MPs’ pay

Parliament voted some time ago to set up an independent body called IPSA. This authority was charged with the task of setting and administering MPs pay and expenses, free of interference from MPs and without further Parliamentary votes. There was a  mood in the media that independent people should take evidence, listen to the public view, and conclude on pay and expenses.

The establishment of IPSA followed several previous attempts to have some external setting of MPs pay within the context that MPs still had to vote it through once the outside body or indexing system came up with its proposal. MPs were variously linked to a certain grade of civil servant, Headteachers, senior officers in local government and the like. Each time there was a link the comparator pay went up and MPs voted to detach themselves from it as the pay rise was thought to be too generous.

Now we learn that IPSA may propose a pay rise for MPs at the beginning of the next Parliament. Suddenly some want MPs to comment on this, or to find a way to overrule the independent body to prevent the pay rise. Many MPs are reluctant to comment, having voted for  the view that the pay has to be set independently. MPs have rightly  not been appearing on the media to complain of the pay freeze and higher pension contributions imposed this Parliament by IPSA, accepting the discipline at a time of general pay restraint and public sector pension reform.

I am not planning to expressing a view on the leaks of IPSA’s intentions. Now we have an independent system IPSA should propose and IPSA should defend  its proposals,  explaining them to the public. I am quite happy, however, to let you have your say about the leaked reports on IPSA’s plans.

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105 Comments

  1. matthu
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    I think it would be unfortunate if MPs pay were to be considered independently from their level of expenses, over which there appears to be no control.

    By no control, I am not suggesting that there is still no oversight as to what is permissible and what not, but there seems to be no overriding cap as to what might constitute a legitimate expense. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    And I think it is also unfortunate that pay per MP is being considered and not the overall package for all MPs i.e. there was clearly an obligation on the coalition to reduce the total number of sitting MPs which would have implied a reduction in the overall bill.

    What MPs have done in not reducing their number would not be tolerated in a commercial organisation.

    Nothing personal against you, John, but MPs are living in a bubble. I would support a significant increase in MPs pay but only after they substantially reduce their number or extricate the country from the EU.

    We should not be paying for two lots of legislators.

    Reply There is an upper limit on the amounts MPs can claim for staff salaries, for office costs, for overnight stays away from home etc. There is quite a wide range in the level of claims, and some variation in workload and unavoidable costs between different constituencies. My total office costs and expenses were under half the average, when I last looked at all the published data when reviewing my budget.

    • alan jutson
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Reply -Reply

      My posting seems to have gone missing, or is still in moderation.

      I covered some of the points you raise with regard to expenses, employment of staff, and constituancy costs, as well as pay.

      Perhaps the suggestions were sailing a bit too close to the wind, for real change, for reading and discussion.

      One thing for certain, the present system is a mess and does not produce results in the form of good government (by any Party) because many Mp’s do not hold the government to account, and suffer no financial loss for crass decisions made and supported.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Hey be careful what you admit..in the NHS if we don’t spend up to our allowance, then the allowance goes down.

  2. Patryk
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    As a teacher of English I am very proud that you got the apostrophe in the right place, Mr Redwood. I wonder how many MPs would achieve a similar feat?

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      As you clearly already know there are several MPs, who have a salary the apostrophe adds nothing and is merely superfluous. Better to just get rid of it and save typing time. Perhaps only include them when it is not clear is there is one or more in possession of the object. Rationalise spelling while you are at it. It should not be fixed in out of date irrational, aspic. What is the point of making children learn write, right, rite and there, their and they’re and yacht for example, when they could learn something of far more substance, with the time freed up. Indeed what is the point of a u after a q if it is always there, it too is clearly redundant? Surely it is time for some improvements.

      • Bert Young
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        Your comment is unjustified . English spelling and grammar is , rightly , the bedrock of “English” . Michael Gove has given his direction on this and , hopefully , it will see off the growing trend of lazy expression and spelling creeping into the school system and in the way people express themselves .

        • lifelogic
          Posted July 4, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

          “Unjustified” why?

          Why retain an inefficient system and such absurd out of date spellings for no reason but inertia. Pronunciations, accents, word meanings, new words and language change all the time, yet we are apparently stuck with irrational spelling for ever more simply because a someone decided in a dictionary (& Michael Gove whom I quite like despite his arty approach) says one is right and the other wrong. They are a waste of time, slow people down and distract then for far more important things. It is mere notation after all why, not make it more efficient and rational? As Shakespeare, Shakespere, Shakespear,
          or Shakspeare would surely have said “up with this I will not put”.

          • lifelogic
            Posted July 4, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

            How many billions of hours are wasted by people trying to remember absurd spellings when they could be doing something far more useful with their time?

          • APL
            Posted July 7, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

            Lifelogic: “How many billions of hours are wasted ..”

            None.

            Teaching someone to express himself* in a clear and concise manner is not wasted time.

            Failing to properly educate an individual while being paid to educate a person is at the very least a waste of time.

            It is an utter failure to force an individual to spend a decade of his life in ‘education’ and fail to teach him the basics of his mother tongue.

            *Masculine includes the feminine.

      • lifelogic
        Posted July 5, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink
    • Steve
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      More to the point; how many teachers? How many English teachers?

  3. Roy Grainger
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Here is a link to who is on this IPSA board:

    http://parliamentarystandards.org.uk/About%20Us/Pages/Board-members-and-chief-executive.aspx

    No surprise that a group made up exclusively of lawyers, NHS Bureaucrats and an ex-MP will do anything other than recommend large pay rises – to those people £10,000 is a drop in the ocean. Where is the general public’s representative on that board ? There should be some people on the board who earn LESS than MPs do, not a bunch of people who earn many times more, just to give it some perspective.

    My general position is this: as there seems to be no shortage of people wanting to be MPs then there is plainly no need to increase their salaries by more than inflation.

    • APL
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Roy Grainger: “as there seems to be no shortage of people wanting to be MPs then there is plainly no need to increase their salaries by more than inflation.”

      Exactly.

      When we see the stream of people applying to become an MP drying up to a trickle, we can be sure that the price of an MP is about right.

      Until then the pay freeze should remain in force.

      • Jerry
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        @APL: “When we see the stream of people applying to become an MP drying up to a trickle, we can be sure that the price of an MP is about right.

        Well yes, a return to the days of the “part-time” Tory MP -the day job being a directorship, or three, in the City, the Union sponsored Labour MP and the parliamentary debates starting at 3pm (complete with regular all night sittings) might well be the way forward – back to the future as they say!…

        • APL
          Posted July 5, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

          Jerry: “Well yes, a return to the days of the “part-time” Tory MP ..”

          It’s not exactly as if we are short of new laws, is it?

          I have often suggested MPs should be employed on a similar basis to the TA. Mostly working in real jobs, which give a perspective on real people’s lives that our current crop of MPs largely lack.

      • lifelogic
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        There is a shortage of “suitable” people but I do not think paying more would improve that position at all quite the reverse, it would attract yet more career politicians mainly interested in the money.

        • Bazman
          Posted July 5, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

          Huh! Sorry. I got lost. Was it absurd or pointless?

    • Richard
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      As IPSA is part of the state sector, it cannot possibly be independent. The use of the word ‘Independent’ is almost fraudulent, and certainly a misnomer. It’s about time they used a bunch of private citizens, drawn purely at random, as people are picked for jury service*, none of whom has any connection with anybody in the palace of Westminster or any department in Whitehall.

      * I hope people are chosen purely at random for jury service, but my trust in the British state and its various agencies is down to zero

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        I believe selection for jury service is random, but it is easy to appeal against doing it for various reasons (such as having a job) so in practice the composition of juries is skewed.

        The more I look at it the more the composition of that IPSA panel looks bizarre – no-one on it with any experience of recruitment in the private sector – no-one from the private sector at all in fact, no “ordinary” members of the public, no-one on even close to average wages, no trade unionists, no accountants/economists – very strange. Who selected the members ? (I can guess …)

    • Bradders
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t this the argument that they applied, or tried to apply, to police salaries?
      What about subsidised meals and alcohol at Westminster?
      I would propose that no one can become an MP until (a) they have had a proper job outside politics (b) are over 40 years of age (c) may only remain an MP, unless of Cabinet rank, for a maximum of 15 years and finally (d) that the total amount of money spent on parliamentary salaries should remain constant in absolute terms.

      • Jerry
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        @Bradders: “unless of Cabinet rank

        I hope you mean of governmental rank, otherwise an awful lot of expertise is going to lost [1], how long has our own host been outside of the Cabinet, is he not worthy of remaining an MP?!

        [1] with the added risk, give that these MPs would be at least 55 years old, that accusations of the old boys network being used to find another ten years of gainful employment.

        • Bradders
          Posted July 5, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

          Yes, OK I agree. I would include our host.

  4. Anthem
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that it is not so much the fact that MPs are getting a pay-rise, it is the amount of the rise. Figures quoted (10k-20k p.a.) represent 15-30%.

    It’s all well and good freezing pay for three years but to end the freeze with a raise of this level negates the spirit and intention of such a freeze.

    I also think that the largely negative reaction to the pay-rise is a reflection of the general feeling of dissatisfaction amongst the public with regards to the actual performance of MPs.

    The country is running at a budget deficit which is causing the national debt to run away to unprecedented levels.

    If this performance was replicated in a business environment then I suspect the directors would be getting the sack, not a pay-rise.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      You’d be surprised how often directors and CEOs get pay rises despite making huge losses. But that’s what happens when shareholders have little control over executive salaries.

  5. Old Albion
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    The idea of IPSA was probably the correct way to deal with MP’s pay. However IPSA should take into account the state of the UK economy when making it’s decisions.
    It’s obviously not the time for MP’s to be awarded any wage increase, let alone the massive one being ‘suggested’
    When and if the economy is back on track it may be justifiable to have a rise in MP’s remuneration which should be accompanied by the removal of the expenses system.

    • Old Albion
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      I forgot to say;
      Obviously any pay rise given would be pro-rata to MP’s from Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland. As approx 70% of their work is now carried out by their own Government or Assembly…………………………………….

      • Cliff. Wokingham
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        Sir,
        I like your thoughts on the levels of salaries for MPs from countries within the UK other than England.

        I feel this excellent thinking, could be applied to all MPs in relation to the powers etc given away to The EU.
        As MPs vote to give away functions and compentences to the EU, so their salaries are cut to reflect this lighter workload. This may also focus their minds about how much of our Parliament’s function they give to Europe.

  6. lifelogic
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    The real problem in the UK is the, usually very inefficient, badly directed and poorly run, state sector workers have pension perhaps 8+ times larger than the private sector workers who are milked to pay them all. Many in the private sector have no provision at all beyond the state pensions.

    MPs have one of the most generous of all pension schemes being worth nearly as much as the salary itself to them. 1/40 of salary, RPI linked for just on years service with a tiny personal contribution. Any salary increase of say £10K will surely produce a bonus of circa £150,000 to an average MP’s pension pot unless amended. This is far more than most tax payers pension pots in total.

    The other problems is that about 80% of MPs are dreadful and not worth anything. No one who signed the climate change act, supported the disastrous war on a lie or Afghanistan, the recent EU treaties, or supports HS2 should be paid anything at all, they should be fined and kept away from any power ever again.

    The other problems is that paying politician well tends to corrupt them into not acting in the interest of voters but the interest of keeping their jobs. This by keeping in with the leaders and the party. We see this both at the EU level and in parliament. Both these (and the house of Lords also) rather immorally have special tax rules and tax free “expenses” and benefits that do not apply to mere mortals, just to add icing to the cake.

    I would favour no pay at all, we would perhaps then get rather better people to do the job and deter career politicians. I would also ban “consultancies” which clearly often produces legislation, blatantly against the interests of the public and for those of the interest party.
    The renewable fake artificially subsidised “industry” for example.

    To put it into context the absurd climate change act alone (not to mention the cost of the EU, the ERM, the EURO, HS2 and the pointless wars) will waste more than £31M per year, per MP so the real costs of their clear incompetence is massive relative to their pay.

    We would have better government with a random selection by ballot of the public to select MPs each year I suspect, rather like jury service. At lease then we would not have the dreadful Miliband/Unison/Labour in 2015, who will be even worse than the Pro EU, fake green, big state, socialist Cameron has been.

    Could someone explain the the BBC the units used to measure energy (Joules/KWHours etc.) and power Watts, Kilo/Giga Watts. They keep talking about daft subsidised renewable projects generating 1GW per year. They can either generate 1GW continuously or they can generate 1GW year per day, hour, year or whatever. If they do not understand the units, why should we ever believe a word they say on the green issue. Not that many now do.

    • Bradders
      Posted July 5, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      I am not sure that I can explain the BBC’s use of units. However, joules and calories are units of energy (4.2 Joules= 1 calorie). Power dissipated is measured in Watts. 1 Joule dissipated per second is 1 Watt. If you switch on a 3-bar electric radiator, you are usually dissipating energy at a rate of 3 Kilowatts. If you leave it on for one hour, you have dissipated 3 Kilowatt-hours. If you just did that just once in a whole week, you would dissipate 3 Kilo-watt hours per week.
      I hope I have made no mistake.

    • Bazman
      Posted July 6, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Why cannot power be generated at 1 GW per year? One day produced so many watts and another day produces a different amount of watts adding up to 1 GW a year generated. Like an electric fire using so may KW per year the amount of hours it is used as Bradders says. Not rocket science. It is you who does not understand and are trying to make it out to be propaganda.
      Tell us of a job done by the average worker in the p8ublic sector that has a pension eight times a private one? No pension in the private sector would prove this, but not really and how often do you ever mention the absurdly paid higher levels of the private sector and the workforce on minimum wage as losses in the millions are made. You do not is the short answer.

  7. Andyvan
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Parliament has, in the last 50 years, led Britain into becoming a vassal state of Brussels. It has ignored and failed the people of Britain again and again. It has also presided over the largest expansion of unnecessary, unproductive and freedom sapping legislation and public sector power in the history of Britain. It has allowed the public debt to soar to an amount that cannot realistically ever be repaid. It has encouraged and manipulated a bubble in credit and house prices that has caused economic misery and debt slavery for millions. It’s members are infamous for expenses fraud, bribery and sexual misconduct. Hardly anyone that is not heavily medicated believes a word that any politician says, with good reason. They consistently speak and act as though they are above us poor serfs and little things like laws and economics do not apply to them.
    These are the people that expect a pay rise of £10k a year- presumably because all the other fiddles are becoming exposed to public gaze. Really I suppose we deserve it. As a population we give a group of, lets be kind, gangsters the legal right to regulate us, control us and steal from us and expect them to be honest and upstanding examples of good citizenship. It really isn’t a surprise that we are disappointed.

    Reply I have not heard any MP saying he or she expects or requests a pay rise of £10,000

    • APL
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      JR: “I have not heard any MP saying he or she expects or requests a pay rise of £10,000”

      Two weeks ago, you hadn’t heard about the IPSA proposals!

      Reply No, and we still do not know what the IPSA proposals are in full.

    • Richard
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      But they’re not going to refuse such a raise if it’s on offer, though, are they, Mr Redwood?

      Reply Let us see what happens. We have not had the official announcement of what IPSA intends yet.It will depend on the whole package announced by IPSA and whether the next Parliament wants to carry on with the current independent system.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      When IPSA polled MPs in January 69% of MPs said they deserved a pay rise.

      On average Labour MPs thought that they deserved an average salary of £77,322 per year.

      On average Liberal Democrat MPs thought that they deserved an average salary of £78,361 per year.

      On average Conservative MPs thought that they deserved an annual salary of £86,740 a year.

      20% of MPs thought that they deserved £95,000 or more a year.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20978487

      So while MPs many not have expected a pay rise of £10,000 or more the majority were certainly asking for such a pay rise.

      • zorro
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        Agreed, and the issue is that many MPs have got plenty of time to earn a lot more money than their MP salary in private activity each year while still being MPs…….Not a lot of people are able to carry on several jobs at the same time, or get such generous allowances.

        zorro

    • Bazman
      Posted July 6, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      What use is £200 a week rise for an MP? A good lunch in London must be over a hundred quid these days.

  8. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Coming from a financial background I would have thought it would be easier for you to comment on MP’s pay. I have been in a service industry from the age of 18, am very English, despite my welsh sounding name, and was brought up not to talk about money insofar as what I received but rather ,only what I gave.
    As a professional I have taken the responsibility for others lives, others mistakes ,others well being for as long as I can remember and along with the profession (which I agree has its variability in talent and responsibility) have been plagiarised by other professions.
    I can put few professions on a pedestal, especially the teaching profession, due to my own personal experiences. We have been let down by MP’s for a long time, but there again we have agreed as ‘the public’ to allow self starters to put themselves up for nomination when many of their colleagues would not.
    As for yourself Wokingham has had the consistency of your input for many years, you have served this community and should be scaled accordingly. There are others who take on just one term (or even less )and contribute very little ,yet are remunerated similarly .
    Perhaps there should be a review of MP’s pay which looks at individual experience , not totally excluding academic input which obviously you yourself take seriously , and within the publics’ representation give individual pay .
    I have profiled my progress since 1968 and it isn’t about attending Oxford or Cambridge or being self important ,It is about the struggle trying to serve others under adverse conditions, with my first wage being £10 / month. Maybe MP’s should profile their life’s input without including who they know, or who has given them a step up the ladder, or who they have political connections with and on that basis recognise their qualities as individuals wanting to better our supposedly civil nation.

  9. lifelogic
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Off topic may I recommend:-

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100224696/ed-davey-is-holding-the-coalition-to-ransom/

    It is impossible not to conclude that this government is totally bonkers on the energy issue. Regardless of whether you believe in the exaggerated AGW catastrophe theories or not.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Ed Davey is popular in Kingston and Surbiton, or at least he was popular at the time of the last general election; the Tories have made little progress in dislodging him, so maybe they should step back and let somebody else have a go.

    • alan jutson
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic

      Have you noticed how the number of reports are growing now about so called green/alternative Energy/Power and its true cost.

      Some of the media is now begining to wake up to the real facts, and how the government with its crass decisions is increasing the cost of energy for us all.

      Cannot remember where, but read a report recently from a scientist about the lack of (reduction in) CO2 could become a real problem for the planet in the long distant future.

      The Science is not yet fixed on this subject, but the governments attitude to use it as an excuse to raise taxes is.

  10. Narrow shoulders
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    I am quite comfortable with an outside body evaluating the pay levels of MPs. I do not think that MPs should have to vote it through as this makes it contentious.

    I wonder however if IPSA was asked to rule on how many MPs there should be(600?) their recesses and if they should be allowed to persue outside and in some cases conflicting interests? The public might see merit in IPSA following rulings on these lines.

  11. Mick Anderson
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    It’s not about the amount of pay per se, more about value for money. There’s also the nagging feeling that MPs were doing rather well fiddling the previous expenses system and resent the fact that they were found out. If I believed that the MPs were holding the Ministers to account effectively enough and if I felt that Mr Osborne was doing a good job of running the economy, I would happily see a substantial pay rise for Parliamentarians

    What I see is a low-grade PM employing his friends rather than the best person for the job, an excessive number of Ministers with too many things to interfere in, and too many in SW1 prepared to complain that whatever the problem is it’s not their fault and too hard for them to fix.

    It is demanded that I hand over more than half my hard-earned income to a bunch of ineffective wastrels, and I don’t believe that giving them even more money is going to improve anything. I suggest that we introduce performance related pay for MPs (obviously our patient host is worth every penny, including the rise) – IPSA is no more free-thinking than any other committee set up by Government. Perhaps the CBI could set up a pay review for Labour MPs, and the TUC for the Conservatives; better yet I’m sure the TPA would like the job for all elected “representitives”…. Those of us in the private sector are paid on how effective we are, it’s being brought in for teachers. How about MPs leading by example for a change?

    • Iain Gill
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Sadly only some folk in the private sector are “paid on how effective we are”, many are paid for being part of an old boys network, having the latest buzz word on their CV, or some other such tosh. However its much worse in the public sector.

    • alan jutson
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Mick

      Totally agree about performance pay, not difficult to bring in, as you could link it to a bonus only paid when the Country was in a balanced budget situation, year on year, with an increasing bonus paid dependent upon the percentage the economy is in credit.

      Suggested the above myself this morning, but my posting I guess still in moderation.

      If JR was in charge and allowed to run the Country, then all politicians would get a pay rise automatically if they voted for his sensible financial polices to materialise.

  12. Nina
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    This issue makes it quite clear that we are definitely not all in it together. We hear a lot of whining about the basic of £60 odd k p.a. being not enough, especially from the 2010 intake who claim to have given up really renumerative careers to become “a servant of the people”. Do not forget aboout the income multipliers, such as being able to put your wife, kids, boyfriend etc on the payroll. Nor the final salary scheme where the MP has the taxpayers assume unlimited annuity/investment risk, unlike the rubbish money purchase “workplace pensions” that they are forced to contribute to. While will not even mention the expense account either…

    If you want to become an MP you do so on the basis that you get paid the same as did before you were elected. I do not mind paying a fortune to JR or even Geoffrey Robinson, if it sorts out the non talents who are obviously in it for the career and not as an act of public service

  13. Stephen Almond
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    I would like to know what the total cost to the taxpayer of MP’s expenses was beforethe ‘scandal’ and what the cost is now, including running the IPSA.

  14. APL
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    JR: “There was a mood in the media that independent people should take evidence, listen to the public view, and conclude on pay and expenses.”

    Suppose there was such a mood. The mainstream media is nothing more than Westminster’s echo chamber. Those people who watch the media for their news and current affairs only get to hear what Politicians want them to hear. After the expences scandal ( which still goes on ) we had the bright idea trailed in the media that it should all be conducted in an independent manner. Presto, Cameron pulls IPSA out of his hat!!

    Everyone stand’s back in amazement at his stupendious cleverness.

    But of course no one talks about regulatory capture in connection with IPSA. Yet regulatory capture has been a feature of every ‘standards body’ set up under the last government, the list is as long as the number of regulatory bodies you can think of before breakfast; FSA, CQC, etc.

    Now if you were really interested in independent oversight of MPs pay, you’d hand the whole bally lot over to the local constituency. The cost of an MP should appear on the Council tax statement in the same way as the local police or water or sewerage does.

    An MPs pay rise should be approved by local vote of anyone in the constituency interested enough to vote and a precept added to the council tax for that constituency accordingly.

    Would this result in a disparity between individual MPs salaries? Yes, so what?

    Such a mechanism may even provide a spur to local accountability and democracy – which is probably why Cameron, Clegg and Minibrain ( the three wise monkeys ) would prefer to control the system – at arms length with plausible denyability of course – themselves.

    JR: This authority was charged with the task of setting and administering MPs pay and expenses,”

    A mesasure of how independent this body is; has it ever suggested a pay cut for MPs?

    Yea, thought so.

  15. APL
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    JR: “Parliament voted some time ago to set up an independent body called IPSA.”

    In fact the more one examines any initiative the Cameron administration has come up with, in this case IPSA, you realize how it is nothing more than a pale, rather pathetic imitation of a Blair administration policy.

    Independent regulation was Blair’s initiative, it happens to be profoundly un democratic as was illustrated by the Standards Board for England – which acted in the same way as a political commissar in the Soviet Union.

    From the most crucial policy, Energy to the running of our Democracy, Cameron has not come up with one original, identifiably conservative idea; Energy policy and the windmill nonsense was a Milibrain initiative, and so called independent standards authorities – wasn’t that a brain child of the (WORD LEFT OUT) man from Hull?

    Even his side kick Osborne came up with the idea that the British government should become a mortgage company.

    WHAT IS THE POINT OF THE TORY PARTY?

    • Bob
      Posted July 5, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      “WHAT IS THE POINT OF THE TORY PARTY?”

      Exactly.

  16. me
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    I’ve yet to hear why a multiple of average pay would be a bad idea. Of course some people might like to see a multiple of 0.5 .

  17. oldtimer
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I think MPs pay is too low and should be increased. I have previously posted here that I thought about £100k pa was a suitable level – this, I believe is way above what IPSA is proposing. I also believe it is beneficial for MPs to have external paid interests so that they may inject contemporary experience of the outside world into the Westminster bubble.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      They get about £110K now when the pensions value PA is included.

      • JoolsB
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        Plus all the other perks – a pad in London with no council tax or utilities to worry about. Unlike our pensioners, no worry to them if they want the heating on 24/7. Travel to and from work paid for.

    • A different Simon
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      They make £100k p.a. now when pensions benefits are considered .

      I agree though that their pay level should be increased .

      On a related issue MP’s contracts should be made exclusive . They should not be able to hold directorships of outside companies .

      If they aren’t prepared to do the job full time then they should be disallowed from doing it . Is that too much to ask ?

    • APL
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      oldtimer: “I have previously posted here that I thought about £100k pa was a suitable level ..”

      Nigeria, I believe has the highest paid Parliamentarians in the world.

  18. Martin
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    The whole problem with MPs pay being linked to some public sector workers is that it fails to recognise what is going on in the private sector.

    Despite an age of austerity public sector pay is rising much faster than private sector pay.

  19. Leslie Singleton
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    MP’s came in to existence solely to enable communities to express their view (to the King, then) and I cannot see why they should need to be paid at all to do the modern equivalent of that; their role involves no qualifications or skills or experience whatever other than being elected. There was no other way then than to have a local chap travel (infrequently) to Parliament but that hardly applies in these days of electronic instant communication. At the very least, we should have many more referenda and without all the present ridiculous palaver of MP’s giving their permission as if they were more important than the people they merely represent. Switzerland proves conclusively that a system based on many more referenda works and works well. I confess I do not know exactly, but does Switzerland even have MP’s? The central or any other selection of MP’s is terrible in my opinion. If pay is a big worry for our MP’s then they should naff off and do something else–there would after all not exactly be a dearth of people wanting to replace them.

    • APL
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Leslie Singleton: “If pay is a big worry for our MP’s then they should naff off and do something else–there would after all not exactly be a dearth of people wanting to replace them.”

      Seconded.

      None of that cosy severance nonsense either.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Indeed more referenda or ballots to select people to allow them to make decisions on matters.

      Where for example is the general public’s representative on this pay board?

      Indeed for fair representation 80% of the people on the board should work in the private sector many would have no pensions at all and they are the ones paying the salaries and pension in the state sector.

      Select a panel of say 50 by ballot and lets see what figures they vote for.

  20. Iain Gill
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Personally I think all MP’s should get a pay rise. Their current compensation is certainly less than I would do that job for. And I am not impressed with the independently wealthy MP’s we have, so I conclude we need more folk of modest means who need the money to live on, so it needs to be sensible and higher.

    I think expenses should be scrapped and the MP’s all given a fixed allowance, with higher allowances for those representing seats further away from Westminster. Take away the overhead of policing expense claims.

    MP’s should be allowed to hire a few staff each but these should just be on the civil service payroll and the money should not be going through the MP’s accounts.

    On the other hand I was mighty impressed with Dave Nellist when he was an MP and only took the average wage, I wish more MP’s would do this. I always think the labour party made a massive mistake with the way they treated him.

    And on the other other hand given the current appalling state on the nation I think it is extremely bad timing to be giving anything more than the pay rises the rest of the state sector are getting. Maybe we could bonus them all instead where they get an extra £ X for every £ Y billion of the national debt they get rid of, or they get extra £ Z for every Brit that gets hired (words left out ed) and so on.

    : )

    • uanime5
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      As anyone earning over £50,000 is in the top 10% of earners it’s clear that MPs are already well paid by the standards of most of the population. Also anyone earning over £100,000 is in the top 3% of earners.

      The problem with rewarding MPs for cutting the deficit and reducing the national debt is that it gives them a financial benefit for cutting the services ordinary people rely on. I predict a huge scandal every time the education or health minister gets a bonus by reducing their department’s budget.

      • alan jutson
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        Uanime5

        Do you want the State to live within its income or not ?

        Any idiot can spend more than their income, especially when its not their money, so why not pay a bonus for running a credit account year on year, and reduce their basic salary.

        Your solution is ?

        • uanime5
          Posted July 5, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

          All I’m saying is that if the health minister increases waiting lists and the cost of prescription charges the public is unlikely to tolerate this minister getting a bonus simply because this department is within budget.

          All your plan will do is give ministers financial incentive to provide poor services as long as they meet their targets (remember the problems caused at Midstaff when the hospital’s directors put targets above patient care).

          • alan jutson
            Posted July 6, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

            Uanime5

            A bonus does not have to be made up of just one element.

            You could also include a level of unemployment, a number under which a bonus could be paid. same could be applied to waiting lists etc etc.

            The impotant thing is we calculate in real figures, and do not massage the figures as has been done in the past, that is why you would need a completely independent authority to verify such.

            We need to get politicians to feel the effects of their policies in financial terms, not insulate them from reality, hence the suggested low salary base rate, but with expenses paid in line with outside business practices and with the same Inland Revenue rules.

        • Bazman
          Posted July 6, 2013 at 11:15 am | Permalink

          Can I have a bonus for turning up for work?

      • Iain Gill
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        As averages across the whole country maybe

        For people working in London or very close I doubt it

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Any MP who is uncomfortable with taking such a large pay rise at this time of supposed austerity could decline to accept it; or if that is bureaucratically difficult he could donate the extra money to some good cause, either alone or as part of a group of MPs who sign up to do that.

    How about the Hansard Society?

    “We aim to strengthen parliamentary democracy and encourage greater public involvement in politics. At the heart of our work is the principle that civic society is most effective when its citizens are connected with the institutions and individuals who represent them in the democratic process. There has never been more urgency for Parliament to engage with the public.”

  22. English Pensioner
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    In most cases MPs’ pay is immaterial compared with their expenses where some claims are still beyond a joke.
    Perhaps IPSA should look at how Civil Servants’ expenses were treated some 40 years ago when I worked as an engineer. You could never make a trip anywhere without the expenses department disallowing some item. I once went on a visit to Stockholm and as it was Friday, I asked for a Saturday night return flight saying that I would personally pay for an extra night’s stay. Even though it would have cost them no more, this was refused on the grounds that I would receive an “advantage” (ie a day’s sightseeing) as a result of doing my job, which was against the rules. How many MPs manage to go on a trip and get some personal “advantage” of that nature? On longer visits away from home in the UK, return fares were only paid at weekends if they were less than the cost of staying in a hotel, and you were expected to travel in your own time. Family friendly – you’re joking.
    Perhaps things are different now, but I would prefer that MPs’ expenses were examined by people like those who used to examine mine and worked to similar rules.

  23. JoolsB
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    John,

    It’s bad enough that MPs with English constituencies sit idly by and say nothing when MPs with Scottish & Welsh constituencies constantly meddle and interfere in English only matters especially when these MPs have no say whatsoever on the majority of matters affecting their own constituents, devolved matters being decided by 129 MSPs in the Scots Parliament and 60 AMs in the Welsh Assembly. If they couldn’t vote and legislate on English only matters which should be of no concern to them, they would have very little to do.

    I object to MPs even being considered for such a healthy pay rise in these times of austerity but I find it down right insulting that these part-time unaccountable MPs should continue to receive a full MPs salary let alone a pay rise on top.

  24. Border Boy
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Some time ago MPs were ambitious to link their pay to a civil service senior management grade, but they lost interest when control of public service pay by successive governments meant their pay was equally controlled. This really is the best way to set MPs pay because it means they share pay rises and pay restraint with the rest of us.

    IPSA’s proposals are based on what? Comparisons with whom? I am not sure I know, but the big issue is expenses. I would support any reasonable effort to set MPs pay with an allowance for various expenses which meant they did not have to submit creative and sometimes criminal claims for expenses, which has caused them,collectively, so much trouble.

    Reply On the contrary, MPs pay was fixed to a civil service grade and taken off it by MPs because the civil service pay went up too quickly.

    • zorro
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply – Really John? Ms Toynbee would disagree with you it seems…. ‘MPs’ pay was linked to grade six in the civil service (grade one is top). But then grade sixes were held back to stop the embarrassment of MPs’ pay rising. Jonathan Baume of the FDA civil servants union would raise MPs to the old grade five, up to £85,000 and then abolish all personal expenses except travel. Professor Vernon Bogdanor blames Margaret Thatcher for giving the nod to using allowances as pay instead of a rise – leading to duck islands and moats. He would abolish second London homes and put MPs into a decent state-owned block of flats to stop property speculation on expenses…’

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/may/03/what-should-we-pay-mps

      MP pay was linked to G6 levels, but their pensions were far better than general civil service terms and their expenses…..well enough said.

      zorro

  25. Bert Young
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Assessing the pay of MPs has to be done by an independent body and all factors such as experience /service , expense allowances have to be considered at the same time . The timing of any award is a very sensitive issue bearing in mind the constraints many sectors of employment are under pressure from the Government to follow . I do not want to see any MP paid if their representation is meaningless . Legislating in our democracy is one thing ( worthwhile and reasonable ) , but , legislating in a system of over-rule by an outside body is worthless and unacceptable .

  26. Matthew
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Happy for the IPSA recommendation to be implemented, with a caveat that increase should be deferred if these is a public sector wage freeze at the time of the next parliament.

  27. Dave
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Is this all about leading by example in trying to get the UK populace pushing for higher salaries in an attempt to get high inflation? We saw the same thing with huge payment increases to the Queen and MPC members.

  28. behindthefrogs
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    The increase in salary proposed for the MPs should as has happened in many other employments be accompanied by a reduction in the number of MPs. Wasn’t that proposed earlier in this parliament?

    Reply Yes, and Conservatives are still wanting to do just that, but the Lib Dems and Labour vote us down.

    • matthu
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      “… but the Lib Dems and Labour vote us down”

      and that should be the block against any increase in salaries.

      Imagine if every school decided to appoint twice as many teachers: would they all be entitled to the same salary regardless of the number of pupils?

    • uanime5
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      How exactly was reducing the number of MPs by 7.7% going to fund a salary increase of 15-30%?

  29. Richard1
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    MPs should be encouraged to have outside interests and earnings. Full time MPs who do nothing but politics and have no dependence on economic activity are more likely to vote for bad legislation. Parliament is meant to be composed of citizen representatives.

  30. matthu
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    The point that many people are making about expenses is nicely illustrated by news reports today that “Commons Speaker John Bercow has run up a £100,000 bill in just three years on a taxpayer-funded tour of Britain and the world”.

    Why is anyone paying the Commons speaker to go on a taxpayer funded tour anywhere at all? I would have thought that he probably has less reason than any MP to go on an expenses paid trip.

    He is also vastly overpaid in every other respect.

    Just my opinion, of course (but probably shared by many).

    • matthu
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Here (according to FOI request made by the DM) is the full list of places John Bercow has flown to since May 2010 in his role as Commons Speaker.

      Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 2010
      Ottawa, Canada September 2010
      Nairobi, Kenya, September 2010
      Warsaw, Poland, October 2010
      Budapest, Hungary, November 2010
      Isle of Man, January 2011
      Ljubljana, Serbia, February 2011
      Glasgow, Scotland, May 2011
      Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 2010
      Ottawa, Canada September 2010
      Nairobi, Kenya, September 2010
      Warsaw, Poland, October 2010
      Budapest, Hungary, November 2010
      Isle of Man, January 2011
      Ljubljana, Serbia, February 2011
      Glasgow, Scotland, May 2011
      Athens, Greece, May 2011
      Aberdeen, Scotland June 2011
      New Delhi, India, August 2011
      Paris, France, September 2011
      Washington and Boston, USA, February 2012
      Belfast, Northern Ireland, April 2012
      Edinburgh, Scotland, June 2012
      Cape Town, South Africa, August 2012
      Washington, USA, September 2012
      Helsinki, Finland, October 2012
      Copenhagen, Denmark, October 2012
      Berlin, Germany, February 2013
      Vilnius, Lithuania, February 2013
      Cork, Ireland, February 2013
      Dublin, Ireland, February 2013
      Vienna, Austria, May 2013
      Bucharest, Romania, May 2013

      Can anyone (John?) explain to me why his role as Commons speaker takes him to any of these places?

      And as a follow-up question: would you expect someone in the role of an ordinary MP to need to travel more or less than the Speaker?

      Reply Because the Speaker repesents the UK at various international meetings and conferences between Parliaments. I would expect the typical backbencher to travel much less than the Speaker. I, for example, have not undertaken any foreign travel for Parliamentary pruposes or at the taxpayers expense this Parliament. If I were an MP specialising in foreign affairs then it would be different.

      • lifelogic
        Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

        I would not want John Bercow, nor his wife, representing me or the UK in any respects what so ever. The man seems totally unsuitable for the job he holds. He will also get reported £2M pension too I believe for a few years “service”. Osborne has recently reduced the pension limit for mortals (ones that that they pay for themselves) to just £1.25M, still we are all in it together as they say?

        Reply I think John Bercow represents the UK Parliament well at official events, and is the elected officer to do so.

        • lifelogic
          Posted July 5, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

          To reply: You clearly see rather more of him. I am only going off his tv/radio appearances, his financial and expense matters,(etc ed). Based on those he comes across very badly indeed but perhaps I misjudge the man

          Reply I think he is a good Speaker. He allows most MPs to contribute, keeps debate and questions moving forwards at a suitable pace, is tolerant of minority views, allows Parliament to question the executive on topical and important matters, and cares about Parliament.

        • Bazman
          Posted July 6, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink

          He is a good speaker and does not pander to Tory views. This is why you do not like him. Anything or anyone that has extreme right wing views is the only view you support even if these policies produce a bad result or unexpected bad consequences. More of the same being the answer.

      • matthu
        Posted July 6, 2013 at 6:59 am | Permalink

        The Parliamentary web site has the following info:

        The Speaker of the House of Commons chairs debates in the Commons chamber. The holder of this office is an MP who has been elected to be Speaker by other Members of Parliament. During debates they keep order and call MPs to speak.

        The Speaker is the chief officer and highest authority of the House of Commons and must remain politically impartial at all times.

        The Speaker also represents the Commons to the monarch, the Lords and other authorities and chairs the House of Commons Commission. The current Speaker is John Bercow, MP for Buckingham.

        No mention of representing the UK at various international meetings and conferences between Parliaments – so where did that come from?

        Chairing debates in the House of Commons

        The Speaker is perhaps best known as the person who keeps order and calls MPs to speak during Commons debates.

        The Speaker calls MPs in turn to give their opinion on an issue. MPs signal that they want to speak by standing up from their seat (a custom known as ‘catching the Speaker’s eye’) or they can notify the Speaker in advance by writing.

        The Speaker has full authority to make sure MPs follow the rules of the House during debates. This can include:

        directing an MP to withdraw remarks if, for example, they use abusive language

        suspending the sitting of the House due to serious disorder

        suspending MPs who are deliberately disobedient – known as naming

        asking MPs to be quiet so Members can be heard

        Election of the Speaker

        John Bercow was elected House of Commons Speaker on 22 June 2009.

        The Speaker was elected using an exhaustive secret ballot system, the first time this procedure had been used for the election of a Speaker.

        The process is as follows:
        MPs are given a list of candidates and place an x next to the candidate of their choice
        if a candidate receives more than 50 per cent of the votes, the question is put to the House that he or she takes the chair as Speaker
        if no candidate does so, the candidate with the fewest votes, and those with less than five per cent of the vote, are eliminated
        in addition, any candidate may withdraw within 10 minutes of the announcement of the result of a ballot
        MPs then vote again on the reduced slate of candidates and continue doing so until one candidate receives more than half the votes

        Politically impartial

        Speakers must be politically impartial. Therefore, on election the new Speaker must resign from their political party and remain separate from political issues even in retirement. However, the Speaker will deal with their constituents’ problems like a normal MP.

        Speakers and general elections

        Speakers still stand in general elections. They are generally unopposed by the major political parties, who will not field a candidate in the Speaker’s constituency – this includes the original party they were a member of. During a general election, Speakers do not campaign on any political issues but simply stand as ‘the Speaker seeking re-election’.

        So I still don’t get the idea where the Speaker derives any authority to represent the UK (or claim such outlandish expenses).

        I do, though, find it mildly interesting that both John Redwood and Douglas Carswell on his blog have leapt to the defence of the Speaker, with Douglas claiming that he is not biased although paradoxically admitting that he does not share his politics. (This despite the fact that Speakers must be politically impartial and must remain separate from political issues even in retirement – so what is ther left not to share?)

        My only charitable conclusion is that backbench MPs have realised they need to curry favour with the Speaker if they are to hope to navigate the private members’ EU referendum bill through parliament with the limited time available to them.

        A worthy enough cause – but I still don’t admire the Speaker.

  31. handbags
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    MP’s shouldn’t be paid at all.

    If your view of the world is correct and you’re a capable person, hard working with sound judgement then you’ll be successful – isn’t that how evolution works?

    Go out in the world, be successful and then go into politics – that’s the way to do it.

    After all, if you can’t even support yourself, what gives you the right to tell others what to do?

  32. Das Beard
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I am quite tired of MPs hiding behind the independence of IPSA’s apparent decision. IPSA may be linking pay to that of similar grades of civil servant, however, it has failed to take into account the role of MPs in forcing pay cuts and tax rises onto the rest of the population.
    If IPSA’s assessment method for MPs pay is not set up to take into account the government’s imposition of a %1 pay cap on public sector workers, and therefore does not come to the conclusion that it is not compatible with a %15 pay rise, it should not form part of the decision making process.

  33. uanime5
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Given that when MPs were polled on average they said they should be paid £30,000 more, something which they told to IPSA, it’s somewhat hypocritical of MPs to act like they had no role in IPSA’s decision to raise their salaries by £10,000.

    Let’s not forget how willing MPs were to reduce all other rises in public sector salaries and benefits to 1% (a cut in real terms). So MPs shouldn’t be surprised that the public is opposing MPs accepting a massive pay rise while these same MPs are telling everyone else to do more with less.

    Also it’s not for IPSA to defend their proposals but for MPs to defend why told IPSA they needed more money and why they’re willing to accept a large pay rise while effectively cutting the pay of everyone else in the public sector.

    Reply MPs have accepted the same pay freeze and pension cuts as the rest of the public sector.

    • APL
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      uanime5: “Let’s not forget how willing MPs were to reduce all other rises in public sector salaries and benefits to 1%”

      Agreed.

      uanime5: “MPs are telling everyone else to do more with less.”

      Since the economy is in the doldrums, an element of performance related pay would be appropriate – for MPs who have presided over the economy, that’d be a pay cut!

    • zorro
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply – Excellent news John, so that means that they will reject on mass the new IPSA proposals and fall in line with public sector pay which will not rise by more than one per cent per year for the next three years at least. Silly of IPSA to come up with such proposals when MPs had already voted to follow public sector pay discipline I guess……

      zorro

  34. sm
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    How about a basic and performance related pay & no defined benefit pensions scheme. ( That’s an incentive to look after the economy)

    All transparently outlined and voted on by referenda.

    Metrics could include:
    1)Real GDP per capita
    2)Unemployment levels/job participation levels.
    3)Levels of immigrations.
    4)Basic essential(not discretionary)it basket of goods / cost of living.
    5)Median net after tax income levels.
    6)Transparency
    7)Accountability to the electorate
    8) Pension/pay inequality between public & private sectors.
    9) Faithful representation of electorate
    10) Manifesto pledges and outcomes.
    11) Prevention of capture of regulators.
    12) Soldier deaths and injuries, Admirals to ships etc

    There should also be maximum salaries in the public sector and caps on the overall actuarial value of public pension liability per office holder.

    So far- most would be lucky to still have a job never mind a rise.

  35. Robert Taggart
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    £100K pa – for MP’s – fine, but, only if they ‘cull’ their numbers.
    500 MP’s max ?
    Turkey’s… Christmas… !

  36. Mark
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    I have long thought that the obvious answer on MP’s expenses is to subject them to the same HMRC regime as the rest of us. They might then legislate more sensible rules. As to its administration, that could clearly be done more cheaply by contracting it out to large companies who are used to handling similar expenses systems at a fraction of the cost of IPSA.

    Where pay is concerned there are several issues. One is that most MPs benefit from being under a party umbrella – and the party benefits from having compliant MPs. The consequence is that there are too many MPs who are simply party apparatchiks, incapable of assessing the legislation on which they vote. Rightly, the public consider such MPs not to be worth very much: trooping through the lobbies under direction of the whips and reading out a planted question is hardly a skilled job. That suggests that if MPs are to be paid as making a worthwhile contribution we need rather different mechanisms for ensuring that they are capable of it in the first place. Alternatives include proper open primaries, and public examination as pre-qualification to be allowed to stand to ensure that a PPC really does know the difference between debt and deficit etc.

    In principle, I’d favour voters deciding on the pay they’d offer their MP, with the MP able to decline the job if he considers the offer too low, and a penalty of no representation for say six months before a by-election is held to cover MPs elected who turn down the job – including at a general election.

    Reply MPs are under the same tax law as everyone else. I know of noone who has to pay personal tax on the “benefit” of their staff salaries or on repayment for office supplies and equipment.

    • Mark
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Permalink
      • sm
        Posted July 10, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        I noted that wholly , necessary and exclusively were replaced by necessary as well.

        Necessary being a lesser standard than required of plebs.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 4, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      Politicians do have specific advantages under the HMRC tax arrangements. If I spend £200 per member of staff on subsidised restaurants, clubs and bars for my staff it would all be taxed as a benefit in kind on them, as would travel expenses to and from work.

      Members of the House of Lords for example can claim a daily allowance of £300 per sitting day and do not pay tax on this allowances. This is more than most people earn each day.

  37. Bryan
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    I am happy for MP’s to earn the going rate for the job but it should be performance based – competence earning more as would be the case in the Private Sector.

    As an example, the PM today (I understand) visited the London Array which it is promised will provide enough renewable energy to light 500,000 homes. Except it won’t for most of the time, and it has cost the energy user hundreds of millions and will continue to do so in the future.

    The fact that the PM continues with the ‘green revolution’ at such huge cost to Industry and the public, yet which will have no beneficial impact on the environment because of China etc, is an open display of such incredible incompetence that his pay should be reduced to that of the average wage – that is if we cannot fire him!

  38. backofanenvelope
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    When considering MPs renumeration there a few other factors to think about. About 170 of them are in receipt of additional payment, including all those on the “payroll” and chairmen of committees, speakers and so on. They also get handsome tax free gratuities when they are defeated at General Elections or they are ministers and the prime minister sacks them. Not to mention their pension package. Plus expenses and subsidised food and drink.

  39. Kenneth
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    I would suggest that the budget for each MP should be in the region of £400,000 per annum, weighted by a mathematical formula according the geographical spread of the population in the constituency and other anomalies (it may be that the cost of travelling to and from Westminster and property prices balance each other out).

    The budget should increase or decrease by the same percentage change as national wages in the previous year.

    What an MP pays him or herself from this pot of money should be a matter for them and there should be no obligation to make this public.

    Some MPs will spend much of this budget on administration (which seems to be greater nowadays). Others may take higher pay. Voters will decide at the polling booths if they approve of their performance. Whoever they employ, whether it is their spouse, offspring or the man next door, should be a matter for them.

    I think MPs are undervalued and if they are not rewarded sufficiently we are in danger of falling into a downward spiral where we attract a lower quality of MP and corruption creeps in. This, in turn will increase pressure from the media to lower pay even more.

    If we end up with a House full of poor performers and increasing corruption our democracy will be badly damaged.

  40. Paul
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    A better proposal by IPSA would be to pay MPs absolutely nothing. There was a time, of course, when MPs weren’t paid. We should go back to that. That would get rid of the career politicians and only allow those who have had a proper career and experience of the real world to become MPs. There are, however, disadvantages – people like Cameron and Osborne would still be there. Although they have never had a proper career or experience of the world outside politics, they were millionaires before they were born, so there is a danger parliament would be full of rich kids. I still like the idea of MPs getting nothing though.

  41. D K McGregor
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    IPSA Salaries and expenses
    Expenses , no comment.
    Salaries , let them rip.
    Do you guys never get it?

  42. Edward2
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Talk on the BBC’s Question Time this evening was heading towards banning MP’s from having any other jobs or careers in return for an increased wage.
    One person in the audience referred to MP’s having other jobs as being “corrupt”
    I do not want any further rise in the numbers of purely professional politicians and feel MP’s who either have experience of commerce or of working in the public sector is an great advantage.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 5, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Well it often is corrupt, the people paying consultancy fees to MP are not usually doing it for the expertise of the MP but their influence – they are doing it in order to try to change laws in their businesses favour and against those of the public. (etc)

      Experience of industry is one thing bribes to distort new laws are quite another matter

      Reply Accepting consultancy fees to buy influence is against the rules and should result in disciplinary action.

  43. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    MPs should only get a pay rise immediately after a General Election, to the extent of promised by the governing party in its manifesto. That would aid the electorate in their choice. It would also have the happy side effect of giving MPs an interest in the UK moving towards zero inflation.

    I did once think of taking it further by getting each candidate to state on the ballot paper the salary that he/she would require for doing the job of MP.

  44. Bradders
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    How many days has Mr G. Brown been in the HoC in the last twelve months to qualify for his annual reward?

    • Jerry
      Posted July 7, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      @Bradders: Are you a constituent of Mr G. Brown, if not what is it to you how he serves his constituency? Also not being visible on the floor of the house doesn’t mean an MP is not doing parliamentary work, indeed an MP doesn’t actually need to be within Westminster assuming they have either obtained a pairing (to off-set their absence for voting) or the permission of their party leader.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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