Mr. Owen Paterson (North Shropshire): Sadly, the Prime Minister's home straight appears to be stretching out without apparent end. Some estimates suggest that foot and mouth has cost the country £20 billion. As problems rise in the rural economy, the pressure for a full public inquiry mounts inexorably. Why are the Government so pig-headed about that? Why is the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs not coming here next week to announce a full impartial inquiry, under the chairmanship of an independent judge?
Mr. Cook: The Secretary of State did come here only the other week and she made a full statement on foot and mouth. In the course of that, she made it clear that there would have to be an inquiry and that its terms would be announced at the end of the outbreak. That position is fully shared by many people in the industry, including the vets. When the foot and mouth outbreak is over, that will be the time to ensure that we carry out a full inquiry.
Mr. Bercow: Given the welcome advances in medical science and the fact that, whenever a new cure is devised, a new queue is necessarily created, may we please have an urgent debate on the lessons that we can learn from our continental neighbours about the use of private resources to complement those of the public sector, in ensuring that we turn care from a word into a deed?
Mr. Cook: I very much welcome the fact that the hon. Gentleman is willing to learn lessons from our European partnersa breakthrough on which we must try to build. I should remind him and other Members that our continental partners also make a heavy investment in public health provision. We must match that, as well as anything that we do in the private sector.
Mr. Speaker: We have a complicated day's business before us, so before calling the Minister to move the motion on the business of the House it may be helpful if I indicate how I propose to proceedassuming, of course, that the motion is agreed to. I propose that motions Nos. 2 to 6, on the recommendations of the Senior Salaries Review Body and related issues, should be debated together.
At 4 o'clock, the question will be put on each motion in turn. Where I have selected an amendment to a motion, and the hon. Member proposing it wishes to press it to a vote, the House will vote first on the amendment and then on the motion, amended or not. A list of the selected amendments is available in the No Lobby and the Vote Office, in the normal way.
Mr. Win Griffiths (Bridgend): On a point order, Mr. Speaker, about today's Order Paper. On looking at it this morning, I expected to see my name on page 147 next to amendment (e) to the motion on the additional costs allowance, which was tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. Betts), as I had agreed that it be added to the list of Members. It was not there. Instead, my name has been attributed to amendment (a) to the motion on pensions, which was tabled by the hon. Member for Bournemouth, West (Mr. Butterfill). Under no circumstances did I ask for my name to be added to that list. I want to make it clear that there is a mistake on the Order Paper.
Mr. Speaker: I understand that, because of a printing error, a number of Members' names were wrongly printed in support of Mr. Butterfill's amendment to motion No. 4, on parliamentary pensions. Those names should have been printed in support of Mr. Betts' amendment (e) to motion No. 2 on Members' allowances, insurance, and so on. The Table Office has copies of the corrected list.
Mr. Alan Duncan (Rutland and Melton): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I would not of course in any way consider questioning your selection of amendments, but in noting that two substantive amendments that I tabled were not selected, would it be sensible of me to assume that that might be because the issues with which they deal are expected to be covered by the Leader of the House in his opening remarks on the motion?
Mr. Crispin Blunt (Reigate): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I should be grateful for your guidance. My name appears next to that of my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Mr. Duncan), in support of amendment (a) to motion No. 2. Even though the amendment has not been selected, will there be any opportunity to press the matter to which it relates to a Division this afternoon?
(1) the Speaker shall put the Questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on any Motions in the name of Mr. Robin Cook relating to
(a) recommendations of the Senior Salaries Review Body and related issues not later than Four o'clock; and
(b) Select Committees and European Standing Committees not later than Seven o'clock; and
proceedings on the Motions referred to in sub-paragraph (b) above may be concluded, though opposed, after Seven o'clock.
(2) the Questions referred to in paragraph (1) shall include the questions on any Amendments selected by the Speaker which may then be moved.
The motion on the Order Paper divides the day between two important matters. The time allocated should enable the House to give proper consideration to the motions. Both debates affect the working of the House and its Members. These are important debates, and they are being held in Government time. The business motion ensures that the House will resolve the issues today, so that any changes accepted by the House can be implemented quickly.
This is the earliest opportunity since the election for the debate on the Senior Salaries Review Body recommendations. Members have had the opportunity to study the SSRB report and the motions have been carefully prepared. Members have had the opportunity to study them andas some haveto table amendments to them. This is a cross-party issue which affects not just Members but our staff, and therefore the efficient working of the House.
The further proposals regarding Select Committees reflect recent machinery of government changes, as well as extending new powers to the Committees. They pave the way for the Select Committees to be set up and to be up and running before the House rises for the summer recess. That will be the shortest period after an election in which the Committees have been established since the Select Committee system began.
Mrs. Angela Browning (Tiverton and Honiton): For future reference, given the number of amendments that have been tabled by Back Benchers, and selected by you, Mr. Speaker, it might be helpful if such important matters were given more than just two and a half hours' debate on the Floor of the House.
[Relevant documents: Review Body on Senior Salaries, Report No. 47, Review of Parliamentary Pension Scheme, Cm 4996; Review Body on Senior Salaries, Report No. 48, Review of Parliamentary Pay and Allowances, Cm 4997I; Review Body on Senior Salaries, Report No. 48, Review of Parliamentary Pay and AllowancesVolume 2: Independent study on pay and allowances, Cm 4997II; The Parliamentary Pensions (Amendment) (Pension Sharing) Regulations 2001; The Parliamentary Pensions (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2001; The Draft Ministerial and other Salaries Order 2001; Second Report from the Information Committee, Session 19992000, on Information Technology Provision for Members, HC 758.]
(1) Provision should be made, with effect from 5th July 2001, to implement Chapter 3 of the report of the Review Body on Senior Salaries on parliamentary pay and allowances (Cm 49971) a copy of which was laid before this House on 16th March, to establish a General Services Budget under the Members' Vote, and with regard to related matters;
(2) These provisions should be applied as follows (subject to transitional arrangements under (5) and (6) below, and any directions which may from time to time be given by Mr. Speaker with regard to their application):
(a) the salaries of staff employed by Members to help them in their duties as Members of Parliament, and pensions contributions equivalent to ten per cent. of each employee's salary, should be paid centrally by the Department of Finance and Administration;
(b) all such staff who become employed by a Member should be employed on pay rates to be linked to job descriptions and standard contracts prepared by the Department of Finance and Administration;
(c) the total costs of employing such staff, attributable to a particular Member, excluding the pension contribution outlined in (a) above should be limited to £60,000 a year (£70,000 a year where a Member represents a London constituency) these figures to be uprated annually to reflect changes in pay levels for equivalent jobs outside the House.
(d) a new provision called an Incidental Expenses Provision should be established (at a rate of £14,000 per year for each Member, and uprated annually in line with the Retail Prices Index), to meet any other expenditure which Members may incur wholly necessarily and exclusively in discharging their duties as Members.
(e) specific financial provisions should be made for the supply and maintenance of a standard package of information technology equipment and services for each Member to be used exclusively in discharging their duties as Members; and
(f) the Office Costs Allowance should be abolished after a transitional period ending on 31st March 2003.
(3) Central funding by way of a General Services Budget should provide for:
(a) relevant training of Members and Members' staff in connection with their parliamentary duties;
(b) any appropriate insurance provision;
(4)(1) It should be the responsibility of a Panel appointed by Mr. Speaker to advise him on:
(i) directions he may give as to the application of the provisions of this Resolution under paragraphs (2) and (3) above;
(ii) his authorisation of expenditure not otherwise specified in this Resolution but within the ambit of the Vote, pursuant to paragraph (3)(f) thereof; and
(iii) the application of the provisions of this Resolution to individual cases of difficulty.
(2) The Panel should advise Mr. Speaker and the Leader of the House on the potential development of the arrangements made by or under the Resolutions in force from time to time regarding Members' allowances &c.
(5) The following provisions should be made regarding the allowances of Members who, having sat in the previous Parliament, are returned to the present Parliament (subject to directions which may be given from time to time by Mr. Speaker with regard to application):
(a) Members may, whether or not they take advantage of central Information Technology provision, opt to retain their entitlement to the Office Costs Allowance, payable at the level and subject to provisions for uprating in force at 1st April 2001;
(b) Any reasonable contractual commitments entered into by Members who transfer to the new provisions in respect of staff and IT should be honoured through central funding until they can reasonably be terminated;
But these provisions should cease to have effect from 1st April 2003.
(6) Transitional provisions for all Members transferring to the new arrangements in 200102 should be determined by Mr. Speaker, having taken advice where appropriate from the Panel set up under paragraph (4) of this Resolution.
(7) In relation to the Winding Up Allowance, Subsection (3) of Part E of the Resolution of 13th July 1994 shall apply to Members who benefit from the provisions of paragraphs 2(a) to 2(d) of this Resolution as if for the words 'office costs allowance' there were substituted the words 'sum of the incidental Expenses Provision and the relevant staff employment cost limit in force at the time they ceased to be a Member'.
(8) When provision is made in respect of any Members in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (3)(d) of this Resolution, any Resolution of this House entitling that Member to claim a multiple of the Office Costs Allowance shall cease to have effect.
As Amendments to Mr. Robin Cook's Motion (Members' Allowances, Insurance &c.):