LETTER: Performance pay for MPs

From Ms Elizabeth Symons

Sir: Having just negotiated the pay for senior civil servants and, in effect, for MPs themselves, at a basic increase in the pay bill of 2.7 per cent, may I make one or two points to the "outraged" MPs mentioned in your report (" `Cheated' MPs' anger over pay", 7 August).

Unlike MPs, no senior civil servant is getting an automatic pay rise. All pay rises will be performance-linked. If MPs such as Jerry Hayes wish to "keep to the spirit of the formula that MPs voted on", they are going to have to bite the bullet of performance-related pay. It is one of the peculiar characteristics of performance-related pay systems that those who advocate them so fervently for others never think that they can be applied to themselves.

Perhaps performance pay based on the volume of constituency correspondence, or on the number of MPs' surgeries held, or on interventions on behalf of constituents with ministers, would meet the case? And that is without even looking at attendances in the House itself.

Those MPs who are currently indulging in righteous indignation about their pay have only themselves to blame for having recognised sauce for the goose without taking into account that there would be ganders, too.

Yours sincerely,

Elizabeth Symons

General Secretary

The Association of

First Division Civil Servants

London, SW1

9 August