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Ministers to face 5-year pay freeze

Published 24/05/2015

Prime Minister David Cameron freezing ministers' pay was part of his One Nation approach to tackling the deficit
Prime Minister David Cameron freezing ministers' pay was part of his One Nation approach to tackling the deficit

Government ministers will face a further five years of frozen pay as David Cameron insists that "we will all play our part" in balancing the books.

The move will save £4 million by 2020 and the Prime Minister said it sent a clear signal that he was intent on showing that his "all in this together" approach continued.

The Prime Minister's announcement means that the pay set by the government will not have risen for a decade by 2020.

Cabinet ministers in the Commons currently receive a salary of £134,565, including their pay as MPs. The Prime Minister is paid a total of £142,500.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has recommended a hike in MPs' pay from £67,060 to £74,000 but the Government has made clear that the scale of the increase is "not right" and should be reconsidered.

Mr Cameron said the decision to freeze ministerial pay for the duration of the parliament was part of his "One Nation" approach to tackling the deficit and becoming a country where "all hard-working people can get on".

Writing in The Sunday Times he said: "We can't pretend there's not still a long way to go. We've halved the deficit as a share of the economy - but there's still half of it left to pay off.

"So we will continue to take the difficult decisions necessary to bring spending down and secure our economy. As we go about doing that, I want people to be in no doubt: I said five years ago we were all in this together, and five years on, nothing has changed.

"That's why, for example, I've decided to freeze the pay of the Ministers in the Government. For me, that's just one step which sends out a clear signal: that as we continue knuckling down as a country, we will all play our part."

Ahead of this week's Queen's Speech setting out his priorities for the first year of his new term, Mr Cameron insisted that his new administration would be "about so much more than balancing the books".

"As we return to office, after five years of a long-term economic plan and sacrifices by the British people, we're on the brink of something different - something special," he said.

"We can become a country where all hard-working people can get on; not a two-speed society where some can afford childcare and homes of their own and others cannot.

"We can become a country where all children get the education they deserve and no-one settles for a life on benefits; so no-one's background is a barrier to their success.

"We can become a place where every town, city and region has a stake in economic growth and political power; especially after so many have been left behind after previous recoveries and still feel remote from power.

"In other words, we can become One Nation."

The Queen's Speech will set out a programme of legislation that " reaches right across our country, into every city, every community and every home", he said.

The plan includes the creation of two million more jobs, measures to help people buy their own homes and the promise of 30 hours' free childcare for three and four-year-olds.

Mr Cameron also restated his commitment to a massive expansion of free schools in England, with "coasting" schools turned into academies "because 'just enough' is no longer good enough".

The Tory policy of reducing the benefits cap to £23,000 will "make sure you're always better off in the office or factory than you are at home".

Mr Cameron also highlighted the Government's plans for constitutional reform, with extra powers to Wales and Scotland, the replacement of the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights and his promise of a referendum on membership of the European Union.

The Prime Minister said his "One Nation" agenda showed a "fundamental difference" between his party and Labour.

"They seem to believe that to help some people you have to hurt others, reaching into the pockets of middle earners or heaping debt onto future generations," he said.

"This zero-sum politics is an affliction of the left. Look at the SNP - they believe you make Scotland stronger by weakening England."

Mr Cameron insisted that his plans did not mean protecting the rich - 1% of earners paid 27% of all income tax, he said - but a belief that "you can help people on low incomes without hitting people on middle incomes" through access to training and work.

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