Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

PM urges rethink on MPs' pay rise

David Cameron is urging the body which sets MPs' pay to reconsider proposals for a 10% rise due to take place within a matter of months.

A final review by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) is expected to confirm the £7,000 rise - from £67,060 to £74,000 - later this year.

If it does go through - following a consultation over the summer - it will be back-dated to May 8, the day after the general election.

But the Prime Minister's official spokesman said that Mr Cameron remained opposed to the hike, at a time when the Government is imposing restraints on public sector pay.

"He wants Ipsa to reconsider," the PM's spokesman told reporters at a regular Westminster media briefing. "Ipsa has a statutory responsibility to do so at the start of this Parliament before this comes into effect.

"He very much urges it to take the opportunity it now has to come to a different view. We are in a period of ongoing public sector pay restraint."

The increase was originally announced by Ipsa in December 2013 as part of a wide-ranging package of reforms to the way MPs are to be remunerated in the new Parliament.

It was strongly denounced at the time by Mr Cameron, who said it was "simply unacceptable" for MPs to receive such a large rise at a time of public pay restraint.

However, the only way to stop the increase would be for the Government to legislate to scrap Ipsa, which was set up in the wake of the MPs' expenses scandal to take decisions on their remuneration out of their hands.

Jonathan Isaby of the TaxPayers' Alliance pressure group said Ipsa had failed to restore public confidence in the system of MPs' pay and should be abolished.

"To press ahead with a 10% pay rise is not only putting two fingers up at voters, but it starkly contradicts the pay restraint required elsewhere in the public sector if the Government is to balance the nation's books," he said.

"This inefficient bureaucratic monster of a quango (Ipsa) has repeatedly failed to deliver taxpayer value and if primary legislation is required to overturn its pronouncement on MPs' pay and reform its processes, then it should be introduced in the Queen's Speech".

An Ipsa spokesman said: "We carried out two public consultation exercises in 2012 and 2013.

"In December 2013 we reached a decision that there should be a package of changes, including pension reform, ending resettlement payments and increasing MPs' pay to £74,000. The overall package will add no extra cost to the taxpayer."


From Belfast Telegraph