Keir Starmer tells LBC MP's pay rise 'should be spent on key workers'

12 October 2020, 10:56 | Updated: 12 October 2020, 10:57

By Matt Drake

Sir Keir Starmer has told LBC he doesn't think MPs should get £3,300 pay rise next April, and the money should be spent on key workers instead.

Earlier this week it was reported the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), which sets MPs' salaries, has proposed continuing to link their pay packets to wage growth in the public sector.

But the Labour leader told LBC's Nick Ferrari that "this year of all years" was the time to give more to the keys workers who have been on the frontlines of the pandemic.

He added that the decision it was "not an excuse" that the decision had been "parcelled out to an independent body".

Sir Keir told LBC: "We shouldn't have it. I think this year of all years, people would say that money, if it's available, should be spent on key workers, those who've been on the front line through this pandemic."

He added that there should be a cross-party discussion about what to do "because I suspect there's lots of MPs that feel it just isn't right".

The wage rise - which uses the average public sector wage growth as a benchmark - means MPs will have a rise of around £3,300, taking their salaries to more than £85,000.

Read more: Margaret Ferrier should resign after 'jaw dropping' behaviour, Sir Keir says

Although the exact figure is not yet known, September's data would give MPs a 4.1% increase and Ipsa acknowledged that whatever the figure ends up being "it is likely to exceed the rate of inflation".

Sir Keir has dismissed calls for MPs to receive a pay rise
Sir Keir has dismissed calls for MPs to receive a pay rise. Picture: PA

Richard Lloyd, Ipsa's interim chairman, said the body has a statutory duty to review MPs' pay in the first year of each parliament.

Read more: UK at Covid-19 'tipping point' similar to first wave, top scientist warns

Major reviews were carried out in 2012, 2013 and 2015, with technical adjustments in 2018.

"Given the huge economic uncertainties arising from the coronavirus pandemic, we do not think it is right to depart from this approach now," he said.

The Labour leader's comments come after political commentator Keven Maguire told LBC that the proposed pay increase would go down like "cold sick".

He said: "It'll go down like a cup of cold sick. It's a disaster...because, as you say, a lot of people are fearing for their jobs and unemployment is about to soar. It will rocket when the furlough scheme comes to an end.

"People are facing restrictions on their lives, shorter hours, people aren't getting pay rises if they survive in jobs. If MPs take this...there will be a furious backlash. Trust is already low in politicians."

He pointed out that people are not following the Prime Minister's instructions the way they once might have, such as the social distancing, and this pay rise acceptance will cause "such an angry backlash."

Some MPs may argue that it is regulation body IPSA's choice to hike the salaries and it is not their fault; Nick asked Mr Maguire how valid this argument would be.

"Not very valid because they set the system up," replied Mr Maguire, "I know other workers that used to have pay formulas...they were changed by the Government. You said it up, you can change it."

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