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Holyrood plan to split MSP salaries from Westminister MPs

HOLYROOD Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick has confirmed plans to decouple MSPs' salaries from those at Westminster.

She spoke of "leadership and restraint" as she said any future increase would be linked to public sector pay, and called the notion of Scotland following Westminster with an 11% increase for politicians' pay "unthinkable" in the current economic climate. Ms Marwick also revealed that the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body, the committee she convenes which runs Holyrood, had been working on this issue since October and that all party leaders had agreed to the change.

This has come to a head because of this week's announcement at Westminster by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority of an 11% pay rise for MPs, with balancing cuts in other areas such as expenses and severance.

But the headline figure is already causing public outrage. Ms Marwick has now written to all MSPs to say: "It is unthinkable that a significant pay rise for MSPs could be agreed, particularly in the current economic climate "The SPCB is therefore proposing that the current link with MPs pay be broken and that instead we put future increases in MSPs' pay on an equal footing with those in the public sector in Scotland."

MSPs currently earn £58,097, a figure set at 87.5% of that for an MP, currently £66,396. IPSA is proposing a Westminster increase of more than 11% to £74,000 from 2015. The Holyrood counter view is for a planned one per cent rise to go ahead in 2014 and when the Westminster review kicks in in 2015 to proceed with its own system pegged to public sector pay, which will remain way below the Westminster level.

The Presiding Officer's letter to MSPs states: "The SPCB firmly believes that, particularly in the economic climate, we must show leadership and restraint and limit our increase in pay to the same level as the public sector. I therefore invite members to support the resolution when it comes before parliament for approval."

A number of MPs have said they will give the money to charity if the Westminster rise is imposed.

Tory MP Charles Walker, who represents Broxbourne, said he would take the wages increase. He said: "I've been working, since I left university, for 25 years and I have never turned a pay rise down."

Labour leader Ed Miliband has called for cross-party talks to prevent the pay rise.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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