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Top Salaries Review Board: 1974 Recommendations

Volume 387: debated on Tuesday 29 November 1977

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2.56 p.m.

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the second Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they can now state what action they propose to take to implement the recommendations made by the Top Salaries Review Board in December 1974 in respect of the remuneration of the members of the boards of nationalised industries and other public sector bodies.

No, my Lords. The matter is currently under consideration and I am not yet in a position to make a Statement.

My Lords, is not the noble Lord aware that that Answer is wholly consistent with the Answer he gave me on 23rd May, when he indicated that the matter was under consideration and that he hoped to come to an early solution? Are we any nearer a solution? Meanwhile, is the noble Lord aware that full-time executive members of the Civil Aviation Authority are now receiving net remuneration of less than half the purchasing power of that which they received in 1972? Are the Government content to let that kind of nonsense continue?

My Lords, I admit that I have been consistent on this, twice. I had hoped to be able to reply to the noble Lord. As he knows, it is a difficult question. I know what the problem is and I accept it, but I am not yet in a position to make a Statement on behalf of the Government.

My Lords, is it not slightly difficult to ask questions about net purchasing power and expect Her Majesty's Government to give an answer, when it is considered that in order for the Lord Chancellor to have the same net purchasing power as he had in 1890 his wages would have to be raised to something like £3 million a year?

My Lords, will the noble Lord give this rather serious thought? We all recognise in this House that it is a difficult problem, but it is increasingly apparent that it is difficult to man-up our nationalised industries at the top level until we can give rewards which are commensurate with those in other professions and industries. Is the noble Lord aware that it is three years since this report was made and this cannot continue if we are to try to make our nationalised industries more efficient?

My Lords, I accept what the noble Lord has said. I assure him that I take this matter very seriously. I agree that it must be solved—and I am not flippant about it in any way.