Downing Street has cautioned against any rise to MPs’ pay as the cost of living crisis starts to bite.
No.10 said it expected the body that sets MPs’ pay, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), to show “restraint” when deciding on whether to increase members’ pay in April.
It comes as alarm bells ring within government at the cost of living crisis that has seen inflation climb to 5.1 per cent and energy bills soar for consumers across the country.
MPs usually receive a yearly pay rise linked to average public sector pay increases, but this was suspended last year due to the economic turmoil caused by coronavirus.
If the pay rise does go ahead this year, MPs would receive a 2.7% increase on their current salary of £81,932 from April 1.
Boris Johnson’s official spokesman stressed that IPSA was independent of government and he had not yet seen its proposals.
But he added: “I would say we would expect restraint on matters like this given the current circumstances, but beyond that I think it’s right that we let IPSA set out their proposals as an independent body.”
Johnson said the cost of living crisis had come about as result of “global price spikes” as the economy bounced back from covid.
He said he had discussed the pressures on household finances with the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, on Sunday night, amid reports that some Tories are concerned it will dent their chances in the polls.
And he said he understood “the pressures that people are facing on household finances”.
“It’s making life very tough,” he told reporters on Monday morning.
“And we’ve got to make sure that people are aware of all the things that they can do, all the money that we’re putting in via local councils to help people in hardship, the cold weather payments, the warm homes discount, the money for pensioners.”
The prime minister has come under pressure from Labour to grant a reprieve to struggling families by cutting VAT on energy bills for a year and introducing a windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas producers.
The measures form part of Labour’s £6.6bn package to tackle the crisis, which would also see the warm homes discount scheme — a one-off payment of £140 towards energy bills for the most vulnerable — increased and expanded.