Cameron plans to cut ministers' salaries

Tory leader considering reducing salaries by up to 25 per cent if the Conservatives are elected

David Cameron is planning to make large cuts to ministers' pay if the Conservatives win the next election, it has been reported.

Today's Guardian reports that the Conservative leadership has decided that ministers will have to be prepared to "take a financial hit" in order to justify the large public spending cuts needed to plug the deficit.

The paper quoted one senior Tory as saying that cuts of up to 25 per cent were being considered, which would cost senior ministers nearly £20,000 a year.

Cabinet ministers currently receive £79,754 in ministerial pay in addition to their MP's salary of £64,766, making a total salary of £144,520. If

Cameron pushed through a cut of 25 per cent, total pay would fall to £124,581.50. Cameron himself would see his pay as prime minister fall by £33,000 to £164,549.

The proposal is likely to cause disquiet among Cameron's shadow cabinet, many of whom already resent Cameron's order to give up their second jobs in January in preparation for the general election.

The Guardian quoted one senior Tory as saying: "The thinking for most was that we would give up our second jobs until after the election, only a few months, and in that period get a loan to cover the lost earnings. But David's plans for after the election have changed that and some of us are wondering whether we can still afford to be in politics. I have friends who are senior lawyers or work in the City and they are earning much more than me."

Cameron's plan follows the embarrassing leak of a secret video in which the shadow leader of the commons, Alan Duncan, complained that MPs were now treated "like shit" and "forced to live on rations".

Duncan subsequently apologised but his comments are thought to reflect the unease felt by many MPs over their finances in the wake of the expenses scandal.

A Conservative spokesman said that the party was investigating measures to reduce the cost of Parliament and government but added that no decisions had been taken on ministerial pay.