High Peak MP determined to stop MPs pay rise going ahead

The strain on public finances during the coronavirus crisis has been huge.

Tuesday, 1st December 2020, 6:40 pm

While the Government must do everything it can to help families and businesses cope, we cannot forget that these measures have come at a huge cost to the taxpayer.

That is why the Chancellor took the difficult decision in last week’s spending review to pause pay rises in the public sector.

Nobody wants to be in this position but if the choice is between a temporary pay freeze or job losses, the former is clearly the least bad option.

Robert Largan says the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority's proposals to increase pay for MPs are outrageous

There are important exemptions to this policy.

More than one million doctors, nurses and NHS staff will still get a pay rise, recognising the incredible contribution and sacrifice they have made throughout this crisis.

The 2.1 million lowest-paid public sector workers, earning below the median UK wage of £24,000, will get a guaranteed pay increase of at least £250.

This means the majority of public sector workers will receive a pay increase next year.

It is also positive news that the lowest-paid in society will benefit from an increase in the National Living Wage by 2.2 per cent to £8.91, extending the rate to those aged 23 or over, and increasing the National Minimum Wage as well.

This will benefit around two million people with a full-time worker on the National Living Wage getting a £345 pay rise next year.

As the Government begins tightening its belt, it’s only right that politicians should do the same.

That is why I was outraged by the proposals from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) to increase pay for MPs.

At a time of crisis when many people are losing their jobs or seeing their pay cut or frozen, this decision is totally indefensible.

I am doing everything I can to prevent this pay rise from going ahead.

I’ve written directly to the chairman of IPSA to express my opposition to this pay increase and urged him to reconsider.

I also joined more than 50 Conservative parliamentary colleagues to sign an open letter telling IPSA to change course.

To be clear, I oppose the proposed pay increase for MPs.

If IPSA insist on going ahead with the pay increase, then I will donate it to charity.

I proudly donate to many charities already but, I’m always keen to hear suggestions of excellent local charities that need support.

If you have any suggestions, please do get in touch.

It is pretty telling that a couple of senior Labour MPs thought it appropriate to complain to the Daily Mail and accuse myself and colleagues of virtue signalling by opposing the pay increase.

Frankly, I think they are completely out of touch. It would not be right for us as elected representatives to simply sit on our hands and accept a pay increase when so many of our constituents are facing financial difficulties.

In response to the spending review, I spoke in the House of Commons to welcome the pay rise for NHS staff and press the Chancellor on the need to invest in our NHS capacity, highlighting my long-running campaign for new urgent care centres for both Tameside Hospital and Stepping Hill Hospital.

They are needed now, more than ever.

Robert Largan is MP for High Peak.