George Osborne has insisted a 10 per cent pay hike for MPs is “unacceptable” after the Commons watchdog reiterated its determination to push ahead with the rise.
The Chancellor suggested the move will be blocked after the general election, stressing that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority’s (Ipsa) position was not “final”.
The comments, in an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, came after new Ipsa chief executive Marcial Boo reiterated its commitment to the increase from £67,000 to £74,000.
He said the economy was recovering and politicians should not be paid a “miserly amount”. “All the evidence points towards MPs’ salaries having fallen behind,” he told the Sunday Telegraph.
Some viewed the £74,000 figure as “at the low end” and failure to pay “fair” rates would make it harder to recruit good candidates for parliament in future.
“This is an important job, the job of an MP,” Mr Boo said. “They are there to represent us all, to form laws, to send young people to war.
“It is not an easy thing to do. We want to have good people doing the job and they need to be paid fairly.
“Now, that’s not paid in excess but it’s not being paid a miserly amount either.
“It’s our job to reach the judgement of what the right amount is. There are lots and lots of professionals in public life and in the private sector who earn a lot more than that – so it is not an excessive amount of money at all.”
There was an outcry when Ipsa announced the rise last year, with David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg arguing it was unacceptable at a time when public sector rises were capped at 1 per cent. MPs are already due a 1 per cent increase to £67,731 next April and under Ipsa’s plan it will go up again a month later to £74,000.