Ministers are 'powerless' to block £10,000 pay rise for MPs
David Cameron cannot block a £10,000 pay rise for MPs if it is recommended by parliament's independent advisers, a Government minister suggested today.
MPs believe they should be paid more to work in Westminster and their constituencies Photo: GOOGLE
By Rowena Mason, Political Correspondent
11:23AM BST 30 Jun 2013
Francis Maude, a Cabinet Office minister, said pay for MPs is not in the "control" of the Government, because it has been handed over to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.
These advisers are likely to recommend a pay rise of around £10,000 for MPs this week.
The move is expected spark public fury at a time when the country is in line for years more austerity under Chancellor George Osborne's efforts to cut Britain's debts.
However, Mr Maude would not criticise the idea of a pay rise as he said MPs no longer have power over their own remuneration.
Speaking on Sky News's Murnaghan programme, he said: “That doesn’t come within the Government’s ambit at all – that’s run by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.
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"What we do have in our control is the pay of ministers, and the first thing the coalition government did was to agree that we should all take a 5 per cent pay cut from what our predecessors were getting.
“And when there has been a modest 1 per cent increase in MPs’ pay, we’ve actually taken that off ministers pay so ministers’ pay is absolutely frozen for the whole Parliament. That is within our control and that is what we are doing.
“MPs’ pay is a matter actually not even for Parliament these days, it’s a matter for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority that was set up in the wake of the expenses scandal.”
The Prime Minister is under pressure to come out against the pay rise, after Labour sources said this weekend Ed Milband is opposed to it.
Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, has publicly expressed concern about the idea.
However, many MPs argue they are not paid enough to sustain a job where they have to be in Westminster for most of the working week and their constituency homes at weekends.
Since the 2009 expenses scandal, their extra living allowances have become stricter, leading to calls for their £66,000-a-year salary to increase.
Ipsa is understood to be considering a rise of between £10,000 and £20,000 but no final decision has yet been made. The changes would come into force after the 2015 general election.
In January, MPs made fresh demands for a £20,000 pay rise, with a survey showing more than two thirds of members believe they are not paid enough.
The study by Ipsa found politicians on average believed they should be paid £86,000 rather than £66,000, with some demanding more than £100,000.
John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, has been pushing for better pay for MPs to encourage talented people to become MPs.
However, it would be politically very difficult for David Cameron to back an increase in MP pay when the economy only just begun to recover from recession.
He has frozen ministerial pay since entering Government and MPs have only had a one per cent pay rise this year.
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