Asked whether the Prime Minister (PM) would forego a pay rise, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) said that there is no rise, there is a proposal on which the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) is consulting.
Pushed on why the PMS would not say that the PM would not accept one if it does go ahead, the PMS said that the right thing to do is respond to the consultation and make the government’s view clear that the cost of politics should be going down. The PMS also made clear that the PM does not think MPs’ pay should go up while public sector pay is constrained.
Asked whether the PM has been approached by his MPs on this issue, the PMS said that the PM has regular discussions on many topics with MPs, as all party leaders do.
Asked about Michael Gove’s view that IPSA is a “silly” organisation, the PMS said that the PM’s view is clear.
Asked whether ministers could forego their ministerial pay so that their colleagues could have a pay rise without the cost of politics going up, the PMS said that one of the first things the PM did was to cut ministerial pay, so we have already seen strong action on that. The PMS also pointed to other examples of cutting the cost of Whitehall, such as the decisions made in the 2010 Spending Review and civil service numbers being at very low levels.
Married tax breaks
Asked whether the PM would take full advantage of the married tax break proposed by the Chancellor, the PMS said that the right thing to do is to wait for details of the policy.
Asked whether it is unusual to announce tax measures in autumn statements, the PMS said he did not think it was rare to talk about fiscal events in an autumn statement.
Asked why he thinks married tax breaks are a good idea, the PMS said that the PM is a big believer in marriage and that is why he thinks it is important to recognise it in the tax system.
Asked whether the PM agrees with the Chancellor’s enthusiasm for the Coalition, the PMS referred the lobby to the press statements at the time about the decisions taken to have a strong and stable government.