Thursday, January 10, 2008

Really don't understand this

So, in reaction to the news that MPs are likely to vote themselves a larger pay rise than the 1.9% that Brown wants them to have, the Government have announced a review into whether MPs should retain the right to set their own pay levels. Without getting into the wrongs and rights of whether a pay rise of 2.8% is merited (RPI inflation is running at 4% after all) there's something about this that just doesn't sound right.
Commons leader Harriet Harman told MPs it could be "possibly the last time" they debate and vote on their own pay. The review is to examine using "objective criteria" to establish MPs' pay, so MPs are not required to vote.
Ms Harman said: "Many members say they find it unacceptable, and we know the public don't accept that MPs decide by voting their own pay and pensions. We therefore intend to review the procedures for setting MPs' pay and pensions in the future, with a view to examining options that find objective criteria for pay determination within a framework that does not require members to vote."

Well, the current system is that Parliament votes to confirm (or not) the recommendation of the independent Senior Salaries Pay Board - which uses objective criteria to determine what the 'correct' level of salary increases should be. Which, it decided, was the 2.8% that Brown and Harman are so upset about.
So, if this review does go ahead, there would be no question about 'showing restraint' or anything like - it would be a case of everybody accepting what the independent recommendation was. Which is what Brown and Harman are opposed to. It just feels like someone's got tight hold of the wrong end of the stick.

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