HC Deb 24 October 1972 vol 843 cc1041-2

Lords Amendment: No. 127, in page 67, line 23, at end insert: (5) The following, that is to say—

  1. (a) the receipt by the chairman, vice-chairman or deputy chairman of a principal council of an allowance to meet the expenses of his office or his right to receive, or the possibility of his receiving, such an allowance;
  2. (b) the receipt by a member of a local authority of an allowance or other payment under any provision of sections 168 to 171 below or his right to receive, or the possibility of his receiving, any such payment;
shall not be treated as a pecuniary interest for the purposes of this section.

Mr. Graham Page

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

This is an Amendment to Clause 93 which introduces the subject of "pecuniary interest" which a member of an authority must disclose. Unless he is exempt by virtue of Clause 96 he may not speak or vote on a matter in which he has a pecuniary interest, which is defined in Clause 94.

It would clearly not be right that a member should be prevented from taking a full part in the proceedings because he is either receiving an allowance because of his official duties as chairman, vice-chairman or deputy chairman, or because he is receiving an allowance for the performance of what we call in the Bill "approved duties".

The Amendment ensures that members are not disabled from taking decisions on the appropriate rates for all the allowances and payments provided for in Clauses 4(4) and 6(4) in relation to the payment of an allowance to the chairman and so on, and in Clauses 168–171, which deal with performance of approved duties. The Amendment does not merely enable members to speak and vote on these matters even though they are receiving the allowances, it also removes the need to disclose their pecuniary interest. To retain this and the associated requirement to have disclosures recorded would, in the circumstances, be quite absurd. The existence of an interest is quite obvious. If he is a councillor he is receiving an allowance and this will be publicly known. There is no need even to require him to disclose it.

Question put and agreed to.

Subsequent Lords Amendments agree to.

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