01 March 2008

MP's Pay.

I remember my dad telling me that back in the sixties, that the disparity between what he earned as a bricklayer and an MP's salary was fairly small. The argument this week from the Westminster establishment (particularly within the Labour party) is that we don't want to go back to the days when only those with private wealth could afford to be an MP. And of course none of us (on the left or within the country at large) want to go back to those days. But MP's currently earn over £61k (government posts over £100k) and can claim well over another £100k for expenses.

When the median average worker is...
having to survive on £24k this is not only unjustifiable, it demonstrates total contempt for the public, especially when MP's incredulously claim it is 'not enough' to live on. And neither does the argument hold that extremely high salaries reduces corruption and attract better people - we only have to look to those paying themselves millions in the city and still fiddling the books, to defeat that argument.

Maybe some MPs could earn more in the private sector. Pay in the public sector should pay well, but not copy the distorted corrupt practises of some private sector management. Ken Livingstone came to fame for only claiming £6k a year as GLC leader and living in a studio flat. Those times have gone, with even Ken accepting a £100k+ salary, but of any politician at least he leads a small band of politicians that come closest to earning those sort of figures

When MP's catapult their pay into the top 3% of earners with generous expenses on top and corrupting procedures to go with it - they demonstrate how they have no connection with the world of their constituents. This is hardly surprising when we look at how our dysfunctional electoral system works, but I won't go on about that again - I am sure regular readers of my blog know my views on that.


  1. Virtually all MPs, of whichever party, subscribe to the view that the level of salary should be determined by the market. Very well. They should apply this principle to their own pay. There is no shortage of people who want to be an MP. Clearly we could cut the pay of MPs significantly without affecting the number or quality of applicants. In setting pay we should remember that the skills required of the average backbench lobby fodder MP are pretty low and amount to little more than the ability to walk through the lobby door that the whips instruct him to. I concede that for government posts and their shadow opposite numbers, more is required and the pay should be skewed to recognise that. For the basic MP's job, however, I should have thought that 24K + london weighting would be more than sufficient. That would accurately reflect the skills required and would not lessen the numbers of candidates presenting themselves. The market in operation. I can't see the bottom polishers in Westminster going for it, though.

  2. Stephen: Couldn't agree with you more. In fact I think MPs salary should be linked to the median wage. That way if the country are doing well - so do they and vice versa.

    Anyone found guilty of fiddling expenses should receive the same treatment they dish out to those on benefit.

  3. Anyone found guilty of fiddling expenses should receive the same treatment they dish out to those on benefit

    Absolutely! I think it was obscene that Conway was not prosecuted for deception under the Theft Act. If a benefit claimer had purloined a quarter of the sum Conway had stolen he would be facing significant jail time.