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IPSA blog > Posts > IPSA CEO Andrew McDonald: It’s research, not shouting, that matters.


December 10
IPSA CEO Andrew McDonald: It’s research, not shouting, that matters.

Ever since we were given the responsibility to set MPs’ pay and pensions, IPSA has said that we will make our decision based on the evidence and the quality of the arguments put to us – and that we would do so following consultation with the public.


Over the last two years, we have held two full rounds of formal public consultation; received hundreds of responses from the public; taken part in dozens of radio phone-in programmes around the country; held focus groups in different regions; reviewed research and conducted some of our own; and discussed the questions on social media.

And, on Thursday, we will publish our findings. The package we will announce will be exactly that: a package. It will be about more than pay.
One of the strands of research we pursued was a survey of public opinion about the package we put out for consultation in the summer. As a reminder, that package included a one-off pay rise, thereafter linking MPs’ pay to average earnings; reforming MPs’ pensions; scrapping the outdated resettlement payments worth tens of thousands; further tightening up the expenses rules; and calling on MPs to complete an annual account of their work to help their constituents understand  what it is MPs actually do.
In some ways, the research results were unsurprising: in general, when viewing each element of the package in isolation, people supported the recommendations which take money away from MPs, and didn’t support the recommendation to increase MPs’ pay.
When asked to weigh the recommendations as a whole - as a complete package - the public view is more sophisticated than many commentators have given them credit for in the past few days.
Taking the package together, our research suggests that, if the reformed package costs more overall, 58% thought it too generous and 30% thought it about right or not generous enough.
But, when presented with a similar package which does not cost the taxpayer any extra, public opinion is almost split down the middle: 45% say it would be too generous, and 43% say it is about right or not generous enough.

This shows us something important: this is an issue where the public has a more nuanced, and split, opinion than the reactive howls of ‘outrage’ from some commentators and politicians..

We have taken the time to ask people about their opinions in detail, and we have received them in kind.
We also know that when you engage the public in a detailed consideration of the issues, as we have, they will take the time to give the kind of thoughtful and considered response this issue deserves.
The package we will announce on Thursday will, taken as a whole, not cost the taxpayer a penny more. That message has not been heard in the hubbub of the last few days. Once it is, I am hopeful that our reforms will receive the same thoughtful response that we found in our polling.  And that some commentators will pause before making sweeping assumptions about what the public think without asking them.


 ComRes September Report


Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Thieves abuse the public trust, sign their own cheques and steel money that belongs to the tax payer.  I wouldn't have thought the victims believe them worthy of a pay rise.

Because they have stolen money they set up ipsa who choose to renumerate them better to stop them stealing.  Sorry sirs, but no!  Many of the hardworking people of this country struggle to put food on the table to feed their families.  Plus i don't want theives in parliment.  Much is made of benefits abuse - yes it's a problem but if I were to choose between handing money to benefits claimants or to MPs I know which I would choose.  I know which would help more genuine people that need it.

Yes it's right to cut pensions inline with other public sector workers.
Yes it's right to cut allowances which they no longer fall inline with today's job of an mp.
And it's absolutely right that MPs receive no greater pay rise than the average of the public sector (though you haven't figured this one out yet)
If expenses are required and necessary to keep those from poorer backgrounds becoming MPs then they should be retained - I don't know anyone who would scoff at a 60k+ salary.  Cut MPs pay and police the system better.  Like all other parts of the public sector MPs should face cuts.

Like others have said there is no shortage of applicants - which is the normal benchmark used by the private sector to determine renumeration levels.

Ipsa you've got it horribly wrong and believe me a 50:50 split in public opinion is not good enough.  I'm confident that if you don't come up with something which has mass support their will be mass protests or even worse.  The public have had enough of those managing our money taking more of it for themselves - that includes bankers and that includes MPs (and I'm afraid ipsa - since your unelected and MPs can change the law you will never be considered truly independent from government).

 on 12/10/2013 8:43 PM

IPSA must be accountable to the people - CUT MPS PAY

If IPSA are saying that people want MPs pay cut and no pay increase and IPSA decide to ignore what people want , then in my  opinion even though IPSA may be acting legally, we need to change the laws of this country so that IPSA members can in future be put into jail for life if found guilty of ignoring the democratic wishes of the people. The simplest solution would be to hold a referendum on MPs pay – but of course that will not happen because there is no real democracy in the UK.
 on 12/11/2013 10:29 AM

Maps 11percent

Are you living in cuckoo land?
 on 12/11/2013 1:44 PM

Mr Average

I'm sure that you will have studied the financial position of mp's over the last 25 year.  All of them will have retired very wealth people. So their pay does not really reflect the amouint of money they squeeze out of the public purse over their political life. Why would anyone go into politics over a City job that would pay £150,000 per year unless there are hidden rewards???
IPSA wake up or is there a gong waiting somewhere?
 on 12/11/2013 4:31 PM


Scrap IPSA. It is obviously staffed with people who have NO IDEA about value for money. The PUBLIC does NOT get value for money in MPs. We are told that MPs wages are being gradually brought into line with the private sector. What "Private sector" job is remotely similar to an MPs job ??. In the private sector, competition and profits determine the success of a company and its workers. There IS no competition for MPs, they DO NOT have to care about profit and loss. This year government borrowing is set to be £120 BILLION. Yes that means that MPs are spending 300 million pounds EVERY DAY more than the take in taxes. FAILURE on a massive scale. SHUT DOWN IPSA and get a body of decent hard working people on the panel that have experience in the real world. IPSA hang your heads in shame.
 on 12/11/2013 6:32 PM

The proposed increase in MPs pay is immoral

An 11% increase cannot be justified on any grounds.  Local Government workers have had their pay frozen, been made redundant and had to reapply for their own jobs.  That is 5 years of seeing their pay eroded while inflation has exceeded the governments own targets and basics like electricity, gas, petrol, diesel and food have seen price rises ahead of inflation.

Apparently the justification is making good losses of perks and benefits - things that were taken away because they weren't justified and MPs were abusing the system in claiming them.  So why do IPSA feel that MPs should now be compensated for something they shouldn't be paid, isn't earned and are not due?

IPSA is supposed to be independent in order to stand up to the greed of the MPs and set realistic pay rates, but instead they abuse their position to suck up to the MPs and value their mediocre efforts with £74k p.a. salary (plus expenses and perks) that few others could ever hope to receive.  It stinks!
 on 12/11/2013 7:11 PM


 You say that public opinion is almost split down the middle.
 To justify this statement you say that 45% say it is too generous, and 43% say it is about right or not generous enough.  Your data.
 So if the 43% were split properly rather than lumped together arbitrarily into 22% say it is about right and 21% say it is not generous enough then this would clarify the position immensely as the public are now voting 2:1 that the rise is too much.  Your data, just not your unfounded argument!
 on 12/11/2013 7:33 PM

Will not cost a penny more !

All other PUBLIC SECTOR pay / pension deals are costing us the taxpayer less, workers are paying more from frozen pay scales or from a 1% rise with SUBSTANTIALLY MORE contributions to a pension they will in some cases get years later than planned but this lot many who ripped off the taxpayer in their expenses and were allowed to repay and that's the end of it now they have a body further out of touch with reality arranging their renumeration.

They must be clapping their trotters all the way to the bank !

 on 12/11/2013 8:58 PM


Well I've asked every one I know on facebook and they've also asked there friends,  and any one I meet, and not ONE of them has been asked by you anything about M.P's. pay. So  I think you should ask the general public and not just your friends around the House of parliament what they think. Mind you the government do pay YOU very well so I won't hold my breath.
 on 12/11/2013 11:24 PM

Disgruntled Citizen

Dear Sir,

As a citizen of the United Kingdom, a voter and a taxpayer I find the report of a proposed increase in the pay of our elected representatives to be utterly abhorrent.

The supposed defence to this disgraceful decision is that the pensions of MPs will be reduced as well as some expenses. I'm afraid that argument will simply not wash with many people who have had a cut in their pensions without a commensurate increase in pay to compensate them.

This decision will simply increase the feelings of disgust, apathy and derision many have towards politics. MPs are not a nomenklatura worthy of special treatment. They should be subject to the same rules as the rest of the citizenry.

Decisions such as this push our democracy further into the mire. The persons at IPSA who proposed the increase at this time of austerity and retrenchment should be utterly ashamed.



 on 12/12/2013 1:48 AM
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