MPs' pay: Watchdog can 'stick' increase, says Michael Gove

 

Ipsa chairman Sir Ian Kennedy talks to BBC Radio 5 Live's Victoria Derbyshire: ''We've got to end this running sore of British political life''

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Education Secretary Michael Gove has told Parliament's spending watchdog to "stick" a planned £6,000 MPs' pay rise.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) says salaries should increase to £74,000 by 2015, but that perks should be cut and pensions made less generous.

Party leaders have criticised the rise but Ipsa's boss argues it will bring MPs into line with other professionals.

Mr Gove called Ipsa "silly" and said parliamentarians were "well paid".

The watchdog is to consult on the rise but MPs cannot block it because they handed control of the decision to the independent body in the wake of the 2009 expenses scandal.

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The overall package will still cost more than it does now although Ipsa says it's made huge savings already in its short life ”

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The Ipsa proposals include:

  • 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

MPs are currently paid £66,396, but that is due to rise to £67,060 in April 2014 and rise by a further 1% the following year.

The recommendation amounts to a rise of around £6,300 a year, or 9.3%, on what MPs would be getting in 2015.

Asked whether the extra increase should go ahead, Mr Gove said: "Absolutely not. MPs are incredibly well paid at the moment anyway, as are ministers."

He added: "Ipsa - it's a bit of a silly organisation really and pay rise? They can stick it."

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The cost of politics should go down, not up. And MPs' pay shouldn't go up while public sector pay is, rightly, being constrained."

'Not a pay rise'

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who has said he will not take the increase, said it was "about the worst time to advocate a double-digit pay increase for MPs", adding that the public would find it "incomprehensible".

Labour leader Ed Miliband said he did not believe the rise should go ahead - and confirmed he would not take it if it did, but he said he was confident Ipsa would change its recommendation after a public backlash.

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My favourite idea would be to create a new parliamentary charity to which MPs could donate their pay rise”

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"I don't think MPs should be getting a 10% 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.

Prime Minister David Cameron has criticised the proposed increase but a No 10 source declined to comment on whether he would be taking it.

Pressed on the question, the spokesman said: "It's not a pay rise. It's a proposal". He pointed out the package was still to go out to consultation and Downing Street would be submitting its own response.

But Ipsa chairman Sir Ian Kennedy defended the proposal, saying: "The history of MPs' pay and pensions is a catalogue of fixes, fudges and failures to act. The package we put forward today represents the end of the era of MPs' remuneration being settled by MPs themselves.

"For the first time, an independent body will decide what MPs should receive. We will do so in full view, and after consultation with the public."

MPs' pay around the world (2012)

Source: Ipsa

Spain

£44,618

France

£52,028

UK (Westminster)

£65,738

Germany

£72,294

United States

£111,251

Japan

£167,784

Sir Ian told BBC Radio 5 Live's Victoria Derbyshire phone-in programme that MPs should be treated like "modern professionals" and part of the package was a "radical proposal" to introduce an annual "report card" to show the public what MPs did for their money.

He said the pay rise proposal was "fair" because MPs' pay had "fallen back" over the years and they needed to properly rewarded for the job they did, adding that the expenses scandal had been the result of too much pay restraint.

Sir Ian said there was never a good time to increase salaries, but said the changes were designed to "last a generation rather than just respond to the latest political issue", and taken together with the expenses reforms would save taxpayers money.

He said he would over the next two months listen to the views of the public who had taken part in the consultation on the Ipsa website, but he believed the package was not over-generous and was in line with previous recommendations by the senior salaries review board and other bodies.

Sir Ian is paid £700 a day and works on average two days a week, which he said added up to an annual salary of between £60,000 and the "high 70s".

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen backed Ipsa's stance, telling BBC Radio 4's World at One: "I don't believe that MPs are remunerated sufficiently for the job that they do, if you want to attract the right sort of people.

"I don't want Parliament to be only for people of independent wealth, for people who treat it [their salary] as pocket money."

 

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  • rate this
    +76

    Comment number 58.

    Pay rises for those in power are not appropriate in times of austerity, regardless of how justified those voting for them feel they are.

    When the country is struggling, there should be a feeling of coming together to face the problems as one, just as we did in WW2.

    This move will only widen the growing chasm between politicians and the man and woman on the street.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 57.

    - The MPs, in an anonymous survey, suggested that they be given a 32% pay increase.

    - IPSA suggest a 10% pay increase.

    - The MPs come out publicly decrying the suggested pay-rise.

    - The MPs, begrudgingly, accept the pay-rise foisted upon them.

    Snide and completely pathetic.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 56.

    To paraphrase a famous cartoon bunny

    "You realise this means war" !

    I foresee a general strike on the horizon followed by a severe crackdown on the population with revolution the only out come..

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 55.

    Great news, throw in a couple of slaves per MP while your there. They do such good work for the country, having 2 houses and expenses is just not enough. I would happily take a further paycut to make sure these Noble Gentlemen recieve what they so rightly deserve. Anyone saying otherwise is a traitor just like snowden and assange. May you live forever wise men of the chambers, only 10% why not 15

  • rate this
    -124

    Comment number 54.

    Frankly I don't care, providing it is transparent. If anything I'm for it, we need to start attracting some genuine quality into these roles. Any role where the disparity between public and private sector is too high will haemorrhage quality to the latter.

    What would you rather do, be publicly hated and live a secret life earning £67k, or be quietly popular in the private sector on £100k?

  • rate this
    -20

    Comment number 53.

    Double their wages and get rid of their allowances. This would make being an MP more accessible to smart people from modest backgrounds and also more appealing- say instead of the financial sector. The MPs who are already super rich (which is a significant number) won't even notice the pay rise.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 52.

    The Expenses Watchdog says there should be cuts to other allowances to counter this increase.

    Bet that doesn't happen.

    Clearly we're not "all in this together".

    Is it the straw that breaks the camel's back?

    Probably not, but how much more of this self-serving attitude of the Govt & MPs will the electorate take?

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 51.

    After all the expenses' scandal and the fact that ordinary people are suffering real and lasting economic hardship, they still don't get it - NO PAY RISES...end of.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 50.

    All in this together?

    Yeah...right

  • rate this
    +98

    Comment number 49.

    Its all so convenient for MPs to be able to say its not their decision to have a substantial rise. They try to give the impression its being forced upon them. I wonder what an independent pay review body would recommend for the rest of us , particularly in the private sector, having considered the extra effort having to be made for us just to stay in a job?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 48.

    If I get this right- those MPs tarnished, and some in prison- for "fiddling" their expenses, where actually encouraged to do so in a cross-party effort to avoid public acrimony for raising MP's wages? If so- as widely reported by BBC Today- then why did these individuals not raise this in their defense? Or, more to the point, what conspiracy prevented them from getting their defense listened to?

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 47.

    I work in local government. For the past 4 years we have had a pay freeze. Just this week, my authority announced more massive cuts with redundancies inevitable. The Spending Review will bring even more pain. And the people inflicting this award themselves a 6K rise? What a joke!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 46.

    I find this immoral. What skills or qualifications do MPs have for that specific job that warrants a salary in excess of £60,000? Why are nurses, paramedics and doctors in front-line live saving public services paid a pittance after several years of study? These are public servants that over successive administrations have destroyed our industries and way of life. Wrong on all levels!

  • rate this
    +129

    Comment number 45.

    Golden Goodbyes should never have existed.

    We now have a five year fixed term Parliament. MPs should be givem a five year fixed contract at an agreed price. No Golden Goodbye of any sort.

    Fixed price with an annual RPI increase.

    And all expenses documented in full, as in the real world in which the rest of us live.

    I doubt they (will want to) understand any of the above.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 44.

    It's ok this pay rise will mean they can stop fiddling their expenses,employing family as staff,having second homes,will start paying for their pensions,having second jobs and outside interests can end and their ridiculously long holidays including up to 3 months in the summer will finish.
    And the morons in the place wonder why no one votes,they are an utter disgrace and should decline the offer

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 43.

    so the claims of "we're all in it together" is just a lie!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 42.

    MPs pay should remain static at best until the second home situation is fixed. They should lose all their allowances for second homes and pay their travel own expenses like all the other commuters. A home paid for by the state should be sold and the money be returned to the state, i.e. people of the UK.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 41.

    A recent survey of MPs showed the average pay hike that they wanted was in the region of £83,000.00 so I imagine many are going to be disappointed, and no doubt will accept this increase without hesitation. I don't imagine that the suggestion of reduced expenses will go down too well with them! That they should get any kind of increase in this difficult climate is shameful and divisive!Trouble!

  • rate this
    -72

    Comment number 40.

    The problem in the UK is that for years the basic pay of MPs has been used as a Political football. Even before the current Economic squeeze their pay was low, resulting in a need for MPs to be sponsored or rich. The proposed raise in pay will bring them into line with top line salesmen, middle management in many companies and low level city traders. If we want good quality MPs we must pay them.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 39.

    Noticed that they didn't compare the average nurses wage on their little graph....

 

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