HC Deb 19 May 1975 vol 892 cc1007-8
34. Mr. Moonman

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will now answer Questions relating to the salary and conditions of House of Commons staff.

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Edward Short)

No, Sir. But I understand that Mr. Speaker will arrange for this information to be published.

Mr. Moonman

Does my right hon. Friend agree that there is a need to relate all these salaries in the establishment in order to avoid some of the absurdities and ambiguities which now exist whereby chauffeurs receive £4,500 with overtime, Members of Parliament receive the same with or without overtime, clerks in the Library receive up to £6,100 and a number of officials can pick up a cool £10,000 a year?

Mr. Short

Since the statement of principles in 1970, the salaries paid to staff of the House have been kept broadly in line with those of the Home Civil Service.

Mr. William Hamilton

Can my right hon. Friend say why he cannot divulge this information, since it is possible for a Member to go into the Library of the House and ask the library research staff to produce the information? Does he not agree that it is very important to recognise how badly off Members are compared with the officials who run this establishment? Can he say how many people have free board and lodgings here—or, at least, free lodgings—as compared with Members who have to scrap and scrape around in second- and third-class hotels?

Mr. Short

I cannot answer the last part of that supplementary question. The technical answer to the first part is that the responsibility lies with the Commissioners appointed under the House of Commons (Offices) Act 1812, and I am not one of the Commissioners. However, the constitution of the Commissioners is included in the terms of reference of the committee under the chairmanship of my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough (Mr. Bottomley). That is the technical reason why I cannot answer this Question. There is the other reason that it would not be desirable to have the salaries of individual officers of the House discussed on the Floor of the House. As I have said, Mr. Speaker has agreed to publish the figures.