As reported in The Observer;
“An official plan to reward MPs with a 10% pay rise, while the rest of the public sector suffers year upon year of freezes, is set to be blocked by party leaders amid growing panic in Westminster about the inevitable damage that would be done to parliament’s reputation.
In a highly embarrassing coincidence, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), set up in the wake of the MPs’ expenses scandal, is preparing to recommend the biggest pay rise for MPs, just as millions of public sector workers reel from George Osborne’s latest clampdown on their pay.
In his spending review last week, the chancellor turned the screw further on public sector workers, confirming that their rises would be limited to an average of up to 1% for 2015-16, as he restated his message that “we are all in it together”.
The chancellor also announced an end to automatic pay rises in the civil service by 2015-16, with similar pay progression schemes likely to end for people working in schools, prisons, the NHS and the police within a similar timescale.
Most public sector workers have already endured a two-year pay freeze and are now having their pay held to the maximum 1% rise for the next three years.
Ipsa, which was entrusted by MPs with determining a reasonable salary for their services commensurate with other professions, is due in mid-July to make formal recommendations which will then go out to consultation. These are likely to include a salary increase from the current £ 66,396 to a sum close to £ 75,000, in return for less generous pension arrangements and rules on severance payments.
Last night the former Tory leadership challenger, David Davis, reflected the mood at the top of his party when he said it was “completely inconceivable” that his or any other party could be seen to be accepting, or even considering, such a pay rise just as the government was telling the rest of the country to tough out several more years of austerity. “I don’t see how we could ever again even think of uttering the words ‘all in it together’ if we accepted this. Snowballs in hell and cows jumping over the moon come to mind. It can’t happen.”
Labour sources made clear that Ed Miliband would not back any such recommendation – even though MPs gave Ipsa the power to set MPs’ pay in 2011 – saying that “MPs’ pay rises must reflect what is happening in the rest of the public sector. It is as simple as that.”
Nick Clegg, meanwhile, made his view clear when he condemned as “potty” those MPs who had told Ipsa in a private survey – the results of which were published earlier this year – that they thought they deserved pay rises as high as 32%.
“They are living on a different planet,” Clegg said in January. However, the Lib Dem leader then expressed confidence that Ipsa would not recommend a substantial rise, which it is now all set to do. The impasse is the latest twist in the seemingly insoluble row over MPs’ pay and perks.
Ipsa was given the role of fixing a new pay settlement by MPs, partly because an outside body was needed after the expenses fiasco, and because MPs themselves had repeatedly voted down recommendations from the salary review bodies for rises because of political pressures to do so.
By throwing the issue to an independent body, not comprised of parliamentarians, MPs thought they would solve the problem once and for all and be freed of the accusation of self-interest.
Ipsa has reached its preliminary set of recommendations after carrying out detailed investigations into pay levels in the public and private sectors and after making international comparisons of the remuneration packages for members of parliaments.
After the mid-July recommendations have been issued, members of the public as well as MPs will be able to respond until the autumn, when Ipsa will prepare a final report. This will then set the level of pay and pension arrangements for MPs without the need for legislation.
Davis said that if Ipsa, in its final report at the end of this year, still recommended big pay rises, parliament would have to change the rules again and strip the independent body of the power that MPs had vested in it. “I think that is what may end up happening,” he said.
A spokesman for Ipsa said it was “minded to go ahead with its announcement” in July. “It is difficult to see what can be gained by sticking our heads in the sand.””
As reported in The Hull Daily Mail;
“Plans to give MPs a 15 per cent pay rise are “barking mad”, according to Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) is expected to say backbench MPs’ £66,000 annual pay ought to increase to a sum nearer to £75,000 after the next General Election.
Prime Minister David Cameron has said such a plan would be “unthinkable”, while Deputy PM Nick Clegg has also expressed opposition.
But MPs are unable to influence the decision and have little choice but to accept a pay rise if recommended by IPSA.
The former Shadow Home Secretary said it showed IPSA was “out of touch with reality” and he would propose a motion to stop the increase as the “public would not see the point of this”.
But Mr Davis would not be drawn on whether he would accept the rise, nor would Hull North MP Diana Johnson or Hull East MP Karl Turner.
Ms Johnson said she believed that “MPs should no longer set their own pay and conditions”, while Mr Turner said it “would be wrong to return to the bad old days where MPs set their own salaries”.
Mr Turner also said IPSA’s likely recommendation was “crass” at “a time when public sector workers are having wages cut in real terms”.
IPSA, which was set up as an independent body to regulate MPs’ pay and pensions in the wake of the expenses scandal, is expected to announce its initial recommendations later this month.
MPs and members of the public will be able to take part in a consultation before IPSA publishes its final plans – expected in the autumn – which would then come into force without the need for further legislation.
Reports suggest its initial recommendations will call for a rise of about 15 per cent in an MP’s salary, an increase of about £9,000, although MPs would have to pay much higher contributions towards their pensions. Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy said he was “against a rise” and, if he was unable to vote accordingly, would “simply use a greater proportion of my salary for good causes as I already do”.
He said: “It’s not acceptable when everyone else is taking pay freezes.””