Southwark’s newest MPs have come out in strong opposition to proposals to increase their salaries to £74,000 a year, saying they would donate the increase to local charities.
Neil Coyle and Helen Hayes both told the News that they would give away the proposed extra £7,000, should the controversial increase, proposed by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), go ahead.
Mr Coyle, MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, described the raise as “unacceptable.”
He said: “MPs should not be voting on their own salary. If the well-above-inflation rise goes ahead this year I will be donating it to the local foodbank – keeping an election promise.”
While he hoped the raise would be blocked, he pledged to help “feed people more genuinely in need” if it did get approved.
Ms Hayes, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, reflected these views and said that any increase in salary “would not be right.”
She said: “I share the view of many others in the Parliamentary Labour Party that, at a time when public sector workers and many others have not had a real terms pay increase for several years, it would not be right to accept the proposed uplift.
“I will donate the difference to a small range of local charities in Dulwich and West Norwood that work on a range of important issues.”
Long-standing MP for Camberwell and Peckham and interim leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman, also disagreed with the proposed increase – although she failed to respond to the News’ question about whether she would choose to donate the difference in a potential salary increase.
She said: “IPSA is currently reviewing its decision on MPs’ pay but we have made our view clear: at a time when people’s wages are stagnant now is not the time to increase MPs’ take-home pay.
“As IPSA consults on its decision to increase MPs pay, we will be resubmitting our views and will await the outcome of their work.”
Prime Minister David Cameron has opposed but not yet blocked the proposals, instead urging Ipsa to ‘think again.’
Over 386,000 people have signed a petition calling on the PM to overrule the proposed increase.