certainly served a most useful purpose. I am grateful to the Civil Lord for having given us these figures, and especially for his announcement that they are retrospective to 1947. I thank the Civil Lord, and congratulate my hon. and gallant Friend on his unceasing battle on behalf of this important section of the Royal Navy. He had a go at me a past regime, and he passed from me to the Civil Lord. I am sure the officers and men concerned are most grateful to him for his services on their behalf. We on this side are delighted that the Adjournment Motion tonight has resulted in the announcement of these new scales.

Question put, and agreed to.

Adjourned accordingly at Twenty-eight Minutes past One o'Clock a.m.