MSPs are not being asked to follow the lead of Holyrood ministers and take a pay freeze, a spokesman for Alex Salmond said today.

The Scottish Government's 16 ministers yesterday agreed to take a voluntary pay freeze, both in their ministerial salaries and in the pay they also receive as an MSPs.

The freeze also applies to the First Minister - but not to the salary he receives as a Westminster MP.

This is due to go up by 2.33% and Mr Salmond's spokesman said today that the First Minister plans to donate the net increase to a charitable trust.

But non-minister MSPs are not being asked to take a pay freeze, said Mr Salmond's spokesman.

"That is a decision for individual MSPs - that has to be a decision for individual parliamentarians," he said.

"This is a decision that government has taken for government - to show that as a Scottish Government we are on the side of the people."

The freeze on ministerial salaries was announced after yesterday's meeting of the cabinet, but the decision in principle was said to have been taken some weeks ago.

Ministerial salaries - £80,224 in the case of Alex Salmond, £41,618 for each of the five cabinet secretaries, and £26,068 for ministers below that level - are due to go up by 2.33% from today.

The same increase applies to MSP salaries, currently £55,381.

Under the devolution rules Mr Salmond receives a salary as an MP - currently £63,291 but about to go up to £64,766 and one-third of the salary of a Holyrood MSP.

He has donated his Holyrood MSP salary to a charitable trust set up in memory of his mother, which makes donations to youth and community organisations in north-east Scotland.

A spokesman said the First Minister would give the net increase in his MP salary to that trust, "The First Minister, like every minister in the Government, will have a pay freeze in 2009-10," he said.

"It is very important to show that right across Government, this is an SNP administration that is on the side of the people during difficult economic times."

The net money from the £1,475 gross increase in the MP salary would more than offset the extra £430 the trust would have got from a 2.33% increase in the Holyrood salary, he said.

The spokesman said the freeze would save about £15,000 on the ministerial pay bill and a further £19,780 on the MSP pay bill.