HC Deb 24 July 1967 vol 751 cc54-5
49. Mr. William Price

asked the Lord President of the Council why attendants at the House of Commons are required to wait twelve years before achieving the maximum wage of £16 12s. a week.

Mr. Crossman

The salary scales of House of Commons attendant grades are linked to those of the paperkeeping grades in the Civil Service. The minimum period of twelve years' satisfactory service required by attendants in the Department of the Serjeant at Arms to reach the maximum of the senior attendant grade is no more than the normal period of progression through the paperkeeping grades.

The maximum of the senior attendants' salary is now equivalent to £.17 7s. a week, and will be further increased to £17 10s. 6d. on 1st January, 1968, with effect from 1st July, 1966, as a result of a pay increase awarded to the paper-keepers following a Civil Service Pay Research Survey.

Mr. Price

Would my right hon. Friend not agree that 12 years is an incredibly long time to wait for a distressingly low wage? Does he appreciate that, although we do not blame him, we expect him to do something about it?

Mr. Crossman

There is something in what my hon. Friend says, but this has been worked out very carefully and I would not like to upset the arrangements without very careful consideration.

Sir R. Cary

Is it not absolutely scandalous that our essential staff should not have a reasonable level of remuneration?

Mr. Crossman

I am very glad for the sympathy which the hon. Gentleman shows, but, as he well knows, the salaries and wages here are linked approximately to the Civil Service grades in Whitehall and it would be impossible to upset that linking. What I am seeking to do is to have a regrading of certain people here if we feel that they are being put on the wrong link with the Civil Service. We should not assume that, however, until it is demonstrated.

Sir J. Langford-Holt

Would the right hon. Gentleman explain why it is impossible to avoid linking it to the Civil Service?

Mr. Crossman

It would not be impossible, but I think, from my experience in the renegotiation of the wages in the Clerk's Department, that we do well to link with the Civil Service, just as we find that our own salaries have to be linked with someone's. It is probably wiser for us to link the salaries of Westminster with those of Whitehall.