On 19 May 2009 I informed the House that the House Committee had agreed to commission an independent external review of the financial support available to Members of the House and that detailed proposals relating to the terms of reference and conduct of the review would be discussed at the committee's next meeting on 23 June.
Many Members responded to this announcement by stressing the need to act urgently. On 9 June, therefore, the House Committee agreed by correspondence to seek an external, independent review of financial support for Members conducted by the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) with the following terms of reference:
“To review options for the system of financial support for Members of the House of Lords, given its current role and composition; and to make recommendations.
In conducting the review, SSRB will have regard to:
clarity and transparency;
accountability and public acceptability;
value for money;
differing attendance patterns of Members;
the geographical spread of the membership of the House;
the financial consequences for Members in participating in the work of the House; and
schemes operated in comparable circumstances by other institutions”.
It is expected that the SSRB will complete this review by the end of October 2009.
The Lord Speaker, as chair of the House Committee, wrote to the Prime Minister on 9 June asking him to refer the House Committee proposal to the SSRB. The Prime Minister announced on 10 June that he had now done so.
The SSRB is eager to ensure that Members contribute to the review and it will be putting forward proposals for consultation as soon as possible.