HC Deb 12 February 1924 vol 169 cc733-5
34 and 35. Sir K. WOOD

asked the Prime Minister (1) whether he proposes to make any reduction or alteration in the respective amounts payable in respect of Ministerial salaries;

(2) whether he proposes to make any alterations in relation to the payment of salaries and fees of the Law Officers of his Ministry?


The general arrangements approved by the House of Commons in the case of previous Administrations will be submitted in the respective Estimates for the approval of the House. The Estimate for the Foreign Office will be decreased by an amount equivalent to £5,000 a year so long as the Prime Minister continues to act as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and the Estimate for the salary of the Lord Privy Seal will be increased from £2,000 to £5,000 a year on the analogy of previous holders of that office when Leader of the House. As regards the Lord Chancellor, my Noble Friend in accepting office relinquished the allowance of 15,000 per annum which he drew as a former holder of the office in respect of the judicial functions which he continued to perform in the House of Lords, and expressed the wish that his salary should be fixed at 16,000 per annum instead of the sum of £10,000 drawn by his predecessors. The net result of this arrangement is a saving of £9,000 a year to public funds so long as my Noble Friend continues to hold this office.


Has the Prime Minister considered the suggestion which has been made by the hon. Member for Stirling (Mr. Johnston) which he said would strike the imagination of the country, namely, that the Labour Government should accept their Parliamentary salaries only?

Lieut.-Colonel Sir F. HALL

Is it not the usual practice in this House that if the Prime Minister holds two offices Le only draws one salary, as is suggested by the right hon. Gentleman, and whether under the circumstances, the present Government is not effecting any saving by adopting that method?


It does not matter what the practice is provided the practice does save £9,000, as is the case here.


Has the right how. Gentleman taken into consideration the report which was furnished to this House, 1 think by your predecessor, Sir, Lord Ullswater, on the whole question of the adjustment of Cabinet salaries, both for Ministers and Under-Secretaries, bringing about it more equal condition among the Members of any Government of whatever colour?


We have taken that report into consideration. I feel very strongly that the whole question ought to be reviewed, as at present it is most inequitable, but so far as I am concerned I will not agree to it being reviewed while we ourselves are in office unless it comes spontaneously from the whole House of Commons.

Commander BELLAIRS

With regard to the Law Officers of the Crown, is it riot the case that the fees of the Law Officers do not come before this House, and could not the total be limited to something like £10,000 instead of reaching over 120,000?


Will the right hon. Gentleman consider restoring the practice in relation to the Law Officers which was put into operation during the War and which was only abandoned in 1919?

Colonel Sir C. YATE

Does not the right hon. Gentleman consider that, in view of the enormous responsibilities imposed on Ministers, their present pay is too small?


That is a matter for debate.