Scottish Nationalist MPs are likely to donate their £7000 pay rise to good causes as a backlash mounts against David Cameron over the controversial hike.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) confirmed a ten per cent increase for MPs, despite rises for the rest of the public sector being capped at one per cent for another four years. The SNP said it was “not right” for MPs to get a pay rise at a time of austerity and huge financial difficulty for many people.
Linlithgow SNP MP Martyn Day said: “There is nothing you can do to stop it being paid to you, but what you do with it is up to you. We have taken a very strong line on austerity and we expect our members to do something socially conscious with it.”
He said he would put the cash from the pay rise into a special fund which he would use to support good causes in his constituency.
“There are a lot of ordinary wee groups who, if you gave them £100, could make a big difference,” he said.
“I’ve got a separate savings jar and I will disburse the money over the course of the year. When you take off the tax it’s not a big pot, but you could still do quite a bit with it.”
Confirmation of the MPs’ rise came just minutes after the UK government announced police officers south of the Border would get a one per cent increase. MPs’ salaries would now go up every April in line with average weekly public sector earnings. Politicians elected before 2015 will also see a major boost to their pensions.
But Mr Cameron has imposed a freeze on the ministerial element of pay – meaning he and Cabinet ministers will only get an effective five per cent rise in total remuneration.
Downing Street refused to say whether Mr Cameron will donate his extra cash to charity, insisting that how the Prime Minister spends his salary is “a private matter”.
Labour leadership candidate Yvette Cooper said the Prime Minister should intervene to stop the increase, something which would require a change in the law.
She said: “This is crazy. How on earth has David Cameron allowed this to happen?”
Ms Cooper and fellow contenders Andy Burnham and Liz Kendall said they would donate the extra cash to a good cause.
Ipsa chairman Sir Ian Kennedy defended the rise, saying MPs’ pay was an issue that had been ducked for decades.
He said: “Over the last parliament, MPs’ pay increased by two per cent, compared to five per cent in the public sector and 10 per cent in the whole economy.
“It is right that we make this one-off increase and then formally link MPs’ pay to public sector pay.”
He pointed to curbs on MPs’ perks – such as introducing a career average pension and scrapping expenses for evening meals – which will offset the impact of the pay hike.