Cost of living adjustments, collective agreements and the use of personal cars are behind the discrepancies in the salaries of cabinet members, the government has insisted, rubbishing claims that their pay was secretly increased.
“Since 2013 there has been absolutely no secret increase to the salaries of politicians, including parliamentary secretaries,” Mario Cutajar told members of the press. “The only increases were because of COLA and a new collective agreement.”
As of 2019, the salary of a parliamentary secretary is 105% of a scale 1 salary. The €47,780 pay is supplemented by a €5,823 allowance and a further €370 to account for a public sector collective agreement ushered in in 2017.
If a cabinet member chooses to use their own personal car, they are given a further €7,000 annually.
In the meeting, the government published documents detailing the salaries of the Prime Minister, Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, and the Leader of the Opposition since 2008 to show any changes that may have taken place.
Referencing the controversial €500 per week increase given to cabinet members after the 2008 general election, the government pointed out that the total salary in the previous administration was just below €80,000 per annum.
The government maintained that once Prime Minister Joseph Muscat entered office, he reduced the salaries of cabinet members to their pre-2008 levels.
In fact, the figures show that the salary has remained the same (bar any COLA adjustments) since 2013.
“This means that they are being paid €22,000 less than what was being dished out between 2008 and 2010,” the government said.
Issues surrounding the salary were raised after a series of articles by The Shift News and a few social media posts by MP Jason Azzopardi, who noted that a number of Junior Ministers had declared incomes in excess of €60,000 in their most recent declaration of assets.
Cutajar explained that the discrepancies were down to individuals lumping their total salary with any allowances they may receive, namely the use of a personal car.
Asked specifically on the €60,000 salary Minister Jose Herrera registered in 2013 (when he was a PS), Cutajar said that it also included his salary earned as an MP during the previous legislature (Labour went into government in March 2013).
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