MSPs are to forgo a pay increase next year, it has been announced. In a message to all MSPs today, Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh MSP said that, in the midst of a public health crisis with such devastating economic consequences and hardship for so many, now more than ever was the time for political leadership on Members’ pay.
The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB), chaired by the Presiding Officer, agreed unanimously (on 3 December) that no uplift will be presented in the SPCB’s budget bid for next year with regard to Members and Ministerial salaries.
The full text of the Presiding Officer’s message to all MSPs is as follows:
MSP pay: financial year 2021/22
Later this month, the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body will present its budget bid for 2021/22 to the Finance and Constitution Committee for its scrutiny.
As ever, it is the duty of the SPCB to make provision for the resources and services that Parliament needs to function. Within its annual budget bid, the SPCB is required to make provision for the salaries of all Members and Ministers.
You will no doubt recall that in the previous session of Parliament, Members voted to break the pay link between MPs and MSPs salaries. Instead of receiving 87.5% of MPs’ salaries, we voted to link our future pay increases to those of public sectors workers in Scotland, using the ASHE index.
Last year, the ASHE index applied to our salaries stood at 1.4%. This year the corresponding rate is 5.1%.
In the midst of a public health crisis with such devastating economic consequences and hardship for so many households, the SPCB unanimously agreed yesterday, that it would be wholly inappropriate for the ASHE index to be applied to MSP and Ministerial salaries next year.
Instead, the SPCB agreed that Members, Ministers and Presiding Officers will forgo a pay rise and that our budget bid to the Finance and Constitution Committee will freeze the current salary rates for Members.
These are exceptional circumstances and no other decision would have been appropriate or welcome at this time – either inside or outwith Parliament. Now more than ever is a time for political leadership where our own salaries are concerned.
I am grateful to each of the members of the SPCB for their collaboration on this matter and in agreeing the budget bid that will be made to the Finance and Constitution Committee later this month.