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As the UK’s economy takes hit after hit from the impact of Covid-19, with thousands losing their jobs as businesses shrink or close altogether, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has picked this moment to award MPs a pay rise.
The better-than-inflation pay hike of around £3,500 is, according to the authority, linked to the average rise for public sector staff.
IPSA said it would be basing next year’s pay rise on October’s public sector year-on-year three-month growth figure of just over 4 per cent.
Richard Lloyd, IPSA’s interim chairman, said: “We carried out a major review of MPs’ pay with consultations in 2012, 2013 and 2015, and technical adjustments in 2018. Given the huge economic uncertainties arising from the pandemic, we do not think it is right to depart from this approach now.”
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In real terms an MP currently on £81,932 a year, plus generous expenses, will receive an extra £3,360.
Nadhim Zahawi, the business minister, and Lucy Powell, shadow business minister, have already announced that they would donate the extra money to charity.
Mr Zahawi told Sky News: “[IPSA] is independent but I think it’s incumbent on the leadership of IPSA to also explain to the public…. as to why they think this is the right thing to do.
“I would certainly look at donating it to one of my very good causes – maybe the Shakespeare Hospice in Stratford.”
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At the beginning of the lockdown period MPs were also handed an extra £10,000 expenses allowance to meet homeworking costs for themselves and their staff.
In July 2020, a wide range of public sector workers were awarded a pay rise, with teachers and doctors seeing the largest rise at 3.1 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively.
Qualified teachers in England, depending on exactly which part of the country they work in, are paid between £24,000 and £42,000. A three per cent pay rise would give a London-based teacher an additional £1,200.
Jeremy Hutton, a policy analyst at the TaxPayers’ Alliance pressure group told the Sun: “IPSA must be tin-eared if it really thinks a pay rise for MPs should be considered this year.
"Public finances are in a parlous state, furlough is coming to an end and unemployment is rising.
"A pay rise in parliament would be an insult to hardworking taxpayers who’ve had a very tough year.”
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