MPs' pay frozen after backlash over proposed £3,000 hike

11 December 2020, 14:29 | Updated: 11 December 2020, 15:37

MPs will have their salaries frozen for 2021/22
MPs will have their salaries frozen for 2021/22. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

MPs will have their salaries frozen for 2021/22 following a public backlash over a proposed £3,000 pay hike.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), which reviews the pay of politicians, wrote to MPs on Friday to confirm the salary freeze.

Ipsa interim chair Richard Lloyd said the move was to prevent a pay rise "inconsistent" with the damage caused to the economy by the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision comes following pressure from the public and MPs who opposed the £3,000 wage hike and in light of a public sector pay "pause" announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak near the end of last month.

In October, the parliamentary pay watchdog said MPs could be entitled to a 4.1 per cent rise in April that would have seen their salaries jump to £85,291.

Watch: Nick Ferrari confronts Sunak on NHS pay freeze during Covid

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Ipsa interim chair Richard Lloyd wrote to MPs: "The unprecedented impact of the Covid pandemic has had an unexpected, but different, effect on public and private sector earnings.

"It is clear that applying the forthcoming official statistic for public-sector earnings growth would result in a salary increase for MPs that would be inconsistent with the wider economic data and would not reflect the reality that many constituents are facing this year.

"The Ipsa board has therefore decided that the salary for Members of Parliament will remain unchanged for the financial year 2021/22."

Labour MP Lucy Powell welcomed the move, saying on Twitter: "MPs pay to be frozen along with others. At last common sense prevails."

Read more: Public sector should not pay for Sunak's 'irresponsible choices' - Labour

Watch: Politicians should 'certainly have a pay freeze', says MP Steve Baker

Mr Lloyd said he is "grateful" for the responses and suggestions received from the public while making the decision and that the Ipsa board would consider these in future pay consultations.

"As well as calling for Ipsa to take a different approach now in light of the pandemic, a number of responses also included suggestions for alternative approaches to adjusting pay in future years," he added.

"The Ipsa Board will be reflecting on these suggestions and will publish its response to the consultation next year."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in urging the body not to go ahead with the increase recommended in October, after more than 50 Tory MPs called for a freeze.

Ipsa's report at the time recommended salaries should continue to be linked to the growth in public sector pay.

However, Friday's letter noted that the body had earlier stressed that "any significant change" in public sector pay would be "reflected in MPs' pay in subsequent years" and Mr Sunak's cap was understood to be a major part of the decision.

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