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Just two MPs pledge to give away inflation-busting pay rise
JUST two of the region's MPs have pledged to give away an extra £7,600 a year they would receive from a controversial 11 per cent pay rise.
The Northern Echo contacted 16 MPs in the North-East and North Yorkshire asking if they would keep the extra money - set to be rubber stamped today (Thursday, December 12).
However, only five responded and just two - Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald and Anne McIntosh, MP for Thirsk and Malton - said they would hand over the cash to charities and good causes.
The proposal by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) to increase the current MPs’ salary of £66,396 to £74,000 in 2015 was yesterday described as “simply unacceptable” by the Prime Minister.
Calling on Ipsa to think again, David Cameron suggested the body could be scrapped if it pressed ahead with the controversial increase.
Labour leader Ed Miliband later called for an urgent meeting with Mr Cameron, Nick Clegg and the chairman of Ipsa to prevent the rise.
In response to the Echo survey, Mr McDonald said he would use the extra money to help needy constituents.
Describing the pay hike as “ill-conceived”, he added: “If it is the case that the salary of MPs should be increased, it shouldn't be done now when people are facing such cuts in their own living standards.”
Miss McIntosh said she would have “no hesitation” in donating the extra money to charities nominated by voters.
Other MPs in the region criticised the proposal - but stopped short of pledging to give the money away.
North Durham MP Kevan Jones said any increase had to be “cost-neutral” to the taxpayer, adding that he would wait see the details of the package before deciding if he would accept it.
Iain Wright, MP for Hartlepool, said he was opposed to an inflation-busting pay increase for MPs.
He added: “Politicians are not held in regard by the general public, and such a proposal by IPSA would widen that gulf to dangerous levels.”
But when asked if Mr Wright would keep the money, his North-East office did not respond.
Ian Swales MP, who represents Redcar, said he would not comment on the issue because Ipsa was an independent body.
The MPs who failed to respond to repeated calls and emails were: Roberta Blackman-Woods; Tom Blenkinsop; Jenny Chapman; Alex Cunningham; Pat Glass; Helen Goodman; William Hague; Grahame Morris; Julian Smith; Phil Wilson and James Wharton.
The pay hike was last nigh condemned by union chiefs.
Clare Williams, UNISON regional convenor, said members were facing a "frightening Christmas" because of fears about their jobs.
She added: "An 11 per cent increase for MPs looks like pure greed when other public sector workers are paying the cost of austerity.”
Simon Elliott, Northern regional secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said: “I think it would further alienate MPs from ordinary people they are elected to represent.”
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