This House of Commons Library Briefing Paper sets out the current (2018/19) rates of Members' pay and ministerial salaries. It provides background to recent changes. It also notes changes in the rules relating to and budget limits for Members' expenses since 2010.
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The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) is responsible for determining and paying Members’ salaries; for preparing and regularly reviewing and revising a scheme under which allowances are paid; and for paying those allowances.
It has no role in determining or paying ministerial salaries.
From 1 April 2018, the annual salary of a Member of Parliament increased to £77,379, in accordance with IPSA’s determination of July 2015.
IPSA reviewed Members’ pay in the 2010 Parliament to put in place a new settlement for the 2015 Parliament. In December 2013, at the end of the review, IPSA published a determination which set the Members’ salary at £74,000, from the beginning of the 2015 Parliament, and provided for MPs’ salaries to be adjusted in line with the rate of annual change in average earnings on 1 April each year, from 2016.
In its statutory review of Members’ pay at the beginning of the 2015 Parliament, IPSA confirmed that Members’ pay would increase to £74,000, after the 2015 General Election, but it determined that subsequent annual increases should be in line with changes in public sector average earnings (not whole economy average earnings).
On 28 February 2019, IPSA announced that the annual salary of a Members of Parliament would increase by 2.7% to £79,468 from 1 April 2019.
Under section 4A of the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009, IPSA is required to undertake a statutory review of Members’ pay in the first year after a general election. IPSA launched a statutory review of Members’ salaries in May 2018. In July 2018, it announced that it would make no changes to the July 2015 determination.
Since the 2010 General Election, responsibility for devising a scheme for and paying Members’ expenses has rested with IPSA.
IPSA undertook a comprehensive review of the Scheme, which began with a consultation issued in May 2016.
The review identified a number of changes that would be implemented following a general election, which at the time was scheduled for May 2020. The early General Election in June 2017 meant that some changes were implemented in the course of the 2017/18 financial year.
IPSA did not consult on the Scheme before the Tenth Edition of its Scheme was published in March 2018.
The Scheme of MPs’ Business Costs and Expenses 2019-20 (Eleventh Edition) was published on 13 March 2019. It is not discussed in this briefing paper.
Ministers who are Members of the House of Commons receive a Member’s salary and a ministerial salary. Ministers who are Members of the House of Lords receive a ministerial salary but they cannot claim Lords Attendance Allowance.
On assuming office in May 2010, the Coalition Government announced that ministers’ total pay would be cut by 5% and then frozen for the duration of that Parliament. The previous Labour administration had already frozen ministerial salaries through refusing increases in both ministerial and Members’ salaries, so the actual earnings of ministers did not equate to their entitlements.
The Coalition Government made an Order in 2011 to set ministerial salaries in accordance with its May 2010 announcement. However, subsequent increases in Members’ pay led to ministers in the House of Commons waiving part of their ministerial salary to prevent their total remuneration increasing and meant that the salaries drawn by ministers were different to those stated in the legislation.
Following the May 2015 general election, David Cameron announced that he had decided to continue to freeze the pay of ministers in government. Unlike the 2010 Parliament, this freeze applied only to the ministerial element of a minster’s total salary.
When information on ministerial salaries from April 2018 was published, notes confirmed that “The Government has committed to continue to freeze Ministerial salaries”.
The ministerial element of salary drawn by ministers continues to be below that specified in legislation.