§ Mr. Eldon Griffiths
asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) why the charge he makes for the provision of an inspector to examine new weighing machines under the Weights and Measures Act is £22 per hour; and why this is to be increased to £30.25 per hour plus travel costs for examinations made after 1 January 1983;
(2)what is the approximate hourly salary paid to examiners of weighing and measuring equipment;
(3)if he will provide a breakdown of the charge of £30.25 which he is to make for each hour's work done by his examiners of weighing machines effective from 1 January 1983, identifying in particular the overheads he requires manufacturers to pay over and above the actual salary received by most examiners themselves.
§ Mr. Eyre
The new rates are steps towards achieving full recovery of costs in carrying out these examinations and are in line with the Government's policy of setting fees and charges at a level which is designed to recover full costs and no more.
The approximate hourly salary paid to examiners is £6. The hourly charge of £30.25 is not directly related to the pay of individual examiners. The aim is to recover the full cost of providing the service in order to ensure that no part of this cost should be allowed to add to the general level of public expenditure and thus fall as a burden on the general taxpayer. The charging-out rate therefore reflects the total staff costs of providing the service, including support staff, accommodation costs, telephone and stationery, materials and consumable stores, depreciation and interest charges on fixed capital etc. as well as a share of the general departmental overheads.