Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation Fifth Report



Memorandum from the Cabinet Office

(Office of Public Service)

The Ministerial and Other Salaries Bill implements Recommendation 14 of the Senior Salaries Review Body Report of 1996 by providing a formula for Ministerial salaries to be increased automatically each year in accordance with a formula. It is the same formula as that set out in the Resolution of the House of Commons of 10 July 1996 which increases MPs' pay and would give Ministers as from 1 April 1998 the same annual percentage increase as MPs.

Power to make delegated legislation

The Bill also makes provision for individual salaries provided for by the Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975 ("the 1975 Act") to be changed by Order as at present, and for the initial formula to be amended or replaced by Order by another formula, or by a different link.

Order-making power

Clause 1(2) inserts two new sections after Section 1 of the 1975 Act. The order-making power is contained in the new Section 1B, which provides powers to make an Order for changing the annual amount of a salary, or for providing that the amount of a salary may be determined or changed by reference to another amount or a replacement formula.

Subsection (1) provides power to make an Order to make provision for changing the annual amount - or the maximum or minimum annual amount - of any salary set out in the Act. This extends the power presently available under subsection 1(4) of the 1975 Act (which is repealed by Clause 1(1) of the Bill) which only allows an Order to change the amounts currently stated on the face of the Act.

Subsection (2) sets out what an Order may do. Paragraph (a) has the effect of re-enacting section 1(4), by providing that an Order may specify a new amount. Under paragraph (b), an Order may provide for an amount to be determined or to change from time to time by reference to another amount or another specified formula. Under this power, the formula provided by the new section 1A could be replaced by a new formula; or a salary could be fixed by reference to another amount, for example the amount of another specified salary.

Subsection (3) provides flexibility to cover the various formulae or arrangements which might be necessary. Paragraph (a) provides that the Order may make different provision for different circumstances. Although paragraph (b) is a "Henry VIII" power, necessary to allow for possible amendment or replacement of the formula in section 1A, it can only be used to change the Act for the purposes set out in subsection 1B(1).

Subsection (4) provides for Parliamentary scrutiny. Paragraph (a) provides for a draft Order to be approved by resolution of each House of Parliament, unless it relates solely to the salary of the Speaker of the House of Commons, in which case paragraph (b) requires a resolution of the House of Commons only.

Why Delegated Powers?

The power to make delegated legislation has been included in the Bill in order that Ministerial and other salaries may be continue to be changed without the need for primary legislation.

Procedure Selected

An Order is to be laid as an affirmative draft and cannot be made unless approved by Parliament (or the House of Commons in the case of a draft Order relating only to the salary of the Speaker of that House). This ensures that any change to the formula set out in new Section 1A or to any individual ministerial or other salary will continue to need positive Parliamentary approval.

29 July 1997

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