MPs’ PAY REVIEW – GOOD IDEA

IPSA is independent and in everything we do, we focus on our main duty: to serve the interests of the public. (IPSA website home page)

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) is said to be advocating an 11% increase in [non-executive] MPs’ basic salary to £74000 a year. This can be compared to the average pay of £64000 which non-executive directors of FTSE 100 companies receive (thereby accepting collective responsibility for the actions of their boards).

Apparently, IPSA hopes that by increasing their package by such a large sum, MPs will be less inclined to abuse their generous expenses system. What an interesting message to send to the electorate. “If you’re not happy with your pay, follow the Westminster precedent and fiddle your expenses!” A further argument put forward in support of higher pay for MPs is “if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”. Well, given the woeful performance of the last administration and the failure of the Coalition to respond to so many concerns of the electorate, monkeys could well be an improvement.

If anything, there’s mounting justification for a reduction in MPs’ pay. A large amount of legislation now emanates from the European Commission and the government just goes through a rubber stamping exercise. Also, MPs with constituencies in Scotland and Wales have a large amount of their representational functions duplicated or directly undertaken by members of the national legislatures. Shouldn’t less work and less responsibility mean less pay?

These issues and others raise a number of questions including do we really need 650 MPs? With modern communications and reduced empowerment of MPs , the rules of the Boundary Commissions should be changed to limit the number to say, 500. A reduction in the number of MPs as part of a pay and fixed expenses review might just be a vote winner.

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