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Devon and Cornwall's MPs concerned over 11 per cent pay rise

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 13, 2013

Comments (14)

Westcountry MPs have variously criticised their pay and perks watchdog for proposing a 11% pay rise in 2015.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), set up following the expenses scandal, confirmed they deserve a “one-off uplift” in their annual salaries to £74,000. They currently earn £66,000.

Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Opposition leader Ed Miliband have all indicated an inflation-busting increase is unacceptable amid austerity and public sector pay restraint.

However, Ipsa chairman Sir Ian Kennedy said the deal spells the end of “political deals cooked up in Westminster”. He said: “We are sweeping away the out-of-date and overly generous benefits, and introducing a one-off uplift in pay. Crucially, thereafter MPs’ pay will be linked to everyone elses.”

Ipsa also recommended scrapping resettlement payments worth tens of thousands of pounds, introducing a career average pension at the expense of a final salary scheme, and a tighter expenses regime, including ending the provision for evening meals. Ipsa said the package would not cost the taxpayer more.

MPs in the region offered a range of reactions, with some indicating support for pay reform even if the timing was badly-judged.

Nick Harvey, Liberal Democrat MP for North Devon, said: “It would clearly be inappropriate in the present economic circumstances.

“However, the proposal covers the 2015-2020 period. No one can know today how the economy and general salary progression will work out over the next seven years.

“It seems to me that the matter should be kept under review as it remains to be seen to what extent the economy recovers and normality returns over that seven year period.”

Gary Streeter, Conservative MP for South West Devon, renewed his claim that Ipsa appeared to be on a mission to “destroy the credibility and public confidence in MPs”.

He said: “My blood is boiling. It remains my view historically that MPs are underpaid, most people in communities would recognise that we are historically underpaid, but we shouldn’t be discussing it now at a time of austerity.”

And Sarah Wollaston, Conservative MP for Totnes, warned a “Dutch auction” will “exclude many candidates and favour wealthy”. She went on: “Either we want MPs to set their own pay and pensions or we don’t. I don’t.” Others pledged not to benefit if re-elected. Anne Marie Morris, Conservative MP for Newton Abbot, said: “Should this rise go through in 2015, I will make sure that I do not personally benefit from it, but after tax and NI will put the additional money into a separate account and use it for the benefit of my constituency and constituents.”

Sarah Newton, Conservative MP for Truro and Falmouth, said: “I have always been clear that pay restraint affecting the public sector should apply to me, along with public servants in my constituency.

“It is clear to me the public don’t want candidates squabbling over whether or not they should accept a rise in 2015, they want the proposals dropped, and dropped now. My absolute focus is on achieving this.”

Adrian Sanders, Liberal Democrat MP for Torbay, said: “If I am fortunate enough to be re-elected to serve my home town in Parliament in 2015 I will be able to work out how much my overall income will have risen or fallen as a consequence of this package, and if it rises above inflation I will give the surplus to charity.”

Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter, said: “I have always made clear that if they do impose an above-inflation rise after the election, and I am still an MP, I would give any extra to charity.”

Other MPs argued the recommendations are not final. Hugo Swire, Conservative MP for East Devon, said: “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.

“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.”

Alison Seabeck, Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View, said: “The party leaders should now get together and come up with a cross-party request to Ipsa to re-consider the whole package.”

Oliver Colvile, Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said: “My first priority is to get re-elected, so this will not be an issue until it comes up after the election. The important thing is to reduce the size and cost of politics.”

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  • b_mused  |  December 13 2013, 11:03PM

    Agree with Landy90 - I don't think the responsible job of MP is overpaid. Trouble is there are too many of them and too many who aren't up to it. Reduce the number by about 30%, provide parliamentarians' accommodation to reduce expenses fiddling and give them a decent pay rise to attract experienced professionals. Also, why can't Secretaries of State and Ministers have relevant professional experience to the Departments they head up?

    Rate   4
  • Landy90  |  December 13 2013, 10:38PM

    Maybe 11% is not enough, they should be paid £100k , but in return there should be no expenses , they should be given a travel allowance to London once per week and the government should buy a Premier Inn style hotel that all MP's must stay in whilst attending parliament. There should be a minimum attendance at Parliament, or a fine equivalent to a days pays will be levied for each day missed. All staffing and constituency office expenses should be paid out of the MP's salary. Offices at Westminster to be provided by government. This would encourage ordinary people to stand for parliament, rather than people with private incomes/money. Oh, and no other employment to be allowed, nor fees from lobbyists. We need to trust our Parliament or democracy is dead.

    Rate   4
  • John_Ply  |  December 13 2013, 10:00PM

    This pay award is most definitely wrong in the present economic climate, but I fail to see what the problem is, from an MP,s point of view. Since this pay rise was set by an independent body and I assume they would have never voted for such a large percentage pay increase, why are they not stepping forward in droves, to volunteer to give this pay rise, to a charity of their choice, less any deductions they may incur, i.e. Income tax etc.? It may also prove, newsworthy to local newspapers and would give their chosen charity, a bit of publicity. People would also know, that they did have strong feelings about this issue and did their best, to offset this pay increase.

    Rate   3
  • break  |  December 13 2013, 6:57PM

    I'm surprised they don't think they're worth more than an 11% pay rise,considering any other people like them are in prison.

    Rate   3
  • gruesome  |  December 13 2013, 6:25PM

    MP's concerned about 11% pay rise - yeah right. Concerned about what to spend it on more likely! Still it pales into insignificance compared to the 23% increase being asked for a beach hut with no facilities other than 2 deck chairs on Porthminster Beach St Ives. Now asking £80 a week. That'll be one booking they won't get from me in 2014, then!

    Rate   2
  • Theglibster  |  December 13 2013, 5:15PM

    This is utter madness and so is the comment from Gary Streeter "destroy the credibility and public confidence in MPs" We have little to no confidence already seems he might be on about something else. Well known they all take other paid positions if offered. They have the highest pay outside of Banking. Seems we have to reward useless people with yet more and more. They really should all be shame faced about even thinking about pay awards!

    Rate   7
  • DickEddington  |  December 13 2013, 5:13PM

    MPs are public sector workers. You pay their wages but they treat you with contempt. They don't stoop as low as teachers and firefighters and threaten strikes but they are self satisfied public sector workers who think YOU are a cash machine.

    Rate   2
  • nicold  |  December 13 2013, 4:49PM

    What other job can you enter without any qualifications and earn such a fabulous salary? Maybe they should be paid an intern's wage on trial to see if they're up to scratch!

    Rate   11
  • Rick_OShay  |  December 13 2013, 3:53PM

    If MP's are to get a pay rise it should be tied into performance. They must be one of the few "professionals" in the country that are not subject to targets and annual reviews, too many think that they can coast for 4 years and then raise their profile in the lead up to an election. Rick O'Shay Zog

    Rate   9
  • DipStick  |  December 13 2013, 11:20AM

    "" ... most people in communities would recognise that we are historically underpaid ..."". Yeah, right ... maybe you're right if that "community" is the House of Commons! DS

    Rate   12