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PM announces freeze in ministers' pay

David Cameron announces freeze in ministers' pay




David Cameron's cabinet

                        David Cameron chaired the first of his new cabinet meetings earlier this month


Government ministers' pay will remain frozen for the next five years, David Cameron has announced

Writing in the Sunday Times, the prime minister said we were "all in this together" when it came to paying off the national debt.

His pledge will save about £800,000 a year and £4m by 2020.

The decision means ministerial pay will not have risen for a decade by the end of parliament. Cabinet ministers currently receive a salary of £134,565.

This includes their pay as MPs. The prime minister is paid a total of £142,500.

'One nation approach'

Mr Cameron said his decision to freeze ministerial pay for the duration of the parliament was part of his "One Nation" approach to tackling the deficit, and becoming a country where "all hard-working people can get on".

He writes: "We can't pretend there's not still a long way to go. We've halved the deficit as a share of the economy - but there's still half of it left to pay off.

"So we will continue to take the difficult decisions necessary to bring spending down and secure our economy. As we go about doing that, I want people to be in no doubt: I said five years ago we were all in this together, and five years on, nothing has changed.

"That's why, for example, I've decided to freeze the pay of the ministers in the government. For me, that's just one step which sends out a clear signal: that as we continue knuckling down as a country, we will all play our part."

Meanwhile, the UK's 650 MPs - who are currently paid £67,060 - are in line for a 9% pay rise later this year after the independent watchdog - known as the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) -  said pay should rise to £74,000 after the election.

Changes brought in after the 2009 expenses scandal mean MPs are no longer in charge of setting their own pay rates, instead this issue now falls within the scope of IPSA.

But the government has made it clear that the scale of the IPSA's suggested increase is "not right" and should be reconsidered, given that public sector pay rises have been capped at 1%.



Generic picture of money

By BBC political correspondent Chris Mason

Is this a surprise? No. Will it save much money? No.

Is it symbolically important to the point that it would have been more newsworthy if they'd not done this? Absolutely.

The prime minister acknowledges that there are "difficult decisions" to come, so this is important symbolically to try to prove, as he puts it, that "we are all in this together."

What is likely to prove much more tricky is the expected big rise coming soon in the basic pay all MPs receive.

After the expenses scandal, parliament decided MPs' pay should be set by an independent body.

But always beware the law of unintended consequences: that body could now recommend, against the vociferous protests of the party leaders, a big hike in their pay packets.


MPs are also not paid extra for their committee work, although committee chairs get a £14,000 supplement, taking their pay to £81,642.

Ahead of Wednesday's Queen's Speech setting out his plans for the first year of his new term, Mr Cameron used his newspaper column to insist that his new administration would be "about so much more than balancing the books".

"As we return to office, after five years of a long-term economic plan and sacrifices by the British people, we're on the brink of something different - something special," he writes.

"We can become a country where all hard-working people can get on; not a two-speed society where some can afford childcare and homes of their own and others cannot.

"We can become a country where all children get the education they deserve and no-one settles for a life on benefits; so no-one's background is a barrier to their success.

"In other words, we can become One Nation."


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