Yes, we believe they deserve a pay hike - but there will be sacrifices

Tackling this issue is long overdue and will be good for democracy, says watchdog boss

Related Topics

There have been a lot of screaming headlines over the last 24 hours – all focused on a recommended pay rise for MPs.

Well, it is true that we are recommending a pay rise, but that is not the whole truth.

Take a step back and look at the facts. Ipsa was tasked with cleaning up expenses and with reviewing and revising how we pay MPs.

We’ve done the first part over the last three years and now we have turned our mind to the second. Once you begin to look at MPs’ remuneration, you can’t help but be struck at the peculiar benefits which have grown up over time.

Successive governments failed to address MPs’ pay in a transparent way. Resettlement payments emerged – worth up to a year’s salary. And MPs’ pensions evolved into something quite unsustainable.

And of course, up until 2009, there was also the whispered encouragement that MPs could top up their salary through allowances. We’ve already brought this final one to a juddering halt. But we also need to strip back these other peculiarities. And at the same time we need to tackle the question of MPs’ pay head on, no longer relying on supplements of one sort or another to make up for the fact that their pay has fallen behind in recent years. That is not just our view, but the view of successive reviews in recent years.

And so we are recommending a package of reforms. Getting rid of the “golden parachutes”, bringing pensions into line with the rest of the public sector, further tightening of the expenses regime and, yes, a pay rise of about £6,300.

Not now, I hear you say. But the time is never good to tackle this question. Look at the experience of the last 30 years, which teaches us that this issue will never be politically convenient – or popular. And so we are addressing the question now, but doing so in a way which is mindful of the economic context and mindful of the pressures on taxpayers.

Taken together, the changes we’ve introduced to MPs’ costs and expenses and to their pay and pensions will save the taxpayer some £7m a year.

We’ve cleaned up the system, introduced unprecedented transparency, and now we’re recommending reforming and opening up MPs’ pay and benefits – removing their peculiar perks. And we’re doing all this with a healthy saving for the taxpayer. 

And beyond that, we are proposing to MPs that they introduce an annual report – in a standard format, to help explain their activity to their constituents. Because it is clear from our research that many voters do not understand what MPs do in their constituencies and especially what they do at Westminster.

That has to be good news for the taxpayer. For MPs. And for our democracy.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Ed Miliband's conference speech must show Labour has a head as well as a heart

Patrick Diamond

To hear the Yes campaigners, you’d think London was the most evil place on Earth

Yasmin Alibhai Brown
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam