We’ve had some daft excuses for MPs’ pay rises before now but this one takes the biscuit: they’ll have £2,212 extra from the beginning of April because their responsibilities are said to have “dramatically increased”!
What utter dribble.
MPs’ pay will increase to £84,144 (for backbenchers) – a rise of almost £20,000 from the £65,738 they were getting when the Tories slithered into office by the back door in 2010.
The rise is being represented by the so-called Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), which was established in 2009 after that year’s infamous scandal over the expenses claimed by MPs.
In 2015, IPSA recommended a massive 10.9 per cent salary hike for MPs – to £74,000, justifying it by saying it would be offset by new tougher rules on parliamentary expenses, higher pensions contributions and the end of pay-offs to MPs who retire or voluntarily step down.
David Cameron was prime minister at the time. He said it was “simply unacceptable” – right up until his backbenchers decided they wanted to grab as much cash as they possibly could and threatened to rebel.
Amid public outcry, 69 MPs later said they would give the amount of their pay rise to charity – but research by The Sun (of all places) subsequently revealed that only 26 actually did so. The other two-thirds, it seems, only paid lip-service to the idea.
In April 2016 IPSA lined up a 1.3 per cent pay rise for MPs – more than three times the national average – to £74,962.
The following year saw an increase of 1.4 per cent to £76,011. The reason in both cases was said to be the annual change in average weekly earnings across the public sector.
How odd, when most public sector workers had been subjected to austerity restrictions since 2010 and hadn’t had a pay increase at all!
And, of course, the comparison would have required parity between MPs’ working conditions and those of public sector workers, meaning nurses, teachers and so on could enjoy the same rules on working hours, the same workers’ rights and make the same kind of expenses claims.
They don’t, so the claim is impossible to justify. But MPs had their £1000+ pay rise all the same.
In 2018, the pay rise had increased to 1.8 per cent, meaning MP salaries rose by £1,368 to £77,369. Again, there was no parity with the pay and conditions of other public sector workers, despite the rise being linked to any rise in their earnings.
By 2020, MPs’ pay was being increased by an inflation-busting 3.8 per cent to £81,932. I commented at the time that this was after the Tory government had created a massive increase in in-work poverty for the rest of us; eight million working-age people, 60 per cent of whom had jobs.
Oh, and MPs were also awarded increased expenses, to rub our noses in it still further.
Now IPSA has announced that MPs are to receive £2,212 extra in the financial year starting in April. And, like all the other excuses, the current claim isn’t being swallowed by the general public:
MPs to get a pay rise of £2200, for ‘dramatically increased duties ‘ last year . I think the same could be said of NHS staff and other keyworkers 😡
— #hellomynameis ..💙#wear amask #VaccinesWork (@nixbee13) March 2, 2022
Yes indeed, especially as MP pay has been linked with theirs so often!
Some have made light of it with humour…
BREAKING: A Conservative minister has confirmed it was necessary to give MPs a pay rise because they are no longer allowed to accept money from Russia 😭
— Laura Kuenssberg Translator (@BBCLauraKT) March 2, 2022
… but it is time to accept that IPSA doesn’t work.
MPs can’t go back to proposing – and voting on – their own pay rises because there simply wouldn’t be enough money to keep the current crop of greedy money-grubbers in cocaine (or whatever else they may choose to buy with it).
Personally, This Writer thinks MPs should be given a very massive pay cut.
The average salary in January this year was £29,600.
If the rest of us have to cope on that (and many of us have to manage on much less) then there’s no reason MPs can’t – and we all have to deal with increased pressures that the Tories in government have heaped on us.
Maybe the Tories would think differently about heaping extra costs like the 10+ per cent rise in National Insurance contributions and massively increased energy bills if they themselves have to cope with them in the same way we do.
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