HC Deb 01 April 1985 vol 76 cc896-7
32. Mr. Chris Smith

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he has any plans to propose improvements in the level of research and secretarial allowances for hon. Members.

Mr. Biffen

The resolution of the House of 20 July 1984 provides for the secretarial, research assistance and office expenses allowance to be automatically adjusted on 1 April in line with the pay of senior personal secretaries in the Civil Service.

Mr. Smith

Is the Leader of the House aware that, when the vote was taken in this House last summer, those who voted in favour of the motion were almost entirely on the Government payroll, and that many Back Benchers on both sides voted for a substantial increase in the secretarial and research allowance? Will the Leader of the House tell us when the four-year review is to take place, and whether he will listen to the demands from Back Benches on both sides of the House for a major increase in the facilities available to hon. Members?

Mr. Biffen

The hon. Gentleman is a tolerably fair controversialist in this matter. I hope that he will not disenfranchise the payroll vote merely because it is payroll. If he refreshes his memory from the voting list, he will find that many Back Benchers voted and by no means in only one Lobby. On his second point, of course I shall be happy to consult ahead of the time when a more fundamental review takes place.