MPs’ demands for pay rise slammed by union leaders

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MPs ARE demanding a £20,000 pay rise, just days after voting for cuts and caps on benefits for millions of struggling families.

A survey for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority found 69 per cent of the Westminster politicians believed their £65,738 salary was not enough.

The average they suggested was £86,250.

The survey also found 35 per cent of MPs believed they deserve to keep gold-plated pensions.

Earlier this week, MPs backed UK Government plans to cap benefit rises at one per cent, well below inflation, despite warnings it would cause hardship for many families, including many in work.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis accused MPs of living in cloud cuckoo land.

He said: “MPs should get real about pay. This shows they are totally out of touch with working people. How can they think that they deserve a 32 per cent increase when the rest of the country is being told to tighten their belts?

“No wonder this research is anonymous, it shows real contempt for the plight of families struggling to make ends meet.”

Unite union national officer Rachael Maskell said: “This is the sort of self-interest which gives politics such a bad 
reputation.”

But Tory backbencher Andrew Bridgen insisted the “vast majority” of the public did not consider £65,000 a year “a lot of money”, even though it is more than double the average wage.

He said: “There is no doubt that over the past 20 years MPs’ pay has not kept pace with the civil servants they were pegged at 20 years ago.”

On average, Tories said their salary should be £96,740, while Lib Dems thought the right amount was £78,361 and Labour £77,322.

A fifth of those questioned said they should be paid £95,000 or more.

Some MPs added comments to the survey. One wrote: “An MP earns less than a deputy headteacher in the bigger schools in their constituencies, every pharmacist, GP, police area commander [and] in my case seven employees of the local council.”

Another warned: “We are moving towards a situation in which only those with private means will stand for parliament.”

The row came as Ipsa published a report on its initial consultation into MPs’ pay and pensions. It rejected the calls for a big rise and said MPs’ pay would be capped at one per cent for the next two years.

iswanson@edinburghnews.com