Sir Keir Starmer has said MPs should not receive a pay rise this year as Downing Street urged “restraint” over any proposed increase due to the cost of living crisis.
MPs are currently paid a base salary of £81,932 and usually see their pay rise annually in line with average public sector salary increases.
Last year, the increase was suspended due to the economic impact of the pandemic and the Labour leader has said all parliamentarians should be saying “that we don’t need that pay rise and it shouldn’t go ahead” this year too.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), which sets the level of MPs’ pay, stopped a proposed £3,300 hike last year after coming under pressure.
Ahead of the proposed 2021 rise, more than 50 Tory MPs wrote to IPSA calling on the body to impose a pay freeze for parliamentarians.
If the rise were to go ahead in 2022, MPs’ would see their pay packets increase by 2.7% – more than £2,000 – from 1 April, the same time the government’s controversial rise in National Insurance payments comes in.
Downing Street said IPSA, which is independent of the government, hadn’t “set out any proposals yet”.
‘Restraint given current circumstances’
But a spokesperson for the prime minister said his office urged “restraint” on the matter “given the current circumstances”.
Boris Johnson‘s official spokesperson said: “I would say we would expect restraint on matters like this given the current circumstances, but beyond that I think it’s right that we let IPSA set out their proposals as an independent body.”
The spokesperson said he did not believe the PM would be making representations on the matter.
Asked for his views on the matter by reporters on Monday, Sir Keir said: “I think that MPs do not need a pay rise and we should all be saying that we don’t need that pay rise and it shouldn’t go ahead.
“The mechanism is independent but I think it’s for me, as leader of the opposition, to say that I do not think we should have that pay rise.”
Decision due early 2022
IPSA told The Sun newspaper that “a decision on MPs’ pay for 2022-23 will be taken early in 2022”, adding it “will take into account Office for National Statistics data as well as other relevant information”.
It is thought that an increase to MPs’ pay at the same time as the cost of living is rising would not be received well by the general public.
Experts have predicted that rising wholesale costs will result in a 50% increase in bills from April, when the latest change to the energy price cap takes effect.
Households face paying £2,000 for energy
If this comes to pass, an average household on a supplier’s default tariff would face paying nearly £2,000 a year for gas and electricity, compared to under £1,300 at the moment.