AMID the blitz of salary and benefit cutbacks, the overwhelming majority of MPs on Wednesday voted against a proposal for slashing their own representation allowance by 15 per cent.
The amendment, proposed by Greens MP George Perdikis, was backed by a grand total of seven deputies.
The proposal tabled by Perdikis envisaged adding MPs to the list of state officials – such as permanent secretaries of ministries – who will see a 15 per cent reduction in their monthly representation allowance.
“If with this austerity budget civil servants are on average taking a hit of 10 per cent on their income, then state officials – including ourselves – should set the example with a 20 per cent cut,” Perdikis said yesterday, explaining the logic behind his proposal.
But the vast majority of his colleagues felt otherwise. MPs voting against his proposal argued that reducing the representation allowance – which amounts to some €1,700 per month – would ‘punish’ recipients twice, since this allowance will henceforth be taxed for all concerned.
Previously, the allowances given to MPs were all tax-free; that’s no longer the case. Other benefits enjoyed by deputies are the secretary allowance (around €1,000), the travel expenses allowance (€650), and a per-diem allowance for expenses while on official trips abroad (€250 for trips to the European Union).
At last count, MPs’ basic salary amounted to €3,300 per month, but that was slashed by about 10 per cent in the 2012 budget that was passed in December last year.
Now, with the broader cuts to the salaries of state officials and the taxing of allowances, it’s estimated that MPs’ take-home pay will be further reduced by some €1,000 to €1,200 a month.
The 2013 budget also did not do away with funds set aside for all former Presidents of the Republic and former House Speakers. The fund is intended to cover these state officials’ expenses for a personal assistant and for a chauffeur once they are out of office. Far from being abolished or trimmed down, this year the amount was actually raised to €283,000 to account for the imminent addition of Demetris Christofias to the list of ex-Presidents.
George Perdikis (MP) proposes austerity budget for Members of Parliament, 85% reject his proposal