It’s all over the news. UK MPs have been awarded an 11% pay rise, taking their BASIC salary to £74,000, by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
An absolute disgrace as cuts to public services and the government’s austerity measures continue to force the poorer and vulnerable in society into economic hell and slavery.
The only thing Cameron has done is to say that MPs should not receive more than others in a time of austerity – but has failed to join Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg in rejecting the pay rise.
It’s not just their basic salary that earns them a significant income each year, as we have reported before, many MPs boost their basic salary with very lucrative perks and benefits – some of which will be reduced in the latest IPSA decision – to around £120,000 a year.
The IPSA was established in 2009 in the wake of the MPs expenses scandal to monitor and regulate the salaries of MPs and their staff, and to validate MPs expenses.
Decisions of the IPSA also become law without the approval of Parliament – hardly a democratic process.
If we take a closer look at the IPSA it is not hard to work out that this is nothing but a sham to placate the public – to fool them into thinking that an ‘independent’ organisation is taking control away from MPs. It is an ‘old boys’ network (jobs for the boys), and is probably full of corruption or ‘favour doing’ as most of these kind of organisations are.
The current board members of the IPSA are:
Professor Sir Ian Kennedy, IPSA Chair: Salary: £700 per day working an average of 2 days per week.
Former Chairman of the (now defunct) Healthcare Commission for the duration of its existence from 2004 until 2009. Currently Chairman of the UK Research Integrity Office.
Sir Neil Butterfield, Board Member: Salary: £400 per day working an average of two days per month.
Former High Court judge. Former Economic Secretary to the Treasury and Attorney General (joined at the request of the Economic Secretary). Appointed as Vice-Chair of the Parole Board in 2004.
Elizabeth Padmore, Board Member: £400 per day working an average of two days per month.
Chair of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation since 2010. Various board memberships. Former Director of National Australia Group and Clydesdale Bank. Formerly on the council of Chatham House (a secretive organisation with close ties to the government, and allegedly the security services).
Anne Whitaker, Board Member: £400 per day working an average of two days per month.
Chair of Whipps Cross University NHS Trust. Former audit partner and Head of Audit for Financial Services for Ernst & Young.
Professor Tony Wright, Board Member: £400 per day working an average of two days per month
Former Labour MP for Cannock Chase (previously Cannock and Burntwood) from 1992 to 2010. Member of the advisory board of the Health Service Ombudsman.
Andrew McDonald, Chief Executive: Salary: £105,000 to £110,000 per annum.
Former Chief Executive of Government Skills, the Sector Skills Council for central government and the armed forces. Civil servant for the past twenty years and has been involved in several government projects.
John Sills, Director of Policy and Communications: Salary: £85,000 to £90,000 per annum.
Philip Lloyd, Director of Finance and Corporate Services, Salary £100,000 to £105,000 per annum.
Not really a representative cross-section of the community, with most having very close ties to central government over the expanse of their careers. It is highly unlikely that people with such experience and on such high salaries (paid for by the taxpayer of course) would be able to be truly objective in the decision making process about MPs salaries.
MPs are claiming that they are not in a position to challenge IPSA’s decision – but they don’t need to be. The IPSA was set up by Parliament (MPs) and run by seemingly ‘government friendly’ people who are able to legislate independently of Parliament.
Greed begets greed, and although some of the extra £4.6 million needed for the pay rise will come from MP’s pensions and an adjustment of expenses, it will still be the taxpayer who will foot the final bill as MPs continue to receive a substantial remuneration package which remains disproportionate to their real value to the public.