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MPs: We didn’t ask for 11% rise...but we won’t reject it
8:21am Wednesday 11th December 2013 in Echo News
SOUTH Essex MPs have not said whether they will accept a controversial 11 per cent pay rise.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) is set to recommend the pay rise of £7,600, bringing MPs’ total income to £74,000.
The proposals will be officially announced on Thursday and will come into force after the 2015 general election.
The rise is part of a package of reforms that could see some allowances scrapped.
Critics claim any rise is out of touch with the reality facing other workers, but Ipsa says that MPs pay has fallen behind and a one-off rise is justified.
The move is expected to cost taxpayers about £4.6million.
He said: “I never voted on my own remuneration when Parliament was able to do so, believing that this should be decided on by an independent third party.
“We now have such a body in the form of Ipsa.
“Whilst I have reservations about 11 per cent, there is no point to Ipsa if its independence to cut, maintain or increase MPs’ salaries is not respected.”
Mr Baron did not answer whether he would accept the rise or not.
James Duddridge, ToryMP for Rochford and Southend East, said: “All parties agreed in 2009 to set up Ipsa so that MPs would no longer have a say in setting their pay and pensions. So this is not a decision for the Government or for MPs, it is solely for Ipsa.
“Ipsa should take into account overall public sector pay and pensions restraint, and that the cost of politics should go down and not up.”
Senior Tory politicians have come out and said that they will not accept the rise, including defence secretary Philip Hammond.
But the package of changes could also see dinner allowances and claims for tea and biscuits scrapped, while MPs salary schemes are to be downgraded to be more in line with the rest of the public sector.
Mark Francois, who represents Rayleigh and Wickford for the Tories, said: “I am conscious that what we are talking about here is taxpayers’ money and Ipsa needs to take that into account, before deciding whether or not to press ahead with this.”
Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, said: “The Government made it clear in the consultation that Ipsa should take into account overall public service pay and pensions restraint when addressing the issue of MPs’ pay.
“I am disappointed that Ipsa has not done so and has raised this issue again now.”
Prime Minister David Cameron said that Westminister pay should not increase in times of austerity.
Southend West Tory MP David Amess sent the Echo over a brief line to say he agrees with Mr Cameron’s stance.
The Echo also contacted Castle Point MP Rebecca Harris, but she did not respond to the paper’s requests for a comment.
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