Regional pay for MPs not backed
A WATCHDOG has indicated it does not back regional pay for MPs despite it being considered for other taxpayer-funded workers in Plymouth.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) pointed out the arguments for the controversial move, which it is feared will drag down public sector pay, "may not apply" in the case of Westminster politicians, as most lived and worked in London during the week.
It came as IPSA launched a public consultation on a range of options being considered as part of a far-reaching review into MPs pay and pensions.
It could see their gold-plated retirement payouts slashed in a bid to curb the costs of the scheme.
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And while the consultation did not support the suggestion politicians' pay should be linked to higher-earning jobs such as GPs or headteachers, which would have seen their wages rocket into six figures, it does raise the prospect of increasing their salaries to three times national average earnings – currently around £69,000.
Views are also being sought on the suggestion there could be two salary levels – one for the dozens of MPs who have second jobs, and another for those who do not.
But IPSA signalled it did not support proposals to base MPs pay on average earnings in their respective regions.
The Coalition Government has proposed to end national wage rates and 'localise' public sector salaries to make them "more responsive to local labour markets".
In a low wage economy like the South West, critics have warned the measure would see public sector pay dragged down, and take millions out of the economy.
It comes amid continuing controversy over separate proposals by 20 health trusts across the South West to introduce regional pay for NHS workers.
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