MPs pay rise STILL not rejected… even though Scottish MSPs turned down 5.2% increase

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Scottish Parliament representatives said it would be “wholly inappropriate” to increase their salaries next year while the UK was fighting the coronavirus pandemic. MSPs’ salaries are linked to public sector pay and they were due to receive a 5.1 percent rise next year.

But Holyrood’s Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh announced the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party corporate body had rejected the plan.

MSPs currently receive a salary of £64,470.

In a letter to Scottish politicians, Mr Macintosh wrote: “In the midst of a public health crisis with such devastating economic consequences and hardship for so many households, the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body (SPCB) unanimously agreed yesterday that it would be wholly inappropriate for the ASHE index to be applied to MSP and ministerial salaries next year.”

He added: “These are exceptional circumstances and no other decision would have been appropriate or welcome at this time – either inside or out – with Parliament.

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“Now, more than ever, is a time for political leadership where our own salaries are concerned.”

The move puts increased pressure on the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), which sets MPs’ salaries, to also reject a pay rise.

Ipsa has not officially set out whether it will grant those in the House of Commons a raise, but they are expected to recommend a 4.1 percent increase.

The amount would equate to an extra £3,300 a year.

There is outrage among MPs at the prospect of an increase in salary when public sector pay has been frozen.

Last month Chancellor Rishi Sunak imposed a pay freeze on 1.3 million public sector workers saying it was hard to justify the rise when they already earned so much more the those in the private’s sector and the public finances had been hit hard by the pandemic.

The decision means teachers, police and firefighters will not see their salaries increase.

But Ipsa is an independent body which has sole discretion on MPs’ salaries, meaning parliamentarians cannot reject their own pay rise if approved.

Some MPs are already demanding a change in the law to override Ipsa’s recommendation if they suggest a raise.

Tory MP John Redwood said the Prime Minister should “legislate to override the independent MP pay body that otherwise will pay more to MPs at a time of restraint”.

And Conservative Steve Baker added: “Ipsa must freeze MP pay if there is a public sector pay freeze.

“If necessary, the law must be changed.”

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Both Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer have also demanded a freeze on MPs’ pay.

Sir Keir said: “This year of all years we shouldn’t have it.

“That money, if it’s available, should be spent on key workers – those who have been on the front line through this pandemic.”

And the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “MPs’ salaries are obviously decided by an independent body but given the circumstances, the PM doesn’t believe MPs should be receiving a pay rise.”

Ipsa has been keen to stress that a final decision on MPs pay has not been reached.

It said: “Ipsa has not given MPs a 4.1 percent pay rise.

“We have consulted on whether or not to continue to benchmark MPs’ pay against public sector pay, as we have since 2015, given the current economic circumstances.

“No decision has been made, but in the meantime their pay remains unchanged.”

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