MHKs in bid to dodge £4,000 pay cut

Manx money

Manx money

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MHKs will be asked next month to support a move to avoid a potential £4,000 cut in their pay.

Changed terms and conditions for government new starters, introduced this year, could lead to first-time MHKs who wins seats in the general election being paid a basic salary which is 10 per cent less than re-elected members and MLCs.

Now Tynwald’s emoluments committee is seeking a Treasury order to ensure that all members get paid the same and no MHK gets a pay cut.

The issue was raised in the House of Keys last week by LibVan MHK Peter Karran (Onchan).

Policy and Reform Minister John Shimmin explained that the emoluments committee had approached Treasury with a view to proposing an order to put in place a new formula for determining members’ annual pay.

Its aim would be to ensure that all members will get the same basic salary, which is currently £39,542.

That figure is currently based on the civil service pay scale and is set at a rate half way between an executive officer and a higher executive officer.

Mr Shimmin explained that the main purpose of the order was to deal with a ‘potential discrepancy’ between existing MHKs, those new elected in September who will be new starters and MLCs who would have continuous employment.

‘It would seem inappropriate to have potentially three different sets of salaries,’ he said,

The formula will aim to arrive at a figure which is similar to the current salary, explained Mr Shimmin, and the order would give members the opportunity to ‘clarify the situation’.

It could be argued that the 10 per cent cut should apply to all MHKs after the September general election as they are effectively on a new five-year contract.

If approved at the June sitting, the order will come into operation on July 1.

Mr Karran claimed current pay rates disbarred professionals who could not afford to become MHKs.

Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne spearheaded the move to introduce the new starters’ scheme which reduces the salary scale for new government employees by about 10 per cent together with restrictions on sick pay and holiday pay.

It has saved government between £500,000-700,000 this year and is projected to save £1.5m next year and almost £2m the year after.

Mr Gawne said it was his view that the pay cut should apply to all Tynwald members. He said: ‘The terms for new starters will save substantial amounts of money for government. If MHKs are to show proper and true leadership then obviously it should apply to us as it should apply to any new starters.’

He said what the emoluments committee was proposing did seem ‘very much contrary to what we should be doing’.

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