Thursday, 11 July 2013

MPs salaries

I see the recommendations from IPSA on MP remuneration are creating the predictable furore, particularly on the proposed salary hike from the next general election. The situation is not helped by various politicians trying to take advantage of the perceived public mood by denouncing the proposals. It brings to mind the debate in Southend each time we receive independent recommendations on councillor remuneration. For what it is worth I fail to see the point of taking the decision away from MPs and allowing the matter to be impartially and independently considered if as soon as a recommendation is made MPs of all colours try to undermine it. In reality the proposals seem to create a balance by moving towards a higher basic salary but removing some of the less transparent extras. The reality is that the current salary is below levels in middle management or the professions and if we are trying to attract quality candidates the salary has to be adequate to reflect the demands and uncertainties of the job. If not we will be reliant on those with a private income, external support, 2nd jobs or career politicians who do not bring with them experience of the real world. I would support higher salaries but linked to removal of some of the unseen extras, restriction on 2nd jobs, reduction in numbers of MPs and better information to the public as to the time spent in the Chamber or on constituency or parliamentary business. Lets have a smaller number of capable MPs concentrating full time on their duties but being paid a decent salary for what is after all a very important job. In the meantime if MPs don't feel the need to accept the higher salary they are quite at liberty to refuse to accept it and let us hope that during the next parliament the Lib Dems do not again block a reorganisation of constituencies and reduction in the number of MPs!

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