To ask the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether he proposes any changes to the procedures for setting pay and conditions for House of Commons staff; and if he will make a statement.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, on average, the staff in the canteen work for 47 hours a week and receive take-home pay of about £134? We should compare that with the bosses, who have recently managed to secure an extra 22·7 per cent. Tesco's boss is to get another £1 million a year, for example. Yet here in the House of Commons, the young people in the canteen are expected to work during the parliamentary recess, when Members of Parliament are on holiday, and this year they will have to work an extra five hours every week during the recess for no extra pay. Is not it time that the hon. Gentleman—this Liberal Democrat—did something about that?
The arrangements that I have described were set up when a Labour Government were in power. The House of Commons Commission seeks to represent all parties in the House. We have no responsibility for pay outside the House and our responsibility inside it is to ensure the link with civil service pay to which I referred. However, the Establishments Office is currently consulting the relevant unions as part of the process of conducting a review of the pay and grading of industrial and non-industrial grades employed by Departments of the House.