'Ditch Ipsa': MPs bite the hand that is feeding them a pay rise

Future of parliamentary regulator questioned as Miliband and Clegg say they will turn down a 10 per cent salary increase

MPs from across the political spectrum today turned on Parliament’s pay and expenses regulator threatening to abolish the organisation that wants to award them a pay rise.

Education Secretary Michael Gove dismissed the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) as a “silly organisation” and said they could “stick” their proposed 11 per cent salary hike.

Others questioned whether Ipsa itself, which costs £4 million a year to run, provides good value for money, and called for a vote in the House of Commons on whether it should be abolished.

A number of MPs including Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband said they would not accept the pay rise – which will increase MPs salaries to £74,000 in 2015.

At the heart of MPs anger is the way Ipsa has managed to drag out the debate on Parliamentary salaries for over a year – stoking public resentment over how much they are paid.

They point out that while Ipsa has proposed a large headline pay rise at the same time they are removing other lesser known benefits – such as MPs final salary pension schemes and generous grants when they lose their seats which will actually make them worse off.

But Ipsa's chairman Sir Ian Kennedy remained defiant saying the package of measures ended the “historic peculiarities” that had grown up around MPs' pay.

“We are recommending a modern, professional approach which also means refining the rules on expenses and business costs to rule out MPs claiming for an evening meal,” he said.

Under the planned shake-up, the current salary of £66,396 will rise to £74,000 after the election in May 2015.

From then wages would increase annually in line with average UK earnings.

The existing final salary pension scheme would be downgraded to career.

Death in service benefits would also be reduced from four and a quarter times salary to twice salary, and widows will be entitled to less.

In total the pension changes would save £2.5 million in the first year, according to Ipsa.

The old pre-2010 “resettlement grants” of up to £65,000 for departing MPs, even if they stood down voluntarily, will not be brought back.

In 2015 there would be interim arrangements of up to £33,000 for those who lose an election, but by 2020 defeated politicians will only be entitled to two weeks' pay for every year of service if they are under 41, and three weeks if they are older - similar to redundancy terms in the rest of the public sector. Parliamentary expenses would also be tightened again.

MPs said they would gladly forego the pay rise if they could also abolish Ipsa.

The Labour MP Tom Harris said: “If we abolish Ipsa, I will gladly vote to limit MPs' pay to a 1 per cent rise. But will our party leaders offer us that option?”

Tory backbencher Douglas Carswell wrote on his blog: “Ipsa has today managed to achieve something remarkable: all the public scorn that comes with a £6,500 pay rise for politicians, without the extra pay - at least not until after 2015.

“Ipsa has, unwittingly, given us a clear choice; take the pay rise after 2015 and accept the Ipsa system. Or veto the Ipsa pay hike, and in so doing make it clear we have no confidence in doing things this way.

“Faced with a choice between taking a pay hike, or taking the axe to Ipsa, I would vote to scrap Ipsa every time.”

Conservative MP Harriett Baldwin told the BBC it was “clearly an inappropriate time” to bring forward a rise, and added: “I also think we need to question increasingly the value of the £6 million a year that Ipsa is costing the taxpayer to micro-manage my tiny little claims for parking and what have you.

“Let's just transparently publish what we are claiming for. It seems astonishing to me that it's costing £6 million a year for them to manage the expenses of 650 people and to come up with all these consultations.”

Downing Street refused to comment on whether the Prime Minister would accept an increase, stressing there would be a consultation before the regulator reached a final decision.

“The cost of politics should go down not up. And MPs' pay shouldn't go up while public sector pay is rightly being constrained,” a Number 10 spokesman said.

But Mr Miliband said he would turn down a rise: “I don't think MPs should be getting a 10 per cent pay rise when nurses and teachers are facing either pay freezes or very low increases and people in the private sector are facing similar circumstances.

“I'm very clear - I don't think this package of proposals should go ahead in the current economic circumstances.”

Speaking on his weekly LBC radio phone-in, Mr Clegg said: “I cannot remember a time in modern years where so many millions of people who are getting up every morning, working hard in the public sector to keep our public services going, have been put under such a prolonged period of public sector pay restraint.

“That is, to put it mildly, about the worst time in which you seek then to advocate that MPs should get a double digit pay increase.”

However, there were voices in favour of the rise. Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: “MPs are paid about the same as a junior school headmistress or headmaster. I've got lots and lots of those in my constituency, there is only one MP. I can't think of another job where there's only 650 of those roles in the whole of Great Britain that are paid on this sort of level.”

Another Conservative, Charles Walker, attacked Mr Cameron, Mr Miliband and Mr Clegg for “politicising” the pay issue, demanding that their salaries be reduced to that of a backbencher.

“Here we are in another pickle with the pay of members of parliament being politicised again by the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Prime Minister,” he said.

“If they don't want MPs to receive this pay rise, which clearly they don't, then the only answer is to scrap Ipsa but they would look pretty stupid arguing for that having argued that this was necessary to clean up politics.”

Sport
world cup 2014A history of the third-place play-offs
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Sport
Yaya Touré has defended his posturing over his future at Manchester City
News
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
news
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice