Sunday, December 15, 2013
East Devon MP Hugo Swire says he is ‘disappointed’ with a parliamentary watchdog’s plan to hand MPs an 11 per cent pay rise.
Mr Swire, a foreign officer minister, said that the £7,600 increase did not take into account overall public sector pay and pensions restraint.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) will unveil its final package of Westminster pay and perks later this week.
Set up to take decisions on remuneration out of the hands of MPs in the wake of the expenses scandal, it is expected to announce a boost to basic salaries to £74,000 from 2015 – 11 per cent higher than at present.
It is expected to try to temper criticism by announcing a tougher-than-expected squeeze on MPs’ pensions in a bid to cancel out the £4.6million cost to the public purse.
Mr Swire said: “All parties agreed in 2009 to set up IPSA so that MPs would no longer have a say in setting their pay and pensions. So this is not a decision for the Government or for MPs, it is solely for IPSA.
“The Government made it clear in the consultation that IPSA should take into account overall public service pay and pensions restraint when addressing the issue of MPs’ pay. We are disappointed that IPSA has not done so.”
MPs have no way to prevent the rise coming into force after the next general election - unless they change the law set up in the wake of the expenses scandal to stop them setting their own pay.
Research by IPSA found that two-thirds of MPs believe they are underpaid and the watchdog’s chairman, Sir Ian Kennedy has insisted politicians’ pay must ‘catch up’ after years of being suppressed.
Mr Swire added: “These recommendations are not final. There will be a further statutory review by IPSA after the election.
“We will continue to make the case that IPSA should take into account overall public sector pay and pensions restraint, and that the cost of politics should go down and not up.”