IPSA funny old thing…

By Shaun Dias

The latest twist in the expenses saga was depressingly predictable

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has decided that MPs’ salary should be increased by more than £6,500 after the next election, stating that political salaries have fallen behind those of other professions. The salary increase will be around 10 per cent and will be offered in exchange for smaller pensions and expenses.

MPs are braced for public outcry over the salary increase and many will come under pressure to reject the extra money.

A spokesman for Number 10 said: “The cost of politics should go down not up and MPs’ pay shouldn’t go up while public sector pay is, rightly, being constrained. IPSA is consulting on its proposals, which it will review after the next election as it is obliged to do by statute. It is independent, but the Government will repeat our view on the need for restraint.”

Given that their pay decisions are no longer in their hands it could be argued, have the worst of both worlds. They have given up their power but must still take the responsibility and the backlash from the public.

IPSA, was set up by MPs after the expenses scandal so that it could monitor MPs pay. The goal was to “make a clean break from the past” and for once, MPs salaries would be controlled but by an independent body. The intention surely was to remove the image of greedy politicians granting themselves larger salaries. As it turns out the image of unaccountable bureaucrats granting politicians larger salaries isn’t much more popular.

It is rather ironic that MPs are still facing a public outcry blaming them for a decision that they deliberately gave up to avoid this exact situation. The decision by Parliament to hand over control of its pay and expenses, in the view to rebuild public confidence, was somewhat naïve. The only change it may have achieved is enshrining public distrust in statute.

It may be that the only way to rebuild the public’s trust in politics will be for the incumbent MPs to show restraint and respect for the position they hold, and focusing on serving the people who gave them the power in the first place; the public.

Shaun Dias is on the approached list to stand in West Finchley in the 2014 Local Elections

Follow Shaun at @DiasShaun

Image from Wikipedia

Comments are closed.