MPs against calls for 32 per cent pay rise
SWANSEA'S MPs have rejected calls by some of their colleagues for a 32 per cent pay increase.
A survey revealed that 69 per cent of MPs believed they were "underpaid" following the introduction of a new expenses regime which forces them to provide receipts for all claims.
On average the MPs surveyed said they deserved to be paid £86,250 a year – an increase of almost £21,000.
But most MPs in the Swansea area said they did not support such a high increase, pointing out that their pay is set by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
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The watchdog is currently reviewing whether MPs' pay should be changed from its current level of £65,738 a year.
Swansea West MP Geraint Davies said there was "no appetite among the public for MPs to be paid any more".
He added: "No one could argue MPs are in poverty and from a personal point of view my focus is doing my best for Swansea – there's no strong case to change the current level of MPs' pay."
A spokeswoman for Swansea East MP Sian James also said a 32 per cent increase would "not be something Sian would ever consider".
Neath MP Peter Hain said he was "absolutely astonished" at the IPSA survey, adding: "We haven't had an increase in salary for several years and that's absolutely right."
Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards, meanwhile, said it was "absolutely incredible" that any elected politician would be making the case for "hyper inflation-busting pay increases".
He said: "When you consider the real-terms cuts in the public sector, and the events of this week with cuts to benefits, it's just inconceivable."
The IPSA survey revealed that Conservative MPs were the most likely to think they were underpaid.
On average, Conservatives said their salary should be £96,740, while Liberal Democrats thought the right amount was £78,361, and Labour £77,322.
Several Swansea area MPs also expressed frustration with IPSA's handling of what is a thorny issue.
Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire MP Simon Hart said: "I'm quite happy with what I'm paid at the moment, and I'm not asking for more money.
''What I'm asking for is for IPSA to take a view so we can put this issue to bed once and for all."
And Aberavon MP Hywel Francis told the Post: "I've never voted on my own pay and never will, and I'll accept what is given to me: that's the responsibility of IPSA and they should just get on with it."
Tory backbencher Andrew Bridgen also waded into the row by insisting the "vast majority" of the public did not consider £65,000 a year "a lot of money" — even though it is more than double the average wage.
The row erupted as Ipsa published a report on its initial consultation, which ended last month.
Final decisions are due to be taken in the spring, with a new system not taking effect until after the 2015 General Election.