Page last updated at 16:24 GMT, Monday, 30 March 2009 17:24 UK

MPs awarded 2.33% salary increase

Palace of Westminster

MPs are to receive a pay rise of 2.33% from 1 April, bringing their annual salary to about £64,766.

Rules introduced last year fixed the increase at the average received over the previous year by 15 different groups of public sector workers.

The Westminster salary rise comes at a time when many workers are facing no pay rise, or even reductions.

Gordon Brown has announced a freeze in ministerial salaries, calling it the "right thing to do".

Those ministers who are MPs will also forgo the £1,500 rise in their parliamentary pay to which they are entitled, the prime minister's spokesman said.

The Conservatives announced they would match that ministerial pay freeze for David Cameron and shadow Lords leader Lord Strathclyde - and pledged to impose a pay freeze for ministers in 2010/11 if they are in government.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and his deputy, Vince Cable, will also not take up the rise, the party said.

Last week figures revealed that inflation, judged by the Consumer Prices Index, had risen to 3.2% in February this year.

Allowances

But the Retail Prices Index, which includes mortgage costs, fell to zero in the same month.

MPs' basic pay is topped up by expenses and allowances worth up to around £180,000 a year to pay for their offices, staff and travel and the cost of spending time away from home while working at Westminster.

Ministers also receive pay on top of their MPs' salary.

Mr Brown, speaking at a Downing Street press conference, said: "Last year and this year ministers will have no pay rise.

"Their pay has been frozen. That's the right thing to do when people are suffering in the economy.

"I made that decision myself and ministers have supported that decision because it's the right thing to do."

Mr Brown's spokesman said all cabinet ministers consulted on the freeze had agreed to it on behalf of themselves and their more junior ministerial colleagues.

An inquiry has been ordered into the whole question of MPs' pay and expenses following a series of controversies, including allegations relating to claims for second home allowances from Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and work minister Tony McNulty.

The chairman of the Senior Salaries Review Body, Bill Cockburn, wrote to Commons Speaker Michael Martin on Friday to inform him that he had calculated this year's average at 2.33%.

The rise is based on those of public sector employees ranging from judges and senior military officers to teachers, NHS workers and council employees.



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