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MPs happy to settle for small increase in salaries
OXFORDSHIRE’S MPs say they don’t want an inflation-busting pay rise, but backed a small increase in their salaries.
The news comes after a survey of 700 MPs and members of the public by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) revealed 69 per cent believed MPs should earn more.
The report revealed that those who did call for a higher salary believed they should earn, on average, £86,250 a year.
MPs are currently paid £65,738 a year unless they are ministers, who get more cash depending on their role.
But when pressed, four out of the six Oxfordshire MPs all said they were happy to receive a one per cent rise recommended in the Government’s public sector pay policy.
Henley MP Mr Howell, a Conservative, said: “I am happy to live with it.
“Whatever MPs may feel about the salary they would like to earn, they are not going to be given more than the one per cent increase per year characteristic of all public sector workers.
“This is a position I will be supporting.”
Oxford East Labour MP Andrew Smith said: “It’s not wise for MPs to comment on their own pay level. I don’t think the public is at all impressed with MPs who argue for more, especially at a time when incomes all round are being held back.”
Oxford West and Abingdon’s Tory MP Nicola Blackwood also said she supported plans for a one per cent cap.
She said: “Sole responsibility for MPs’ salaries lies quite rightly with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority and any decision on pay rises will be made by them, not by MPs.”
MPs used to dictate their own salaries each year, until the IPSA was created in 2009 by the Parliamentary Standards Act after the expenses scandal.
Banbury MP Sir Tony said one of the purposes of setting up the IPSA was so MPs “no longer had any say” on their pay and pensions. He said: “I think it is no longer for MPs to express views about their pay or pensions.”
The results of the survey have been condemned by campaign groups such as the TaxPayers’ Alliance.
The group’s campaign manager, Robert Oxley, said: “MPs are living in another reality if they think their pay should be hiked while everyone else’s is frozen.
“Politicians have had to make tough decisions on spending, pay and benefits so any rise in their own salary would look hugely hypocritical.”
Public sector pay policy instructs councils and other public bodies to cap rises in pay, which has been frozen since 2010, at one per cent in 2013 and 2014.
The IPSA is currently deliberating on whether it should do the same for MPs.
If the one per cent rise was implemented in April, MPs would earn £66,395.38.
At least 18 MPs have admitted to responding to the consultation. Responses were also received from the Labour Party, the Conservative 1922 Committee and the TaxPayers’ Alliance.