Backbench Business — House of Commons Administration and Savings Programme

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 1:38 pm on 8th November 2012.

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Photo of Adam Afriyie Adam Afriyie Chair, Members' Expenses Committee, Chair, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology 1:38 pm, 8th November 2012

I thank my hon. Friend for her intervention; she is absolutely right. The Science and Technology Committee is among many Committees of the House, and the other place, that are supported by the external resource that POST brings in.

Savings could be made to the Library and research budgets in other ways, and I will provide a couple of examples for consideration. The A2 post in the Library is equivalent to a civil service grade 7 post—staff who would normally have people reporting to them. I do not suggest the removal of those posts or that anyone who is currently in that job should see their salary reduced or the grading changed, but by introducing, through natural wastage and replacement, a B1 rather than A2 position, over five or six years one could save up to £0.5 million a year without diminishing the service to Members.

POST is an independent body and provides a very different service to that of other Library research services. POST advisers spend 10% or 20% of their time—between £50,000 and £100,000-worth of resources—working for Select Committees and other bodies within Parliament. Finally, a reduction to POST’s budget contradicts the Government’s position on science and that of the Labour party. We need more science in Parliament, not less, and I look forward to future discussions.