Politicians – how should they be paid? And what do they do?

(65 Posts)
RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 19-Jul-13 09:56:13

Hi there

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), the new organisation which sets MPs' pay, conditions and expenses, is running a public consultation on their recommended new approach for paying MPs. They are keen to hear your views on their recommendations.

According to IPSA, their recommended package has these five main parts:

1) A salary of £74,000 a year, and movement in line with national average wages so that politicians' pay is tied to the fortunes of all workers. If national wages rise, MPs' wages rise. If national wages fall, MPs' wages fall.
2) MPs' pensions cut back into line with the rest of the public sector, rather than the more generous pension MPs receive today.
3) Redundancy payments cut back into line with the rest of the public sector. In 2010, every MP who left parliament was entitled to a payment worth up to a full year's salary ? around £65,000. IPSA is recommending that only MPs who fight for re-election and lose should be entitled to a payment, and it should be heavily reduced, so it is in line with other redundancy packages.
4) Expenses cut and brought into line with other modern professionals. No more claiming for evening meals, hospitality, or TV licences.
5) Annual reports so that constituents know what MPs do. Research shows most people don't know what their MP does. IPSA believes that regular reporting and accountability are a part of modern professionalism, and should be brought in for MPs. Are there specific things you would you like to know about what your MP does?

The new package will start after the 2015 election and, alongside the changes already made to MPs' expenses, IPSA says it will save the taxpayer £7m a year.

IPSA is keen to know what you think of this proposed package and what you would like MPs to include in an annual report. You can read the full consultation document here (pdf), and submit your response by filling out this quick survey, writing them an email or adding your views to this thread.

IPSA will analyse all the responses they receive to the consultation and make a final decision in autumn this year.


ButThereAgain Fri 19-Jul-13 11:10:53

Not sure that tinkering with salaries is going to do much to improve the calibre and honesty of MPs -- I'm sure I'd manage not to be a lobbying crook or an expenses crook on far, far less of an incentive than £74k. Other important public servants work incredibly hard and with real commitment on half that salary, especially those whose jobs require no formal training at all!

I think that their declining quality and integrity has a lot to do with the disappearance of a traditional party structure. The Labour Party in particular used to be a genuine mass movement (albeit one that was imperfectly democratic!), a mechanism for both a manifesto and a set of potential MPs and leaders to emerge via some sort of grassroots-upwards movement.

Now it is much more heavily controlled from the top, by individuals who are motivated much more powerfully by electoral imperatives than by any party principles set in stone, and who therefore hold themselves accountable only to the media, since it is the media image of their party that overwhelmingly determines their fate. The grassroots have no weight, no power to determine party ethos or principle, and so the MPs that emerge are acculturated only into a managerialist focus-group culture that seeks election for its own sake.

The weakness in party structure is compounded by the horrible, necrotic weakness in parliament. Too much power for the executive, plus an electoral system so rotten that gives no real authority or self-respect to its beneficiaries, isn't conducive to the production of principled MPs.

We are starting to see the emergence of a political class that is quite openly corrupt. The excuses given for backtracking on minimum alcohol pricing and plain cigarette packaging were so flimsy that it looked like the government can't even be bothered to pretend that it is anything other than a channel for commercial interests. Similarly the handing over of the UK blood service to a UK private equity fund.

We need a full-scale constitutional rewrite, not a pay restructure.

ButThereAgain Fri 19-Jul-13 11:37:18

BTW, regarding accountability, I always wonder whether the proliferation in the recent decade or so of consultations like this one is anything other than a floundering recognition that the electoral system and the party system are now failing in their basic function of shaping and legitimating the actions of govt and the legislature.

Politics at the level of parliament and central govt now has such a very poor mandate from the people that it has to manufacture little consultative exercises that provide tiny faux-mandates for particular decisions. That is true of a range of consultative exercises but it is particularly true of those that reach out via places like Mumsnet which of course can't generate representative responses but which can generate a relatively high-profile for the consultation and so generate the appearance of seeking and obtaining some sort of mass authority for decisions that no longer have the traditional mandate supplied by a tolerably well-functioning electoral system.

lljkk Fri 19-Jul-13 12:24:57

I like & approve of the proposed £74k package with the reductions in other areas. I presume that expenses to travel to constituencies will still be covered adequately?

mrscog Fri 19-Jul-13 13:47:48

I agree with proposals 1,2 and 3.

However I disagree with number 4. There may still be some work to be done on tightening up expenses but if I was expected to stay away from home overnight due to work I would get a meal allowance and a hotel room which would most likely have a TV, I suppose the meal thing is different as they do have a property with a kitchen - maybe this could be the marker. For MPs who choose a low key hotel for 4 nights a week maybe they could get a meal allowance, if they have a property with a kitchen then no.

At some point we have to accept that most MPs need two homes and we need to decide whehter their main home is in their constitency or London. As most of their working week is in London, maybe it would be better if any London residence was considered their main home, then expenses would be claimed on a small property within their consituency.

Being an MP is a shit job. There, I said it. Both Dh and I were interested in doing it, but you're looking at a 60 hour week in Westminster and stopping away from your family. Then at weekends when most Mon-Fri workers are relaxing you're expected to hobnob around at boring school fetes, and massage the ego of your local helpers in your local party. For anyone with a family, I can't see how it's worth it for less than 100K.

culturemulcher Fri 19-Jul-13 14:26:06

In a rush, but I do want to comment.

I think £74K is okay - even on the low side - if and only if it's their only job.

I firmly believe, though, that MPs should not be allowed to have any other job. Aside from the inevitable taint of undue influence, isn't running the country enough work?

ButThereAgain Fri 19-Jul-13 17:44:40

Agree mrscog that it is a shit job. But I think it will become a shitter job if we respond to its unappealingness by upping the salary. What kind of MPs will we get if we seek to attract people with the promise of an astonishingly high salary in return for taking on a rather hamstrung, compromised role? I think that might entrench a rather venal approach to the job. Better to make the job more appealing by means of electoral and parliamentary and party reform.

At the moment the only development which might seem to feed MPs self-respect a little bit is the select committee system, which increasingly has the role of scrutinising all and sundry in a very high-profile way. But that seems to have developed in such an ad hoc manner, without much conscious public oversight, and so with failings all of its own. It is alarming really how completely ill-equipped our system is for planned and principled constitutional evolution. Witness the complete debacle over the alternative vote referendum.

Of the proposals above, I think (5) is the most depressing. The whole cycle of submitting oneself for re-election every five years is meant to be one of accountability via report and scrutiny. That is failing, partly because of severe disillusionment with and disengagement from politics on the part of the electorate. Is that likely to be counteracted by some obscure bureaucratic replica of reporting and scrutiny?

Jux Fri 19-Jul-13 17:55:12

Politics should not be an attractive career; it should not be a career at all really, but if it is, it should most definitely be a second career.

Spend time working your way up (or not!) in some other field first. I do think that is one of the most important things. We have been forced to accept the idea that we need politicians who look good on camera. We don't. So my second criteria would be that they must be fairly unattractive, and aged no less than 60, and have a proven track record of probity.

So, on to your questions.

74K is a ridiculous amount imo, particularly when there are so many people struggling to buy enough food for their family each week., and so few jobs around for those who are supposed to be coming off benefits or whose benefits are being cut, to start earning. (Dennis Skinner reputedly took a miner's wage while he was an MP. TBH, I think that MPs should be paid 10% above minimum wage - and with this lot I think that's more than they're worth.) However, I suppose if you take a middle ranking blue collar worker's wages, then that would not be an unreasonable sum for an MP. I agree that if national wages fall, MPs' wages fall, and vice versa.

I agree in principal with 2, 3, 4 and 5.

The media is far too involved in the personality in politics. I would like to see politics graduates writing essays - 1 sheet of A4 only - on each of the issues. One sheet giving background, one sheet outlining possible options, one sheet outlining pros for each course of action, one sheet outlining cons for each possible course of action. These should be published in national newspapers so we are kept informed dispassionately. The papers can collect further questions, requests for elucidation etc from their readers, and otherwise become the sleb gossip sheets they really are but would like to pretend they are not.

Package sounds great.

However MPs are drawn from a small pool of people who come up via the main political party ranks - not the average man on the street. They are career politicians, there to make a name for themselves, not to serve the people. The whole system of political party whips demonstrates that - they are basically told to vote on party lines or else on some issues - that's hardly representing their constituency. So change that please, although not the role of IPSAS.

The part of proposal I object to is linking payrises to the national wage. They are public sector workers and should be subject to the same pay rises as they impose on the rest of the public sector. Linking it to the national wage allows for it to be higher as public sector wage rises are usually low if they exisit at all.

I have had no pay rise for 4 years, followed by a 2.5% cut, and finally a 1% rise. Imcremental progression was frozen a couple of years ago (to coincide with a 'promotion'I received which is name only as I have to stay at the bottom of the scale). I am not by the way, saying that this isn't something that has to happen but it rankles that it is okay to tell workers earning £14k that they have to suck it up for the good of the nation but then not lead by example.

lljkk Fri 19-Jul-13 20:53:42

Are you saying that politics isn't a profession like any, that takes time to become good at? And not all of them are career politicians. I am guessing about 40% have at least 10 years of work experience outside politics before giving it a go.

BigW Fri 19-Jul-13 21:03:51

I think that increased transparency around MP pay is vital if we are to regain trust in Westminster. This is an important first step.

I also think that MPs do an incredibly important and demanding job, more so than most people (and media) give them credit for. If we want the best and the brightest representing us, then we need pay to compete with the private sector.

I am passionately in favour of increased pay for MPs, but I think the public need something in return. The proposals outlined above only give a nod to increased transparency. I want to see a more open candidate selection process so we are genuinely represented by the best and not the cronyism that exists currently.

I think that the recent scandals surrounding lobbying are in fact more of an issue for MPs. Any pay rise should be dependent on a wholesale review of standards in public life.

So, I guess if I had to put it into one sentence I would say an emphatic yes, but like those of us in the private sector, they need to earn it.

No. Politicians become adept at self interest and to far removed from normality - look at how distrusted they are? I put it at least partly down to being a career politician.

At least 40%? Really?!

kotinka Fri 19-Jul-13 22:52:35

I agree with the IPSA proposals, it sounds very fair. A base wage of 74k is fair, it's a generous wage.

BIWI Fri 19-Jul-13 23:15:51

Politics should not be an attractive career; it should not be a career at all really, but if it is, it should most definitely be a second career.

Spend time working your way up (or not!) in some other field first. I do think that is one of the most important things. We have been forced to accept the idea that we need politicians who look good on camera. We don't. So my second criteria would be that they must be fairly unattractive, and aged no less than 60, and have a proven track record of probity.

Whilst I think our politicians would gain valuable experience working in other fields before they move into politics, I think these are stupid statements to make.

Politics have to be attractive. People should move into politics if they have a passion for it. If they don't have a passion for it, then they aren't fighting for the people whom they claim to represent.

And suggesting that politics only recruit ugly and old people is horribly offensive.

BIWI Fri 19-Jul-13 23:19:25

The one thing I would like to see is that our MPs can't hold other jobs/positions that pay them. Therefore, I'd like them to be paid a realistic salary (even though I suspect that this level of salary is really going to piss off the electorate). But no more positions on boards of companies as non-executive directors, etc.

If you are an MP, then you should be paid a decent salary by the Government to do that job, and you should commit to that job only. And not work for anyone else, because that way conflicts of interest will surely lie.

kotinka Sat 20-Jul-13 00:04:57

BIWI, I like your suggestions, what makes a realistic salary to you? Im thinking average wage x 2.

Fanjango Sat 20-Jul-13 00:28:26

MPs are paid enough already, the majority of the country earn far less. A member of parliament is a representative, not a god, they should be paid if they actually bother to turn up . Many MPs don't bother with parliament much if the time, yes some are doing constituency work but realistically many are paid without any regard to the hours put in, in some cases very little. Second jobs a no-no. Being a representative to the constituents is a full time post, not a well paid hobby!
A quick aside...
If Gove thinks its okay to say kids don't need a long break for summer maybe he would also accept the removal of the exceptionally long breaks MPs enjoy! Just a thought wink

HongkongDreamer Sat 20-Jul-13 08:26:03

They shouldnt be getting pay rises while everyone else like nurses etc get pay freezes, would love to c them trying to work in a hosp. They are not in touch with the real world at all, and dont deserve to get as much as 74,000 yo be honest

HongkongDreamer Sat 20-Jul-13 08:27:39

Agree with 2,3,4,5 though.

HongkongDreamer Sat 20-Jul-13 08:29:50

And it shouldnt rise above 74,000 even if other wages increase.

ButThereAgain Sat 20-Jul-13 08:56:17

If we need a £74k salary to attract the "best people," how do we get excellent nurses, teachers, university lecturers, and a whole range of skilled and conscientious blue-collar workers on salaries of half that? I'm worried that the assumption is that the "best people" are those who, if they didn't become MPs, would seek to be CEOs, bankers, corporate lawyers, etc. Rather than nurses, teachers, lecturers, blue-collar workers. What does that say about the project of getting MPs who are representative of the people? What does it say about the degree of respect Westminster has for the mass of people who work at ordinary salaries?

skrumle Sat 20-Jul-13 09:09:29

i agree with points 1-5, although i do have similar concern about tying to average wage - a small percentage of people on very high salaries could significantly skew that, although i'm assuming that's been used rather than public sector because of the dropping down as well as rising element.

i think one of our issues is not enough variety in MPs so the thought of limiting it to people over 60 is laughable to me - how is that connecting with the rest of society? people aged 18-25 hardly vote as it is - what incentive is there if they are told they don't really count and their age group cannot be represented?

i also don't agree with no second jobs, being a politician is a pretty unstable "career" so if someone wants to continue working a day a week in their existing career/own business then fair enough IMO.

ButThereAgain - headteachers in large-ish schools currently earn more than unpromoted MPs. The proposed salary may be massively above what my husband and i earn but it is not a ridiculously high one by any means...

ButThereAgain Sat 20-Jul-13 09:27:12

No, though it's probably something like 80-90th percentile or some such. It's not the salary itself but the justification of in in terms of "attracting the right kind of people" that seems suspect.

I do think there should be an absolute ban on second jobs. Agree it is an unstable career, though. Perhaps a means-tested support package for MPs who lose an election would be a more democratic way of compensating this instability, so that the job is as available to ordinary people who don't have much of a cushion as it is to the wealthy.

FamiliesShareGerms Sat 20-Jul-13 09:56:46

I should start by declaring that I am a civil servant of the grade that MPs salaries used to be linked to. My salary is roughly what MPs get currently paid, but I have been on a pay freeze for a number of years (in effect a pay cut) and my pension contributions have shot up (especially as I am doing what appeared to be the prudent thing and buying added years). I am about £400 a month worse off than two years ago. I accept that I am still well paid, and there are plenty of people in a far worse position.

But - I think there is an easy solution to the questions on what to do re MPs expenses, and that is to mirror the rules already in place for civil servants as far as practicable.

It is legitimate for MPs with constituencies outside the SE to have two residences, for example, but we should pay their rent not their mortage on the second home, so that the MP doesn't benefit unduly in the long term by acquiring another capital asset purely by dint of their job (or, more radically, a Parliamentary body could buy the houses and seek to make profit for the public purse).

Redundancy is a little different, given that a perfectly good and able MP can be booted out by their consituency making a point about national politics (eg how many Labour MPs suffered from the decision to go to war in Iraq?), and the proposal to treat MPs who fight and lose a contest differently from others seems complicated and likely to lead to perverse outcomes. A simple 6 months salary as a redundancy Package would still be generous but a significant saving on the current position.

Annual reports - absolutely. And some kind of accountability from each political party for what their members have been up to. But this report has to somehow get across that not being in the Commons is not the same as not turning up to work - MPs do so much more than debating in the chamber.

they get a 'redundancy' payment if they fail to be re-elected? that is INSANE. i'm really shocked by that. people who have worked at the college i'm at (who find themselves several million pounds in shortfall due to cuts in funding for education) for 20 years are leaving with a few grand in their pocket. an mp gets 4years of a huge salary and all the expenses bonus' and everything else that comes in (including great future career prospects consulting etc) and gets a big pay off when their constituents decide they don't want him back? that is criminal imo.

my personal feeling is that mps should be paid no more than 50k and be provided with a government owned flat for london purposes and stay in their own home in their constituency. i would want the costs for running for election massively reduced so that ordinary people could afford to run and we'd have people who did it out of conviction instead of eton boys lining their pockets and carving out an extremely lucrative and dubious career upon exit with a tax free pay off to boot.

I don't think there should be a redundancy package at all. It's very clearly a fixed term position, by it's very nature. At the end of each term you might get another term, but it will also be fixed term. The post absolutely isn't redundant at the end of the term; it's just that their constituents may no longer want them.

I agree that the needing £74k to get the 'best people' is nonsense. We don't actually want a parliament full of corporate lawyers etc, do we?

Lots of people are stuck with fixed term and zero hours contracts (even in highly skilled occupations). I don't see why MPs should be any different, especially given that they are only ever elected for one parliamentary term at a time. If they choose to step down during that, that's their decision.

the whole concept of redundancy just doesn't apply does it arbitrary? i could say plenty about the rest of it but it is that redundancy payment that hits hardest out of those bullet points. redundancy payment ffs!

How can an MPs position actually become redundant? Surely redundancy requires that the role no longer exists. If someone else is doing the role, the position is not redundant.
The only way an MP role can actually be legally redundant is if there are no longer any people eligible to vote in their constituency, surely?

mrscog Sat 20-Jul-13 12:08:27

I agree entirely with familiessharegerms. I do think even career politicians go in to it all for the right reasons though.

I've long thought that a good way to raise participation and interest in politics would be to have 1-2 members of the public on each select committee. Again, fixed term positions, and you would have to pass some kind of test to ensure you were intelligent enough to scrutinise and understand issues in their entirety. No other involvement with any kind of politics though - it would be a way of getting 'person on the street' input.

It's not redundancy it's compensation for loss of office? Or some sort of suppor "allowance" to help them readjust hmm

Llareggub Sat 20-Jul-13 14:02:29

I am interested in political office but as a single parent with 2 children, there is no way I could make it work on the current set-up. Either I move my children to London and stay there Mon-Friday and compromise on work in the constituency, or stay in the constituency for school and find a full-time nanny to allow me to get to London. Either way, I would not be effective at the job or motherhood.

I'd like to see better use of IT to make it easier for MPs to the job in their constituencies and less time in London. I broadly agree with the proposals above but more should be done to make the role accessible.

just had a pm saying ppl in education get as much as politicians and fantastic redundancy payouts. just want to assure that where i work in an FE college the maximum anyone was walking out with at the voluntary stage of redundancies was one weeks pay per year of service to a maximum of 20 years. those now having compulsory redundancy are getting less than that.

may be different for teachers in state schools who still have good contracts and rights but in FE forget it. loads of business support are going - most of whom earned around 16k - at one weeks pay per year of service even with 10yrs in the job you're going to be walking out with less than 3k.

oh and the pm assumed i must be a student to not understand how much people get paid or get in redundancies - i'm not. i've worked in education: state, private and FE for some time overall.

longfingernails Sat 20-Jul-13 14:37:38

MPs should not get a pay rise. Their pay should be a fixed multiple of the median public sector wage. They should vote on this multiple.

The idea of annual reports on MPs is idiotic. There is a wealth of information out there. MPs are not particularly well-known for their lack of self-promotion. It's a waste of money.

The most important message to take away: IPSA should be scrapped. It is a typical Labour solution - create a quango full of Guardian types and over-regulate at a vastly inflated price. The real solution: all MPs have a credit card for expenses, the credit card billl is published in full for taxpayer scrutiny, MPs account for their behaviour to their own constituencts, and Ian Kennedy gets sacked in ignominy.

Twirlyhot Sat 20-Jul-13 17:58:32

I think a basic salary of £100k would be needed to offset the proposed reduction in expenses. The pension and pay off should stay.

Pay for MPs was brought in to stop parliament being dominated by the independently wealthy. People like David Cameron. We want well educated intelligent people to become MPs. It shouldn't be the preserve of the Eton set.

why offset the reduction in expenses - the expenses were ludicrous and totally out of line with what the rest of people have to pay for when commuting etc so why offset it? should we give criminals a pay off to offset the damage they face from the legislation brought in to seize assets accrued from crime? that makes no sense to me.

Allthingspretty Sat 20-Jul-13 20:16:11

Pay the advised salary provided that;
1. It is their only job.
2. Their is a minimum level of attendance to parlimentary discussions.
3.Salary increases and deceeases in line with everyon else as suggested
4. A cap on total expenses per year for each MP
5.Agree with the redundancy package idea
6. Consider introducing performance related pay like in other.occupations
7.Random inspections of finances and ensuring that they are serving the public and salary reduced or disciplinary action taken

lljkk Sat 20-Jul-13 20:21:38

I don't see how we can enforce a provision of it being their only job. Or that that would be a good thing. I think Anne Widdecombe & Jeffrey Archer wrote novels while they were MPs. Many come in as already directors of companies and they don't want to give it up completely. Occasionally one turns up who continues to practice a little medicine or still is finishing up research projects. William Hague makes a killing on the after-dinner circuit. And those things actually keep them in touch with real life people not just out to kiss their arses.

But you could put a limit on their outside earnings, or demand that their other earnings went into a trust that they couldn't hardly touch until they stepped down/went to Lords.

Twirlyhot Sat 20-Jul-13 20:30:14

The people who are MPs would be top earners in the job market.

I really don't agree that the kind of people who would only be motivated by £100k+ are the kind of people we want to be MPs. Plenty of extremely well educated, brilliant people are very much willing to work for considerably less than this.

Twirlyhot Sat 20-Jul-13 22:21:18

Do you want women MPs who have children under 18? An MP needs to maintain a home in their constituency, one within short commute of Westminster and enough money for full time (24hr) child care. Average salary for the UK is meaningless. Look at average salary for those who work and live in London.

mrscog Sat 20-Jul-13 22:21:18

I agree brilliant people would work for less than 100k, but also give up their entire family life in the week and subject themselves to constant 'are you in the real world' scrutiny? Not so sure.

alreadytaken Sun 21-Jul-13 09:19:42

"In total, around a quarter of the House of Commons
receives more than the basic pay for their additional roles."

Few people are aware that MPs who work at the job can get more than the basic salary, there has been no previous comment about that on this thread. That is reasonable, although there should be more discussion of these additional payments. It also means that the basic MP salary can and should be lower. I would personally like to see it set at twice current average public sector earnings and pay rises linked to that of other public sector workers.

Losing an election is the nearest we get to performance related pay for MPs and my initial reaction is to say that they shouldn't get anything for failure, other than the JSA available to anyone.

MPs are not genuinely accountable to constituents. In some parts of the country anything will a particular colour rosette gets elected.

alreadytaken Sun 21-Jul-13 09:55:02

expenses were a sick joke. MPs should not get their mortgages paid. They should get a rent allowance, based on the benefit rates for a one bed flat, if their home is more than 90 minutes travel time by public transport or an allowance for hotel costs based on standard civil service rates for an overnight stay for a junior civil servant. If they are a minister they can get the rates for a more senior civil servant.

MPs get very long holidays, another difference with other workers that has had no comment here.

Thinking about it - include on the general election ballot paper a vote on the redundancy payment for the MP if not re-elected. Give a choice of nothing or 3 months salary. Only MPS standing for re-election would be eligible.

Mps pensions should be cut, in line with other public sector changes.

mrscog Sun 21-Jul-13 10:06:34

'MPs get very long holidays, another difference with other workers that has had no comment here.'

They get long holidays from parliament, but many of them will still do a lot of constituency work in this time and catch up on lots of parliamentary reading. I'm not saying they're hard done by, but don't have it in your head that MPs get the whole summer off to swan about doing nice things - most of them still work most of the time.

alreadytaken Sun 21-Jul-13 11:21:51

Our MP does precious little real constituency work at any time, summer or winter. Appearing at a few events that get publicity does not make you a good MP.

I suspect as this was posted only under politics most of those reading are working in politics. It came up under active converations but if anyone really wanted public opinions they'd post this somewhere else.

ButThereAgain Sun 21-Jul-13 11:58:20

I doubt that most readers of the politics topic work in politics. grin Anyway, Active Convos is a really big shop window for MN content isn't it? I'm sure "they" (IPSA? Mumsnet?) want as many responses as possible. (Though I doubt those responses have any real value to IPSA at all other than creating a vague air of legitimising mass involvement in a decision).

Lots of people give up family life in the week for much less than £100k, even in London. And they can be subject to constant scrutiny at work too.

I completely disagree with the pay rise. After all, 'we are all in this together'. In this age of austerity measures I don't think they can justify any kind of increase, after all they already earn well above the national average and can take second / third jobs if they can't get by on their wage.

I agree with the cutting pensions, expenses and having to give a report on what they do. I particularly object to subsidising their bar.

I'm not sure about the redundancy package. After all, if they stand for re-election and fail to gain enough votes, surely that is because they are not good enough at their jobs? Why should we be expected to pay huge amounts for their failure? But then, they have given service so should receive some kind of pay off. Hmm, will have to give that one more thought.

mrscog Sun 21-Jul-13 20:07:58

Really arbitraty what jobs require you to stay completely away from your partner and children 3-4 nights out of 7? This isn't just not seeing your kids but getting home in time for a quick glass of wine and sex with your partner, but the isolation (unless you move your family backwards and forwards between two bases) of no family all week.

I'm not trying to pick a fight, but I really can't think of many circumstances where this is the case week in week out. Maybe sales people, but they tend to earn good salaries too.

Why do MPs have to be in London so much? Why can't they conference call/VOIP/Skype etc?
Lots of industries use technology to allow workers in different physical locations to work effectively together, so why not politics?
I think if MPs need to stay in London, they should stay in a government owned building, in a one bedroom apartment with a desk and secure Internet connection. This would make best use of space (let's face it, London property is at a premium), be better for security (one building to keep track of), and should work out cheaper as a single MP does not need an entire house, given they apparently work such long hours.
Also, it would make sense to cut the long recesses and instead have a shorter working week for MPs. It would make the job more practical if it involved 2-3 nights away instead of 4-5.
The poster who said women with children, in order to serve as MPs would need 24 hour childcare, surely this is also the case for men?

Jux Sun 21-Jul-13 21:21:51

Mrscog, there are plenty of jobs where you will have to be away from home Monday to Friday. It's not necessarily in the terms abd conditions, but it happens to lots of people that the job is so far from home that they can't commute.

My cousin works for a charity in London. His home - wife, kids, dogs - are in Yorkshire. This is the job he's got. No doubt should there be an economic recovery, he may be able to get a job closer to where his family actually lives.

I have a friend who lives down the road. She works in Bristol. Traffic's crap and trains are crap, so she stays there during the week.

Lots of people have been living like that for decades.

Wuldric Sun 21-Jul-13 21:34:35

I would like to make it a rule that MPs (and their families) have to live in their constituencies. My MP currently lives in Islington, and twitchers claim to have seen him in the constituency on months with an r in them, but I think they are telling fibs.

If they need to spend time in London, as I do for my job, then they should stay in hotels. Subject to rigorous expense limitations. This would put an end to all the nonsense of MPs enriching themselves at our expense.

Oh and i would very happily endorse their travel expenditure. Providing they travel in accordance with civil service guidelines.

Twirlyhot Mon 22-Jul-13 13:16:46

Men manage by having wives.

Then women can manage by having husbands, surely.

Twirlyhot Mon 22-Jul-13 15:05:00

By having the 1950s model wife who stays at home and raises the children. Parliament was designed by men and run by men. Things like childcare or family friendly hours never crossed their minds because it was irrelevant to the people who were MPs. Men. Less than a quarter of MPs are women in a country that is over 50% women.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 22-Jul-13 22:11:57

I think the proposals are fair, and I think a wage of £74,000 is fair.

I like the suggestion from a pp of MPs having state owned and maintained accommodation when they are in London, and they can run their own home in their constituency.

Ginocchio Mon 22-Jul-13 22:27:30

I agree that salaries should be increased. If we want to have a parliament that is representative, we need to make sure that financial considerations aren't a factor in the decision. Would we only want people who already had a trust fund / family wealth or savings from a high flying city job to be able to stand? I'd far rather that a plasterer from Lincoln could stand, if they had an opinion that they believed in.

I agree with other posters that there ought to be a change in culture in parliament. My friend (ex-boss - not a politics related job) became an mp in 2010. I recently visited, and was surprised to find that - even if they weren't attending a debate - they were expected to be around incase there was a vote. This was often until 10 at night. I won't stick up for all MPs, but he certainly earns his money with all the work that he does (it's a shame he's doing it for the wrong party, but still... grin )

I do think it's right that they should get a decent payout on leaving. Remember, if you're fighting an election you can't very well also be looking for work, so you'd be unceremoniously returned to your constituency on May 6th. If we don't have a compensation for loss of office, who could afford to take that risk? I certainly wouldn't.

a plasterer from lincoln wouldn't be put off standing because of the current salary but because of the costs of running and the realities of candidate selection. sorting that side of things is what will make things more representative, not making it even more lucrative a prospect for the etonians.

ironman Tue 23-Jul-13 13:52:47

|I have a better proposals. 1) They are paid on how they deliver; ensuring crime is cut etc. 2) They are not paid at all and do the prestigious job voluntary! grin
Basically most politicians are a waste of space, who do not represent he public.

ironman Tue 23-Jul-13 13:53:38

'the public'

Jux Tue 23-Jul-13 18:39:54

People will do whatever, if they truly want to. Pay and perks really don't guarantee you get the best people for the job. Sometimes you get people who just want the pay and perks.

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