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15 October 2012 - Public consultation launched on MPs’ pay and pensions

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has today launched a public consultation to get as wide a range of views as possible on MPs’ pay and pensions.

Over the last two and a half years, IPSA has overhauled the system for MPs’ business costs and expenses and established a new robust, transparent and effective system. Building on that, IPSA has been given responsibility for independently reviewing and determining MPs’ pay and pensions.

Today’s consultation puts a full range of ideas on the table and asks for input, ideas and evidence as we try and answer the question of how to remunerate our MPs.

This will be the first time that all elements of MPs’ remuneration – pay, pensions and resettlement payments for MPs leaving Parliament – have been considered together and set independently. The review will also examine the question of additional pay for Chairs of Select Committees and members of the Panel of Chairs and whether to reintroduce an indexation mechanism to adjust MPs’ pay between reviews.  

IPSA’s chairman, Sir Ian Kennedy, said today:

“The issue of how we pay our MPs is not an easy one to resolve– it has been grappled with for generations. 

“The opportunity we now have is very different. MPs’ self regulation of their financial affairs is over. For the first time an independent body – IPSA – will decide, but not before we ask the public what they think.

“In the past this issue has been ducked, dodged or fudged to meet the political whim of the moment. Clearly that is not right. IPSA’s approach is different. We want a considered, public debate where we hear as broad a range of views as possible supported by all the evidence which is available.

“This is an historic opportunity and a chance for everyone to influence where we go next. I encourage people to give it some thought – what do we expect from our MPs and what is a fair reward for the job? If you’ve got a view, get involved – email us, tweet us, visit our website. We want to know what you think.” 

As part of its initial work exploring views on MPs’ pay and pensions, IPSA commissioned ComRes to carry out surveys, focus groups and citizens juries. The full findings are available on IPSA’s website. One of the most striking findings is that most people do not understand what MPs do. This is a fundamental issue which needs to be addressed by MPs and others if there is to be an informed debate about their remuneration.

The consultation sets out the background, discusses key issues based on initial engagement with the public, MPs and commentators, and asks several broad questions. Once IPSA has analysed the responses, it will develop specific, detailed proposals and present these for public consultation in the spring of 2013. IPSA aims to reach a final settlement in late 2013 which will come into effect with the election of the new Parliament, scheduled for 2015.

As an interim step, IPSA is also consulting on whether it should follow the public sector pay policy and increase MPs’ pay by one per cent in 2013 and 2014.

The consultation launched today runs until 7 December 2012. The full consultation document is available on IPSA’s website and people can share their views online, on twitter, by email or by post.

Ends

For more information, please contact IPSA's Press Office.

Notes to the editor:

  • MPs are currently paid £65,738.
  • The MPs’ pension scheme is rather unusual in that MPs can choose the rate at which they accrue benefits – at 40ths, 50ths, or 60ths of their annual salary. They then contribute different amounts depending on the accrual rate they choose. Those MPs accruing at 40ths contribute 13.75%; those accruing at 50ths contribute 9.75%; and those accruing at 60ths contribute at 7.75%. The Exchequer contribution is just over 20%.
  • Shortly after getting the powers, IPSA took the interim steps of imposing a pay freeze, increasing MPs’ pension contribution rates by 1.85% and introducing a resettlement payment for MPs who lose their seat in the event of an unexpected general election. Having done so, IPSA is now focusing on the longer term solution to the issue.
  • ComRes interviewed 2,044 British adults online from 27th to 29th April 2012; conducted four focus groups, one each in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast between 9th and 15th March 2012; conducted two citizens juries among members of the public in Reading and Huddersfield on 24th and 31st May 2012 respectively; and interviewed 2,763 UK adults online from 20th to 24th June 2012. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables are available at ComRes.co.uk.