My Department has been at the forefront of transparency, and the Department’s public bodies will publish their senior salaries and expenses data on Friday 29 October.
We know from information that has already been published that the heads of the Audit Commission spent thousands of pounds wining and dining people in a gentleman’s club. We also know that the head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission is chauffeur-driven in his own personal car. May I therefore congratulate the Secretary of State on his actions to ensure that those quango bosses publicise their expenses and salaries, and urge him to do more so that they are held to the same standards of transparency and scrutiny as Members of Parliament, who represent the people?
In fairness to the Audit Commission, my hon. Friend will want me to point out that the gentlemen’s clubs are those in the west end, not Soho. I have been concerned for some time about some of the Audit Commission’s excesses. One of my first decisions was to veto a suggested £240,000 salary for a chief executive. I was not particularly impressed by the chairman’s suggestion of a whip-round among members of the private sector that audit to top up his salary. I thought that that suggestion might well have been misinterpreted.