Following the controversial decision by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority to give MPs a 10 per cent pay increase, Scottish Nationalist MPs have revealed their intentions to give the extra salary to good causes.
The pay hike will take MPs’ salaries from £67,000 to as much as £74,000 a year, and comes despite a cap on rises for the rest of public sector workers at 1 per cent for another four years. Contributing to the backlash against David Cameron, the SNP said it was “not right” for MPs to get a salary increase when so many people in the U.K. are facing financial difficulties.
“There is nothing you can do to stop [the rise] being paid to you,” Linlithgow SNP MP Martyn Day told the Edinburgh Evening News. “But what you do with it is up to you. We have taken a very strong line on austerity and we expect our members to do something socially conscious with it.”
Mr Day confirmed that he would put his own pay rise into a special fund which would be used to donate to good causes within his constituency.
“I’ve got a separate savings jar and I will disburse the money over the course of the year,” he added. “When you take off the tax it’s not a big pot, but you could still do quite a bit with it.”
David Cameron repeatedly urged IPSA not to go ahead with the increase, on the basis that public sector workers have had their pay frozen for several years. But IPSA went ahead on the basis that “it had fallen behind” in 2013, and proposed that MPs’ rate of pay should be linked to average earnings following a two-year pay freeze.
Opposition parties put pressure on David Cameron to block the pay rise for MPs, which would require a change in the law, but he failed to take the necessary measures to do so. He has also been criticised for appearing reluctant to urge other MPs to reject the pay hike. His Tory colleagues Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, and Eric Pickles, the former communities secretary, have both said they will give the extra pay to charity. Three Labour Party leadership candidates — Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall — have also said they will not accept the increase.
“The idea of increasing MPs’ pay by 10% at a time when nurses, care workers, police officers and our armed forces face another five years’ pay freeze is completely unfair,” said Yvette Cooper, as reported in The Guardian. “The Tories are cutting tax credits for ordinary families yet allowing this Ipsa increase to go ahead. I will put the money towards something like funding an apprenticeship or similar cause in my constituency.”