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Monday, December 09, 2013

An 11% pay rise for MPs is indefensible

All the media this morning continues to run with the weekend story of an 11% pay rise for MPs. Quite rightly this headline has caused huge public outrage.

What we do not know yet is how this forms part of the full package. There is talk of changes to pension arrangements and expenses that will make the pay rise revenue neutral, in which case, why bother?

The politicians are caught in a classic dilemma. Almost unanimously, they know how bad this looks and are prepared to forego the rise, and yet as a consequence of the last expenses scandal they have handed over control of these issues to a group of bureaucrats who, seemingly do not have the same sensitive political antennae.

The point is that no matter how justified this rise is when comparisons are made with other professions, no matter what mitigating factors there are, and despite the previous freeze in MPs salaries this rise in salary cannot be justified when consideration is taken of what is happening out in the country.

By all means keep MPs out of decisions affecting their own remuneration, but please make sure that the body who is doing that job has some political nous and understand that their job has much a wider impact than just the 650 Members of Parliament who they work for.
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