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15 Jun 2010 : Column 419W—continued

Senior Civil Servants: Pensions

Mr Blunkett: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will make it his policy to publish the remuneration rates for all persons in receipt of Civil Service pensions who are employed on non-executive or consultancy contracts with Government departments at rates which exceed the ministerial element of the Prime Minister's salary; and if he will make a statement. [1997]

Mr Maude: There is no prohibition on retired civil servants returning to work. Many Government Departments have chosen to operate a policy of "partial retirement" such that older workers may apply to restructure their jobs so that they are drawing pension and a reduced salary. This enables Departments to retain skills and enables staff to extend working lives by moving gradually into retirement.

To protect public funds, the civil service pension scheme operates a policy of "abatement". This means that, where people are receiving both a civil service pension and pay in respect of a contract of service, their pension will be reduced so that the total of pension and pay does not exceed the pay they were receiving before drawing their pension.

Our transparency commitments were set out in the Prime Minister's letter of 29 May to Cabinet colleagues, a copy will be placed in the Libraries of the House. On 1 June we published details of public servants paid at annual full-time rates of £150,000 or more at 31 March 2010. We have committed to extend disclosure to the rest of the senior civil service and to those paid by non-departmental public bodies at rates in excess of the minimum applicable to the senior civil service. These disclosures include non-executives and similar appointments.

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Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate has been made of potential (a) liabilities and (b) other costs to the public purse from the Government's plans to end the rules requiring compulsory annuitisation at the age of 75 years. [2159]

Mr Hoban: The Government are committed to removing the requirement to purchase a pension annuity by age 75. Details of any changes to existing tax rules, including fiscal implications, are announced by the Chancellor as part of the Budget process.

Public Expenditure

Mr Watson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the estimated number of Government financial transactions of amounts greater than £25,000 was in the latest year for which figures are available. [2289]

Danny Alexander: The Treasury does not hold this information but the Government have committed to publish online all new items of central Government spending over £25,000 from November 2010 (with limited exemptions on national security and personal privacy grounds).

Mr Watson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether publication of items of departmental expenditure above £25,000 per annum will be mandatory or voluntary. [2290]

Danny Alexander: The Prime Minister has written an open letter to all Departments on plans to open up Government data. This included a commitment that all new items of central Government spending over £25,000 would be published online from November 2010. Limited exemptions on national security and personal privacy grounds will be permitted.

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