Parliament voted some time ago to set up an independent body called IPSA. This authority was charged with the task of setting and administering MPs pay and expenses, free of interference from MPs and without further Parliamentary votes. There was a mood in the media that independent people should take evidence, listen to the public view, and conclude on pay and expenses.
The establishment of IPSA followed several previous attempts to have some external setting of MPs pay within the context that MPs still had to vote it through once the outside body or indexing system came up with its proposal. MPs were variously linked to a certain grade of civil servant, Headteachers, senior officers in local government and the like. Each time there was a link the comparator pay went up and MPs voted to detach themselves from it as the pay rise was thought to be too generous.
Now we learn that IPSA may propose a pay rise for MPs at the beginning of the next Parliament. Suddenly some want MPs to comment on this, or to find a way to overrule the independent body to prevent the pay rise. Many MPs are reluctant to comment, having voted for the view that the pay has to be set independently. MPs have rightly not been appearing on the media to complain of the pay freeze and higher pension contributions imposed this Parliament by IPSA, accepting the discipline at a time of general pay restraint and public sector pension reform.
I am not planning to expressing a view on the leaks of IPSA’s intentions. Now we have an independent system IPSA should propose and IPSA should defend its proposals, explaining them to the public. I am quite happy, however, to let you have your say about the leaked reports on IPSA’s plans.