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MP promises to vote for below inflation pay rise for MPs!

January 8, 2008 12:00 AM

Rochdale MP Paul Rowen has committed to backing a 1.9% increase in MP's pay - instead of the 3%, above inflation increase that some MPs seem to be preferring. Mr Rowen has backed Prime Minister Gordon Brown who has said MPs' pay increases should be limited to 1.9 per cent instead of the higher award they expect from the Independent Senior Salaries Review Board.

The vote on 24 January in Parliament is seen as a Gordon Brown's first test of the year. It comes just a day after public sector workers are set to join over 15,000 police officers in a march organised by the Police Federation.

Mr Rowen said: "The police and other public sector workers are poorly paid and are forbidden to go on strike while agreements on their pay are ripped up by the government. If everybody else in the public sector is being urged to tighten their belts, then I cannot vote for a bigger pay rise for MPs.

"As a general principle, I cannot see MPs getting above inflation increases when the rest of the public sector is being held back by the government. Though I repeat it is the government not Parliament that is refusing to honour the Police pay award.

"If there is a general freeze of all public sector workers then yes I would expect MPs to follow suit. Though I am not convinced that targeting just public service workers, many of whom are low paid is either right or proper. That is why I have supported the police.

"I think this government have got the public finances in a mess and are using public sector pay as a scapegoat. On 24 January, I will be voting against the recommendations set by the Independent Review Body."

This attitude though wasn't echoed by every MP in Greater Manchester. David Crausby, Labour MP for Bolton North East wrote in the Scotsman today: "MPs' pay should not be decided by MPs, the Prime Minister or the government of the day. It should be set by an independent pay review body and honoured. At the moment, that body is the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) and their recommendation (reportedly for MPs to receive a 2.8 per cent pay rise) should be accepted. It is wholly improper of the Prime Minister to interfere with it."

More than 15,000 officers from Wales and England will join the rally, organised by the Police Federation, on 23 January. The federation says the march is the only way they can legally express their anger at Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who has decided not to backdate a 2.5% pay rise to September, as originally proposed by the independent Police Arbitration Tribunal.