HC Deb 20 February 1978 vol 944 cc996-7
22. Mr. Tim Renton

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he is now in a position to announce the names of the Chairman and independent members of the Civil Service Pay Research Unit Board.

The Minister of State, Civil Service Department (Mr. Charles R. Morris)

An announcement will be made as soon as possible.

Mr. Renton

Will the right hon. Gentleman recommend that an annual report from the Chairman of the Pay Research Unit Board should be prepared and made available to the outside world? Will he further recommend that, as the Government have agreed to bring outsiders on to the Board, it would be sensible if the task of deciding what was a fair deduction for inflation-proofing of public service pensions was shared by the Government Actuary with outside actuaries?

Mr. Morris

I think that the inference made by the hon. Gentleman in the last part of his supplementary question is a slur on the Government Actuary. The agreement makes it possible for the report from the Board to the Prime Minister to be published.

Mr. English

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Renton) for raising a question related to a report of a Sub-Committee, which I chaired and I am grateful to the Government for accepting it in part, but I wonder when they will produce their official reply. I take it that it will be before Easter—and one hopes that it will be fairly well before Easter.

Mr. Morris

I assure my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. English) that the Government recognise the contribution of the General Sub-Committee of the Expenditure Committee under his chairmanship in producing its report. It is hoped that the Government's response will be made available to the House in the next few weeks.

Mr. Hal Miller

Does the right hon. Gentleman accept the need to get the pay research machinery going at an early date in order to provide an adequate basis for the 1979 settlement, and also to reassure those making their 1978 claim of the Government's good faith?

Mr. Morris

I think that those making their claims for 1978 recognise the Government's good faith, as the hon. Gentleman put it. I accept the hon. Gentleman's first point, that the Pay Research Unit and the Board should be established as quickly as practicable.

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