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Three East Lancashire MPs would give away pay rise
JACK Straw has defended plans to give MPs an 11 per cent pay rise of £7,600 a year in 2015 as three colleagues pledged to give the extra to charity if re-elected.
The former Labour Cabinet Minister, who retires as Blackburn MP at the next election, said he would not have followed suit and did not expect his successor to do so.
Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry, his Pendle Tory colleague Andrew Stephenson, and Burnley Lib Dem Gordon Birtwistle all pledged to give any pay rise to local charities.
Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans declined to say what he would do if still at Westminster.
Parliamentary watchdog Ipsa on Thursday is set to recommend a rise of £7,600 from £66,396 to £74,000 after the May 2015 election.
It does not need MPs’ agreement for the increase.
Ipsa will also squeeze the pensions and goodbye packages of MPs, scrap dinner allowances and crack down on second home expenses.
Mr Berry said: “It is completely wrong.
“If this comes before Parliament I will vote against it.
“If forced to take it, I will donate the salary difference to local good causes.”
Mr Stephenson said: “This increase is not right. If I am forced to accept it I will give the money to local charities in Pendle.
“I cannot accept this pay rise when my constituents are being squeezed.”
Mr Birtwistle said: “This is wrong and the wrong time. I shall give the balance of any increase after tax and pension contributions to local charities including the appeal for a prostate cancer scanner at Burnley General Hospital.”
Mr Evans said: “I cannot comment until I see the package as a whole.
“The reality is that there is never a good time.”
Mr Straw said: “I’m concerned to ensure the pay is sufficient to attract people from modest backgrounds who have not inherited a house, who don’t have family or personal income, but who are going to make a career out of politics.
“I have no personal interest whatever.
“If MPs’ pay continues to fall it will have an adverse effect on who goes into politics.”
Hyndburn MP Graham Jones previously said of a potential pay rise for MPs: “We are among the highest paid people in the country but don’t earn as much as Premiership footballers.”
Chorley’s Lindsay Hoyle has said: “We have not seen the proposals.”
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