11% rise in salaries welcomed by Scottish leaders

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Indy Politics

Scotland's political leaders are welcoming recommendations that they should receive a pay rise of almost 11 per cent over two years to take the annual salary of an MSP to slightly more than £47,000.

Scotland's political leaders are welcoming recommendations that they should receive a pay rise of almost 11 per cent over two years to take the annual salary of an MSP to slightly more than £47,000.

A report by the Senior Salaries Review Body concluded that the basic pay should be set at 87.5 per cent of their Westminster counterparts', while cabinet ministers' salaries should remain unchanged.

Despite coming only weeks after the "Officegate" affairs, the resignation of the First Minister over an expenses "fuddle" and big payouts to ex-ministers, Scottish parliamentarians are expected to agree to the report when they vote on their pay rises early next year.

There was some dissent among backbench MSPs yesterday. The Scottish Socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan said his Holyrood colleagues were becoming increasingly out of touch with the voters and warned that acceptance of the pay rise would create an even greater division between the public and its elected representatives.

"Politicians are already far too well paid. We should be paid closer to national average earnings of £21,000, which would still be in the top 25 per cent of earners in Scotland," Mr Sheridan said.

John Swinney, the Scottish National Party leader, has already said he had rejected a recommendation that he should be awarded a special pay rise of more than £32,000 in recognition of his being leader of the largest opposition party. "I did not enter politics for the money, but to get things done," he said. Instead of a salary increase for Mr Swinney, the Review Body suggested a supplementary allowance scheme to assist all the party leaders in their duties.

MSPs are paid a basic salary of £42,493. The suggested rise of £4,601 over two years would take their pay to £47,094, still well below their Westminster colleagues, who earn £55,000.

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