Nick Clegg: I wouldn't take pay rise for MPs

 

Nick Clegg: "It would be impossible to explain to the public why MPs should be treated so differently"

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Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said he would not take a big pay rise even if one is recommended for MPs.

He said people whose living standards were being "remorselessly squeezed" would find a big rise for MPs "impossible to understand".

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority is expected to say backbench MPs' £66,000 salaries should increase to more than £70,000 from the election.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said such a plan would be "unthinkable".

But the BBC's Nick Robinson said the PM could not block the recommendations and advisers had warned him MPs would reject any bid to do so in the Commons.

The BBC's political editor added that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority's (Ipsa) recommendation would be "likely to cause outrage from voters at a time when there is significant pay restraint in the public and private sectors".

'Show restraint'

Ipsa, which was set up as an independent body to regulate MPs' pay and pensions in the wake of the expenses scandal, is expected to announce its initial recommendations later this month.

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What must have seemed a good idea at the time of the MPs' expenses scandal is now giving the prime minister a political migraine”

End Quote

MPs and members of the public will be able to take part in a consultation before Ipsa publishes its final plans - expected in the autumn - which would then come into force without the need for further legislation.

Reports in several newspapers this weekend suggest its initial recommendations will call for a rise of about 15% in the basic salary of a backbench MP from £66,396 to a sum closer to £75,000. MPs would, however, have to pay much higher contributions towards their pensions.

Asked about the reports of a proposed pay rise for MPs, Mr Clegg, the Lib Dem leader, said the recommendations were a matter for Ipsa and for MPs to decide themselves whether or not to take any rise.

Speaking in Pakistan, Mr Cameron said he did not know what Ipsa would say but added: "Whatever Ipsa recommends, we can't see the cost of politics or Westminster going up. We should see the cost of Westminster go down.

"Anything would be unthinkable unless the cost of politics was frozen and cut, so I'll wait and see what Ipsa have to say. What I said to Ipsa was that restraint is necessary."

The government could propose a motion calling for Ipsa's recommendations to be ignored, but Nick Robinson said this could "undermine the independence of the new system" and would be unlikely to win enough support from MPs.

Keith Vaz MP: "This has always been a point of contention"

And the Mail on Sunday reported that a source close to Labour leader Ed Miliband had said: "We will view any rise for MPs in the light of the current climate of economic austerity.

"It has to be seen in the context of the decision to limit public sector workers' pay increases to 1% and the fact that some private sector workers have had their pay cut."

The Commons voted against a 1% pay rise in 2011 and last year agreed to extend the pay freeze into 2013. MPs' salaries are due to rise to £67,060 from April 2014.

Public sector salary comparison

In an anonymous online survey of 100 MPs conducted for Ipsa - the results of which were published in January - 69% said they were underpaid. The average level suggested for the appropriate level of pay was £86,250.

'Last thing on earth'

Former Labour minister and chairman of the Home Affairs select committee Keith Vaz: "The last thing on earth MPs should be talking about is their own pay."

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Running a modern parliament in the 21st Century costs money”

End Quote Tom Harris Labour MP

Former children's minister and Tory MP Tim Loughton: "This isn't going to happen. It would be completely inappropriate for us to accept it at the moment. It sends the wrong message to the rest of the country going through a tough time."

Matthew Sinclair, of the Taxpayers' Alliance, which campaigns for lower taxes, said there would be public outrage should the rises go ahead.

He said: "MPs are already very well paid both in terms of European politicians and the average salary in this country.

"It would be particularly egregious for politicians to be handed a whopping great pay rise while hard-pressed taxpayers tighten their own belts."

Former Labour minister Tom Harris called for Ipsa to be abolished and MPs to be given the final say on issues of parliamentary pay and expenses.

"If we're going to get the blame for rises in our salary, we might as well take the responsibility too," he wrote in the Daily Telegraph. "The complaints will continue, but at least they'll be aimed at the right people."

And he suggested efforts to cut the "cost of politics" were futile. "Running a modern parliament in the 21st Century costs money. And if it doesn't, you're not doing it right."

MPs are paid more than their counterparts in Spain and France but less than legislators in the Republic of Ireland, Germany and Italy. An Ipsa study in 2012 found the mean average for pay across major democracies was just over £86,000.

 

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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1290.

    What weasel words! Anything to possibly ensure re-election. Does he really think we cannot see though his attempt at solidarity with the poor? His lot blew their only chance at being in government again, by reneging on all that the Liberals stood for in the past. A grade-one hypocrite!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1289.

    Why don't he just join a Bank?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1288.

    A high wage should not be the motivation to be an MP. This is how we end up with career politicians with no experience of being in charge of anything. They should be motivated by serving the public.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1287.

    Come the next election I wouldn't expect Nick Clegg to receive a pay rise.
    His P45 yes, but not a pay rise.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1286.

    When the Majority of the people get to receive a Proper living wage. Then they can think about there wage increase.. Greedy buggers

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1285.

    You have got to be joking. I for one will be checking if my MP either takes this rise or raises no voice in protest against it. How we, in a country so quick to criticise others for a lack of representative democracy, can allow this snivelling little piece of nest feathering to take place against a backdrop of falling living standards amongst the huge majority of the population, fails me.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1284.

    Re 1281---of course there is much in what you say Jen. Although , compared to other examples which I listed earlier, I believe MPs are underpaid. But you are quite right-----at this moment of time, it really doesn't matter that they receive less than most Middle Managers in the local factory: we are all suffering out here, whether public sector or not.NOW is NOT right time for MP increases.TY Jen

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1283.

    @CharlesBor Let's get real here. Being an MP is an important job in Parliament and in the constituency. £70,000 is not a massive salary in relation to the job. If we want the right people doing a good job the sal should be app
    -
    The thing is we haven't got the right people and their doing a bad job. It should be performance related pay, we should freeze their pay till they get us out of this mess

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1282.

    I'd like to see how Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority actually rationalise a justification for a 15% increase in MP salary. With the public sector capped at 1%, the MPs should follow suit.

    Such mindless increase in accordance with inflation is beyond absurd, especially given the stringent limitations enforced elsewhere.

    Parliament is NOT above the rest of the country.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1281.

    Remember this is a "basic" salary. Any responsibility and MPs pay increases.

    Regardless of what they earn compared to other professions and the importance of their job they are public sector workers and the rest of the public service have had 0% inc for 3 years and only 1% inc for next 3 years.....we're all in this together?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1280.

    10% is about right as long as it is less than existing amount acting like overgrown unruly children shows them in their true light it seems they do not get the message why so many people dont vote at elections,As everyone else is being forced to take severe cuts why not them, Lots of this mess is down to previous and current MPs poor decisions Living beyond your means should apply to them also

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1279.

    Re 1259-"no MP deserves an increase": bit sweeping,sunshine ! Do you think that a Headmaster, Top Civil Servant, Bank Manager, Colonel in Army , GP and so many others who earn FAR more than those examples, really deserve to earn more than the hard-working MPs who often(tho not all) serve as a public duty ; and who are often not Eton Rich-Boys like Cameron but are not endowed with wealth ?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1278.

    If the MP's take this raise then as a NHS employee, a person threatened with the sack, not because my work is substandard or my care is in question, I say this, STRIKE it is fundamentally wrong that we people that save others lives face pathetic pay and the sack, whilst the already "FAT" get paid more, enough is enough and with respect to all others, aka fire, teachers etc. at least you can strike

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1277.

    Maybe this is the real reason why Guy Fawkes did what he tried to do.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1276.

    So £70,000 is not a massive amount for what an MP does. That is a complete joke as many have other incomes and significant costs covered or subsidised as expenses. MPs have to live in the real world and given many of the crass decisions coming out of Westminster at the moment one should question if they are being paid too much. The career politician is just one of the many problems in Government.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1275.

    Tax free salary 60K+, second jobs, a second home, expense account, pensions. I say give them the wage increase and tax them like the rest of us, treat their pay like any other public servant give the same benefits after all thats what they are. Put them back in the real world.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1274.

    The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority!
    How much are they paid to give so much aberrations?
    It sounds like a deja vu...Louis XVI around? the "plebe" is educated these days (not so stupid) and anger is escalating...
    We are in search of real politicians having the guts to implement fair and drastic measures NOT a bunch of greedy puppets.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1273.

    MP's wage rises make me furious. I earn less than the national average wage & I'm an Aircraft Tech, I have the responsibilty of peoples lives in my hands literally on a daily basis & my take home pay has only risen by £250 in ten years.
    "We are all in this together"...yeah course we are Dave.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1272.

    Nick Clegg: "It would be impossible to explain to the public why MPs should be treated so differently"

    But then again, it's also been impossible to explain so many of your actions over the last couple of years. That's why no one is voting Clegg

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1271.

    members of parliment have lost touch with the british people voting for a massive salary hike while the poor get poorer and the rich get richer is not a good idea every one has been subjected to pay freezing but mps it seems we elect them its time to get rid of quite a few and the people will have there say

 

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