§ 8.33 p.m.
§ Lord Brabazon of Tara rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 29th April be approved. [20th Report from the Joint Committee.]
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move that the draft Lord Chancellor's Salary Order 1987, which was laid before the House on 29th April, be approved. This order is now an annual event and derives from the link between the salaries of the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice. The Top Salaries Review Body recommended in 1983 that, in recognition of his position as head of the judiciary and his responsibilities as a whole, the Lord Chancellor should be paid more than the Lord Chief Justice. The principle of this recommendation was accepted by the House in 1983 and has since been reaffirmed with the 812 successive approvals of the orders in the following years.
§ An annual order is necessary because the Lord Chief Justice's salary is set annually following recommendations from the Top Salaries Review Body. This year the Top Salaries Review Body recommended a salary of £81,000 per year for the Lord Chief Justice—an increase of 4.7 per cent. The Government accepted this figure but, as for all salaries recommended this year by the Top Salaries Review Body, decided to restrict the increase paid from 1st April to 4.25 per cent. and to pay the balance from 1st October. This meant a salary for the Lord Chief Justice of £80,690 for the period 1st April to 30th September and £81,000 from 1st October.
§ The Lord Chancellor's salary lead has been established at £2,000. This figure was accepted by the House in 1983 and has remained at that level since then. There is no need to change it, even though its real value has been eroded since it was first established. This lead is there because the Lord Chancellor's position as head of the judiciary makes it appropriate for him to be paid a little more than the Lord Chief Justice. A lead of £2,000 adequately fulfils that requirement.
§ The order, which is not restrospective, therefore establishes the Lord Chancellor's salary at £82,690 when it comes into force on 19th May until 30th September. From 1st October it is established at £83,000. These levels derive directly from the TSRB report and encapsulate a principle that was established four years ago and has now been accepted by the House on four separate occasions. I hope it will also commend itself to the House this year. I commend the order to the House.
§ [Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 29th April be approved. [20th Report from the Joint Committee]—(Lord Brabazon of Tara).
Lord Bruce of Donington
My Lords, we on this side of the House are very happy to concur in the order before your Lordships. We support the maintenance of the differential between the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor and the Speaker of this House and the Lord Chief Justice in regard to their salaries.
The appointment of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, and of course of the Speaker of the House, is one that is subject to changes in political climate. In case by the harsh arbitrament of arithmetic the present Lord Chancellor were to be excluded after the election, I think it right if on behalf of the Opposition I express our personal thanks and appreciation of the services of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor during the time that my colleagues and I have been here. His asides, which are not always sotto voce, have been greatly appreciated. As I have said, in the event of the harsh arbitrament of arithmetic—and who shall question the possibility or probability?—proving adverse to his future occupation of the Woolsack, we wish him well.
§ Lord Brabazon of Tara
My Lords, I am sure my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor will be most grateful for the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Bruce of Donington. I can give one assurance to the noble Lord, Lord Bruce—that whatever happens my noble and learned friend's pension will also be affected by the order we have before us. I hope that my noble 813 and learned friend will be occupying the Woolsack for many years to come. However, even if he does not, his pension is affected by this order and therefore I hope all noble Lords can agree it is a good thing.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.