Government ministerial salaries are to be frozen in the coming year, prime minister Boris Johnson has announced, amid furore about an expected £3,300 hike for MPs.
Ministers will still get the MPs’ pay rise along with all members of the House of Commons, but they will not receive any increase on the separate salary they receive on top as members of the government.
The salaries of ministers in the Commons have been frozen since 2010, meaning that secretaries of state have missed out on rises totalling £4,168 over that period, said Downing Street.
While MPs’ pay is set by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, ministerial salaries are fixed by the government and successive prime ministers since 2010 have held them down to avoid a political backlash.
Ipsa provoked fury last week with proposals for a 4.1 hike for MPs’ pay worth £3,360, taking their salaries to £85,291 at a time when many people are facing redundancy due to coronavirus restrictions.
A number of MPs have said they will donate their rise to charity, including Labour frontbenchers Lucy Powell and Rosena Allin-Khan as well as business minister Nadhim Zahawi, who said he did not consider it “appropriate”.
And Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for a cross-party discussion on what to do about the issue.
“This year of all years we shouldn’t have it,” Sir Keir said on Monday, adding: “That money, if it’s available, should be spent on key workers – those who have been on the frontline through this pandemic.”
The annual rise for MPs is based on a comparison with public sector pay and is subject to a consultation process which ends in November, with a final decision expected the following month and the rise taking effect from April 2021.
On top of their MP’s pay of almost £82,000, ministers receive separate government salaries worth £75,440 for the prime minister, £67,505 for secretaries of state and between £22,375 and £31,680 for lower-ranking ministers.
Announcing the zero per cent rise in this element of their pay for 2021-22, Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said: “The prime minister has decided that at a time of significant presser on public finances, it is only right that ministerial salaries should be frozen.”
Salaries for ministers in the House of Lords, who receive expenses but not pay for their service as members of the second chamber, will remain at 2019-20 levels.