MPs: We’re worth a 32 per cent pay rise
Given their sense of self-worth it is perhaps surprising as few as 69 per cent of MPs polled thought they are underpaid.
However, our representatives are unlikely to be naive enough to expect public opinion to chime with their belief that they warrant a pay rise of 32 per cent.
And unions, campaign groups and commentators didn’t hesitate to react angrily as the findings of the survey carried out by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority was published.
Chancellor George Osborne famously said of austerity ‘we’re all in it together’, but judging by their responses MPs are somewhat less keen to tighten their own belts.
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The surveyed MPs told the watchdog reviewing their pay that they deserved a 32 per cent hike to £86,250.
More than a third also believe they should keep generous final salary pensions.
The research, which politicians completed anonymously, found 69 per cent thought they were underpaid on £65,738.
The average level suggested for the salary was £86,250.
Chairman Sir Ian Kennedy said: “In the past, MPs have agreed their pay and pensions among themselves. So this new approach of independent decision-making marks a real and important change and is another crucial step in helping Parliament to regain the trust of the public.”
The watchdog will put firm proposals out for consultation in the spring, with final decisions likely to be taken in the autumn. YouGov conducted online interviews with 100 MPs on Ipsa’s behalf, and weighted the results slightly to represent the Commons by party, gender, year elected, and geography. On average, Tories said their salary should be £96,740, while Lib Dems thought the right amount was £78,361 and Labour £77,322. Other parties put the figure at £75,091.
A fifth of those questioned said they should be paid £95,000 or more.
Matthew Sinclair 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.”
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “At a time when millions of workers are getting zero pay rises, the idea that MPs believe they deserve a 32 per cent increase is living in cloud cuckoo land.
“No wonder this research is anonymous, it shows real contempt for the plight of families across the country struggling to make ends meet.”
Some of the MPs added comments to the survey, many expressing anger at the way the issues were being considered. One complained that the “costs associated with doing the job” were not being recognised. “For example, we receive endless requests for raffle donations, breakfasts, teas, dinner, lunches etc.”