UK Politics

MPs in line for 10% pay rise to £74,000

MPs in the House of Commons Image copyright PA

MPs are set to receive a £7,000 pay rise after the body responsible for setting their pay and expenses stuck by its recommendation for a 10% increase.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority said there appeared to be no "material" reason to alter its proposal, first put forward in 2013.

Unless "new evidence" emerged, MPs' pay will rise from £67,060 to £74,000.

David Cameron opposes the move but has said he will not block the increase, saying MPs' pay is a matter for Ipsa.

Ipsa was handed control of decisions over MPs' pay and expenses in the wake of the 2009 expenses scandal. It does not need to get the agreement of Parliament to bring in the changes.

'New and compelling evidence'

The UK's 650 MPs are currently paid £67,060. Their pay would rise to £74,000 under Ipsa's final plans.

The PM has previously urged the watchdog to scrap the above-inflation increase, which was initially proposed to address complaints that pay had fallen behind the rest of the public sector.

But as it launched its final review of the proposals, Ipsa restated its intention to press ahead with the increase, saying there appeared to be no "material" reason to change the recommendations.

Unless "new and compelling evidence" emerged by the end of June the pay rise - to be backdated to 8 May - would be confirmed, it said.

Ipsa said that due to cuts in pensions and expenses - such as a ban on claiming for evening meals - the overall package of changes would not cost taxpayers "a penny more".

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Mr Cameron said in 2013 that the proposed pay rise was "simply unacceptable"

Ministers are set to benefit from the increase to MPs' pay - as only the government element of their salaries has been frozen for five years under plans announced by David Cameron in the wake of the Conservatives' election victory.

Commenting on the final proposals, the PM's spokeswoman said: "Throughout this process and debate, the prime minister has been absolutely clear that he doesn't agree with the proposed increase.

"But ultimately it is up to Ipsa as an independent body to decide MPs' pay and it is for them to make their determination."

She added that Mr Cameron's focus was on areas where he had the power to bring down the cost of politics, including proposals for boundary changes to reduce the number of MPs at Westminster.

A Labour Party spokesman said: "It would feel wrong if Ipsa proposed an increase in MPs' take-home pay at a time when so many people are struggling."

'This needs stopping'

Meanwhile, TaxPayers' Alliance chief executive Jonathan Isaby said the pay rise was "inappropriate", and criticised the watchdog as "out of touch" and "not fit for purpose".

"Ipsa spent £70,000 on a consultation which showed the public believed the current pay level to be broadly fair, yet have ignored the findings. MPs shouldn't be divorced from the same pay restraint as everywhere else in the public sector," he said.

GMB union general secretary Paul Kenny said: "We trust that none of the MPs accepting this pay rise as public servants will have the audacity to oppose the recommendations of pay review bodies or decent pay rises for public sector workers."

Labour MP John Mann said the decision showed "Westminster still doesn't get it".

He added: "At a time when the chancellor is asking every government department to cut billions more from their budgets, and public sector employees have been offered a 1% pay increase, this decision needs stopping."

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