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
    +5

    Comment number 958.

    Can people please stop perpetuating the myth that IPSA is an independent body?

    MPs voted to create it, they voted it's board in, then they interfered in process and 80% of the board resigned. Now the new (presumably hand-picked) board of IPSA are awarding them a massive pay increase.

    But yes, they are independent, sure...

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 957.

    Give MPs their pay rise BUT take away all perks, expenses, relocation & second home payments. Make them pay a large % contribution towards their pension. Simple they have to pay for all expenses out of their salary, the same as a lot of people on lower pay do..

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 956.

    Increase the amount peanuts and you just attract bigger and nastier Monkeys.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 955.

    890.Mark - In answer to your question - 'how can you sack a politican? There should be a 'clause' embedded in the Constitution or Bill of Right for a vote of no confidence to be brought by Constituents & Voters on any Politician or Govt in power that Voters feel are not representing their interest or that of the nation.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 954.

    And the other story is that the NHS is facing a £30bn funding gap, as if that is a problem that's going to be hard to solve. Cutting back on foreign aid (£12bn) and EU expenses (circa £30bn) might be a start and I am not asking for a pay rise to suggest this.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 953.

    Democracy, don't you just love it!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 952.

    i see MP's are getting a pay rise weather they want it or not,and according to your graph they are higher payed than most other countries mp's,i'd like to see a graph to see if they are the biggest crooks aswell,i say pay them what they are worth,so £10,per annum sounds ok,maybe they should be encouraged to get a proper job besides robbing the public blind.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 951.

    Yeah..! We're all in it..!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 950.

    At such a serious & important time of national austerity, it beggars belief how such a body can come up with such an increase which is so alien to the national perception of fairness & alien to that which is foisted upon millions of UK workers by those who would benefit from this rise.

    Linking to average earnings is itself perverse & guarantees increases far above the lowest & medium paid

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 949.

    It is wrong for the BBC to compare MP’s wages with other public sector workers. A head teacher may get more paid more however; they do not get their second home mortgage paid, generous expenses, generous pension, a lump sum of cash when they leave their job and highly paid board member positions as second jobs. When adding up all these extra’s a MP’s wage is 100K+.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 948.

    Reading some of these comments the anger is plain to see but the mention of riots and taking to the streets? Please, please, please don't. There are not enough emergency service personnel left to deal with it thanks to the current scumbags in parliament. It could be the beginning of the end to our current system.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 947.

    In other countries the people would be on the streets, in this one we sit back & moan

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 946.

    Are MP'S not public servants??? Has pay rises not been frozen for last few years and now are the pay rise for public servants not only 1%??? Why should they be different????

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 945.

    906. Mike R

    MPs are woefully underpayed... A successful private sector professional, by age 45, will be earning two or three times the MP's salary
    ==
    I think you missunderstand the role of constituentcy MP's.

    Detailed policy needs to be drawn up by sector specials (transport, health, education etc.). This isnt the role of an MP

    Also VERY few 45 year olds are on > £150K (unless your a banker).

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 944.

    As a contractor, I'm in a similar position to MPs. My job isn't guaranteed & can be ended at short notice. However, I've not had a pay rise since 2009 & I'm not likely to get one either. My pension costs a fortune attracting little in the way of interest & I've to work extra years to get a state pension if there's anything left when I get there. Time to remind MP's they work for US not vice versa.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 943.

    Show me an MP with a modicum of decency and true commitment to the job which they're getting handsomely paid for. This just reinforces the general belief that they're only in it for what they can make out of it personally. They are out of touch, hypocritical money grabbers.

  • rate this
    +17

    Comment number 942.

    I would have a better opinion if it was clearer if MPs are employees or self employed persons. What are they? Paid Representatives? Paid by whom? Why are they all paid the same?
    If they are employees , just who is their employer, should it be their Constituency, their Party or The House of Commons?
    Confused.
    John C.
    If they are self employed, what's the ' salary' debate all about ?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 941.

    They should take the lead in all aspects of pay and pensions
    Pay frozen, final salary pensions cut.
    If they are to retain expenses then the full HMRC rules apply. The legislation states that expenses should only be paid when they are incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of their duties NOT when MPs put pressure on the paying officers to make inappropriate payments.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 940.

    " boodnock
    You just can't lose with UKIP...they are cheaper all round"

    Not for pensioners: they'll be paying 50% more tax under UKIP's proposals.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 939.

    Why not link MP's pay to the average public sector and job seeker benefit levels? Or make it a multiple of the MP's interns' salary? (Not that even a million times £0 would get them far.)

 

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