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Holyrood set to cut pay link after planned 11% rise for MPs

HOLYROOD authorities are poised to sever the link between the salaries of MSPs and MPs after a proposed 11% increase in pay at Westminster prompted widespread condemnation.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) will unveil its final Westminster pay and expenses package this week but is pressing ahead with plans to boost salaries by £7600 to £74,000 after the 2015 General Election.

It is understood Holyrood's cross-party housekeeping committee, the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body (SPCB), is looking at how to break the link laid down in the Scotland Act 1998. It set the salary of an MSP, currently £58,097, at 87.5% of that of an MP.

It is not clear if Holyrood would have to change the act to break this link or if it could be achieved by a legislative consent motion at Westminster.

A Scottish Parliament spokeswoman said: "It would be wrong to assume any pay rise will automatically apply at Holyrood. The SPCB is aware of the IPSA consultation and has considered the most appropriate arrangements for determining MSPs' pay. The SPCB will be announcing its proposals shortly."

Set up to take decisions on remuneration out of the hands of MPs after the expenses scandal, IPSA is expected to boost basic salaries to £74,000 from 2015, an increase of more than 11%.

IPSA is expected to try to temper criticism by announcing a tough squeeze on MPs' pensions and other conditions such as pay-offs when they leave office.

Leading political figures condemned the planned increase, with First Minister Alex Salmond describing it as "ludicrous" and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander calling it "wholly inappropriate". Labour's Ed Miliband and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg pledged to shun the extra cash. David Cameron stopped short of that, and is under pressure from some Tory MPs to back the rise.

Research by IPSA found two-thirds of MPs feel they are underpaid and watchdog chairman Sir Ian Kennedy has insisted politicians' salaries must "catch up" after years of having pay and conditions suppressed.

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Local government

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