What would you like to see MPs paid, and how reimbursed for their expenses, pension scheme, resettlement expenses?

(62 Posts)
lljkk Sun 08-Dec-13 10:50:13

Considering their level of expertise, responsibility, accountability and long hours, what would be reasonable: £20k? £30k? as basic with fixed number of aides' salaries covered, and office and travel expenses, maybe?

lljkk Sun 08-Dec-13 11:21:09

.

AngelsWithSilverWings Sun 08-Dec-13 11:23:28

As much as I feel angry at the 11% increase I don't think £74k is unfair for an MP. Especially if they are not already independently wealthy and have given up their previous job to go into politics. Being an MP shouldn't only be an option for the rich.

What annoys me is the expenses and claiming for second homes. My MP could commute to London ( 30 miles) easily and stay in a hotel if he needed to be in the commons until late in the night. And yet he claims for a second home in London.

Most of his constituents commute to London every day and manage fine without a second home. My DH does and often has to work late into the night - he either gets the last train home or claims for a hotel.

Claiming for second homes should be banned and cheap and basic hostel/hotel accommodation provided instead.

GaryTheTankEngine Sun 08-Dec-13 11:30:47

I think the second homes one is difficult. I know of a few MPs that spend all of the week nights in London every week.

I know I wouldn't want to have to live in a hotel for the majority, or at least nearly half, of the year.

Maybe there should be a flat market rate for expenses to the value of the cheapest accommodation, and then they can top it up with their wages.

chocoshopoholic Sun 08-Dec-13 11:45:55

Something similar to a hall of residence. Some rooms available for mps from further afield to have as their 'own' other rooms available to book for a single night or two to accomodate late meetings. With self catering facilities.

tribpot Sun 08-Dec-13 11:55:11

Yes, I agree. It's not their actual salaries that particularly bother me, although they have a subsidised workplace and what appears to be a fairly substantial alcohol problem. A little austerity living might do them the world of good. The scale of the payrise given the whole "there's no money" attitude to funding cuts recently seems unfortunate, to put it mildly.

I am happy for all reasonable expenses related to being an MP to be met. And until MPs are showing self-awareness about what reasonable expenses look like to the rest of the population, I am happy to consider funding (using the money earmarked for this pay rise) even greater scrutiny of each line item and investigation of every claim.

My MP lives too far from London to commute home every day (Leeds) and I think it's reasonable for him to have somewhere comfortable and convenient to stay whilst he's there, but see no reason why this couldn't be a serviced apartment claimed through expenses. Or a company flat, bought either by his party (the LibDems) or funded through Parliament in some way.

I think my MP works hard (albeit spends too much time on Twitter talking about the problems of local pubs rather than any other type of local business). I think that, done conscientiously, it must be a difficult and often thankless job. But I think overall if Parliament wants to regain trust with the public, MPs should reject any pay rise over 1%.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 08-Dec-13 12:06:31

I'd go for a standard package similar to executives that are expected to work from two or more locations. i.e. Salary on a par with other public sector workers with similar responsibilities, budgeted allowance for a constituency office and staff , and a notional allowance for reasonable (receipted) living & travel expenses if the constituency is more than a particular distance from Westminster. The idea of halls of residence style 'company apartments' is appealing and would keep the costs down. I'd also be looking at the hours worked in Westminster and calling time on some of the all-nighters and other anti-social practices.

I think they should be on the average wage.
Halls of residence if they choose not to live in London.
Travel expenses but tube/petrol/bus allowance just like normal people.

Not career politicians.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 08-Dec-13 12:29:56

Average wage would only attract candidates with either independent means or financial backers. Neither of which would result in MPs like 'normal people'

My MP claims between £15-20K for his share of the costs of a 2-bed flat in London & presumably the other MP he shares with does the same. My MP voted in favour of the bedroom tax. The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

I would definitely like to see an apartment block, of a basic (not luxury) standard, built to house all MPs who do not own London accommodation. They would not have to pay rent or utility bills, but could not claim for food. This would stop MPs renting their houses in London to each other & both claiming "second home" expenses. (NB I don't know if this still happens!)

MPs with distant (more than say 1 hr away on main line trains) constituencies in which they do not normally live could claim second home expenses for renting there, but these should be capped at the local market rate; if they choose to buy there instead, they should receive no more in expenses than the renting limit.

They would get travel costs for constituency visits, but the Govt should arrange discounted 1st class travel passes (I can see that they could have a torrid time in cattle class with the hoi polloi) but these should only be used for travel to constituencies.

Performance-related pay would be good - some of them seem to be quite keen on that for the rest of us.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 08-Dec-13 12:45:15

If two MPs are sharing a two bedroom flat in London, why is that inconsistent with voting for the spare bedroom tax? Are they supposed to share a bed?

Mmm, that's approx what he said. He didn't get it either hmm

To those that hath shall be given...

longfingernails Sun 08-Dec-13 14:46:57

MPs salaries should be cut by at least 70%.

ttosca Sun 08-Dec-13 15:15:54

> Average wage would only attract candidates with either independent means or financial backers. Neither of which would result in MPs like 'normal people'

Why, it because an average wage is not enough to live on?

ttosca Sun 08-Dec-13 15:20:58

Here's a UK income comparison calculator.

www.theguardian.com/society/datablog/interactive/2012/jun/22/how-wealthy-you-compared

Using this calculator, I entered yearly income of 66K (just under current MPs salary), married, with two children under 14.

This comes out to a salary which is greater than 90% of the population. That is, the top 10%'ile.

How is this not enough? And what is the justification for a further rise in salary whilst public sector wages are being cut?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 08-Dec-13 16:43:04

"Why, it because an average wage is not enough to live on?"

It's not enough to run two homes, one in Central London, & hire administrative staff, no. If you took someone on average wage, asked them if they'd like to apply for a job that involved working very long hours in two different locations including Central London, potentially having their personal life pulled apart in the newspapers and social media, that they could get sacked after just a few years with no warning, and then explained that they'd get no extra for doing so, most of them would say 'no thanks'. I earn over the average wage and I wouldn't see it as an attractive career change...

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 08-Dec-13 16:54:13

"what is the justification for a further rise in salary"

Justification has to be a judgement matter based on affordability, fairness & benchmarking the role of MP with other similarly responsible roles in the public sector. Raising MPs' pay is never a popular move - there is always a crisis or a recession or a squeeze on spending - and previous parliaments spent years dodging the issue by compensating MPs' relatively low pay-rises with increasingly generous expenses payments..... and we all know how that ended up. It would probably be the right thing to do to rebalance the pay at a better rate, catch them up with others, and reduce the expenses allowances.... but it'll never go through because everyone wants to look self-sacrificing in the face of austerity.

longfingernails Sun 08-Dec-13 17:19:33

I find it unsettling to agree with ttosca, but here I do. MPs salaries need huge cuts. However, happily I think our agreement will end there.

In my opinion, an MP should not do much constituency 'case work'. They are there to legislate in the Commons, not to be glorified social workers. If they want to buy cheap popularity by pointing at potholes and giving school prize day speeches, they should pay for the related expenses themselves, or get their party to do it.

I think the overall pay bill should be cut by 70%. Part of that should be simply reducing salaries. The rest should be funded by having fewer MPs.

If MPs want more pay, they should do second jobs. Many of them (especially Conservative MPs) already do this, and I applaud them for it.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 08-Dec-13 18:08:37

The whole point of an MP, surely, is that they represent the interests of their constituents? So the 'case work' is vital to retain that connection with the day to day problems that their decisions affect. If we just wanted a faceless legislature who treat parliamentary work as bit of a pin-money hobby, we'd appoint a board of highly paid lawyers.... and we're already perilously close to that on all sides of the Commons. hmm

lljkk Sun 08-Dec-13 18:34:39

Much as it pains me to agree with LFN, I agree that MPs take up too many local issues. It's not what they should be there for.

longfingernails Sun 08-Dec-13 18:47:52

MPs don't hold constituency surgeries because they care deeply about their constituents. They do it to help get themselves re-elected. They should pay for that themselves.

An MPs job is to be a constituency's representative in Parliament. They do that by making speeches, proposing amendments, crafting new legislation, and most importantly voting.

It's certainly not to be an self-important panjandrum who can cut through government bureaucracy on constituents' behalf by writing letters on HoC crested notepaper. MPs abuse the fact that their position enables this as a way to buy cheap local popularity - and then they have the gall to expect the taxpayer to pick up the tab!

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 08-Dec-13 18:50:20

So who would local people wheel out as their 'big gun' when they need something highlighting or fixing? Not everyone has the funds to access legal representation or lobbyists. Councillors have limited influence.

fishybits Sun 08-Dec-13 18:52:31

Paid a good salary of £60k plus as a starting salary (these people are voted in by us to help run the country) and the same housing/reimbursement system as the MOD.

longfingernails Sun 08-Dec-13 19:24:09

The reason councillors have such little influence is because MPs have too much.

niceguy2 Tue 10-Dec-13 10:45:14

I'd actually argue that in the long term, MP wages need to go UP drastically. And any drastic pay cut would have a devastating effect on our government.

£60k for an MP sounds like a lot but how many of you would actually do that for a 60+ hour a week job that involves living away from your home, partner and kids for much of the time? A job where you are damned if you do and damned if you don't.

And who do you think you will attract if you only pay MP's a more 'average' UK wage of £20-30k a year? Two types. At best someone who is too dumb to go work somewhere else for half the hours for the same pay without the commute and hassle. Or someone who is so rich already that they don't care about the salary.

So how many people want even more rich people in parliament? I thought not. How many people want an 'average' person representing them who can't really understand the intricacies of economics or unable to perform on the world stage?

What we desperately need are more intelligent people to become MP's. People who have held down steady jobs, maybe had their own small businesses who understand the trials of having a full time job, juggling family life and making ends meet. And succeeded!

People who have been Doctors, engineers, headteachers, directors of small/medium businesses would in my opinion be ideal. Real experts of their field and in life rather than some rich numpty who has completed a political science degree and never been anything than a career politician.

But those types of people are probably earning very decent money already so offering them a pay cut to do more hours and take on loads of stress??? The whole point is they're not stupid people! What's in it for them?

But as with all things, timing is everything and right now an 11% payrise headline is about as welcome as a fart in a lift. Because no-one will be thinking about the fact that MP's made the IPSA independent as a result of our outcries about them feathering their own nests. So they're screwed either way. Overrule them and the IPSA isn't independent. Accept the rise and be branded rich pigs with the trouts in the trough. Or the fact in exchange for the rise they lose quite a few expenses. All the press have zoomed in on is the 11% headline figure.

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