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
    -1

    Comment number 1718.

    1685.MT

    It makes me laugh when comments like yours get marked down, I feel it just goes to show the British mentality (in some)

    They hate to see other people doing well even though they have worked hard for what they have!

    The way I see it is, the more money I earn the better the life for my family in the oresent and the future, work hard enough and you WILL see the benefits!

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 1717.

    The funniest thing about this situation was a comment on the news this morning where it was said that the IPSA are "concerned that the public may not fully approve of their recommendation".

    Does anybody know which universe these people are actually living in?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1716.

    It`s just not fair............criminal as far as I can see.

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 1715.

    "UK Public sector pay has been FROZEN for years"

    In theory maybe, but in reality people like teachers are still moving up the pay grades each year and getting the resulting automatic pay rise. For all the bluster a real public sector pay freeze is a myth.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1714.

    How on earth can you accept or justify a wage increase of this magnitude when most firms are not giving any wage increases, in fact many of them are reducing hours and wages. Taxes are up, wages are down, commodities prices are up, fares are up, and we are told by the chancellor that we must all tighten our belts, but it is good to know that we are all in this together.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1713.

    Disgusting. In a time where so many have lost jobs and had to take cuts it is just plain right wrong that they will get a pay rise. Being an MP is an easy job. People who work in hospitals, teach kids, work with disabled etc deserve that money. The problem with this country is MPs have lost fearing the public. They know we won't do anything. They can do what they want. Time to stand up to them!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1712.

    @1688

    I earn £26,000 a year and live very comfortably. And no, I don't live in a "shed", drive a "Trabant" or holiday in "Ourgate". What I do is live within my means - an unfashionable idea, I know, but it serves me well.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1711.

    It's a bit hypocritical of people like Ken Livingston and Richard Murphy to have paid themselves in dividends in the past to save on National Insurance. Getting a full state pension while not contributing towards it. Seems like it's do as I say not as I do.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1710.

    1683.Surge

    For Sale

    650 MP's
    Hardly used.
    New owner must be able to provide for their extravagant claims.
    Offers please!
    -
    Offers? you couldn't give them away with a brand new car and free London parking.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1709.

    What value do you place on someone who is running your country.
    I was discussing this with my daughter this morning and guessed that MPs are probably paid around the 80k. She was shocked that it was such a lowly paid job for such a responsible position.
    Is someone running around kicking a ball and being paid 100k a week not more obscene.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1708.

    As suggested by Change.org why not give the extra money to unpaid interns at parliment giving poorer individuals a chance of getting a foot into politics?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1707.

    Have these people got no shame at all ?? With the economic recession getting deeper and deeper and more people being made redundant or having to live on the bread line it beggar's belief. Not only that but only a year after the 'expenses claims scandal' too.
    They've more front than the greedy bankers who still took their bonuses after all their deals the bonuses were based on went Pete Tong !

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1706.

    #1634 This could be taken a little further; no 'golden goodbye' as you say, but if they get voted back in on,say, an increased majority, they could get a small pay increase.Redundancy pay if they retire,say, through ill health. We must have option to kick them out mid term if not performing as per manifesto. Plus- abolish the whip, or if MP loses party whip, must resubmit self for re-election

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1705.

    This pay rise alone is more than three times my annual JSA benefit (I'm an ex local government officer, kept on low pay for years until finally losing my job). The government says this pitance is enough for me to meet my living needs, so what is enough for me, should be enough for them.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1704.

    In the private sector we call having two jobs, MOONLIGHTING which is generally a instant sacking case for the majority of us.

    The MPs with two jobs are not representatives of the people, but merely greedy, untrustworthy cretins.

    You say your representing the people?, so why allow this through?.

    Why don't you push for private sector pay rises (first time in YEARS)?

    MPs wont keep the UK afloat

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1703.

    "1665.MT
    So many posts moaning about how little they earn..."
    I'm not against you earning lots of money, but what about all the 'Phds' and other educated/skilled people out there who can barely make a living? Do we value intelligence or just 'Del boy' money makers in this country?
    We are run by elite posh boys who are out of touch with modern society.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1702.

    The biggest bunch of hypocrites one earth, I will never vote again for any of the main parties.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1701.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1700.

    To justify this pay increase MP`s need to

    1) Give up ALL of their outside interests/additional work
    2) Give up all expense claims

    This would be fair considering the current state of affairs. If not, then no, they are ordinary public servants and should not earn more than £30,000 per year in my opinion. Neither will happen and they will continue to empty the trough.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1699.

    UK Public sector pay has been FROZEN for years. So who are MPs working for? The Russians, the Chinese?!

    There are a few good men and women in that house, but not many.

    They should SERVE the people they represent and set an example!! Not live off them and take take take. MPs from all sides idolise the multimillionaire Blair. The career politicians politician.

 

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