Staff Pension Scheme

House of Commons Commission – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 19 June 2008.

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Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley NATO Parliamentary Assembly UK Delegation 10:30, 19 June 2008

If the Commission will examine the financial implications of extending the House of Commons staff pension scheme to staff of hon. Members.

Photo of Nick Harvey Nick Harvey Shadow Secretary of State for Defence

The employees of Members of Parliament are not employees of this House. It would therefore not be possible in a technical sense for them to be part of this scheme, which is run by the House for its employees. The contracts of MPs' staff specify that they are part of the Portcullis pension plan, which means that a contribution equivalent to 10 per cent. of their gross salary is paid by the House to one or more stakeholder pension providers.

Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley NATO Parliamentary Assembly UK Delegation

None of us could do our jobs as Members of Parliament without the professional support of Clerks, Librarians and the other staff of the House, but, equally, none of us could do our jobs without the support of our staff, in our constituency offices and here in Westminster. It is outrageous that Members and the staff of the House belong to good public sector final salary pension schemes, but other public servants, who serve the public for years, end up on the Portcullis plan and face retirement on a fraction of the incomes of House staff. Will the House of Commons Commission examine this problem and do something about it?

J

And what about the pensioners who contribute the same amounts as everyone else to the National Insurance Fund, but end up with a much lower pension just because their grandchildren live in Canada instead of the USA? The longer these pensioners live, the more they fall behind their contemporaries.

Submitted by James nelson

Photo of Nick Harvey Nick Harvey Shadow Secretary of State for Defence

The 10 per cent. employer contribution is about average for similar schemes run by large employers. The current arrangements have been in place for five years, but if the hon. Gentleman feels that the time is right to review the scheme, he should, in the first instance, approach the Advisory Panel on Members' Allowances to suggest a review of the scheme.