Tuesday, 20 Oct 2020

MPs' £3,300 pay rise 'should go to key workers'

A potential £3,300 pay rise for members of Parliament should instead go to key workers due to the coronavirus pandemic, Keir Starmer has said.

The independent body that decides MPs’ this week proposed that their salaries should be linked to wage growth in the public sector, as has been the case in previous years.

The 4.1 per cent rise would see most MPs taking home £85,291 a year, a £3,359 increase on the previous level.

The Labour leader argued ‘we shouldn’t have it’ and suggested Parliament may be able to block the move.

Speaking on LBC radio today, he said: ‘I think this year of all years, people would say that money, if it’s available, should be spent on key workers, those who’ve been on the front line through this pandemic.’

The fact that MPs cannot decide how much they get paid is ‘mitigation, not an excuse’, he argued.

Mr Starmer suggested there should be cross-party talks on the matter ‘because I suspect there’s lots of MPs that feel it just isn’t right’.

He did not suggest how key workers should benefit from the extra money, which would total around £2.2 million. If distributed to all of Britain’s doctors, nurses and frontline police officers, it would amount to a pay increase of just £2.35 per year.

Almost 900,000 public sector workers are already due to get an above-inflation pay rise as part of the 2020 comprehensive spending review announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak in July.

It ranges from 2 per cent increases for members of the armed forces to 2.5 per cent increases for police officers and 3.1 per cent increases for teachers in England.

The pay rises were agreed by ministers following recommendations by independent bodies.

While the exact proposed pay rise for MPs is not yet known, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) said ‘it is likely to exceed the rate of inflation’.

It will be the first major review of MPs’ salaries since 2015, with minor adjustments having been made in 2018.

Ipsa is bound by law to carry out such a review in the first year of every parliament.

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