Clause 13

Part of Budget Responsibility and National Audit Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 1:45 pm ar 3 Mawrth 2011.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Shadow Minister (Treasury) 1:45, 3 Mawrth 2011

The clause is about the remuneration arrangements for the Comptroller and Auditor General, and how those arrangements are to be made. Will the Minister put on record the CAG’s salary? Why are the remuneration arrangements to be made between the Prime Minister and the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, rather than with that Committee itself? I understand that the PAC used to have a role as it is a Committee of the House of Commons, but that has now been limited to the Chair.

There are a number of interesting provisions in the clause. Subsection (6) seems to suggest that the pension arrangements are wholly under the Treasury’s control. That seems slightly at odds with the salary arrangements, but I may have got that wrong and be misreading the legislation. A reasonable recommendation was made by, I think, the Public Accounts Commission that the CAG’s salary be tied in law—pegged—to the salary of the Permanent Secretary of Her Majesty’s Treasury. That seems a reasonable provision, but it did not make it into the Bill. Will the Minister explain why?

The provisions were debated in the House on 4 November 2009, before the general election. They were pretty much in the form in which they exist today, with a couple of small exceptions. The current Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, then in opposition, proposed an amendment. Given the attention that had been paid to the CAG’s allowances and expenses, he moved an amendment proposing that all remunerations and allowances should be published monthly online so that there would be more transparency about them. That amendment was put to the vote in the House, and the Minister, as she now is, voted in favour of it during that debate. Unless I am missing it, however, that provision does not seem to have made it into the legislation before us. Will the Minister explain why just over a year ago she thought it was necessary for the CAG’s remuneration and allowances to be placed online on a monthly basis, and why she has now changed her mind? Will she explain why the arrangements in subsection (8) are subject to the negative procedure rather than the affirmative one?