UK & World News
MPs Want Salary Hike To More Than £80,000
The vast majority of MPs believe they are underpaid and want their salaries hiked by more than £20,000, a new survey has revealed.
Parliament's sleaze watchdog conducted an anonymous survey as it prepared its first public consultation on MPs' pay and pensions.
It revealed that 69% of those questioned want more money and that, on average, they believe they should receive £86,250 every year.
This is a 32% increase on their current salary of £65,738 and more than three times the average salary in the UK.
The survey by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) also found more than a third believe they should keep generous final salary pensions.
Some 35% believe they should keep the final salary system, compared to 36% who believe they should switch to a career average in line with the rest of the private sector.
Ipsa has also now decided that it is not going to look at altering pay based on what MPs earn outside the Commons, or at performance-related pay or regional variations.
In its report, it has confirmed MPs' pay will rise by 1% in 2013 and another 1% in 2014 as the public sector pay freeze in place since 2010 is eased.
Controversially, the survey found 27% of MPs believe their pay should rise by more over the next two years despite benefits and public sector pay being capped at that level.
Some 53% also wanted to bring back so-called "golden goodbyes" worth tens of thousands of pounds that were previously handed to MPs who stood down voluntarily.
YouGov conducted online interviews with 100 MPs on Ipsa's behalf, and weighted the results slightly to represent the Commons by party, gender, year elected,and geography.
Conservatives were the most likely to believe they were underpaid, with 47% saying that was the case. Some 39% of Labour members and 9% of Lib Dems held the same view.
On average, Tories said their salary should be £96,740, while Lib Dems thought the right amount was £78,361 and Labour £77,322. Other parties put the figure at £75,091.
One MP said they should be paid £40,000 or less, 5% said £60-65,000 was fair and 17% went for £65-£70,000. A fifth of those questioned said they should be paid £95,000 or more.
Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance said: "Hiking politician's wages at a time of pay freezes, benefit caps and necessary spending cuts would be completely unpalatable to taxpayers.
"To do so would suggest that there is one rule for MPs and another for the rest of the country. There is zero appetite for a pay rise for MPs as borne out by the polling of the public commissioned by Ipsa.
"Most people clearly think that an MP's salary is currently about right."
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis added: "At a time when millions of workers are getting zero pay rises, the idea that MPs believe they deserve a 32% increase is living in cloud cuckoo land."
Ipsa chairman Sir Ian Kennedy, said: "In the past, MPs have agreed their pay and pensions among themselves.
"So this new approach of independent decision making marks a real and important change and is another crucial step in helping Parliament to regain the trust of the public.
"The consultation we held over the autumn has been hugely informative and important in directing our thinking.
"It also serves to show the spread of views and depth of feeling on this issue. We remain committed to listening and I would urge people to get involved in this debate."
The watchdog will continue examining the issues before publishing proposals in the spring, when there will be another consultation.
It plans to publish details of the new remuneration package in autumn this year, and they should take effect from the next Parliament in 2015.