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Staff Pension Scheme

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 19 June 2008

18. If the Commission will examine the financial implications of extending the House of Commons staff pension scheme to staff of hon. Members. (212153)

The employees of Members of Parliament are not employees of this House. It would therefore not be possible in a technical sense for them to be part of this scheme, which is run by the House for its employees. The contracts of MPs’ staff specify that they are part of the Portcullis pension plan, which means that a contribution equivalent to 10 per cent. of their gross salary is paid by the House to one or more stakeholder pension providers.

None of us could do our jobs as Members of Parliament without the professional support of Clerks, Librarians and the other staff of the House, but, equally, none of us could do our jobs without the support of our staff, in our constituency offices and here in Westminster. It is outrageous that Members and the staff of the House belong to good public sector final salary pension schemes, but other public servants, who serve the public for years, end up on the Portcullis plan and face retirement on a fraction of the incomes of House staff. Will the House of Commons Commission examine this problem and do something about it?

The 10 per cent. employer contribution is about average for similar schemes run by large employers. The current arrangements have been in place for five years, but if the hon. Gentleman feels that the time is right to review the scheme, he should, in the first instance, approach the Advisory Panel on Members’ Allowances to suggest a review of the scheme.