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
    +11

    Comment number 238.

    This is utterly disgraceful. No doubt we will hear lots of "it was forced on us" and PR gestures from some MPS about giving their pay rise to charity While millions of us have seen their pay cut in real terms and millions have seen their living standrads tank, these politicians will receive a substantial pay rise. They are counting on us to be docile, this time they may have gone to far

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 237.

    As we are all in it together - conservative mantra - does that mean all the public sector workers and all protected benefits will rise by the same percentage?

    A PLAGUE ON ALL THEIR HOUSES

    For the most hated members of society I think MP's will overtake bankers to top the list.

  • rate this
    -42

    Comment number 236.

    First of all, please note that parliament tried to nullify this recommendation at a sensitive economic time, but the watchdog overruled this as an independent body.
    The reason MP's should be paid as much as doctors is because they have an important job. The expenses scandal revealed that the public wanted their salary to be transparent and honest. This is a pay restructuring, not a rise.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 235.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 234.

    Perhaps IPSA would like to take a look at the benefits paid to the poorest workers in the country. I wonder what Dave and Co would have to say if a 9% rise in benefits were independently recommended? Which MPs will have the gall to accept such largesse while others are shoved from their homes because of the Bedroom Tax and many live miserably on the pittance the Govt claims is all we can afford?

  • rate this
    +11

    Comment number 233.

    What does a backbench MP actually do to deserve such riches?

    They should be getting a pay cut, not a rise.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 232.

    Enough is enough but the public has little power to change it. The only option is to vote out any current MP at the next election sending the message that although MPs will get their undeserved pay rise the out-voted current MP will not get to enjoy it. A new Parliament with new faces who would know that the public can act, now that would be something to behold.

  • rate this
    +22

    Comment number 231.

    Ridiculous. They only deserve a pay rise if and when they give up the incredibly lucrative and corrupting 'second jobs' that make many of them millionaires.
    My job contract bars me from taking on any secondary employment that has any chance of affecting my work, why doesn't theirs?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 230.

    The MP's should be given alot more money, they can easily fund this by closing schools and hospitals. If the general public don't like this and start protesting then the army should be called in to shoot them

  • rate this
    +30

    Comment number 229.

    This is wrong and immoral. Also the scale used the the BBC is wrong - where are the real jobs on this? Nurses, care assistants, etc. Most jobs in the UK pay under £25K and that's what honest familes have to live off. If MP's take this they should be ashamed of themselves! THIS IS CORRUPT, the rich looking after their own AGAIN!

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 228.

    I am utterly disgusted by this, how on Earth can this be justified, when the MOD workers (Admin/Finance) are into their 4th year of a pay freeze, had their departments cut back so much that my husband and his 2 co-workers are doing the job of a 9 people department.. As a family we struggle,have to find an extra £5k a year to pay for my husbands train fare. These MOD workers are not high end pay.

  • rate this
    +21

    Comment number 227.

    How could the watch dog get this so wrong. Being independent does not mean being detached from reality or oblivious to what the country can afford. What I believe would have been much more clever is to link MP's pay to the UK's economic growth so they get a pay cut in a recession and a really decent pay increase if the country's GDP is growing fast. That would be payment by results.

  • rate this
    +31

    Comment number 226.

    Most of the salaries in this comparison chart are for those who are professionally qualified, viz. have qualifications earned during extensive training. What qualification do you need to be an MP? Skills in deceit, smarminess, gift-of-the-gab?

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 225.

    It's unacceptable for MP's to have any rise until Public Borrowing is brought under control. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority should have it's responsibility for MP's pay removed until such time. It can be put back at a later date when austerity had ended. There is a good argument that MP's should their pay and expenses cut in the current economic climate.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 224.

    What do MPs or even MEPS actually do?

  • rate this
    +18

    Comment number 223.

    Most of the country is struggling and they decide to give themselves a pay rise?? They know this won't be popular, they simply do not care. No one represents or stands for anything anymore and they want to be paid more for it? It is about time there was an option of "no confidence" on the ballot papers. We should be able to show our dissatisfaction and have it counted! Something has to change.

  • rate this
    +36

    Comment number 222.

    £156 a week increase, that is 3 x's the £53 IDS claimed he could live on for a week. On top of basic pay £1,354 a week. Watering down food and taxi allowances expenses is totally IRRELEVANT they shouldn't be getting them anyway.

    AS the NHS stumbles to a 20 bn shortfall these parasites are laughing at all of us. Do as I say not as I do.

    Grotesque. Vile.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 221.

    @53. bigbear1985
    Don't be so naive. You need to get into the 'party' which 'owns' the 'seat' up for election and get 'selected' - all done by friends and mates of those that get it. This is because the 'great' (but largely stupid) British public can't ever be bothered to look at what their MP does but just looks at who is whatever party (Cons or Lab) they always vote for.

  • rate this
    +181

    Comment number 220.

    I've fiercely defended most decisions by MPs in the past, but I just cannot justify this. Like most others - private and public sector - my pay has been frozen for ever, my pension contributions have more than doubled, my pension is reduced by at least £250k and 8 years have been added to my retirement age. And MPs empathise with me by awarding themselves an extra 6K and slightly less allowances?

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 219.

    ... so we're not all in this together afterall.

 

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