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.

Thanks,
MNHQ

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.

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

'the public'

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Then women can manage by having husbands, surely.

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

Men manage by having wives.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 20:30:14

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

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.

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