Gordon Brown braced for fight over Armed Forces Pay.


The decision on MPs' pay will be made by the House of Commons, but Mr Brown said increases must stay below 2%.

He told BBC One's Andrew Marr show they should demonstrate the "discipline that we ask of other people" and that ministers "must" do the same.

Mr Brown said 2008 would be "decisive" for "breaking the back of inflation".


The Senior Salaries Pay Board has reportedly recommended a 2.8% increase for MPs on the current £60,675 a year.

This provoked anger among police, nurses and other public sector workers, who had been told that their own rises must stay below a 2% ceiling this year to keep inflation under control.

The government's decision not to backdate a 2.5% pay rise for police officers - effectively reducing the increase to 1.9% - prompted the Police Federation to say it will ballot members in 2008 on whether they want the right to strike.

Mr Brown said: "Government ministers must have a rate of pay increase that is below 2% - 1.9%. At the same time, my recommendation is that that is what goes for MPs."

While the prime minister can state his preferred figure, MPs will have the final say on their pay rise through a free vote in the Commons.
The prime minister also said he would "like to pay... more" to nurses and police but that this was not possible at the moment.

Mr Brown said: "This is a decisive year for the economy. We've got to take the right long-term choices this year.

"I will be judged, as will the chancellor, by whether we take the right choices for the economy."

Mr Brown has been criticised by unions for staging public sector pay increases, effectively bringing them below 2% for the year.

He said: "We must show exactly the same discipline that we ask of other people.

"In fact, the recommendations for significant pay rises will be rejected and I think it's very important that we send a message to nurses, police and all those people in the public sector, it is very important in this year that we break the back of inflation."

'Second jobs'

The Labour MP for Ealing North, Stephen Pound, asked on Five Live whether MPs were paid enough, said: "At the moment, I think 60 thousand pounds is a fair rate, if that was what MPs got.

"The problem is the majority of MPs are either extremely rich, or have second jobs or third jobs. We should ban all of that."

Last week, Justice Secretary Jack Straw said some of the messages put forward by Tory leader David Cameron appeared to be "resonating" with voters.

Asked whether he thought this was the case, Mr Brown said: "No, I do not."

No mention.


Lantern Swinger
Even if the pay rise goes ahead at anywhere close to a compromise level, they'll find the money by taking it from other areas of the budget which are deemed to be less of a priority. I'll leave it to your furtive imaginations to suggest what that could be.