Pressure grows on Cameron to cancel MPs' pay rise

Emma Woollacott
MPs' pay rise
MPs' pay rise

More than 360,000 people have signed a petition calling on David Cameron to block a planned 10% pay rise for MPs.

While the increase has been recommended by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), many ministers say it should be rejected. It would hike a back-bencher's pay by £7,000, taking it to £74,000 a year, while the prime minister would receive almost £150,000.

But, say critics, the rise is completely inappropriate at a time of national austerity - particularly while public sector workers have seen their salary rises capped at 1%.

Further, they say, the IPSA recommendation was based on a false premise.

Initially the pay rise was meant to involve scrapping their expenses (they use our taxes to pay for their daily meals, travel, mortgages, second homes, family members and duck ponds etc) but now it seems expenses will remain intact," says Tanya Byk, the organiser of the petition.

"All the while the government is cutting benefits for vulnerable families, freezing salaries for our beloved nurses and sacking the police and fire service we need to keep our communities safe."

The rise has been criticised by many high-profile politicians including Labour leadership candidates Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper.

"I have always been clear that 10% pay rise for MPs cannot be justified. I won't accept it. Will turn down at source or give to local groups," shadow health secretary Burnham pledged on Twitter.

Education secretary Nicky Morgan and former communities secretary Eric Pickles have said they will give some or all of the increase to charity.

However, Tory MP Charles Walker has a rather different take: that accepting the rise would make MPs seem more in touch with ordinary people.

"My concern is that those people loftily saying that they're going to give it to charity and give it up, many of their constituents – the quiet majority I suspect – will be aghast at the stance they're taking," he told Buzzfeed.

"It reinforces the view that members of parliament live on a different planet."

David Cameron has now asked Commons leader Chris Grayling to write a letter of protest to IPSA, detailing his opposition to the plan.

"The Government opposed the suggestion that there should be a pay rise of this nature, and the view of the Government remains that a pay rise of this nature at this time is not appropriate," it reads.

"The Government has an ongoing commitment to responsible fiscal policy and returning the public finances to a sustainable position."

However, IPSA says it plans to go ahead with the pay rise at the end of this month unless 'new and compelling evidence' emerges.

MPs' Pay: Watchdog to Give £7,600 Pay Rise
MPs' Pay: Watchdog to Give £7,600 Pay Rise

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