MPs’ pay in relation to UK average earnings has fallen since 1995, according to a chart released as part of a report from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) announcing and attempting to justify a pay hike of £6,000 to £74,000 after 2015.
Opinion is divided over whether or not MPs should take a pay increase, with some arguing that it is inappropriate as wages are squeezed in the private sector and pay rises restricted to one per cent in the rest of the public sector, and others saying that pay has been kept low as a political tool and is not enough to attract those who are not independently wealthy. The increase will cost the taxpayer an additional £4.6m.
MPs will lose a number of benefits, including "gold-plated" pensions and a meal allowance if they stay at work after 1930. A number of senior parliamentary figures have said the pay rise is inappropriate and would not accept them, including the leaders of all three major parties: David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband. UKIP leader Nigel Farage said MPs should get a 75 per cent cut as they have given away 75 per cent of their responsibilities to Europe.
Chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, who would also reject a pay rise, has said that the decision to accept or reject would be an individual one.
Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:
The idea of hiking MPs' pay when everyone else has been suffering such a squeeze on their earnings is totally unpalatable. MPs do an important job and work hard, but they already earn nearly three times the national average and more than most of their European counterparts....
IPSA is right to be reforming the gold-plated parliamentary pensions and cutting golden goodbyes for retiring or defeated MPs, but it beggars belief that they have come up with a plan that will increase the cost of our politicians when everyone's budgets are under such pressure.