Dorset MPs slam 11% pay rise as "crazy" - but Drax says they should accept increase (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Dorset MPs slam 11% pay rise as "crazy" - but Drax says they should accept increase
MPs in Dorset have slammed their planned 11 percent pay rise as “crazy” and “unacceptable”.
Both Conor Burns and Annette Brooke criticized the proposed £7,600 increase and called for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority to have a re-think before the next election.
Mr Burns, MP for Bournemouth West, would not say if he would accept the money but believes IPSA are making a mistake.
“The bottom line is that at the moment an 11 percent rise is crazy,” he said.
“I don't think it should happen.
“I do think at some point there should be a grown-up debate.”
But Mr Burns said that 20 years ago MPs' salaries were comparable with GPs and head teachers and warned “people of quality” could be less likely to take public office if they have to give up a higher salary.
Mr Burns believes IPSA has made a “cynical” decision to propose the pay rise while also looking to change the pensions in a way that he believes will see MPs lose out in total.
IPSA is also looking to change MPs' pensions from matching their final salary to matching their career average, a move made elsewhere in the public sector.
On Thursday IPSA is poised to announce whether it plans to go ahead with the proposals.
The 11 percent increase would see MPs salaries rise to £74,000 from the 2015 election.
Future increases would then be linked to average pay rises.
Annette Brooke, MP for Mid-Dorset and North Poole, is standing down at the next election.
“But I personally feel the rise should be phased in over five years after the general election,” she said.
She added: “To talk about an 11 percent pay increase is just unacceptable in these times of austerity, when people are being asked to make sacrifices.”
Mrs Brooke said she is standing down with the understanding that the resettlement grant provided to previous MPs will not be available to her. This is another proposal which IPSA will make an announcement on, on Thursday.
But Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset, said MPs should accept the rise as it has been proposed by an independent body.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Committee (IPSA), set up in 2009 in the wake of the expenses scandal, will reveal its proposals for MPs pay on Thursday.
Mr Drax said: “I would abide by whatever IPSA recommends.
“I think if some MPs accept it and others don’t there is going to be absolute chaos.
“If all the party leaders were to instruct MPs not to take it, then that would be something to be considered.”
He added: “The point is that it’s an independent body, and if they are recommending a pay rise then they must have looked at the matter and felt that MPs should be paid more.”
He admitted the move may ‘stick in people’s gullets’.
Mr Drax added: “I can understand why the public feel as they do on this and I’m sure some are grieved that they are not getting a pay rise.
“It feels as though we are getting one better.
“But how can you set up an independent body to make recommendations and then decide that these recommendations are wrong?”
The proposals also include plans to change pensions for MPs from matching their final salaries to matching their career average.
IPSA will announce on Thursday whether the proposals will go ahead.
Mr Letwin said he would not be accepting the increase.
He said: “It is not appropriate for MPs to receive such a pay rise at a time when pay rises in the rest of the public sector are being capped at one per cent.”
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