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Running Costs

Volume 514: debated on Monday 26 July 2010

7. Whether the House of Commons Commission plans to seek the views of hon. Members on ways of reducing the running costs of the House. (10704)

The Commission will seek the view of Members in the normal way through the Finance and Services Committee and the Administration Committee. I am pleased to see on today’s Order Paper the submission of names to the will of the House for both those Committees. The Commission will also welcome the submission of views from individual Members, which should be sent to the secretary of the Commission.

I understand the need for the House to cut its costs, but I am worried about the size of the cut in respect of Select Committee travel, because it will undermine the ability of Parliament to scrutinise the Government. Will the Commission seek savings in other areas which do not have a direct impact on how Parliament does its job? For example, at a time of widespread public concern about public sector bonuses, will the Commission examine what impact the bonus scheme for senior staff of this House has had on their output and productivity?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his question. On the cuts in the Select Committee budgets, I am afraid that we are not able in this House to distinguish between one set of expenditure and another. The cuts announced recently are for this year only and are in response to the general financial stringency being applied to the public sector in the current year. Following scrutiny by the Finance and Services Committee last December, the Commission agreed to a reduction of 9% over three years and will consider the position for future years in the autumn. My hon. Friend’s point about bonuses will be included in that review.