MPs’ pay should be increased by nearly than £8,000 to £74,000 after 2015, the Commons expenses watchdog has said.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) has proposed the changes today but has also recommended reducing MPs’ perks such as claiming dinners on expenses.
However, several MPs are warning that the proposals will face a major public backlash.
Nima Green reports.
Changes to MP’s pay was always going to be controversial.
The lingering mistrust against politicians from the 2009 expenses scandal, as well as the recent cash-for-access furore, continues to taint Parliament.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority or Ipsa, was set up as an independent body after 2009 to try and re-build public trust, by taking decisions on MPs pay and expenses away from politicians.
However, today’s proposals have been bet by a heavy barrage of criticism from many MPs as well as public sector unions, some of which have demanded a similar pay rise for their members.
David Cameron has said that MPs costing more to taxpayers was “unthinkable” and Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband have both said they would refuse to take such a huge pay rise.
The current basic pay for MPs is £66,396, but that would change to £74,000 by 2015, which at a rise of £7,604 is an 11.45% increase – well ahead of current and projected levels of inflation.
However the chair of the Ipsa, Sir Ian Kennedy has said that the proposed changes are a package which also includes cuts to perks such as ending so-called golden goodbyes, where a leaving MP gets a £65,000 pay-off; dinner expenses, which have cost taxpayers £150,000 in three years; as well as reducing pension pay-outs.
Sir Ian said that the increased salary would also reduce the need for some MPs’ to seek additional income through second jobs.
Many MPs say they have to subsidies their office’s expenditure.
There also concerns by some, that not increasing MP’s pay would put-off people from poorer backgrounds from standing for election and result in less high-calibre candidates.
In 2010, a third of MPs had their salaries reduced by 30,000 when they left their former jobs and became MP’s.
The Ipsa estimate that the cost of their plan will £500,000 a year, but that it will save 7.5 million a year by 2015, through cracking down on MPs’ perks and allowances.
However, many are questioning the figures.
Over the next two months MPs and the public will be able to take part in a consultation on the proposals.
However, some MPs have wasted no time in coming out to strongly condemn the plans for being unfair, and exposing them to public anger.
Michael Gove, the education secretary, has derided the Ipsa as a “silly organisation” and said that they can “stick” their proposals.
Some have said they would reject the pay-rise, and others have suggested scrapping the Ipsa altogether.
This is because currently MPs cannot block proposals from the body, as Parliament handed them complete control over pay 4 years ago.
It means that David Cameron is coming under increasing pressure to say whether MP’s will be allowed to vote on any changes in the future.
The Ipsa is due to publish its final plans in Autumn.