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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Should Independent pay bodies have a built-in social conscience?

The decision by the ndependent Parliamentary Standards Authority to give MPs a further 1.3% pay rise on top of a £7,000 a year increase from May last year beggars belief.

According to the Guardian, IPSA justify this latest nonsense by saying that the rise is “in line with our determination on MPs’ pay, published in July 2015, where we committed to adjusting MPs’ pay for the rest of this parliament at the same rate as changes in public sector earnings published by the Office for National Statistics."

They go on to say:  “The ONS index takes account of promotions and bonuses which may explain why the figure is higher than the 1% wider public sector pay policy.”

If only the government were that generous to the rest of the public sector.

In Cardiff Bay we have a similar situation in which the Independent Remuneration Board has defiied public opinion and that of most Assembly Members by forcing a £10,000 pay increase on those AMs who will be succesfully elected in May. AMs will not be allowed to take less as the money will be automatically paid to them. If they then wish to give it away they can do so.

It is almost as if these bodies are seeking to establish their independence by defying public opinion.

Nobody really wants to change the system back so that members are responsible for their own pay and conditions again. But I think there is a case for constraining bodies such as IPSA and the Independent Remuneration Board so that they have to give far more weight to public opinion.
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