MP is an important job and their pay should reflect that

Morning View
Morning View

The pay rise for MPs, that will see their incomes increase 11 per cent to £74,000, is controversial.

It is almost impossible for MPs to get a salary increase without such controversy.

There is, rightly, intense scrutiny of public expenditure, given the size of government debt, and the burden on taxpayers to meet that debt and other outgoings.

The finances of MPs is an area that is particularly in need of transparency, given that they are overseeing cuts in the income of other groups of people, such as welfare recipients.

However, this pay rise from an independent recommendation is right, and overdue. It might even be insufficient.

There are only 650 MPs to draw up the laws for a nation of more than 60 million.

Such a Parliament should be made up of citizens from a wide variety of backgrounds, in terms of age, gender and race. There is one trait that they should all have in common: talent.

Members of Parliament do enjoy significant prestige, so a lot of their rewards are greater than pay.

MPs’ pay should never be as high as the sums of money that are earned by high fliers in the professions (such as lawyers, doctors and bankers who can earn well into six figures).

But nor should MPs’ pay be allowed to fall so far behind such professions that the House of Commons is unable to attract some of the country’s brightest people. A sensible compromise, for example, would be for GPs and MPs to have similar incomes. After this pay increase for MPs, they will earn £74,000 a year, which is below the GP average of £100,000.

MPs also have, as the recent election showed, major job insecurity, and can easily lose their seat, which is off-putting to would-be politicians.

If cuts are to be made in the cost of MPs, this should be done in their staffing allowances. They need assistance, but do not need large back-up teams.