A health minister has said there is ‘a degree of injustice’ in the pay rise given to MPs while the rest of the public sector has faced a 1% pay cap.
Philip Dunne, minister of state for health, told NHS and social care workers at a conference today that he ‘completely understands’ that the pay rise could be ‘seen as unfair’.
The minister was responding to an audience question, asking Mr Dunne to discuss why ‘those that attend people who are dying or injured in our streets after terrorist attacks or run into burning buildings’ have their pay capped when MPs have had a pay rise.
Mr Dunne said: ‘That, of course, creates a degree of injustice, which is what the spontaneous applause to your comment suggests, which is that while the rest of the public sector have been constrained to a 1% pay cap, MPs have had this one-off uplift.
‘And I completely understand why that is seen as unfair and that we have in some way inflated our own salaries.’
Mr Dunne said that a two-year public consultation by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, the body in charge of setting MPs’ salaries, concluded that MPs do ‘a job that was more comparable’ with GPs and head teachers, ‘and that therefore they should be paid something closer to those salaries’.
He said this resulted in a ‘significant’ increase in MP salaries, which amounted to a 10% increase in 2015 and a further 1.4% increase in April, bringing the salary of an MP up to £76,011.
His comments come after the Labour party forced a vote yesterday to end the 1% pay cap on public sector salaries, which has been in place since 2013.
But the bid to end the cap was defeated by the Conservatives and the DUP, with Mr Dunne voting to keep the pay restraint in place.
He told delegates at the Health+Care conference that ‘it’s very unfortunate that we’ve been put in this position’, as the decision to increase MP salaries was ‘done by external bodies and the decision was taken sometime ago when it was appropriate for them to do it’.