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
    +56

    Comment number 198.

    Our country is totally corrupt and everything is geared towards the rich continuing to feater their nests at the expence of EVERYONE else.

    We are all in this together, unless you are the top 5%.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 197.

    Why are the MPs complaining now that their pay isn't enough? If I don't like the salary for the job I am applying for then I don't take that job. Simple.

    They are also trying to pull wool over our eyes by saying that some of their present expenses will be withdrawn, thus saving the tax-payer money. That only goes to show they were not morally entitled to those expenses anyway. Honourable?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 196.

    as a pensioner who lost out in real terns find it disgustng that mps get a rise above anyone elses ,if anything consider what they have achieved nothin they should gut a 10% cut ,and if they have a secon dincome it shold be deducted from what they get as an ,mp they get paid toi serve the country not use it ti promote then selves for a second job

  • rate this
    +17

    Comment number 195.

    I have worked for a Local Authority for 6 years with a pay freeze until this year - award of 1%. I am single with a mortgage and all of the usually utility bills. I cant afford a car or a holiday.......glad that we are in all this together Mr Cameron :(

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 194.

    Parliament Recess dates- holidays to you and me
    Summer 18 July 2013 2 September 2013
    Conference 13 September 2013 8 October 2013

    It is a tough tough life, but someone has to suffer it!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 193.

    vote this up so that everyone can vote to stop this stupidness.

    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/44225

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 192.

    It's a disgrace and an insult to every hard working British tax payer. Every day we read about cuts being made where it matters ie., health, education, security, armed forces, police, it goes on. They should put themselves in the shoes of the real workers such as on an understaffed Hospital ward working ludicrous shift patterns and see what a real hard days work with no pay increase is like!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 191.

    MP's pay is low when compared to the top earners and for the most part I believe it is deserved for the hard working MP's.

    We elect MP's to represent and serve us in parliment and we pay them to do that job. Which we should rightly expect them to dedicate there full time and efforts to this job.

    Not to moonlight for the private sector, and extract as much as they can out of the system.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 190.

    How about a performance based wage? MPs owe us a few hundred billion. Once they've worked that off we can talk about pay rises.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 189.

    They're all in it together.

  • rate this
    +15

    Comment number 188.

    Why in Britain do we always reward failure. Bankers are failures and politicians whose task should be to look after its citizens are failures.

    POLITICIAN + FAILURE = PAY RISE.
    WORKER + MORE TOIL = NO PAY RISE.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 187.

    MPs salaries should be rise in line with the average pay increase given to public sector staff via national pay review boards.

    If the government does well and the economy florishes they, like public sector staff, may see something like 4% a year, if it doesn't they see nothing.

    A 9.3% rise is frankly laughable on the same day we hear the NHS has a £60bn funding gap by 2025.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 186.

    You would have to pay me more than that to be an MP. No thanks.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 185.

    Surely they should get the same 3% that the rest of us get (if we're lucky). An increase of £6300pa for 650 MPs is crazy. Let's say we gave them a 3% increase instead (fair because it is keeping up with inflation). That would mean it would cost £1.3m (ish) versus just shy of £4.1m per year on a 9% increase. How many police officers would that £2.8m get us? How many Firemen? How many Nurses?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 184.

    Too much is never enough for some greedy MP's

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 183.

    Wonder how many of the pitch-forkers would be whining in 2007, when they had easy credit, a rising house price making them articficially wealthy, myriad emplyment opportunities, a couple of cars - and one for the eldest, fancy foreign holidays... Oh yes, now times are tight we should go back to hating money. We are all in this together, for good or ill.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 182.

    This is disgusting. Along with thousands of other workers I have just had a 3 year pay freeze, pension has been attacked and I'm getting a 1 percent rise this year which is a couple of hundred quid, before no doubt another pay freeze and more changes to pension. Who gets a 6 grand pay rise these days? It should not be allowed to happen.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 181.

    In education the MPs say pay should be performance related. Maybe the same should apply to MPs. Performance should include attendance at all the requisite meetings/councils etc, being available for the community they represent, listening to their constituents, acting on the requests of their constituents, voting on laws that are beneficial to the land with points deducted for time waster laws.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 180.

    @155.Mark, thats the problem if MP's could interfere with the IPSA they would be accused of feathering thier own nests the minute the blocked anything good the IPSA did, like tackling the abuse of expenses. You cant have it both ways, you either have something that does or advises.

    If it advises then it can be ignored and the expenses reform would have been swept under the carpet.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 179.

    Its a pity MP's wages are not performance linked because if they were they should all be getting a massive pay cut. Look at the state of the economy both parties introduced policies which allowed the financial meltdown.

    We are all in it together, what a joke.

 

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