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
    +4

    Comment number 258.

    what a disgrace MPs getting a pay rise it is immoral if they accept it, we have disabled friends who have had their housing benefit cut and their MP after many emails has done absolutely nothing. Where is the justice in this, or is there one law for MPs and another for disabled and mentally ill. What a country this has become!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 257.

    "We're ALL in this together" ...

    or ....

    "I'm alright, Jack!"

    ???

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 256.

    Overpaid fatcats of westmister, on a par with the bankers in my eyes. Not in it for the interest of the country at all

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 255.

    What ever happened to the idea of supply and demand in the setting of pay? There is no shortage of people wanting to be an MP and, after all, no qualifications are required which suggests that they should be on minimum wage

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 254.

    Give them the rise but reduce their numbers by half.

    We have twice the number of MP's than the US senate.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 253.

    If employers paid proper wages to the rest of us we wouldn't be so "them and us" about the issue.

    I earned my last company over £200k in sales revenue in 2011, my reward was £24k.....

    The managing director took the rest i imagine, this is wage inequality made by the directors of organisations who can pay themselves whatever they make and pay the workers whatever they can get away with.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 252.

    When the true effect of the new unified state pension became clear , a cut for many of us , I wrote to my MP to express my disgust . He replied that yes it was tough but that "we" had to reduce the spending deficit. It would that seem MPs are not included in " we".

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 251.

    I wonder what arguments MP's would come up with if a report suggested nurses should get an immediate payrise of £6000? Parliament is a self-serving little club for the ruling elite committed to the task of maintaining the staus quo.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 250.

    How can they use reducing pension benefits to justify this increase in a time where every other public sector pension is being ransacked. Will I be getting 11% to offset the changes to my pension? We're all in this together! I think not!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 249.

    Means test the MP's and do it entirely on expenses.

    Those who already earn enough get nothing - I suspect we'd save alot of money that way.

    However, it beggars belief in this climate that they can suddenly decide it's ok to get a 10% pay rise. Odd that, after we found out they'd been fiddling their expenses.....

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 248.

    MPs - massive pay rise after the expenses scandal
    BBC top brass - massive pay offs above contract
    Mid Staffs - abuse of patients and cover up
    NHS - payoffs for whistleblowers
    North Wales - abuse of children in care homes

    I'm beginning to think the profit motive in the usually-derided private sector is really quite attractive......

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 247.

    If they combined this new package (i.e. more pay but less perks, expenses and pension) with Miliband's idea of restricting additional income to a small percentage of MP salary as they do in the US, then perhaps being an MP would become a little more of a vocation and a little less of something for the wealthy to do while they wait to inherit the family millions.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 246.

    An NHS HR Director on £63k or so a year?? I don't think so BBC!

    A Head of HR would get ~£45-60k, and associate Director would normally get £77k-90k, whilst an actual Director of HR would usually get somewhere between £90k-120k.

    NHS HR staff are vastly overpaid in my experience, probably because they know how to screw the system better than any other department given they implement it!

  • rate this
    +28

    Comment number 245.

    Some MPs have gone to press and said the general public can live on £18 per day So why do they nead £6000 pay rise to prove it

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 244.

    I'm sure MPs understand they are generally held in contempt for the majority of their actions (or inactions) by the general public, but are so thick-skinned and self-serving that they don't a damn....otherwise they probably wouldn't be in politics in the first place.

  • rate this
    -32

    Comment number 243.

    The brightest and best work for the big city co's... MPs are arguing over bonuses for traders worth more than their entire salary...If they had any sense or were of that calibre they would be the traders, MP's run a larger company (the UK) than any private individual yet are vastly underpaid for this role - They should get a minimum of 10 times this amount and that's pushing it.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 242.

    Their is no shortage of people wanting to be an MP At every election we have several candidates in every constituency. Our MPs are overpaid and over expensed. No one should be allowed to be an MP for longer than 10 years. Oh and who is on IPSA I cannot remember seeing the job advert so maybe they were appointed by our MPs.

  • rate this
    +18

    Comment number 241.

    Some on here are comparing MPs with Teachers. Teachers have a performance related pay system which could end in their dismissal. A poor OFSTED report would cause the dismissal of a Head. MPs have a secure job for 5 years! (no one else does) They also have longer holidays than any other public sector workers. In this together PAH!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 240.

    How in a time of wage reductions can this be seen as fair. I understand that for members to travel to London from their constituencies and stay in London is expensive but they are given allowances for this. £67,000 is a good wage for someone who has to sit in Parliament and occasionally talk to the media or constituents.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 239.

    I think MPs should not get a pay rise......MPs also get allowances (including porno DVDs!) which will be a median pay scale range compared to other European countries.

    I drive passed Ed Milliban's house every day and I always see scaffoldings and work being done to his house with tax payer's money! Those perks for being a MP should already be enough?

 

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