MPs in 'cloud cuckoo land' over £20,000 pay demand

By Ian Dipple Tuesday 15 January 2013 Updated: 15/01 17:14

REDDITCH'S MP has branded her colleagues as living in 'cloud cuckoo land' for asking for a pay rise of more than £20,000.

Karen Lumley was one of 100 MPs surveyed by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, which is leading a review into MPs pay and pensions.

Although Mrs Lumley called for no increase on the basic £65,738 salary - already three times the national average wage - on average others in Westminster wanted to see their wage rise to £86,250 - an increase of 32 per cent.

Ipsa will publish its final proposals for the new pay package for MPs, which will come into effect from 2015, in the spring.

But Mrs Lumley told the Standard she would not even entertain the idea of taking such a huge increase in her wage.

"I think I am well remunerated for the job I do, I also think I work hard, harder than I've worked in my life," she said.

"But in difficult economic times it would be unfair on people in Redditch to ask for a pay increase.

"I would not even entertain a 32 per cent pay increase, people who say that are living in cloud cuckoo land. The difficulty is there are many of my colleagues who could earn more in the private sector than as an MP but, we have chosen to include public service as part of our remuneration package.

"A headteacher of a secondary school in Redditch and the chief executive of Redditch Borough Council earn more than me and whether or not that is right is for the public to judge."

But Mrs Lumley said she had yet to decide whether or not she would accept a one per cent pay rise recommended by Ipsa from April. It is a controversial move following the decision to cap benefit increases at just one per cent.

It means MPs basic pay will rise by about £657 while someone on jobseekers allowance of £71 a week will get an increase of just under £37.

Rebecca Blake, Labour's Parliamentary spokeswoman for Redditch, said: "When many people have had numerous pay freezes and this year public sector pay and benefits will only receive a one per cent increase - a real terms cut - I do not believe MPs on £65,000 should accept a pay rise.

"When you consider 75 per cent of people living in Redditch earn under £50,000 a year and as a country we are borrowing more this year than last year, I have to ask what planet Members of Parliament are on if they believe they should have a pay rise.

"In this economic climate public representatives should use their budgets to provide the best services possible and pay rises should go to the lowest paid first.

"If I was MP for Redditch I would not accept any pay rise at the same time as voting for real term cuts for people who work in our schools, hospital and other public services."

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