Chris Mullin is right when he states that £64,000 isn’t peanuts. It’s not. It’s 253% more than the national median wage, or roughly double if you include a London weighting figure of 20%. (The Family Spending 2008 figures conclude that London living is 20% more expensive). So it’s fair to conclude that politicians have an easier life than the majority of us on their ‘basic’ salary. Let’s also not forget that they can expense much of their everyday spending whilst also eating subsidized food and drink, and should they garner a ministerial position then they’re really raking it in.
Yes, their expenses should be published, down to the last nut and bolt. Yes, their other jobs should also be listed along with how much they earn for those positions. But neither of these solves the question of their pay. The Senior Salaries Review Board will continue to ‘advise’ the prime minister, meaning that the MPs will still set their own pay. A solution to this problem needs to be found as many in this country don’t trust politicians (historically trust in politicians was declining before the expenses scandal) and therefore feel they are paid too much as of now.
MPs have achieved little for the reward they receive. Their remuneration isn’t a reflection of the overbearing, unproductive and stultifying effects that their actions have on the rest of us. The UK’s political class is in fact acting as a successful glass ceiling to the growth that we all could profit from without their interference. Their pay is purely a reflection of their self-centred and self-aggrandizing nature. A suitable pay cut would be sufficient to drag them back to earth and reveal the hardships that they have brought upon us. Connecting their pay to the median wage, as a base, would firmly ground them. Further linking that with growth and removing their ability to vote on their own pay rises would act as fair punishment for the years of theft they engaged in.