'What should we pay our MPs?' poll discussion

edited 26 May 2009 at 9:50AM in Money Saving Polls
87 replies 9.8K views


  • gurnallgurnall Forumite
    4 Posts
    The reality may be an elective dictatorship (what any Prime Minister says goes most of the time because whips tell MPs how to vote) but we are supposed to have a representative democracy (I've even heard MPs refer to this over the last few days).

    How can they be representative when every one of them has an income that's at least 3 times national average earnings together with a privileged lifestyle? Not a single MP experiences anything similar to the lifestyle of (for example) an OAP on the state pension, a shop or factory worker, a benefit claimant or unpaid carer for a disabled relative, let alone the oft-cited nurse, teacher or policeman. No MP (AFAIK) lives on a rundown council estate, struggles to pay fuel bills or the rising cost of food, relies on public transport in rural areas. And so on. They are just not like 90% of us.

    So it 's hard to see why they would really be passionate about improving life for the majority - or even how they can contribute to the debate in a meaningful way. Their motivation seems to be to do what it takes to get elected again next time round, and if they can get a little promotion along the way within their party or government hierarchy so much the better. Even if their background was not prosperous, it is hard to believe that they do not change when presented with an MP's salary, perks and privileges (and that whole Westminster Village culture leading to the situation where they just "don't get it").

    I don't understand the argument that MP's pay has to be high to attract the "best" candidates - what are they supposed to be best at and would we then be better governed if MPs were each paid £10 million a year? Yes, we need MPs to be knowledgable (about life and their constituents' concerns), competent and to show integrity but we need to believe they are primarily motivated by a sense of serving the community - not to suspect that are queueing to board the gravy train.

    I had been leaning towards the idea of paying MPs the average national salary (or perhaps their constituency average) but the more I think about it the more I like werna75's proposal (post 12) that MPs should be compensated for the loss of the income they had before they were elected - with as little in the way of expenses or perks as necessary to enable them to do the job - on the principle that they should not be better off as an MP. (And all extra earnings to be returned to the taxpayer: an MP could write newspaper columns, make television appearances and give after-dinner speeches, say, to communicate their ideas but not for personal enrichment.)

    It won't happen, of course. What will happen is a curb on "expenses", followed in due course by a substantial increase in MPs' salaries to compensate. And they still won't be representing anyone I know.
  • I didn't vote for any of the above, but here's my suggestion:
    • Pay MPs no more than the statutory minimium wage (£5.80 an hour from this October) plus average London Weighting. Then, if MPs wish to raise their salary, they then have to legislate to raise the minimum wage.
    • Build/lease a 'hall of residence'-style building near Westminster to accommodate any non-London MP staying in London overnight. Every MP gets the same size of room to do what they like with, for which they receive a one-off payment on being elected (to buy a bed and other furniture, etc). They continue to pay their own way on their accommodation in their constituency. At the end of their mandate, their 'hall' furniture is given to charities.
    • They will receive a set daily allowance - only for the days they are in London - to cover the more expensive cost of food.
    • They will be able to reclaim travel (standard class train and Tube travel only) on the days they are in Westminster.
    • All their staff will be employed centrally to cut administration costs and to ensure fairness.
    Hopefully these measures would go some way to ensure that we get MPs who are truly in it to support their constituents and constituencies, not just to get paid lots of money.

    It would also put them on an even footing with the lowest-paid full-time workers in the country, and would therefore allow them to experience 'true life' in the UK, with mortgages, the rising price of food and goods, and travel costs (except on business purposes).
  • mykittenmykitten Forumite
    77 Posts
    Pssst wrote: »
    Peg it at the current level.
    do not pay second homes allowance.

    HM government to build/lease a purpose made building which will have facilities and rooms similar to a premier inn to provide overnight acc/weekly acc in London.

    Pay standard rail fair travel. If MP wants 1st class,he pays the upgrade.
    Pay legitimate office running expenses (i.e limited no of staff,equipment etc)
    No MP to employ a member of family. Employment opportunities to be advertised in the open market and successful applicant scrutinised to ensure no fiddling.

    Totally agree!

    Also the Speaker needs to be a non MP, no political badgering. How are his constituents needs met when he is too busy "sorting" westminster?
  • cport80cport80 Forumite
    40 Posts
    Minimum wage!!!!Why should they be paid any better than they themselves beleive (and vote) that joe public should be treated. As an added incentive their expenses system should be completely scrapped.
  • JaneAireJaneAire Forumite
    17 Posts
    I think MPs should get the national average salary. That would spur them on to improve salaries across the board and the whole country would benefit.
    Maybe then they would feel more like one of the people and have some idea of what its like to live in the real world, on a real income.
  • I completely agree with Martin that MP's should be paid a decent wage to attract the best talent. I work for the NHS, and although I love my job I wouldnt do it for free or minimum wage. I feel MP's should be paid similar to GP's. You receive a basic wage for your MP duties, and the more responsibilities you take on, parliamentary groups, minister roles, you receive "add ons" incentivising hard work and career profession.

    Non-MP Paid work should see a reduction in your MP salary to counter the difference.

    I still dont understand how the government doesnt have standard hotel/apartment owned accommodation for MP's near Westminister, even with luxury standards these would be much cheaper then the current model
  • Midas wrote: »
    Ironically, I would say that their current 'take home' - about £80k on average (£65k basic plus expenses) is about right. This would put them somewhere near a decent university professor, although still well below the average GP, judge, solicitor etc. It would also leave them significantly less well paid than virtually anyone at the BBC.

    So give them a pay rise and abolish all expenses, apart from travel between their constituency and London.

    I agree. I voted for £80k but only if the outrageous expenses system is stopped and they foot the bills out of their own pockets. The only expense they should claim is a flat rate to cover travel costs per mile from home to either London or other official duties, whatever form it takes.
  • Give all MPs the minimum wage. Have a block of flats where they can stay when in London then they can see from ground level what it's like to have to survive.
  • If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys...

    Ok, there might be a few monkeys at the moment anyway.... but YOU voted them in!!!

    If you don't like it, don't complain, STAND FOR ELECTION YOURSELF! :beer:
  • sakarasakara Forumite
    36 Posts
    i think if the wage was much less,, - said equal to a uni lecturer , then you might actually get MPs who are doing the job to help others, rather than having the job because its a good wage and for the perks.
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