Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Review could see MPs' pensions cut

Ipsa chairman Sir Ian Kennedy warned MPs who want a pay rise that many were doing too little at present to justify one

MPs face having their gold-plated pensions slashed as part of a root-and-branch review of their pay and perks.

A consultation published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) suggests the overall costs of the scheme should be cut by nearly a quarter - £2 million a year.

The document also pours cold water on the idea that politicians' pay should be linked to higher-earning jobs such as GPs or headteachers.

But it does raise the prospect of increasing their salaries to three times national average earnings - currently around £69,000.

Ipsa chairman, Sir Ian Kennedy, had warned MPs who want a pay rise that they were doing too little at present to show voters what they were doing to justify their taxpayer-funded remuneration packages.

He indicated a need to scale down the £13.6 million a year pension scheme which was "expensive to the taxpayer and out of kilter with the modern idea of where public sector pensions should be".

The watchdog signalled it did not back proposals for regionalising pay, pointing out that "most MPs live and work in London for a large part of the week when Parliament is sitting".

It also rejected the notion of basing remuneration on performance or time served in the Commons, and suggested a link to earnings before entering parliament would "disadvantage some candidates".

The document highlighted the idea of having two salary levels - one for the dozens of MPs who hold second jobs, and another for those who give up extra work.

However, despite reports that Ipsa's management favours the plan, the consultation merely stated: "We invite views on this issue."

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