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MP slams 11 per cent pay rise - but won’t say if she’ll take it

NOT RIGHT ... South Shields Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck doesnt agree with pay rise plans, but has yet to decide whether to accept it.  Jarrow's Stephen Hepburn, below, was unavailable for comment.

NOT RIGHT ... South Shields Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck doesnt agree with pay rise plans, but has yet to decide whether to accept it. Jarrow's Stephen Hepburn, below, was unavailable for comment.

SOUTH Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has slammed a proposed 11 per cent pay rise for MPs as “wrong.”

Labour MP Ms Lewell-Buck said the idea of such a hike in pay – which will take salaries up to about £74,000 – is unfair to taxpayers during the recession.

The rise is being proposed by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).

She said: “At a time when people in my constituency are suffering because of the cost of living crisis, it is wrong that IPSA is proposing a pay rise.”

IPSA will unveil the proposed Westminster pay package on Thursday, when the organisation, which was set up to take control of MPs’ salaries after the expenses scandal, is expected to announce the increase to MPs’ £66,396 pay packages.

It is expected to try and to calm critics by announcing a tougher-than-expected squeeze on MPs’ pensions, in a bid to save £4.6m in the public purse.

The move is opposed by party leaders, who are fearful of a voters’ backlash.

Mrs Lewell-Buck, added: “IPSA was created to monitor MPs’ pay and expenses and make sure that politics is a fair deal for the taxpayers. I don’t think many taxpayers will think this pay rise is fair.”

However, a spokesman for Mrs Lewell-Buck said she will wait until the full details of MPs’ pay rise and conditions are published on Thursday, before deciding whether to accept any pay rise.

Labour MP for Jarrow, Stephen Hepburn, was unavailable to comment on the proposed pay rise, and whether he will accept.

Chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said he would not take advantage of any rise, but admitted that Parliament is powerless to stop it if it goes ahead.

He said: “Most people will find it utterly incomprehensible, that at a time of pay restraint for the public sector, at a time of further squeezes on Government spending, that IPSA should be recommending (that), if that’s what they do.

“I think it would be wholly inappropriate for MPs to get such a large pay rise at a time when every other public sector worker sees their pay rises capped at one per cent.

“I have said in the past that of course, personally, I wouldn’t accept it.”

Mr Alexander added that the Government had made a “very strong submission to IPSA” during its consultation on the proposals, but that MPs were powerless to block an inflation-busting rise.

“Even at this late stage, IPSA should recognise the wider climate not just of public opinion but, more importantly, the wider economic climate and the wider climate of people’s living standards,” he said.

witter: @Monica_Turnbull

 

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