MSP Staff Cost Provision

– in the Scottish Parliament on 5th March 2020.

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Photo of Daniel Johnson Daniel Johnson Labour

11. To ask the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body what discussions it has had regarding the increase in the MSP staffing budget. (S5O-04189)

Photo of Liam McArthur Liam McArthur Liberal Democrat

Again, I say that I do not have anything to add to my initial response.

Photo of Daniel Johnson Daniel Johnson Labour

I associate myself with the comments that my colleagues have made.

The 2.96 per cent increase is welcome. However, the means by which we have arrived at it are not. The voice of trade unions is distinctly lacking, as are the voices of MSP staff.

Will the corporate body look at having better union and staff representation in future talks and examinations of pay structures?

Photo of Liam McArthur Liam McArthur Liberal Democrat

As I said, the SPCB is responsible for uprating staff cost provision in line with indices. We have described the process that we went through in setting the annual survey of hours and earnings as an index: we have moved to using ASHE and the average weekly earnings index. A basket of indices is the measure by which future staff cost provision will be uprated. It is for individual members of the Scottish Parliament to make their own arrangements for employment of staff.

Photo of Patrick Harvie Patrick Harvie Green

I echo the general sentiment in the chamber.

I am also concerned that over the coming weeks and months, many MSP staff might have to take sickness leave or be in isolation. Can the corporate body assure us that staff cost provision will be flexible enough to ensure that none of us is in a position in which our staff have to lose pay, or our offices cease to function, and will the same principle apply to corporate body staff and contractor staff?

Photo of Liam McArthur Liam McArthur Liberal Democrat

I thank Patrick Harvie for raising that issue, which came up during this morning’s discussions. I assure him that that is part of the live consideration of an evolving situation. We are very cognisant of the fact that members, through their staffing arrangements, and other building users, might be affected over the coming weeks and months. We need to be responsive to that, so we will be.