MPs to vote on pay increase for MPs

MPs will be given the chance to vote themselves a pay increase of up to £25,000 in a bid to end the controversy over allowances for second homes, Scotland on Sunday can reveal.

But the hike in salaries to more than £85,000 – well above the rises being offered to workers across Britain – has been lambasted as the wrong way to end a discredited system. A committee headed by Speaker Michael Martin is proposing that in return for scrapping a controversial second homes allowance worth up to £22,110 a year, all MPs should be reimbursed with a hefty boost to their current salary of £60,277 a year.

"It'll be one of the options that's put to MPs in July," confirmed a source close to the committee.

The cross-party committee is looking at "radical" options for restructuring MPs' pay and allowances in response to a furore over expenses. Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said that replacing a "discredited" allowance with a pay rise was not the solution. "It would be rewarding MPs for their current abuse of the second homes allowance by giving them an equivalent pay rise. This is not on," said Elliott.

Liberal Democrat MP and right-to-know campaigner Norman Baker said: "It'd be totally wrong to scrap the second homes allowance. It's there to reimburse MPs for legitimate expenditure made in the course of their duty. To lump it all together and give MPs a big pay rise would benefit MPs close to London who have lower expenses while penalising MPs like my colleagues in Scotland who are more likely to have higher expenses."

He added: "It's a fix to try to get around the Freedom of Information Act."

MPs set to vote on own £25,000 pay increase (Scotland on Sunday, 9 March 2008)