Washington and Sunderland MP wants £7,600 pay rise scrapped

Sharon Hodgson  Labour Party MP for Washington and Sunderland West.
Sharon Hodgson Labour Party MP for Washington and Sunderland West.
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MPs from across Sunderland have given a mixed reaction to plans that will see their annual paypacket rise by £7,600 to £74,000.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) yesterday gave the green light for plans to boost the salaries, despite widespread opposition.

David Cameron called the decision “inappropriate” while Ed Miliband requested talks between the party leaders and Ipsa.

The move has come in for criticism as thousands of Wearsiders face pay freezes and rising bills.

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, has stood against the plans from the outset.

She said: “I’ve been clear that this pay rise shouldn’t go ahead in the first place.

“The leaders of all three parties need to go to Ipsa and tell them that this package of reforms should be scrapped.

“Ed Miliband has already called on David Cameron to join him in doing that and hopefully they’ll be able to convince IPSA to see sense.”

Bridget Phillipson, MP for Houghton and Sunderland South, said talks were needed.

She said: “It is right that MPs’ pay and pensions are now set by an independent body.

“The draft proposals on MPs pay published today by Ipsa are subject to statutory review, which will not happen until after the next general election in 2015.

“We understand the cost of living crisis facing families across the country and that’s why Ed Miliband has called on the leaders of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats to urgently take part in cross-party talks.”

Ipsa defended its plan to give out the 11 per cent pay rise, claiming this will not cost the taxpayer “a penny more” once other changes are taken into account.

The proposed package, to take effect in 2015, will include a “one-off” pay rise after which MPs’ pay would be linked to average earnings.

Ipsa has also outlined plans to reform MPs’ pensions, scrapping the “outdated resettlement payments worth tens of thousands”, as well as “tightening up” expenses rules.

The package also calls on MPs to produce an “annual account of their work to help their constituents understand what it is they actually do”.

There will be a final review of the proposals after the next general election, which is due in 2015. If they are approved at this stage, the pay increase will be backdated to the date of the election.

Ipsa does not need Parliament’s agreement to make the changes.

Julie Elliott, Sunderland Central MP, questioned the timing of the review.

She said: “Ipsa is an independent body who decide MPs’ pay, pensions and expenses, individual MPs have no say in their decisions.

“The timing of this review of the package given to MPs is insensitive.

“The Leader of my party has written to the Prime Minister to ask for urgent talks on this issue,

“I continue to devote my time working hard to represent the people of Sunderland Central.”.