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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.


swallowedAfly Sat 20-Jul-13 10:05:22

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.

swallowedAfly Sat 20-Jul-13 10:08:48

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.

ArbitraryUsername Sat 20-Jul-13 10:23:58

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?

ArbitraryUsername Sat 20-Jul-13 10:26:25

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.

swallowedAfly Sat 20-Jul-13 10:55:29

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!

InMySpareTime Sat 20-Jul-13 11:05:37

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.

CreatureRetorts Sat 20-Jul-13 13:23:07

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.

swallowedAfly Sat 20-Jul-13 14:10:10

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.

swallowedAfly Sat 20-Jul-13 14:13:34

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.

swallowedAfly Sat 20-Jul-13 18:10:42

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.

ArbitraryUsername Sat 20-Jul-13 21:55:00

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).

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