6:00am Tuesday 10th December 2013
By Tom Edwards
ONE Worcestershire MP is prepared to give a proposed pay rise to charity – admitting that none of them can justify an 11 per cent increase.
Harriett Baldwin has revealed she is not willing to accept a rise of £7,600 as residents are suffering pay freezes, or small increases of one or two per cent.
The Conservative, who represents West Worcestershire, said the only way a rise could be justified would be by cutting 50 MPs, so the 600 who remained got heavier workloads.
Amid mounting anger over the expected pay rise, she also believes the body which is calling for it should be scrapped.
A report is due out on Thursday from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), suggesting the 11 per cent rise should take force from 2015, taking MPs’ pay to £74,000.
The authority wants to make up for it by cutting pensions and other perks, saying wages in parliament have been frozen for too long.
But Mrs Baldwin said she would give away her rise.
“If IPSA succeed in pushing through this measure and I am re-elected in 2015, I look forward to supporting local charities even more than I already do,” she said.
“I wrote into the consultation and said that given the fact that public sector pay is being restrained in the way that it is, we should only have the same sort of increases as average public sector [workers] are having.”
She also said old Conservative plans to cut the size of parliament from 650 MPs to 600, which fell apart after a lack of Liberal Democrat support, should have been accepted.
She said the independent body, set up in 2009 after the expenses scandal, now costs £6 million per year when it could be done by a private company “for a fraction of the cost”. Downing Street has tried to kick the issue into the long grass by saying it will be reviewed in 2015.
Meanwhile, other MPs in the county have refused to make the same offer, saying that it is right any decisions over pay are made independently.
Worcester MP Robin Walker said: “It shoudn’t be our decision. Rhe whole point of this was to take it out of our hands.
“I have done no lobbying, either for or against a pay rise. “The question [if he would he give it to charity] is purely hypothetical and I won’t get into that.”
Wyre Forest MP, Mark Garnier, said: “IPSA has to decide what MPs get and we can’t interfere – if it’s going to work, it must work in both directions.
“We can’t have cabinet members or party leaders saying to us ‘I’ll give it back because I’m richer than you’ and taking the moral highground.”
MPs currently receive a yearly salary of £66,396.
Peter Luff, who represents Mid-Worcestershire, said he would make no comment, because he is retiring in 2015.
In an anonymous survey conducted earlier this year, MPs suggested that they should be paid an average of £86,250, with one-fifth of those questioned saying they should get £95,000 or more.
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