The watchdog governing MPs’ pay has decided to increase the salary of the UK’s elected representatives by £2,200 from next month.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) said basic pay would rise from £81,932 to £84,144 in April – a move like to spark outrage given the cost of living squeeze faced by millions of families.
The annual increase to MPs’ salaries will be 2.7 per cent, the same as the average increase in pay for public sector employees, following a two-year freeze in the wake of the Covid crisis.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has spoken out about a pay rise for MPs this April – saying recently that it “shouldn’t go ahead” given the severe cost of living squeeze facing the public.
He added: “The mechanism is independent but I think it’s for me, as leader of the opposition, to say that I do not think we should have that pay rise.”
A Labour source told The Independent that Sir Keir stood by his position and believed the pay rise next month was inappropriate.
However, Richard Lloyd, IPSA’s chair, defended the decision – arguing that it was “right” that MPs were paid fairly and pointing out the increase was in line with public sector pay rises on the way.
“This is the first increase in pay for MPs in two years and follows the average of increases across the public sector last year. MPs play a vital role in our democracy and this is reflected in their pay,” said the watchdog chief.
Mr Lloyd added: “It is right that MPs are paid fairly for the responsibility and the unseen work they do helping their constituents, which dramatically increased last year. For parliament to reflect society, it is vital that people from all walks of life can be an MP.”
The Taxpayers’ Alliance said working households were likely to be “furious” about MPs’ earnings being increased while they “face crippling tax hikes”.
Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said earlier this year that the prime minister expected Ipsa to show “restraint” when setting MPs pay for the year ahead given the cost of living crisis.
In October, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the end of the public sector pay freeze introduced the previous November in response to the Covid crisis.
Annual growth in public sector pay in the three months to October 2021 was 2.7 per cent, according to the official figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Meanwhile, Sir Keir made clear on Tuesday that he is calling for a review of the operating licence for Russian state-owned media outlet RT, formerly known as Russia Today, amid outrage over its coverage of the Ukraine invasion.
He told journalists: “I’ve called on the government to review the operating licence for Russia Today, which frankly is the propaganda tool of Putin.
“The sooner that they get on with that, the better, because there’s a gulf of difference between journalism and free journalism … and some of these outlets which are a personal propaganda machine for Putin and his cronies.”