§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
I beg to move Amendment No. 2, in page 3, line 7, leave out '£20,000' and insert '£19,320'.
§ The Temporary Chairman
With this Amendment it will be convenient to take the following Amendments: No. 3, page 385 3, line 10. leave out '£13,000' and insert '£9,750'.
§ No. 4, in line 21, leave out '£7,500—£9,500' and insert '£11,730'.
§ No. 5, in line 26, leave out '£14,500' and insert '£17,940'.
§ No. 6, in line 27, leave out '£11,000' and insert '£12,420'.
§ No. 7, in line 28, leave out '£11,000' and insert '£12,420'.
§ No. 8, in line 29, leave out '£7,750' and insert '£7,762.50'.
§ No. 9, in line 31, leave out '£6,500' and insert '£6,210'.
§ No. 10, in line 32, leave out '£5,500' and insert '£5,175'.
§ No. 11, in line 35, leave out '£5,000' and insert '£4,554'.
§ No. 12, in line 37, leave out '£4,500' and insert '£4,140'.
§ No. 13, in line 39, leave out '£4,000' and insert '£3,640'.
§ Mr. Lewis
These are Amendments to reduce in some instances the salaries proposed. The Amendments are designed to give Ministers the percentage increase recommended by the Boyle Committee—about 38 per cent.—for Members of Parliament.
I cannot see why, since Ministers of the Crown and other office holders are to get £1,750 a year in addition to the £1,250 tax-free allowance, they should in addition get increases varying from 3 per cent. to as much as 77 per cent. above the increase proposed for Members of Parliament.
I am not against Ministers getting increases; indeed, I have put down Amendments to give increases to some Ministers. Lord Boyle suggested that, as Ministers and Members of Parliament have not had an increase in salary since October, 1964, during which time the cost of living has risen, they should get an increase of 38 per cent. That I accepted and voted for. I think it probably is not fully compensatory for the rise in the cost of living but it is a reasonable compromise.
If the Boyle Committee had suggested a 38 per cent. increase in all these salaries I would not have objected. Some of these figures would have gone up and some would have gone down to keep within the 38 per cent. I should have thought the 386 Government would have accepted that, since they are anxious to work on the basis of 7 per cent.
Let us look at these proposed increases to see why I am proposing reductions. The Prime Minister receives £14,000 plus £1,250, making £15,250 and I think he gets £4,000 a year tax-free. But that is only £80 a week, not much. It is proposed that he should go up to £20,000 plus £3,000 making £23,000, with £4,000, probably more, tax-free, plus his house, car and all the other emoluments I have mentioned. That is equivalent to a 51 per cent. increase on the original salary. I cannot see how the Leader of the House can say that we must give this increase to the Prime Minister yet we cannot give more than 7 per cent. to the miners.
The Boyle Committee sat last year and did not know that the miners would strike and that the Government would refuse their demands. If it had known that it might have said that the increase should be limited to 38 per cent., the same as for Members. If that had been done we would not be here now.
Turning to senior Cabinet Ministers, they are receiving £8,500 plus £1,250, making £9,750. They go up to £13,000 plus £3,000, making £16,000, plus car and chauffeur. Many of them, excluding the Leader of the House, also receive free coal, lighting—everything that can be thought of. Everything is provided at the taxpayer's expense, with the exception of the clothes they wear. If they have any children they will probably be paying for their education, although they do not have to do so, for they could send their children to a State school and it might be a good thing if they did.
They are having a 64 per cent. increase—an additional 26 per cent. over Members. I do not think it is right and I am sure that the country thinks the same. The Leader of the House says it is no one's fault that this has come on at this time of night. It is certainly not my fault. If this had been publicised there would have been a scream about it. I can imagine the Press, radio and television calling it a bit immoral for the Government to attack the miners, engineers, bricklayers, nurses, the lower-paid, for asking for a few pounds a week more while they are getting an additional £5,000 and £6,000 and they have to pay for nothing out of their 387 salaries. They have lunches, dinners, receptions, cocktail parties, their houses, coal, fuel, light and cleaning all provided. Anything that one might mention, they have.
I come then to Ministers other than of Cabinet rank. I do not know why they are not treated so generously. If the arguments used for Ministers of Cabinet rank are right, which I do not accept, why are not Ministers of other than Cabinet rank not treated in the same way? At the moment, they receive £8,500. With their parliamentary allowance, that comes to £9,750. They are to go up to only £9,500, which means, with their £3,000, that they go up to £12,500 in total. They are to get only a 32 per cent. increase.
What logical argument can be advanced in support of a proposal to give a Cabinet Minister an increase of 64 per cent., the Prime Minister an increase of 51 per cent., but a Minister other than of Cabinet rank only 32 per cent.? If they are entitled to all these increases, which I doubt, surely Ministers of other than Cabinet rank should be entitled to claim the same as the Cabinet Minister's 64 per cent., or at least the same as the Prime Minister's 51 per cent. After all, Ministers of other than Cabinet rank do not get houses, flats or cars. They have the use of a car, but not as of right. They do not have the "perks" of office which go with Cabinet rank. Far from getting less, they should get more.
Then I come to certain Treasury Ministers of State and two non-Cabinet Ministers. They receive £7,625 now, plus the £1,250 allowance, a total of £8,875. They are to go up to £9,500, which is the same as the others to whom I have just referred, but with this difference. In this case, the increase is 41 per cent. against the Member's 38 per cent.
The Financial Secretary to the Treasury receives £5,625 at present, plus the allowance of £1,250, making £6,875. He is to go up to £7,500, plus his £3,000 allowance, making £10,500. That represents a 53 per cent. increase. Again, I cannot understand why. Surely it should be either a 64 per cent. or a 32 per cent. increase, or whatever the mean average is. Personally, I should settle 388 for 38 per cent., which is what Members are to get. I believe that there is no difference between the expenses incurred due to the rise, in the cost of living in the salaries of Ministers and those of Members of Parliament.
We come to Parliamentary Secretaries: £3,750 plus £1,250 which is £5,000. That is consolidated up to £5,500, plus £3,000, giving £8,500, which is an increase of 70 per cent.
The Government Chief Whip has not done so badly. I did not realise this. The Patronage Secretary has done pretty well out of it. The Chief Whip was on £5,625 plus his £1,250, so his salary was £6,875. That now goes up to £9,500, plus his £3,000, which is £12,500, giving an increase of 82 per cent.
When the Chief Whip put the Whips on tonight to stop the miners getting more than 7 per cent., he ought to have realised that in April he will be getting an 82 per cent. increase. This is where the unfairness is shown. He gets an increase of 82 per cent., but Ministers other than of Cabinet rank get only 32 per cent. It is not fair shares for all. I believe in the Labour Party's policy of fair shares for all. If he thinks that he is entitled to 82 per cent., he ought to see that others get 82 per cent., or, better still, that all get the 38 per cent. which M.P.s have got.
The Deputy Chief Whip's salary has gone up. He was getting £3,500, plus his allowance of £1,250. His salary has gone up to £5,000, plus £3,000, making £8,000, which is an increase of 76 per cent.
What difference is there between the Government Chief Whip and the Deputy Chief Whip which justifies the differentiation in the percentage increase comparing one with the other? They are both doing the same kind of job. Allowing for the differentiation in salary scales, why should one get an increase of 76 per cent. and the other an increase of 82 per cent.? This applies to the other Whips. I have never been in the Whips' Office. I do not suppose that I ever shall get in, either in Government or in Opposition.
§ Mr. Lewis
My hon. Friend is quite right. I have been here long enough to 389 know that if one wants to get anywhere one has to kowtow, and I would never do that. I have never been in the Whips' Office, so I do not have an interest to declare in the past, the present or the future. I suggest that the other Whips, who receive £3,000, plus £1,250, making £4,250, do most of the day-to-day work. Their salary goes up from £3,000, plus £1,250, to £4,000 plus £3,000, making £7,000 in all. They get an increase of only 65 per cent. Why should they get an increase of only 65 per cent. when the Chief Whip gets an increase of 82 per cent.? Allowing for the differentation in the job, but talking of percentage increases, surely they are entitled to say that they do more of the difficult day-to-day jobs.
I am glad that my hon. Friend is back. He knows that one of my lovelights in the House concerns lawyers and the legal profession. I admire and respect the lawyers in the House for the great work that they do. I am always paying tribute to and supporting them. I am the greatest friend and champion of the legal fraternity in the House and in the country from judges downwards. Therefore, I must come to their aid.
The poor old Attorney-General, with £13,000 plus his £1,250, making £14,250, goes up only to £14,500, and with his £3,000 allowance he is having to make do on £17,500 a year. It is only a 23 per cent. increase. One hon. Member who has left the Chamber said that this was spread since 1964. The Attorney-General has done pretty badly under this Government. I shall plead for him and try to get him more. I would have thought that he would have been here to support me, but he is not. The poor old Attorney-General is a most hard worked man, a regular attender, and the best legal performer we have. I have forgotten the Solicitor-General. The Attorney-General is one of the two best legal performers we have. But he goes up only to £17,500 with a 23 per cent. increase spread over the eight years from 1964 to 1972. That is pretty miserly.
§ Mr. Lewis
My hon. Friend, who knows the miners' case better than anyone, says that it is 2.75 per cent. It is pretty measly for this Government, who 390 have given the Prime Minister 51 per cent. and the Chief Whip 82 per cent. The Chief Whip gets between 10 and 11 per cent. per annum on average. All that he and the Prime Minister have done for the learned Attorney-General is to give him 2.75 per cent. It is mean. It is terrible. Probably they thought that he might have been an apprentice miner. They have treated him as shabbily as a miner.
§ Mr. Lewis
My proposal for an increase there is much overdue. I should have thought that on this matter at least the Leader of the House would accept my Amendment and say, "Yes, we agree", because here he would not be trying to reduce the figure but trying to bring the Attorney-General to the 38 per cent. level.
I next deal with the Solicitor-General, who receives £9,000 plus £1,250 at present, totalling £10,250. He goes up to £11,000 plus his allowance, making £14,000, which is again only 37 per cent. This man worked night and day dealing with the Industrial Relations Bill—the Bill which was meant to stop strikes. He worked like a Trojan. I never saw the Attorney-General. He was very rarely here. I do not know why. Yet what happens? The Government treat the Solicitor-General so shabbily that they give him only this nominal increase of 37 per cent.
The Lord Advocate is next on the list. We do not often see him here. I think that he is a Member of the House.
§ Mr. Lewis
He is called the Lord Advocate. He does not sit in the other place. He is not a Lord. He sits in the House of Commons, but I never see him here. He does not do much in the way of parliamentary legislation. But in this matter he does better than the Solicitor-General, who worked night and day. I know that because I was here on every occasion. I know how he worked. The Lord Advocate was getting £8,000 plus his £1,250, making £9,250, against the Solicitor-General's £10,250—£1,000 less. Now the Lord Advocate comes up to a par with the Solicitor-General? Why? What does he do? Why should he have 391 a 51 per cent. increase against the Solicitor-General's 37 per cent.?
If these increases are to compensate for the decreasing purchasing power of the pound or the fall in value of the salaries, why is it that in all these cases the various amounts are so different? In this case the Lord Advocate gets a 51 per cent. increase against a Member's 38 per cent. I will give the answer. The Government have decided that the Lord Advocate, whom we very rarely see is just as good as the Prime Minister.
The Solicitor-General for Scotland is paid £5,625 plus £1,250 at the moment. This will increase to £7,750 plus an allowance of £3,000, an increase of 56 per cent.
I will not say much about Mr. Speaker because, strangely, it is thought infra dig in this House to pass comment on what might be called the establishment. In his case the increase is 64 per cent. He incurs very little expense out of his salary other than for the clothes he wears. The Chairman of Ways and Means has not done too well relatively. It is a pity in view of his work in Committee and in the early hours of the morning. My hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale was foretelling the long nights and the battles to come, many of which will affect the Chairman of Ways and Means, who will have an increase of 59 per cent. That is not as good as the Chief Whip, who does not do as much for the House. The Deputy Chairmen now have their £3,750 consolidated with the £1,250. This will increase to £5,500 plus £3,000, making £8,500, an increase of 70 per cent.
In all reasonableness, where is the justification for giving the Chairman of Ways and Means only 59 per cent.? He is a senior man with responsibility and two deputies in his charge, probably doing a more arduous and difficult job. This is crazy. If it happened in the mines there would be strikes all the time.
Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman on a point which I mentioned to him earlier. I wanted to be quite sure, and I have had it checked very carefully. The salaries of the Officers of the House are not in the Bill and a discussion of them is not in order on this Question. I do 392 not wish to be coy about this, but it is a fact.
Order. I think that the hon. Gentleman is slipping out of order accidentally: he is going on to the next Amendments. Perhaps he could leave that till later.
§ Mr. Lewis
Certainly, Sir Robert.
I emphasised at the start that I have no personal animosity against any of the holders of these offices, and was not against their getting increases on the basis of the Boyle Report. I voted for M.P.s' salaries because I thought that 38 per cent. was fair. I am opposing the Ministerial salaries because I can see no reason for some getting increases of 170 per cent. while others get only 13 per cent., especially when some are doing difficult and essential work and others, who get paid more, are doing little or no work in comparison. The Solicitor-General, a hard-working and efficient Minister, did a very good job on the Industrial Relations Bill—too good, for the Government—yet he is treated relatively shabbily.
Nor can I accept the right hon. Gentleman's argument that the Government have simply accepted the Boyle Report in toto. If that Committee had been appointed to inquire into the miners' dispute and had recommended a 171 per cent. or 50 per cent. increase for any miner, the Government would not have accepted it. My hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Swain), whom I see in his place, would not have anticipated such a recommendation for the miners. It is clear, therefore, that the Government are adopting two values, one for lower-paid workers and one for occupants of the House of Commons.
Had the Government said, "We agree that hon. Members should get 38 per cent. more and that all Ministers should get the same", I would have been the first to agree, and probably junior Ministers would have got rather more as a result of upgrading by a job evaluation 393 process. But the same allowances would have been paid to all and the differential that is proposed would not have applied.
Under those conditions the Government could have told the dockers, miners and engineers, "We are treating ourselves as we are treating you. We call on you to follow our lead." But the people will not respond with inaction to what hon. Gentlemen opposite propose, as we have seen from the attitude of the miners. I hope that when it comes to dealing with the nurses, whose claim has gone in today, these facts and figures will be called in aid against the Government.
§ Mr. Whitelaw
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for recognising, first, that Ministers should be paid the proper rate for the job; and, second, that there should be increases; and third, for saying that he is not casting aspersions on any of the people to whom he has been referring.
Silence on my part does not necessarily mean acceptance of the various points the hon. Gentleman makes about the emoluments and so on relating to any job. In other words, it should not be thought that I agree with the hon. Gentleman simply because I do not rise to correct or argue with any of the points he makes.
The hon. Gentleman believes that Ministers should have the rate for the job and he has tabled various Amendments suggesting certain figures. Having made a careful study of the jobs, the Boyle Committee put down other figures. The Government have accepted the view and figures of this independent body and have recommended them to the Committee. I believe these figures to be right. In some of the cases to which the hon. Gentleman referred he did not apply his criterion of job evaluation or reclassification. But it was part of Lord Boyle's recommendations that some posts should be reclassified in the way the hon. Gentleman suggested.
Once the hon. Gentleman accepts that Ministers should be paid the rate for the job, it becomes a question of exactly what that figure should be. The independent review body decided on certain figures and recommended these quite independently. The Government felt that it was right to accept in full what the review 394 body said and to recommend it to the House. I still feel, having heard the hon. Gentleman, that the figures put forward by Lord Boyle's Review Body are right, and I ask the Committee to accept them. For that reason, having appreciated the points which the hon. Gentleman put forward, I could not accept his Amendments.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Schedule I agreed to.