HL Deb 23 July 1973 vol 344 cc1613-4

6.47 p.m.

LORD BELSTEAD rose to move, That the Draft Mr. Speaker Neill's Retirement (Northern Ireland) Order 1973, laid before the House on July 16, 1973, be approved. The noble Lord said: My Lords, the purpose of the Draft Order before the House is to make provision for an annuity for the former Speaker of the Northern Ireland House of Commons, Mr. Speaker Neill, who retired on March 31. The Parliamentary and Other Pensions Act which was enacted last year created a formula for awards and provides authority which obviates the necessity of periodical legislation to provide a pension for a retiring Speaker of another place, which had hitherto been necessary. No such legislation exists in Northern Ireland, and this Draft Order is therefore before the House. It provides an annuity for Mr. Speaker Neil based on one-third of his salary, which corresponds to the previous superannuation award to a Northern Ireland Speaker, but, taking account that this salary was fixed in April, 1965 (which in fact was before Mr. Speaker Neill became Speaker), it is considered only reasonable to increase the pension by the amount by which it would have been increased under pensions increase legislation had it been awarded in April, 1965. This produces a figure of £2,260, and in addition to this Mr. Speaker Neill will be permitted to draw a Member's pension of £665. The Ministry of Finance for Northern Ireland will, by Regulations under the Pensions (Increase) Act (Northern Ireland) 1971 (Ch. 35), provide for future increases of the pension, as they will for the pension of the previous Speaker whose pension is also now eligible for increases. My Lords, I beg to move.

Moved, That the Draft Mr. Speaker Neill's Retirement (Northern Ireland) Order 1973, laid before the House on July 16, 1973, be approved.—(Lord Belstead.)


My Lords, I must apologise to the noble Lord, Lord Belstead—I had not heard on the loudspeaker that he was up. I just wanted to say that this seems to be entirely right. I do not think we ought to let this Order go by without expressing appreciation to Mr. Speaker Neill for his services, which towards the end must have become arduous. The Government have arrived at the right solution in an area where obviously there are difficult points of judgment. There is no obvious standard. Pensions were not automatically paid in the past, but we have arrived at the right answer.