A Blackpool MP today pledged to hand over a £7,600 pay rise to community groups in the resort – after plans to give Members of Parliament an 11 per cent salary increase were branded “ludicrous”.
The salaries of MPs across the land – including the five on the Fylde coast – are expected to go up to £74,000 from the current £66,396 from 2015 when the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) signs off on the increase.
The huge pay hike comes despite all three main party leaders, including Prime Minister David Cameron, objecting to it as widespread pay freezes continue for workers across the country.
And Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, today told The Gazette he will, if re-elected in 2015, give the 11 per cent increase to needy groups supporting youngsters and the elderly.
Mr Maynard said: “I am disappointed that IPSA has not listened to public pressure and is pressing on with a pay rise MPs do not need, and which is at odds with the general public sector pay freeze and wider public opinion. MPs can no longer vote on their own pay, though if there is any vote to express concern, I will oppose the principle of a pay rise.
“The bigger challenge now is to find a way to ensure that if a pay rise goes ahead after the next election, and I am still fortunate enough to represent Blackpool North and Cleveleys, that it benefits the constituency I serve rather than myself.
“To that end, the extra post-tax income I get as a result of this rise will go into a fund at the credit union, which offers three per cent interest.
“An impartial panel will then be invited to assess applications for the money from local groups on an annual basis that contribute in the constituency towards my own personal priorities of increasing opportunities for our young people and reducing isolation amongst our elderly.
“The sums involved will not be large, but the principle that MPs should serve their constituency means I think this is a worthwhile and responsible way to deal with a pay rise I do not seek.”
Meanwhile, other MPs across the Fylde slammed the proposed pay increase.
Eric Ollerenshaw, (pictured) MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, said: “It seems like a stupid thing to propose. From what I understand there’s going to be some consultation so hopefully this will not be the final decision.
“It does seem ludicrous to do this when everyone is facing pay freezes.”
When asked about Mr Maynard’s plans to give away the proposed rise away, Mr Ollerenshaw said he wanted to first see what the outcome of the consultation would be - adding that the proposed rise may yet be scrapped.
Wyre and Preston North MP Ben Wallace (pictured) added: “It is about leadership. If our fire fighters, DWP civil servants and police are not getting a pay rise then neither should we.”
The Commons pay watchdog the IPSA first floated the idea of the rise in July, saying it should take effect at the start of the next Parliament in 2015.
Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats, said people would find it “impossible to understand” when living standards were being “remorselessly squeezed”.
Ed Miliband said that if he became Prime Minister he would limit the increase.
Derek Bunting, from Bispham, regularly campaigns about the wasting of taxpayers’ money.
He said: “When you think of the current situation, everyone is being expected to tighten their belts and it is very bad timing to suggest they get such an increase.
“Everyone’s bills are going up along with the cost of living. It’s comes at the wrong time when people are being asked to do one thing and MPs are doing the other.
“I’m not against MPs getting a pay rise but that percentage is beyond any increase to pensions.”
Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “It is totally unacceptable to hike politicians pay just as families across the UK struggle with stagnant wages and rising prices.
“Taxpayers will be furious the pay rise comes at a time when MPs urge public pay restraint and the chancellor tells us he can’t afford to ease the burden of taxes on hard-pressed households and businesses.
Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden and Fylde MP Mark Menzies were unavailable for comment today.