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British MPs Resist Own Pension Cuts

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TEHRAN, July 17 (ICANA) – While millions of British voters face cuts to their frugal pensions, MPs are fighting against plans to bring their gold-plated retirement pots in line with the public.
Sunday, July 17, 2011 7:56:31 PM
British MPs Resist Own Pension Cuts

The proposals to increase MPs contributions toward their annual retirement payments have faced strong opposition by Labour chairman of the parliamentary schemes' trustees, Central Ayrshire MP Brian Donohoe, who spoke on behalf of members.

"We have to set an example to the country but we don't have to capitulate to unreasonable demands," Donohoe said.

He said MPs are not going to accept to cuts to their pensions easily stressing there is "an awful lot to be negotiated" before any such move.

Donohoe's comments came after Commons leader Geroge Young said in a clear reference to the recent parliamentary expenses scandal that the plans aim at "drawing a line under the problems of the past and rebuilding public confidence”.

"We have consistently made clear that Parliamentary pensions must be reformed in the light of the Hutton Report's findings and subsequent application to other public service schemes. There is no case for MPs being treated differently from other public servants," Young added.

But Dnohoe insisted that MPs “can make a case” for keeping their privileges over other members of the public.

MPs now earn £65,738 a year and their retirement benefits are calculated as a proportion of their final salary based on how long they have been in the parliamentary scheme and how much they have paid in.

Analysts believe the new plans to base MPs pension payments on their average earnings will not have an important impact on their gold-plated benefits as they all get the similar salaries.

This comes as union leaders are enraged by the MPs reaction to cutbacks to their pensions with Public and Commercial Services union chief Mark Serwotka complaining that MPs “remain reluctant” to a review of their retirement benefits.

Meanwhile, Emma Boon of the TaxPayers' Alliance said "MPs should face the same reforms they are imposing on public sector workers. It would be staggering if they tried to claim that they are some special case".

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