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That this House notes the recommendations made in Chapter 4 of the report of the Review Body on Senior Salaries on parliamentary pay and allowances (Cm 6354-I) a copy of which was laid before this House on 21st October; and is of the opinion that the provisions set out in paragraphs (2) to (5) below should be implemented, subject to any decisions of the Members Estimate Committee with regard to their application.
(2) With effect from 1st April 2005, the Staffing Allowance should be increased to £80,460 for all Members with up to 10 per cent. of the Staffing Allowance being available to fund a Member's office in his or her constituency; and these sums should be adjusted on 1st April each year (beginning on 1st April 2005) in line with the Average Earnings Index for public and private sectors combined.
(3) With effect from the beginning of the next Parliament, the level of provision of IT equipment and support should be increased in line with recommendations 11 and 12 of the Review Body's report (Cm 6354-I).
(4) With effect from 1st April 2005, the London Supplement should be increased to £2,500, and this sum should be adjusted on 1st April each year (beginning on 1st April 2005) in line with the Average Earnings Index for public and private sectors combined; and it should not be payable to any Member who receives the Additional Costs Allowance.
(5) With effect from 1st April 2005, the Car Mileage Allowance should be payable at the same rate as the car mileage rates approved by the Inland Revenue, with the higher rate payable up to a total of 10,000 miles and the lower rate thereafter or as determined in future by the Inland Revenue; and the cost of parking a car, motorcycle or bicycle, if wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred in the performance of parliamentary duties, should be reimbursed.
That this House notes recommendation 4 contained in the report of the Review Body on Senior Salaries on parliamentary pay and allowances (Cm 6354-I), a copy of which was laid before this House on 21st October, that the contribution rate to the parliamentary pension scheme for those scheme members who have opted for the 1/40th accrual rate should be increased by 1 per cent. to 10 per cent. with effect from 1st April 2004, and is of the opinion that it should be implemented.[Mr. Woolas.]
That this House notes recommendation 3 contained in the report of the Review Body on Senior Salaries on parliamentary pay and allowances (Cm 6354-I), a copy of which was laid before this House on 21st October, and is of the opinion that, subject to consultation with the Trustees of the PCPF and the Government Actuary as to the detailed implementation, the proposals set out in paragraphs (1) to (3) below should be adopted as a package which is, overall, at least cost neutral to the Exchequer:
(3) The early retirement provisions which permit a member who has accrued at least 15 years service to retire before the age of 65 on favourable terms should be removed for those who become members of the scheme after 3rd November 2004 and phased out for existing members from 1st April 2009, or the day after the general election after next, whichever is the later.[Mr. Woolas.]
That this House takes note of the Third Report of the Procedure Committee, Session 200203, on Sessional Orders and Resolutions, HC 855, and the Government's Response thereto (published as the Committee's Third Special Report of the current Session, HC 613); approves the proposals set out in paragraphs 9, 10 and 25 of the Report for changes in the practice of the House at the beginning of each Session; and, as recommended in paragraph 9(b), makes the following provision:
That all Members of this House who are returned for two or more places in any part of the United Kingdom should choose for which of the places they will serve, within one week after it appears that there is no question about their election for that place.
The motion takes note of the Procedure Committee's report on Sessional Orders and resolutions, published last November, and the Government's reply to it. It approves the proposals set out in paragraphs 9, 10 and 25 of the report for changes in the practice of the House at the beginning of the Session. I am grateful to the Procedure Committee, and to its Chairman, for the advice we have been given.
As the Committee's report explains, for nearly 200 yearsand longer in some casesthe House has agreed to three orders and three resolutions at the beginning of each Session. They relate to elections, witnesses, the Metropolitan police, and votes and proceedings. The text appears on page 3 of the Committee's report.
At the suggestion of Mr. Speaker, the Procedure Committee conducted a thorough inquiry to consider whether the Sessional Orders and resolutions should be abolished and updated, and came to the very clear conclusion that our traditional practice should change.
that traditionally is taken before the debate on the Queen's Speech as a symbolic assertion of the House's freedom to consider matters of its own choosing. The Committee notes that the practice takes only a few seconds and recommends that it should continue. The Government agree.
Secondly, the Committee considered the Sessional Orders and resolutions on elections, witnesses and the Votes and Proceedings. It found that the resolution about bribery and the provision for Members to withdraw during any debate on any dispute on their return are obsolete and misleading, as responsibility for election offences and disputes now belongs to the courts, not to the House; that the provision about double returnstwo Members being returned for the same seatrelates to an event that cannot now take place; that the order for the printing of the Votes and
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Proceedingsthe formal daily minutes of the Houseis unnecessary and that the provision that the Speaker should peruse them before they are printed is not normally carried out; and that the resolutions against tampering with witnesses and giving false evidence have some value as statements of intent, but add nothing to the House's powers to deal with contempts or, in the case of tampering with witnesses or the giving of false evidence on oath, the statutory powers. The Committee, therefore, recommends that the passing of the Sessional Orders and resolutions relating to elections, witnesses and the Votes and Proceedings be discontinued. The Government agree. The motion seeks the House's agreement to that change.
Mr. Eric Forth (Bromley and Chislehurst) (Con): I hope that at some stage the Leader of the House will tell us why he thinks that those splendid, if slightly archaic, traditions are in any way harmful. This is beginning to look like yet another of the ghastly modernisations that seem to be becoming commonplace, so rather than simply reading out the traditions as if to say that they are self-evidently a bad thing, will he tell us why he thinks it necessary to do away with them?
The Committee found that the provision, in the elections order, about Members returned for more than one place is unlikely ever to be needed. It last happened in 1910, but the Committee recommended that the possibility be dealt with once and for all by the House deciding, when agreeing to its report, that all Members who are returned for two or more places in any part of the United Kingdom should choose for which of the places they will serve, within one week after it appears that there is no question about their election for that place. The motion contains that provision.
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