HC Deb 23 April 1975 vol 890 cc1463-5
8. Mr. Dempsey

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what will be the top redundancy payment given to a senior local government officer who becomes redundant on 16th May; and if this and other individual amounts will qualify for government financial assistance.

Mr. Millan

Amounts will vary according to the individual circumstances of each officer and to the provisions for compensation which are applicable to them. Payments by employers in terms of the Redundancy Payments Act 1965 are supported by a 50 per cent. Government grant. Other payments by local authorities will rank for assistance by way of rate support grant.

Mr. Dempsey

Has my hon. Friend seen the report according to which local government officers are mentioned, a Glasgow official being entitled to receive £76,000 by way of individual payment, while it is intended that a Lancashire official shall receive £27,000 by way of individual payment? Can my hon. Friend say what effect these considerable payments, along with others, are likely to have on the increases in the rates budgets of the people of Scotland? Will he comment on the fact that many people who will pay these increases are themselves redundant but will receive only partial payment?

Mr. Millan

I shall make two comments on these matters, which refer to the retirement of chief officers. I suppose that giving redundancy or additional payments of this kind is preferable to finding jobs—which would not otherwise exist—specially for them and paying them full salaries for the rest of their working careers, which is one possible alternative.

These payments are made under the Local Government Reorganisation (Retirement of Chief Officers) (Scotland) Regulations 1974, which were subject to a negative resolution in this House. When they were published last year I regret to say that no hon. Member took the slightest interest in them, so they were never debated.

Mr. Reid

Will the Minister bear in mind that the increased costs of local government in Scotland are the responsibility of the Government, which foisted the system on an unwilling Scots public? Will he therefore take steps to ensure that the increased costs are met from Government funds, especially in view of the reports that rates costs increases have topped 50 per cent.?

Mr. Millan

I do not accept those reports. The hon. Gentleman's first statement is equally inaccurate.

Dr. Bray

Is my hon. Friend aware that the level of salaries of certain local government officers, to which the redundancy payments are necessarily related, is a matter of considerable concern in Scotland? Can the Minister hold out any prospect that in future the relativities between local government officers and other public service employees will be corrected.

Mr. Millan

I am not sure what relativities have to be corrected. These are and always have been matters for negotiation between the employers and the officers concerned, through the various bodies established for these purposes.