British MPs are struggling to make ends meet on £65,738 a year. A new Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) says 70% of MPs claim they deserve a +32% pay rise, potentially lifting salaries to £86,250.
And 20% of MPs thought remuneration of at least £95,000 a year was deserving. Could MPs get the salary jump they want?
Pay packets for most ordinary Britons – the average British wage in 2013 is £30,917 for men and £24,253 for women, according to Payscale – struggle to keep pace with rising food and energy costs. In terms of public relations, hiking the pay of MPs would be tricky.
However ex-Cabinet minister and Labour MP Jack Straw says the time for a MP pay bump is as good as any. The Telegraph quotes ex Lib Dem defence minister Sir Nick Harvey. Harvey claims it unreasonable for MPs to make “enormous” financial sacrifices for their job.
Harvey thinks a £65,000 salary for a post that requires no training or qualification is not acceptable.
Looking at pay ambitions along party lines, the IPSA online interviews with 100 MPs revealed that some Tory MPs thought annual salaries should come closer to £96,740; Lib Dems thought the right salary was £78,361, while Labour members of the House of Commons plumped for £77,322, on average.
Not a great difference between Lib Dems and Labour – £1,039 – there while the gap between Labour pay wants and the Tories extends to £19,418. This gap widens to £31,000 if you compare what a Tory MP currently makes and what some Tory MPs would like to claim.
On average however across all parties, the survey found that MPs want a 32% pay hike to £86,250.
Bear in mind MPs who take on extra responsibilities such as Select Committee Chairs receive extra payments of up to £14,582. There are also other benefits MPs have including childcare vouchers and greatly subsidised meals.
Many MPs are indeed hard working and there is some justification for a pay rise, given the workload, responsibility and stress of the role. But the pleading for more money does not look good against, for example, the abandonment of plans to hike MPs pension contributions in 2013.
There was supposed to be a 1.85% increase in how much MPs would pay into their final salary scheme. But IPSA intervened and the move was abandoned.
At the same time, many public sector workers are seeing substantial hikes in the cost of their pension contributions. Meanwhile the scandal of MPs expenses still resonates.