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Ipsa has also outlined plans to reform MPs' pensions, scrapping the "outdated resettlement payments worth tens of thousands", as well as "tightening up" expenses rules.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Ipsa chairman Sir Ian Kennedy said: "We are sweeping away the out-of-date and overly generous benefits, and introducing a one-off uplift in pay.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
    +4

    Comment number 1541.

    The idea that an 11% pay rise can be justified by expenses & pension reforms is staggering. Get in touch with the real world. The rest of the public sector is having to pay higher pension contributions & having pay rises capped at 1%, without any sniff of a one-off pay increase. Yes, reform their pensions/expenses. But scrap the pay increase & cap their pay rises as well. It's only fair.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 1540.

    @547.
    empiredown
    MPs should be paid the average wage and expected to manage upon it. That will focus their attention and give them the correct perspective.

    =============

    That's one way to guarantee our MP's will be of the loewst possible calibre & even more open to "financial incentives" than currently.
    Most MP's do a decent job of representation & deserve paying accordingly.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1539.

    The whole system needs overhaul, altogether too many MPs and too many costly geriatrics in the house of lords. MPs should be retired at 60 or 65 like everyone else, there are too many people in the Commons holding down jobs they are incapable of doing well ; age does not guarantee wisdom or dedication . Far too many of them are there to nod when told and too milk the system of cash.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1538.

    So they defend the rise by claiming it won't cost the taxpayer "a penny more" once changes are taken into account. As far as I can see these changes include the immoral and outdated resettlement payments and MP expenses which were widely abused.Just because MPs have lost part of their income from being caught out over these corrupt payments does not mean this should now be covered in their salary!

  • Comment number 1537.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1536.

    1430.oscar

    I love this!!!

    Is there no way this can be put into effect? It's a perfectly plausible idea that would only be of benefit to the country.

    I imagine any proposals to do so would of course be laughed out of London as a joke, or in the unlikely event it would be taken seriously, thrown out on the basis that it is their 'human right' to be kept in the lifestyle they are accustomed.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1535.

    I think the wage is about right its the accountability i don't like, what does your MP do for you i don't know do you? I also think we need to look at the cost of politics to include the massive spend of parties in elections where the monies come from, the cost of civil servants, and why London gets all the spend, why not have some departments in other parts of the country share the wealth.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1534.

    The best solution for MP's greed is a lamp post Mussolini style, now if only I was young and fit enough to take part.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1533.

    Those in other parts of the public sector have received annual pay rises from 0-1% since 2008. Many of those also have difficult, highly accountable jobs. Travel and living allowances are almost unheard of in the public sector.

    Taking those things into account, an 11% pay rise in unacceptable in this economic climate by those employed by our taxes.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1532.

    ""to give them an 11% pay rise, claiming this will not cost the taxpayer "a penny more""

    I thought we were all in this penny saving business together? This sentence reads as if we're no better or worse off for the deal. How about we save the extra pennies by freezing their salary?

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 1531.

    @1520 Sally - aaah yes, the selfish mantra of the fierce individualist "there is no such thing as society". Gosh, it must be a very lonely existence being an anarcho-libertarian.

    Anyway, to answer the question : no to the MPs pay rise.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1530.

    This coalition has demonized the elderly, the unemployed, the disabled and implied they are all a burden and wasters when in fact it is our politicians who are the greedy, the self-interested and the spongers on this country !!!!!

    This is not demoracy this is incompetent rich pigs at the trough while they destroy all that we are proud of.

  • Comment number 1529.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1528.

    I don't know how it will end up - but the MP's will end up better off in some way shape or form, our whole political system is broken and run by incompetents more intent on point scoring against each other than governing the citizens. I don't know the answer, there is nothing great about Britain anymore - we are all led and employed by morally bankrupt, money chasing egoists - its sad!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1527.

    Maybe MP's should be paid the average UK wage 26k which they expect others to manage on so why not MP's?

    And I did not see post 547 before sending this in

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1526.

    I’m a school governor and our Head Teacher does a great job, for which he is appropriately rewarded. BUT, he doesn’t change laws, he doesn’t represent 100,000+ people and he doesn’t run the risk of losing his job every five years on the whim of voters who don’t know him, are often woefully ill-informed or just plain stupid. He is though, paid comfortably more than MPs.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1525.

    I think it is worth remembering 295 MP's have secondary earnings, in one form or other. Some earn substantial amounts. It's understandable people are angry, whilst every one else are taking wage cuts and having pensions slashed, the justification for their big pay rise is that they are not going to receive a big pay off, welcome to the real world.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1524.

    The Ipsa shuffle a few figures & create a false reality of saving money,when the fact is that this rise will have excessive salary inflation on MPs wages in future years.

    Same trick MANY top CEOs did, when sacked thousands of workers & imposed low/no pay rises, some cuts to executives salarys/bonuses but MORE than recovered in future years by DECEITFUL RE-DESIGN OF SALARYS/contracts

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1523.

    So yet again we have the so called privileged elite in this country setting the standards of pay for themselves . The head of IPSA simply does not get it and lives on another planet , fact is the rest of the public sector are only getting a 1% PAY RISE are ALSO having to pay more for their pensions what does he not understand ???? . Lets have ALL public sector pay evaluated by IPSA . !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1522.

    Truly shocking , completely out of touch with the real world, they sit in their London offices getting paid a fortune and have no idea how the nation north of London feels, I invite the head of IPSA to come and explain this too me over a coffee, but hey ho, that would mean having to the real world

 

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