HC Deb 03 February 2000 vol 343 cc647-8W
Mr. Geraint Davies

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the report and recommendations of the Review Body on Senior Salaries on the Greater London Authority. [107864]

Mr. Prescott

The Review Body on Senior Salaries report on the initial pay, expenses, pensions and severance arrangements for the Mayor of London and members of the London Assembly is published today. Copies are available in the Libraries of the House. The Prime Minister and I are grateful to the Chairman and Members of the Review Body for their work.

The main recommendations of the Review Body with regard to pay are:

Salary £
Mayor 84,385
Deputy Mayor 51,743
Assembly member 34,438

The Review Body recommended that pay levels should be uprated annually beginning on 1 April 2000 by the same percentage as the average of the movements in the mid-points of the nine senior civil service pay bands below permanent secretary and that an independent review of pay levels should take place in 2002 and then at intervals of three years.

The Review Body also recommended that a Mayor of London, Deputy Mayor or an Assembly member who is also an MP, an MEP or a salaried Office-Holder in the House of Lords should receive an abated salary in respect of his or her GLA role equal to one third of the relevant GLA salary; the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Assembly members' pension arrangements should be provided through the Local Government Pension Scheme; and that severance payments should be made only to the Deputy Mayor, and only if he or she loses that role other than at an election. The Review Body also expressed the view that members of the Authority should receive travel and subsistence payments similar to those available to staff of the Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

The Government have decided to accept the Review Body's recommendations on pay, expenses, pensions and severance arrangements in full. We recognise that it has been extremely difficult to evaluate the weight of responsibilities for unique positions which do not yet exist. In particular, the Review Body concluded that there was currently insufficient evidence about additional responsibilities of the Chair of the Assembly and of membership of a functional body to reach a view on whether there should be additional remuneration for these roles.

The Government acknowledge the uncertainties, and have therefore decided to invite the Review Body to carry out an early review of remuneration and pensions. This review would begin nine months after the new Authority became fully operational. It would therefore progress on a basis of fact and experience rather than on the inevitable current basis of anticipation of roles and responsibilities. The statutory guidance on ethical standards, issued under section 66 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999, will require the Authority to have due regard to the SSRB's recommendations in deciding future salaries.