Plans to award MPs an 11% pay rise have been criticised by SNP MSP Margaret Burgess and the Scottish Socialist Party.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has said the salaries of Westminster MPs have fallen, in relative terms, compared to those of doctors, lawyers and other senior professionals. As a result, IPSA recommends MPs should receive an 11% pay increase, taking their salary from £66,000 to £74,000. The controversial proposal comes at a time when public sector workers have had their pay increased by just 1%, which, given the current rate of inflation, represents a real-terms pay cut.
Margaret Burgess, MSP for the local seat of Cunninghame South, said, “In these tough economic times, it is simply unacceptable for MPs in the UK Parliament to have a pay rise of 11-percent.
“They seem to forget it is the UK Government that introduced a 1-percent increase for public sector workers and for some of the poorest and most vulnerable of our people. Irrespective of changes to their solid-gold pensions, have they no idea how this looks to their constituents?”
Mrs Burgess indicated her support for the Scottish Parliament breaking a link between salaries of MSPs and MPs – currently, if Westminster MPs receive a pay rise, the salaries of MSPs automatically rise too, although MSPs are paid less than MPs.
Also angry at plans to hike MPs pay by 11% are local activists in the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP). North Ayrshire organiser Richie Venton has lodged a petition at change.org, demanding not only that the pay rise is rejected, but that MPs and MSPs should be paid no more than the average wage of a skilled worker.
Mr Venton told the3towns, “The proposed 11-percent pay rise for MPs - bringing them up to £74,000 a year, nearly £40.00 an hour - is an obscene insult to millions of workers suffering record levels of pay cuts and families hammered by cuts to benefits.“This adds to the remoteness of mainstream politicians from the working-class majority population, and makes them all the more callous in carrying out policies that further enrich the wealthy and impoverish the rest of us.”
Richie Venton called on MPs to reject the pay rise, adding, “In fact, the SSP go further: our policy is that MPs should live on the average wage of a skilled worker - with legitimate expenses vetted and monitored by public scrutiny. This income would make politicians far more in tune with those they claim to represent, and it is a policy we have put into practice – it was carried out by Scottish Socialist Party MSPs in the Scottish parliament.”
The SSP petition calling for MPs to “live in the same world as the people they represent” can be signed here - http://chn.ge/1e0LzFQ