Not a penny more.

October 20, 2013

The consultation into MPs’ pay and conditions closes today, Sunday 20th October.  If you do one thing today, please take a moment either to email your thoughts to ipsa (mppayandpension@parliamentarystandards.org.uk) or add them in the comments here.

This is what I sent them.

You are consulting on proposals to increase MPs’ salaries and pay . My response is that MPs should have not a penny more during the life of the current parliament.

In Mrs Thatcher’s day the pay of MPs was tied to that of senior Civil Servants:

“On 21 July 1987, the House agreed a resolution that set Members’ pay at “89 per cent of the rate which on 1st January in that year represents the maximum point on the main national pay scale for Grade 6 officers in the Home Civil Service” from 1 January 1988 and maintained that linkage from 1 January 1989 onwards.” (from http://www.parliament.uk/about/faqs/house-of-commons-faqs/members-faq-page2/)

The current HMRC Grade 6 London max is 74209 and 89 per cent of 74209 is of course 66046. This means that the current 66396 which MPs receive is very much the rate for the job and I cannot see any justification for increasing it.
Indeed the Coalition Government has operated under a narrative of an austerity crisis which overrides all other fiscal arguments: Francis Maude wants a Civil Service which is “fit for the future: faster, flatter, focused on outcomes not process, more accountable for delivery, more capable, more commercial, more digital, more effective in delivering projects and managing performance, more open, with modern terms and conditions, smaller and more unified.” Why shouldn’t this also apply to MPs? Let them have performance pay: if the economy improves, the welfare state runs effectively, the NHS works effectively, unemployment reduces and the happiness of the people increases, then they can have a pay rise. They have demonstrably failed to achieve any of these ends to date.

I reject your argument that MPs are “at the pinnacle of our democracy. This is a fact that we ought to record and respect.” I believe that MPs are public servants and should be rewarded and valued as much as any other public servant. In hard times, they need to understand they are subject to the same hardships as the rest of us, that we are “all in this together”. So: not a penny more.

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