THE EARL OF ARRAN
rose to call attention to the Treasury Regulations as to leave granted to those Civil servants who belong to the Territorial Forces for the purpose of attending their annual training; and to move for Papers. The noble Earl said: My Lords, I hope that my object in bringing forward this Motion will not be misconstrued. I have the honour to command a corps which is composed almost exclusively of Civil servants. I think I am right in expressing the opinion that the success of Mr. Haldane's new Army scheme must depend more or less on the encouragement which is given by both private and public employers of labour to their subordinates to join the Territorial Army.
It is very easy to say that every able-bodied young man should join the Territorial Army, but when you put that into practice it means the sacrifice for the good of the State of a fortnight's work and the accompanying wages, and the question arises, On whom should the loss of wages fall? Those of your Lordships who are large employers of labour have already discovered how difficult it is to arrange matters so that this burden does not fall on the man who performs military duties. I think the community of employers I were justified in thinking that, when a scheme demanding such sacrifices as this was originated by the Secretary of State, the Government would set an example; and the Secretary of State, in his speeches urging employers of labour to give facilities to their subordinates, seemed to be of the same opinion. On 4th April, Mr. Haldane said at Wolverhampton—
The Government relied greatly on the co-operation of employers of labour. The Government were going to set an example to those employers, and would give facilities for a fifteen days camp to men in their employ and allow them their civilian pay while in camp.
And at Bristol, in May, Mr. Haldane is reported to have—
pointed out the opportunities given by the Treasury to Government employees—fifteen
days leave at camp, not in the Civil servant's holiday time and on full civilian pay.
§ It is natural that the Civil servants gathered from those statements that they were to be given a fortnight's special leave to attend camp while drawing their civil pay; but in certain Departments of the Civil Service—notably in the Savings Bank and the Post Office—the heads of departments are able, under the present Treasury regulations, to give their subordinates leave to attend camp only under such strict, conditions as the deducting of eleven days from each man's annual leave, or the provision of a substitute out of his civil pay, or the making up of seventy-one hours overtime. The majority of the young men in the Civil Service who join the Territorial Army have only fourteen days annual leave altogether, and they are dependent, almost, entirely on their civil pay for their expenses. The hardship of the present regulations is, therefore, sufficiently obvious, for it seems that if a Civil servant wishes to serve his country in the Territorial Army he has to give up either a part of his income or the only chance he has of getting away for an annual rest; and, as regards the making up of seventy-one hours overtime, I think it is asking almost too much of a young man's patriotism that he should be expected to stay day after day, week after week, and perhaps month after month, working overtime while those of his colleagues who are not sufficiently patriotic to join the Territorial Forces go away and amuse themselves.
§ There are two corps, one commanded by my noble friend Lord Granard, and the other I have the honour to command—the Post Office Corps and the Civil Service Rifles—which are composed almost exclusively of Civil servants; and my experience is that, though of exceptional military value, owing to their intellectual training, they must in time cease to exist if these regulations are persisted in. I do not think it is too much to ask of His Majesty's Government, when they are demanding so much from private employers of labour, that every man in the Civil Service who wishes to serve in the Territorial Army should have a fortnight's special leave to do so, and that it should cost him nothing out 342 of his own pocket. If these corps should cease to exist it would be a sufficient evil of itself, but there is a greater evil. I refer to the force of example. If the Secretary of State makes appeals to private employers of labour to help their subordinates join the Territorial Army, what response can he logically hope to get unless the Government themselves set an example? I beg to move for the correspondence relating to this matter.
§ Moved, "That an Humble Address be presented to His Majesty for any correspondence that has passed between, the War Office, the Treasury, and Heads of Departments respecting the Treasury Regulations as to leave granted to those Civil servants who belong to the Territorial Forces for the purpose of attending their annual training."—(The Earl of Arran.)
My Lords, whilst I regret that the noble Earl has thought fit to make such a vigorous and unsparing attack on the Treasury Regulations, at the same time I recognise there is no Member of your Lordships' House better entitled to raise this question than the noble Earl, who, as he has said, is the commanding officer of the Civil Service Rifles, which I am given to understand by my noble friend the Undersecretary of State for War is one of the smartest regiments in the London Division. Speaking generally, I may say that it is the intention of the Government to afford Civil servants every reasonable facility, subject, of course, to the requirements of the public service, for joining the Territorial Force. Again, speaking generally—and I think the noble Earl himself will admit this—the present Treasury Regulations are very much better, from the point of view of commanding officers of regiments, than they were formerly in the days of the Volunteers. The Regulations have been relaxed as much as they possibly could be, considering the interest of the public service, to meet the desires of those responsible for the organisation of the Territorial Force. The noble Earl, is rather using the concessions already made as a lever to obtain a still further relaxation of the Treasury Regulations in the direction he desires.
343 The way in which, the Treasury look at the question is this. The requirements of the Department to which the Civil servant belongs take precedence; that is to say, if he cannot be spared from his particular Department he cannot go to camp. He is a Civil servant first, and a soldier afterwards. Full discretion, of course, must be given to the heads of departments as to whether a particular man can, or cannot, be spared to go out for his training; and I put it to any Member of this House who has himself controlled one of the large Government Departments or has served in a great Department of State, whether any other arrangement than that would be possible. Subject to these requirements a Civil servant may be granted, in addition to his ordinary holidays, special leave, not exceeding fifteen days, for attendance at camp. During such time he will draw military pay from the Army funds, and on returning to civil life will be given the difference between his military pay and his ordinary civil pay—that is to say, he draws his ordinary office pay. No account is taken of the ration and other allowances that he receives while in camp. Therefore he gets that in addition.
I now come to the question of substitutes. Where a man is allowed to go to camp and his place has to be taken by a substitute, his civil pay will be stopped during his absence. If the cost of the substitute is less than the salary, of the Civil servant, the latter will have the benefit of the difference; where it is more the difference is met out of the public funds. I understand the contention of the noble Earl to be this, that the Government should find both the military pay and the civil pay, and, in addition, pay for the substitute.
THE EARL OF ARRAN
No. He would sacrifice his military pay, but should be allowed to keep his civil pay.
The Government then would have to find the civil pay and also defray the cost of the substitute?
That is to say, however much the pay may be which 344 the particular Civil servant may draw, the Government would have to find the cost of the substitute, which, of course, may amount in particular cases to a very considerable sum. I do not think that the Treasury are prepared to make that concession. I should add that if a Civil servant elects to spend his ordinary holiday in camp he will draw his civil and military pay in full. I can say from experience how very much better these regulations are than those which existed a few years ago when I commanded a squadron of the Middlesex Yeomanry. It was frequently extremely difficult to get leave for a Civil servant at all, and I submit that the present regulations are very much more favourable to Volunteer regiments than those formerly in force. I think I can safely add that if employers of labour throughout the country will follow the example which has been set in this matter by the Treasury and make it as easy for their men to attend camp as has been done by the Government, I do not think those responsible for the inception and organisation of the Territorial Force will have any reason whatever to complain.
THE EARL OF ARRAN
My Lords, as I have a right of reply I will venture to trouble your Lordships with a very few words in regard to the noble Earl's answer. My noble friend suggested that I was rather using the concessions already made by His Majesty's Treasury as a lever to obtain a still further relaxation of the regulations. I venture, with all deference, to say that I do not know what great inducements have already been given. The noble Lord referred to the great difference between the old regulations regarding leave and the present. I commanded a battalion when the old regulations were in force, and they at least allowed one full extra week's leave on full pay. Therefore the men had only to sacrifice the other week. That was better than the present regulation in the case of Civil servants in the Post Office.
I think the noble Earl refers to the Field Army Brigade, which was rather a special case.
THE EARL OF ARRAN
The noble Lord said that the man was a Civil servant first and a soldier afterwards. Well, take the case of a young man employed by Messrs. Marshal and Snelgrove. He is a Marshal and Snelgrovian first; and therefore exactly the same argument applies in the case of private employers. If the concessions for which I ask cannot be made then I venture to submit that His Majesty's Government would have done much better not to have allowed the Civil servants to join the Territorial Army. I might add that one company in my corps is going to receive applications for leave from camp this year from 50 per cent, of its members in this particular Department.
§ THE EARL OF GRANARD
My Lords, as my noble friend has mentioned me by name, perhaps I may be allowed to say a word or two on this question. I may explain, however, that I do not assume command of the Post Office Corps until October. I have had a certain amount to do with this question in connection with the Post Office, and I have naturally taken a very great interest in it. The real point is that of substitution, which affects the Post Office very materially. In the case of the Board of Trade or the Local Government Board, or similar offices, it is quite easy to allow one of the staff to go away for fifteen days leave, and no actual substitution is required. The, trouble really arises in a department like the Post Office, where there is an enormous amount of manipulative duty in connection with the telegraph and the London postal service. Therefore it is impossible to do the work without engaging a substitute. When first the Treasury brought out their rules they insisted that any cost of substitution should be borne by the individual. I am glad that the Treasury have modified that since, and that they have now provided that where the cost of substitution exceeds the civil pay of the individual in question it is paid by the Department and where the amount is 346 less the Civil servant gets the benefit. The noble Earl also referred to his own corps—the Civil Service Rifles—and to the old regulations which existed in this matter. At that time, I understand, certain regiments (speaking from memory, I think there were twenty-eight battalions) known as "the Field Army Brigade," were allowed seven days full pay during the time of their embodiment. As far as the Post Office Corps is concerned, that has never been the case. They did not belong to this Brigade, and consequently the new Regulations seem, as far as the Post Office is concerned, more or less to meet their views. I can only say that I have inquired with regard to recruiting for the Post Office Corps, and that at the present moment they are over 800 strong, the full strength of the battalion being just under 1,000. This Return I received about a month ago, and at the present moment we are probably completely up to strength.
The noble Lord also mentioned the question of overtime, and took exception to the men working seventy-one hours. This morning the Comptroller of the Savings Bank came to see me on this question, and he informed me that he gave the men the option of going into camp during annual leave and getting civil and military pay, or, on the other hand, of substitution; and he asked them whether they would care to take advantage of overtime. The whole amount of overtime, as I think the Earl of Arran said, is seventy-one hours, which will be spread over the whole of the year.
§ THE EARL OF GRANARD
Until Christmas of this year, and in future years probably over.
I can only, in conclusion, say that I think it would be very difficult for the Treasury to do any more than they have done, and that as far as the Battalion with which I deal is concerned, the returns which we are getting seem to me to be very satisfactory—a state of things which I hope will continue.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON
I do not think from the speech of either of the noble Lords on the opposite bench that the Government quite appreciate the extremely delicate ground on which the whole question rests of getting the Territorial Army to train for a fortnight. I know from some past experience that if anything is likely to break down the scheme of the Secretary for War, it is this difficulty by which, even if a man gets exactly the same for going out as he does for not going out, he is really a loser, because his expenses in camp are heavier than when he is living at home. I feel myself that this is so difficult a question that I would urge the Government to reconsider it from the point of view of economy. I would be no party to urging upon the Government that they should so increase the cost of the Territorial Army that more money has to be found than that which is allotted at present to the general service of the Army, because I feel that, that will only lead to a reduction of the Regular Army. But this is the point I would venture to urge. Unless you can induce employers to bear some share of the cost of their men going out I do not think you will find that the men, after they have tried it for a year or so, will be able to continue their service for the fortnight of training which you have now thought it necessary to lay down. If that be so, recollect the position in which you will then stand. If you have to keep 150,000 men, or, still more, 200,000 or 300,000 men, in camp at anything like what will pay them for going into camp, you will have to add to your present pay by something like the equivalent of the present pay, or half as much again. I do not think: 1s. or 2s. will do it. I think that this move which the noble Lord has brought out to-day, is really a false economy on the part of the Government. If; you ask a man to go out, and to pay a substitute in the Post Office, he is, of course, absolutely a loser at this moment by going into camp. He cannot afford to do it, and he will not do it; and that is the case with nearly everybody in private employment. I do not know what numbers of Volunteers to the Territorial Army are involved. The 348 noble Lord the Earl of Granard mentioned one corps of 800 strong, but I imagine the total number in Government employ is not more than hundreds—I take it that it hardly runs into thousands. Perhaps the noble Earl will tell me.
§ THE EARL OF GRANARD
I think, if the noble Earl will excuse my interrupting him, the whole establishment of the Post Office is over 246,000, and in nearly every town or village in the country some members of the Post Office belong to the Volunteers or to the Territorial Army in some form or other. I should say, speaking offhand, the numbers would reach something like 4,000 or 5,000.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON
Supposing the noble Earl is correct, I would ask your Lordships to consider what is involved. If you provide the pay of 4,000 or 5,000 men, or their substitutes, for a fortnight, you are giving encouragement to the whole of your other men to do something of the same kind, but if you withhold the whole of that pay, which comes to a very small amount, you do not encourage employers to put their employees into a position in which they could possibly afford to come out. That is the reason why the Field Army, who are 30,000 or 40,000 strong, were given some years ago seven days extra leave without pay. What I understood the noble Lord, Lord Denman, to say was that they should be made a special case, and that half their training, at all events, should be at the expense of the Department. Well, I honestly believe that if the Government will act liberally by those in their own employ, they will set an example which employers may possibly follow; but if they do not, I apprehend that it will be found, before many months are over, that it is impossible to continue this fortnight's training which I believe is essential, which has always been of the greatest difficulty, and which can only be carried out if all concerned are willing to make some sacrifice in order to prevent its falling too heavily upon those who are willing to give up their time to the service of the country.
I think the Treasury have been treated rather unjustly. What is it that the Treasury are prepared to do? In the first place, besides the ordinary holiday, they are prepared to give a fortnight's holiday to any Civil servant in the Territorial Force, and are also prepared to pay him his full pay during the time he is out. If, further, the man has to provide a substitute for himself, the Treasury are prepared to pay his full civil pay, and also his military pay. It is paying him two wages simultaneously. Certain cases were quoted by Lord Arran, which I understand are in a minority, in which the cost of providing a substitute amounts to as much as the man's full Civil pay, but in most eases I believe that it does not do so. I think the Treasury, after all, have sot some sort of worthy example in allowing the man who is so far indispensable that it is impossible to provide a substitute for him—in the, first place impossible to provide a substitute for him as required, and, in the second place, impossible to provide a substitute at any lower rate than he himself is earning—the Treasury, I say, is setting an example in allowing that man to go out at all. In the second place, it is doing that which, we have always said. We have never pretended, from the beginning, that we were going to compete against civil employment in the matter of pay during the time the Territorial Army was out. We have said all through that we were going to pay Army rates of pay, and that if men chose to come out for that they could. Everybody has gone into that with his eyes open, and the Territorial Force understand that they are to be paid at Army rates of pay. The Civil servant who gets this extra fortnight has, as I say, in most cases, not only that Army rate of pay, but either a sum amounting to the whole of his civil pay, or in most cases a certain proportion of his civil pay as well. I think we may fairly say that the Treasury has treated the War Office very generously in this matter, and we only hope that private employers will be able to do as much for us, and we shall be deeply grateful if they will do as the Treasury has done.
§ Motion, by leave of the House, withdrawn.