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Friday, 9 February, 2001, 15:50 GMT
MPs' pay touches 50,000
House of Commons
Commons membership is worth nearly 50,000
MPs are celebrating a salary increase that will take their gross pay to nearly 50,000 a year.

On Friday a 3% increase took a backbencher's pay to 49,222, up from 48,371.


If the MPs are worth that much money, surely the minimum wage should be increased to 5 an hour

Unison
The 3% increase was also given to 3,000 senior civil servants, including Prime Minister Tony Blair's official spokesman Alastair Campbell.

The cost to the taxpayer is 6.5m but with inflation running at 2.9% MPs could get even more as a separate review of their pay and allowances is due to be published next month.

Extra cash for judges

Senior military personnel and 1,700 judges are to get a 3.7% salary boost.

Politicians' pay
Backbechers, 49,222
Cabinet ministers, 117,979
Prime minister, 163,418
And another 210,000 regular armed forces personnel will also get 3.7%.

MPs' pay has been linked to the senior civil service automatically for several years, to avoid the Commons having to vote itself for any uprating.

Ministers, including Mr Blair, have not taken their full pay in the past and that tradition will continue at least until March, Downing Street confirmed on Friday.

Blair's entitlement tops 160,000

Mr Blair currently takes 112,951 of the 158,658 he is entitled to and that will increase to 116,339 - with the entitlement rising to 163,418.

Cabinet ministers take 96,887 of the 114,543 they are entitled to and that will increase to 99,793 out of a possible 117,979.

Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine, the highest paid member of the government, will see his pay increase by 3% on his current 167,760 salary.

The increases come into force from April.

Affordable

A spokesman for Mr Blair said: "The government regards these awards as fair and affordable and accepts them in full."

Unison, the country's biggest union, said it did not begrudge the MPs their pay rise because it believed that pay review body recommendations should be implemented in full.

"If the MPs are worth that much money, surely the minimum wage should be increased to 5 an hour," a spokeswoman said.

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See also:

02 Feb 01 | Education
Teachers to get 3.7% pay rise
18 Dec 00 | Scotland
Health staff pay rise 'not enough'
06 Jun 00 | Europe
Euro MPs face expenses cut
08 Mar 00 | M-O
Ministerial Salaries
10 Aug 00 | M-O
MPs' Pay
01 Feb 99 | UK Politics
Nurses beat teachers in pay review
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