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
    +9

    Comment number 38.

    Why is it that these independant watchdogs are so profligate at handing out our money paid by hard earned taxes to these Lazy bunch of money grabbing MPs who have swindled expenses,Do how many other jobs as directorships and apparently sold themselves to push things through parliament.OverLong holidays ,Pensions that they don't fully pay for.
    Thet are just parasites on society.

  • rate this
    -15

    Comment number 37.

    British MP's are paid less than their Counterparts in USA,Germany France the European Parliament and only One Third as Much as those in Japan.


    A MP earns £30,000 less a Year than the Head of a Large Comprehensive.

    So there is a case for a pay rise

    However, in order to justify it they need

    A)To work Full Time as MP's (Sorry Tory Back Bencher's)

    B) Be reduced in Number by at least 50%.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 36.

    More 'You're in it on Your Own' behaviour from MP's, who the hell is the Parliamentary Watchdog anyway?

    MP's are as greedy as ever. They never learn.

  • rate this
    +17

    Comment number 35.

    The £65,738 MP salary is the headline figure. These people get another £120,000 for Office Expenses (most of which goes to family members). Do the math.

  • rate this
    +53

    Comment number 34.

    Government make harsh cuts, but can afford to build HS2, Fund terrorist abroad & now give MPs a pay rise. This country has gone down the pan.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 33.

    Mixed views on this.

    I think the MP wage is probably too low as it is (it IS a tough job, regardless of all the press), but to announce raises when people are getting made redundant and having their pay frozen for the last few years is insensitive in the extreme.

  • rate this
    +262

    Comment number 32.

    NO, NO, NO!!! The rest of us are not seeing massive pay rises and we still have to put up with our pensions being reduced. We don't get to claim for all the things MP's do either. Tell IPSA to go away and come back with a figure that matches the real world. They need to put rules in place that clearly state no MP pay rise shall be above what is being given to the average state worker.

  • rate this
    +72

    Comment number 31.

    So nothing ever changes. Snouts in the trough and above inflation pay increases all round.

    What a joke. No wonder politicians are the pits of the world when it comes to credibility.

  • rate this
    +11

    Comment number 30.

    It is totally disgusting when there are so many on the bread line. they should not earn so much in the first place, a pay cut would be more appropriate.
    Let them try to live on 10k a year and see how they like it, be a different story then.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 29.

    This commission must have a plot.

    Like many I believe MP's should be paid a lot more (around £100k) but not be allowed any other job - that is different btw than saying I believe any specific Politician is competent and worth the money.

    However, regardless of if I am right or wrong, how this commission can believe now is an appropriate time for change is utterly dumbfounding - in fact idiotic.

  • rate this
    +86

    Comment number 28.

    'Golden Goodbyes' - the BBC have just been hammered for all and sundry for excessive pay-offs and now we have this. Unbelievable. Let's remember that to become an MP you need no quals or experience. Most of the time being in the right place at the right time will suffice. Let's not compare them with lawyers, doctors etc

  • rate this
    +27

    Comment number 27.

    If our MPs are sensible they will take note of the recommendations and decide not to implement them until public sector pay is reviewed again after the next election. Then only if increases in public sector pay are approved may they then consider regularizing their own affairs. Pay and allowances should be taken together as a package less cost to determine the real level of remuneration.

  • rate this
    +17

    Comment number 26.

    I am an FE lecturer. I earn about £30,000 per year ( about par for the course). I may (!!!) get a 1% pay rise ! An MP already earns twice my remuneration and may get a 10% pay rise. The money comes from the same pot ( the taxpayer !).
    Clearly as Mr Cameron says " we are all in this together".

    Scandelous !

  • rate this
    +23

    Comment number 25.

    Absolutely disgusting, how on earth can they get an increase as well as keep meal allowances and taxi claims, for a salary of around £74,000 i think they can more than comfortably afford meals/taxis.

    Or they should be using public transport like the rest of us.

    We're all in this together aren't we Davey boy.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 24.

    You never hear about cuts to Parliament and its work force.

    If you ask average Joe on the street what he'd like to see more money spent on do you think he'd say Police, Schools, Transportation (roads/trains) and Jobs or do you think he'd say MPs salaries?

    I can bet if you just so happen to bump into an MP on the street he'll say MPs salaries.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 23.

    Thing is the Queen gets about £8,000,000 a year.

    It sets a bad example.

  • rate this
    +18

    Comment number 22.

    all these independent watchdogs exist only to serve government usually to cover up, delay justice , exonerate the guilty, allow big business to make extortionate profits - in short they are corrupt.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 21.

    "We are all in this together". Was Mr Cameron explaining the thoughts of M.P, gorging themselves at the trough.

    If this goes through in these times of "Austerity" (for some), it will be an absolute outrage. What little credibility M.P's have will disappear like steam from a kettle. Just say No.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 20.

    Whats the chance of all of the UK having this "watchdog" to decide our pay.

  • rate this
    +49

    Comment number 19.

    DISGRACE!!!

    No respect for MPs or parties.. They are responsible for the utter mess we are in.

    So people on low incomes suffering, youth are low paid jobs, pensioners are suffering and MPs get such an increase!!!

    DISGRACE!!!

    Both Cameron and Clegg shoulld be ashamed.

 

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