The ‘Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority’ (ISPA) have recommended a pay rise for UK Members of Parliament of 9.26%, taking MPs basic pay from £66,396 to £74,000 per year. The recommendation has received criticism from the public and some MPs.
In addition to the pay rise, the ISPA also recommended:
- A salary of £74,000 in 2015, with rises after that linked to average earnings across the whole economy
- A new pension on a par with other parts of the public sector, moving from a final-salary to career-average scheme, which IPSA says will save taxpayers nearly £2.5m a year
- Scrapping “resettlement payments”, which were worth up to £64,766 for long-serving MPs still of working age, the first £30,000 of which was tax-free. and introducing “more modest” redundancy packages, available only to those who contest their seat and lose
- A “tighter regime” of business costs and expenses – including an end to the £15-a-night meal allowance and taxis home after late sittings
The ISPA recommendations have to go out to consultation before they are finalised in the autumn.
A spokesman for Number 10 told Sky News: “The cost of politics should go down not up and MPs’ pay shouldn’t go up while public sector pay is, rightly, being constrained. IPSA is consulting on its proposals, which it will review after the next election as it is obliged to do by statute. It is independent, but the Government will repeat our view on the need for restraint.”
Leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband told The Independent “I don’t think MPs should be getting a 10 per cent pay rise when nurses and teachers are facing either pay freezes or very low increases and people in the private sector are facing similar circumstances,” he said.
“I’m very clear – I don’t think this package of proposals should go ahead in the current economic circumstances.”
He added: “If this was to go ahead I wouldn’t be accepting this pay rise but I don’t think it is going to go ahead in the current circumstances because I think that when IPSA consult the public, the public will be pretty clear that while the difficulties we have in the economy persist we can’t have MPs getting a 10 per cent pay rise.”
Several other MPs support the increase. Tory MP Andrew Bridgen was one of the few prepared to speak out publicly in favour of the rise. “MPs are paid about the same as a junior school headmistress or headmaster. I’ve got lots and lots of those in my constituency, there is only one MP,” he said.
Cameron has not said if he will accept the pay rise and changes to benefits or not. Other Tory MPs fear that if Cameron and his deputy refuse to accept the pay rise they will also be under pressure to reject the changes, which could incite a mutiny within the government.
The following chart is the ISPA comparison of average salaries:
Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayer’s Alliance made the following statement on their website:
“The idea of hiking MPs’ pay when everyone else has been suffering such a squeeze on their earnings is totally unpalatable. MPs do an important job and work hard, but they already earn nearly three times the national average and more than most of their European counterparts.
“The extensive research commissioned by IPSA has demonstrated that people think the current level of pay to be broadly fair, so this announcement amounts to an unaccountable quango putting up to fingers to the British public.
“IPSA is right to be reforming the gold-plated parliamentary pensions and cutting golden goodbyes for retiring or defeated MPs, but it beggars belief that they have come up with a plan that will increase the cost of our politicians when everyone’s budgets are under such pressure.
“I hope that IPSA will reflect on the reaction to their proposals and come back with fresh plans which will be acceptable to the taxpayers picking up the bill.”
RMT general secretary Bob Crow warned: “Be in no doubt, RMT will be fighting for pay rise parity with MPs in all of our negotiations and will have no hesitation in striking to get for our members what the politicians have got for themselves.
“If inflation-busting pay increases are good enough for the political class then they are good enough for nurses, transport workers, firefighters and the rest of the working class.”
The general public are highly critical of the amount MPs salaries are set to rise in the light of cutbacks and pay freezes across the public sector.
MPs seem to be paid far too much for doing far too little – unless it is for one of their cronies.
MPs are not subjected to rigorous performance related pay and benefits schemes they have introduced in many other areas of the public sector – so there is no indicator of how efficient they are, or whether they are worth the pay and benefits they receive at the moment, let alone the recommended increase.
Until MPs are monitored by a TRULY independent body (instead of their own appointed quango) the public will have little confidence in the ‘goings-on’ within parliament, and will continue to resist any enhancement of MPs pay and conditions – especially when those changes are far beyond the restrictions placed on the economy by the same MPs.
MPs must also demonstrate that they represent the public and not treat parliament and the power of government as their own piggy bank for their retirement.
The extensive corruption (much of which they have allowed themselves to do through various policies) within parliament is another area that needs to be seriously addressed before any real worth can be attributed to their role – a role which is supposed to look after the public interest.
We think MPs are paid far too much when their extensive ‘perks’ package is taken into account. To give them such a high pay rise in the current economic climate is an insult to the public, who are expected to accept the supposed ‘austerity’ measures imposed on them.