Mike Hancock – ‘Pay increase is ludicrous’

REFUSAL Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock
REFUSAL Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock
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PORTSMOUTH MP Mike Hancock says he will not be accepting an 11 percent pay rise following a watchdog’s recommendation yesterday.

The reforms proposed by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), the body that was set up to deal with MPs’ pay following the expenses scandal, suggests members of parliament should have their pay increased to £74,000.

Backbench MPs currently receive £66,396 along with what the watchdog views as a ‘generous’ remuneration package including a pension worth more than that of other public service workers and a payment worth ‘tens of thousands of pounds’ if they lose their seat.

The body says its proposals would be ‘cost-neutral’ because of cuts to perks including expenses. The pay increase would be a one-off, with salaries then rising in line with other workers.

Mr Hancock, Portsmouth South MP, told a national newspaper he would decline it. He said he will not accept any rise of this sort until public pay is increased by more than one percent.

Having written to all 650 MPs, Mr Hancock was one of 50 to respond. Only one said he would be accepting a pay increase.

Speaking to The News, Mr Hancock said: ‘I think it is ludicrous, it flies right in the face of people. The idea that we are all in this together but to take a pay increase this large is wrong.

‘We have to find a way to stop it from happening before the next election. We should stop it from going ahead.

‘I feel if we don’t then we will have four years to worry about what we did wrong. I don’t think it is in the national interest for the country.’

Ipsa chairman Sir Ian Kennedy said: ‘We have designed these reforms so they do not cost the taxpayer a penny more.

‘When taken with the tens of millions we have saved by reforming the business cost and expenses regime, we have saved the taxpayer over £35m with the changes we have introduced since 2010.’

An Ipsa spokesman said MPs do not have a choice over what they are paid.

He said: ‘What they choose to do with their pay is up to them but that is the salary they will get.’