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Information on additional funding made available by IPSA in March 2020 was added to this paper in March 2021. The additions are indicated. The original (March 2020) text has not been altered but some hyperlinks have been updated.

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.

Members’ salaries

From 1 April 2019, the annual salary of a Member of Parliament increased to £79,468, 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.

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.

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).

IPSA launched a statutory review of Members’ salaries in May 2018, following the June 2017 general election. In July 2018, it announced that it would make no changes to the July 2015 determination.

Following the 2019 general election, IPSA will need to undertake a further statutory review of MPs’ salaries in 2020.

Members’ expenses

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.

Following a consultation on the Scheme, IPSA introduced some changes to the Eleventh Edition of the Scheme, which came into force on 1 April 2019. MPs are able to ‘hire’ IPSA equipment for election campaigning and IPSA has discretion to vary the 90-day period for submitting claims and the length of the winding-up period.

Following IPSA’s statutory review of MPs’ pay at the beginning of the 2017 Parliament, it made alterations to the arrangements for MPs who lost their seats at a general election. It introduced a new Winding-Up Payment for MPs – two months’ net salary for MPs defeated at any general election and for MPs standing down at an early general election.

Coronavirus Measures (update added 10 March 2021)

On 19 March 2020, IPSA announced an immediate increase of £10,000 to each MP’s office costs budget, in order to support their staff in moving to homeworking. IPSA also increased the limit on payment cards; suspended the 90-day limit for claims; among other things and committed to keeping these measures under review.

Ministerial salaries

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”.

In May 2019, the Leader of the House of Lords announced that Lords ministers’ pay would increase. Reflecting the increases Commons ministers had received in their parliamentary salaries since May 2015, Lords ministerial salaries increased by 3.3% and from April 2019, they received their full entitlement.

The ministerial element of salary drawn by Commons ministers continues to be below that specified in legislation.

This briefing paper reports on rates in 2019/20.

The Library Briefing Paper, Members’ pay and expenses and ministerial salaries 2020/21 (CBP09148) was published on 25 February 2021

A list of previous Library Briefing Papers on Members’ pay, expenses and ministerial salaries can be found in Appendix 5. The paper covering the 2018/19 financial year is Members’ pay and expenses and ministerial salaries 2018/19, CBP08535, 27 March 2019

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