HC Deb 27 November 1995 vol 267 c923
30. Mr. Janner

To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will make a statement on the remuneration of House of Commons staff. [673]

Mr. Beith

The House of Commons Administration Act 1978 requires the House of Commons Commission to ensure that complementing, grading and pay of staff in House Departments are kept broadly in line with those in the home civil service. For most staff, rates of pay are the same as those in equivalent grades in the civil service. Where variations have been introduced, they have been achieved through negotiation with the appropriate recognised trade unions.

Mr. Janner

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that House of Commons catering staff do a superb job and should be paid on the same basis, receive equal treatment and be awarded the same pay increases as people in other Departments, and that those increases should have the same benefits? If so, why were average increases for non-catering staff 2.5 per cent. while those for catering staff were equivalent to only 2.05 per cent., which is rotten? Even if the difference were made up with a lump sum, it would not include pension allowances.

Mr. Beith

Refreshment Department pay rates are linked to those negotiated between the Treasury and the National Union of Civil and Public Servants. They involve a number of benefits that do not apply in other Departments of the House, and there is a separate pay structure. However, I shall arrange for the hon. and learned Gentleman's specific point to be looked at.

Mr. Fabricant

Is it true that a deputy chef in the House of Commons earns more than a Member of Parliament? As a Member of Parliament, I declare an interest.

Mr. Beith

I suggest that the hon. Gentleman looks at the Commission's annual report, where he will find just how many people are paid more than Members of Parliament.