March 10 2014 Latest news:
Annabelle Dickson, Political Editor
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
A handful of MPs have said they will shun a proposed pay rise after the 2015 election and give the extra taxpayer cash to charity.
Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman, Norwich South MP Simon Wright and Waveney MP Peter Aldous all said they would give the extra £7,600 to good causes, if proposals were approved.
But Broadland MP Keith Simpson and Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley said the salary hike would be largely offset by pension and allowance changes, and might not leave MPs much better off.
Mr Simpson said: “Ipsa [Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority] has come up with a proposal which talks about increasing MPs’ salary, but at the same time increasing their contribution towards pensions and to look at the whole allowances to do with food and accommodation, and everything. I, for one, want to look at that in the round.”
South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said she would have to consider the final proposal and the full implications before she made any decisions about whether she would take a pay rise, adding: “It is right MPs do not decide their own salary. That is why Ipsa was established to conduct a thorough review of pay and conditions.”
Downing Street has declined to say if prime minister David Cameron will accept an 11pc pay rise expected to be recommended by the MPs’ independent standards watchdog.
North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, did not indicate if he would take the pay rise.
But he said; “In the wake of the expenses scandal, people’s trust in politicians was rightly damaged. Parliament created a new independent body, the IPSA, which would make decisions about MPs’ pay and expenses. Control was taken away from MPs – we don’t vote on our salaries and rightly so.
“However, I would urge IPSA to recognise that you simply can’t justify a substantial pay increase, even if offset by cuts in pension and other allowances, in the current economic climate. So many people have had a tough time since the crash in 2008. In my view, we should be treated in exactly the same way as other public sector workers.”
Mr Freeman said: “I will give any increase in remuneration from Ipsa to charity until we have a proper review of MPs’ roles and cost of parliament.”
Waveney MP Peter Aldous said if he was re-elected and the proposals were approved he would set up a “locality budget” – similar to one run by Suffolk county councillors.
“I’d make donations to charitable and other appropriate causes in the constituency, details of which would be available for scrutiny on my website,” he said.
Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley acknowledged a salary increase was “highly controversial” when average real take-home pay has taken a hit since the 2008 crash.
Ms Smith said: “My personal view is that the salary measure that the body is proposing is wrong. It is a real slap in the face for people who haven’t had a real rise in a long while. I don’t want it.
“I already give to charity wherever possible and I will do more, with this.”
Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis said; “I haven’t seen the full details. I think it would be a mistake though when we are making all the changes in the public sector. It is just not credible.”
He said he could see the argument that there would be charities that would be better beneficiaries.