Cameron urges restraint as MPs 'set for pay hike'
LONDON (AFP) – Prime Minister David Cameron has called for a cut in the cost of Westminster politics after reports that MPs could be in line for a salary hike of more than 10%.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) is reported to be considering setting a pay rise of around ??7,500 for each MP to a sum closer to ??75,000 from 2015 onwards.
"His view is that it's important that the total cost of politics be coming down," a Downing Street spokesman said.
"He is looking at the variety of different ways we can ensure that, at a time of fiscal constraint when we are asking people to tighten their belts, that it is important that that is reflected in Westminster as well."
MPs are currently paid a basic salary of ??66,396 but that is due to go up to ??67,060 next year.
IPSA, responsible for regulating MPs' pay and pensions since May 2011 after being set up in the wake of the parliamentary expenses scandal, is set to announce the rise on July 11, the Sun on Sunday reported.
The newspaper said sources indicated the regulator would suggest raising MPs' pay to ??75,000 a year, in a series of increases starting in 2015, along with much higher pension contributions.
Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "MPs are already very well paid both in terms of European politicians and the average salary in this country.
"IPSA must recognise that its own polling shows the public simply do not support an increase, nor would it be consistent for MPs to take a rise while rightly freezing pay elsewhere in the public sector."
Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps declined to say whether he himself would turn down a large rise, telling the BBC: "I am clear that, in times of austerity, everybody should be a part of that and I am also clear, on behalf of the Conservative Party, that in the next parliament ... that we would not want to see the cost of politics rise.
"I do not think that the country needs higher-paid... more cost to running parliament and the Conservative Party will go into the next election with a firm pledge to do something about that."