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
    0

    Comment number 1738.

    Disgusting.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1737.

    There's no posts allowed on Messers Robinson & Langdale's blogs, they raise points which need addressing. The 'public anger' issue is a smoke screen to cover a vigorous defence of their pensions and pay-offs, both far more generous than 'normal' people can hope for. And they love their perks, their taxis and meals and cheap booze. I'm with Ipsa, bin the lot, and a lot of stuff happens pre 2015!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1736.

    Brilliant! I haven't had a pay rise in over 6 years and will be lucky to get 1% this year - amounting to around £30 a month gross (doesn't cover a week's food shop) and this lot of wasters are offered HOW MUCH?! Us the workers should down tools over this!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1735.

    Any political party at the next election promises to…

    a) Scrap this pay rise
    b) Makes MP's expenses subject to the same rules that the rest of us have to abide by (e.g. no second houses)
    and
    c) Links all future pay rises to that of nurses

    will get my vote at the next election.

    Certainly, none of this money grabbing, self-serving lying lot will.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1734.

    49.Pete
    I was a teacher of 12-18 year olds in a large comprehensive in the late 1970s. I left to join a large IT company in 1982, where I worked for 28 years. At no time did I ever work as hard as in my first few years in teaching, yet my salary, health insurance and pension were far higher than I'd have earned in the public sector. Be careful what you read re private v public sector.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1733.

    @1685 "Everybody has a choice in life. "

    Everybody?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1732.

    "1715.cholmes2
    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. "

    No they don't. After qualifying, and on being successfully assessed at each year end, for 6 (I believe it is) years they get an increment - after which they are on full pay and will not get any extra without taking promotion.

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 1731.

    Dear sweet jesus, have any of you been paying attention? It's not MP's doing it, many have directly opposed the increase. MP's don't manage their own pay for fear, ironically, that they would increase it unjustly.
    Aside from that, it really is ridiculous that this watchdog intends to increase the pay of MP's against their will and against the will of the people. Who actually wants this?

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 1730.

    If these MPs are working on my behalf ................wheres my pay rise.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1729.

    Don't vote for anyone who wants to be an MP.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1728.

    People keep moaning yet continue to vote for them. Get them out, they produce nothing for the country, they are a net loss. All interest is in getting Consultancy's or non executive directorships or cash in th ere pocket. Time people stopped moaning and did something about it at the next election.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1727.

    1707.john Schofield
    8 Minutes ago
    Have these people got no shame at all ??

    Answer: NO

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1726.

    1709.Jas
    "Is someone running around kicking a ball and being paid 100k a week not more obscene."

    The obvious difference is that it's not taxpayer paying the footballers' salaries, it's the sponsors and the people who voluntarily by tickets and merchandise.

    The other difference is that footballers, generally, have some supporters.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1725.

    The deal seems to be to get a pay rise in return for not fiddling expenses.
    I don't mind paying for it assuming they stick to it, but only if they have one job and no vested interests.
    But for them to say 'nothing to do with me mate, they just threw the money at me and forced me to take it' is disingenuous

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1724.

    as for giving the pay rise to a charity of their (MP's) choice.... who is providing the money for this largesse... us the taxpayers(mugs). I It is my view that we the citizens of the UK support charities very well, but we can choose which charity we support... I for one do not want any MP to contribite our money to a charity of their choice, we need some large changes in everything parliamentary

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1723.

    @1448

    I'm afraid they cannot, the Leveson inquiry was a judicial investigations designed to propose recommendations MP's could put into place. IPSA are an already established independent body that decree law. The correct comparison would be if the Leveson recommendations were enacted and the royal charter established, MP's overruling that body, would require new law to be passed

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1722.

    Small pay rise ok if MP's don't then get: 2nd home allowances, especially when many citizens are losing their homes; food subsidies, especially when many citizens are having to rely on food banks; no 2nd jobs-representing the people who elected them is a f/t job; no expenses other than travel to/from their constituencies/Westminster.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1721.

    Politics should not be an attractive profession because of the salary. It should be attractive to people who want change and to make the country a better place for everyone.
    If British politics has became so cynical that politicians are quickly disillusioned with the idea of making society better and settle for using it to make themselves wealthy then the entire system needs to change.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1720.

    Why not cut back on the number of MPs to save money instead? It's been done almost everywhere else. Then perhaps just maybe, we might be 'all in it together.'

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1719.

    Whatever happened to public office?

    I thought people choose to stand for parliament in order to serve the public good.

    I certainly don't want a person of "high caliber" as my MP who is only attracted to the job by the value of the salary on offer.

    We have far too many "leaders" in our country who are only motivated by the money they can earn.

 

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