MPs are facing a furious public backlash after demanding their pay should rise to Â£100,000 a year.
Backbenchers have written to the independent body which sets their salary, seeking an eye-watering 66 per cent increase on the current Â£60,277.
They claim the huge hike would simply put them on a par with other senior public sector workers such as GPs and council chiefs.
But at a time of unparalleled public distrust in MPs, and generally low pay rises based on the inflation rate, they were warned that they are totally out of touch.
Their request was described as a 'kick in the teeth' by Keith Turner, 68, who has campaigned tirelessly for Â£2.50-a-day medication for Alzheimer's patients to be available on the NHS.
'I am absolutely disgusted,' he said. 'When you consider that it would cost about Â£1,000 a year to give a person their life back on these drugs, and you put it against what these MPs want, it is unbelievable.'
If the MPs had their way, the annual House of Commons salary bill would soar from Â£39million to Â£65million. On top of this, the 646 members last year claimed a total of Â£86.7million in expenses and office allowances ? worth an average Â£134,000 each.
And the cost of running the House of Commons, including all lighting, heating, maintenance, subsidised food and staffing costs means that each MP already costs taxpayers a total of Â£726,000 a year.
Some Tories believe that a salary of Â£75,000 is a more realistic target and it is considered highly unlikely that the Â£100,000 request will be granted when the SSRB reports on MPs? salaries in the New Year.
In any case, Gordon Brown would be expected to block such an inflation-busting rise. A spokesman for the Chancellor said: 'Gordon expects all branches of Government to observe discipline in their wage demands and that includes MPs.'
But Tory Sir John Butterfill, a former chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, insisted that MPs' pay had fallen behind other professions.
'There are a lot of unhappy bunnies,? he said. 'Not that many years ago, we were on a par with GPs and heads of comprehensive schools. They are now on Â£100,000. Over the years, we have been downgraded and compared to junior directors of middle-sized companies at the last review. But, even so, we have failed to keep up.? The demands come at a time when confidence in British politicians is at an all-time low after of the cash-for-honours affair and other sleaze scandals.
Sir Alistair Graham, chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, recently revealed that seven out of ten voters believe MPs habitually lie, and that ministers are now seen as less trustworthy than estate agents.
Meanwhile, other workers in the public sector have been told to tighten their belts and are facing the threat of job cuts.
Since 1997, MPs? pay has risen by 37 per cent ? although the Commons sat for a mere 137 days last year.
Most work at Westminster for only 31â„2 days a week and no longer have to stay for regular late-night sittings which were abolished three years ago.
Members can claim salaries for researchers, secretaries and other staff as well as travel on official business, office costs, stationery, postage and computer equipment.
They are allowed to claim for 350 miles of travel every month without submitting receipts.
There have been claims that MPs use their additional costs allowance to buy food processors, televisions and soft furnishings for their homes.
Last month, MPs voted to give themselves a Â£168million goldplated pension scheme and a new communications allowance, which will cost taxpayers a further Â£6million a year.
MPs have one of the most generous final salary pension deals in the country. An MP retiring today who has served 26 years could expect to collect an inflation- proof Â£40,000 a year.
James Frayne, campaign director of the Taxpayers? Alliance, said: 'At a time when people have become totally disillusioned with the performance and behaviour of politicians, it is extraordinary they should be demanding that taxpayers pay them a six-figure salary.
'It reflects how out of touch politicians have become.'
Former anti-sleaze MP Martin Bell said: 'Serving as an MP is a privilege. The existing salary is well above the average earned by MPs' constituents. It is perfectly enough for people to live on.
'If an MP cannot live on the existing allowance, he or she he or she should make way for someone who can. I took a pay cut to become an MP, but still found it quite enough to live on.'
Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, condemned the claim at a time when low-paid public sector workers are having wage rises capped at 3 per cent.
He said: 'These are the same people who protected their own pension scheme but cut the pensions of the lowest-paid public sector workers.
'Is it any wonder that people are cynical about politicians? They are out to lunch and they want someone else to pay.'
Alzheimer's campaigner Mr Turner said: 'I think they are laughing at those who are less fortunate and most vulnerable, who are only asking for something they deserve and have paid for.'
And mother-of-three Ann Marie Rogers, 54, who was forced to take Swindon Primary Care Trust to court over its refusal to fund a Â£24,000 course of Herceptin for the treatment of earlystage breast cancer, said: 'I can't believe the MPs are asking for a rise like that. The country has gone crazy.
'What do they actually do for their money? The country is in a mess, there are homeless on the streets, and they are asking for a rise.'
1.9% that's generous! Many Parliamentary Staff are at the top of their pay scale and were offered a very generous 1.36% pay rise earlier this year which was apparently the maximum that could be afforded. They rejected it. They have now been offered a 2.5% increase (still a pay cut in real terms) which can only be paid for by cutting back on the remuneration of other low paid staff. The total headline package is said to be worth 5.75%. Part of that is for bonuses which lower grades of staff usually don't get anyway, and even when they do, we are talking about an average award (pre-tax) of Â£250 a year for a Box 2 which only a small percentage of staff receive. What has caused disquiet is the admission that the offering 2.5% only accounts for 0.27% of the total pay bill!
Incidentally, their Staff's Inner London Weighting hasn't increased in 20 years. It is still less than Â£1780 and consolidated in pay.
So if Parliament can't afford to pay its Staff, most of whom earn a fraction of what an MP receives as a basic salary, how can they possibly afford to increase their own pay by 66%?
I fully understand your frustrations, my other half is also in the CS, she's due to retire in 18 months, and is very disillusioned with it all.
She has done almost 18 years and her package, if she was to accept under the current conditions, is so derisory as to be pointless, she is likely to stay until the bitter end just to get (hopefully) a slightly better pay off - which may, and probably will, not be the case.
She, as most pcs members that we know, are awaiting the next instalment......