David Cameron facing Cabinet split over MPs’ pay – Telegraph.co.uk
Two other Cabinet ministers told The Telegraph that they will give the money to charity as did Eric Pickles, who until last month was the Communities and Local Government Secretary.
Senior Labour and SNP figures have condemned the salary rise, which will push MPs’ pay up to £74,000 a year.
In total rise will cost taxpayers around £4.5 million a year. It also emerged that the increase will boost MPs’ pensions, costing a further £10 million.
Ipsa, the independent body recommending the increase, has said that it will offset the costs to taxpayers with curbs to pensions, expenses for dinners, TV licences, taxis, and “golden goodbyes”.
There were fears that any public condemnation of the salary rise by Mr Cameron could prompt a rebellion by backbench MPs, putting the Conservative Party’s slim Commons majority at risk.
Downing Street’s indication that Mr Cameron would accept the rise immediately led to calls for public sector workers – including Whitehall’s highest-paid civil servants – to be given a similar rise.
Their wages are currently capped at £142,500, Mr Cameron’s current annual salary. Union leaders also called for similar rises for millions of ordinary workers following the decision on MPs.
Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall, the three leading candidates for the post of Labour leader, all said that they would not take the pay increase.
Mr Burnham said: “I have always been clear that 10 per cent pay rise for MPs cannot be justified. I won’t accept it. I will turn [it] down at source or give [it] to local groups.”
And Angus Robertson, the SNP leader in Westminster, said: “If Ipsa goes ahead with these changes I think it would be right to use the funds to support local charities.”
Even within his own party Mr Cameron is becoming increasingly isolated over the issue.
Ipsa was created after The Telegraph’s revealed the true scale of MPs expense claims
Mrs Morgan said it was not the “right time” for a pay rise and added: “I think MPs are going to make it very clear that they don’t think this is the right thing to do.”
She said: “Everyone from the Prime Minister downwards has said this is not the right time to have this sort of, or any kind of, pay rise really.”
Asked what she would do if she is paid the money automatically, she said: “I already make charitable donations and it is an opportunity to increase them.”
Mr Pickles said: “I’ve always taken the view that it should be reasonable and when you get an unreasonable amount I’ve always given it away.
“I wouldn’t necessarily keep it … What I’ve done in the past [give it to charity] is what I’ll probably do again.”
However, Conservative ministers who previously opposed Ipsa’s calls for pay rises on Wednesday fell into line with the Prime Minister.
Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, indicated that he will accept the £7,000 despite saying that he “won’t be taking a pay increase” when he was Defence Secretary because soldiers were only getting a one per cent rise.
Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, refused to comment. In 2013, he said that Ipsa could “stick it” when asked if he would take the money.
Marcial Boo, the chief executive of Ipsa, said it was up to MPs are “very welcome” to give the money to charity.
Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, said: “Surely the parliamentarians have to realise that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
“They cannot possibly object to pay review body reports in all of the different sectors now being implemented in full. To do so would be worse than hypocrisy.”
The Government admitted that a £142,500 cap on senior officials’ pay in Whitehall could now increase.
Under guidance published in April 2013 any department that wants to pay senior officials more than £142,500 a year – the Prime Minister’s salary in the last Parliament – have to get Treasury sign-off.
Mr Cameron’s decision to increase his total pay to £150,000 should allow departments to hire senior staff on more than £142,500 without asking permission of ministers.
Dave Penman, the general secretary of the First Division Association which represents mandarins, said the Government would now have to increase the Whitehall cap on top pay for civil servants.
As many as 100 senior civil servants could be affected. He told The Daily Telegraph that £142,500 “was the reference point”.
The figure was “not plucked out of the air – they were making the point ‘why should public servants get paid more than the Prime Minister because he has the most important job”.
He added: “All of the evidence demonstrates that a new, intelligent approach is needed on pay for senior grades in the civil service, but the limit of the Government’s ambition appears to be attracting recruits from the private sector who can afford to take a dramatic pay cut for the privilege of working in the public sector.”
It has previously been claimed that MPs’ wages should increase to prevent talented candidates being deterred from standing for office because they would have to take a significant pay cut if they work in the private sector.
However, Ipsa’s own consultation on the issue states that there is “no evidence” that the level of pay has any impact on whether someone chooses to stand for Parliament.
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