‘Wholly inappropriate’: MSPs won’t get pay rise in 2021

Presiding officer Ken Macintosh says political leadership needed over salaries during coronavirus pandemic.

‘Wholly inappropriate’: MSPs won’t get pay rise in 2021 Getty Images

MSPs won’t get a pay rise next year as it would be ‘wholly inappropriate’ to increase salaries during the coronavirus pandemic, the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body has decided.

Salary increases for MSPs are linked to public sector pay and they would have been in line for a 5.1% rise in 2021.

In a letter to elected members, Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh said no other decision on pay would have been welcome at this time.

He wrote: “Now more than ever is a time for for political leadership where our own salaries are concerned.

“In the midst of a public health crisis with such devastating economic consequences and hardship for so many households the SPCB (Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body) unanimously agreed yesterday that it would be wholly inappropriate for the ASHE index to be applied to MSP and Ministerial salaries next year.”

The rise, which MSPs do not vote on, is linked to public-sector rises in Scotland using the annual survey of hours and earnings (ASHE) published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

MSPs received a pay increase of 1.4% in April this year, in line with the ASHE index.

It means members received an annual salary of £64,469 – up by a total of £890 on the current £63,579 per year.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney welcomed the plan, and said: “I think it’s absolutely the right decision to have taken and I think it’s correct in these circumstances.

“The pay of ministers has been frozen at 2008-09 levels, so that’s been frozen for some considerable time, but I unreservedly welcome the decision that Parliament’s taken today.”

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