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MP to accept ‘badly timed’ pay increase
PLANS to award MPs an 11 per cent pay increase in 2015 has been met with a mixed reaction from Swindon’s local elected members.
South Swindon MP Robert Buckland said he would accept the wage rise.
However, North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson said it is too soon to say as the proposals have still not been confirmed.
Parliamentary watchdog Ipsa is expected to announce on Thursday a recommended rise of £7,600 to the average MP salary of £66,000 currently paid annually – bringing their total up to £74,000 per year.
Ipsa said the extra funding was needed to bring England’s politicians in line with those around Europe.
Mr Buckland said if he was elected again after the 2015 general election, when the pay increase would be brought in, he would accept the bonus to his wage but he would increase the amount of money he donated towards good causes.
He said the principle of an outside body deciding an MPs salary was something he agreed with and one which was important to support.
“I don’t like to talk too much about the causes I support financially but I would look to adjust the amount of money I gave to charity accordingly,” said Mr Buckland.
“In the dark days MPs used to decide their own pay rises which I thought was wrong. It is right that we have an independent body to decide now.
“I do think the timing has been very poor,” said Mr Buckland. “At a time when lots of people are facing pay freezes and squeezes in their income – the timing has been very bad indeed.”
He added he did not include his views in the consultation being run by Ipsa as he believed MPs’ opinions should be left out of the process and left for the independent body and the public.
Mr Tomlinson said it was crucial to keep the cost of politics down.
“It is absolutely clear that the cost of politics must go down,” said Mr Tomlinson.
“The proposals are still being consulted on and I urge local residents to feed into that because it is absolutely right and proper that we do all we can to make sure the costs go down.”
He added his expenses are £50,000 less than the previous MP’s and he is proud to be transparent about what he spends his money on.
Mr Tomlinson said it would not be correct to comment on whether he would take a pay increase until it was announced MPs would be receiving one.
For more information about Ipsa visit http://parliamentarystandards.org.uk/payandpensions/Pages/default.aspx.
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