Cabinet ignores appeals on pay

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The Independent Online
A PAY increase for cabinet ministers has been conceded by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown after two years of pay freezes for senior ministers.

Downing Street said last night that no rise had been agreed by the Cabinet, but the increase, which was put off in April, is now expected to be approved after the European elections on 10 June.

The Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, argued powerfully in Cabinet for ministers to be paid the "rate for the job" and is understood to have won a long-term deal for colleagues.

Cabinet ministers are likely to see their pay rise from about pounds 92,000, including their salaries of pounds 47,008 as MPs, to more than pounds 100,000 over the next two years.

The Chancellor had resisted any pay increases for cabinet ministers to demonstrate pay restraint to the "fat cat" business leaders attacked when Labour was in Opposition. Mr Brown also saw pay restraint by the Cabinet as a vital component in the battle to hold down public sector pay demands. Mr Blair called for an end to the annual conflict over pay increases by trade unions this week.