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MPs cannot be exempt from regional pay says union boss

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 16, 2012

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A trades union boss has hit out at the Commons watchdog for suggesting MPs should be immune from proposals to tie public sector pay to local rates.

A consultation published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority outlines a series of reforms as part of a root-and-branch review of their pay and perks.

But Ipsa signalled opposition to regionalising pay, pointing out that "most MPs live and work in London for a large part of the week when Parliament is sitting". MPs are currently paid £65,736 a year.

Chancellor George Osborne has been criticised by unions for commissioning a review into ending uniform pay for teachers, nurses and other public sector workers.

Critics say state staff in low-paid areas, including Devon and Cornwall, will face pay cuts. But business believes the private sector will no longer be "crowded out" from recruiting staff if the public sector is more in line with local economies.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, the public sector union, said it is "laughable" for the Government to suggest "we're all in it together" if MPs were exempt from public sector pay reform.

He told the Western Morning News: "It comes as no surprise that the conclusion of any study into our MPs' pay should be that regional pay is not for them – only for ordinary working people, many of whom could only dream of the salaries they earn."

Ipsa has proposed slashing gold-plated pensions by nearly a quarter, saving around £2 million a year.

The document also pours cold water on the idea that politicians' pay should be linked to higher-earning jobs such as GPs or headteachers.

But it does raise the prospect of increasing their salaries to three times national average earnings.

It also rejected the notion of basing remuneration on performance or time served in the Commons, and suggested a link to earnings before entering parliament would "disadvantage some candidates".

The document highlighted the idea of having two salary levels – one for the dozens of MPs who hold second jobs, and another for those who give up extra work.

Separately, a row is currently raging over separate proposals by 20 health trusts across the South West to introduce regional pay for NHS workers.

Hospitals in Plymouth, Truro and Exeter are among those signed up to the South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium, which has been branded a "cartel".

Mr Prentis said: "The Government's drive for regional pay is already having an impact on nurses, therapists and other NHS workers in the South West.

"They are fighting efforts to do away with hard-won national pay agreements."

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