MPs' pay set to rise to £74,000

Extra cash for them despite austerity cuts


MPs' pay rise
MPs are to get a £7,000-a-year pay rise after the watchdog which sets their salaries restated its intention to hike them by 10% to £74,000.

David Cameron had previously urged the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) to scrap the above-inflation increase, and Downing Street said the Prime Minister still opposes the backdated rise.

But a spokeswoman said Mr Cameron accepted that it was ultimately a matter for the independent body to determine, and indicated that he would receive the rise with other MPs if Ipsa decides to press ahead after a final review.

Asked whether the PM might voluntarily forego the extra cash, the spokeswoman said it would go "automatically" to all MPs.

Ipsa first announced the salary bump in 2013 to address complaints that MPs' pay has dropped behind the rest of the public sector. But the proposed hike was condemned by Mr Cameron as "simply unacceptable" while the rest of the public sector is restricted to 1%.

Asked about the issue last month, the Prime Minister's spokesman urged Ipsa "to come to a different view".

Rise backdated to May 8

In a new statement, Ipsa said there appeared to be no "material" reason to change proposals for an increase from the current level of £67,000.

Unless "new and compelling evidence" emerges by the end of the month, the move will be confirmed - with the rise backdated to May 8.

TaxPayers' Alliance chief executive Jonathan Isaby said: "It's clear that Ipsa is hopelessly out of touch and not fit for purpose. The national debt is still rising and hard-pressed taxpayers are keeping their belts tight so it's totally inappropriate for these bureaucrats to recommend even higher pay for MPs.

"Ipsa spent £70,000 on a consultation which showed the public believed the current pay level to be broadly fair, yet have ignored the findings. MPs shouldn't be divorced from the same pay restraint as everywhere else in the public sector."

Downing Street pointed out that ministerial pay was frozen during the last parliament, and that Mr Cameron had already announced it will remain so until 2020, saving taxpayers £4m.

The PM's spokeswoman said he was focused on areas where he had the power to bring down the cost of politics, such as restraints on ministerial pay and proposals for boundary changes to reduce the number of MPs at Westminster.

The consultation document issued by Ipsa stresses that due to cuts in pensions and expenses - such as a ban on claiming for evening meals - the overall package of changes will not cost taxpayers "a penny more".
PM: MPs' 11% Pay Rise 'Unacceptable'