MP pay debate: Should they get a rise?

House of Commons

Friday, March 1, 2019

Yesterday it was announced that MPs would receive a 2.7 per cent pay rise, taking their salary to £79,468.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) said the increase was in line with public sector earnings.

Former MP George Galloway, Sir Alistair Graham and Duncan Simpson from the Taxpayers’ Alliance shared their thoughts on the news.

 

Pay rise 'wrong issue to target'

Number 10 Downing Street

Appearing on the breakfast show, Sir Alistair Graham, the former chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said he had no objections to the rise in MPs’ salaries.

He added that having IPSA control salaries was “much better” than when MPs voted it through themselves.

“It is important that we do attract the right people – and good people – for our democratic system. They’re making the key decisions that affect all of us,” Sir Alistair told Julia Hartley-Brewer.

 

 

He added that there was “scope for reform” in Parliament, but that the salary of MPs was not the issue to focus on.

“Too many MPs in their offices employ members of their family, which could be seen as a way of boosting their income,” he said.

“So there are issues to address, but I think this is the wrong one to target.”

 

'Time to get the pitchforks out'

George Galloway

Former MP George Galloway said the timing of the salary increase was an “outrage”.

“This would be an outrage at any time, but at this time it’s enough to get the pitchforks out,” he told talkRADIO’s Mike Graham.

“Public sector workers are being starved of desperately necessary wage increases by the people who are just about to get double what everybody else is getting.”

Mr Galloway called for the number of MPs to be halved, claiming there were currently “twice as many as we need”.

“If we drastically reduced the number of MPs you wouldn’t miss them, I promise you,” he said.

 

Implement 'salary freeze'

A salary "freeze" would be welcomed, a Taxpayers' Alliance spokesperson has said

Duncan Simpson called the increase in pay “galling” and called for a “freeze” on MP salaries.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance policy analyst told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “People are going to be pretty peeved with this.

“They had a £7,000 pay rise between 2015 and 2016, there’s been smaller increments in recent years, we just need to take a step back and really assess why they’re doing that and implement a freeze.”

Mr Simpson added that a balance needed to be struck to make the job attractive, but not so much that it brought on board someone too focussed on pay.

“It is a delicate balance between what is the correct level to attract people into politics who wouldn’t think about going into politics.”