MPs say pay hike is ‘a nonsense’

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright.
Hartlepool MP Iain Wright.

LOCAL MPs have panned calls for politicians to pocket a 32 per cent hike in wages.

Despite taxpayers being hit by spending cuts, job losses and benefit caps, some MPs think they deserve the staggering pay rise, which would take their salary from £65,738 to £86,250, according to Commons watchdog Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).

According to the research by YouGov, on behalf of IPSA, 69 per cent of MPs surveyed thought they were underpaid.

On average, Conservatives said their salary should be £96,740, while Lib Dems thought the right amount was £78,361 and Labour £77,322.

The overall average suggestion was £86,250.

The research found that 27 per cent of MPs wanted their pay to go up by more than one per cent over by 2015 – despite public sector rises and most working age benefits being controversially capped at that level.

The anonymous poll, which surveyed 100 MPs, also found that 35 per cent of politicians surveyed believe they deserve to keep gold-plated pensions.

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright, who did not take part in the survey, said: “I disagree with the notion of a large pay increase for MPs.

“Such a move cannot possibly be seen as appropriate when much of the country is facing financial difficulties.

“I knew the rate of pay for the job when I stood for election in May 2010.

“Had I not been happy with the rate of pay, I would not have applied for the job.”

Easington MP Grahame Morris said he had not made any submission to the survey, adding: “My personal priorities are to do with issues of concern to my constituents about bringing jobs to Easington, addressing the problems people are suffering under austerity packages affecting their general standard of living.

“I really have got no view on the reports in the national papers that some people are saying MPs should have more money, I’d rather leave that to IPSA.

“I think it would be very difficult to justify MPs being given a rise beyond that of the public sector.”

Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson said: “I think we have got to wait and see what IPSA comes up with.

“I think we have all got to take a hit – we have all got to be treated the same in the public sector, though we are awaiting the results of any review.”

Alex Cunningham MP, who represents the Stockton North constituency, including Billingham, Wolviston and parts of Wynyard, dismissed calls for MPs to have a 32 per cent increase as “a nonsense”.

He said: “I agreed a long time ago when they changed the system that they link MPs’ pay to particular roles in the public sector.

“One per cent is in line with other people who work in the public sector, I think it’s fair.

“Only one in seven MPs responded to the survey and to ask for a £20,000-plus increase is a nonsense.”

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Hiking politicians’ wages at a time of pay freezes, benefit caps and necessary spending cuts would be completely unpalatable to taxpayers.”

Final decisions are due in the spring, with a new system not taking effect until after the 2015 general election.