§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved the Second Reading of this Bill, which, he said, dealt with matters which had been the subject of considerable discussion. He particularly referred to the question 1450 of pensions and allowances to officers in various asylums; and, so far as their Lordships were concerned, it might be necessary to introduce some Amendments.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
said he had no intention of saying anything as to the various provisions of the Bill, but representations had been made to him from the authorities in the lunatic asylum of Norfolk, in which county he resided, and also from other counties, to, the effect that the pensions proposed were not nearly sufficient. The proposal was to make the pensions the same as to Poor Law officers, but it was pointed out that the duties of those who had to do with patients were far more onerous than the duties discharged by Poor Law officers. ["Hear, hear!"] It not unfrequently happened that, from constant attendance on the patients, there was a tendency in the direction of the minds of the attendants to become affected, so that they had to retire at a comparatively early period. What was said was that the period of 60 years, as in the case of the Poor Law officials, was too high, and that the pensions were not sufficiently high. As regarded storekeepers, clerks, artisans, and workmen generally, this would not apply. It was suggested that the officials brought into immediate contact with the patients should be allowed to retire after 25 years, and at an age not less than 50 years, and that the scale of pensions should be higher. That view had been recognised in his county, and he believed some other counties had also adopted it, giving pensions considerably higher than proposed in the Bill. He thought the arguments in the direction he suggested were extremely strong, but at the same time he was aware that in parts of the country there was a feeling that the pensions should not be higher than in the Bill. Still, there was a feeling that the pensions should be commensurate with the service, and therefore he hoped it would be possible to amend the Bill.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said he entirely concurred in the remarks of the noble Earl.
Read 2a (according to Order); and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Monday next.