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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Cumbrian MPs have concerns over potential 11 per cent pay rise

Three of Cumbria’s MPs have said they have concerns about being awarded a potential 11 per cent pay rise.

TRAUMATIC: Sir Tony Cunningham

One has even vowed to give any increase he receives away to local charities.

Workington’s Tony Cunningham, Carlisle’s John Stevenson and South Lakes’ Tim Farron are all apprehensive about the increase.

The pay rise is expected to be proposed by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Alliance later this week. It was set up to take the decisions about pay and perks out of the hands of MPs.

But it has emerged that it wants to give ministers an 11 per cent salary rise, taking effect from 2015. This would see annual earnings increase from £66,396 to £74,000 – nearly three times the national average wage.

However several MPs have raised concerns about awarding such a big increase at a time when many workers have seen salaries frozen.

Mr Cunningham said he could not comment fully until he has seen the full report, published on Thursday.

But he said: “Any pay rise has got to be taken into the context of the economic situation in which we find ourselves. Given that we are in the midst of austerity measures and people are finding it difficult, it wouldn’t be right to give that level of pay rise.”

Mr Stevenson agreed, saying while he was fully supportive of decisions about pay being taken out of the hands of MPs, he was not convinced it was the right time to award any significant salary rise.

Meanwhile Mr Farron went one step further, promising to give away any pay rise he receives, as he did when the last increase was awarded to MPs four years ago.

He said: “It’s right that MPs’ pay is no longer decided by MPs, and right that an independent body now makes that choice – but it shows a shocking example in difficult times like these for MPs to be awarded an increase. If the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority insists on pushing this through, I would expect to do what I did four years ago and give it away – including to local groups such as the Housing Need charity Manna House in Kendal.”

Copeland MP Jamie Reed and Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart have yet to comment on the potential rise.

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