HC Deb 28 February 1983 vol 38 cc17-8
31. Mr. Hooley

asked the Lord President of the Council when he expects the Top Salaries Review Body to report on the remuneration of hon. Members and their staff.

Mr. Biffen

The review body expects to submit its report on parliamentary pay and allowances to the Prime Minister in about two months' time.

Mr. Hooley

Will the Lord President give us an assurance that the review body will carefully consider the problems of the staff of hon. Members as well as the remuneration of hon. Members themselves? Will the Lord President also give us an assurance that, when the report is presented, it will be acted upon promptly?

Mr. Biffen

Staff for hon. Members were singled out in the letter that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister sent to Lord Plowden requesting his further assistance. Once the report has been received I would expect it to be considered by Parliament.

Mr. Renton

Will my right hon. Friend try to ensure that salaries and remuneration for the next Parliament are decided by Members of this Parliament before a general election, so that Members of the next Parliament are not put in the embarrassing situation of again having to review and decide on their own salaries?

Mr. Biffen

That case was argued when we debated these matters previously. I hope that we shall be able to abide by the arguments set out then.

Mr. Dormand

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many hon. Members admire the thorough way in which the Top Salaries Review Body is conducting its investigation? Does not the fact that it is an independent body make it essential that, as my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley) said, the recommendations are implemented quickly?

Mr. Biffen

I shall bear in mind what the hon. Gentleman says with the authority of being chairman of the PLP. Obviously I cannot give an undertaking about the speed with which the report will be debated, but I am sympathetic to the point made by the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Stokes

As the recommendations of the review body are seldom, if ever, adhered to, is there any point in having the body?

Mr. Biffen

On balance, yes.

Mr. Charles R. Morris

Will the Leader of the House acquaint the Prime Minister of the significance and urgency that severence pay may assume immediately before the next general election?

Mr. Biffen

More urgent for some than for others, I suspect. I am certain that Lord Plowden will have received a range of representations on the issue, and his comments are eagerly awaited.