Government ministers will face a further five years of frozen pay, David Cameron has announced, insisting that the Cabinet “will all play [their] part” in balancing the books.
The move will save £4m by 2020 and the Prime Minister said it sent a clear signal that he was intent on showing that his “all in this together” approach continued.
However some suggest the move is designed to offset criticism of further cuts to the welfare budget that could be announced as early as July, when George Osborne delivers his emergency Budget.
The Conservatives have said they will find £12bn of welfare savings by 2020 but no agreement has been reached on where the axe should fall.
It has been reported that the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, is “pushing back” against attempts to “salami slice” the welfare budget to deliver the savings pledge.
One possibility is that Mr Osborne could announce that a freeze on increasing welfare payments could be extended beyond 2017 until the end of the parliament. This would be in line with the freeze on ministerial salaries.
Cabinet ministers in the Commons currently receive a salary of £134,565, including their pay as MPs. The Prime Minister is paid a total of £142,500. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has recommended a rise in MPs’ pay from £67,060 to £74,000 but this would come at the same time as a cut to MPs’ pension contributions – meaning that overall, MPs’ total benefits package would remain unchanged.
Mr Cameron said the decision to freeze ministerial pay for the duration of the parliament was part of his “one nation” approach to tackling the deficit and becoming a country where “all hard-working people can get on”.
“We can’t pretend there’s not still a long way to go,” he said. “We’ve halved the deficit as a share of the economy – but there’s still half of it left to pay off. So we will continue to take the difficult decisions necessary to bring spending down and secure our economy.
“As we go about doing that, I want people to be in no doubt: I said five years ago we were all in this together, and five years on, nothing has changed.”Reuse content