In September last year the Parliamentary expenses watchdog, IPSA, confirmed MP’s pay will rise by 10%, a new total of £74,000, to bring it in line with public sector pay. The decision was vehemently opposed by a number of MPs with many pledging to donate the rise to charitable causes, a figure that now stands at 73 out of 650 MPs.
However only 26 MPs had confirmed to a Sun investigation exactly where their extra pay was going to go. This includes local MP Nicola Blackwood for Oxford West and Abingdon who revealed that she is currently in the process of choosing a community project to donate her £7000 rise to.
Nicola Blackwood stated that she supports the IPSA’s decision to increase pay commenting: “I think most sensible people recognise pay scales in all sectors have to keep up with the times. The solution IPSA have proposed is to raise salaries but cut other benefits so that it won’t cost the tax payer any more than the previous system.” Yet as she also made clear that: “as I have said all along, I don’t think it is right to do this when we are having to take difficult decisions to deal with the deficit and public sector pay is restricted”.
Although not picked up by the Sun’s survey, when contacted for comment by the Oxford Student, Oxford East MP Andrew Smith confirmed he would be donating his pay increase to charity, he said: “IPSA is totally independent of MPs but I think it was wrong that they made this pay increase, even with the offsetting cuts in MP costs, meaning no extra cost to the public purse. At a time of public sector pay restraint, which I also think is very damaging and unfair in Oxford, they should have applied the same restraint to MPs’ pay. I am making charitable donations to compensate.”
The rise had been opposed by all three party leaders when it was announced last year with the Prime Minister’s spokesperson emphasizing that: ‘The PM has been explicitly clear since the very start that he does not agree with this pay increase”. However the Prime Minister and the majority of MPs who pledged to take action have yet to reveal what they have actually done with their raise.
Image: Oxford Anglican