Majority of Members of Parliament believe they are underpaid

  • @oliver_wright

Members of Parliament believe they deserve a pay hike of one-third – with nearly 70 per cent believing that they are underpaid for the job they do.

Conservative members of Parliament on average would like a £31,000 increase in their basic salary – to £96,000 a year – while their Labour counterparts feel they deserve a £12,000 hike to £77,000, according to an anonymised survey carried out by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa). MPs are currently paid around £65,000 a year.

The watchdog is conducting a review of MPs’ pay and pension entitlements and is due to publish its recommendations later this year.

The survey reveals that despite setting strict public sector wage limits of one per cent for the next two years – and recently voting for the same below-inflation uplift for people on benefits – significant numbers of MPs do not believe the cap should be applied to them.

A number of MPs commented that their pay should be increased because they had additional costs that were not covered by expenses.

One said: “The costs associated with doing the job should be recognised. For example, we receive endless requests for raffle donations, breakfasts, teas, dinner, lunches etc. We frequently have to entertain people. And we spend money on things which cannot be claimed back.”

Another added: “An MP earns less than a deputy headteacher in the bigger schools in their constituencies, every pharmacist, GP, Police Area Commander, in my case 7 employees of the local Council. And this is all before you consider the substantial costs that an MP is unable to recover - including entertaining.”

Overall nearly 30 per cent did not believe that the one per cent limit should apply to them – including 34 per cent of Tories. IPSA confirmed that the limit would apply to them for the next two years after which there will be a fundamental reform of both MPs pay and pensions.

IPSA’s Chairman Sir Ian Kennedy said the new regime was an important step forward: “In the past, MPs have agreed their pay and pensions among themselves. So this new approach of independent decision-making marks a real and important change and is another crucial step in helping Parliament to regain the trust of the public.

“The consultation we held over the autumn has been hugely informative and important in directing our thinking. It also serves to show the spread of views and depth of feeling on this issue.

“We remain committed to listening and I would urge people to get involved in this debate.”

The watchdog will put firm proposals out for consultation in the spring, with final decisions likely to be taken in the autumn.