§ Mr. Kenneth Carlisle
asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on the implementation of the resolutions of parliamentary allowances passed in the House on 4 March.
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
I announced on 27 March 1980—[Vol. 981, c. 531] —that I had instructed the Fees Office to meet claims for the secretarial and research assistance allowance at the new rates. The Fees Office has now drawn up a revised certificate to claim for this allowance. Many Members however arrange for their staff to be paid through the Fees Office, and this is a practice which I strongly encourage.
The Home also voted for an additional sum of £675 per annum to be made available to provide pensions for Members' employees. This facility has been introduced with effect from 1 April 1980. The Fees Office is prepared to recommend a suitable pension scheme for Members' secretaries and will make payments directly into an approved scheme on a Member's behalf. Alternatively, payments can be reimbursed to a Mem- 640W ber on production of a receipted renewal notice for an approved insurance scheme. As pensions are usually related to salary levels, each Member will be limited to a payment of premium of 10 per cent. of the amount of salary he pays to his secretary, subject to the maximum of the amount specified in resolution.
The House passed an amendment that all travel within the United Kingdom on parliamentary business should be reimbursed or qualify for payment of the car mileage allowance. This facility will be introduced with effect from today under arrangements approved by Mr. Speaker. Members will, however, he asked to give the Fees Office at least three days' notice of intended journeys outside the Westminister/constituency/home triangle except in exceptional circumstances. The Fees Office will maintain a record of these journeys. Reimbursement for such journeys may be subject to tax.
A resolution was passed increasing severance pay to six months' salary for those under age 50 and up to one year's salary for older, longer serving Members. These arrangements will come into effect for Members losing their seats at the next General Election or through boundary changes.