David Cameron warns MPs' pay body not to insist on 11% hike
- 11 December 2013
- From the section UK Politics
David Cameron has warned the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) not to insist on proposals to increase MPs' pay by 11%.
At his weekly Commons question session, the PM said it would be "simply unacceptable" to boost pay by £7,600 to £74,000 in 2015.
Labour leader Ed Miliband has called for immediate talks between the party leaders and the pay watchdog.
But Downing Street played down the prospect of any imminent action.
No final decision on MPs' pay was due until the middle of 2015, after the next general election, Mr Cameron's spokesman told reporters after prime minister's questions.
"There is a process, let the process run its course," he added.
IPSA was established in the wake of the MPs' expenses scandal, and is charged with administering and regulating MPs' expenses.
It was also tasked with setting MPs' salary levels independently of Parliament and government to end the conflict of interest that had been attached to MPs having the final say on their own pay.
Responding to a question from Labour leader Ed Miliband in the Commons, Mr Cameron said: "I think it would be wrong for MPs to get a big pay rise at a time of public sector pay restraint. All three party leaders agree on that, we have all made that point to Ipsa.
"I think we should be clear that what they have said is not a final recommendation.
"Let me briefly make three points. First, the idea of an 11% pay rise in one year at a time of pay restraint is simply unacceptable.
"Secondly, Ipsa do need to think again and unless they do so, I don't think anyone will want to rule anything out. No-one wants to go back to MPs voting on their own pay but we have got to have a process and an outcome that can build public confidence.
"Third, in my view, I think this should all be accompanied with a cut in the cost of politics."
Mr Miliband, who has called for cross-party talks on how to respond to the proposals, said it would be wrong for MPs to receive a pay rise many times the rate of inflation, while ordinary families faced a "crisis in their living standards".
He asked the PM to "agree with me that we should not let this hang around as an issue until after the general election, hanging over the trust in politics".
"Waiting and seeing won't work and we do have to get together to deal with this," the Labour leader said.
"The reason why this is not the right time for this pay rise is because most people are going through the biggest cost of living crisis in a generation."
The Labour leader later wrote to the prime minister calling for urgent talks between himself, the prime minister, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and Ipsa chair Sir Ian Kennedy on Thursday.
Ipsa is expected to announce its proposals on pay, as well as changes to pensions contributions and parliamentary allowances, on Thursday.
Many backbenchers have criticised the planned pay rise but others, including former Labour foreign secretary Jack Straw, have warned that defying Ipsa over the issue will threaten the watchdog's future and give the impression Parliament wants to set its own pay and expenses again.