10% pay rise approved for British MPs

©Kieran Doherty
 MPs will receive a pay rise from £67,060 to £74,000 which will be backdated to May 8, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (ISPA) has announced.

The rise of 10 percent has been approved despite fierce criticism from MPs and the Prime Minister himself.

However, the pay regulator claims the rise will not cost the taxpayer any more as it is being combined with cuts to expenses, MPs’ pensions and severance payments.

The IPSA chairman Ian Kennedy said the pay rise had presented a "toxic" issue, "which had been ducked for decades."

The IPSA, which was set up in 2009 following the MPs expenses scandal, said that the increase was in line with the average pay rise for public sector workers.

Among the MPs who supported the rise was Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood, who argued it is “well overdue.” Tobias added that a “silent majority” are in favor of the move.

Labour MP and Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz also said he supported the pay increase.

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"I am supporting IPSA's recommendations as they have been done independently of members," he said.

Conservative chair of the Defense Select Committee Rory Stewart said the rise was proof that IPSA was functioning the way it was set up to do.

"In my view, IPSA was established precisely to take away the responsibility of this sort of decision from the hands of MPs,” he said.

"MPs were traditionally unpaid. And Parliament predicted when salaries were introduced that it would be a source of continual public disappointment and anger, as it has been”.

"I believe IPSA has conducted serious research and comparisons. I believe they are in a better position than MPs to be objective. I would accept their recommendation” he added.

However, the rise has angered a number of politicians who see it as unfair.

"It cannot be right that Members of Parliament receive such a substantial increase, which will damage our standing with the constituents we serve, and once again lead to the reputation of Members of Parliament being besmirched,” former Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson said.

“Please think a bit again about this - at the very least you should put your report on hold with a view to implementing it when conditions allow,” he added.

Labour frontbencher Gloria De Piero added that she felt the rise would put her in an awkward place with her constituents.

"If I were to accept a 10% pay rise I would simply not be able to look the constituents I serve in the eye. I believe the vast majority of them would quite rightly be appalled,” she said.

“I strongly urge IPSA to provide a mechanism for MPs who wish to return any additional salary they receive that is over and above the amount awarded to other public sector workers in pay settlement to the Treasury so it can be put to better use."

Newly elected Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron pledged to give the 10 percent rise to charity, as he has done with previous MPs’ pay rises.