MPs’ pay could rise above public sector workers under watchdog’s proposals

Body which decides on salaries wants new powers to vary pay ‘below or above’ public sector

Adam Forrest
Friday 23 July 2021 08:16
Today's daily politics briefing

Britain’s MPs could get a pay rise above other public sector workers from next year, according to proposals set out by the independent watchdog which sets salaries.

News of a pay freeze for tens of thousands of public sector workers sparked outrage this week, while it emerged the 3 per cent pay rise for doctors and nurses will come out of the existing NHS budget.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) has proposed that it is given new powers to vary the annual pay for MPs “below or above” public sector pay.

MPs’ pay – which currently stands at £81,932 a year – has been closely linked to public sector pay rates of pay over the past five years.

But Ipsa wants greater leeway to make changes in pay – arguing that the Covid crisis means annual public sector pay rates could be a “much less reliable guide to changes in earnings than they are in ordinary times”.

However, a spokesperson said it was unlikely that the body would decide to recommend a pay rise higher than public sector workers, most of whom have had to put up with a freeze.

An Ipsa spokesman said: “As we make clear in the consultation, if current trends continue, we think it is more likely that we would be making a downward adjustment rather than an upward adjustment to the figure we use to determine pay for members of Parliament.”

The watchdog will launch a four-week consultation process on the proposed, with an announcement expected in the spring.

On Thursday, the Police Federation of England and Wales said it no longer has confidence in the home secretary Priti Patel – branding a pay freeze for officers as “the final straw”.

Ms Patel had confirmed that police officers earning more than £24,000 would be hit by the freeze, while those earning less will be given an annual rise of £250.

It comes as school leaders condemned a pay freeze for teachers – confirmed this week by education secretary Gavin Williamson – as an insulting “slap in the face”.

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