MPs’ salary will rise 2.7% from £77,379 to £79,468 from April Fools’ Day
MPs will get an inflation-busting pay rise of more than £2,000 this April, bringing their total salary to almost £80,000.
Parliament’s expenses watchdog today confirmed the salary for MPs will rise from £77,379 to £79,468 from 1 April 2019.
The 2.7% rise is the same as the average rise in public sector earnings in July 2018, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) said.
Critics said the rise had the “whiff of hypocrisy and double standards”, and it comes as Parliament is paralysed over Brexit, with rowing MPs unable to thrash out an EU withdrawal plan.
The 2.7% wallet-filling wage boost compares with an inflation rate of 1.8% – meaning MPs will be 0.9% better off.
The Westminster wage lift contrasts with welfare benefits remaining frozen for a fourth year in row.
Jobseeker’s allowance, income support, bereavement support and employment and support allowance will stay the same despite rising inflation – meaning a real-terms cut for struggling families.
Ministers will be paid their usual allowance on top, with Theresa May is expected to receive £154,908.
Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn also receives an allowance on top of his MP’s salary.
If the his allowance stays the same he will now earn £123,185.
Following reforms to the way MPs’ pay is calculated, the rise is automatic and not subject to a vote in the House of Commons.
Chairs of Commons committees will enjoy a 2.7% increase to the additional salary they receive on top of their basic pay, taking it from £15,509 to £15,928.
This means that chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee Yvette Cooper will take home £95,396.
Ministers’ salaries are determined separately.
By comparison Armed Forces received a 2% pay rise in 2018/19, backdated to 1 April 2018, plus a 0.9% one-off payment.
And police officers only got a 2% consolidated increase from September 1, 2018.
Police Federation chairman John Apter said: “For my colleagues this is a further kick in the teeth but it will be no surprise as this is what they have come to expect from this Government.”
He added: “For the last two years the independent body which recommends the pay rise police officers should receive has been ignored by the Government.
“I am sure however that MPs will not hesitate to accept this generous offer, which equates to a rise of more than £2,000 each – bringing their average salary to almost £80,000.”
Teachers in England and Wales received rises of between 1.5% and 3.5%.
Prison workers got a 2% lift with a one-off, non-consolidated payment of 0.75%.
And NHS doctors got between 1.5% and 3% extra basic pay, plus other benefits and variations to the flexible pay premia.
Prison Officers’ Association assistant General Secretary Glyn Travis said: “This MPs’ pay rise flies in the face of everyday workers.
“For year after year they have faced real pay cuts rather than pay rises and these very same individuals have imposed pay restraint on those who need pay rises the most.
“Emergency and essential workers are leaving in their thousands due to poor pay and poor working conditions while MPs enjoy above-inflation pay rises and unlimited expenses at the expense of taxpayers and low-paid workers of this country.”
Prospect deputy general secretary Garry Graham said: “Our members will see more than a whiff of hypocrisy and double standards in today’s announcement.
“Prospect has long argued for an independent review of pay to cover our members working in the civil service and wider public sector.
“This has been repeatedly turned down.
“There has not been a government in peace time so reliant on the hard work and dedication of the civil service and its agencies.
“For MPs to be awarded 2.7% when pay rises for those who serve them are held down at 1.5% or less demonstrates a remarkable level of contempt.
“As we prepare for pay discussions with the Cabinet Office and Treasury, this announcement will only add to the anger and frustration held by members.”
The head of the civil service union PCS general secretary, Mark Serwotka said: “It is an outrage that MPs are rewarding themselves with an above inflation pay rise while civil servants who do some of the most vital jobs in society, are still subject to a cruel 1pc de-facto pay cap.
“PCS are balloting 120,000 members for strike action over pay this summer and today’s news will only anger them further.”
While it lifted MPs’ pay by 2.7%, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority raised the total budget for MPs’ staff by just 1.5%.
That means most researchers and secretaries will not enjoy the pay bonanza of their political masters.
While some of the lowest paid staff could see a 3.3% pay rise, the lowest paid admin workers will see an increase of up to £682 from £19,890 to £20,572, the majority will not get an increase that matches the one being handed to their boss.
But staff aren’t even guaranteed that rise, because the standard budget for MPs has increased their staff allowance by £2470 for London MPs and £2310 for those outside the capital.
That increase often has to be spread between up to 5 members of staff.
This means any increase is often less than those recommended by the parliamentary pay watchdog, with only staff currently on the bottom of a band guaranteed a pay rise.
Staff who are paid above the minimum for their position are not guaranteed any annual increase, with the decision being left to MPs who are in charge of their own budgets.
One MP’s staffer said the pay deal made it hard for staff to keep on top of rising costs of rent and living.
They added: “It is not very nice at best and rude at worst, it makes staff in MPs offices feel like they are disposable.”
Max Freedman, Chair of Unite Parliamentary Branch: “This real-terms cut for staff of MPs is inadequate and unacceptable, and the fact MPs will be seeing a significantly higher rise is insulting.
“It seems it’s one rule for elected MPs and another for their hard-working and hard-pressed staff.
“The huge extra pressure on Parliament has significant ramifications for the workload of staff, and this decision will feel to many like a slap in the face.”
“IPSA have failed to properly consult with Unite reps despite our repeated calls for staff to get a fair deal. We have written to IPSA raising our concerns, and will continue to fight for the real-terms pay rise staff members deserve.”
Former head of the Parliamentary Standards Watchdog Sir Kevin Barron said: “I am very disappointed to see that IPSA have this morning awarded MPs a 2.7% pay increase but only 1.5% for parliamentary staff.
“I urge them to look again at the budgets as it cannot be right that the gap is so great.”
Ipsa, the independent body which determines MPs’ salaries, said: “This is in line with our determination on MPs’ pay, published in July 2015, where we committed to adjusting MPs’ pay at the same rate as changes in public sector earnings published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
“This was confirmed in July 2018 following a further review of MPs’ pay.”