MPs’ “unacceptable” 10 per cent pay rise was confirmed yesterday as the rest of the public sector looked set to suffer its 1 per cent cap for another four years.
The near £7,000 addition to MPs’ pay packets — from £67,060 to £74,000 — came just weeks after Chancellor George Osborne condemned low-paid public-sector workers to the four-year ceiling on annual pay rises.
Unions have pointed out that many workers will have endured almost 10 years of pay misery when added to wage caps and freezes in previous years.
“Pay austerity might be over for MPs, but it goes on and on for everyone else in the public sector,” said public-sector union Unison general secretary Dave Prentis.
The rise followed the release of Office for National Statistics strike figures revealing that 89 per cent of all walkouts last year and almost 100 per cent in 2013 were over low pay.
But the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) yesterday said that the issue of politicians’ salaries could no longer be “ducked,” insisting that the pay hike for MPs would go ahead.
Prime Minister David Cameron previously called the substantial pay rise “unacceptable,” but later he would personally accept it after claiming that he was “unable” to stop the move.
However, the controversial issue has split the chamber with several MPs, including ministers, stating they would not accept the rise themselves but donate it to charitable causes.
Asked whether a big rise for MPs could be justified at a time when ministers are imposing pay restraint on the public sector, the spokeswoman said: “It is the government that makes the decision on public-sector pay. It is Ipsa that makes the decision on MPs’ pay.”
But Unison reminded the government that this logic was not applied when the independent NHS pay review body last year recommended a 1 per cent pay rise for health staff.
“The government felt able to ignore the advice of the NHS pay review body, but not, it would seem, the equivalent body for MPs,” said Mr Prentis.
The government decision to ignore the recommendation was the first in the pay review body’s history.