This note summarises the pay freezes and reductions that have been applied to Government ministers since April 2007. Under the Labour Government ministerial pay was frozen. The Coalition Administration reduced ministerial salaries in order to achieve a five per cent reduction in ministerial remuneration (ministerial and Members' salaries combined).Jump to full report >>
In its Review of parliamentary pay, pensions and allowances 2007, which was published by the then Government in January 2008, the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) noted that ministerial salaries had been squeezed over time and recommended ministers’ earnings (including the parliamentary salary) should be set as multiples of the parliamentary salary. The Government rejected this recommendation and said that ministerial salaries should increase in line with parliamentary salaries. The House of Commons adopted a new mechanism for determining annual pay increases in June 2008. However, the Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975 (as amended) was not changed, so ministerial salaries (entitlements) continued to increase in line with the old formula, that is in line with increases in the mid-point of the pay bands for the senior civil service.
In both 2008/09 and 2009/10, the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, announced that ministers would not take the increase in ministerial salary, and in 2009/10, he also said that ministers would decline their increase in Members’ salary as well. In March 2010, the Prime Minister accepted the SSRB’s recommendation that there should be no increase in base pay for senior civil servants and rejected a recommendation that the minimum of the SCS1 pay band should be increased. He also announced that all paid ministers would waive the increase in their Members’ salaries. Consequently, at the 2010 general election, ministerial salary entitlements in 2010/11 were unchanged from November 2007.
On taking office in May 2010, the Cabinet announced that the salaries of ministers in the Coalition Government would be reduced by five per cent compared to those drawn by members of the previous Labour Government. Ministers who were MPs would receive all of their Members’ salary and their ministerial salary would be reduced to achieve the total cut in earnings. In March 2011, the Government laid the draft Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975 (Amendment) Order 2011 before Parliament. This Order was made in July 2011 and gave statutory effect to the change in ministerial salaries.
Commons Briefing papers SN06245
Author: Richard Kelly