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Financial Services (Amendment) Bill [H.L.]

Lord Haskel: My Lords, I beg to introduce a Bill to enable the Secretary of State to make available, and to publish, reports made by inspectors appointed under Section 177 of the Financial Services Act 1986. I beg to move that this Bill be now read a first time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read a first time.—(Lord Haskel.)

On Question, Bill read a first time, and to be printed.

Accommodation Level Crossings Bill [H.L.]

Read a third time, and passed, and sent to the Commons.

House of Lords' Offices: Select Committee Report

3.4 p.m.

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): My Lords, I beg to move that the Second Report from the Select Committee on House of Lords Offices be agreed to.

Moved, That the Second Report from the Select Committee be agreed to (HL Paper 43).—(The Chairman of Committees.)

Following is the report referred to:

    The Committee has appointed Lord Inglewood to the Refreshment Sub-Committee in place of the Earl of Arran who has resigned.


    The Committee has agreed to a new procedure for the appointment of Black Rod, suggested by the Leader of the House with the agreement of the Lord Chamberlain.


    The Committee has approved a reallocation of rooms on the Ground, Principal, First and Second Floors of the West Front as the final changes in the major review of accommodation which has been taking place during the last two years. The moves will take place during the 1995 Summer Recess.

    This reallocation will result in Black Rod, his secretaries and the Yeoman Usher moving to the south end of the Principal Floor corridor, into rooms currently occupied by the Chairman of

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    Committees, his Counsel and the Private Bill Office. This will help to consolidate and improve the efficiency of Black Rod's Department. It will also enable the present offices of Black Rod and his secretaries to be allocated to the Opposition and Government Whips respectively.

    The Convenor of the Cross Benches will move into the Opposition Whips' present office, which will be enlarged. The Chairman of Committees will move to the room at the very southern end of the Principal Floor.

    There will also be a consolidation of the Parliament Office on the First Floor, West Front, and the rooms thereby vacated on the Second Floor will become available as Peers' Desk Rooms.

    The Committee has also agreed—

    —in principle, to the provision of Peers' Facilities Rooms housing a PDVN terminal, photocopiers and facsimile machines in areas where there are concentrations of Peers' Desk Rooms, and that locations should be identified after the 1995 Summer Recess;

    —that the question of the provision of a Spouses' Room should be given further consideration, in the light of recent changes made by the Refreshment Sub-Committee to the rules governing facilities for spouses;

    —that consideration should be given to relocating the Record Office Map Room, Bindery and Reprographic room outside the Palace of Westminster; and

    —that all the changes recently approved have exhausted the hope of identifying any substantial further accommodation for peers within the Palace; and to invite Black Rod and the Director of Parliamentary Works to investigate the possibility of further infilling within the Palace, the acquisition of extra office space and alternative residential accommodation for Black Rod and the Yeoman Usher in the vicinity of the Palace.


    The Committee has been informed of the precautions being taken to minimise disturbance to Peers over the next twelve months; and has agreed that a display be mounted in the Royal Gallery early in May to outline the plans for the South East Return and Black Rod's Garden.


    The Committee has been informed of new arrangements for the grading of non-chef industrial posts in the Refreshment Department; of the introduction of a new staff reporting system to take effect on 1st April 1996; of a progressive annual reduction in working hours from 39 hours to 36 hours a week by 1st April 1997; of cash inducements to give up cash or weekly pay; and of a modification of the current profit sharing bonus scheme to take account of performance-related pay.


    The Committee has been informed of an increase in the complement of, and of a new grade structure and shift system for, House of Lords Attendants, following a review of their grading and working practices.


    The Committee has taken note of the early retirement of Mr C.A.J. Mitchell, Chief Clerk, and has expressed its appreciation for the twenty-seven years' service which he has rendered the House.

    The Committee has agreed—

    —the appointment of an additional Housemaid for 7 Old Palace Yard;

    —the appointment of an additional Senior Clerical Officer in the Law Lords' Office;

    —the appointment of an additional Executive Officer in the Computer Office;

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    —the extension of the post of part-time Architectural Archivist until July 1998; and

    —the upgrading of the Parliamentary Works Directorate post of Project Sponsor from 7 to 6 for the duration of the Phase II development in Bridge Street; and of Deputy Director from 6 to 5, subject to review in 18 months' time on the current postholder's retirement.

    The Committee has also agreed that the time-limited posts of Computer Executive, Deputy Computer Executive, Computer Assistant and part-time Senior Clerical Officer in the Computer Office be extended indefinitely.


    The Committee has noted that the Government's proposal that the pay of individual Permanent Secretaries in future be determined by a Remuneration Committee was not appropriate for determining the pay of the Clerk of the Parliaments. The Committee has therefore agreed that (in line with the salary of the Clerk of the House of Commons, the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration) the salary of the Clerk of the Parliaments should with effect from 1st April 1995 be fixed to that of a High Court Judge.


    The Committee has agreed to a proposal for a painting of the House in session.

    The day to day management of the project will be undertaken by the Advisory Panel on Works of Art; decisions on finance and on the Lords to be included will be taken by a group consisting of the Chief Whips and the Convenor of the Cross Benches, the Lord Chairman and the Chairman of the Advisory Panel on Works of Art. It is the intention that the project should ultimately be self-financing.

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe: My Lords, I believe that it is in order to speak on this report. Very briefly, I have one or two points to make. I notice that in Paragraph 3, headed "Accommodation", there is a very substantial juggling of accommodation. Eventually, accommodation will be freed on the second floor and allocated as Peers' Desk Rooms. At some time before these jugglings are completed, the accommodation released on lower floors should be allocated to your Lordships for their Desk Rooms.

As regards Paragraph 4, entitled "Effect of the works programme on peers", I welcome the decision to make available an explanation to your Lordships as to what is going to happen in the coming 12 months. But why has that only just been suggested? The appalling chaos which intrudes itself in this place during Recesses ought to be explained so that we know what is going on. It is conceivable that at some time your Lordships may be able to suggest improvements to minimise the disturbance.

It is not only disturbance to your Lordships that should be reduced, but also disturbance to my blood pressure. Those of us who use Chancellor's Gate will have seen that transparent glass blocks have been laid on several parts of the pavement in order to let light into the cellars. Having laid these blocks, a few weeks later they were taken up and the glass changed from transparent to opaque. The cost of that must run into several thousands of pounds. I shall be grateful if the Chairman of Committees can explain to the House what happened on that occasion.

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Finally, on Paragraph 9, "Painting of the House in session", for one moment I had a terrible feeling that all this redecoration is going to intrude on us while in Session. But having read the item more closely I see that it is to be a portrait of the House in Session. It is stated that there is "a proposal for a painting". Can the Chairman of Committees tell us where the proposal comes from?

I then read that Members of your Lordships' House to be included in the painting are to be selected by,

    "Chief Whips and the Convenor of the Cross Benches, the Lord Chairman and the Chairman of the Advisory Panel on Works of Art".

On what criteria is that selection to be made? Bearing in mind the precedent in the other place when a painting was made of the House in Session—those who were left out were so jealous and created such an enormous fuss that a second painting had to be done—can the Chairman of Committees tell us whether there are any contingency plans for that?

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