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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 January 2008, 17:25 GMT
MPs choose sub-inflation pay rise
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MPs may not have to make a decision on their own pay in future
MPs have agreed to government demands to award themselves a below-inflation pay rise of 1.9%.

The decision - taken without a vote - follows a call by Commons leader Harriet Harman for "discipline".

The independent Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) had recommended a 2.56% salary rise from 60,277 to 61,820.

But the government said this was not appropriate when public sector workers were getting 1.9%. It also wants MPs to lose the right to set their own salary.

With both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat front benches backing the government, the decision over this year's pay settlement did not go to a formal vote.

'Shouldn't be voting'

During the Commons debate, Ms Harman said: "As MPs are paid out of the public purse, we should show the same discipline in terms of pay increases as other public sector workers.

"Like everyone else, we should not decide on our own pay and shouldn't be voting on our pay increases."

But Martin Salter, Labour MP for Reading West, warned once a new independent mechanism of setting MPs' pay was established the government must "keep its paws" off the recommended rises.

Ministers have commissioned a review to investigate whether an independent body could set MPs' pay and pensions.

The government has come under pressure from unions over its public sector pay rise.

But it insists this is necessary to keep inflation down.

Workers, including police and nurses, have been angered by the decision not to pay recommended rises in full.

The Tax Payers' Alliance chief executive Matthew Elliott said: "Our politicians are already well paid and enjoy generous expenses and allowances - that should be enough for a job which is meant to be about public service."

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