MPs could get a pay rise of up to £20,000 in a move that could spark considerable public resentment.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), the body responsible for MPs’ salaries and pensions, is expected to recommend a substantial increase on the current £65,738 annual pay packet in a report next month.
Ipsa is considering hiking salaries to £86,000, although a rise of £10,000 is considered more likely. In return, there would be curbs to Members’ gold-plated pensions and personal expenses.
Officials are concerned that David Cameron and other party leaders may find it difficult to back such an increase given the struggling economy and the pay restraints on the rest of the public sector.
At a time when many people are having to tighten their purse strings, any rise would call into question the Tories’ “We’re all in this together” slogan.
In January, the Parliamentary watchdog released a survey showing politicians believed they should be paid £86,250, with some demanding more than £100,000.
The YouGov poll of 100 MPs, carried out on behalf of Ipsa, showed that 69 per cent believed they were underpaid on their current salary. Conservative MPs were the most likely to call for bigger pay packets. On average, the Tories said their salary should be £96,740, compared to £78,361 for the Lib Dems and £77,322 for Labour.
Speaker John Bercow has been outspoken in his backing of better remuneration.
“I do think there is some historical resentment that party leaders who either had a higher salary by virtue of their office or who have had access to other sources of finance have been very quick to tell ordinary MPs what they should and shouldn’t be paid,” he said earlier this year.
“When you’ve got other means from whatever source, it’s quite easy to do that and I don’t think it’s terribly clever or brave.”
Last month ministers acted to reduce the government element of their pay so they did not benefit from a 1% increase granted to MPs.