Sussex politicians react to MPs’ pay rise

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Sussex MPs have expressed ‘regret’ and ‘disagreement’ with the decision to award MPs a ten per cent pay rise.

The annual salary will be increased to £74,000 a year and backdated to the day of the general election, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) announced yesterday (Thursday July 16).

Maria Caulfield, Lewes MP, said she would be donating the pay rise to local charities

Maria Caulfield, Lewes MP, said she would be donating the pay rise to local charities

The change has proved highly contrversial, despite IPSA claiming the one-off pay rise was part of a ‘cost-neutral remuneration package’.

Maria Caulfield, MP for Lewes, said: “I have consistently opposed this increase in MPs’ pay. But ultimately the independent body IPSA decides MPs’ pay and it is right that MPs do not vote on their own pay.

“I disagree with IPSA’s decision however and will be donating the increase to local charities. I will be choosing different charities each year.”

Meanwhile Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley said he regretted that IPSA had made the decision now, and felt there were too many MPs and the number should be reduced from 650 to 600, with further scope to go down to 550, lowering the cost to the taxpayers.

Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley said he regretted that IPSA had made the decision now

Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley said he regretted that IPSA had made the decision now

Sir Peter added: “If we keep IPSA, the authority should not increase the pay for MPS during a Parliament.

“One change every five years would be appropriate with the new figure known and effective from the day of the general election.

“I remain of the opinion that a general practitioner in public and political service could be paid at the level of a general practitioner in medicine. If the MP does not justify the pay, it is better to choose a better MP rather than a lower level of pay.”

All MPs from Sussex excluding Brighton have been asked if they agree with the measure and whether they would donate the extra pay to charity.

Sir Ian Kennedy, chair of IPSA, said it was ‘right’ that they made a one-off increase and then formally link MPs’ pay to public sector pay.

He added: “Parliament gave IPSA the power to deal with the vexed issue of MPs’ pay – independent of Parliament and Government. Pay has been an issue which has been ducked for decades, with independent reports and recommendations from experts ignored, and MPs’ salaries supplemented by an opaque and discredited system of allowances.

“We have made the necessary break with the past.

“We have created a new and transparent scheme of business costs and expenses, introduced a less generous pension scheme, where taxpayers contribute less and MPs make a higher contribution, and scrapped large resettlement payments.

“We have consulted extensively on MPs’ pay, and with today’s decision we have put in place the final element of the package for the new Parliament.”

MPs can no longer claim for the costs of hospitality, evening meals, taxis home from Westminster when working late (unless the House sits after 11pm), and home contents insurance.

But Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Just a week after the Chancellor rightly announced further pay restraint in the public sector, it is totally inappropriate for IPSA to be pushing forward with this pay hike.

“This unaccountable body is doing our MPs a great disservice: the invisible quangocrats at IPSA may have made this regrettable decision, but the public will inevitably direct their anger at their elected representatives in Parliament.

“We welcome the fact that IPSA has tied MPs’ future pay deals to public sector pay rather than average earnings across the economy as planned, but taxpayers will see that as little consolation.

“Make no mistake: IPSA’s decision to hand MPs a huge page rise is totally misguided, and the public won’t forget it.”

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