MATHESON CONDEMNS PAY RISE

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has joined First Minister Alex Salmond in condemning reports that MPs are to receive an 11% pay rise following the 2015 General Election.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) who set MPs pay is expected to declare the rise in basic salaries to £74,000. As a result, MSP salaries would also rise as they are set at 87.5% of MP salaries.

Speaking on the reports, Michael said , “To quote the First Minister, this is ludicrous. In last week’s Autumn statement, George Osborne announced that there would be a cap on the amount paid in benefits each year. This does not take into account the amount of people needing benefits due to ill health, just simply we’re only spending this amount and if any more is needed, too bad.

“This is at the same time as reports are coming out that MPs are about to receive a 11% pay increase. What has George Osborne done to deserve a pay rise? What has your mum, dad or friend done to deserve having their benefits capped when their condition has not improved or even gotten worse?

‘Thankfully, the First Minister has come out stating his opposition to this, commenting that it is ludicrous to suggest parliamentarians should be given anything beyond the norms, especially in a time when public sector workers are having to deal with much lower pay increases. It is also very positive to see that the Presiding Officer, Tricia Marwick has released information stating how the Scottish Parliament is to break the link between MSP and MP salaries, putting future increases in MSPs pay on equal footing with those in the public sector in Scotland.

‘At a time when public sector workers are receiving a 1% pay rise, should Westminster millionaires be receiving 11%? A poll of MPs published last January showed that more than two thirds thought they were underpaid, while further research showed that on average, Tories thought they should be paid £96,740 a year, £20,000 more than the proposed increase. I think this shows just how out of touch Westminster really is.”