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Sussex MPs split over plans for a pay rise
Sussex MPs are split on plans to give them a pay hike to £74,000 a year – with one politician claiming she’d donate the money to charity.
After months of rumours, yesterday the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) published its plan to introduce the rise after the next general election in 2015.
Ipsa’s chairman Sir Ian Kennedy remained defiant after announcing the new package for consultation.
He insisted politicians’ pay had to “catch up” after years of being suppressed.
Sir Ian said the £4.6 million extra yearly salary costs would be offset by curbs to pensions, “golden goodbyes”, and expenses.
It meant the overall burden on the taxpayer would only go up by £500,000 if the deal took effect after the 2015 general election.
Yesterday The Argus contacted all 16 of the county’s MPs to ask them their views on the rise.
Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas said: “I reject the salary hike and would donate this extra money to charity.”
The Green politician added: “I support the idea of an independent body to manage MPs’ salaries and expenses to reduce interference by politicians.
"But IPSA certainly isn’t doing itself any favours with these hugely out of touch plans.”
Conservative Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby said: “I have always believed that we should be taking steps to reduce the cost of politics.
“That is why I argued strongly in favour of reducing the number of MPs, and why I have not taken a pay rise since becoming an MP three years ago.”
Tory Hove MP Mike Weatherley said: “The whole point of IPSA is that it is independent which is why they alone should decide.
“While I don’t personally feel the need for any kind of pay increase, the proposal is not really aimed at the likes of me, since I am already doing the job.”
Sir Peter Bottomley, who represents Worthing West for the Conservatives, said: “If what they propose with or without variation happens, it will happen in three years time. So any decisions can be taken then.
“We have to accept there is never a right time but the best time to set a rate of pay is after a General Election, not during current parliament.”
Crawley MP, Conservative Henry Smith said: “Despite typically working a 70 hour week, I do not think it would be appropriate for MPs to receive an increase at this moment in time given pay restraint in other sectors.”
Tory Mid Sussex MP Nicholas Soames said he did not think the cost of politics should go up while Wealden MP Charles Hendry said he was standing down at the next election so the rise was not relevant to him.
Those who did not respond were: Nick Herbert (Arundel and South Downs); Andre Tyrie (Chichester); Norman Baker (Lewes); Tim Loughton (EastWorthing and Shoreham); Stephen Lloyd (Eastbourne); Francis Maude (Horsham); Nick Gibb (Bognor and Littlehampton); Amber Rudd (Hastings and Rye); and Greg Barker (Bexhill).
The regulator has been given final responsibility for setting pay and pensions, meaning there would have to be a change in the lawto block its decisions.
It is currently consulting on the increase and plans tomake a final decision later this year.
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