MP blasts pay rise as indefensible

By Ian Dipple Wednesday 11 December 2013 Updated: 12/12 13:21

MORALLY wrong and indefensible is how Redditch MP Karen Lumley has described plans to give her an 11 per cent pay rise.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) intends to press ahead with a £7,600 hike in MPs salaries from 2015 to £74,000, despite opposition within Westminster and the public.

The organisation, set-up following the expenses scandal to make independent judgements on MPs' pay and perks, say the increase is needed to allow politicians pay to 'catch up' after years of being suppressed. The £4.6million cost would be offset by downgrading MPs final salary pension scheme to a career average and other cuts to expenses allowances.

Politicians from all parties have condemned the move but because MPs no longer vote on their own pay, unless they change the law they will be powerless to resist.

Mrs Lumley said if she had to accept the pay rise then she would give it away but hoped it would not get to that stage.

"Hopefully all parties will be able to come together on this and say we don't want it and leave it to a new Parliament to sort out," she said.

"I didn't come into politics for the money I came in because I thought I could make a difference and for the workers in Redditch who aren't getting this kind of money, I share their disgust.

"If I go to Conservative Central Office there will be a list of hundreds of people wanting to be an MP so there's no shortage of people wanting to do it and they know what the pay is. This is morally wrong and for IPSA to put us in this position is indefensible."

Rebecca Blake, Labour's Parliamentary spokeswoman for Redditch who would start on the higher salary if she wins the borough seat in 2015, said it was not good enough for MPs to simply say they would give the extra money to charity.

She added she would give the money back to the public purse, potentially by asking pensioners she knows to opt out of their winter fuel allowance and then using her additional pay to reimburse them.

"No wonder so many people have a low opinion of politicians, many people cannot afford food and heating while MPs are discussing what to do with an 11 per cent pay rise."

Studley and Alcester's MP Nadhim Zahawi called the pay rise 'completely inappropriate' and said he would donate the money to various local charities.

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