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We should be worth £86,000 a year, say MPs

MPs believe they are worth £86,000 a year, according to a survey published alongside confirmation of controversial plans to raise their pay to £74,000.

STANDING FIRM: Labour Leader Ed Miliband believes it to be wrong for MPs to receive the pay rise.
STANDING FIRM: Labour Leader Ed Miliband believes it to be wrong for MPs to receive the pay rise.

The body in charge, the ­Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), said salaries would go up from the current level of £66,000 a year.

But Prime Minister David Cameron urged the pay regulator to "think again" about the 11% hike, due to be introduced in 2015.

Downing Street also refused to rule out scrapping Ipsa and putting MPs back in charge of setting their own pay if it pushed ahead with the plans.

Mr Cameron has said it would be unacceptable for MPs to receive such a rise at a time of wage restraint in the public sector.

Ipsa carried out a survey of MPs to find out how much they thought they should be paid.

This found that, on average, they believed they were worth £86,250 a year. One in five of the MPs questioned said they should receive £95,000.

IPSA was set up in the wake of the 2009 expenses scandal. But the leaders of all three main parties have insisted they cannot accept its recommendations at a time of pay restraint in the public sector.

Ipsa insists its changes would cost the taxpayer nothing as it would also make MPs pay more into their pensions.

In a foreword to its report, the Ipsa board wrote: "We have a choice to make: either we say it is too difficult and ignore the issue for another number of years, or we address it with those sensitivities in mind. We choose the second option. We feel any other choice would be to abandon our responsibility, which Parliament gave us, to fix this problem once and for all.

"But we do understand the sensitivities. As we note, we have committed that the reforms will not cost the taxpayer more."

According to research carried out by ComRes for Ipsa in September, two-thirds of the public (66%) thought the figure of £74,000 was too high, while just less than one- quarter, 24%, thought it was about right and 4% too low.

When it was explained the pay increase was being offset by trimming back expenses and pensions, 58% still thought it was too generous, 28% about right and 3% not generous enough.

A number of politicians, including Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael, have already said they will not take the rise if it is awarded.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "I want to be clear with the public, I don't think it's right MPs should get this pay rise at a time when nurses, teachers, people in the private sector are going through a pay squeeze and facing incredibly difficult economic circumstances. I think it will just undermine trust in politics further.

"I'm determined this pay rise does not go ahead if there's a Labour government."

Nick Clegg said the proposed rise would be "incomprehensible and wholly inappropriate".

The TaxPayers' Alliance said Ipsa had demonstrated it was "not fit for purpose".

Spokesman Jonathan Isaby said: "It is beyond contempt that Ipsa completely ignored the very research that showed the public to think MPs' pay is currently 'broadly fair'.

"The body that ought to be representing the interests of voters and taxpayers has unceremoniously put two fingers up at the lot of us."

But the man in charge of Ipsa, Sir Ian Kennedy, warned political parties it would be nothing more than political "cover" to kick the issue "into the long grass".

He said previous attempts by MPs to resolve the question themselves had been a "disaster" and insisted Ipsa's proposals represented "a good deal for the taxpayer".

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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