Friday, March 05, 2010

Peanuts, Monkeys & MPs' Pay Rises

OK. Be warned. What I am about to write will not go down well with most of you.

MPs have been awarded a 1.7% pay rise by the Senior Salaries Review Board. Predictably, the media is up in arms about it. I just did a short piece on LBC with Nick Ferrari who clearly thought it was outrageous and later on this morning I'll get the benefits of Jon Gaunt's views on SunTalk (11.10am for those who want to tune in).

My view is simple. If you contract out these decisions to an independent body, you then have to accept the recommendation they make. If individual MPs wish not to take the rise, that's fine, but there's no reason why they should.

Yes, thousands of people up and down the country aren't getting any pay rise at all this year. Indeed, some are getting cuts. Presumably, the SSRB took this into account when making their decision.

MPs still get paid less than a Deputy Head Teacher, a GP or a senior Health Service manager. I happen to think that if we want people to pass laws over us we should be attracting top class people into politics, rather than some of the dross we have got at the moment on all sides of the House. The desire to serve the public is a vital part of all of this, but that doesn't mean MPs should have to wear hairshirts the whole time.

I'm not saying £65,000 is peanuts, but it's certainly attracting too many monkeys.


Paul C said...

Thank you.

MPs are significantly underpaid right now - and that's how trouble like fiddling expenses starts. I would expect an MP to be paid the equivalent of a fairly senior manager in the average industry, or a headmaster or GP if we want to restrict it to public service.

Fuddled Medic said...

Are you implying that they do a more difficult or worthy job than deputy headteachers?

Horshamite said...

It is almost certainly impossible to have a coherent debate on this while the present occupants of the HoC remain. This rise will rightly be seen by the public as a final V sign to the nation by a bunch of self-serving hypocrites.

It would have been no problem to defer the announcement until after the election when the public give a fresh set of MPs a new mandate. Then, and only then, should the pay have been reviewed.

I have long argued that we should pay the rate for the job and that probably means around £100k in today's market. But hand in hand with that would have to be a system of virtually no expenses other than travelling on duty.

Anonymous said...

It wouldn't matter what payment there is for MP's as the Labour party branch office in Scotland would continue to send monkeys wearing red rosette's to Westminster.

davidc said...

'If you contract out these decisions to an independent body, you then have to accept the recommendation they make'

as, for example, the drugs advisory panel's recommendations regarding classfication of cannabis ?

Hamish said...

This is such a piffling increase that it would be no great hardship to reject it.
MPs who don't, lay themselves open to the charge that "they still don't get it", and will grab every penny.

p smith said...

I absolutely agree with you Iain. We can allow the lie to be fostered that all MPs are corrupt and are "in it for themselves" despite the fact that most of them could earn three times as much in the private sector and most of them work tirelessly out of a sense of public service.

I doubt many posters on here would do the same job for £65K a year. In the legal and accounting professions, trainees who can barely operate a photocopier are paid close to this sum and the simple fact is that unless MP's salaries are increased to (in my view) closer to £100K, we will attract nothing but people of mediocre ability. It is not about greed. If one has a family and children, is it the right choice to become an MP rather than earn twice as much and provide for your family?

The problem with the whole expenses scandal is that MPs should have been given a much larger base salary with a much narrower system of allowances (for travel and receipted essential expenses). Unfortunately such an arrangement is now too difficult politically to introduce as one can see from the synthetic anger expressed in the tabloids this morning. So it looks like we will have to suffer a parliamentary class of steadily decreasing ability.

In the week that Michael Foot passed, it is a sad reminder that the days of oratory and great (if wrong) ideas are over.

Mick Turatian said...

Too many monkeys?

It strikes me that there already is an over-abundance of people putting themselves forward, potential "approved" candidates wandering from one constituency to the next looking for a billet.

Where a monkey ends up going forward, blame the selectors and not the supply of candidates.

That aside, you would need to be not a little simian to antagonise your public by accepting more bunce to the tune of just £1,105
(being 1.7% of £65k).

The Random Punter said...

Wrong, Iain. The standard of politicians (and politics) has diminished markedly, and the reason for this is the viability of politics as a career. Whereas in the past people would go into politics having excelled in other walks of life, nowadays, thanks to the generous salary offered to MP's, more and more people are choosing to go into politics straight from University. The result is that most career politicians put their career above what they feel is best for the country (some I imagine don't even have strong views on what's best for the country!), and the vast majority, even if they do have an idea about what's right for the country, have no idea how to implement these ideas because they've had no experience of life outside the political bubble.

Politics is a unique vocation. The way to attract the best politicians is to ensure that they're not in it for the money. I can't see any conceivable way that attracting the best graduates into politics before they've had any experience of real life is going to help.

20 years ago we used to look down on the corrupt political classes in France, Italy and other European countries. Now we've created a corrupt political class all of our own. How very sad.

Having said all that, can't see much wrong with a 1.7% payrise.

Will Dean said...

There's a vast over-supply of would-be MPs. There's no reason for their price to be rising.

Prices from some completely different market in which there's scarcity are irrelevent.

Anonymous said...

I freely admit I do not know the answer, but I disagree with your pay point. Many ordinary people could do the job of an MP. The problem is you need very talented people to be Ministers and they are usually drawn from the cohort of MPs.

I do not accept that guff 'doing constituency work', There are a hardcore of maybe 70-80 MPs who regularly attend the chamber and their knowledge and commitment is obvious. My MP is a charlatan, takes Directorships in their interested field and only attends the chamber to talk on their subject of interest. Which in themselves align with their directorships. (Labour MP by the way).

So I fail to see why we should highly pay so many mediocre MPs just to get a few stars.

Anonymous said...

What's your point?
Paying £100,000 would attract even more monkeys.


Q said...

First, you are assuming that candidates need to be "attracted" to the job of an MP by high financial rewards.

Second, you are assuming that attracting people in this way is a positive thing.

Both assumptions are wrong. We do not want or need politicians who think that politics is a career (are you listening, Iain?). We need politicians who are motivated by public service and their beliefs instead of by the hope of financial reward.

In the end, Iain, you seem to be universalising at your (rather selfish and very short-sighted) reasons for wanting to be an MP. What you need to realise is that parliament in particular and politics in general are in their current state - and politicians are viewed as scum by most voters - precisely because politicians have spent the last thirteen years applying your view of political life.

If you think an elected office is a means of enriching yourself, of gaining publicity or of beginning your march towards some personal ambition, we, the voters, do not need you and do not want you. If you think that an elected office is a means of clearing up the mess and making things a little better for the mass of British electors - and if you are prepared to make sacrifices on your own part to make that happen - then you are the sort of person we want.

Paul C said...

"This is such a piffling increase that it would be no great hardship to reject it.
MPs who don't, lay themselves open to the charge that "they still don't get it", and will grab every penny."

Without wishing to pick on you at all - it's reasoning like this that was one of the underlying factors of the expenses crisis. It's very easy to make this argument every time MPs get a pay rise - and so it happened when MPs were controlling their own pay.

As a result MPs were chronically underpaid to the point where the advice of the department that oversaw expenses was effectively to use them as if they were top-up salary. Then some (very unscrupulous) MPs decided to take the michael, of course.

As a citizen I'd like to think that we can attract the best and brightest to be MPs. This isn't going to happen if they are paid a comparatively much lower salary than they could otherwise obtain from either the public or private sector.

And yes Fuddled Medic, I think they do a more difficult and demanding job than deputy headteachers (if done properly) and worthy doesn't come into salaries, although in my eyes an MP done properly is one of the most worthy jobs of all.

Let's not conflate our lack of capability to recall MPs who aren't doing the job properly with some confusion that the role is intended to be - and still sometimes is - a noble and worthy one.

Salmondnet said...

Maybe there are too many monkeys because the peanuts are too plentiful.

MP's salaries should not be related to other groups, but to the national average wage (I would suggest a multiple of 2.5, but that may be over-generous). The buggers would then have a proper incentive to improve the prosperity of the whole country.

Anyone who has ever had the good fortune to have a job in which the non-financial rewards were more important than the pay cheque knows that there are many very able people working for relatively low salaries. There is no shortage of people able and willing to do the work of MPs.

Jess The Dog said...

We're in a period of austerity.

No-one in the private sector is getting a pay rise (I had to get another job offer to get one).

Public sector faces pay freezes and redundancies.

Leadership by example is expected.

And MPs wonder why they are utterly detested?

Anyone with a shred of integrity or honour would decline it.

Doubting Richard said...

All you are saying is that deputy heads, GPs and health-service managers are overpaid; you are comparing MPs only with public-sector workers. I will except GPs as well-qualified specialists, but the equivalent to the other two jobs in most private-sector industries are not earning £66,000!

Moriarty said...


Indeed. Or the issue of police pay.

I'm wondering why anybody thinks we need legislators at all. Why do we? Is anybody seriously arguing that we don't have enough laws?

Personally I'd be happy to pay them ten times their current stipend on condition that they don't turn up at Westminster.

I set out my own view here:

Anonymous said...

Seeing as most of the MP's sitting in the HoC will still be there after the pay rise due to the size of their majorities, this is simply giving the same old monkeys more peanuts.

I do not agree with your idea that paying more will improve the quality of MPs anyway, but for your idea to work you will need to clear out every single one of the current bunch, raise the salary then attract a totally fresh intake.

Personally I think that *reducing* the salary will achieve a better quality of candidate as it will remove the money-grabbers. 45k is still a great salary to all but greedy piggies.

Iain Dale said...

Q - 1. You clearly know nothing about my reasons for wanting to be an MP. They are certainly not financial.

Secondly, I am not now going to be an MP, so I can write without anyone being able to accuse me of anything as I have no direct interest in it.

I have always believed MPs are underpaid and still do. No one should go into politics to enrich themselves, but neither should they be expected to wear a hairshirt.

GP Informed said...

mmm - exactly what qualifications and training are needed to become an MP? An overdeveloped sense your own importance, the inability to answer any questions directly and the capability of walking through the right lobby when the whips tell you? To gain promotion up the ranks the abilty to lick up to the right people and undermine colleagues behind their backs? You quote comparisons with deputy head teachers and GPs - well GPs for instance need top flight A level results (top 1% at least) then 5 years at medical school and then at least 5 years postgraduate training - only to be told by unqualified and untrained MPs how to do their jobs.

GM said...

I actually agree with your principle, but you are way out with your comparative pay. As I understand it, MPs are on £60,000 +. the avergae Deputy Head is on c.£50,700.

Not bad, but not in the MP league.

Elby the Beserk said...

Ah. BUT - MP's pension arrangements meant that, prior to this rise, an ordinary person had to earn £83,000 a year.

So bollocks, Ian.

And we haven't even mentioned expenses - e.g. Ms. Smith has had £100,00o of taxpayers' hard-earned money, that she wasn't entitled to, yet was allowed to keep.

Nice perk eh? Especially for one so patently USELESS.

Mick Turatian said...

I am not now going to be an MP

Surely that must mean that you don't believe your party will put up any monkeys.

Or is there some other reason?

The A322 doesn't go to Damascus, does it?

Edward said...

Being an MP is not a full time job. That is obvious from the many MPs who hold down jobs as ministers.

There is plenty of room for MPs who aren't ministers to have other jobs.

You get £65k, very generous expenses, a pension that would cost you literally millions to buy if you weren't in the public sector, and time to do another job. Not bad.

Don't get the violins out just yet.


Stu said...

@Iain Dale

"Wear a hairshirt"? Please. Are you seriously suggesting £65k means a hairshirt existence?

Pay rises are not on the cards for any other industries. Why MPs should be given one I don't know. How are other public servants going to react when they're told about pay freezes? It reeks of hypocrisy and shows once more that the political class is completely out of tune with public opinion.

javelin said...

Being an MP is a Government job - and should be paid the same as a similar civil servants with the same responsibility.

However, what I'm saying is that civil servants are paid TOO much - not that MPs are paid TOO little.

So Civil Servants should have their salaries cut down to BELOW that of the PM, and so on. NOT that MPs should be paid more.

Do want to be a public SERVANT or a public TROUGHER?

That's the negotating position.

p smith said...

Iain, while you might not have made it for this election, I do hope you have not given up hope altogether of becoming an MP.

I may have been disappointed by the recent trend in your blogposts towards repeating Tory talking points but as a Labour supporter, I have found your writings and utterances over the past few years fair, honest and made with an open heart. It would be a shame if you left the field to the type of careerist carping empty vessels that increasingly dominate both main parties.

Tomfiglio said...

Don't you realise how demotivating it is for most people to read about £65,000 a year (plus expenses plus huge perks like ridiculously long holidays, incredibly generous pension arrangements etc) being talked about as "not enough"?
It's bloody enough for anyone!!
Just look at some of the jackasses in parliament (or rather not in parliament, as most of them never seem to turn up). Overgrown students who will never have to face up to the consequences of their decisions - unlike deputy head teachers and doctors. Most people have much more demanding, stressful jobs, and work long hours for a lot less pay, especially if they're in the private sector. MPs should have the sense to shut up and go away into a corner to count their money.

Iain Dale said...

P Smith, thanks, but I have always been clear that if I didn't get a seat at this election, that would be it.

Mungojerry said...

MPs do not create laws they merely rubber stamp them. Note the attendance in the House when important laws,such as Finance Aacts etc., are being discussed. It is not surprising that they do not understand the tax differences between Resident, Non-resident, Domicile and Non-domicile. Unless MPs can show that they have some relevant qualification, training and independence of thought they should be paid no more than the average social worker.

iCowboy said...

I'd have more sympathy for the opinion that being an MP was worth more than £65k if there was any evidence of two things;

1: that being an MP requires any qualifications or training. Head teachers, GPs, judges and the like - to which they are so often compared - have year upon year of training. But we have MPs in their late 20s who've done nothing more than go to university to study politics and then attach themselves to a party machine;

2: that most MPs actually influenced things. There are far too many who simply vote with the whips direction, never question formal policy and only ever ask the tamest of questions. When you have MPs like mine, you might as well give the Prime Minister 2 votes, she simply exists as lobby fodder.

George said...

If you want less dross representing the electorate in Parliamant, then you would of course support, the independence of Constituency Party's to choose their PPR, free from interference from HQ.
No more safe seats, no more parachutee's and no more wimmin only lists.
And of course Constituency Parties would be free of ALL outside manipulation, nepotism and financial inducements.
Clearly, given the financial situation of the UK, the hairshirts that ordinary workers are expected to wear, supertaxes on City workers and high earners, additional levies on Banks, increases in NICS and Income Taxes it is breathtaxingly arrogant for any body to grant our political masters a payrise. Coming so soon, as well, after the TroughGate fiasco of Parliamentary expense claims, this salary increase reduces itself to a combination moon and 2 fingers wagged aggressivly in the taxpayers' faces.

A pox and plague on the lot of 'em.

Alfie said...

Iain,the point is, MPs are now doing less than they've ever done. The EU now has responsibility for huge chunks of legislation, and year on year, this will continue to grow as Brussels elbows in on foreign policy and defence...

Scotland, Wales and NI all look after their own domestic agendas - these too will only grow.

Which leaves 650 MPs having responsibility largely for England. That is a massive over subscription. Most of the Scots Labour claque are nowt but a tribe of yes monkeys, nodding through unpopular English legislation like the 3rd runway at Heathrow, tuition fees for English students and foundation hospitals....
(Just what do Scottish MPs do?)

On top of that we have over 700 Lords scrinising away, not on Scots, Welsh or NI domestic legislation - just English, and an ever diminishing reserved UK responsibility.

I have no objection to paying MPs the rate for the job - but the job definition must be reviewed. Numbers must be slashed down to 350, and be limited to MPs from England. Westminster should be renamed 'English Parliament' and a federal UK body of only 100 persons should take residence in the HofL.

There, saved a fortune and preserved the union - simples!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Iain,

But in this instance you're talking absolute rubbish.

I have been a member of the Labour Party (29 years) and a member of the Conservatives (5 years).

It is is the flawed selection processes in both parties (and I'm sure this goes for other political parties) that enables the "dross" as you put it, to get selected and elected.

I have witnessed many a good, solid, reliable and sensible individual who has a grasp of the intricacies of the legislative process failed to get selected as prospective candidate because they were not "in" with the controlling faction or caucus.

Look at recent selections in the Labour party in Leyton and Wanstead and Mr Harman's success in Birmingham.

I am sure that there are many good people out there who would jump at the chance to "make a difference" by representing their neighbours in Parliament and would no doubt be happy to do so on £60K + a year.

Comparing MPs with a Deputy Head Teacher or Doctor cannot be taken seriously. My local GPs and Head teachers actually provide essential services... I cannot think of a time when, as nice as they may well be, my local MPs did anything that impacted on my life; other than voting for ID cards, increased detention without charge, increasing the basic rate of tax from 10% to 20% etc. etc. etc.


jailhouselawyer said...

There is a danger of being tarred with the same brush keeping the same company as Nick Ferrari and Jon Gaunt, that is, all mouth and no brains!

Would you like to elaborate on the dross in the Tory ranks?

Victor, NW Kent said...

The increase will cost the country a trifling £650,000 a year.

It is really not worth discussing and there is little benefit in fanning further flames of hated of MPs.

Ian said...

Two things. Firstly, why do all MPs get the same salary? It makes no sense to assume that a freshly shoehorned SpAd is as valuable a member of the HoC as a 30-year veteran campaigner. So increase salaries for MPs that manage to get re-elected.

Secondly, why not pay them as piecework? A fixed sum for e.g. attending a debate, serving on a committee, holding a surgery. It might be tricky (but NOT impossible) to factor in some of the "value add" of MPs, but it could be done, and would at least give the public confidence that work was being done in exchange for the money.

Also, since Dave would like to shrink the HoC, he could put in place a programme to reduce the number of MPs by the total salary increase of the life of the parliament, therefore leaving the whole house salary neutral.

starfish said...

I am sorry but you are advancing a completely fatuous aregument

There is absolutely no evidence that high pay means high performance - just look at the banking sector!

Taking your argument to its limit if we pay enough money we will get MPs that have the judgement of Solomon and are omniscient

I agree that if you subcontract the determination of remuneration you have to stand by it - why then have successive governments failed to do this in the past by staging pay awards for public servants?

MP pay should be linked to results - how about shortening the tax code or reducing the number of laws or producing a coherent criminal justice system, a bill of rights etc

What are the metrics by which their performance is judged? Appearances on the BBC?

At the moment they are almost unoversally despised - a period of voluntary pay restraint might be a good idea. Even footballers do that when their club is in financial trouble

Freebritannia said...

Give em 25 grand a year (about the average wage) plus an annual bonus voted on by local referendums of their constituents.

Any that don't like that can be shot.

Gerry57 said...

Is it not a great privelege to work in the Houses of Parliament ? Is it not a privelege to represent and support the people of your constituency ? Is the salary (which is pretty reasonable though not excessive) the main reason for being an MP ? Surely not. Does a deputy-Headmaster have the honour of speaking in the House of Commons chamber and attend the State Opening ? Has politics gone the way of football ? Players used to play the shirt, for the club, the fans. Now it's all about money and WAGS.
The EU is an example of highly-paid politicians. The EU comissioners don't give a damn about the people they represent. They just lord it and enjoy the power and the gravy train. We don't want our domestic politicians going down that route. They are there to speak for us and to serve us. The expenses scandal has sickened the electorate. MPs need to regain our trust and maybe then they can have a decent wage increase, when they have worked to restore OUR living standards.
It's not just a job being an MP, it should be a calling.

Martin said...

Fine pay MPs more but we need to do the following.

1. Cut the numbers from 650 to 300 (most legislation is done in the eU these days anyway)

2. End the lobby fodder attitude of MPs, the public should have the right to recall an MP if he/she goes against something that most of the constituency wants.

3. Restrict an MP to no more than 4 terms as an MP before they must take a break and go and do something else.

Mulligan said...


there are plenty of people in all walks of life deserving a pay rise at current time, but are actually relieved to still have a job.

Whatever the merits of MPs pay, and I believe we should have about 200 less of them and pay the rest enough to officially put them in the 50% tax band (although the threshold like Cable's mansion tax would be raised like a shot) , the real issue is the appalling PR of a government sponsored quango announcing a pay rise. If you, or MPs, don't get this then we're never going to sort this appalling mess out

Lady Finchley said...

A lot of you are talking out of your ass about what an MP does but I will leave that for now.

What exercises me is that MP's staff do not get the same automatic increase and never have. It is entirely in the gift of MPs to give raises and a good many don't for years at a time.

Charlie the Chump said...

Wrong Iain.

Even before this rise MP's were in the top 2% of earners in the UK.

It takes 7 hard years trainiing to become a doctor(that is if you can get a place, competition is cut throat), it takes 10-15 years for a top lawyer to become a Judge.
Docotrs by the way got a pay rise from £70K to £120K per annum for doing LESS work. (his should be remedied by the next government)

What qualifications do you need to become an MP? What extensive experience of life, business, professional progression, even union activism?

MP's are not comparable to these other professions, this is a red herring.

What should happen? MP's should REDUCE their salaries by 5%. This is what will be required by all public servants to help solve the desperate crisis in which we find ourselves.

If you can't see this you still haven't "got it".

Twig said...

They should be paid by results.
On this basis we would be due a refund from some of them including the Great Helmsman himself.

Scopes said...

"If you contract out these decisions to an independent body, you then have to accept the recommendation they make"

Like when Labour refused to accept the pay awards for the Armed Forces made by the AFPRB in 1977, 78 and 79?

Don't make me laugh.

Obsidian said...

Iain, remind me - what qualifications must a person achieve in order to become an MP? How many years studying, followed by gaining experience, must they do? Whats that? None?

And there you have why the more money=better quality argument falls flat on its face.

You'll still attract the same monkeys, only they'll just be on more money.

The only way to improve the types of candidate would be to raise the criteria to become an MP.

Charlie the Chump said...

I agree we Ian's point, pay MP's on an appropriate scale dependent upon the skills and experience they bring - including time served in the House previously - and on the work they actually do, debates attended AND conributions made, committee work etc

norfolkandchance said...

I will only add 1 point to what has already been said.

The customary justification by MPs for taking second jobs is that being an MP does not require full time dedication. That may be twaddle but those who use that excuse can hardly complain if their own words are used against them.

Peter said...

Personally, I would pay them a significantly higher salary plus a geographical allowance, that inceases the further the MP'S Constancy is from London.
But I would pay no expenses at all.

Lady Finchley said...

The people talking about 'qualifications' to be an MP are simply talking out of their arses. Very few jobs require a specfic degree as there are for medicine. So, somebody who wants to be President of the United States needs to take a degree in 'President-ism'? What a bunch of hogwash which really demonstrates a huge amount of ignorance.

Unsworth said...

Well Iain you seem to believe that virtually the only thing which attracts people into politics is money. That is to ignore the many other attractions. Originally politics was a vocation - now it's a job.

Do we really want career politicians? Or would we prefer to have those who see their duty as working for the electorate and the benefit of this country, despite relatively poor remuneration - like the military, as but one example? And let's not forget the extensive holidays, pension deals, payoffs etc. My local MP protests loudly that he is hard done by, but publishes a regular diary which records a very attractive lifestyle.

And of course it might be salutary to compare their remuneration with, say, the clergy, care home workers, dustmen, etc ad infinitum.

The real question is are these people good value for money? Perhaps some are, if so, who?

Current public concern is less to do with ability - although God knows that's lacking - and more to do with decency, honour, and honesty. So what scale of salary would ensure probity, intellect, ability and ethical integrity? £100k? £300k? £2m?

Martin said...

What happened to all that Thatcherite faith in market economics? We used to be told that if there is an over-supply in some commodity, the rate can drop without loss of quality.

Gallimaufry said...

As the only entry qualifications for MPs are popularity with party machines and not being a bankrupt, a lunatic and
a convicted criminal, why not pay MPs what they earned in their previous jobs? Thus they could not be accused of "doing it for the money". Salaries could be index-linked.

Charlie the Chump said...

I agree that MP's should be allowed - encouraged even - to have paid interests outside parliament thus keeping them grounded in reality. They would have to commit an agreed amount of time to parliament, above that good luck.

We must avoid the development of the superior clique mentality that was at the bottom of the troughing activity.

All PPC's should be asked by all the press to take a reduced salary for 2 years, if they accept they get it, if not . . .

Jimmy said...

There are tow separate issues:

1. You can either take whatever the parties give you by way of candidates or you can change the electoral system. There is no third option as long as we vote for party rather than candidate.

2. Having changed the system if you want to make politics a mid-career option for successful people then they will need to be able to pay their mortgages, which will be considerably higher than the national average. At least one member of my former branch agreed to stand in what we assumed was a hopeless seat only to find himself caught up in the 97 landslide. Cost him a fortune.

Mind you given the abuse they get these days I question the sanity of anyone otherwise employable who still wants to do it.

David L Rattigan said...

Hairshirts my hat.

Maybe there are good reasons for an MPs payrise, but the ridiculous pretense that £65k a year is somehow akin to poverty is not going to win the argument with the public.

Anonymous said...

Disagree. The dross at the moment seems to comprise professional politician types who have only ever worked as policy wonks, and the arrogant old timers whose sense of entitlement is matched only by their smug superiority.

Paying more will simply attract more of these, particularly the former type.

It is about how MPs are selected, not how much they're paid.

Joe Public said...

Remind me Iain, what qualifications & how many years training must a person complete, to become an MP?

FFS most can't even fiddle their expenses properly!

jbw said...

GM said...
"As I understand it, MPs are on £60,000 +. the avergae Deputy Head is on c.£50,700."

And look at the hoops you have to jump through to become a teacher, never mind head of department!

Meanwhile, most of the responsibilities of parliament have been subcontracted to Brussels, so why pay MPs at all?

They certainly haven't been looking after my interests.

eb said...

Don't know about monkeys, it does seem to attract far too many career politicians with little or no experience of the real world and few, if any, achievements to their name. In it for themselves, not for the country.

On a free market view the salary is too high. There is real competition to become an MP.

Arthur Dent said...

I might agree with you if MPs did inded make our laws, however since they have largely abrogated that responsibility to the EU, an MP deserves the salary of the average County Councillor.

Nick said...


troymolloy said...

There's no logic to the idea that paying more attracts a better class of candidate. It holds true in business, becase the odds are that a candidate currently earning 50% less is not going to have sufficient experience or skills for the job, so another who's already earning more will get the job. Politics just doesn't work like that - witness that ridiculous Smith woman who in Norfolk who might be very nice and pliable but has absolutely zero real-world experience. Worth a package that already totals 100k+ per year? I doubt it.

I think a suitable wage for MPs would be around twice the national median, though a grading that increases that amount with experience would increase the fairness (not wishing to pick on Miss Smith, but just compare the value she offers compared with someone like Douglas Hogg - moat or no moat).

Hey said...

The only way to get decent political representation is to not provide any compensation. No salary, per diems, expenses, or support staff.

If it is a huge burden to be in politics, MPs will change over far more frequently. Politics will be a capstone to a career, rather than a career itself. It will also get rid of the useless, uneducated apparatchiks that form so much of the Labor benches.

Beyond removing all compensation, MPs should each have to post a 5M pound deposit as insurance against any corruption and to encourage probity in government. These deposits should be forfeited for corruption and should only be returned for an honorable resignation or election loss. The deposit should accrue interest at a rate of [LIBOR as of election date - average LIBOR of term of office - average unemployment rate + average GDP growth rate - GDP growth rate as of election date - annual increase in taxation rate - growth rate in government spending]

Public service should be EXCEPTIONALLY painful, require vast sacrifices, provide no possibility of advancement or future profit, and be available only to those who are already successful and competent. A minimum age of 50 might also be a useful idea.

Osama the Nazarene said...

No pay rise without efficiency savings!

This means that the number of MPs must be cut. It should be 25% but Cameron's 10% is a good start. THEN I would agree that a pay rise would be appropriate.

There are far too many MPs, most not performing anything worthwhile!