MPs' 11% pay rise plan defended by salaries watchdog

 

Sir Ian Kennedy: "It's about reducing pensions, cutting back on golden goodbyes, cutting back on expenses"

The body which sets MPs' salaries has defended its plan to give them an 11% pay rise, claiming this will not cost the taxpayer "a penny more" once other changes are taken into account.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) wants to raise salaries by £7,600 to £74,000 in 2015.

Watchdog's case for an increase

  • MPs' pay has slipped the pay of a selection of other public sector professionals, it said
  • It has also fallen behind its previous multiple of average national earnings
  • But Ipsa said it was not convinced that the current salary was putting talented people off becoming an MP
  • Neither was the salary hike justifiable as compensation for less generous pensions or expenses payments
  • "The salary component is justified on its own terms," it said

David Cameron calls it "inappropriate" while Ed Miliband requested talks between the party leaders and Ipsa.

But Ipsa said public opinion was "more nuanced" than the "outrage" suggested.

The proposed package, to take effect in 2015, will include a "one-off" pay rise after which MPs' pay would be linked to average earnings.

Ipsa has also outlined plans to reform MPs' pensions, scrapping the "outdated resettlement payments worth tens of thousands", as well as "tightening up" expenses rules.

The package also calls on MPs to produce an "annual account of their work to help their constituents understand what it is MPs actually do".

Ipsa chairman Sir Ian Kennedy said: "We are sweeping away the out-of-date and overly generous benefits, and introducing a one-off uplift in pay. Crucially, thereafter MPs' pay will be linked to everyone else's.

"We have designed these reforms so they do not cost the taxpayer a penny more. When taken with the tens of millions we have saved by reforming the business cost and expenses regime, we have saved the taxpayer over £35m with the changes we have introduced since 2010."

Start Quote

Time for a Christmas quiz... Question 1 - Should MPs set their own pay?”

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Andrew McDonald, Ipsa's chief executive, said a two-year consultation had found the public was "split down the middle" on its plan - which it said would not cost "a penny more" than current arrangements.

"This shows us something important: this is an issue where the public has a more nuanced, and split, opinion than the reactive howls of 'outrage' from some commentators and politicians," he said.

He said the message that costs would not increase had been lost in the "hubbub of the last few days".

Once it is heard, he said, he hoped commentators would "pause before making sweeping assumptions about what the public think without asking them".

'Totally out of touch'

In an interview with BBC Radio West Midlands, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "We need a process and an outcome in which the public can be confident and a one-off large pay increase at a time when you've got pay restraint across the public sector. I think that is not on."

There will be a final review of the proposals after the next general election, which is due in 2015.

If they are approved at this stage, the pay increase will be backdated to the date of the election.

Ipsa does not need Parliament's agreement to make the changes.

Pay MPs well, says former Conservative MP Michael Brown, but the Taxpayers' Alliance's Robert Oxley says a big pay rise is "very unfair"

Mr Cameron said: "There is time to get it right. The decisions will be made in second half of 2015 and I hope [Ipsa] will think again.

"I don't want to go back, if we can possibly avoid it, to a situation where MPs vote on their own pay."

But he added: "I don't rule out, nobody rules out, taking action if they don't modify the proposal."

Labour leader Mr Miliband opposed the rise and said the three main parties must "get together to deal with this".

He said: "I want to be clear with the public, I don't think it's right that MPs should get this pay rise at a time when nurses, teachers, people in the private sector are going through a pay squeeze and facing incredibly difficult economic circumstances.

"I think it will just undermine trust in politics further. I'm determined that this pay rise does not go ahead if there's a Labour government."

Ipsa was "wrong" to propose the pay rise, he added.

Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said: "It would be incomprehensible to millions of taxpayers who pay the salary of MPs - and certainly incomprehensible to millions of people in the public sector whose pay has either been frozen or limited to an increase of 1% - that at this time MPs should receive such a dramatic increase in their pay."

But he added that he did not "want to go back to the bad old days when MPs set their pay and rations, so Ipsa has got its job to do as an independent body".

 

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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1221.

    "jauntycyclist
    with DD people could vote on any issue they wanted directly"

    Of course. That's bound to come up with a balanced budget:

    Vote 1: Cut Taxes? Resounding Yes
    Vote 2: Spend more on public services? Resounding Yes
    Vote 3: Suspend the 1st law of thermodynamics? Resounding Yes

    Unlikely to lead to sound and responsible government!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 1220.

    its all a question of value I guess G.O. chancellor worth every penny. Balls -Up ? D.Abbott should already have her notice in the post.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 1219.

    Payment by results would be fair to MP's and tax payers. I say link MP's pay increases to the growth in the economy. If it goes up this year by 2% so can their pay. But part of the deal is that their pay goes down if the UK goes into another recession.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1218.

    Give M P s the !!!% under the new system.
    They will find a way to fiddle this system as well !

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1217.

    1160.allan
    "Privatise Parliament now and the following would happen"

    The staff would get shafted and the bosses given more. Overall cost higher.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1216.

    I find this assumption that paying more attracts better people fantastical. MPs are currently well paid and, apart from a few, I would strongly question whether or not we have good people in place now. People who desire large salaries should be discouraged from going into politics. They have the wrong motivations. The notion that a salary of £65k excludes all but the rich is nonsense!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1215.

    When these people earn their keep they may be worth it but at the moment they dont.Add the rest of the perks they get and we would have a proper idea of what they get.This Country has many thousands of people who are strugling to survive and many are unable to pay their rent even.I for one will not vote Tory,labour our Libdem at any future election.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1214.

    You could put the right Coloured Rosette on a Monkey and it would win a safe seat.

    It is ludicrous to compare MPs salaries with people doing real jobs.

    I'd pay the Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet, the rest should support themselves by a 2nd job, and get a low level of subsistence for every day on which they actually do something worthwhile beyond making animal noises and wearing out a seat.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1213.

    i for one would rather keep my penny thank you very much!

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 1212.

    I've had my pension cut back as well as other 'perks' plus a wage freeze for 4 years so this bloke needs to get a grip of reality and come down from his ivory tower to see how ordinary people live. I don't really care for his arguments or logic as all of those have gone out of the window in the past 4 or 5 years and we've all suffered. MPs should share our pain

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1211.

    IPSA seem to have failed to grasp that the populace aren't looking for 'fairness' and balance in the review of MP's pay;

    It's a profession that is already seen as over-rewarded and cossetted beyond necessity - certainly out of kilter with 'the real world'. Make the necessary changes to their allowances & pensions, but forget any compensatory increase and you might have an acceptable proposal.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 1210.

    What we're seeing unfolding here is the most shocking and undefendable threat to our democracy. Our elected leaders are becoming a super-rich stratum, divorced from the economic realities which the wider population has to endure. There has never been a better time to address MPs, their external activities (e.g. company directors), their pay and their duties in parliament.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1209.

    If, as the committee setting the pay says, the increase in basic pay will be offset by a reduction is other benefits, this could be a change for the better.

    The expenses scandal originated from years of allowing MPs to make dodgy claims to supplement their pay rather than openly awarding them higher pay.

    Whatever you think of their pay levels, anything which increases transparency must be good.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1208.

    One of the things which would greatly benefit this country would be MPs with experience in real life, food banks etc. Unless salaries are similar to what the average person they represent would receive, how can they be expected to make good decisions on running the country.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1207.

    The sad reality is that £75k is not very much. No one is an MP for the money. Or if that really is the best pay they can achieve anywhere, then we are REALLY in trouble.

    I have no trouble paying taxes to get some proper talent in there instead of most of the current bunch.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1206.

    Although this proposal is supposed to be cost neutral because the 11% pay rise will be offset by increased pension contributions, MPs will, in effect, be compensated for the increase in those pension contributions!

    Are any other public sector workers being similarly compensated?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1205.

    @1165.
    I think you missed his point, but in any case, paying taxes is not the same thing as being burgled.

    The former is done by consent via democratic governance and is absolutely vital to maintain courts, defense, rule of law and national infrastructure that we depend on to support our population and maintain civilized society as well as our civil liberties.

    The latter is none of those things.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1204.

    We haven't had Christmas and the April Fool's Day wind ups start coming in!!!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1203.

    Pay them in peanuts. It's about all they are worth.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 1202.

    A one off uplift in pay! Oh how I wish my empoyer would say that. £7600 pay rise oh how I wish my employer would say that. Resettlement packages of £10s of thousands oh how I wish my employer would say that. Instead all I get is "think yourself lucky to have an employer" MPs really really are away with the fairies......................

 

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