Government Minister and West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock has hit out at plans to award MPs an 11 per cent pay rise as Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley dubbed the move ‘highly controversial’.
Mr Hancock said he was ‘disappointed’ by parliamentary watchdog Ipsa’s recommendation to hike MPs’ salaries by £7,600 to £74,000 after the 2015 election.
The Minister for Skills and Enterprise said: “Since I was elected in 2010 I have said that MPs should not set their own pay and the cost of politics should go down.
“I think Ipsa should take into account public service pay and pensions restraint when setting MPs’ pay and I’m disappointed that they have not done so.”
As part of Ipsa’s plans, which do not need the backing of Parliament, some allowances for MPs could be scrappped and they may have to make higher contributions to their pension.
Mr Ruffley, MP for Bury, said: “Even with these offsets announcing such a salary increase is highly controversial when average real take home pay has taken a hit since the 2008 crash.
“Ipsa really must take public opinion on board in their further consultation prior to making their final decision.”
He added that Ipsa seemed to be arguing that MPs’ pay has, over the past 20 years, ‘fallen behind the increases seen in comparable jobs, for instance Whitehall civil servants and the judiciary’.
Meanwhile, the TaxPayers’ Alliance has blasted the move as ‘totally unacceptable as families across the UK struggle with stagnant wages and rising prices’.
Chief executive Matthew Sinclair said: “Taxpayers will be furious that the pay rise comes at a time when MPs urge public pay restraint and the Chancellor tells us he can’t afford to ease the burden of taxes on hard-pressed households and businesses.
“Ipsa’s own polling and research shows that the current level of pay to be broadly fair and that the public simply do not back the increase.”