MPs haven’t given themselves a £3,300 pay rise

27 October 2020
What was claimed

New Zealand’s MPs took a 20% pay cut during this pandemic

Our verdict

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave herself, government ministers and public service chief executives a 20% pay cut. Other MPs had a 10% pay cut.

What was claimed

Our Tory government gives itself a £3,300 pay rise.

Our verdict

It’s been proposed that the salary of all UK MPs will rise by around £3,300, but the government does not set pay.

A post on Facebook claims that New Zealand’s MPs took a 20% pay cut during the pandemic to help the economy, while “our Tory government gives itself a £3,300 pay rise instead”. This is not quite right. 

UK MPs’ salary

The salary of UK MPs is not set by the government or parliament, but by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), which links MPs’ pay to changes in average earnings in the public sector as published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Earlier this month, IPSA proposed that MPs’ wages should continue to be linked to the public sector in this way as it launched a consultation on MPs’ salaries.

The latest data from the ONS suggests that public sector pay rose by 4.1% between June to August 2019 and the same period 2020. If IPSA was to use this figure, then a 4.1% increase on the current MPs’ salary of £81,932 would equate to a rise of approximately £3,360—giving a final salary of £85,292. 

However, it is important to note that the actual figure IPSA will use to make its calculation—covering the three months to October 2020—has not yet been published. This means we do not know exactly how much MPs’ wages will rise by, although it is likely to be close to this amount. The final decision on pay will be made in December

Some MPs have expressed concern about the pay rise during the pandemic, including Labour leader Keir Starmer, Conservative business minister Nadhim Zahawi and Labour shadow health minister Rosena Allin-Khan

New Zealand MPs’ salary

On 15 April, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that she and her ministers would be taking a 20% cut to their pay for the next six months, as would public sector bosses. The New Zealand Herald reported at the time that this applied to all 25 government ministers and 34 government department chief executives. 

The salary of MPs and ministers in New Zealand is set by the Remuneration Authority. In order for the pay cuts to come into effect, the government had to pass legislation to make temporary reductions in wages. Although the announcement initially only discussed ministers taking pay cuts, all MPs received at least a 10% cut.

The pay cuts did not come into force until July, and are due to last until January.

Although the Facebook post suggests the wage reductions were to help the economy, Ms Ardern said the pay cuts “won’t shift the government’s overall fiscal position” but were about “leadership” and expressing solidarity with people facing pay cuts and redundancies as a result of the pandemic.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as partly false because the UK government doesn’t set its own pay, and not all New Zealand MPs took a 20% pay cut.

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