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
    +3

    Comment number 78.

    1. Since everyone else is getting a pay freeze, so should MPs.

    2. If they want more pay they should get a job elsewhere. We have a free market; there is no shortage of people who want to become MPs at the current salary levels and so why is there any need to increase the levels.

    3. MPs are only part-time and so this is £66K just a top-up. MPs total incomes are already huge!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 77.

    With people having to have on food parcel handouts how do these MP's expect people to react?It would'nt be so bad if they earnt the money they get.For what good they do it would be better for the country if they all resigned.They have sat to long for any good they have done,to quote another MP.I forsee more than a winter of discontent!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 76.

    Come on now be fair £6k, it's not a lot when you have two homes to pay for plus numerous tellys, laptops, porn channel subscriptions, first class rail travel, and some of the poorer ones also have duck houses to provide (presumably they are so poor this is their only protein).



    Oh hang on, we already pay for all that for them!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 75.

    The IPSA is really not reading the public mood, salaries should be set at the start of each parliment and last for the full 5 years.

    However it should be pointed out this is better than the MP's voting for thier own pay rise as the IPSA is supposed to be an independant panel.

    The government should be allowed to veto this, but this is what happens when you have an independant process.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 74.

    And what will we see for this increase? Working hours and holidays to match the rest of us? I know they are supposed to work in their constituency when not at Westminster, but how many of them actually do?

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 73.

    Another regulator we are paying for, staffed by overpaid incompetents.

    There is an automatic formula that does not require any judgement.

    MP's should receive the national average wage. That's the only way they can remain in touch with the general population.

  • rate this
    +19

    Comment number 72.

    This a massive slap in the face for the general population of the UK, most of which haven't seen a pay rise in years and who don't enjoy a raft of allowances and perks.

  • rate this
    +11

    Comment number 71.

    I suppose when your snout is in the trough you cannot hear the plebeian complaint above that of your gobbling.
    Military, police, firemen, and medical staff, all are more vastly underpaid than the pigs at the parliamentary farm where they consider themselves more equal than others.
    This is a brazen and outrageous message to the people that shows just how indifferent they are to the rest of us.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 70.

    It's a nice wage, and though its temporary it comes with a huge pension Okay similar to other govt funded jobs i.e. GPs and headteachers. What annoys most are the fringe benefits like co-working for companies (banks especially) AT THE SAME TIME, being paid to ask questions (their job is that surely) and us picking up the expenses which includes buying and selling property with public funds.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 69.

    I should of become an MP then i could take the country for ride and work part time get a masive payrise and exspensis and say its all for the common good But i am not a liar and thief

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 68.

    Where do I sign up to become an MP

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 67.

    Well I guess the economic crisis and debt problems are sorted if tax payer money can go to MPs.

    There is still a war on, still huge poverty problems, massive unemployment, the £120 billion debt, tax loopholes galore and THIS is the 'issue' MPs decided to deal with!?

    I never believed that the people were the primary focus of governments and this is the nail in the coffin for me. Shame of the gov

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 66.

    What an opportunity now lets break the lobbying and vested interest problem with stopping the second /third/fourth jobs skewing policy and lining the pockets of unscrupulous MP's.

    Serving their corporate masters as opposed to the people they are paid to represent has always been a disgrace.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 65.

    A single unemployed person has less than £6,000 a year to live on in total.

    Why are only rises recommended instead of substantial cuts to MP's incomes ?

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 64.

    Disgusting and disgraceful.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 63.

    Wasn't it in George Orwell's Animal Farm book where "everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others.."?

    Come to think of it, those characters were pigs feeding from the trough as well...

    I am sure that the MPs will do the right thing (tongue firmly placed in cheek)

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 62.

    What a complete an utter load of rubbish. The rest of us suffer told we cant afford x,y and z but these privately educated idiots get a 6K pay rise so they can spend it on another holiday or so that they can build another drawbridge over the moats. The fact we as people the majority of which struggle and get by will except this is pathetic. They should try living in the real world.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 61.

    I am so pleased we are all in it "together".

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 60.

    40.barryp
    If we want good quality MPs we must pay them.
    -
    I agree, but unfortunately we don't have good quality MPs on the front bench but we are still paying above average salaries and benefits packages for the dubious privilege of being represented by people who don't seem to understand the economic situation that applies in most households in this country.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 59.

    @ 27. Chris Lenton

    It is the private sector pay that has suffered the most. I mean real 'hard working' private sector workers not the evil, pinstripe suited, bowler hat wearing, snorting, cold, incompetent bankers the Unions & Labour would like you to imagine when you hear the words 'private sector'.

    The Public sector is already better paid, with better pensions. What about everyone else?

 

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