Money matters: Make a million at taxpayer's expense

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Indy Politics

Become an MP

Your basic salary of more than £60,000 is comfortably double the national average. But don't stop there – there is an extra £135,800 to be claimed from a generous list of allowances and expenses.

Staffing allowance maximum £87,276; Incidental Expenses Provision (IEP) maximum £20,440; rail, train and tube travel, and car mileage at up to 40p per mile.

Stay close to London

The Additional Costs Allowance (ACA), introduced to cover the cost of keeping a flat in London – as well as a main home – when MPs regularly worked through the night, guarantees you over £20,000 a year.

Additional costs maximum £22,110; London supplement (for inner London MPs) £2,712.

Keep it in the family

Marrying another MP is never the most tempting prospect when you look at the candidates around you, but an obvious move as it doubles your "earning" potential when it comes to allowances. Married couple Ann and Alan Keen – Labour MPs in west London – each claimed over £18,000 on the ACA last year, despite living less than 15 miles from Westminster.

Keep your nose clean

No MP ever made it into the really big money by upsetting their superiors. The first step on the ladder is a place on a committee, which also allows you to travel the world at taxpayers' expense.

Total (including parliamentary salary) Select Committee Chairman £74,134; Under Secretary of State £90,955; Minister of State £100,568; Leader of the Opposition £131,172; Speaker £137,579; Cabinet Minister £137,579.

Get to the top

Tony Blair tried to impose wage restraint on his Cabinet, but what's the point of that when it's such a short career? Mr Blair eventually decided to take his full salary and, thankfully, Gordon Brown has taken his lead.

Prime Minister £188,849.

Cash in your chips

Do this job for only a few years and you should leave with a few hundred thousand in the bank, a house – or two – and the prospect of a few lucrative directorships. You also leave with a severance payment of around £30,000. Oh, and there's always the Parliamentary Pension Scheme.

MP's pension approx £40,000; ministerial severance payments – three months' annual ministerial salary up to £34,000; PM's income – although Mr Brown wants to forgo the immediate income of £62,400 a year, he would automatically qualify for a pension of £38,900 on retirement.