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UK Politics

MPs to be asked to give up 1% pay rise

MPs are to be asked to give up a 1% pay rise ordered by the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB), it was announced today.

Leader of the House Sir George Young said a resolution would be put before the Commons to block the increase in light of the pay freeze imposed on public sector workers.

The move will frustrate many MPs who argue they are already underpaid on £65,738 a year, and fuel anger at the tight curbs imposed after the scandal over expenses abuses.

MPs gave up control over their pay rises in July 2008, when the SSRB was tasked with calculating how much they should receive based on awards for a basket of other public sector workers.

The increase takes effect automatically, but many Government ministers and backbenchers have opted not to accept the money over the past two years as the country suffered through recession.

The 1% rise set by the SSRB would have taken MPs' pay to £66,395 a year.

But Sir George confirmed in a written statement to the Commons that he would be acting to stop it coming into force.

"The Government supports the independent determination of Members' remuneration," Sir George said.

"However, in light of the decision to impose a two-year pay freeze on all public sector workers earning more than £21,000 per annum, a motion will be brought forward to invite the House to rescind the 2008 resolution, so that the 1% pay increase will not take effect."

The resolution is expected to be laid before the Commons within weeks, and it is understood coalition MPs will be pressed by whips to support the proposal in any vote.

In a letter to Speaker John Bercow, SSRB chairman Bill Cockburn stressed that the body had "no discretion in making the determination" of a 1% rise but simply applied the formula created in 2008.

"The resulting figure is not what the SSRB would have recommended had we been able to have regard to all the circumstances including, this year, the Government's pay freeze for workers paid more than £21,000 a year," he wrote.