MPs getting a £2200 pay rise: Who said there’s no such thing as a free dinner?

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free dinner

It’s no April fools. Next month, MPs get a £2,200 pay rise to £84,144 while the country gets a rise in national insurance, energy bills & council tax.

Families have been left ‘infuriated’ at MPs’ 2.7 per cent annual pay rise next month after a watchdog declared that they have been working harder during the pandemic.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority said politicians’ salaries will go up from £81,932 to £84,144 and MPs will receive £2,212 more for the year from 1 April 2022.

This comes when the masses are facing significant economic hardship one that has not been seen in many areas since the 1980s. This new crisis will see an already beleaguered working-class hit hardest without a hint of irony the Bank of England has urged workers not to ask for sizeable pay rises during this present economic crisis.

MPs have all their ducks in a row, they don’t set the rate…

There is a constant excuse, a fallback position to defect direct criticism that says MPs’ pay is set independently of both the government and parliament. The issue is now decided by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), which was set up in the wake of the 2009 expenses scandal.

The rise was awarded due to the amount of work MPs do, which “dramatically increased last year”, said Richard Lloyd, chair of Ipsa.

He said: “This is the first increase in pay for MPs in two years and follows the average of increases across the public sector last year.

“MPs play a vital role in our democracy and this is reflected in their pay. It is right that MPs are paid fairly for the responsibility and the unseen work they do helping their constituents.”

“For parliament to reflect society, it is vital that people from all walks of life can be an MP.”

In reality, MPs are paid extremely well. The basic annual salary for an MP from 1 April 2020 is a basic £81,932. MPs also receive extra pay for ministerial roles and for sitting on the many boards and special interest groups, they also receive very generous expenses to cover the costs of running an office, employing staff and having somewhere to live in London or their constituency, this also covers travelling between Parliament and their constituency.

It is also argued that higher MP salaries actually attract individuals into politics for the wrong reasons, namely the financial perks of the role, as opposed to a public service ethos. It is noted how, with the exception of those in senior positions, the majority of workers in key public sectors, such as healthcare and teaching, receive significantly lower salaries than Members of Parliament, and yet pursue these careers nonetheless.

When MPs stop with the virtue signalling and the constant sound bites repeated by all MPs saying “It is a privilege and an honour to be elected to serve my home constituency as Member of Parliament” The underlying argument is that MPs, as public servants, should be subject to the same standards as the rest of the sector, and if it’s such an honour we should not need to bribe people to do it with extorsively high wages and perks. Let’s be honest they are not footballers and if we measured them by their talent we would call for a refund.

The money to be made once an MP leaves the political circus is limitless, depending on how far they claimed the ladder or what controversy they were involved in. It seems today the majority of MPs aspire to follow Tony Blair and his money-making machine. Blair’s net worth is said to be $60 Million. Then, of course, you have the likes of Nick Clegg who after enabling tory Austerity goes off to work for Facebook without a hint of experience in that industry or Chuka Umunna who landed a lucrative job at JP Morgan, then again he was always a Banker!

Some are in it for the people, not the money

However, it’s not all politicians are in it for the money some like Dave Nellist, the TUSC candidate who is standing in the Erdington by-election tomorrow is well known for his opinions on high wages attracting better politicians, while a serving MP refused to take such exuberant wages.

Dave Nellist was well-known during his time in parliament for only taking an ordinary worker’s wage, he give away over half of his MP’s bloated salary – currently £82,000 a year – to trade unionists and working class campaigners fighting to defend their livelihoods and communities. 

Mr Nellist said he saw his political career as being akin to that of a union rep in a factory.

“At the time time, we were going into the [MP] job like a convenor in a factory, we had the time to do the job but not three times the wage or holidays,” he said.

“The engineering union used to work out the returns of all the factories in Coventry and averaged their wages – equivalent to £28,000 or £29,000 nowadays – so that was what I took home.

“I accepted every penny of the full salary, but as the Labour Party we gave away roughly £35,000 [per year in today’s money] to help the families of miners in the 80s, community groups, pensioners.”

He said receiving less money did not damage “the responsibility” he had to his family and he was very proud of the way his children grew up.

“They didn’t want for anything. We went camping as a family for two weeks every year – and still do – like many people.

“I came off factory wages and into that job on the same. I’ve never had anything different so you don’t miss what you’ve not had.”

Mr Nellist added that as a Coventry City Councillor for 12 years until 2012, he continued to take home the same wage by reducing the hours of his full time job at an advice agency.

He dismissed the idea that the more someone is paid, the more they will achieve.

“Why should MPs be any better? How many millions have we been paying the bankers, how many millions do we pay footballers?

“I don’t accept the idea that those prepared to live the same life as their constituents are going to be any less representative.”

Zara Sultana, the Labour MP for Coventry South, said the regulator’s decision was wrong, and added: “Ordinary people are facing a Tory cost-of-living crisis. They should get a proper pay rise, not well-paid MPs. That’s why I will donate mine to Coventry Foodbank and other local causes.”

People would be furious at the news, said John O’Connell, the chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance. He claimed their anger would be compounded because many will “face crippling tax hikes” and added: “Elected officials should show restraint and only accept rises when economic conditions allow.”

Meanwhile, the Trades Union Congress said it was “time for a pay rise for all workers – not just MPs”.

National insurance is due to rise by 1.25 percentage points for both workers and businesses next month. There are also concerns about inflation, a dramatically-increased energy price cap and concerns costs could soar further given the sanctions announced to tackle Russia’s economy following the invasion of Ukraine.

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