HC Deb 31 May 1956 vol 553 cc408-9
3. Mr. Lewis

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the date on which the salary of a junior Minister was raised to its present level; and what the present purchasing value of this salary is compared with the date on which it was introduced.

Mr. H. Brooke

A salary of £1,500 for Parliamentary Secretaries generally was first prescribed by Statute in 1937, though it applied earlier in many cases. In 1946 Parliamentary Secretaries in the House of Commons became entitled to draw in addition half the Parliamentary salary —that is, £500. In terms of purchasing power £1,500 today is equivalent to £560 in 1937, and £2,000 today is equivalent to £1,284 in 1946.

Mr. Lewis

Are not these figures a shocking example of how junior Ministers, like many other Ministers and Parliamentarians, are underpaid? Does the Financial Secretary recall the statement made in the House by the former Chancellor of the Exchequer that this matter would be dealt with, and his promise that he would deal with this admitted anomaly? When will that be done and when will the promise be implemented; or is it simply another of the promises that we keep getting from the Government but which they have no intention of carrying out?

Mr. Brooke

If I answer many more questions on this matter, I shall have to declare my interest. I should in any case have difficulty in answering the hon. Member's specific question without anticipating the Answer to Question No. 10.

Mr. Callaghan

Is it the case that a number of Members of the party opposite have felt that they had to decline office because of the inadequacy of the pay? If so, is that not a serious consideration which should be taken into account?

Mr. Brooke

I know nothing of all that.

Hon. Members


Mr. Lewis

On a point of order. The Minister did not attempt to answer my question as to when the Government would implement their promise. Can I have an answer?

Mr. Speaker

I do not think that that necessarily arises.