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Senate follows House, freezes parliamentarians' salaries

Cut in gross income will prevent net increases

31 January, 19:40
Senate follows House, freezes parliamentarians' salaries (ANSA) - Rome, January 31 - The Italian Senate followed the Lower House's lead on Tuesday by cutting the gross salaries of its parliamentarians by 13%, although the politicians will not actually take home any less money.

The reduction of around 1,300 euros per month in gross salaries will prevent a recent change in the system for parliamentarians' pension contributions leading to a big increase in their net salaries.

"It's useful to be clear," said Paolo Franco, a Northern League Senator and one of the leading officials in Upper House self-governing body.

"This is not a reduction in the salaries but a way to stop them increasing".

Italian politicians have been under pressure to cut their salaries, with the rest of the country called on to make sacrifices after Premier Mario Monti's government passed a tough austerity package in December to put the public finances in order.

Earlier this month Italy's MPs came top of a parliamentary committee's survey of European lawmakers' salaries, with a gross monthly wage of over 16,000 euros, although the findings were disputed by many MPs.

House Speaker Gianfranco Fini said Tuesday that it was now necessary to reduce the size of Italy's political class.

"The time has come to reduce the number of parliamentarians to reduce the overall cost of the political system, because 945 parliamentarians (between Senate and House) and hundreds and hundreds of city and regional councillors ends up leading to a significant cost," Fini said. photo: the Senate
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