Linking MP Pay to Public Sector

Parliament is in another frenzy as IPSA, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, has had its 10% pay rise for MPs bitterly rejected by many of the future recipients before they voted to accept it in full.

IPSA says that it isn’t as good an offer as it looks since the golden goodbyes are being scrapped, fiddling expenses will become more difficult and the fantastic pensions are being trimmed a little. Sir Ian, the head of IPSA, says

In making this decision we are very aware of the strongly held views of many members of the public and by some MPs themselves.We have listened to those views.
We have made an important change to the way in which pay will be adjusted annually.
Over the last Parliament, MPs’ pay increased by 2%, compared to 5% in the public sector and 10% in the whole economy. It is right that we make this one-off increase and then formally link MPs’ pay to public sector pay.

Parity for Teachers, Please

So MPs have had their pensions trimmed and their pay restricted to less than the average public sector pay rises, but who has had this 5% pay rise in the public sector? Teachers have had a 2.5% over the same period and had their pensions trimmed – is the government going to give teachers a 10% one-off boost to make up for their 20% loss in earning power in recent years?

Somehow, I think not. The Chancellor has announced further below inflation pay rises for four more years just as private sector pay storms ahead. During the recession public sector pay was capped because it wasn’t appropriate for it to outstrip the hard working folks in private companies. Now that these private companies have found the money to offer decent pay rises, is it appropriate for the public sector to be held back to improve the governments finances, just as corporation taxes are reduced?

Recruitment Difficulties

Graph showing the decline of teacher pay with respect to RPI

Teacher Pay versus RPI

Ofsted warned of teacher recruitment problems last year, substantially as a result of the backsliding remuneration and worsening working conditions, and despite the Schools’ Minister claiming that there is no recruitment crisis, many others disagree.

With constant attacks from ministers and Ofsted, teachers in shortage subjects like Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry will find industrial or financial jobs rather more attractive than the thankless grind that becoming or remaining a teacher offers. The government has a desire to achieve the best education in the world without paying what is necessary to get capable people into the teaching profession and to keep them there. The planned decade of pay cuts following on from pension reform will not make that task any easier for them.

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