Sheffield MPs are uneasy over proposals to boost their pay by as much as 10 per cent – with some calling on the watchdog body responsible to ‘think again’.
Pay rates for MPs are the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority – IPSA – which is proposing current salaries of £66,396 should rise by £6,500 from 2015.
The increase is part of a package that will see other benefits curbed, including pensions and severance payments.
Hallam MP Nick Clegg has already said he would refuse to accept any such pay rise and added that the increase was ‘incomprehensible’, given the treatment of other public sector workers.
“We’re trying to make savings as fairly as possible, we’re trying to keep everybody together if you like, and I don’t think it helps at all taking one very small, but very prominent, part of the public sector payroll, MPs, and saying you are going to be treated completely differently from nurses, doctors, firemen, firewomen, everybody working in the public sector,” he said.
“I really do think that, if we are going to have an approach towards the public sector, then everybody was got to be treated as fairly and as equally as possible.”
Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield said: “In my view it is clear that at a time when others have their pay frozen, this rise should not go ahead in the current economic circumstances.
“I will be writing to IPSA asking them to think again.”
Angela Smith, MP for Stocksbridge and Penistone, agreed: “In the current economic circumstances when so many South Yorkshire families are struggling to make ends meet, it would be wrong for MPs to be awarded a rise such as that which the consultation by IPSA is suggesting.
“And especially one that is so out of step with that being offered to many people in our area.”
David Blunkett, MP for Brightside and Hillsborough, said any change needed to be in line with what was happening to men and women in public service and in the private sector.
“It would be common sense to phase in any change. I am in a better position than most back-bench MPs but I do know my colleagues living and working in two places are finding things difficult. Though no one will shed tears, they do have families like everyone else.”
Sheffield Heeley MP Meg Munn said it was right that pay issues had been taken away from parliament – but it was important to point out that the pay rise was just one part of a complete renumeration package.
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