MPs call for '32% salary increase'

image captionMPs' salaries have been frozen since 2011

MPs have suggested a 32% increase in their pay to the Commons expenses watchdog, it has been revealed.

Members said they deserved an £86,250 salary in an anonymous survey conducted by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa).

The research also found more than a third thought they should keep final-salary pensions.

The findings emerged as Ipsa published a report on its initial consultation into pay and pensions.

The Commons voted against a 1% pay rise in 2011 and last year agreed to extend the pay freeze into 2013.

But the survey found that 69% thought they were underpaid on their current salary of £65,738.

The average level suggested for the appropriate level of pay was £86,250.

YouGov conducted online interviews with 100 MPs on Ipsa's behalf, and weighted the results slightly to represent the Commons by party, gender, year elected, and geography.

Conservative MPs were the most likely to believe they were underpaid, according to the results.

On average, Tories said their salary should be £96,740, while Lib Dems thought the right amount was £78,361 and Labour £77,322. Other parties put the figure at £75,091.

A fifth of those questioned said they should be paid £95,000 or more.

The prime minister's official spokesman said David Cameron believed it was a matter for Ipsa, when asked about the prime minister's thoughts of MPs' demands for more pay.

'Regain trust'

Ipsa took control of MPs' pay and pensions in October last year - so MPs no longer get a vote on it.

The watchdog will put firm proposals out for consultation in the spring, with final decisions likely to be taken in the autumn.

It said it was not proposing to introduce performance-related pay, regional pay or to take outside earnings into account.

Chairman Sir Ian Kennedy said: "In the past, MPs have agreed their pay and pensions among themselves.

"So this new approach of independent decision-making marks a real and important change and is another crucial step in helping Parliament to regain the trust of the public.

"The consultation we held over the autumn has been hugely informative and important in directing our thinking. It also serves to show the spread of views and depth of feeling on this issue."

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of campaign group the TaxPayers' Alliance said: "Hiking politicians' wages at a time of pay freezes, benefit caps and necessary spending cuts would be completely unpalatable to taxpayers."

He said most people thought MPs' current salaries are "about right".

MPs have a funded final-salary pension scheme; they pay a fixed contribution and the Exchequer is liable for the balance.

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