A West Norfolk MP has said he will not accept a 10 per cent pay rise unless more is done to reduce the cost of politics.
Last week’s announcement that MPs’ salaries are set to rise to £74,000 per year, from just over £67,000, sparked an angry reaction from unions, campaigners and even some politicians.
And North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham says he is not happy that the increase has been approved either.
He said: “It’s the wrong time. When we’re asking the public sector to have a one per cent increase, I don’t think this should be going ahead.
“I won’t be accepting it unless we’re going to make politics cheaper and offer better value for money.”
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), the body responsible for determining how much MPs should be paid, says the move would not cost the taxpayer more because of cuts in expenses, pensions and severence payments to former MPs.
But Mr Bellingham believes controls on costs should go even further, including reducing the number of MPs sitting in the House of Commons.
Although there has been speculation ministers are set to drop the idea, Mr Bellingham said cutting the number of MPs by 50 to 600 could save around £35 million a year in salary payments.
Some MPs, including education secretary Nicky Morgan, have indicated they would give any additional pay they received to charity and Mr Bellingham said he had not ruled out following his government colleague’s lead if the rise is finally implemented.
But he added: “The most important thing is if this is part of getting better value for money for the taxpayer. That’s the only way this can be justified.”