Ignoring the relative merits of claiming £20,000 of taxpayers money for help in cleaning an MP’s moat ( or the 48p for a packet of crisps or £10 for your husband to watch a blue movie) does it make sense to pay MPs more?
Firstly, How Much do MP’s Earn?
The official salary is £64,766. (In addition, MPs receive allowances to cover the costs of running an office and employing staff, having somewhere to live in London and in their constituency, and travelling between Parliament and their constituency….) source
This gives MPs a similar tax bracket to Marketing and senior managers, senior police officers, commercial airline pilots, Royal Navy captains, education administrators, senior social workers, tax inspectors, medical sales representatives. However, it is less than lawyers, accountants. It is suggested some taxi drivers and plumbers can earn more than MPs.
What are Arguments For Raising MPs Pay
- Job has big bearing on Economy. MPs are responsible for over £1,100bn of public spending. Given the impact a good or bad MP can have, paying a higher wage to get a better quality of candidate would be a good use of money.
- Many talented people may be put off becoming an MP because they can earn more in other professions.
- A higher salary would mean MPs don’t have to do second jobs / try fiddle expenses e.t.c
Arguments against Raising MPs Pay
- It is already quite high
- Raising wages may not attract better candidates because many of the issues of becoming an MP are non-monetary.
- Even if you paid a higher salary, you may not solve problems of MPs doing second jobs, claiming expenses. You may just attract people more interested in earning money.
- Being an MP is an opportunity for public service. In theory, MPs should have motivation to serve constituents rather than to earn a high salary.
- Although the government spends over £1,100bn the importance of MPs is less than imagined as many decisions made by civil servants e.t.c.
If raising the wage of MPs attracted a better class of candidate and meant MPs didn’t try to claim non-justifiable expensese e.t.c. it would be worth it. People, especially in the current climate, may feel MPs don’t deserve more pay. But, from an economic point of view the increased cost of wages could be outweighed by other benefits – if it helped create better service from MPs.
However, the big issue is whether paying a higher wage would lead to better candidates and better performance. I doubt it would.