LONDON (Reuters) - British MPs were handed a 10 percent pay rise on Thursday despite their protestations, and with many promising to give away the extra cash to avert anger from other public sector workers, whose wage increases have been capped.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), set up to remove decisions about lawmakers’ pay from political interference, said the salary of Britain’s 650 elected Members of Parliament (MPs) would rise to 74,000 pounds.
“It is right that we make this one-off increase and then formally link MPs’ pay to public sector pay,” IPSA Chairman Ian Kennedy said, noting that pay for MPs had risen 2 percent over the last five years in total, compared with 5 percent for public sector workers and 10 percent in the overall economy.
Wary of a backlash after years of tight pay restraint for public sector workers including teachers and nurses, Prime Minister David Cameron had written to IPSA to express his objection to its proposals for a pay increase.
“The prime minister had consistently throughout this consultation process opposed the pay increase that IPSA had been considering,” Cameron’s spokeswoman said, speaking before the pay rise was officially announced.
Some lawmakers had already promised to donate their pay increase to charity if it was awarded, mindful of the negative public impression it might create.
Finance minister George Osborne last week announced that wage rises for public sector workers would be capped at 1 percent yearly for the next four years as part of efforts to help eliminate the country’s budget deficit.
Reporting by William James; Editing by Louise Ireland