MPs ‘deserve pay rise’ - watchdog

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MPs deserve a “one-off uplift” in their salaries, the head of the watchdog responsible for their pay and perks has insisted ahead of the publication of plans expected to set out an 11 per cent rise.

Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) chairman Sir Ian Kennedy said the issue should not be kicked into the long grass and despite the rise to help MPs’ pay “catch up”, the overall package will not cost taxpayers “a penny more”.

Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday issued a veiled threat to abolish Ipsa if it presses ahead with the planned rise after the 2015 general election, insisting it was “simply unacceptable” that Members’ salaries would increase by £7,600 to £74,000.

It follows uniform opposition to the move from MPs across the Fylde coast with one – Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard – pledging he would give his rise to the resort’s credit union and other groups if it was approved.

Meanwhile Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Eric Ollerenshaw the The Gazette the proposed rise “seems ludicrous” in the current climate.

Opposition leader Ed Miliband has called on Mr Cameron and Nick Clegg to accompany him to an urgent meeting with Ipsa to demand an eleventh-hour halt to the wage hike.

But writing in The Times newspaper, Sir Ian insisted he would not be deterred by pressure from politicians.

He said: “I can see why some would want to wish the issue away, hoping we will do nothing or that a ‘cross-party’ review will provide the cover for kicking it into the long grass, just as happened with party funding years ago.

“Parliament was clear in the wake of the expenses scandal that it was wrong for MPs to set their own expenses, salary, pensions and benefits.

“That remains a position hard to argue with. We all know that MPs made a mess of these things for decades; the result was a disaster.

“We were given the job of tackling this issue independently for a reason. You are not independent if all you do is bend to the will of the Government or the Commons.”