Clause 15

Part of Budget Responsibility and National Audit Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:00 pm ar 3 Mawrth 2011.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Justine Greening Justine Greening The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 2:00, 3 Mawrth 2011

I was merely adding to the debate and clarifying the issue for the hon. Member for Nottingham East. It is relevant to the Committee to know the time at which the decision on pay was made, because the hon. Gentleman was effectively trying to say that somehow the Government had not taken the right approach in setting the salary level.

To return to clause 15, a two-year employment restriction, with a related requirement to seek advice after that period, is necessary to protect the independence of the office, without making a former CAG subject to disproportionate restrictions in their ability to work. A five-year ban could result in discouraging candidates, particularly younger ones, from applying. We do not want the post to become a role that somebody does before they retire, for example.

There is just one exception to the two-year ban. Subsection (7) allows a former CAG to hold office as Auditor General for Wales or for Scotland and as Comptroller and Auditor General for Northern Ireland. It would seem perverse for former holders of that office to be denied the opportunity of making their experience and knowledge available to the devolved Administrations if they so wish. Apart from that, we think that a two-year period of restriction gets the balance right. It ensures that their independence is not compromised when they leave office, and it is not so long that it would discourage candidates from applying for the position in the first place.